[Mono-list] future of Mono

jmalcolm malcolm.justin at gmail.com
Mon May 30 20:59:00 EDT 2011

newbie_mono wrote:
> I have been considering moving to mono on linux. Without Mono , the
> alternative is learning new languages and throwing away considerable code
> base. the recent developlments regarding disbanding the Mono team is
> disconcerting. I have two questions regarding mono on linux :
> 1- is there really still a future for mono-( asp.net) on linux? 
> 2- is the performance equivalent to IIS ( all other things being equal). I
> don't really care about having all the features, but performance should
> not be less.

These do not sound like flames to me. The concerns are legitimate given the
circumstances. Let me take a stab at your questions:

1) My own opinion is that Mono will be stronger than ever in the future.
Mono is an Open Source project using the MIT/X11 license. The commits are
still coming in on GitHub from multiple contributors (not just the ex-Novell
team). Oh, and about that, the ex-Novell Mono team is pretty much now the
Xamarin Mono team (with at least one exception). The old team has started a
new company under the leadership of Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman. Miguel
has been the heart of the Mono ecosystem since the project began. Nat and
Miguel have run a successful dev company before. The Mono team is awesome. I
expect big things.

2) The performance is about the same in most cases in my experience. In some
cases, .NET is faster and in some Mono is faster. In general, .NET is a
little faster. It depends on your app. I can tell you one thing, Mono vs.
.NET runtime differences will be dwarfed by other factors if you are doing
web apps (database, network, memory, file system). There are differences at
the Operating System level that will also make a difference and I think the
performance advantage between Linux and Windows goes the other way (Linux
being faster). People still seem to run into edge cases now and again where
Mono falls down a bit. Be sure to report it if you run into one; the Mono
team has been fantastic about addressing these quickly (when they are given
enough information to dig into it at least).

Learning new languages should be something to look forward to. Thankfully,
both Mono and .NET provide ample opportunity for that. Of course, there are
lots of other fish in the sea as well.

Throwing away large working code bases--not so cool. One of the things that
I love about Mono (and .NET) is the ability to keep learning and growing
while still staying on the same fundamental platform (and being able to
reuse old code often).

The way the Mono (.NET) ecosystem weaves together is incredible. Mono
completes the .NET picture by bringing cross-platform to the same level as
multi-language was within the .NET framework already.

I have created C# apps for the iPhone and Android that reused C# database
and XML processing code that I first wrote for the web (ASP.NET). I have
invested many months building ASP.NET Web Forms apps and then been able to
evolve them using ASP.NET MVC in a deeply integrated way. I have Unix
console apps/utilities (with pure text interfaces and/or using the Curses
text GUI libraries) that share much of their back-end code with Windows
Forms apps. I can write F# libraries that get used primarily as components
of C# apps. I can write IronPython unit tests that test (and directly
instantiate) classes written in C#. I have even used large Java libraries
(thanks IKVM.NET) to enhance my ASP.NET projects. Code re-use is everywhere.

In the same vein, I have embedded the Mono C# compiler as a component in
otherwise purely MS .NET apps. I have also used third-party .NET assemblies
targeted at Windows desktop coders to augment my C# web apps running on
Linux/Apache. I am sure some of these were written by developers that have
never given Linux a moment of thought but the assemblies still worked great.

Currently, there is nowhere else I can leverage all this interoperability.
Plus, C# is just so nice to use for most things. I am very happy that Mono
seems to be weathering this transition just fine.

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