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The Case For Supporting and Using Mono 570

Posted by timothy
from the reason-18-it's-the-kissing-disease dept.
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister argues in favor of Mono, asking those among the open source community who have 'variously described Mono as a trap, a kludge, or simply a waste of effort' to look past Miguel de Icaza and Mono's associations with Microsoft and give the open source implementation of .Net a second chance, as he himself has, having predicted Mono's demise at the hands of open source Java in 2006. Far from being just a clone of .Net for Linux, McAllister argues, Mono has been 'expanding its presence into exciting and unexpected new niches.' And for those who argue that 'developing open-source software based on Microsoft technologies is like walking into a lion's den,' McAllister suggests taking a look at the direction Mono is heading. The more Mono evolves, the less likely Microsoft is to use patent claims or some other dirty trick to bring down the platform."
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The Case For Supporting and Using Mono

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  • Objective Review (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:30PM (#26745149) Homepage Journal

    "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister argues in favor of Mono, asking those among the open source community who have 'variously described Mono as a trap, a kludge, or simply a waste of effort' to look past Miguel de Icaza and Mono's associations with Microsoft and give the open source implementation of .Net a second chance

    Ok, sure. I can do that. In fact, I wrote just such a journal entry in mid-07:

    It is quite obvious to anyone using the platform that the Mono team is not in bed with Microsoft. In fact, it would seem that the Mono team is explicitly trying to warn you away from .NET technology. Otherwise, why would they make it SO GODDAMN HARD TO DEVELOP FOR?

    Read More: A Day Without Mono is like a Day Without a Bullet in my Head [slashdot.org]

    Ooooh. That wasn't positive at all, was it? Huh.

    • Re:Objective Review (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:42PM (#26745301) Homepage Journal

      Ohhh, yeaaah. I remember this guy. This is the same nitwit who used logic from 1996 to try and convince us all to burn our webapps [slashdot.org]. I see he's back with even more faulty reasoning.

      I guess there's only one thing to say. Slashdot, meet the new John C. Dvorak [slashdot.org].

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @08:03PM (#26746237)

        Actually, I'm inclined to agree that WebApps generally suck when compared to a Windows App performing the same task. Obviously, WebApps have their advantages (easy distribution, usage monitoring, centralized access, no risk of rogue versions); but when the situation doesn't make it necessary to create a product as a WebApp, I think it's generally stupid to do so.

        As for Mono, the product is a valiant effort, but I can't understand why you would run software on something other than its native platform. After the App is deployed, if it encounters any problems, you'll always have to wonder, is it the App, or is it Mono?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by chthon (580889)

          We are in such a case.

          We are a multi-national, and in one research site tooling was developed for building, first all Win32 C++, later .NET C#.

          Recently came the day that we got in bed with people who only work on Linux, so all our tools must now run on Linux. There is NO gui dependency here. In this case, Mono was really our rescue.

      • by Jekler (626699) on Friday February 06, 2009 @03:21AM (#26749043)

        I regret that he apparently wasn't more successful in convincing us to burn our web apps. I'd hazard a guess that 80% of my computer-related headaches is a result of web apps, which I have now almost completely swore off if there's any way I can avoid them.

        Crap like Google Maps I find insulting. We had map software 15 years ago. The only thing we needed was periodic udpates, but web apps go to a completely opposite extreme, every single data request is serviced live, nobody finds it acceptable to risk that data might be hours or days old. If I'm actually using my connection to retrieve data (files, audio, video, etc.) all those web-apps slow to a crawl.

        With web apps, even with the fastest modern computers we're working at speeds closer to what we had back in 1995. We don't need all data to be streamed from the source, I would much prefer most of the applications reside on a local computer and function at native speeds instead of everything being bottle-necked by my ISP. I don't even mind using a thin-client running applications through terminal services, but having all basic desktop applications running from a web server is just ridiculous.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by j-pimp (177072)

          Crap like Google Maps I find insulting. We had map software 15 years ago. The only thing we needed was periodic udpates, but web apps go to a completely opposite extreme, every single data request is serviced live, nobody finds it acceptable to risk that data might be hours or days old. If I'm actually using my connection to retrieve data (files, audio, video, etc.) all those web-apps slow to a crawl.

          Well them, buy your map software or even a dedicated GPS device. Personally I'm happy with google maps. It also makes a nice backup to my gps that I have it installed on my blackberry. If I had enough of a need I'd buy mapping software.

          Youtube is an example of a great webapp. For most video needs it works great. There are times I want better than a small flv file, and I will watch a dvd or mpeg 4 in those cases.

    • Re:Objective Review (Score:4, Informative)

      by clockwise_music (594832) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:50PM (#26747545) Homepage Journal
      Couldn't agree more. I've tried to develop code using mono and notepad (or vi, whatever) instead of Visual Studio. It's practically impossible.

      The microsoft documentation is only useful if you're using Visual Studio. Period. Find me a .NET developer who doesn't use Visual Studio and I'll show you a magician. Visual Studio (which I admin, I think is awesome) is such a great IDE and it generates a lot of useful code and config files (etc etc etc) and crap that makes it a complete nightmare to do without.

      Now it is technically possible to write .net code using mono and some other IDE, it's technically possible, and you could do it, but it'd be like pulling a shopping cart along with a toddler attached instead of removing the child and then pushing it. Stupid and too much effort.

      Just fork out the $$ for VS and you've instantly saved yourself weeks of development. But Mono.... just give up now. Unless things have changed over the past 2 or 3 years. But I doubt it. I don't even really understand why they bother.
      • Re:Objective Review (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:30AM (#26748249)
        I contracted a while at Microsoft, and every blue badge (full-time developer) I ever met ignored VS.NET and used vim or emacs all day (for C#, C++, XML, everything except the occasional dialog edit) with the MSDN docs open on the other monitor. No lead with a clue lets the opaque plumbing inside an IDE determine whether their project gets built corectly (we used build.exe, a make clone from the DDK), WinDbg is far more powerful than the builtin debugger (download and try it), and an editor with too much "assistance" to even keep up with your typing (on desktops fast enough to run internal debug builds of Vista!) was just unforgivably lame.
      • Re:Objective Review (Score:4, Informative)

        by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:24AM (#26748791) Homepage Journal

        I write .NET code and support other developers doing the same as my day job, and we fully support mono. In fact, one product that's due for release soon by a third party that I support is running mono on a headless linux box (it's intended as a sort of "black box" from the customers point of view - the choice was made for Linux and Mono purely because of price - this thing is to be MASS distributed, so Windows licenses would bump up the price too much). This product will be very widely used by our customers, so to me at least, it's clear that mono is mature enough now to be used in the 'real world'.

        As far as developing it without Visual Studio - I use VS at work (although still on VS2005 - haven't found a compelling reason to upgrade yet), but at home, where I also do a lot of work when I can't be bothered heading in to the office, I use MonoDevelop. And, for Mac Specific projects, I generally write my back-end in MonoDevelop, compile as DLL(s) and then write the GUI with XCode (Cocoa#). I think I COULD do it with a plain ol' text-editor and get by okay, but I prefer to use a real IDE. With MonoDevelop existing though, Visual Studio is definitely NOT a requirement.

      • Re:Objective Review (Score:4, Informative)

        by ozphx (1061292) on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:33AM (#26748837) Homepage

        SharpDevelop is BSD licensed, and quite excellent. There is very little preventing you from using this as your primary development environment. SharpDevelop on Mono is also possible.

        The sole reason I still buy the VS licenses, is because I also keep juniors using Resharper (a VS refactoring/quality addin) and Diamond Binding (a database access addin/library, again VS only), which pretty much add 20% on the productivity of a bunch of noobs.

        Sometimes (rarely) the place I go into uses MS Project Server "properly", and the TFS changeset/issue tracking makes VS worthwhile over SVN as well.

        The reasons against using Mono (if you are going for minimising cost of development, and putting ideology aside), is being able to use things like WPF/WCF/WF. This is above and beyond what you need to develop most applications though.

      • Re:Objective Review (Score:4, Informative)

        by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:44AM (#26748891) Homepage

        Just fork out the $$ for VS and you've instantly saved yourself weeks of development. But Mono.... just give up now. Unless things have changed over the past 2 or 3 years. But I doubt it.

        So basically, you're ranting against something you haven't tested for close to 3 years. But you 'doubt' it has changed, so you are sure your opinion is still valid.

        And you've been modded Informative!

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:32PM (#26745173)

    Mono has been 'expanding its presence into exciting and unexpected new niches.'

    Yes, just recently there have been several more [engadget.com]!

    Here at the Mono bar, we play every kind of music - country *and* western!

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:34PM (#26745191)

    For bit rates less than 24 Kbps I prefer mono.

    (What, RTFA ? Who has time for that ?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:38PM (#26745245)

    A third party implementation of a standard defined by the first-party implementor is always going to lag behind the original. Even if .Net is technical nirvana, if your platform's only implementation comes from a third party, your platform is a second-class citizen.

    The case against Mono has nothing to do with the technical niceties he presents, nor do the fears of Microsoft "pulling out the rug" matter... What matters is that when developers and end users pick a technology, they pick the leader, not the follower. Accepting Mono is giving up and giving in to Microsoft vendor lock-in.

    • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:22PM (#26745731)

      I guess all that stuff in the Mono.* namespace that Microsoft's release of their framework doesn't support is just following right along. Like Mono.SIMD. Or Mono.CSharp, which (unlike Microsoft's libraries) contains a fully featured compiler service and runtime evaluator. Or the other Mono stuff that Microsoft's releases can't do, like full static compilation for the iPhone and Microsoft's own XBox 360.

      I'm guessing you don't know much about what you're talking about, but hey, it's Slashdot, that's par for the course.

      • by nschubach (922175) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:44PM (#26746025) Journal

        But then we get into the topic of if Mono is .NET or an imitator. If it gets too powerful, or too feature full, who's to say if MS doesn't retract their promise and claim that Mono is infringing on their patents, suing whatever company might have worked on said products?

        What I dislike about Mono/.NET isn't the technology. It's a cool way to do things (up to a point when it becomes brainless cut and paste as I've seen a lot recently.) I like the general coding and namespacing standards, but there's always the looming Microsoft update around the next corner and you feel like you are always playing catch up. With C/C++, you have additional libraries that come into play from year to year, but the language itself is defined. You continue to use your libraries, they get better... it's a slowly changing target. Yes, there's a new revision coming to extend it even more, but once that's there you won't have Microsoft adding LINQ to the core in 3 months causing a new revision and a new learning dependence. A dependence on MS and marketing of feature sets. I feel as though the language is going to get so bloated with "new"/"handy"/"neato"/"swell" features that it will become cumbersome to learn for someone just coming into it. Yeah, it's great for those in on the ground floor that know and learn as it grows... but there's another side to that growing wall.

        Not only the learning curve, but the libraries alone. You mentioned libraries on top of the core structure of the language that are added in requiring bigger downloads for the RTE and more initial overhead. Now you have to look toward embedded devices or mobile platforms. Are they going to be filled with libraries that aren't needed or do you create a slimmed version of the .NET framework to run on them? If you cut out the cruft, now you have virtually two different environments. You might have been able to do LINQ on your desktop, but now since you cut out all those libraries to be able to fit it on a flash ROM... you have to code entirely different.

        Disclaimer: I was picking on LINQ... but you could replace it with any method you use.

        • by joggle (594025) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @08:18PM (#26746373) Homepage Journal

          So long as the features are backwards compatible I wouldn't worry too much about it. For example, when they introduced the Windows Presentation Foundation in .NET 3.0 you could simply ignore it if you chose to.

          I think of it similarly to the Qt framework. Sure, it's grown tremendously over the years but generally if you knew how to use Qt 3 it isn't much work to transition to Qt 4 (at least not conceptually, converting old code could be bothersome depending on how the code was written). There may be tons of new classes you're unfamiliar with but if you don't want to use them nobody is forcing you to learn about them.

          I think Microsoft has learned from the days of Visual C++ (6 and earlier) and will not return to the mess that was MFC.

        • by ClosedSource (238333) on Friday February 06, 2009 @12:46AM (#26748331)

          "If it gets too powerful, or too feature full, who's to say if MS doesn't retract their promise and claim that Mono is infringing on their patents, suing whatever company might have worked on said products?"

          MS patents are going to be general (as all patents with "business goodness" are). In other words, MS isn't going to limit any patent description in such a way that only .NET implementations would be in violation. If mono violates a MS patent it's very likely that Java and many other projects will violate it too. The mere fact that Mono is an attempt to implement a sub-set of .NET doesn't mean it has any greater risk than other projects.

          In any case, I seriously doubt that MS has any desire to start a patent war anyway. Between the DOJ and IBM, it wouldn't be a winning strategy.

        • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Friday February 06, 2009 @03:18AM (#26749033) Homepage Journal

          If it gets too powerful, or too feature full, who's to say if MS doesn't retract their promise and claim that Mono is infringing on their patents, suing whatever company might have worked on said products?

          The law. That would be called estoppel [wikipedia.org]. If they sue you, and you can show that Microsoft has said something to give you an expectation that they would not sue, you win.

          I'm not a lawyer, but that seems to be one of those laws that is pretty easy to interpret.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by the_humeister (922869)

      Not necessarily. Intel seems to do pretty well with x86-64, better than AMD even. Apple has finally brought Unix(tm) to the masses. Fujitsu's processors are better than Sun's.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233)

      A third party implementation of a standard defined by the first-party implementor is always going to lag behind the original

      While that is true it actually rarely matters in this case. How many stable dotnet applications actually require dotnet 3.5? The commercial application I'm using on both MS Windows and linux is using version 1 (and development is continuing with that version), and there's a whole lot of stuff using version 2 - it seems every time you install a dotnet program on MS Windows you need to

    • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:55AM (#26748927) Homepage Journal

      A third party implementation of a standard defined by the first-party implementor is always going to lag behind the original. Even if .Net is technical nirvana, if your platform's only implementation comes from a third party, your platform is a second-class citizen.

      Only if you care about or need the "latest whizz-bang features". For most serious development I've never needed anything over .NET 2.0 so far, which Mono implements very admirably (plus a bit more).

      Yes, it does mean I need to be a little more careful if I want things to run cross-platform - mono isn't in itself a final solution for cross platform stuff, and it's VERY possible to write Windows only code, Linux only code or even MacOS only code when using the .NET Framework and/or mono, but if you're targetting being cross-platform it really isn't too hard to do, and you definitely don't feel "second class" with the current mono versions (definitely did before there was much .NET 2.0 support, but because everything above that is "fluff" to someone developing core back-end stuff, there's been plenty of time for catch-up on the stuff that matters).

    • A third party implementation of a standard defined by the first-party implementor is always going to lag behind the original.

      Linux, GNU, GNU C++, libc, and many other tools that we take for granted all started out as clones of proprietary software from a litigious, monopolistic company. So did many other open source projects. If people had followed your reasoning, free software and open source software wouldn't exist. .. What matters is that when developers and end users pick a technology, they pick the l

  • healthy distrust (Score:5, Informative)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:39PM (#26745255) Journal

    Microsoft has a history of using patents to protect its desktop market share. They attempted to scare people out of using open source software because it supposedly violated 235 of their patents. Therefore, I believe it is prudent that the open source community remain sceptical of Microsoft as well as implimentations of any of its technology including the .net platform.

    • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:27PM (#26745809)

      Miguel has smacked around this stupid argument before. Mono is a relatively small effort. There are people certainly violating Microsoft's IP in areas like Samba and the myriad Exchange clients, which are a far bigger threat to Microsoft's revenue streams. Mono, if anything, improves their revenue streams, because it makes .NET more feasible for some developers who otherwise wouldn't consider it.

      But they're going to go after Mono, right? Let's just ignore that Samba 4 is (supposedly) going to eat Microsoft's lunch on the AD side of things. They're gonna go right after Mono! Rar! BE SCARED! Because that makes so much sense for them to do, right? It's not cutting off their noses to spite their face at all.

      I'm really starting to think that the main reason Slashdot gets pissy over Mono is because Microsoft doesn't "lose" because of it. It's a case where everybody wins. And Microsoft can't be allowed to benefit, oh teh nos. :(

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:42PM (#26746001)

        Miguel has smacked around this stupid argument before. Mono is a relatively small effort. There are people certainly violating Microsoft's IP in areas like Samba and the myriad Exchange clients, which are a far bigger threat to Microsoft's revenue streams. Mono, if anything, improves their revenue streams, because it makes .NET more feasible for some developers who otherwise wouldn't consider it.

        In the past, Microsoft has "cut off the air supply" of competitors. That's difficult to do with Linux as it is less a single-sourced product line than amorphous multi-vendor entity. Microsoft's strategy then has been to try and pigeon-hole Linux. But how to do that? You need to become a gate-keeper.

        That's the fear over Mono. Gain developers. Gain support. Develop a dependency. Pull out the patents and seize the keys to that dependency. You are now the gatekeeper.

        So what about SAMBA 4 and Exchange compatible clients? Don't they also support Microsoft products? That's win-win too, right? Surely they wouldn't go after those. Or would they? Who knows. Ballmer's threats lack detail.

        And there's the key. You want to make your "everybody wins" technology widely accepted? Stifle the threats from a CEO who's continues to generate distrust in your company. No tin foil hat required.

      • by Panaflex (13191) <convivialdingo@NospAM.yahoo.com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @08:11PM (#26746315)

        The difference between Mono & Samba is that C# is dev language.

        If, for instance, Samba is sued into oblivion by Microsoft then we loose a single application. Yes, it's sad and everybody cries... but there's technical ways to solve that problem that are relatively doable - such as developing a new NAS network transport protocol that doesn't break any patents.

        Alternatively, if Microsoft sues Mono into oblivion - and we've all been happily developing C# code for hundreds of applications - then it's going to be a total meltdown.

        To be honest though - there's not much of a chance that either of those things are going to happen.

        I like C# - it's a smart, clean language. I don't utilize much beyond the stock language (2.0 & generics) and don't see much need too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by segedunum (883035)

        But they're going to go after Mono, right? Let's just ignore that Samba 4 is (supposedly) going to eat Microsoft's lunch on the AD side of things. They're gonna go right after Mono! Rar! BE SCARED! Because that makes so much sense for them to do, right? It's not cutting off their noses to spite their face at all.

        There's one vital difference. Samba is not adhering to a standard that has been ratified by the ECMA that they can use to say "Ahhhhh, you're infringing!" and where the ECMA has not ruled that it w

  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:39PM (#26745259) Homepage Journal

    [A]sking those among the open source community who have 'variously described Mono as a trap, a kludge, or simply a waste of effort' to look past Miguel de Icaza and Mono's associations with Microsoft... The more Mono evolves, the less likely Microsoft is to use patent claims or some other dirty trick to bring down the platform.

    Mono is in a precarious, teetering position. Somewhere between tepid and antagonistic reaction amongst professional and casual developers, a designer community that is seen as a puppet or apprentice to the hegemony, and not even a clear path forward for compatibility. Be distinct, or be identical, but there's no way to be both.

    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @08:04PM (#26746247)

      I still honestly don't see what the supposed benefit of Mono is supposed to be. If you want to write nice graphical applications, there's plenty of toolkits available for C, C++, Python, etc. Many of them are even cross-platform, so making a version for a different OS only requires a recompile. If you want truly compile-once, run-anywhere code, there's already Java. What's the point of Mono?

  • Qt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scorp1us (235526) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:40PM (#26745269) Journal

    With Qt 4.5 going LGPL in March, one would have to wonder why you would use Mono over Qt or Java.

    There are legitimate reasons - the CLR for instance or the multi-language support. But Qt has a Java API if you're addicted to virtual machines, and the C++ toolkit compiles anywhere with a modern C++ compiler. It supports Javascript (QtScript) and Python bindings. But unlike Mono, which is Microsoft derived, there will be no patent worries. Nokia really does want Qt everywhere.

    The picture is getting more and more complicated when it comes to software development, and I think that's wrong. I liked .Net as an idea. We could all code to one platform, but the business/IP aspects prevented that technical utopia. I am hoping that LGPL Qt will, while a little more limited be that multi-platform toolkit that everyone can use to solve new problems, instead of continually recoding the old ones.

    • Re:Qt (Score:5, Informative)

      by pla (258480) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:49PM (#26745371) Journal
      With Qt 4.5 going LGPL in March, one would have to wonder why you would use Mono over Qt or Java.

      Because you need to consider your target audiences - Windows users vs Linux users.

      Not to make this a flamefest about intelligence, but I think we can all agree that, almost by definition, Linux users tend to have a far higher comfort level with trying new things on their machines.

      Simply put, Linux users, if they want to use a given package, will install Wine/Mono/Dependency-X to get the package to work. Windows users will not install QT unless it comes as part of the whole one-click .msi for the package.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dunkirk (238653) *

        Just compile statically, and you won't have to bundle anything. OK, you'll probably need to include the mingw10.dll. And libmysql.dll if your app accesses a MySQL database, like mine does.

        I've read some things that make me think that you can build the mingw library into your app, but I've also read things that make me run away from that idea screaming.

        Also, it's probably possible to build MySQL statically, and then wrap it into the executable as well, but it's not something I want to try.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tatsh (893946)

        Lucky for Windows users, Windows will always search the current directory first for DLLs that an app needs. So just include them. QtCore4.dll and a few others. Many apps ship their own version of Microsoft's DLLs just to make sure the app will call the correct version without worrying about a newer version being in system32 or the wrong version being called from WinSxS.

        No, there is no case for using Java or Qt now. Qt looks sleek on every OS and is SO incredibly easy to program. It is native and is very fas

      • Re:Qt (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Thaelon (250687) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:39PM (#26745967)

        Windows users will not install QT unless it comes as part of the whole one-click .msi for the package.

        Speaking as a long time windows user and being fairly new at using Linux as a dedicated work-OS, I must say that that whole one-click .msi stuff is pretty damn awesome.

        To elaborate the whole perception that users are dumb is pretty misguided. I'm not a dumb user, but even I like things to be easy. It's because (usually) I don't give much of a shit how the thing works, just that it does.

        Before you declare that you're any different, think of how you put gas in your vehicle.. Do you care how the fuel pump works? If you're like me you only throw a fit when the clip that holds the fuel lever open is broken, but otherwise don't pay much attention.

        See it's about motivation not intelligence. I do like using OSS because I think it's a GoodThing(tm) therefore I'm motivated to try it. It's a lot of the reason it took so long for Java to get a toe hold. "I just want to run PrettyWidgetBox, wtf is this JVM thing I have to have?" It's seen as ancillary or superfluous to the average user, and they don't often care enough to figure it out.

        It kinda spoils one of my favorite quotes for me though regarding trash cans, bears, and tourists. Yellowstone added some trash cans with tricky openings to keep the bears out, but it turned out most of the tourists couldn't figure it out. The quote goes, "It turns out there is considerable overlap between the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists." Which is unfortunately hogwash. The bears are motivated by survival to get in the trash can. The tourists are demotivated by apathy to take the time to figure out a trashcan. They just want to be able to put shit in the trash hole and be done with it. If they're frustrated for more than a few seconds they just throw it on the ground.

      • As far as I know (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:40PM (#26745983)

        There's no reason it can't. I recently bought some new virtual instruments. Those are large sets of samples of real instruments, combined with playback software for making music on the computer. They came with a new sampler I'd never used before, developed by the company that sells them (EastWest Play, if you are wondering). I was mildly surprised that as it was installing I saw Qt4Core.dll, Qt4Gui.dll and QtNetwork4.dll were copied to my system directory. Turns out they decided that QT would be good to use for drawing the GUI. Probably in part because it's Mac and PC.

        At any rate, there was no additional install of QT required. The necessary libraries were included in the installer, and installed to the system with the software. So if you wish to use QT for your program, go for it. Windows programs very frequently include third party libraries (FMOD would be a popular one with games). You just have the installer handle it.

        However comparing QT to .NET is kinda off base, they aren't the same. The reason to use .NET is because it is a managed framework, just just because it can do GUI easily. Visual C++ provides easy GUI tools and will compile to native code.

        Also using .NET doesn't preclude using QT, there are bindings for QT to C#.

  • by codemachine (245871) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:43PM (#26745309)

    Now that Java is open source, wouldn't it make more sense to use the JVM as the standard runtime, instead of something that "might" not get sued for copying the .NET runtime?

    Java has already been made to run on .NET. I wonder if it'd really be that hard to get standardized C# running on the JVM?

  • by rocket22 (1131179) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:45PM (#26745319) Homepage
    With Mono you can run C# code (even WinForms) not only on Linux, but also MacOS and it seems also on Solaris (http://codicesoftware.blogspot.com/2008/12/plastic-on-solaris-10.html, http://codicesoftware.blogspot.com/2008/12/opensolaris-and-mwf.html [blogspot.com]). The only thing they miss is a decent debugger on all platforms (currently only on Linux). It's unfortunately not easy to develop on Mono right now, but IMHO only due to the debugger. If they had one, more and more people would be jumping into it. Performance is very, very good, close to C/C++, but coding in C# is easier.
    • by Xtravar (725372) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:21PM (#26745717) Homepage Journal

      It's unfortunately not easy to develop on Mono right now, but IMHO only due to the debugger.

      I disagree. MonoDevelop is the bane of my existence. It's not even that it's missing features - it's that the damn thing crashes randomly and the basic features (like code completion) are broken. It's been this way for me for years... so long that I almost wanted to start contributing to the project. But then I just installed Visual Studio 2008 on a Windows VM and it solved everything.

      I swear, I haven't really hobby coded too much since I started using Linux years ago. Part of it is because I have everything I need and don't need to change much. The other part of it is that I haven't used a single goddamn IDE in Linux that doesn't make me want to shoot myself in the face. Fanatics can gab on about how a real developer doesn't need a a decent IDE, and that's true - but what's also true is that once you've had access to elegant debugging, code completion, and compilation, you don't ever want to go back.

  • WPF Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UdoKeir (239957) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:45PM (#26745327)

    Until Mono gets WPF support there isn't going to be much cross-compatibility. Any Windows .NET developer with any sense is writing in WPF already. WinForms is dead.

    But Mono seems quite content to ignore WPF for now. One can't help but think it was part of that Novell/Microsoft deal.

    The subset of WPF in Moonlight is useless for non-web development. It's great way for MS to pretend their Flash-killer format is multi-platform though.

    • Re:WPF Support (Score:5, Informative)

      by toshok (1131709) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:22PM (#26745725)

      Until Mono gets WPF support there isn't going to be much cross-compatibility. Any Windows .NET developer with any sense is writing in WPF already. WinForms is dead.

      This is pretty lame reasoning - new applications are only part of the reasoning behind deciding which apis to support. Supporting the huge number of *existing* applications is also important, and the vast majority of the desktop .net applications out there now use winforms.

      But Mono seems quite content to ignore WPF for now. One can't help but think it was part of that Novell/Microsoft deal.

      More faulty reasoning - have you seen the WPF api? It's enormous. As one of the people with the most commits in WPF-land, I can assure you, it's not prioritized based on any deal. It's strictly a resource issue. Moonlight is just more bang for the buck. Much smaller api to implement, much quicker adoption than WPF. Makes good business sense. That said, WPF remains a spare time project for me (and others).

      The subset of WPF in Moonlight is useless for non-web development. It's great way for MS to pretend their Flash-killer format is multi-platform though.

      Again, not really true. Silverlight 2.0's api is more than capable of building apps for both webpages and desktop, and will become more so as WPF and Silverlight converge. It will take some extending on the mono side for desktop integration, but again, when the choice is using an existing technology and extending it slightly (as in Moonlight) or starting fresh on a GIANT api (as in WPF), which would you choose?

    • Re:WPF Support (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:31PM (#26745871) Homepage

      Only Microsoft consultants will tell you that WinForms is dead. I've know developers at 2 organizations that moved from WinForms to WPF, and they hated it. (Caveat: I was at one of them). The app went from using 10MB of RAM to 200MB. It went from a minute to compile to 15 minutes. It went from taking 2 hours to make a change, to taking 2 days.

      WPF is powerful, robust, pretty, inefficient, hard to use, and in beta. (Yes, Microsoft says it is not beta, but WPF is still not ready for anything more than experimental use.)

      As for Silverlight, since it offers no benefit over Flash, and since even Microsoft Gold Partners have told me that they use Flash unless forced to use Silverlight, I think it will be a non-competitor unless Microsoft starts shipping it with the OS (maybe they do in Vista - if so, then Flash is dead no matter how good it is)

    • WinForms isn't dead. In some circles, I'd say WPF is stillborn, and if there's anything good that came out of it, it was in fact Silverlight.

      In fact, I would say that while WPF has its plus sides, its got a few drawbacks as well. Its -really- slow compared to WinForms, the nested control architecture isn't as good, the layouts and sizing aren't as flexible, and worst of all, there's no datagrid.

      I understand the inspiration. Microsoft tried to make a modern client gui toolkit that gives you some of what html does, but I frankly think they missed the mark. If anything, WPF will inspire the idea that developer's have choices in control and widget sets and that will lead developers to look at things like Qt and Java or even Webkit, as I have done.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beauTOKYO.org minus city> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:46PM (#26745339)

    Sorry, I will never trust Microsoft enough to put them in a position to control a key technology. So that means there is no discussing the issue as far as I'm concerned. There is NO rational basis to argue. I don't trust em.

    And I don't trust the judgement of anyone who isn't themselves suspicious of Microsoft and Miguel's motives.

    Mono is a trap if it is allowed to be deployed beyond a browser plugin to support .net content in the browser. Come the day my current distro of choice loses any finctionality when removing the mono packges I'll be running something different as soon as bittorrent can supply me a new install image. Again, that position is 100% non-negotiable. I have used binary drivers in the past, bought closed source apps and committed many 'sins' against the Church of GNU but this is one case where compromise simply isn't possible. They want us dead, you can't compromise with that.

    • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:58PM (#26745477)

      I haven't sent a "100% agree with everything you just said" post to anybody since I started dropping by here a couple of years ago. Time to change that.

      You're right.

      Regardless of its virtues, expecting Microsoft to use Mono as anything but a club to beat Open Source to death is plain stupid. Their track record in this respect is far beyond arguable, and their part in the ISO situation proves they have no intention of changing. You'd do better expecting discipline from a starving weasel in a hen house.

    • Captain's log, stardate 9522.6: I've never trusted Microsoft, and I never will. I could never forgive them for the death of Netscape and countless other companies. It seems to me our mission to support .NET on Linux is problematic at best. McAllister says this could be an historic occasion, and I'd like to believe him, but how on earth can history get past people like me?

      They're animals. Don't believe them. Don't trust them.

      (They're dying)

      Let them die!

      Sorry, I couldn't resist. I got a kick out of the way you started your post.

      Joking aside, mod parent up. :-)

  • by Khopesh (112447) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @06:54PM (#26745425) Homepage Journal

    Most people think of Qt as a GUI toolkit. They're not wrong, but that's like calling a Swiss Army Knife a "pocket knife." That's only one thing it does, and the characterization completely misses the point. Qt is an application framework. It fixes every gripe developers have with C++.

    Qt promotes clean and well-developed code that is easily ported to Windows, X11 (Linux et al), Mac, and Embedded (Linux sans-X11). That's something even Java doesn't do well (have you ever tried porting between J2SE and J2ME? nothing works!), even disregarding the whole performance loss from the JVM emulation-like interpreting that goes on.

    The LGPL relicensing [qtsoftware.com] of Qt coming this spring will change the entire programing language landscape. Nokia is moving in to crush Java. C#/.NET and it's mediocre OSS implementation in Mono aren't even on the radar.

    I cite the LGPL announcement because that's the kiss of death, placing Qt firmly above GTK (GTK being an incidental casualty on the way to said crushing of Java). With Mono relying so heavily upon GTK#, that puts it behind the game already (the Qt# [mono-project.com] project is cited on the Mono page as completely dead).

    Recall that Nokia is a phone company. They need not make money from the software. Freeing and promoting Qt (and getting it to supplant J2ME) merely feeds this primary function. And while they're at it, they're sweeping in a wonderful set of perks for software engineers in and out of the Free Software community, on both embedded platforms and desktops.

    • by Who Is The Drizzle (1470385) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:12PM (#26745619)

      Qt is an application framework. It fixes every gripe developers have with C++.

      Except for the fact that you are still programming in C++ which is bloated, monstrosity of a language.

      Qt promotes clean and well-developed code that is easily ported to Windows, X11 (Linux et al), Mac, and Embedded (Linux sans-X11).

      It doesn't seem to promote to well considering the amount of crappy C++ code written with Qt there is floating around.

      Nokia is moving in to crush Java.

      Considering Java's biggest adopted base is in server-side programming, I really doubt Qt is going to do all of jack and shit to change that. I seriously doubt many of those people writing server-side apps in Java would even have a use for Qt in their work. Sure it might pull away some of the desktop app developers, but they have been pretty much the minority when it came to the adoption of Java anyway.

    • by ianare (1132971) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:38PM (#26745951)
      Exactly. At this point, there's no more reason for that tangled mess that is GTK, and with Gnome's reliance [wikipedia.org] on Mono apps, I see the downfall of Gnome/Mono and the rise of KDE/Qt as the programming environment of choice for Linux (well as soon as KDE 4 is out of beta ...).
      Amazing what difference a license change makes, eh ?
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @08:42PM (#26746621) Homepage Journal

    Come on, this debate's been over since the mid-1960s. Stereo won, Mono lost... end of story.

  • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @10:25PM (#26747377) Journal

    it just dawned on me...

    Microsoft is giving Linux Mono!

    I guarantee, if you grep the source, you'll find epstein-barr.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:18AM (#26748765)

    AFAICT people use mono to go MS 'native' - meaning .Net - when needed. The only non-trivial application in Mono I can think of right now is Unity [unity3d.com], and that's a closed-source RT3D toolkit for x-plattform developement on Mac OS X. And apparently a very good one at that. They are being bugged left, right and center to deliver on Windows. And are preparing that now.

    I have to admit that Mono has gotten me curious, because Monodevelop is a very neat looking IDE, C# doesn't seem so much of a PITA than C++ or Java and it appears to be more suitable for stronger ties to multimedia hardware than Java. I still haven't seen a convincing multimedia app in Java in 10 years, allthough the current 3D stuff with native OpenGL does look and run well.
    On top of that it appears to me that Mono apps are easyer to deploy that Java apps. I'd expect Java developement to get up to speed fast in any revent Version of Netbeans. However, I catch myself still trusting Mono for good performance more than Java.

    Bottom line:
    Going Mono to me basically means nothing other than spending time learning C# and watching out that no MS dependancies sneak into my work. A risk I'd be willing to take, given that it has evolved into a feasable tool recently. However, the don't-trust-MS arguments delivered here are valid, and you ought to know what you're doing and calculate your risks well when dicking with MS-controlled tech.

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