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Mono Project Goes Virtual

The Mono project, an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework, is now making it easier then ever for users to actually deploy code.

The latest Mono, version 1.1.10, is out with a long list of new features and improvements including the new auto-hosting feature.

"In the past if you deployed an ASP.net application you needed to reconfigure the server for every new application that you deployed," Mono's creator and leader, Miguel de Icaza, told internetnews.com. "It was kind of obnoxious if you wanted to give every user the possibility of deploying their own ASP.NET apps."

"With the auto-deployment feature it become much like PHP," de Icaza explained. "If you want to put up an ASP.NET application, you just create your file, drop it in a directory and it automatically works."

Mono is a Novell- led open source project that was first publicly released as version 1.0 in July, 2004.

The new autohosting feature in the latest release, called mod_mono Auto-Configuration, is a module for the ubiquitous Apache Web server.

The new mod_mono module also works in virtual hosting environments where multiple servers are hosted via one apache Web server.

Mono 1.1.10 is also more portable than its predecessors in that it is a Mono package; There is also a complete C# version 2.0 compiler.

The latest release is boasting other improvements too, such as better code access security, a JavaScript compiler, Windows Form, LDAP improvements, as well as general performance and Memory Usage improvements.

It also has Google's own open source projects to thank this time. Five Google Summer of Code-sponsored projects found their way into Mono's latest. (They are the Monodoc improvements, xbuild, DataGridView and xaml compiler and help clases.)

But will these improvements be enough to fire the larger open source community's imagination? Although Mono is clearly an open source project, it doesn't carry the same appeal with the traditional community of Linux developers.

"The Linux community is not very happy with anything produced by Microsoft; That is a problem," de Icaza said. "The reality is that users of Mono are not really the Linux community."

Mono's users are, by and large however, migrating from a Windows environment, such as developers that already have an application developed for Windows forms or ASP.NET and want to bring that application to Linux, OS X or Solaris, de Icaza explained.

"When it comes to adoption we want to provide better IDE's for people moving from Windows to Linux so they feel more comfortable in their new Linux home," he added.

More work awaits the project. The release notes for Mono 1.1.10 said the next major point release for version 1.2 is expected to ship in April 2006 with version 2.0 targeted for November.