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Months Late, Novell Ships Mono 1.2

When Novell shipped Mono 1.1.10 nearly a year ago, the release notes indicated that version 1.2 would ship in April of this year.

Fast forward six months and Mono 1.2 is now finally available, offering the promise of increased compatibility with .NET 2.0 and its applications.

Mono 1.2 is the first version of Mono to include a stable implementation of the Microsoft Windows Forms API, which is a critical component of the .NET 2.0 Framework.

Mono is the Novel-led effort to create an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework.

The Windows Forms API is the graphical user interface portion of the Microsoft .NET development framework. With Windows Forms in place, Novell is claiming that it will be easier for existing Window based .NET applications to be ported onto the Linux-based Mono framework.

"With this release, we've solved an important issue by making it easier to translate the Microsoft user interfaces to Linux, an important contribution in increasing the number of client-side Linux applications," Miguel de Icaza, vice president of developer platforms at Novell and maintainer of the Mono project, said in a statement.

"Now feature complete, Mono has matured to the point that we believe the migration from ASP.NET and Windows Forms to Linux is easier than ever before and gives developers access to all the added benefits of Linux."

Novell's development of Mono has been the subject of great discussion in open source circles in recent weeks due to its inclusion under the terms of Microsoft's patent agreement with Novell.

The deal provides a patent covenant to Novell's Mono users that Microsoft will not pursue any sort of patent litigation against them. The deal does not protect non-Novell users of Mono.

Currently Mono is included in other Linux distributions including rival Red Hat's Fedora Core.

In a recent blog posting, de Icaza insisted that he was unaware of any patents on which Mono infringes. De Icaza also noted the Mono Project's explicit policy is not to knowingly integrate code into Mono which infringes on patents.

Even now with the Microsoft deal in place De Icaza noted that though it is possible to integrate code that uses Microsoft patents today, it won't happen since Mono is a community project.

The Mono project has been in active development since at least May of 2004 when the first beta release was issued. The official 1.0 release followed in July of 2004.

The official Mono Project Roadmap has the Mono 2.0 release set for the second quarter of 2006. Considering that it's now the fourth quarter of the year, it's safe to say that Mono 2.0 will be somewhat later than the official roadmap states.

According to the roadmap, "Mono 2.0 will mark the time when the class libraries have complete support for the new features in the 2.0 edition of the framework."