Tech Industry

Novell launches test of open-source project

The company unveils a test release of Mono, an open-source version of Microsoft's .Net programming framework and tools that's designed for Linux and Unix.

Novell has launched a test release of an open-source project that recreates Microsoft's .Net programming framework on Linux and Unix.

Novell inherited the Mono project through its acquisition of open-source software maker Ximian last year. The project, started in 2001 by programmer Miguel de Icaza, operates under the auspices of Ximian.

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The goal of Mono is to allow .Net programmers to build applications that work across Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems. Microsoft, which developed the .Net Framework, only makes available .Net code for the Windows operating system. The ability to span multiple operating systems with a single programming model is important, since many companies maintain Windows, Linux and Unix systems.

Microsoft's .Net software includes programming tools and the .Net Framework, the software plumbing installed on Windows machines that's needed to run .Net applications. The Mono project is taking advantage of published specifications for .Net to re-create the environment for Linux and Unix.

Since Novell acquired Ximian, its plans for Mono, which is tightly linked to rival Microsoft's efforts, are being closely watched. The test release of Mono, originally expected by the end of 2003, was delayed last fall.

According to the company's published time line, a second test version of Mono will launch at the beginning of June, with a final version becoming available by the end of June.

The test version is available for download from Ximian's Web site.

Mono includes a version of the .Net Framework's Common Language Infrastructure virtual machine, a class library that works with any .Net-supported programming language, and a compiler for Microsoft's C# programming language.

Novell has said future versions of Mono will give developers tools for building graphical user interfaces for Linux or Unix .Net applications.