December 26, 2004

The New Scarlet Letter: M

I have a lot of good friends that are smitten by Microsoft's take on IT and their direction. These friends include new friendships I have made while in Texas or even back in the day when I was an employee for Microsoft Consulting Services in Puerto Rico. A lot of them follow that company's decisions and mood as if it was their own. I don't blame them, I can be just as passionate about the Mono community and some of the great Mono luminaries.

Recently, a very good friend of mine who is also from North Texas and has done a lot for the porting of ASP.NET applications to Mono, was reminding me about how important it is that we disseminate the Mono story at local .NET User groups and events.

I have become somewhat discouraged from actively pursuing this because I have perceived a certain discomfort coming from the folks responsible for scheduling and organizing these events. At one point, I really thought about looking at their public event schedules to see if there were meeting dates that had not been filled. Maybe they would be interested in having my friend and I do a two hour block on Mono. Is not that they were not interested, they sure are.

When I have attended some of those events and I as much as mentioned how Mono can complement or serve as an alternative to the topic being discussed (let that be Compact Framework, ASP.NET, Web Services consumption for rich clients when hosted in either mod_mono/Apache Linux or IIS) , I would later be followed to the parking lot by various interested folks that wanted to know more about Mono and by extension Linux and Mac OS X. At one point I was talking about giving a presentation in my own terms, one that would not be at a Microsoft facility or even at any of the facilities used by the local User Groups. The funny thing there is that ALL of the organizers of these local .NET Users groups were very interested in attending such an event themselves.

But here is the rub. Mono is great for Microsoft and/or for those who make their name by publicly speaking about .NET when Mono can illustrate just how open the new post DOJ Microsoft is. How they turned over some of the CLI , C# and Managed C++ to ECMA for standardization and how Miguel de Icaza and his brilliant group of collaborators took those standards and flesh them out into a great reality for other non-Microsoft platforms. Mono is great when Paco can stand up and make a testimonial about how NUnit and test driven development is used in parts of the Mono C# compiler builds, and how the new Visual Studio .NET 2005 will bring test driven development to new heights in terms of ease of use, etcetera.

Hmm, I wonder. Just where are the Microsoft .NET enthusiasts' blog entries that show all this excitement? Where are the mentions of Mono in Visual Studio .NET magazine. Why are people not banging at my door to see if I can speak at their events. I just told you they are interested.

Here is one man's theory. Mono is becoming the new scarlet letter to avoid wearing in the Microsoft .NET circles. I even heard a comment form some one that said: We are interested, is just that Mono is too political!

Hahaha. That is plain sad and downright pathetic. Has anyone heard of this product called FoxPro? Here is a Microsoft Product that was inspired by the great success that then Ashton-Tate's original Dbase III Plus had achieved during the 80's. You would be sure that FoxPro no longer is. After all, can't Microsoft Access and MSDE replace it?

Well, here is a case of the users influencing if not driving Microsoft's product release and management. I remember that FoxPro users where a very vocal group at one point.

I bet that if a lot of those millions of VB.NET and C# users were to become vocal about their interest in running THEIR (and by that I mean ownership) code and solutions in multiple platforms, Microsoft and a lot of the scared consultants and evangelists that never want to upset the giant, would be cool with talking more and embracing their peer: The Mono Community.

I am also convinced that a lot of the Linux and Mac OS X developers/Users would be willing to install a copy of a Microsoft operating system and their developer tools if they become aware that a lot of their work could run unmodified or slightly tweaked under Win32. Microsoft may not be terribly interested in this yet just because there are not so may millions of desktop application users in Linux, but get ready to see that change dramatically over the next 18 months.

There is a lot to be said about collaboration and knowledge transfer. In the end we all want a better world to live in. I hereby give the first step into embracing my North Texas .NET colleagues even if they are not willing to publicly embrace me and/or the technologies that the rest of the other Mono contributors are putting together for all of mankind.

May the year 2005 be the year of cross-platform Mono, Gtk#, Gecko#, C#, VB.NET and MS .NET. And may this be the year where I can finally run MonoDoc and MonoDevelop in Win32 without needing a lick of Cygwin.

Kevin's Blog

My great friend Kevin Shockey is becoming quite the prolific blog writer. He now has a blog over at O'Reilly and has decided to give a lot of attention and focus to Mono matters. His latest entry is about installing Mono using Red-Carpet.

Posted by martinf at 08:53 AM | Comments (5)

December 19, 2004

Win32 Fruits

These bananas come to you curtsey of Todd Berman and Charles Iliya Krempeaux. Yes, this is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Win32 with Gtk#. This work using Gtk# 1.0.4 and on 1.9.1.

The source code file to output this image is here. Keep an eye out for the Mono 1.1.3 installer for Win32 where all this goodness will debut for the first time in Windows :)


The Mono Win32 installers for 1.0.5 and 1.1.3 are now available.

Posted by martinf at 03:12 PM | Comments (3)

December 10, 2004

Home Sweet Home

Got home last night and will read the 900+ pieces of email from my inbox and filtered Mono, NAnt and other mailing list I subscribe to.

Once, I have that out of the way, I will begin looking at building installers for Win32 of Mono 1.0.5 and 1.1.3.

I have not looked at what awaits me at HEALTHvision (my paying employer) but after a 2+ weeks absence I trust will be substantial work. :)

I want to thank Kevin Shockey, PJ Cabrera (both from SNAP), Laura Gorbea, James O'Malley (both from Altamente) and the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico for their hospitality and warmth.

My ultimate gratitude goes to the Figueroa Medero Clan: Doa Lucy, Don Pedro (my mother and father in-law), Kelly (sister in-law) and Tito (brother in-law) for hosting my family's visit to Puerto Rico.

Posted by martinf at 05:40 AM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2004

Three days away from returning to Fort Worth, Texas

I did a Mono/Gtk# presentation at the Bayamon campus of the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. I created a simple application using the Glade# template for C# projects in Visual Studio .NET 2003. The demonstration then showcased step-by-step debugging, creation of Makefiles, creation of #Develop/MonoDevelop solution and project files and the packaging of the working project into a zip file. All of these steps performed in Visual Studio were done using the Prj2Make Visual Studio Add-in and Mono 1.0.2 for Win32.

Next, I fired-up #Develop and opened the project created in Visual Studio and complied it and ran it. I then rebooted the presentation machine in its SuSe 9.1 Pro personality and proceeded to demonstrate more editing, compilation and launching of the application using MonoDevelop. Although not a huge technical feat, I was very happy with the fact that it all worked and looked very easy. My only regret comes from doing a demo that relied on Glade, but once "Stetic" is brought closer to reality by the talented Dan Winship, I will reformat the demo accordingly.

A gentleman by the name of Rodrigo took a video of the presentation and may be producing a DVD. If I manage to get a hold of it, I will tell you if my participation is worthy of further consideration. :)

From left to right: Lenny, Christina, Carlos, PJ, Kevin, Paco, Zeb, James

Posted by martinf at 03:15 AM | Comments (1)