April 29, 2006

A Windows of opportunity

There is this opinion that I share with people anytime the topic of Open Source vs. Microsoft comes up. You all have heard me say that Microsoft will not necessarily cease to exist, but it will move on to other sources of revenue (a.k.a Interment MSN subscriptions, Xbox, etc.). Microsoft's latest financials say so.


Now, there will not be the extraordinary riches to be made in the desktop operating system "a la Microsoft". However, I do believe that there will be enough for Apple, Red Hat and Novell, to gain market share in that space. I also believe that Novell, is uniquely positioned to do best of all three above.

For my next trick...

Watch Dell begin capitalizing on Desktops and Notebooks powered by AMD CPUs with their superior yet affordable 64bit technology and hosting Linux (potentially SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) as the operating system. HP may follow suit out of sheer competitiveness.

Posted by martinf at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2006

Update: GRE for Gecko# Win32

A year later, we now have a bit of an updated installer for the GRE for Gecko# that we provide for Windows users.

Great deal of thanks and gratitude goes to Zac Bowling for his work. I also want to thank Mikkel Kruse Johnsen (IRC nick: mikkel) from Denmark, for his help testing the installer.

It should be noted that the spaces in the path have attacked us again. The software provided by the installer being somewhat of an infrastructure piece, is typically placed in:

"C:\Program Files\Common Files\gtkmozembed-win32"

More than once, I have received reports of problems in both the Mono Combined Installer as well as the GRE for Gecko#, specially from folks that don't use English and the en-us locale for their day to day operations. If you even think that you are going to have a problem, choose a "spaces free" destination folder when installing. That is what I do now days ;)

Primate Family

Yesterday I turned 42 years old. It was a great touch to see all the well wishing from my very small immediate family. It felt like receiving a great gift when so many people also wished me a Happy Birthday on #mono yesterday. Thank you tjfontaine, gonzalo, zbowling, Miguelp and s-ndh-c. You all made my day :)

Posted by martinf at 09:16 AM | Comments (3)

April 21, 2006

VSPrj2make Progress Report

A little sitrep from the front lines. I have reached the milestone of eliminating the monoLaunch installation from the VSPrj2make Visual Studio .NET 2003 add-in. I had said that along with that progress point, I would check in a lot of my different mono related Windows tools. You can now find these here.

A quick description of the projects:

* GetNetSdkLocation - This is a Win32 C console utility that I use when doing my mono builds in cygwin. The purpose of this utility is to give your shell scripts particularly in cygwin bash shell a way to return you the location (PATH) of the .NET runtime, .NET SDK or Mono. In the near future I will expand its capabilities.

* gacco - Is another command line utility design to register library assemblies in the MS GAC. By now you must be asking why not use gacutil.exe? If you are deploying something like the Gtk# Runtime Installer for .NET Framework that only requires the .NET Framework Redistributable and not the SDK you would not have gacutil.exe available in that system.

* MonoLaunch - This many of you already know, so I will only tell you it is a runtime selector for when more than one copy of Mono is installed in a Windows machine and you want to be able to use the included monolaunchC.exe and/or monoluanchW.exe to run a .NET/Mono executable assembly with the selected mono runtime version.

* vsAddIn2003 - This is the source code for the VSPrj2make Visual Studio .NET 2003 add-in. Notice that at some point in the future, we will create a new project under trunk/wintools that will be called: vsAddIn2005 ;)

For now, I remind you to look at my previous blog entry on this subject so you can use it as a roadmap to where I am going, and leave you with this screen shot:

Add-in new Mono Toolbar

If you think that the little drop down next to the "Test in Mono" button is cool, then you need to thank Gonzalo Paniagua Javier -- It was his idea. I want to thank Jonathan Chambers, Robert Jordan, Jonathan Pryor and Nate Chadwick for their continued support and their ideas.

Posted by martinf at 07:56 PM | Comments (3)

April 16, 2006

VSPrj2make and the Mono Appliance

VSPrj2make is undergoing one of the biggest overhauls since it was first made available for download back in late 2004. Here are some highlights of what I am working on:

* Eliminate a prerequisite installation of MonoLaunch, the mono runtime selector for Windows. This will be accomplished by folding a lot of the functionality right inside of the add-in and/or including some of the executable files like monoLaunchC.exe and monoLaunchW.exe in the destination directory where VSPrj2make installs during its initial installation.

* Add support to prj2makewin32.exe, the platform specific version of prj2make that ships with the add-in, to create the new MonoDevelop solution and project files (*.mds and *.mdp). This will be a time for me to also look into creating makefiles local to a subdirectory instead of creating them at the parent directory level.

* Will try to add an Inno Setup script creation capability so that a new distribution unit (a bonefide setup.exe), will be introduced.

* Support for "Test in Mono (Linux)". This will be a new feature that will be enabled when the presence of the VMware mono appliance is detected on the host computer.

The last bullet item refers to a project that I have been working on for some weeks now. The idea of a mono appliance is to have a VMware virtual machine that is based on OpenSUSE 10.1 and includes a very complete mono runtime and development environment. The mono appliance will include Apache 2.0 with pre-configured SSL and mod_mono. Ideally, it will also have a mechanism like rug/red-carpet to facilitate the upgrade of mono to the latest releases with the greatest ease. It becomes apparent that a service or daemon must exist to launch applications in Linux for testing purposes. The Visual Studio add-in will then have the knowledge and correct privileges to interact with this daemon.

Early working prototypes of these tools should be available sometime in June (right around the Mono 1.2 release). Because of its size, you can anticipate that this system will likely be distributed as a DVD ISO image (we are currently looking at about 1.4 GB compressed file set), or a 30 plus files multi-part Inno Setup executable.

Visual Studio 2005 version of the Add-in

Right around the time when I begin adding some VS 2005 C# project file format support to prj2makewin32.exe, should be the time when I take a serious look at creating a VS 2005 version of the Add-in.

Finally, once I reach the mono runtime selection functionality from within the add-in -- should be in about 2 more weeks), we will begin hosting the source code for monoLaunch and VSPrj2make in mono project's svn trunk repository. Miguel suggested we create a home for these called "wintools".

Posted by martinf at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)

April 08, 2006

The Novell DeveloperNet Professional Welcome Kit

Allow me to introduce you to what the welcome package of the DeveloperNet professional looks like:

DeveloperNet Welcome Kit

I knew it! It is a cool collection of CDs and DVDs that include every Novell product they have. And like the MSDN, it too has a Web site that can give you access to early releases and any other piece of software that is important to Novell that may have not been included in the media that is shipped to you.

For instance, I got the preview DVDs for both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Desktop over at BrainShare. These were both Beta 8. I am now downloading SLED 10 Beta 9 and was surprised to see that DeveloperNet gives you access to SUSE 10.1 betas as well. Don't confuse SUSE 10.1 with openSUSE.

I like openSUSE and the VMware mono:: appliance that I am building will be based on openSUSE. However if you are not a developer and rather want a distribution with good "out of the box" integration that you can give your family and friends,
consider SUSE. That is the version that comes with things like Macromedia's Flash player, RealPlayer's Helix, Sun's Java JRE and SDK, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and many other non open source packages.

I have a suggestion for the folks responsible for the content in the DevelolperNet media set.

Include mono!

The Novell Developer Kit DVD has only one directory called mono in it. When you open it, it has a couple of links to the mono-project website. This is insufficient. If I lived in a location without decent Internet access, I would have paid three hundred bucks just to realize I did not get the award winning software development framework project that Novell employees lead. I was told by some folks at Novell that they can't favor anyone development technology over another. Yet, omitting mono, one of Novell's best and brightest stars, is unacceptable. There should be a disk that has all of the things that mono has to offer in mono-project.com/downloads (including those that are links to Novell Forge projects) as well as important documentation sources like monkey guide.

If you are a corporate developer or IT staff member I would recommend that you talk your boss into buying you a subscription. At $299, you get a great bargain.

Posted by martinf at 07:34 AM | Comments (1)