First Mono release in a year delivers a new C# compiler backend
After over a year of development since the last version, Miguel de Icaza has announced the latest release of the Mono framework. According to de Icaza, Mono 2.11.0 is the first in a series of development releases in the run up to Mono 2.12, which will be the next stable release of the software.
This release comes after what can be considered an unusually long development cycle for the project. This delay seems to be mostly due to the fact that many of the core developers transitioned to de Icaza's Xamarin company and the administrative overhead associated with such a change. Xamarin was founded in May of last year, after Novell decided to let the Mono team go; a later deal with SUSE gave Xamarin access to the Mono intellectual property.
The new version does include several big changes to the framework, however, which also justify the longer development time. The C# compiler backend has been completely rewritten and now unifies the mcs, gmcs, dmcs and smcs compilers in a single compiler (mcs). Moreover, Mono now has support for asynchronous programming in C# 5.0 and the SGen garbage collector is now considered production quality by the project. Other improvements include enhancements to Mono's compiler-as-a-service infrastructure, an improved C# Shell and compatibility with the .NET 4.5 API. De Icaza also mentions improved Mac OS X support and the completion of the project's port to the MIPS architecture, which had been announced at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.
Mono is a cross-platform implementation of Microsoft's .NET development environment and can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the Mono project's web site. The code is available under a combination of open source licences. Users who want to help test even more cutting edge versions of the software can get continuous builds for Windows, Mac OS X and openSUSE from Mono's new "Wrench" build system.