Mono 2.6 and MonoDevelop 2.2 released
As they did back in March, the Mono development team has issued two major releases – the Mono framework and the MonoDevelop development environment – in one go. Version 2.6 of the open source alternative to Microsoft's .NET framework is now able use the Low Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) as a back end for code generation in place of the default JIT compiler. The new release also integrates Microsoft's open source ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET AJAX and Dynamic Language Runtime projects.
Mono 2.6 supports some C# 4.0 APIs from the forthcoming .NET 4 release and introduces the Soft-Mode Debugger, which, in conjunction with MonoDevelop, can be used on Unix and Mac OS X systems. There is also a preview of object-relational mapper LINQ to SQL, which uses the DbLinq interface. Mono 2.6 adds a continuation framework, which allows implementation of co-routines and multithreading abstractions.
The license used for version 2.2 of MonoDevelop has been changed. It is now available under the LGPLv2 and MIT-X11 licenses. This makes it possible to use 'add-ins' with the Apache or Microsoft Public Licence (Ms-PL) or proprietary extensions, something which was not possible with the previous GPL code.
Functional changes include ASP.NET MVC support, a new T4 Macro processor (Text Template Transformation Toolkit) and the ability to use MonoDevelop to develop Moonlight applications. The development environment can also now be used on Windows and Mac OS X systems. Where MonoDevelop was previously an IDE for C# and .NET implementations under Linux and Mono environments, by adding support for other OS the developers are promoting the goal of platform-independent deployment and the desire to see the Gtk# GUI toolkit spread into non-Linux systems.
In revising the user interface, the development team admits to having been influenced by "modern" ideas from the Chrome and Firefox browsers and the Visual Studio, Eclipse and Xcode integrated development environments. The new version requires at least Mono 2.4 and Gtk# 2.12.8. Interested readers can find a summary of further changes in both Mono and the latest MonoDevelop version in an announcement by project leader Miguel de Icaza and in the MonoDevelop and Mono release notes.
Mono programs run under Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and various Unix derivatives without requiring modification of the binary code. Pre-compiled binary install packages are available from the Mono website, as is the source code.