The guys at the Mono Project have released their Mono Tools for Visual Studio. This must be one of the most anticipated projects of the year for me yet!

According to the official project page:

Mono Tools for Visual Studio is a commercial add-in for Microsoft™ Visual Studio™ that enables developers to write .NET applications for non-Windows platforms within their preferred development environment. It allows developers to build, debug and deploy .NET applications on Linux, while continuing to leverage the extensive ecosystem of code, libraries, and tools available for .NET.

While there’s a fair bit of marketing speak in there (I tune out pretty much whenever I hear the words “leverage” and “ecosystem”), the benefits are actually quite simple.

You can now remotely deploy and debug .NET applications on Mono directly from within Visual Studio!

I can’t begin to tell you how much help this is going to be in working on BlogEngine.NET on Linux. Unfortunately this capability isn’t open-source or free, but as a Visual Studio developer you’re probably going to be used to paying for features. Starting at $99 I guess it’s not too hefty a price to pay if you’re serious about using C# on Mono and Linux.

Here’s some of the awesome things you can do with it right now:

  • Directly deploy a .NET application to a remote Linux machine.
  • Debug and step through your code in Visual Studio as you run on a Linux box.
  • Built in portability checker for existing .NET applications.
  • Package your application as an .rpm for installation on distributions that support RPM’s (not Ubuntu unfortunately).

For more information, I’d suggest you go visit Miguel de Icaza’s blog, and also the official product page at the Mono project.

I’ll be following up this post shortly with a guide to getting it all to work on Ubuntu.

I’ve finally put together a bash script to automatically download, compile and install Mono on Ubuntu. At the time of writing, it installs Mono 2.4.2.3. Should this be outdated by the time you read this, you can simply modify the install script to download the latest files.

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The Mono team has just released Mono 2.4.2.1. This release is of particular significance because it contains support for ASP.NET MVC. That’s great news for me as I am now thoroughly addicted to MVC.

Mono 2.4.2.1 will install using the instructions in my existing tutorial, but I did have some trouble compiling the new release on my own server.

In particular, I had a SIGSEGV error while compiling Mono. I got around that by updating my system. So  make sure that update your system before compilation using “apt-get upgrade”.

Secondly, I ran out of memory while compiling again. It seems that as the mono documentation gets bigger, the memory required for compilation just gets more and more. I managed to compile with 450MB of free memory this time.

So head on over to my tutorial on Installing Mono on Ubuntu and give it a go yourself.

Synaptic and Nautilus running on VistaIf you're a Windows user and you've been meaning to mess around with Linux (particularly Ubuntu), you're now very much in luck.

Claudio César Sánchez Tejeda has put together a CoLinux package of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron called Portable Ubuntu.

CoLinux allows you to run a Linux operating system that cooperates with your existing Windows installation. This means that you don't have to dual-boot or fire up a Virtual Machine in order to experiment with Linux anymore. You can run Linux almost the same way you would run any other Windows application. And to sweeten the deal, any Linux app you run in this environment will integrate into your Windows desktop, thus allowing you to overlap Linux apps with Windows apps. It even incorporates seamless copy and paste.

CoLinux clearly beats the pants of virtualization and finally makes it extremely easy to test the waters with Linux as a Windows user.

This is all possible because of the modified CoLinux kernel which cooperatively schedules resources with the Windows NT kernel, rather than having the computer resources delegated by the host computer. The desktop integration is possible because of Xming, a Windows implementation of the Linux X Window server.

Installing Portable Ubuntu

Installation is straightforward. Simply download the Portable Ubuntu archive from SourceForge here, extract it to a folder and run the run_portable_ubuntu.bat file. Portable Ubuntu will even run from a Flash drive on any Windows machine you stick it in.

After a couple of seconds or so you'll get a splash screen while the Ubuntu operating system boots up in the background. Once that is done you'll have the Ubuntu taskbar at the top of your screen from which you can launch and install Ubuntu applications. It only works on 32bit systems though, if you're on a 64bit Vista or XP system you're out of luck. What is also awesome about this is that you don't even need to configure an internet connection, it will piggy back of your Windows machine's connection.

If you're planning on installing software and messing with your Ubuntu system you'll need the root password: 123456

Installing Mono

Mono will install successfully using my existing instructions here, but only if you increase the drive space!

When just installed your Ubuntu drive space will be limited to about 400 MB. This obviously isn't enough to install a lot of software in, so if you plan to install Mono you'll want to extend the drive image size. I've put together a little tutorial on how to do this here.

Once that's sorted and you've gotten Mono installed, have a look at getting BlogEngine.NET installed from the instructions here.

And who knows, when you see it all work painlessly for yourself you might be hosting your next blog on an inexpensive Linux VPS before you know it :)

 

We've just released the final version of BlogEngine.NET 1.5 to the public. You can read more about the changes and improvements at Mads Kristensen's blog.

With this release we've worked hard to ensure that the application works out of the box on Linux using Mono. There is no compilation to be done and no configuration settings to tweak. It just works.

For those wishing to try this out, I've created a little tutorial called Installing BlogEngine.NET on Mono/Linux. As you will see there is hardly anything to it, it's just that easy.

So go on, give it a try and let us know how it pans out for you!

BlogEngineLogo

We've just made a release candidate for BlogEngine.NET 1.5 available over at the CodePlex site. As there are a number of changes and improvements to the code base, we'll be using the release candidate to test all the new changes. Please help us out and test as much as you can with this new release.

Aside from the improvements that Al mentions on his blog, this is the first release in a while that is completely Mono on Linux compatible out of the box.

Installing BlogEngine.NET on Linux is now as easy as installing Mono, copying the BlogEngine.NET files over to your server and configuring apache. To those that have tried that before I realise that it's easier said than done, so I will be putting together a BlogEngine.NET on Mono tutorial in the next couple of days.

If you are using BlogEngine.NET on Mono, please give the new release a test and let me know your results in the comments.

So Miguel just let slip on Slashdot that they're working on some very fancy features for Mono and ASP.NET / MVC.

I agree that Visual Studio is a very nice tool.

Luckily the code that you produce with Visual Studio will run on Mono (no recompilations necessary) including code that uses ASP.NET MVC. And with the new support for ASP.NET precompiled sites in Mono (available in Mono 2.4) you do not even need to copy the source code to your target server.

Click "Publish" in visual studio, enter the location for your shared directory, and you have a fully working ASP.NET MVC app running on Linux, without leaving Windows.

We are working on various integration points for Visual Studio that will give developers even more: debugging from Visual Studio remote applications deployed on Linux systems and producing packages ready-for-distribution on Linux. [Miguel on Slashdot]

I doubt that this was a secret to begin with, but it is the first I've heard of this and it excites me greatly. I mean, come on, debugging a Mono hosted ASP.NET application remotely using Visual Studio? It doesn't get better than this!

This post is pretty irrelevant considering the amount of excitement this has generated in the blogosphere already, but for those of you who've been hiding under a rock:

I’m excited today to announce that we are also releasing the ASP.NET MVC source code under the Microsoft Public License (MS-PL). The MS-PL is an OSI-approved open source license.  The MS-PL contains no platform restrictions and provides broad rights to modify and redistribute the source code. [Scott Guthrie]

For those of us who like to dabble in the open source world, this is major news. Especially for those of us who've adopted Linux and Mono as our cloud server operating system of choice.

And no, as hard as it is to believe, it's not an April Fool's joke. I think maybe Microsoft has hired just one too many open source software developers :)

Miguel de Icaza is already talking about integrating the code into Mono. This has some obviously major benefits: no more reverse engineering and thus far less compatibility problems. It looks like the dream of running .NET on free operating systems is beginning to solidify nicely!

To find out more about how this happened, go read it from the source:

ScottGu
Rob Conery
Phil Haack
Scott Hanselman

If you're serious about .NET I would suggest subscribing to all of the above blogs if you haven't done so already. 

The Novell guys have pushed out another release of Mono, and I've just updated my VPS.

I'm glad to report that everything works great with BlogEngine.NET on Ubuntu. I've updated my instructions for installing Mono on Ubuntu to include the latest release.

If you haven't given Mono a go yet, what are you waiting for?

So I finally decided to upgrade my linux server to the latest Ubuntu, Mono and BlogEngine.NET.

As you can see it all worked out in the end, but only after 2 days of fighting trying to compile Mono 2.2. Let me point out though that it should not have been such a mission. Mono 2.2 does compile and install fine using the instructions you can find here.

The snag turned out to be the amount of memory available on my VPS. So here's a note of warning to everyone trying to compile Mono 2.2: You need more that 300 MB of RAM to make it work. Anything less and you're going to end up with the compilation process dying at random points with no indication as to the problem. 400 MB eventually did the trick.

As for BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5, it works fine on Mono except for the URL rewriting. A fix for that is available here.


I am a software developer / architect currently interested in combining .NET technologies with open-source operating systems. 

I am a member of the open-source BlogEngine.NET development team and focus mainly on ensuring Mono compatibility for the project.

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