Install Mono 2.4 on Ubuntu

Ubuntu ships with Mono pre-installed, but due to the rapid release cycles on the Mono project, the version that ships with Ubuntu is often outdated by the time the Ubuntu release ships. Due to the impressive release schedule of Mono, you do really need to keep up with the new releases as every new release dramatically improves the entire framework.

Unfortunately for Ubuntu users, there are no dedicated Ubuntu packages for download from the Mono Project web site, which means that you best bet is be to compile the project yourself. While I know that most Linux newbies find that concept intimidating, it actually isn't nearly as hard as it sounds.

To that end, I'll walk you through compiling and installing the latest release of Mono (version 2.4 at time of writing) on Ubuntu. Note that these instructions should also work on newer versions of Mono.

These instructions were created by installing Mono 2.4 on an absolutely fresh installation of Ubuntu. For those Windows users wishing to try this out at home, I would suggest installing Ubuntu on a Virtual PC 2007 virtual machine. Arcanecode has an excellent post on getting this to work first time.

IMPORTANT: If you're installing on a VPS, make sure that you have at least 400 MB of RAM available, or otherwise the mono compilation process will fail.


Following these instructions will result in all your pre-installed Mono applications being removed from your Ubuntu box. In most cases the only way to get them back is going to be by installing them from source too (not always a bad idea).

If you'd like to play with Mono 2.4, but keep things like F-Spot and Beagle, I would suggest rather using the instructions provided by Jan Dzik.

Update: I now have a script that automates the install, see this post: Mono Compile & Install Script

Installing Mono

Open a terminal window if you're using the Ubuntu GUI or log on using SSH if you're accessing a remote server.

All these instructions assume that you have root privileges, so if you're not logged in as root, enter the following and enter you password when prompted.

$ sudo bash

First you need to remove the version of Mono that is pre-installed with Ubuntu.

$ apt-get remove mono-common

That will remove all the extra packages that are installed with mono as they all depend on it. Be aware that it will also remove applications like f-spot and beagle, which will have to be re-installed after the mono upgrade if you wish to use them.

Next, create a folder for the source code you're about to compile:

$ mkdir /src

Then change to the src directory:

$ cd /src

Make sure that your /etc/apt/sources.list file has the universe and multiverse repositories included. If you installation didn't have any internet connectivity, there may be a chance that the installer disabled those repositories due to being unable to verify them. If that is the case, do the following:

$ nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Remove the # characters from the universe and multiverse entries and save the file (a Nano Basics Guide is available for people new to nano). I personally just enable everything.

Refresh the apt-get database.

$ apt-get update

You now need to install some Mono build dependencies (and some optional enhancements):

$ apt-get install build-essential pkg-config libglib2.0-dev bison libcairo2-dev libungif4-dev libjpeg62-dev libtiff4-dev gettext

Download libgdiplus:

$ wget $ tar -xvf libgdiplus-2.4.tar.bz2 $ cd libgdiplus-2.4/

Now we can compile libgdiplus and install it:

$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local; make; make install

Now go make yourself a snack, especially if you're doing this on a VM :P

After the compilation finally finishes, we need to make sure the new packages are visible to the system:

$ sh -c "echo /usr/local/lib >> /etc/" $ /sbin/ldconfig

Now change back to the /src folder and download the latest release of mono (about 17 MB):

$ cd /src $ wget

Extract the compressed file, change into the mono folder and compile:

$ tar -xvf mono-2.4.tar.bz2$ cd mono-2.4 $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local; make; make install

You can go make yourself a gourmet meal at this point as the compilation process takes a seriously long time (ok, maybe not that long, but us generation X/Y types don't really have the patience for C++ compilation).

Add mono to the bash path:

$ nano ~/.bashrc

And add the following lines at the end:

PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib/:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH

In order for the changes to take effect, you need to either close and open your terminal again, or simply type:

$ bash

to start a new instance of bash command line.

To check your new mono version, type:

$ mono -V

You should see the following:

Mono JIT compiler version 2.4 (tarball Wed Apr  1 04:49:16 CDT 2009)Copyright (C) 2002-2008 Novell, Inc and Contributors.        TLS:           __thread        GC:            Included Boehm (with typed GC)        SIGSEGV:       altstack        Notifications: epoll        Architecture:  amd64        Disabled:      none

Congratulations, you have a working copy of the latest Mono released installed on your Ubuntu machine!

Installing XSP

XSP is the Mono web server that Apache delegates to (via mod_mono) when serving ASP.NET pages on Linux. In order to run ASP.NET pages you will need to compile and build the XSP web server.

Change to your /src directory, download the XSP sources, unzip them and compile:

$ cd /src $ wget$ tar -xvf xsp-2.4.tar.bz2 $ cd xsp-2.4/ $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local; make; make install

Once the compilation is done, we can test the XSP server. Change to the XSP test installation folder and run the XSP server:

$ cd /usr/local/lib/xsp/test $ xsp2

You should see something like the following:

xsp2Listening on address: directory: /rootListening on port: 8080 (non-secure)Hit Return to stop the server.

Open your browser and point it to http://localhost:8080 (or your domain/ip if you're doing this remotely). You should see the XSP test page.

Installing Mod_Mono

Mod_mono is the name of the apache2 module that links the XSP server and apache. This allows for apache to handle all incoming requests and hand them off to the XSP process in order to server your ASP.NET pages. You only need to install Mod_mono if you plan on using Apache2 to serve web pages. You will also need to have apache2 (and it's development files) pre-installed to compile mod_mono.

Install apache2 and the necessary build dependencies:

$ apt-get install apache2 apache2-threaded-dev

Once that's done, we can compile mod_mono.

Change to our source directory, download the mod_mono sources, unzip them and compile:

$ cd /src $ wget$ tar -xvf mod_mono-2.4.tar.bz2 $ cd mod_mono-2.4/ $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local; make; make install

We need to include the mod_mono.conf file in the apache2 configuration file, so open the apache2.conf file in a text editor:

$ nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Scroll to the bottom of the file and include the following line:

Include /etc/apache2/mod_mono.conf

Now lets copy the test content from XSP to our apache2 public folder to we can have an ASP.NET application with which to test the mod_mono installation:

$ cp -r /usr/local/lib/xsp/test /var/www/test

When you compile Mod_mono from source, the necessary apache2 configuration files are not created for you, so we will have to do them manually.

Firstly, create the mod_mono.load file with a text editor:

$ nano /etc/apache2/mods-available/mod_mono.load

Add the following line to the file:

LoadModule mono_module /usr/lib/apache2/modules/

Next we create the mod_mono.conf file:

$ nano /etc/apache2/mods-available/mod_mono.conf

Add the following to the file:

AddType application/x-asp-net .aspx .ashx .asmx .ascx .asax .config .ascxDirectoryIndex index.aspxinclude /usr/local/lib/mono/2.0/mono-server2-hosts.conf

Next, create the mono-server2-hosts.conf file:

$ nano /usr/local/lib/mono/2.0/mono-server2-hosts.conf

And add the following:

<IfModule mod_mono.c>  MonoUnixSocket /tmp/.mod_mono_server2  MonoServerPath /usr/local/lib/mono/2.0/mod-mono-server2.exe  AddType application/x-asp-net .aspx .ashx .asmx .ascx .asax .config .ascx  MonoApplicationsConfigDir /usr/local/lib/mono/2.0  MonoPath /usr/local/lib/mono/2.0:/usr/local/lib</IfModule>

Configure Apache2 Virtual Hosts

The virtual hosts configuration really requires a tutorial on its own, but for now I'll just show you how to make the test application the default site on your apache2 server.

Edit the default virtual host file for apache2:

$ nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default

Replace the contents of the file with the following (you may want to backup the file first):

<VirtualHost *>    ServerName    ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost    DocumentRoot /var/www/test    DirectoryIndex index.html index.aspx    MonoDocumentRootDir "/var/www/test"    MonoServerPath rootsite "/usr/local/bin/mod-mono-server2"    MonoApplications rootsite "/:/var/www/test"    <Directory /var/www/test>        MonoSetServerAlias rootsite        SetHandler mono        AddHandler mod_mono .aspx .ascx .asax .ashx .config .cs .asmx    </Directory></VirtualHost>

Now restart apache2:

$ /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Now open your browser and navigate to http://localhost/. You should see the XSP test web app appear.

Restart Errors

When you restart apache2 using the command above, you are likely to see an error message similar to the following:

* Restarting web server apache2                                                                                                                                          
[Fri Nov 06 00:41:41 2009] [crit] (13)Permission denied: Failed to attach to existing dashboard, and removing dashboard file '/tmp/mod_mono_dashboard_XXGLOBAL_1' failed (Operation not permitted). Further action impossible.

This is quite normal and will not affect the operation of your Mono websites. 


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.



At StayUnlimited Cape Town accommodation we help you choose from and book guest houses, self catering apartments, bed & breakfasts, luxury villas and hotel accommodation.