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Portable.NET Releases New Version

PNET 0.8 is the first packaged release in more than a year with many improvements

Portable.NET has released PNET 0.8, its first packaged release in more than a year. There were many improvements over the course of the year, but the biggest were associated with the upgrade to the new Libjit JIT engine. The source code is at http://download.savannah.gnu.org/releases/dotgnu-pnet, and Boris Manojlovic has created windows installer that can be downloaded at www.steki.net/dotGNU/JIT/dotGNU_0_8_0.exe.

Last year Trumpf, a German manufacturer of industrial lasers, offered two $4,000 prizes for improvements to Protable.NET (MB volume 4 issue 1 & issue 11). The prizes were for changes that would let Trumpf run its control software on Linux using PNET. Trumpf is now using PNet in its products, which were featured along with PNet in "Elektronik" magazine. The contents of the March 2007 issue featuring PNet is at www.elektroniknet.de/index.php?id=4496 under "software." You can see PNet running the Trumpf application on a touch screen display at http://flickr.com/photos/t3rmin4t0r/384637216.

SharpDevelop2
Back in mid-March SharpDevelop 2.1 was released. It was a year in the making (with a half-dozen alphas, betas, and release candidates along the way), and has so many new features that the release announcement said it probably deserved to be called 3.0. I've covered the interim releases in previous columns, so I won't rehash them, but you can see the full list of new features at http://community.sharpdevelop.net/blogs/mattward/ archive/2007/03/05/NewFeaturesInSharpDevelop21.aspx. The next release (2.2, available around June) will contain a new version of SharpReports, as well as bug fixes and the latest version of bundled tools such as NUnit. There are tutorials at http://community.sharpdevelop.net/blogs/mattward/articles/FeatureTour.aspx, and downloads at www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/Download/#SharpDevelop21.

Google Summer of Code III
For the third year Google is sponsoring its Summer of Code and paying students $4,000 each to work on open source projects. This year almost 6,200 students applied for almost 150 open source projects, and over 900 were accepted. Google planned to sponsor 600, the same as last year, but the quality and quantity of applicants and projects were so high, that it expanded the number to 900.

Open source .NET faired very well. With 24 students accepted, Mono had one of the largest number of accepted students. I think only Gnome (also founded by Miguel de Icaza) and FreeBSD had more students accepted, and only a couple of projects equaled the number accepted by Mono.

Besides Mono, the Wine project had 12 (including two for WinLibre) students accepted, one of whom will work on a WINE/Mono bridge that will let Mono programs make P/Invoke calls to Windows functions while running on Linux. PNet also had an applicant accepted who'll be working on bringing generics to PNet. Beagle, the open source search engine based on Mono and .NET, also had three applicant accepted.

In previous years, I gave some details on the projects along with some information on those working on them. With so many working on open source .NET projects this year, I'll only be able to highlight the more interesting projects, and hopefully mention some key milestones as they are met.

For Mono, four projects are to improve MonoDevelop, five quality tools (Nunit, Gendarme, and verifier), four GUI projects, two WEB projects, eight applications, and several related to .NET 3.0.

Race to Linux
Race to Linux 2.0, sponsored by Mainsoft and co-sponsored by IBM, has been completed. This year two of the races converted Microsoft starter kits to run on Linux, and the third was to create a new application based on Google Maps. (For a recap of last year's race, see MB volume 3 issue 12). It was possible to have three winners in each race, the first completed, the first completed using the Mainsoft Grasshopper toolkit, and the first completed using Mono. The two starter kits were the small business site starter kit and the blog starter kit; the third race was the WeShareMap application. The small business site starter kit was converted using Grasshopper in less than four hours, and using Mono in five-and-a-half hours.

The blog starter kit was converted using Mono in 12 hours, and using Grasshopper in 17 hours. The WeShareMap was completed using PHP in five-and-a-half hours. For more details and interviews with the winners see www.devx.com/racetolinux/Door/33508.

Odds and Ends
Mono has some nice graphic screen shots posted at http:[email protected]/. It will be releasing a new version (1.2.4) in the next few days, and although it's just a point release including less than two months of work, it's still a huge release, with almost 20 megabytes of (diff file) changes in the main Mono code alone, but you'll have to return next month for the details.

XNA is a set of Microsoft APIs for creating games that can run on both Windows and the Xbox360 (MB volume 4 issue 12). Mono.XNA is an open source version of the same APIs that will run anywhere Mono runs. Although the project is new, the first game is now up and running; PONG! See Figure 1.

More Stories By Dennis Hayes

Dennis Hayes is a programmer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta Georgia where he writes software for the Adult Cognition Lab in the Psychology Department. He has been involved with the Mono project for over six years, and has been writing the Monkey Business column for over five years.

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