March 24, 2006

Last Day at BrainShare 2006

Today is the last day of BrainShare. It has been a very satisfying experience for me. Many folks are aware of Mono now days. I had a chance to talk to Roger Levy, Vice President Open Platforms Solutions. Frank Rego and I spoke with Mr. Levy briefly, but we had an opportunity to tell him how important mono is for "all platforms". As our conversation ended I was left with a good feeling that BrainShare 2007 will be featuring mono is a very prominent way!

During the conference I became friends with Bill Stanfill, a gentleman that has business that caters to the education sector in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area. He does applications development and has been attending the mono booth and our sessions in the Developer's Den. Tuesday, Bill downloaded the Mono Combined Installer for Windows and began experimenting a little bit with it. Yesterday he went ahead and installed the SLED 10 Preview in a dual boot configuration with Windows XP on his laptop. This morning I found him at the Developer's Den trying to run the WinForms test app he had written earlier on Windows using Visual Studio .NET 2003 while at a gnome-terminal window. We discovered that SLED 10 Preview may not include (it does include I showed him how to edit /etc/mono/config and to adjust the entry for libX11. Problem fixed! The bottom line is that a lot of these folks are very new to Linux but their interest in .NET/Mono has made them very enthusiastic towards a new and exiting operating system (SLED 10) that comes standard with mono and all of its development goodness.

Take a look at these two tutorials:

Getting Started with Linux Desktop Development Using Mono

Getting Started with ASP.NET, ADO.NET and Web Service Development on Mono

While at the Developer Den, I got a chance to be introduced to a group of folks at Novell who's job it is to make a developer's life easier. They are the Strategic Partner Engineering group. Karl Bunnell the Manager of these guys encourage me to take a look at some of the programs that they are working on. Mono developers should keep handy a link to Novell's Linux University for Developers. This program aims to enhance developer educational resources by way of providing tutorials and materials that include:

  • Desktop Applications
  • Web Applications
  • Kernel and Driver Development
  • Development Tools
The Linux University nicely complements another of the great program called the Novell Developer Network. One of the key benefits of the DeveloperNet Program is to help coders get started by giving you access to all of the Novell Linux products including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) as well as product SDKs, developer documentation, articles, tutorials and early access to beta products. From a developer's perspective there are two levels in the program: DeveloperNet Basic (Free) and DevelperNet Professional ($299).

I am not trying to tell you that the DevelperNet Professional ($299) is an exact match to any one particular level of the Microsoft Developer Network, but then again, here is an opportunity for you to get a hold of ALL of Novell's products and a number of other benefits at an incredibly low price!

The Linux University, needs your help. They need content on all the aspects they cover that shows how it is done with mono. This can be introductory, intermediate or advance level tutorials. They told me that they have great editors at their disposal so you should not worry about your language or writing skills. I can certainly us them! :-D

The Strategic Partner Engineering group is the folks behind Novell Forge. These guys are great facilitators and very approachable fellows. Richard Smith, the man behind Developer Content, Darren Davis and Paul Mckay made it all happen over at the Developer Den. Clint Carroll and Michael Cronquist made sure I would meet all the right people.

Finally, I want to share one of the most interesting encounters that I had while at BrainShare. Susanne Oberhauser, a Novell employee that came from Novell's acquisition of SUSE was always present at the Developer Den. She was always very attentive during Frank's Mono sessions. At one point, I was sitting next to her as she was completing a phone call. I noticed that she was speaking German. German people always brings some of the best memories of my life, so I decided to introduced my self and start a conversation. Soon I learned that she was a very intelligent and technical person with engineering and software programming experience. She asked me some questions about mono and Qt.

For a long time I have been waiting to strike an intelligent conversation with folks that like me, have a great deal of admiration and respect for the work that Trolltech has done with Qt and and the achievements of the KDE organization. A lot of people are under the impression that the mono community is somehow against Qt/KDE. The collection of mono developers made up by both Novell employees and external contributors is very vibrant and productive but also relatively small.

I myself would not mind to look into taking an active role into contributing to a Qt# project. Unfortunately, I have my hands full. That said, I want to remind those Qt/KDE hackers that at mono, we are willing to help and embrace any good development tool-set that aims at offering a managed library that enriches the mono:: framework and expands the choices of the programmers that use it.

I am probably not the best person to communicate intelligently the technical challenges to create interoperability bindings with C++ compiled modules. As an old C++ programmer in Windows, I can tell you that even making imports from a dll compiled with Borland C++ or Microsoft C++ compiler would each present a different "name mangling" format. One could also site licensing differences between Trolltech's Qt and mono.

In the end, I venture to say that if Trolltech, who has all the code and the knowledgeable programmers wants to create a managed implementation of Qt they will be given the assistance by the mono community as other projects have already found out. After all, both choice and freedom are good things!

Posted by martinf at March 24, 2006 01:09 PM

Hey Paco, I listened to your Podcast from Brainshare and would like to start showing some examples of Mono in action. You mentioned an editor, similar to gedit that can be compiled on Windows and run on Linux or Windows ... would you mind pointing me to that app. I'd also like to start showing off the ASP.NET stuff. I'll check out the links that you've included in the post.

Posted by: Nathan Conger at April 1, 2006 11:58 AM