.Net developers can write for Linux using Mono

Novell's Mono Program, which promises to allow .Net developers to develop Linux applications, should enable companies to make the best use of their developers

Enterprises can utilise their internal .Net skills to build multi-platform applications using Novell's open-source Mono platform, which should end up making it easier to get the most out of development teams.

On Thursday, Novell launched a test release of Mono, which is an open-source project that recreates Microsoft's .Net programming framework on Linux and Unix. Mono was designed to allow .Net programmers to build applications that work across Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems. The ability to span multiple operating systems with a single programming model is important, since many companies maintain Windows, Linux and Unix systems.

Steve Gaines, Novell's UK technical director, said Mono will allow an enterprise's developers to write code that will work on multiple platforms -- including Linux, Unix and Mac OS -- even though they only have Windows skills.

"Developers only familiar with the .Net programming environment, and using tools such as Visual Studio .Net, can, without specific knowledge of Linux or Unix or Mac OS or even Netware, write directly for those platforms," said Gaines.

Mark Quirk, head of technology at Microsoft UK's development and platform group, said that if Mono increases the number of skilled .Net developers in the marketplace, then Microsoft will be very happy. But he did say that Microsoft would hope that enterprises won't want to move away from its platform.

"Microsoft will clearly do our best to make sure our implementation is good enough so people will choose our platform," he said.

Mono's promise of increasing developers' productivity was welcomed by Ovum's senior analyst for software development strategy, Bola Rotibi, who said all development managers want to maximise their existing investments.

"If Mono delivers on its promise, it will allow .Net developers to write for other platforms. Anything that increases developers' productivity and capitalises on investments that enterprises have already made is a good thing," she said.