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Virtualization - Big Boo-Boo on the Mono Web Site!

New Mono VMWare Image

Big Boo-Boo on the Mono Web Site
The Mono Web site has, in some cases, been downloading a very old version of Mono. It serves as a fine example of what can go wrong with software, even with the best of intentions, and without anyone really making a mistake. What happened was back in May 2005, the Mono team added accessibility features to its Web site, including the little yellow pop-up balloons for screen readers. One of the fly-bys was associated with the link for downloading the latest version. Both the balloon and the link were set to download the latest version of Mono. The problem is that every time a new version of Mono was released, the link was updated, but nobody realized the balloon needed to be updated, so the balloon continued to point to the aging version of Mono. So if you go to the link and click, you get the latest version of Mono, but if you let the mouse hover a bit before clicking, the balloon comes up and if you click on it instead of the link, it takes you to the almost three-year-old version of Mono. So it appears that some people have been coming to the Web site and getting a very old version of Mono, presumable giving them a bad impression of it. So if you've tried Mono and it didn't work for you, try it again; we may have made years of progress since you last tried it.

New Mono VMWare Image
The best way to try Mono is with the Mono VMWare image. I have written about the Mono VM before, you install the free VMWare Player (www.vmware.com/products/player/) and download "OSs" to play on it. After installing the VMWare Player and downloading the Mono VM, you run the VMWare Player (in a window like any Windows application), and go to File | Open and load the Mono VM. Then you have an install of OpenSuse with Mono and Mono tools like the MonoDevelop IDE and Apache Web Server. It includes several sample GTK#, Winforms, and ASP.NET applications. This version includes SharpChess, GBrainy (a GTK# application that exercises the brain with logic, spatial, and memory tests), and sample Web sites such as mojoPortal, IBuy Portal, Club Web Starter Kit, BlogX, blog Starter Kit Admin, ASP.NET Forums, and Classifieds Starter Kit, all with complete source code. When Mono 1.2.6 was released, the Mono VM wasn't updated, and some, including myself, were concerned that it wouldn't be maintained. Our fears were unfounded; it was just getting some major upgrades. The new VM is based on OpenSuse 10.3 and comes in both VMWare and LiveCD versions.

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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