Moonlight Update: Media Codecs

by Miguel de Icaza

A couple of weeks ago we started the work on porting Microsoft's Media Codecs to Linux and we got the C version running.

Popfly in Firefox3/Linux/x86

Geoff, Fernando and Rolf have been hard at work on this, and have also added the infrastructure to download and install the codecs on demand.

The next step was getting all the assembly language supported in Linux, and today Geoff got the assembly optimized SSE1 audio decoder running (the first chunk of the decoders).

Of course, the rest of the team has been busy fixing bugs and improving the performance in preparation for the first public beta of Moonlight.

Posted on 03 Oct 2008

Microsoft changes the Managed Extensibility Framework License

by Miguel de Icaza

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that developers interested in having their .NET software run in other platforms should avoid Microsoft's Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) as it was not an open source library.

I had a chance to discuss with Glenn, Sam and Bob the benefits of using the MS-PL for this library first over twitter and then over email.

Representing .NET's loyal competitor, I did not think that we stood a chance of getting Microsoft to change the license, but I was pleasantly surprised. Glenn understood the value of open source, Sam wanted to do the right thing about this library and CodePlex and Bob argued that Mono already had Mono.Addins anyways.

Today Glenn announced that Microsoft has changed the license for MEF to the open source MS-PL license.

Thanks to everyone at Microsoft that helped change the license!

Posted on 02 Oct 2008

DbLINQ, LINQ to Databases and Mono

by Miguel de Icaza

Atsushi Enomoto blogs about the work involved in bringing LINQ to Databases to Mono.

The effort was a joint collaboration between the awesome DbLINQ developers, Pablo IƱigo Blasco our Google Summer of Code Student and Novell's Atsushi Enomoto.

The DbLINQ developers had created a general purpose LINQ provider that could be used with database providers other than SQL Server. They also relicensed their code a few months ago to the MIT X11 license to allow for integration with Mono's code base.

Read Atsushi's description of how the effort was put together and how DbLINQ is being refactored to become a full System.Data.Linq implementation and still provide the foundation for third-parties to easily create database LINQ providers.

DbLINQ is a great project, and it needs your help to complete the effort.

Posted on 01 Oct 2008

Mono at the PDC 2008

by Miguel de Icaza

Great News Mono Lovers!

Later this month I will be presenting the session "Mono and .NET" at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in LA.

Exciting times!

Update: My talk will cover new technologies that we have created as part of Mono. Some of them are reusable on .NET (we try to make our code cross platform) and some other are features that specific to Mono's implementation of the CLI.

Posted on 01 Oct 2008

Microsoft to incorporate jQuery into Visual Studio

by Miguel de Icaza

This weekend the news came out that Microsoft was going to bundle and support John Resig's jQuery as part of Visual Studio and ASP.NET. From Scott's blog:

I'm excited today to announce that Microsoft will be shipping jQuery with Visual Studio going forward. We will distribute the jQuery JavaScript library as-is, and will not be forking or changing the source from the main jQuery branch. The files will continue to use and ship under the existing jQuery MIT license.

Beyond the obvious benefits to developers, what interests me is that Microsoft is now bundling an open source component into their commercial offerings.

This is a first time for Microsoft.

With IronPython they continued development of an open source project in house. With IronRuby, they were open to external contributions to the libraries of IronRuby. In both cases they were not taking external code or contributions directly into their core products.

Hopefully they will start using more open source code in their products. Maybe one day they will bundle Mono's Cecil or Mono's embeddable C# compiler.

Posted on 01 Oct 2008

Monovation: Assembly Injection into Live Processes

by Miguel de Icaza

People are loving the C# Interactive Shell.

In the past people have embedded languages like Boo into their applications (MonoDevelop and Banshee for example both have options to embed Boo and a shell).

Zoltan designed a new system for Mono that allows developers to inject and execute code into running Mono applications. Paolo provided significant feedback and design guidelines for the code to be incorporated into Mono.

Thanks to both Zoltan and Paolo this functionality is now available through the Mono.Management assembly: you provide an executable and a PID, and the executable is injected and its Main method executed on the target process:

	using Mono.Attach;


	// Get a handle to a running Mono process.
	VirtualMachine vm = new VirtualMachine (pid);

	// Load hello.exe into the target process, and run it
	vm.Attach ("/tmp/hello.exe", "");

You can use this for billions of things of course. You could patch running programs, you could attach logging software to a running program, or you could inject a C# evaluator into a live application and examine its state, or tweak it live.

Zoltan came up with a really cool extension to the the csharp command (this is the command-line C# Interactive Shell). The csharp command now takes an --attach command line argument and a PID.

The csharp shell can now use the Mono.Attach.VirtualMachine to injects itself into the remote process and then the client and server communicate through a couple of sockets.

For example, this is the sample that Zoltan used to pitch his idea for supporting attaching to the virtual machine. With the following you can pause a live Banshee process:

$ ps aux | grep banshee
miguel   12359 17.0  2.7 141372 55708 pts/5    Sl+  14:30   0:02 banshee-1 /usr/lib64/banshee-1/Nereid.exe
$ csharp --attach 12359
csharp> using Banshee.ServiceStack;
csharp> using Banshee.Gui;
csharp> var s = ServiceManager.Get ();
csharp> s.PlaybackActions ["PlayPauseAction"].Activate ();

All of the code is now on SVN, you need both the mono and mcs modules from trunk.

A GUI Shell

The above commands are a tiny bit risky and are also limited to the shell.

The above commands will execute on a separate thread from the application, and any commands that you execute would be executed on a separate thread which could corrupt the state of your application.

So this weekend, I wrote a tool that integrates with Gtk# applications, its called gsharp and you can find it in the mono-tools module (it borrows some code from Banshee).

gsharp is a Gtk# version of the csharp command. What is important is that it also supports injection of the code on other programs, but makes sure that all the code executes in the Gtk# thread, by issuing all of its commands from the Gtk# idle handler. This means that it is safe to use gsharp with your Gtk# applications.

GUI version of the tool.

Here you can select which project you want to inject the GUI into:

Needs some work, show process names.

This version shows the gsharp tool attached to F-Spot, as I am not very familiar with the codebase, I can not do very much with it:

We will need to implement one of these as well for Windows.Forms applications. This should luckily be easy to do as most of the smarts live in the Mono.CSharp assembly (our embeddable compiler).

Security of Agents

A couple of weeks ago, I asked for people to weigh in on a security concern for temporary files. This was for Zoltan's attach functionality.

The code is now implemented and I would love if security experts could do a source code audit of our implementation. And validate whether our assumptions are safe.

Here is the source code.

Posted on 29 Sep 2008

Public Service Announcement

by Miguel de Icaza

In C# the defaut access level for members in classes and structs is "private".

There is no need to pepper the source code with "private" everywhere. It only introduces noise and makes your code more difficult to read.

Posted on 28 Sep 2008

Love World Domination!

by Miguel de Icaza

Chris Anderson is wearing a Mono T-Shirt on this PDC interview and is hosted on DekiWiki, a Mono-powered Wiki site.

This is clearly awesome.

In other news, the awesome hackers at Imendio have officially released Gtk+ for OSX packages.

Posted on 24 Sep 2008


by Miguel de Icaza

Funkists, why does System.IO.Stream not have a CopyStream method, it seems like everyone ends up implementing this.


Posted on 24 Sep 2008


by Miguel de Icaza

Kudos to Ben and the rest of the Captcha team.

Today I downloaded the binaries for reCaptcha.NET for a web page that I was setting up and it worked out of the box. No recompiles necessary:

  • Drop the Recaptcha.dll in the bin directory of the ASP.NET app.
  • Get your public/private key.
  • Insert this in your page:
  • Hit refresh. Ta da!

Posted on 17 Sep 2008

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