Mono JIT Developer.

by Miguel de Icaza

We are looking for a developer to work on Mono's JIT engine.

What: We are looking for someone that would be interested in porting the Ahead-of-Time compilation engine in Mono for ARM processors and look at improving Mono startup performance on small devices.

You would work on both the virtual machine and the class libraries to improve performance and reduce memory usage for embedded systems.

Experience with assembly language, compilers, virtual machines, performance and garbage collectors will be useful, but it is not necessary. We are looking for a talented individual that is not scared by hard tasks.

How: If you are interested, email me, you will later receive a challenging interview to respond to.

Where: You can either work in the Boston office, or from home.

Why: Because we got a fantastic logo, which is much better than Microsoft's logo for .NET and working on Mono is a blast.

Posted on 09 Mar 2007


It made me smile

by Miguel de Icaza

From Google News a few minutes ago:

That made my day, funniest thing so far!

If you thought that Europe was less than supportive towards the Iraq war you have not seen Latin America. Unlike the US population that has kind of grown tired of the Iraq war in the last year, Latin America has been fuming over the retardedness of it way before it started.

He is not going to meet a friendly audience, so unless he throws money out of the windows, announces a withdrawal from Iraq, agrees to pay reparations and announced an "open doors policy" this trip is not going to win him any bonus points.

A timely Common Dreams article.

Update from Friday: This is now in Reddit's home page, it links to this article:

Second Update:

GUATEMALA CITY - Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

More updates, this is the Wonkette coverage. Wonkette asks the question: Are Brazilian protesters hot?: "Of course they’re hot! They’re Brazilian, for god’s sake.".

Posted on 08 Mar 2007


FOSDEM Presentation

by Miguel de Icaza

My "Turbocharging Linux With Mono" presentation from FOSDEM is now online, it is a pretty large file (300 megs) but you get to hear Coca Cola guy at the end.

The presentation is here.

At night, I kept running into Michael Meeks and Simon Phipps in all these tiny bars in town. Simon did a quick interview on Sunday.

Posted on 08 Mar 2007


Need some Google Help

by Miguel de Icaza

Folks, it has come to my attention the fact that my blog uses Google Groups is not very Web 2.0-ish, or is not very bloggy of me or something. Either that, or people have not been flaming me in public as much as I hoped to.

Part of the challenge is that my blog system is based on purely static HTML pages, and I would like to keep it that way. I get it for free (Thanks Gonzalo!) and server side solutions feel like cheating.

So I had a two-prong idea to address the issue:

  • Add some comment form at the bottom that would post to the Google Group.
  • Add some Json Magic to load the comments that are posted on the Google Group to be rendered on each blog entry.

Now, it seems that posting to the Google Group requires to be signed on to the group, am not sure if that is even fixable, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

Now, the second issue must be solvable, there must be a simple set of steps, an HTTP url I can query that would load the content from Google Groups and then render it with some magic jay-son love on the client (just like the cute "shared" links thing on the right side of my blog).

Google probably already has some JSon generator for this, but I have been unable to Google this information. If anyone knows how to do this, please share your thoughts.

Again, the trick is that even if I could setup a server-side thing in my hosting provider, it has no hack value. So the trick is basically to do this without burning any CPU cycles on the blog server, am fine with delegating the cycle burning to third parties.

A combination of Yahoo Pipes, Google searches and clogging the series of tubes with tremendous amounts of material, tremendous amounts of JSon material are all acceptable solutions.

Posted on 07 Mar 2007


Race to Linux 2.0

by Miguel de Icaza

Very soon we will be launching the The Race to Linux 2.0 together with Mainsoft and IBM. The goal of the Race to Linux is to have ASP.NET developers port applications from Windows to Linux.

Wii consoles will be given out as prizes. Guys, it is a lot easier to port an application in ASP.NET from Windows to Linux in a record time than it is to keep bidding on EBay for the console and the controls. Been there, been outbidded time and time again.

The contest will start on March 23rd, if you are interested in participating, check the Race to Linux 2.0 web page.


What is the Race to Linux 2.0?

Register for the Race

Mark your calendars! Races start:
Race #1 -Friday, March 23rd at 5:00 p.m. (PST) March 24th at 1:00 a.m. (GMT)
Race #2 -Friday, March 30th at 9:00 a.m. (PST) March 30th at 5:00 p.m. (GMT)
Race #3 -Friday, April 6th at 5:00 p.m. (PST) April 7th at 1:00 a.m. (GMT)

If you are a Windows developer, you can get started downloading our VMWare image and reading on the various articles that DevX has published, or you can check Mono's own article archive.

A good introductory tutorial on porting your applications from Windows to Linux is Paul Ferrill's Migrating .NET Applications with Mono.

Also, Joe Audette has written a tutorial on how to he setup a Mono Development machine here for those that want to roll out your own installation instead of using our VMware image, but also contains tips for those who want the latest and greatest:

Posted on 07 Mar 2007


Fun Mono Updates

by Miguel de Icaza

Jackson has a couple of blog entries where he discusses how to use memcached for doing output caching of ASP.NET pages. Memcached was created to improve the performance of LiveJournal:

Danga Interactive developed memcached to enhance the speed of LiveJournal.com, a site which was already doing 20 million+ dynamic page views per day for 1 million users with a bunch of webservers and a bunch of database servers. memcached dropped the database load to almost nothing, yielding faster page load times for users, better resource utilization, and faster access to the databases on a memcache miss.

His memcached module is described here and an explanation on why and how to add caching to your ASP.NET controls is here.

What is interesting about Jackson's approach is that it hooks up to ASP.NET's caching system and allows caching to be parameterized based on some values (for example, your login name would update only the login-bound information, but information that does not depend on this would be rendered from the cache).

Hopefully Jackson's work will become a standard part of Mono installations in the future.

Windows.Forms 2.0 Updates

Jonathan Pobst has posted some screenshots showing the progress from Mono 1.2.3 released a few weeks ago and the current SVN for some of the 2.0 Strip controls:

click for full image.

The Winforms team has been using our Paint.NET 2.72 port as a test case, see Jonathan Pobst's blog for more screenshots.

Jackson is also running a screenshot contest for Mono's Windows.Forms.

Jeff's new MonoDevelop Indent Code

Jeff Stedfast recently joined the Mono team, his first contribution was the implementation of a smart indenter for MonoDevelop's C# mode.

We basically wanted something that indented as well as Emacs would indent C# code. See his blog entry for details, the code is now checked into SVN in the module "monodevelop".

ASP.NET 2.0 support improving

Marek got a few new features implemented for ASP.NET: Themes are now working, and MojoPortal 2.0 works with Mono now:

Marek also reduced the space that we consume for ASP.NET setups. Instead of creating a new temporary directory every time, we now create predictable directory names based on the assembly name.

We have run into a number of small problems with our TDS provider when porting applications that use MS-SQL stored procedures. Luckily Andreia Gaita has a patch that should be going into SVN in the next couple of days that resolves that.

Posted on 07 Mar 2007


Web Development Technologies

by Miguel de Icaza

Dare is pondering what comes after Ajax, in response to Ted's Adobe Wants to be the Microsoft of the Web.

On Flash Ted says:

What is not appealing is going back to a technology which is single sourced and controlled by a single vendor. If web applications liberated us from the domination of a single company on the desktop, why would we be eager to be dominated by a different company on the web? Yet, this is what Adobe would have us do, as would the many who are (understandably, along some dimensions, anyway) excited about Flex? Read Anne Zelenka’s post on Open Flash if you don’t think that Flash has an openness problem. I’m not eager to go from being beholden to Microsoft to being beholden to Adobe.

And later touches on OpenLaszlo, but OpenLaszlo is a server-side engine used to generate Flash, so the runtime remains the same (Yes, I know that Laszlo can now generate DHTML, but Ted's point was that Javascript was too slow for large apps running on a browser).

Dare wants to add WPF/E to the list of web development technologies, and argues:

Ted Leung mentions two contenders for the throne; Flash/Flex and OpenLaszlo. I'll add a third entry to that list, Windows Presention Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E). Before discussing what it will take for one of these contenders to displace AJAX, I should point out that being "open" has nothing to do with it. Openness is not a recipe for success when it comes to development platforms. According to TIOBE Java is the most popular programming language today and it was a proprietary language tightly controlled by Sun Microsystems. Before that, it was commonly stated that Visual Basic was the most popular programming language and it was a proprietary language controlled by Microsoft. I believe these count as existence proofs that a popular development platform can rise to the top while being controlled by a single vendor.

WPF/E has a number of challenges ahead of it: Flash-based development environments are very advanced both for designers and developers and are going through their Nth iteration, while WPF/E is not even officially launched.

WPF/E is currently limited to Windows and the Mac, which you could argue makes up the majority of the platforms, but Flash works today on Linux and various embedded systems and portable systems.

But like Flash, it is another proprietary tool, and the whole point of Anne Zelenka's post and Ted's comment. He wanted something that did not lock him into a vendor.

WPF/E best feature is probably the fact that generating XAML files is trivial and requires no special tools or compilers. echo, cat and perl will generate XAML output right away. A bonus feature would be deserialization from a JSON structure in addition to XML.

WPF/E feels more webby than Flash does.

Then again, Flash could add support for hydrating elements from an xml or json sources as well.

Unlike its "big brother", WPF, the WPF/E is framework looks fairly simple so far. The subset of WPF is reasonable, it is sufficiently opaque that a developer with a lot of spare time in its hands could implement it fairly rapidly.

A major drawback seems to be the use of WMV as a video format. If there is one thing that the video industry has learned is that WMV and MOV do not work. They barely work on their native platforms, they are ridden with glitches, upgrades sometimes break and of course they do not work on Linux.

Ignoring the WMV file format support, WPF/E has so few external dependencies today, that someone looking for a cool use for Antigrain could implement a prototype in a few weeks and get a community going in no time to finish it up (Alp has been showing around his record-time XPS renderer and viewer around).

Flash as an Open Platform?

Flash has really succeeded in the area of working out of the box, even on the Linux desktop the experience is outstanding (the proprietary Flash).

The best possible outcome for the world would be to follow Sun's path in open sourcing Java and open source both Flash and WPF/E.

Adobe is not making any money on the Flash player today on the desktop. On the mobile space the story is different, they could probably license Flash under terms that required mobile vendors to get a proprietary license (I imagine they could look into what Sun did with their mobile runtime, which would be a similar situation).

Microsoft is not going to be making any money on the WPF/E player either, and since they are limited to Windows and MacOS X (today) they are not going to be making any money on that one either.

If Microsoft is serious about WPF/E, open sourcing it would eliminate the doubts about WPF/E's future and the fact that some people perceive WPF/E to be a slippery slope to a full blown WPF use and tie-in (in my opinion, it is more of a rocky slope to move a WPF/E app to a WPF one).

Dare on Java

But I think that Dare gets this wrong:

Before discussing what it will take for one of these contenders to displace AJAX, I should point out that being "open" has nothing to do with it. Openness is not a recipe for success when it comes to development platforms. According to TIOBE Java is the most popular programming language today and it was a proprietary language tightly controlled by Sun Microsystems.

Even if Java was tightly controlled by Sun in the past, they did have a mechanism that was open enough to get third party companies involved in the future of Java.

Anyone could argue that the JSR process has managed to mess up key components like Generics and has inflicted humanity with mistakes like the J2EE stack.

But the JSR process is still relatively open. And even before Sun open sourced Java in November there were a number of independent Java VM vendors, both open source and proprietary (specially on the embedded market).

Java became successful because it filled a space that was previously not properly serviced. At the time it hit a sweet spot.

In the meantime, as far as Rich Internet Application development goes, we will continue to use a mix of technologies. It seems that the browser is becoming the universal runtime and it has opened the doors for incredible opportunities with the mashups. WPF/E is ready to enter the mashup scene, something that am not sure WPF will ever do.

Ted's Update

Update: Ted follows up.

Posted on 06 Mar 2007


FOSDEM

by Miguel de Icaza

This conference was just too good.

There is no blog entry that can make justice to how good this was. The tiniest details were taken care of, like having food and drinks all day (for those of us who could not make it to our hotel breakfasts this was a life saver).

I think that part of the success of FOSDEM is that after the conference adjourns, folks can go back to the hotels, freshen up, go to dinner and then bar hoping and run into the attendees until 3am in the morning.

FOSDEM deserves a full blog post in full detail, but for now a big thank to everyone that made this possible. I have not enjoyed a conference this much for years.

Posted on 01 Mar 2007


Best Tech Support So Far.

by Miguel de Icaza

So I got to Mexico and my 3G connection did not work, so I repeated the European steps and called Cingular Tech Support to complain that something was wrong with my 3G card in Mexico.

Since neither the 2g or 3g lights turned on and this was working in Boston and Washington, it must have been some configuration issue on Cingular's side.

I explained to the tech guy my situation, and he walked me through the usual "connection manager", "try a different setting", "eject your card", and so forth and I pretended to do the Windows steps with the equivalent Linux command as far as I could.

My goal in this call was to avoid saying that I was using Linux, I feared they would just say "Sorry, we dont support that" and hang up.

There was the dangerous "What does the connection manager say?", to which I replied "Mhm, no network". And "What version of it you have?" to which I replied "Well, I use the equivalent, its called yast".

But then the fatal, "Which version of Windows is this?" to which I had to say "Linux".

Contrary to what I expected, he said "Can you configure the AT commands or enter them?", I said I could, I launched minicom and he walked me through the process of configuring the Sierra card (probing for providers, selecting the provider, reseting the card).

He determined during the call that there was a setup problem with Mexico's provider, he was able to patch that stuff on their end and got me going with a 2g connection after a little while.

Many thanks to Mr Robinson in tech support over at at&t

Posted on 01 Mar 2007


Covert Operations in Iran

by Miguel de Icaza

On Februrary 16th, in an interview with Noam Chomsky, the interview is one of Chomsky's best.

At one point he speculates about the potential strategy being applied to Iran:

[...] So it could be that one strain of the policy is to stir up secessionist movements, particularly in the oil rich regions, the Arab regions near the Gulf, also the Azeri regions and others. Second is to try to get the leadership to be as brutal and harsh and repressive as possible, to stir up internal disorder and maybe resistance. And a third is to try to pressure other countries, and Europe is the most amenable, to join efforts to strangle Iran economically. Europe is kind of dragging its feet but they usually go along with the United States.

This week Seymour Hersh publishes on the New Yorker some of his findings. The article makes the case that the US is now funding terroristsfreedom fighters in Iran to destabilize the regime (as speculated by Chomsky before). The article also happens to match some of Chomsky's observations.

For a quick overview you can watch this video interview with Seymour Hersh.

Chomsky:

It’s very hard to predict the Bush administration today because they’re deeply irrational. They were irrational to start with but now they’re desperate. They have created an unimaginable catastrophe in Iraq. This should’ve been one of the easiest military occupations in history and they succeeded in turning it into one of the worst military disasters in history. They can’t control it and it’s almost impossible for them to get out for reasons you can’t discuss in the United States because to discuss the reasons why they can’t get out would be to concede the reasons why they invaded.

If you listen to Seymour's interview it seems that the strategy is going from "unimaginable catastrophe in Iraq" to "unimaginable catastrophe in the whole Middle East".

In the meantime, it turns out that the weapons that were presented a couple of weeks ago as being "manufactured in Iran" turned out to be manufactured in Iraq.

If that was not enough, the UN Calls US Data on Iran's Nuclear Aims Unreliable:

The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services had provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic was developing illicit weapons.

"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."

For those of us too cynical to believe anything the Bush administration has to say on any matter, this is hardly news. But it is always nice to see them debunked in public.

Posted on 27 Feb 2007


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