Mix 07

by Miguel de Icaza

I will be at Microsoft's Mix 07 conference next week, am getting to Las Vegas around 5pm, if you are interested in talking about gnome, open source, mono and wildly speculate over the announcements of the week, drop me an email to my gmail account (miguel.de.icaza).

I will be on a panel on opensource on Monday at 1:30pm

Update: Dave Winer setup a signup page for those attending Mix 07.

Posted on 28 Apr 2007

MonoTorrent Curses 0.1 released

by Miguel de Icaza

Due to popular demand (all two of you), I have made a tarball of the Curses GUI interface for MonoTorrent as well as Monotorrent.

Download both:

Update: Some folks are reporting that the internet tubes are clogged. Wait a little bit for the transfers to start, am using the Coral Cache for distribution (another de Icaza Industries innovation).

You need to have Mono and ncurses (will work on any modern Unix with ncurses).

You must first configure, make, make install the monotorrent-0.2.tar.gz tarball and then repeat the same for monotorrent-curses-0.1.

Once you are done, you can start up this gem of software engineering by typing monotorrent in your console.

Posted on 25 Apr 2007

Dynamic Language Runtime: Let the Speculation Begin

by Miguel de Icaza

For the last couple of weeks news started tricklying over IM and email that Microsoft was going to announce some Dynamic Language Runtime at Mix 07.

There have been some hints on the blogs, some friends of friends of MVPs, some friends of MVPs and some journalists. The MVPs have been leaking like there is no tomorrow.

Am not very good at predicting, but here are a few guesses for next week's Mix 07 announcements, in my confidence order:

  • They will spend most of the time showing the new features in the recently released Orcas and probably the Silverlight media encoder.
  • There will be a fresh Silverlight update.
  • Blend and Expression Design will probably ship as a final product, or a new beta will be released.
  • Dynamic Language Runtime: a set of class libraries with some sort of supporting infrastructure in the CLR to help dynamic language authors speed up their code.
  • Javascript: probably Microsoft will announce that they are upgrading the JScript compiler in .NET.
  • Silverlight will bundle a micro-clr.
  • Silverlight for Linux.
    And if there is no announcement, we should try to get someone drunk enough to get them to do it.

The conference looks like it will be incredibly fun and I am looking forward to meet a lot of people. Lots of talks that I do not want to miss.

Posted on 25 Apr 2007

Race to Linux Interviews

by Miguel de Icaza

These are the interviews for the various winners from the Race to Linux contest that we did in collaboration with Mainsoft and IBM.

The exercise included porting existing ASP.NET-based applications to Linux. All the ports were completed in a matter of hours, in some cases the download of the VMware image took longer than the port itself.

Here are the interviews:

Posted on 23 Apr 2007

Mono 1.2.3 to 1.2.4 Progress

by Miguel de Icaza

Jonathan Pobst just emailed me the comparison from Mono 1.2.3 to Mono 1.2.4 from the Mono Migration Analysis tool:

Mono 1.2.3Mono 1.2.4Change
Missing Methods19,10518,425680
Methods throwing
Methods flagged as "TODO"3,7343,69143

So 1,013 fresh new implementations since our last release.

Update: Jonathan pointed out that the numbers for APIs included internal classes (his tool has been fixed) and for internal assemblies or assemblies that we will not be supporting (VB6 support for example).

So the grand total for missing methods is 10,315 methods and not 18,425. I would fix the table, but I do not have all the updated numbers other than the grand total for Missing Methods.

From those 10,315, my senses it that we can live happily with up half of them not being implemented (fringe methods that are never used, do not show up in Moma reports or other relics).

Posted on 23 Apr 2007

Pong on Mono.XNA

by Miguel de Icaza

Stuart from the Mono.XNA team today posted a screenshot of the game of Pong (which am guessing is some kind of XNA demo program) running on their open source implementation (called Mono.XNA).

Posted on 22 Apr 2007

Call for Testers: Mono 1.2.4

by Miguel de Icaza

We are about to release Mono 1.2.4. It has been a personal difficult decision, as only a few times in the life of a project you reach such a nicely rounded release name.

Wade has uploaded the test packages for Mono 1.2.4 for various architectures here: http://mono.ximian.com/monobuild/preview/download-preview

The diffs between 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 for the mono package (mono and mcs) are almost 20 megabytes in size (I did not count mono-basic, libgdiplus, monodoc, libgdiplus, xsp or mod_mono).

This release has a pretty much finished version of ASP.NET 2.0, with the exception of WebParts, which we have not done much about yet.

See my current embryonic release notes for more details.

Posted on 21 Apr 2007

Gonzo, part 2

by Miguel de Icaza

Yesterday I watched Alberto Gonzales on C-SPAN, but I did not see these shots from the audience. From Reddit:

Gonzo did not recall or remember 71 things yesterday, and the audience was keeping track:

Posted on 20 Apr 2007

Clay Movie

by Miguel de Icaza

A few years ago I passed my Canon D60 camera to one of my younger brothers (Franciso Isaac):

He made this animation with clay:

Posted on 20 Apr 2007

Microsoft Happenings

by Miguel de Icaza

A couple of things.

Panel at Microsoft's Mix 07

My friend Joshua Allen invited me to participate in an open source panel at Microsoft's Mix 07 conference in Las Vegas.

I will be paneling with Rob Conery (he is behind Subsonic, a rising star in the ASP.NET world), Mike Schroepfer from Mozilla, Sam Ranji from Microsoft (from Port25).

Rob is collecting questions for the panel. If you have some feedback, post on his blog.

Silverlight, Flash and open source alternatives

Microsoft renamed their WPF/E rendering engine "Silverlight".

Silverlight is basically:

  • An object oriented canvas, this canvas can be controlled trough the DOM by the containing web page.
  • The contents of the Canvas can be preloaded with a XAML-based description. The XAML supported is a subset of the full WPF/Avalon supported by .NET 3.0.
  • So far it offers no built-in scripting, instead it relies on the browser's Javascript engine.
  • It supports video playback using the highly proprietary VC-1 formats.
  • Silverlight is cross platform in the "Windows and Apple are supported" way, no support for Linux has been announced. So it is even more limiting than Flash.

Silverlight has one thing going on for it, the file format to populate it can be trivially generated by web developers, so it will be easy for people to create cute controls and generate those on the flight.

The major difference in my opinion between what-ng's <canvas> tag and Silverlight is that Silverlight includes video playback support, and I can imagine that Microsoft will try to convince content providers to switch from Flash or their existing embedded windows media experiences to Silverlight.

As a Linux/BSD user, this might pose another setback for our desktop. For years video playback on Linux has been a pain due to the lack of codecs for the various proprietary formats (Considering that even on Windows WMA/WMV playback is a random experience). This all changed with Google Video and YouTube.

Google Video and YouTube popularized the use of Flash for delivering video and it quickly became the norm for video delivery. This opened the doors to the Linux desktop users to watch video content just like everyone else and the pain had been mostly eliminated.

swfdec open source Flash player.

Although Flash is not open source and it is not available on every Linux platform at least those of us using x86/x86-64 systems could watch those videos (and in addition, there is a project that is making great progress).

Reimplementing most of Silverlight is trivial but the difficult bit is getting the audio/video decoding in place (I will not give the Ximian crowd the pleasure of saying "its a weekend hack").

Lacking a viable open source-based competitor today for rich media delivery on the web and given the current state of both Flash and Silverlight, it is in open source's best interest to ensure that Flash gets ahead of the competition.

In my opinion, Flash needs a couple of things to stay ahead:

  • A text-based format to populating the flash contents, either from a JSON representation or an XML file.
  • An open specification that allows for third-party implementations. My understanding is that today's Flash specification is semi-open.

And of course, I think that Flash should be open sourced, but that is a long shot.

A completely open alternative would be ideal, a combination of:

  • OGG Video and Audio objects as part of the what-wg specification, to complement the existing <canvas> tag.
  • Tools to convert popular design formats like XAML and whatever Flash uses into Canvas tags.
  • Tools and Javascript hacks to implement dynamic loading of extra content for the canvas tags.

It does not seem like a far shot, but it would require cross-browser support and would prevent us from being locked into either proprietary stacks.

Opening up Microsoft


Although there are some groups inside Microsoft that seem to be opening up, pushing open standards, and using licenses like the MsPl (for the Ajax client library for example).

Scott Guthrie, the star from ASP.NET is now in charge of .NET at Mircosoft. If there is anyone at Microsoft that understands the value of open standards and becoming more standards compliant it is him. So there are good possibilities on the horizon.

But it seems that larger company considerations like the use of VC-1 will prevent Silverlight from ever using unencumbered technologies.

This reminds me of that movie In Good Company (with Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson) where decisions in the company are made to leverage synergy.

I look forward to discuss this at Mix 07.

Posted on 20 Apr 2007

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