Miguel de Icaza: Another blog you need to read

If you're a .Net developer, manager, or architect, you've got to read this guy's blog. Who is Miguel de Icaza, and why should you care?

Miguel is a the driving force behind Mono, the open-source port of Microsoft's .Net CLR. I've been watching this project since Miguel first began working on Mono 1.0, and his progress has been really impressive.

To be honest, it seemed like an uphill battle when he started, and when he hit 1.0, Microsoft was releasing 2.0, so I figured there was no way he was going to be able to keep up. But he and the other Mono developers (with some support from Novell along the way, if I'm not mistaken), have kept on driving, and the movement is growing.

They're supporting .Net 2.0 features now, and along the way, they've picked up some of the UI tools needed to support WinForms, plus support for VB.Net. Perhaps more importantly, though, are some of the ancillary projects popping up around Mono. There are open-source IDE's, and a great product called Grasshopper that lets you deploy your .Net app on a Tomcat Java application server running on Linux (Grasshopper is built by a company called Mainsoft who sells a commercial product that lets you do the same thing, but deploy it to Enterprise-class app servers on any hardware platform).

So why is Miguel's blog a must-read?

It's all about understanding your options. As a developer / manager / architect, you need to understand how the technology you use connects to the needs of your business. Mono could be an important part of that in the future.

Microsoft has paced the field in development tools for a long time, and by most accounts, they're still tops. It's pretty hard to top .Net's development experience, despite the great gains by Eclipse over the years. The weak link in an all-Microsoft development strategy is that it implies an all-Microsoft deployment strategy. This can feel burdensome from time to time, and like like cement shoes whenever there's a new OS release (upgrade or die...no pressure).

What would it be worth to your company to develop in .Net and distribute onto Linux servers? How about for a hosting company? Can Mono turn into the next LAMP?

Miguel doesn't post often, but when he does, it's worthwhile. Sign up with your favorite RSS reader, and you'll know the next time he has some news. Check out today's post, The Race to Linux 2.0, where he talks up an upcoming contest to pump up Mono's 2.0 support.