Mono 0.28

Release date: 01 Oct 2003

Hello everyone,

A new release of the Mono runtime and SDK is available for UNIX and Windows. Packages for various distributions are also available from our download page.

Since the last release, 1,124 individual commits were done to our runtime and class libraries.

144 bugzilla bugs were closed.

I know that the following summary is incomplete, I apologize for missing major features

We have finished the SourceGear contract, which funded Web Services in Mono as well as various improvements in the runtime. We are very happy to have served our first customer, and we will continue to improve Mono to make sure the Vault software runs flawlessly on Mono.

As you can expect, this release features bug fixes everywhere: memory leaks plugged, performance problems solved, performance improvements and more. A special area of robustness is the client-side web services component: it is extremely robust now, as one of the SourceGear acceptance criteria was a 24-hour continuous test of their client library that did millions of web service operations.

We hope to bring the same level of robustness to the server side component in the next release, the site documentation is currently running with Mono and our ASP.NET implementation (that is why the site has gone down a few times: we were using it on our production system to use it under stress).

Each new release of Mono opens the door for more abusive tests, and this time is not an exception, we already have a few areas of performance and scalability that we want to address for the next release.


Binaries for various platforms are available from our web site from the download section:

If you are using Red Carpet, subscribe to the Mono channel to install this update.

Source code for Mono, MCS, XSP and mod_mono are also available from our web site

New Features in this release

New Thread Locking

Zoltan removed the big locks we had in the runtime, and now we have a finely grained lock system in the runtime. Runtime hackers can read the included lock matrix document which describes the requirements to use the new fine grained locks in their code.

Ahead of Time Compiler Optimizations

Zoltan has worked extensively on the Mono ahead-of-time compilation feature (AOT). The AOT code is now considered to be production quality, and also for the first time precompiled code runs faster than JITed code. This resulted in a 13% compilation speed up for the Mono C# compiler, reducing the compile time to 3.185 seconds. A clear goal of the team for the next release is to reach 3.1416 seconds.

An MCS bug prevents System.dll from being precompiled currently, we hope to fix this by the next release, but everything else should work fine.

Web Services

Now we have a complete Web Services stack in Mono, In this release we added:

  • The WSDL command line tool: this tool is used to generate web service client proxies from a WSDL document (local or remote).
  • WSDL documents: now ASP.NET can generate a WSDL document for any web service that it hosts.
  • Web service documentation page: it shows information about the methods of a web service. It also provides a form with which you can test simple methods.
  • Support for HttpGet and HttpPost protocols.
  • Our WSDL documentation page also can generate a sample proxy for you, if you don’t want to use wsdl.

Notice that the stack was already functional in 0.26, but the addition of the WSDL tools makes the setup complete for developing completely on Mono.

The work to support Web Services was possible thanks to SourceGear. We should all send them a token of appreciation.

Xml Serialization

New XML serializer generator tool (genxs). With this tool you can generate a XML serializer for any type and customize it to your needs. For details about the use of this tool see Lluis’ blog:

Lots of fixes and improvements to support the WSDL generation and consumption.


Sebastien has implemented Authenticode(tm) and the code is now part of the distribution.

A couple of new tools are available: signcode and chktrust. The former is used to sign assemblies (or any PE files) and the later is used to verify signatures and timestamps.

Web Service Enhancements

Implementations of WSE 1.0 and WSE 2.0 appeared on the CVS, thanks to Sebastien, Duncan, Todd and Daniel. We build both assemblies at this point.

XML Improvements

Speed and memory usage: extensive use of –profile and various clever tricks from Atsushi and Ben. Lots of performance critical classes were improved, and XPathDocument (which is used extensively by XPath and Xslt) uses arrays of structs for its implementation to improve performance.

XML Schema validation support in now in XmlValidatingReader (although it is not finished). It also means that now many schema component constraints have been implemented.


Added support for CallContext. Now the CallContext is sent through remoting boundaries and fixed various problems related to in/out parameters in Remoting invocations.

Improved robustness, specially for asynchronous calls.


Work continues on supporting generics: more changes have been done to the runtime, class libraries and tools, but we are not complete.

To build the generic version of Mono, you have to compile the code from source, and build the class libraries with the `generics’ profile (make PROFILE=generics). The generics C# compiler is called `gmcs’ and not `mcs’. They will merge in the future, but we wanted to maintain mcs robust, and do all of our experimentation on a separate branch.

XSLT Managed Engine

Over the past month, Ben’s Managed XSLT engine has grown by leaps and bounds. The implementation now offers compliance in critical areas such as template conflict resolution. It also implements all of the XSLT elements, including xsl:number. All of the extension functions with the exception of format-number have also been implemented.

Oleg Tkachenko, a seasoned .NET developer, joined Ben in his efforts on XSLT, working on making the design of outputting XSLT much better. His work will allow for better compliance with the spec, greatly improved speed, and support for mode=”html” for xsl:output.

The work of all the XSLT hackers has resulted in a major rewarded, in many cases the managed engine is faster than the C based libxslt.

Although the Managed XSLT provider is still not the default provider, you can enable it by setting the MONO_MANAGED_XSLT environment variable, like this:

export MONO\_MANAGED\_XSLT=true

PowerPC Runtime

Progress on the PowerPC JIT engine, but the full engine did not make it into the 0.28 release, it should still be available before the Microsoft PDC.


We got a nice upgrade from Vladimir at OpenLink for WineLib: various new DLLs from the Wine runtime are now available (in particular all the common dialog routines are now available to us). Vladimir is currently working on updating WineLib to the latest edition of Wine.

Jordi Mas contributed the ListViewItem widget and the file dialog and Jonathan Hogg contributed a few fixes to the code base as well. Brian Takita contributed the List control.

Alexandre Pigolkine continued fixing the various low-level controls to have the same rendering behavior that they do have on Windows together with Jerome Laban. We started a thread to discuss the future implementation strategy for System.Drawing to be fully cross-platform.

Dennis continues in his quest to fix all the signatures in the Windows.Forms. Johannes added support to make Wine track the theme settings of Gnome (we will fully complete this on the next release).

System.Drawing now has migrated to use Cairo bindings on Unix.

IL Assembler

Jackson was in charge of most of these improvements. New features in this release: .data, p/invoke support, allow multiple constraints on generic parameters, Oberon is now self hosting with our il assembler and plenty of bugs fixed.

JScript and Vsa

Cesar has picked up again on JScript and has done incredible progress on JScript and the Vsa engine, still not ready for hello world, but moving along.

Bug Fixing

As you can expect bug fixes everywhere: ASP.NET server and client, ADO.NET, memory leak fixes. The client side for web services is extremely robust (we passed the 24-hour continuous test from SourceGear and fixed tons of memory leaks, performance issues and stability problems).

We hope to bring the same level of robustness to the server side component

The people behind this release

The following developers contributed to this release:

Alejandro Sanchez, Alexandre Pigolkine, Alp Toker, Atsushi Enomoto, Ben Maurer, Bernie Solomon, Bernie Solomon, Cesar Octavio Lopez Nataren, Christopher Taylor, David Sandor, David Waite, Dennis Hayes, Dick Porter, Duco Fijma, Duncan Mak, Eran Domb, Eric Lindvall, Gaurav Vaish, Gonzalo Paniagua, Hector E. Gomez Morales, Jackson Harper, Jaime Anguiano, Jerome Laban, Joel Basson, Joerg Rosenkranz, Johannes Roith, John Luke, Jonathan Hogg., Jonathan Pryor, Jordi Mas, Joshua Tauberer, Juraj Skripsky, Laurent Morichetti, Laurent Morichetti,, Lluis Sanchez, Malte Hildingson, Marco Ridoni, Martin Baulig, Martin Willemoes Hansen, Miguel de Icaza, Mike Kestner, Nick Drochak, Oleg Tkachenko, Paolo Molaro, Patrik Torstensson, Pedro Martinez, Peter Williams, Philip Van Hoof, Piers Haken, Piers Haken, Rachel Hestilow, Radek Doulik, Rafael Teixeira, Ravi Pratap, Sebastien Pouliot, Timothy Parez, Todd Berman, Vladimir Kaluzhny, Vladimir Vukicevic, Yaacov Akiba Slama, Yaron Shkop, Zoltan Varga.

This list is not complete, it is missing contributions that were sent to the list, as it was very hard to track the two million incremental line patch since the last release (lots of documentation, thats why ;-).