Let me start with the few pictures that I took.
I was able to go to Novell Brainshare in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. It was absolutely fantastic! I had a great time and learned a lot about Mono (mostly from listening to some tidbits of information that Paco and ‘the Mystery Shopper’ always had readily available). It was also nice to be able to get to know some collegues better as well as meet lots of people who are excited about Mono. And if they weren’t excited when they got to our booth, most of them were excited by the time they left.
My first demo was an interesting experience. I was approached on Monday morning pretty much right when the Technology Lab opened. He started out with, “Hey, uh, what’s new in the Mono world?” I continued to say how this cool new gui plugin had just been checked in a few weeks ago. I then asked, “Are you familiar with Mono or .NET technologies?” “Yeah, a little.” I wrapped up the stetic demo with, “Pretty cool, huh?” In the meantime, Frank (Rego) comes back from his session and says, “Hey, Niel! How’s it going?” I look down to find a nametag with “Niel Bornstein” on it. Wow, was that embarrassing or what? I let him know how tricky that was and he said he had fun being the ‘Mystery Shopper’. I ended up bringing my copy of ‘Mono: A Developer’s Handbook’ with me the next day and he signed it. So, Niel, this is to you: next book you co-author, make sure it’s got a picture of you on the back cover. That would really help us poor vulnerable fellows out :) In fact, if I man a booth sometime in the future I’ve got a few intro questions up my sleeve now. “Have you heard of Mono?” “Have you used it before?” “Have you written any books on Mono lately?” Niel hung out and helped at the booth for several days. It was great to meet him and to have another person with some serious Mono experience there to help answer questions and man the crowd.
Anyway, like others have been blogging about, we did some Winforms demos as well as showed off the new stetic MonoDevelop plugin. I wasn’t sure what I should show for demos. I hadn’t messed with MD nor stetic much. Lluis integrated things so well, that it only took a couple of minutes to put a simple example together. Of course, Dan deserves much credit.
It was really easy to show Mono off. I would start out with, “Did you see the SLED [NLD] demo? All of those cool apps Nat and Guy showed off were implemented in Mono!” Then we’d do a simple gtk# app in Mono with stetic, and copy the binary to a win32 box and run it.
So, Paco is a Mono evangelizing machine! I’d be doing the above demo, and he’d say, “You know… that’s cool, but why don’t we try that binary on another machine… say my Nokia 770!” We had great fun.
We also showed SWF apps on win32 and linux. And wow, what a difference between 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. People would ask, “So, how far has Mono come since 1.1.4?” Or, “Will my app work.” “I dunno, let’s try it out!”
There were a lot of people there interested in asp.net. One cool example that I’d never considered was pulling content out of eDirectory. I knew that eDir was fast, scalable, replicatable, etc… but never thought about it until the guys from AppGenie showed me their site ( www.appgenie.com ) running on Mono using the Novell.Directory.Ldap connector.
So then I’d try to answer any questions best I could. Can’t wait for Brainshare 2007!One more tidbit… I switched to Debian (from RH) in 2001. Ubuntu totally rocked Debian’s desktop and I’ve been using that for a few years. I’ve always made sure that I was running either NLD or SuSE on my work machines so I would be familiar with it. But, I must say, this latest CODE10 release that is coming soon leaves me next to no excuse for not running it at home. The Gnome is beautiful (and certainly much more attractive than Dapper’s new orange theme). A big part of of my mindset change is the new zmd/rug integration. apt coupled with Ubuntu’s vast repositories is an amazing combination. I’ve never been a big fan of the yast module for package management. Now, there are some performance problems with zmd in beta8, but one memory leak has already been fixed and hopefully the cpu taxing will be fixed soon. In time these issues will get ironed out. I am a little concerned that ath/nvidia/fglrx/etc drivers will not be shipped (Ubuntu makes this space very easy for the user), but I understand that it’s difficult for Novell to provide support and fixes for software they don’t have access to. Hopefully some collaboration can take place between these companies to provide a pleasant experience for the user.