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Mono, the open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET Web services platform, can dramatically improve developer productivity, according to the leading light of the project.

Miguel de Icaza, CTO and co-founder of open source firm Ximian, which was acquired by Novell last month, took centre stage at the company's BrainShare onference in Barcelona today.

de Icaza told delegates a "large and growing developer community", including 150 external contributors, is working on Mono, which remains on track for a 1.0 release by the end of the year.

Mono enables Unix and Linux interoperability for emerging .NET applications and environments while allowing developers to write in more higher level, richer programming languages.

According to de Icaza, Mono is stable: four ISVs have already developed applications based on Mono - a sign of the growing maturity of the platform, he says.

The Mono types are application server developer OpenLink Software, the Tipic instant messaging app, Winprofessor's Jabber Software Development Kit and SourceGear.

Ximian forms a cornerstone of Novell's strategy to re-invent itself as a champion of open source development.

Chris Stone, Novell's strategy guru-in-chief, said that "Novell had bought a culture as much as it bought a company" when it acquired Ximian last month.

The combined companies plan to take the Ximian desktop and add Novell networking services (file, print, software distribution and ID management) that will make the environment more attractive for enterprises. ®

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