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Call it an unholy three-way, but .NET is coming to Google Android, potentially helping C# developers interested in creating applications for Apple's iPad.

Novel has announced that MonoDroid, a software development kit (SDK) to build applications for Google's Linux OS using C# and the Common Intermediate Language (CIL), is ready for beta testing. MonoDroid is based on Novell's Mono Project, and final code for MonoDroid is due this summer.

Ahead of that, Novell - which is searching for a new owner - has posted a sign-up survey of developers interested in trying the beta. You can sign up here.

The Mono Project has been building an open-source implementation of Microsoft's C# and .NET for Linux and Unix through out the 2000s, with Microsoft's blessing.

Novell created MonoTouch in September 2009, putting Mono on Apple's iPhone and iPad. Since then, though, it's become unclear whether MonoTouch is actually allowed on the Jobsian machine under the recently updated terms of Apple's developer program agreement for the iPhone OS 4 that the iPad will run.

Novell has tired to minimize reports MonoTouch could be banned, but judging by the team-Mono blog the company is as much in the dark as everybody else over what the iPhone OS 4 license means to their code.

The company has admitted in blog posts that it has had little direct feedback from Apple on the matter. Instead, it optimistically points to App Store approval for the Mono-based applications Touch Playbook, Really Simple, and LCARS Reader as proof that Mono complies with Jobs' new rules for doing business. Novell was unable to comment or update The Reg by press time.

MonoDroid potentially lets developers build applications using C# that talk to Android's native Java APIs and lets those APIs execute inside the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) runtime engine that - like C# - is an ECMA standard.

If Mono is allowed on the iPad, having it on Android as well will mean that developers can save time and effort porting their apps between devices.

It should mean coders can reuse their existing .NET skills and ECMA-compliant CLI runtime engines, plus existing business logic on the Apple and Google platforms. That'll leave developers free to focus on the interesting work of making changes to the interface needed for the different devices. ®

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