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Date:      Wed, 04 Jan 2006 21:59:26 -0500
From:      Tom McLaughlin <>
Subject:   Mono: Call for volunteers
Message-ID:  <1136429966.3472.6.camel@localhost.localdomain>

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Hi everyone,

Let me start off by introducing myself.  I'm Tom and I've been running
the BSD# project <>; which
maintains Mono and related ports on FreeBSD since about August of last
year.  I took Mono over after the last mast maintainer left because C#
looked interesting to learn and I needed a working Mono port.  In the
over a year since I've been running this Mono has come a long way
through the help of a number of people.  It is far more stable and
usable than it was before.  There are a number of more ports which use
Mono in the FreeBSD tree with a few more waiting in the wings for me to
commit.  We have also worked hard to get Mono and C# applications to
package correctly and behave within the ports system.

Yet Mono still has a number of problems on FreeBSD.  There is a lot of
work to be done and I am in some real need of help now.  Each update to
Mono tends to cause a fair amount of fallout which needs to be cleaned
up.  Hence the separate BSD# CVS I keep for testing new releases before
they are committed to the FreeBSD tree.  Mono only gets committed when I
feel it is no worse than the previous version in the FreeBSD tree.
Typically with new releases we see things from runtime crashes in Mono,
to C# apps which no longer compile, plus occasional runtime crashes in
C# applications.

There are a number of bugs and issues that are well beyond my ability to
fix.  (More on that later.)  We still see random crashes in gtk#
applications when gtk20 is built with certain -march settings.  I
haven't been able to track down all the kernel options which when
missing from a kernel config cause runtime crashes.  Mono's issues with
libpthread are much better than they used to be but there are some
lingering issues.  I still hold back a Beagle port because under
situations it crashes shortly after start due to a problem with
libpthread and Mono.  MonoDevelop right now seems to have threading
issues on -CURRENT.  Oddly, the Mono runtime seems fine, it appears to
be with how Mono handles threads within the runtime environment.  I
still haven't enabled amd64 support, though there are patches in the
port, since I'm still not sure how well it all works.  The Mono Debugger
needs some serious porting work as well.  I'd also like to see more
ports being created again.

Most people familiar with Mono on FreeBSD are aware of how I started
BSD#.  Back in August '04 C# and Mono sounded interesting to me.  At the
time there was someone already maintaining Mono and was looking into
it's issues which was cool.  I could start learning C# while someone
else kept Mono stable.  I had no background in any programming language
other than Bourne script and felt it was time to learn something a
little more complex.  Shortly after I got interested, Mono's last
maintainer left.  Since I wanted to learn C# and Mono needed someone to
look after it, I took up the job and started BSD#.  Since then along
with Jeremy Messenger and Christopher Nehren I've been keeping Mono and
all the related ports up to date.

Unfortunately today I no longer have the time that I used to have to
work on Mono.  Up until four months ago I showed up to work at 9am
(well, more like 9:15) and left at 5:30.  I could then spend my evenings
maintaining the existing ports, creating new ones, tracking down and
fixing what problems I could, and learning C#.  Today I no longer have
the same time.  I spend a greater amount of time at work. (Amazing what
liking your job will do.)  I spend more of my free time reading and
working on things applicable to my job. =20

Mono has a number of issues which are well over my head.  When I look at
an issue with Mono it's often a whole new learning experience.  I don't
have the time anymore to spend a few evenings trying to learn some new
aspect of Mono to track down and figure out a problem.  I have tried to
balance my work obligations and FreeBSD obligations for a few months now
but I can no longer do it all.  I am just burnt out trying.  Mono's
problems require someone who has the time to invest it which I no longer
have.  In addition, Mezz's time is dictated by what he needs to do for
FreeBSD Gnome first and Christopher is spending more time on work
related projects.  I still want to continue working on Mono but I need
someone (or someones) who will take the burden of looking at the variety
of issues Mono still has on FreeBSD.  If your interested in the work,
please let me know.


| tmclaugh at             tmclaugh at |
| FreeBSD                          |
| BSD#           |

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