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Microsoft .NET


Microsoft .NETMicrosoft .Net is an umbrella term that applies to a collection of products and technologies from Microsoft. Most have in common a dependence on the Microsoft .NET Framework, a component of the Windows operating system.
The Microsoft .NET Framework is a software component which can be added to the Microsoft Windows operating system. It provides a large body of pre-coded solutions to common program requirements, and manages the execution of programs written specifically for the framework. The .NET Framework is a key Microsoft offering, and is intended to be used by most new applications created for the Windows platform.

The pre-coded solutions form the framework's class library and cover a large range of programming needs in areas including the user interface, data access, cryptography, numeric algorithms, and network communications. The functions of the class library are used by programmers who combine them with their own code to produce applications.

Programs written for the .NET Framework execute in a software environment that manages the program's runtime requirements. This runtime environment, which is also a part of the .NET Framework, is known as the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR provides the appearance of an application virtual machine, so that programmers need not consider the capabilities of the specific CPU that will execute the program. The CLR also provides other important services such as security guarantees, memory management, and exception handling.

The class library and the CLR together comprise the .NET Framework. The framework is intended to make it easier to develop computer applications and to reduce the vulnerability of applications and computers to security threats. First released in 2002, it is included with Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista, and can be installed on most older versions. The current version is 2.0, which was released in November 2005 in conjunction with Visual Studio 2005.

Common Language Runtime (CLR) is the name chosen by Microsoft for the virtual machine component of their .NET initiative. It is Microsoft's implementation of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) standard, which defines an execution environment for program code. The CLR runs a form of bytecode called the Microsoft Intermediate Language, Microsoft's implementation of the Common Intermediate Language.

The CLR runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems. See CLI for a full list of implementations of that specification. Some implementations run on non-Windows operating systems.

Mono is a project led by Novell (formerly by Ximian) to create an ECMA standard compliant .NET compatible set of tools, including among others a C# compiler and a Common Language Runtime. Mono can be run on Linux, FreeBSD, UNIX, Mac OS X, Solaris and Windows based computers.

Mono is dual licensed by Novell, similar to other products such as Qt and the Mozilla Application Suite. Mono's C# compiler and tools are released under the GNU General Public License (GPL), the runtime libraries under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and the class libraries under the MIT License. These are all free software and open-source licenses and hence Mono is free and open-source software. Developers contributing source code to Mono must sign a copyright assignment allowing Novell to relicense the code under other licensing terms. This preserves Novell's ability under the dual license to commercially license Mono.[1]

Microsoft has a version of .NET available for FreeBSD, Windows and Mac OS X called the Shared Source CLI (Rotor). Microsoft's shared source license is neither free software nor open-source and may be insufficient for the needs of the community (it explicitly forbids commercial use). The Mono project has many of the same goals as the Portable.NET project.

The Mono runtime contains a just-in-time compilation (JIT) engine for a number of processors: x86, SPARC, PowerPC, ARM, S390 (in 32 bit and 64 bit mode), and x86-64, IA64 and SPARC for 64 bit modes. The runtime will perform a just-in-time compilation to the machine's native code which is cached as the application runs. It is also possible to precache the native image before execution. For other supported systems not listed, an interpreter performs each byte code one by one without compiling the image to native code. In almost every condition the JIT method will outperform the interpreted method.

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