Oh, oh, Mono, it’s so great, really it is, honest

Linux.Ars at Ars Technica currently have up a guide to Mono (no permalinks! if it’s not there, then it might be at this link), going on about how stuff will run on Windows and Linux, and demonstrating how you can do a regular expression matcher in a few lines of code, and a Gtk# app in a similarly short amount. I have two questions, a small one and a big one. The small one is: that Gtk app running on Windows—does it do it if you haven’t installed Gtk on Windows? I bet it doesn’t. Wouldn’t it have been more useful to demonstrate an application which used the native widget set on each platform and didn’t require extra installation stuff?
The big question is: why is this in any way better than Python? Python has all the benefits that they’ve trumpeted about Mono in that article: it’ll run on Windows and Linux (and the Mac, which Mono won’t, not properly), it’s got bindings to a shitload of stuff that Mono hasn’t, it’s got a ton of libraries with it for XML and regular expressions and everything that .net has, and it’s not owned by MS. Yes, yes, perhaps they are going to keep it an open standard and not have some way of using it to bolster their OS monopoly at the expense of Linux. Then again, perhaps they’re not. Since it’s potentially the future of Linux we’re talking about here, I think I’d prefer to play it safe and not use .net. Other people may disagree. So, those of you who think it’s a good idea: please can someone explain to me why it’s better than Python?

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