"Two open-source projects, Mono and dotGNU, are aimed at
providing alternatives to Microsoftâ€™s .NET
framework and developer tools. While providing freedom of choice
might be reason enough to justify a project, practical programmers
could be asking: Whatâ€™s the point?
"Sure, these projects might be of theoretical or academic use,
but only ideologues are going to use them for real work. Microsoft
already provides the compilers and the .NET framework for free; you
can download them from www.microsoft.com/net.
"According to SD Times, one of the goals of dotGNU in 2004 is to
'have System.Windows.Forms under XWindows.' Great. Microsoft is
working on adding edit-and-continue to VB.NET, generics to C#,
embedding the CLR into the next version of SQL Server, and making a
stack of improvements to managed C++. In similar timescales, dotGNU
will let you put a button on a form..."