Today, Tuesday November 10, 2009, Novell announces a Visual Studio plugin that allows support for non-Microsoft operating systems that use .NET code development on a platform known as Mono via a new product called Mono Tools for Visual Studio 1.0. This is not a cost free toolset. In fact, it's really quite pricey--starting at $99 for the Professional (Individual) version. Of course, compared to the exorbitant price of Visual Studio, that's a mere pittance.
If you can afford Mono Tools, it's a powerful addition to your Visual Studio environment. Using Mono Tools, you can create and test your .NET applications directly on Linux--just as you would when using a Windows host. You can also build installable .NET packages for Linux and even bundle them with Linux appliances* for easy distribution.
The downside is that, it seems, you must be sold on the SUSE Linux distribution. From Visual Studio, you create your applications as SUSE rpm packages. I think that the tools should be distribution agnostic to appeal to a wider audience but perhaps that is a hangup that only I have. You should be able to select which type of package you want to use for your application and not live with the SUSE-only limitation.
Limitations (and pricing) aside, I think that Mono Tools for Visual Studio is an excellent set of tools for your Visual Studio development efforts.
What do you think? Do you think the SUSE-only limitation is too great for widespread adoption or do you think it's OK?
* Appliances are small, single task virtual machines.