Hacking xbuild: Part I, Grab a Box

Recently I decided to hack on xbuild. But soon I found it was not easy to set up a clean environment.

Windows box with Mono

It is possible to build a Windows box and then install Mono on it. But Mono’s Windows installer already contains a build of xbuild. Besides, the most difficult part is that under that scenario, there is not feasible IDE to speed up hacking.

I did find a way to compile MonoDevelop source code on a Windows with .NET 4 (please avoid .NET 4.5 on the build machine), and then copy the binaries to the Windows with Mono box. However, there are various issues arising when MonoDevelop is hosted by Mono on Windows (miserable hang and crash). I guess nobody ever tries this combination seriously, so those issues are never reported or fixed.

Anyway, if you plan to play out Mono, I recommend you use Mono on Linux/OS X instead of Windows. Note this DOES NOT include MonoDevelop/Mono for Android, as they work fine with Microsoft .NET Framework/Visual Studio ecosystem.

openSUSE box with Mono

The previous efforts on getting NuGet running on Mono do help me out by learning how Mono is packaged on Linux distros. It was early today that I suddenly realized that openSUSE is a nice choice for my hacking environment.

So after building a clean openSUSE, I use the following commands to install the bits I need

sudo zypper install mono-complete monodevelop git

and then I remove xbuild and its components by executing

sudo rpm -e --nodeps mono-devel

This is why I love openSUSE’s Mono packages, as mono-devel contains all xbuild related bits. However, even after removing it, MonoDevelop works fine (well, I could not enable xbuild integration inside MD then).

(Updated: it is unnecessary to remove mono-devel, so the above step is deleted.)

At last, it is time to clone mono source code from and start hacking on my own fork of xbuild.

© Lex Li. All rights reserved. The code included is licensed under CC BY 4.0 unless otherwise noted.

© - Lex Li. All rights reserved.

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Last updated on May 01, 2024