[LLVMdev] VMKit state of the union, android support, and .net/CLI

Jeremy Bell bell.jeremy at gmail.com
Fri Sep 13 09:06:00 PDT 2013

I looked into the archives as far back as 2009 and searched around for more
information about vmkit, but I still have some questions.

First of all, what is that status of VMKit? Is there any active
development? A roadmap? Is it in maintenance mode?

Secondly, can VMKit generate binaries that can be used on android/jni?

Finally, I understand that the .net/CLI support is no longer being
maintained. Were there technical reasons for this, or just a lack of
interest? Is the code still within the repository or was it removed at some
point? If it was removed, what is the last tag/version of the code contains
the .net/CLI implementation?

The reason I ask is that I took over a project to bring Mono to android for
open source development. You can see it here:

But development hit a wall due to licensing, because Xamarin, the company
that develops mono, sells commercial licenses for Mono to use in place of
the LGPL on embedded platforms like Android/iOS, and claims that the LGPL
is not compatible with the Play store. While I disagree (as does the FSF as
I recall), I'm not a lawyer and can't justify hiring one for a hobbyist
project. In either case, it's clear Xamarin has become hostile to open
source development with their product, so it's not something I want to
test. This means apps built using my project could only be distributed
directly (via sideloading) or via F-Droid or other open source friendly
third party app stores, even if they're open source apps.

So, I've been shopping around for alternatives to the LGPL portions of the
Mono runtime which can more easily be licensed for open or closed source
development on mobile or restricted app store deployments. The only
credible alternatives I've found so far are the .Net MicroFramework, which
is licensed under Apache but is meant for low level hardware, and VMKit,
which sounds promising but the .Net implementation has been deprecated.

If someone is more familiar with the VMKit codebase, could you comment on
what kind of work would be needed to update the existing CLI implementation
of VMKit to the latest source? Also, what features still need to be
implemented, and what barriers have been identified? I'm not expecting
anything production ready by any means, and I'm willing to do the work as
long as there's at least a chance at success.

Thanks for your time!
Jeremy Bell
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