The Mono 2.2 LiveCD and VMware Appliance images have been released and contain a number of improvements over previous version. Aside from the improvements in Mono itself the new appliance includes the following:
Moonlight 1.0 Beta 1 - the open source implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight 1.0, installed in such a way that when 1.0 Final is released the update mechanisms in Firefox should allow you to update it.
MonoDevelop 2.0 Alpha 2 - including integration with the Mono debugger and many other new features.
Smuxi 0.6.3 - an excellent Mono-based IRC client, configured to log you into the
GNOME Do 0.6.1 - the super-slick launcher thing we love, already running on your desktop.
The best thing about this version (for me mostly, but you enjoy some of the benefits) is that it was built using SUSE Studio. Studio is a service that allows people like me to customize and build appliance images easily and inspiringly quickly. It's hard to put into words how much I love SUSE Studio.
Studio not only makes the process of building an appliance faster and easier, it makes things possible that weren't possible before. See, the development cycle for appliances is normally long and painful. You have to make a change manually, modifying overlay files or writing first-boot scripts, then build the appliance image (which can take hours depending on how you are set up), test the change, and start all over again. You can try to do a bunch of changes at once but you have to go through that whole cycle several times. It can be very frustrating and costly so you end up choosing to not make the improvements you'd like to make. We made many of those choices in previous releases. But Studio is so fast and so easy that you can really just play! Try various approaches to solving your problem and see what works best.
Studio also facilitates customizing the appearance of your appliance.
How does Studio make building appliances so easy? Mainly, but not exclusively, through a feature called Testdrive. Testdrive allows you to test your changes immediately by running your appliance in a virtual machine, viewing the console in your web browser. You can also make changes inside Testdrive and then click on the Modified Files tab where you can see what what was changed and add it to the list of overlay files.
If you find a problem with the Mono 2.2 Appliance please file a bug and I will try to fix it. Thanks to SUSE Studio it won't be so difficult to fix those bugs!