Did you ever wonder why you need .NET Framework or Mono installed to run your program? Well, it would be much more handy if you could distribute your applications without nagging your clients to install additional frameworks, is it not? So here we are. Lets bundle a .NET-based application with Mono, so you don't need Mono, or .NET installed to run it.
Prepare an environment
First you need to install newest Mono and Cygwin. Installing Mono is very straightforward so you cannot screw up anything. When you start installing Cygwin, go into Full view, then please include 4 additional packages. These are: gcc, mingw, mingw-zlib and zlib.
Now you need a command prompt. Both Mono and Cygwin create shortcuts for command prompts on your desktop, but you need to combine them into one. Here is a batch that does it for me. You may need to change it, if you have other Mono version for example.
echo Mono version 2.4 Build 6 echo Prepending 'C:\PROGRA~1\Mono-2.4\bin' to PATH PATH=C:\PROGRA~1\Mono-2.4\bin;%PATH% chdir C:\cygwin\bin bash --login -i
Bundle an application with Mono
So we are now in a command prompt, running this Cygwin mode. Notice that this is not a DOS prompt anymore, and "dir" won't work anymore. To list files use linux command "ls". The folder you are browsing now is like the one below. Arek is a username.
Browse to this folder with your explorer. Now you copy 2 files into this folder. 1st is your application exe and 2nd is the file Mono.dll (2MB) that you can find in your Mono folder.
For some reason the whole procedure does not work with long file names, so rename your application exe. It should comply with this old DOS 8.3 naming.
Lets go back to command prompt. You need only 1 command to bundle your application, and here is some explanation.
mkbundle is a program within Mono package | -o Bundled1.exe specifies how the Mono-bundled exe will be named | Winform1.exe says what will be included, Mono libraries will be included anyway | --deps is necessary although I am not sure what it does | -z will compress the output exe a lot
mkbundle -o Bundled1.exe Winform1.exe --deps -z
So now you got your Bundled1.exe, which contains your own app along with Mono itself. You should not need Mono nor .NET to run it. Notice that it will be 4MB or more in size. Those bundled exes are not lightweight.
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