How important is the mono project to Linux? Absolutely critical.

I'm of the mindset that the new economics of open source will eventually allow Linux, say, to become more friendly even on the desktop than Windows or Macintosh. The question is not if but when. I don't think many will argue that Mozilla, GNOME, KDE, AbiWord, even something like Gaim, hasn't be gaining on their Windows equivalents since their inceptions. There are no companies to go under, no employees to flee to the next great paying job and leave everyone in a lurch... Open source turns the software development world on its head.

But Mono has a lot to say when it comes to the "when" of Linux's ascension. People prototype in Visual Basic first and might plan to come back to C++ or even Java later and sometimes it just doesn't happen. Companies might plan to reach that final 2% later, but something shiner comes by before they get the chance. And consumers hardly want yesterday's papers. It's a lot harder to sell a three-year old game to Mac users than it is to sell one concurrently.

If Mono can finally provide a "write once, run equally well on WIndows and Linux [forget anywhere]", I think you'll see Linux gain ground somewhat akin to when the girl trips and Frankenstein, seemingly miles behind in the last scene, is suddenly right behind her.