Common Language Infrastructure

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The common language infrastructure is used in the Microsoft .NET initiative as the basis for running programs written in different programming languages. Before this Visual Basic for example has required a component VBRUN and Visual C++ uses MSVCRT for the compiled programs to run. The common language infrastructure is an effort to unify the different runtime modules needed.

It uses a virtual machine and a class library Common Language Runtime. (see Microsoft site [1]). There are many compilers beeing developed which produce code for this virtual machine. The code it executes is called Common Intermediate Language (CIL) or Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL).

It seems that in the future there will be at least two major virtual machine technologies competing (see Java virtual machine)