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Silverlight 3.0 Released, Allows Apps Outside the Browser 335

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the trying-desperately-to-regain-the-cool-factor dept.
Many different sources are reporting that Microsoft has unleashed the third major version of Silverlight to the masses. With 3.0 we see things like better 3D graphics support, the ability to offload tasks to a GPU, and the ability to run apps outside of the browser. "Silverlight's video capabilities have always been impressive when compared to Flash, and the new version boasts some new features that should keep the competition with Flash hot. It uses a media broadcasting technology Microsoft calls Smooth Streaming, an adaptive technology for playing the same H.264 video stream at the highest bitrate the device and its bandwidth limitations will allow. So if you've got a fast computer with an HD monitor and a wide open pipe, you'll see super high quality video at up to full 1080p HD. If you've got a dinky smartphone with mid-level data service, you'll see a constrained version of the same video."
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Silverlight 3.0 Released, Allows Apps Outside the Browser

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  • 3D graphics support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday July 10, 2009 @01:18PM (#28651855) Journal

    3D graphics support does sound interesting, specially when thinking how many flash games there are out but how they lack better graphics. Maybe we start to see DirectX like games directly in web browser too.

  • ...been impressive when compared to Flash? Really? Then why did mlb.com switch from Silverlight to Flash [cnet.com]? I remember when they did this - I had unsubscribed because the Silverlight player was such a mess, and I went back and signed up for the rest of the season.

    That said, the ability to write Silverlight apps in Ruby [silverlight.net] is interesting.

  • The Light (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 10, 2009 @01:39PM (#28652189)

    Don't walk towards the Light. Run.

    Silverlight, although not widely used yet (less than 5% of market), is great and innovative compared to Flash which itself now requires a $1499 set of programs for development.

    Again, MS is building something better than the people who built it first. (OS, GUI, Office Tools, Chat, Browser, now Flash)

    MS is not a Monopoly by accident. They are a Monopoly by improvement.

  • Sounds nice, but.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Friday July 10, 2009 @01:45PM (#28652275)
    ..I still think that Microsoft did not understand what the Internet is about: interoperability. You can create whatever nice framework you want - as long as it is not supported by many systems the adoption rate will be slim. If they would make the API a public standard (that is not restricted) then people might adapt, if it is any good.

    Now I know, someone will surely insist that the Windows platform still has the majority of the market share and most users don't care, but you see, most users also don't write applications, and as long as you try to feed BS to the later group of people, you are going nowhere.

    Another thing is I see is that the Silverlight frameworks seems to have some severe design issues as it is necessary to bring out a new version seemingly every half year. A well designed platform would try to get the basics right in the first few iterations and then add libraries to it that provide more functionality without having to do a 180 on the whole basic coding.

    Guess this will even turn down Microsoft sympathising developers as they can't keep up with the change that's happening continuously. I mean many people are fed up that everything Microsoft does is obsolete in three years time and you can start anew with learning and development (see VB, classic ASP and so forth).

    Another thing is, that though the feature list sounds impressive, there are a lot of undressed issues like security that is a very important one with this kind of networked technology.
  • by the_scoots (1595597) on Friday July 10, 2009 @01:53PM (#28652415)
    The list of new features looks very familiar to the new Flash player that came out a while back: Hardware Acceleration, 3D Capabilities, Dynamic Streaming (Variable Bitrate), Etc.. http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/features/ [adobe.com]
  • by causality (777677) on Friday July 10, 2009 @02:05PM (#28652589)

    I've never heard of any exploits targeting DirectX or someone breaking in via GPU. In a same way someone could exploit Windows sound driver via flash applet to break in. I dont think I've used any ActiveX objects for 10 years, and times have changed. Obviously security has also come up too.

    Speaking of ActiveX, am I missing something or does that part about "apps outside the browser" sound like a more modern reimplementation of the old ActiveX? By that I mean, whether it's "inside the browser" or in a different window, this still amounts to running executable code from remote hosts. Let's hope this isn't the security nightmare that ActiveX proved to be, and yes, it's reasonable to look at a company's track record when speculating about these matters.

    Like too many articles linked on Slashdot, this is more like a press release and is extremely light on details. You'd really think that whether or not they avoided repeating the mistakes that gravely plagued the last similar idea would be worthy of mention. Anyway, I would like to know what kind of sandboxing and other security measures are in place to handle the untrusted executables.

  • Argh, recursion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shish (588640) on Friday July 10, 2009 @02:13PM (#28652701) Homepage

    So basically after all this time and effort, the current state of the art wonderful new technology is "the thick client"? Colour me unimpressed :-/

    People really need to stop being amazed every time the paradigm switches from thin client to thick and back, only each time with more abstraction layers...

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday July 10, 2009 @02:13PM (#28652709) Homepage

    Sure, just send the most significant bits in a high-priority packet, and send the least significant bits in lower-priority packets. It seems so simple, it's hard to believe such a feature isn't supported in every audio and video codec.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 10, 2009 @02:36PM (#28653089)

    Grammar nazi alert...

    Disclose: to make known or public. i.e. Silverlight rules! Disclosure: I used to work on Silverlight.

    Disclaim: to disavow all, part, or share. i.e. I love iPods! Disclaimer: I do not work for Apple.

    HTH HAND

  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday July 10, 2009 @04:25PM (#28654517)
    Well, that is a very good point. Ultimately the lack of proprietary content on open software is due to a fundamental ideological and economic incompatibility, and the technology is just a symptom of that.
  • Re:H.264 licensing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by miguel (7116) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @11:42AM (#28660479) Homepage

    As with VC1 that are distributed with Moonlight use, the H.264 codecs will be fully licensed from MPEGLA.

    Same goes for Moonlight, which is covered explicitly under the covenant not to sue from Microsoft.

  • Re:H.264 licensing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by miguel (7116) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @11:55AM (#28660611) Homepage

    Not many sites used Silverlight 1.0, because to begin with, barely any sites used Silverlight 1.0.

    1.0 did not include the .NET runtime, for most people it was just a javascript plugin that did audio and video. Silverlight only became interesting with 2.0 (this is what we were drawn to when Silverlight 1.1 was announced).

    Folks have three options for Silverlight on Linux:
    (a) Hope that Microsoft supports it.
    (b) Ignore it altogether and hope it vanishes.
    (c) Support Moonlight.

    We have taken the third step as we believe it will gain adoption and Silverlight will be required to access certain web sites in the future. You might disagree and hope for (a) or (b). In the meantime, we have initiated a collaboration with Microsoft where they provide us with licensed codecs and test suites for all of Silverlight (.NET, GUI, video, audio, streaming) to make sure that the open source version of Silverlight is compatible.

    Although we had early access to 2.0 and 3.0, we only use this knowledge for planning. Once they go beta, we have used the public information to add some of those features to Moonlight as we go. For example Moonlight 1.9.5 is actually a mix of Silverlight 2.0 and 3.0, it already supports some four or five features from Silverlight 3.

    But Silverlight is a large project, and we are a small team compared to the task at hand, so you are right that we will continue to lag behind Silverlight. This trend in my opinion will change when the fundamental principle of open source kicks in: the need to scratch and itch.

    Most Linux users have not had a compelling reason to use Moonlight other than for example Moonshine, but as Silverlight continues to gain adoption and more sites require it, we expect open source contributors to join our effort to tune, improve, bug fix and implement the features on time.

    Although you might want to portray having an open source version of Silverlight as a "a losing game", we see this as fundamentally important for Linux to continue to have access to the best technologies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:19AM (#28667453)

    It's not three-d graphics. It's layered two-d graphics with interesting transforms.

    I think you're talking about SL2. SL3 has "proper" perspective 3D graphics, with much of what WPF can do graphically, including hardware acceleration to boot (as mentioned in TFA). To quote the official propaganda [microsoft.com]:

    "Perspective 3D Graphics. Silverlight 3 allows developers and designers to apply content to a 3D plane."

    P.S. By "worked on" do you mean "developed sites/apps using" or "worked in the team @MS that developed" Silverlight?

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