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Silverlight On the Way To Linux 475

Afforess writes "For the past two years Microsoft and Novell have been working on the 'Moonlight' project. It is a runtime library for websites that run Silverlight. It should allow PCs running Linux to view sites that use Siverlight. Betanews reports 'In the next stage of what has turned out to be a more successful project than even its creators envisioned, the public beta of Moonlight — a runtime library for Linux supporting sites that expect Silverlight — is expected within days.' Moonlight 2.0 is already in the works."
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Silverlight On the Way To Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:50AM (#25843741)

    While Windows is getting version 2, and the Mac is almost version 2, Linux is almost getting version 1. Awesome job MS.

    • by INT_QRK ( 1043164 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:57AM (#25844141)
      Oh, I have an idea; howabout using open standards to implement web sites and services, and then browser builders can implement the standards for maximum interopreability -- nah, that's crzy talk!
    • by cyberjessy ( 444290 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:06AM (#25844247) Homepage

      A bit of history. Silverlight 1 is a joke as a product, Silverlight 2.0 is the real deal. To start with, Silverlight 1 does not have the CLR (.Net runtime), it was pretty much useless for anything complex. Even back when v1 was released, companies (and Microsoft itself) were releasing all the cool stuff in v2.0 alpha.

      So mono never really had to chase v1, which had zero chances of succeeding. Which is probably why Mono is still at v1. However, getting v2.0 running would not be too difficult. It is mostly a scaled down .Net runtime, with some multimedia added.

      And if you have ever used Mono, you would notice that they have a remarkably complete implementation of .Net, with compilers compatible with the newest from Microsoft.

    • by bonefry ( 979930 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:50AM (#25845403)

      Actually Moonlight is compatible with version 1.1, and it was a bigger progress from 1.0 then it is between 1.1 and 2.0.

      What's really important is that the overall architecture is now in place. And Silverlight 2.0 is shipped with open source controls (under their permissive license) that will be used with Moonlight with little effort, among other components like DLR.

      Also, Microsoft may have helped, but responsible for Moonlight, they are not.

      Also, please consider that Moonlight will be in a much better shape than any open-source Flash or Java clones available.

  • Javascript (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:50AM (#25843743) Homepage Journal

    With what is being achieved with Javascript and dynamic HTML, I see less and less need for technologies such as Flash and Silverlight. The only thing they really have going for them are the development environments. To see some of the games already implemented using plain old Javascript and HTML:

    http://www.apple.com/webapps/games/ [apple.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PARENA ( 413947 )

      One big "advantage" of Silverlight over JavaScript and DHTML would be... hold on... Don't shoot me for this, I'm just the messenger... Here we go: DRM!

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        And, of course, the ability to write a app for web deployment using C#.

        Really, Slashdot, I'm disappointed. You go for the knee-jerk "fuck Microsoft" when really we're looking at Microsoft's attempt to cede the Windows monopoly and rebuild the Win32 API lock-in that delivered that monopoly across the Internet? That's a much scarier prospect, especially seeing as .Net is the only product of theirs they haven't run into the ground yet.

        Of course, it's also much more unlikely, but Slashdot's record on predicting

        • Well if it's any consolation, I used Silverlight to watch the Olympics on nbc.com.

          It sucked.

          Hopefully other users will also recognize its suckitude and avoid it with a passion. To date the best player I've found is on cwtv.com, since it can dynamically adjust the video speed as high as 2000kbit/s or as low as 128k, and yet still produce a watchable image. Watching MS Silverlight on my slow connection barely worked at all, but I've never had any problem with CW's "mplayer" application.

    • by Andr T. ( 1006215 ) <andretaff@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:59AM (#25843791)
      There's no turret defense. How could I live without a good turret defense game?
    • Try displaying text in any way other than in horizontal line (i.e. rotated, at least by 90 degrees) in plain HTML+CSS+JS, then we can talk.
    • Javascript cannot be used to build true in browser applications.

      You can build GUIs with it, interact with server side stuff, and you can make pretty games, but not a great deal more.

      With Flash you can write whole applications, including pretty complex logic, and Silverlight is even better for application development.

      Yes, yes, its a Microsoft product, evil, blah blah.. I get it. Moving on...

      If you are being tasked to write applications that run in a browser then Silverlight is a great option. Now you can wri

    • SVG [mozilla.org] is also part of the growing portfolio. If you have any modern browser the you can use it (IE is still playing catch-up).

      BTW does anyone have any examples of good games implemented using SVG?

    • That's a good argument, if all browsers had great javascript performance like the new Webkit builds or FF3.1 or Chrome.

      Since 75% of the market uses _the_ IE, Flash (and Silverlight if ever) is the only way you can do fancy graphics. Say, even something simple as a fade effect without hitting 100% cpu.

  • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j@@@ww...com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:52AM (#25843751) Homepage

    Standards anybody ?

    I still think there should be a new standard that would obviate the need for flash, you can keep your silverlight and shove it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:52AM (#25843755)

    Is there any reason not to think that this linux support will falter if Silverlight becomes widely used?

    • Is there any reason not to think that this linux support will falter if Silverlight becomes widely used?

      Yes, yes there is. Browsers are no longer platform dependent, so Microsoft will need to keep Silverlight current on as many platforms as they can.

  • I think I'll pass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:53AM (#25843757)
    I can't say I have much love for Adobe and Flash, and I simply do not trust Microsoft, but if Linux support is going to be a key point-scoring device in the corporate pissing contests of today then I suppose a few good things might come of it. Let battle commence!
  • by Roland Piquepaille ( 780675 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:53AM (#25843761)

    "For the past two years Microsoft and Novell have been working on the 'Moonlight' project.

    Translation: for two years, Microsoft has been using Novell to pretend they're not working on the Linux platform and aren't trying to embrace/extend it.

    There ain't no way Silverlight will end up on my hard-drive. Having the Flash player is bad enough already.

  • by superid ( 46543 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:55AM (#25843769) Homepage

    I would have expected MS to write a new app like that in 100% managed code. I assumed that the Mono project would allow me to run most managed code, maybe with some effort (but not 2 years by two major software houses)

    If so, then I would have expected it to "just run" under Mono.

    One of my assumptions is wrong.

    • by cnettel ( 836611 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:17AM (#25843903)
      A few things: you cannot write a (Mozilla) browser plugin all in managed code, there is simply no interface. You at least need a bridge. Silverlight is also related to WPF/Avalon, which has a native component on Windows. Most importantly, though: Silverlight is not open source. Moonlight is. It is not a port, it is a sanctioned, but independent, rewrite, which is also related to advances in the Mono support for quite a few things that weren't there 2 years ago.
      • by BhaKi ( 1316335 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:14AM (#25844285)

        Silverlight is not open source. Moonlight is. It is not a port, it is a sanctioned, but independent, rewrite, which is also related to advances in the Mono support for quite a few things that weren't there 2 years ago.

        Those two words are contradictory: you need Microsoft's sanction (permission, as i understand) if you want to develop a 100% silverlight-compatible browser. (by the way, THAT's the difference between JavaScript and Silverlight). So how is it "independent"? Am I missing something here, my fellow slashdotters?

    • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:26AM (#25843937)
      The Silverlight framework is related to the .Net framework, but does not match it 100% - there are features and functionality unique to Silverlight not currently available in the latest .Net framework.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by skolima ( 1159779 )
      The first one. Like most Microsoft-shipped .Net libraries, Silverlight class library is heavy with Windows API calls. Also, the sound and video codecs are native binaries, not managed code. If it all was 100% managed code AND Microsoft licensing would allow it to be run outside Windows, you'd only need to package Mono as a browser plugin - which itself was not a trivial task because of various Mozilla quirks.
      • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:02AM (#25844203) Journal

        Like most Microsoft-shipped .Net libraries, Silverlight class library is heavy with Windows API calls.

        How else could it be? If you want to open a file, you have to call the system API for opening a file somewhere down the line, eventually. Any high-level API, be it Python, Java or .NET, ends up with wrappers over API calls.

  • So, anyone know if Moonlight is a runtime library for running Silverlight apps?
  • by Ice Tiger ( 10883 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:57AM (#25843777)

    Unless there was an advantage to the lock in of flash why is there a reason to swap to another propitiatory product? Especially a linux clone that will always be behind Microsoft's offering.

    If Silverlight was GPL and available for use by all then there might be a reason to adopt it over flash, but to just swap monopolies, no thanks.

  • by Andr T. ( 1006215 ) <andretaff@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:57AM (#25843781)
    I imagine how those developers working on Linux would be looked by the other MS employees. 'Oh, man, they're in the Dark side. They wear dark clothes, long hair, a beard, this can't be a good thing.'
    • by Sklivvz ( 167003 ) *

      It is needed because silverlight has a different implementation of the CLR, which supports dynamic languages such as javascript or python.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Andr T. ( 1006215 )

        It is needed because silverlight has a different implementation of the CLR, which supports dynamic languages such as javascript or python.

        So, you need a long beard to support python?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        While Silverlight does have a "different implementation of CLR", it's not specifically to support dynamic languages. Dynamic language support in Silverlight and the upcoming .NET 4.0 is done via DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime), which is built on top of CLR. CLR itself doesn't have any dynamic-language-specific features (such as the "invokedynamic" Java proposal). DLR uses Reflection, and some smart caching techniques, to achieve good performance.

        On the whole, CLR in Silverlight 2.0 seems to be a trimmed v

  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <ed@membled.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:59AM (#25843789) Homepage

    Moonlight is great but it's for Linux only. (Mono itself runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.) That reduces its suitability for making dynamic websites, because Mac and Windows users don't have a free browser plugin to run them with. They only have Microsoft's proprietary Silverlight plugin, and if you're going to require a binary-only plugin then you might as well just use Flash. So I think a Windows version of Moonlight would be cool; just as many people prefer to run the free Firefox browser even though Windows includes the proprietary Internet Explorer, so Moonlight could provide a free alternative for dynamic content.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:16AM (#25843891)

      What? Windows/OS X users prefer Firefox because they think it's better than the alternatives, not because they care about propietary soft [that much]. If the did they wouldn't be using Windows/OS X in the first place.

  • Hrm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FreshKarma ( 1333201 )
    This sounds more like a threat than a promise.
  • While there may not be much damage that they can do to the system, with Microsoft's track record, you can be sure that Moonlight will be a complete compromise of the user account in which it is run. I'll bet the EULA for Moonlight gives Microsoft explicit permission to access all of your data, just as all of the OS EULAs have since 2K SP4 (at least; I never tried to load 2K SP3). Novell has already shown their colors by becoming a Microsoft "subsidiary". Why would you install software from either of them

  • by Andr T. ( 1006215 ) <andretaff@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:03AM (#25843823)
    Ok, now it's official: with Silverlight, 2009 will sure be the year of Linux in desktop!
  • by TheStonepedo ( 885845 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:06AM (#25843835) Homepage Journal

    "Web 2.0" seems to be nothing more than a non-stop assault of useless animations, personalized/targeted advertisements, and automatically-loading and starting background music to make up for poorly-organized sites. Animated .gif banners, despite often being gaudy, were not so offensive as scripts that scour for statistical data about me to offer localized advertisements. The addition of new, non-standardized software to each user's browser is the worst way to embrace "The Cloud"; it focuses on style alone while only marginally catering to the needs of companies and their clients.
    Silverlight will see some adoption by Linux users who cannot bear to browse the internet without clicking monkeys to win iPods. I doubt it would hit even that level of popularity before its current audience becomes so fed up with its more obnoxious aspects. The process of understanding Silverlight will be akin to that of installing Flash:
    1) Install Silverlight/Moonlight to be amazed by a few useful applications
    2) Install advertisement blocking add-on to avoid the droves of awful applications
    3) Tweak blocking black/white-lists until Silverlight loses its appeal
    4) Remove Silverlight/Moonlight

    On the fringe out here I'll stick to elinks where I can get a majority of my information while avoiding information overload.

  • by NobleSavage ( 582615 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:13AM (#25843883)

    It's a real treat when you find a site that is static html. It's fast, clean, and refreshing. Flash and Ajax have their place, but more often than not they just irritate me. I'm tired of sites that peg my CPU and crash my browser.

    Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical, but I'm sure Moonlight will only contribute to web bloat and add to my frustrations. And that is being generous and not bring up that MS is part of the equation.

    I just hope this fails to catch on and people forget about it.

    • Static html (Score:3, Insightful)

      I'll be opening a site next year that will be static html. There are wonderful tools to make static pages that are easily updatable. The use of static html doesn't mean a site can't be fresh. Yes, I'll have some fancier stuff in an associated forum but even the user-contributed content will be edited and added to the main site as static html.

      Why am I doing it this way? I think the key (well, one of the main keys) to a successful site is simply knowing your audience and giving them what they want and nee

  • Now please add a XAML designer to Monodevelop so I can create Silverlight/Moonlight apps without Visual Studio. AJAX, etc... is too twitchy and cumbersome. Silverlight is a great way to make real apps that deploy over the web, and without having to waste time fighting with JS+HTML+CSS (Ugh!).

  • Flash or Silverlight (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Elektroschock ( 659467 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:18AM (#25843909)

    So let's keep the facts straight. Microsoft is trying to push a Flash-me-too Silverlight and invests. They also invest in other platform implementations via Novell. All customers use Flash.

    I installed Silverlight on my Vista PC to view a boring Microsoft developer Website video. No one else uses the software. It is nice that provided Silverlight achieved the necessary market penetration which requires marketing investments of Microsoft, the Linux implementation Moonlight would be just one generation behind.

    But more likely is that Microsoft will drop the Silverlight project and then you have open source developers who wasted their time on the moonlight implementation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Teferison ( 1403841 )
      There is one big advantage that silverlight might bring to the Linux world: Competition
      I would love to see a bit of pressure on Adobe to improve their Linux Flash support.
  • by toby ( 759 ) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:19AM (#25843913) Homepage Journal


  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:20AM (#25843917) Homepage
    what silverlight seeks to achieve that isnt currently offered in the web browsing experience?

    I have flash in linux, and spend more time blocking it than enjoying it. i have javascript but also spend more time blocking that from shooting popups, redirects, and ads to me than actually enjoying it.
    id enjoy java, but its been embraced and extended by MS to the point that no Java on the web works well, if at all in IcedTea (and icedtea explicitly meets all the requirements for java!)

    activeX has turned into a security laughingstock...so perhaps this is why we're seeing silverlight?? if thats the case, i recommend linux stay the fuck away from it.
    and imho, i think CSS has been the only tech offered to the web i've really enjoyed. the point of the web is to offer something everyone can share, and the megacorps seem to be diligently working to ensure we cant do that.
  • by Arrawa ( 681474 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:35AM (#25843993)
    Just curious, is there an open source alternative with javascript/ajax and Ogg Vorbis available which can compete with flash and Silverlight? I mean free server components, free developer tools and free web plugins if needed. If not, why not?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by doktorjayd ( 469473 )

      something something similar-ish with java FX.. basically an interpreted language that gets compiled on the fly and run in a jvm.

      http://java.sun.com/javafx/ [sun.com]

      sposed to be pretty friendly to devs and all with the sdk and open source ide plugins.

  • No printing support (Score:5, Informative)

    by javilon ( 99157 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:03AM (#25844205) Homepage

    If we are looking at silverlight as a flash replacement, it is just a flash clone with no market share, so that makes it a non starter. Also, flash comes installed by default this days on every operating system and browser. Silverlight doesn't. That is enough of a show stopper on itself.

    If on the other hand, we are looking at it as a way to code the client side of business apps with a rich interface using a strongly typed, compiled language, it could have some potential, except for one thing. No printing support. Printing support is essential for business apps and Silverlight doesn't provide it, at all.

  • Microsoft today announced the release of version 2.0 of its world-beating Silverlight multimedia platform for the Web [today.com]. As a replacement for Adobe's Flash, it is widely considered utterly superfluous and of no interest to anyone who could be found.

    "We have a fabulous selection of content partners for Silverlight," announced Microsoft marketer Scott Guthrie on his blog today. "NBC for the Olympics, which delivered millions of new users to BitTorrent. The Democrat National Convention, which is fine because those Linux users are all Ron Paul weirdos anyway. Major League Baseball, er, forget that one. It comes with rich frameworks, rich controls, rich networking support, a rich base class library, rich media support, oh God kill me now. My options are underwater, my resume's a car crash, Google won't call me back. My life is an exercise in futility. I'm the walking dead, man. The walking dead."

    Silverlight was created by Microsoft to leverage its desktop monopoly on Windows, to work off the tremendous sales and popularity of Vista. Flash is present on a pathetic 96% of all computers connected to the Internet, whereas Silverlight downloads are into the triple figures.

    "But it's got DRM!" cried Guthrie. "Netflix loved it! And web developers love us too, after all we did for them with IE 6. Wait, come back! We'll put porn on it! FREE PORN!"

    Similar Microsoft initiatives include its XPS replacement for Adobe PDF, its HD Photo replacement for JPEG photographs and its earlier Liquid Motion attempt to replace Flash. Also, that CD-ROM format Vista defaults to which no other computers can read.

    In a Microsoft internal security sweep, Guthrie's own desktop was found to still be running Windows XP.

  • Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GFree678 ( 1363845 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:48AM (#25844609)

    Let's face it, if (hypothetically) Silverlight happens to become a common-place tech used on the Internet, then we're better off with an implementation in Linux than without. Even if that means binary-only and proprietary.

    It's not ideal sure, but few things are in life. Give people who want functionality the means to do so in their OS of choice. If others wish to stick to their own principles, that's fine. They don't have to install the plugin, and can choose to miss out on the next Olympics stream or ability to use an upcoming HD movie service or whatever. But if people want such features, then cool beans, they've got the choice now.

    I don't trust Microsoft either, but I've given up complaining about missing functionality in Linux. I just take whatever I can get, proprietary or not (including Flash and NVIDIA drivers). MHO.

  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:27AM (#25845121)
    major league baseball dumps silverlight to go to Adobe flash for showing online game video content... [adobe.com]

    why didn't this make it onto slashdot then???

    ADOBE MAX 2008, SAN FRANCISCO -- Nov. 17, 2008 -- MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, and Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced a two-year agreement in which MLB.com has selected the Adobe® Flash® Platform to deliver all of its live and on-demand video offerings beginning in 2009. In addition, MLB.com will provide a downloadable rich Internet application (RIA) built using Adobe AIR(TM), so baseball fans can access additional features outside the Web browser.

  • Netflix compatible? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sricetx ( 806767 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:05AM (#25845629)
    So does the latest Moonlight version work with the Netflix "Watch Instantly" feature? If not then this isn't a very interesting announcement.
  • by John Sokol ( 109591 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @03:08PM (#25849079) Homepage Journal

      I just spend a little time reading thought the MS web site, and it never really says!

      WTF is Silverlight?

        Is it some web server? or a browser? or some scripting language?

          I don't get it, and I don't feel like downloading it and installing it to find out, or watching there video.

        Am I the only one confused by all this meaningless marketing speak?
      I mean it talks about XML and features, but never says what the hell the damb thing is!!!!

      Did I miss the memo on this somewhere?


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by argent ( 18001 )

      Silverlight is basically a .NET-based version of Flash or Java. Being based on .NET instead of a sandboxed interpreter it should be faster, and they get to work with Novell to try and get some open source street cred.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.