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Author Topic: Microsoft releases Silverlight 1.0, announces Linux support  (Read 3634 times)

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Microsoft releases Silverlight 1.0, announces Linux support
« on: 05. September 2007., 22:26:34 »
Microsoft announced yesterday the official release of Silverlight 1.0, a versatile .NET development framework that makes it possible for developers to build web applications that incorporate rich media content and elaborate user interfaces. Although Silverlight support was initially only planned for Windows and Mac OS X, Microsoft has announced plans to extend full Silverlight support to the Linux operating system in collaboration with Novell.
Miguel de Icaza, Novell's lead Mono developer and vice president of developer platforms, revealed plans earlier this year to build Moonlight, an open-source Silverlight implementation for Linux that runs on top of Mono. Although de Icaza had initially planned to finish creating an early prototype by the end of the year, he and his team decided to shorten the timeline and attempt to create a working plugin in time for the MIX07 event in Paris in June. After an epic 20-day hackathon, during which a team of deeply committed Novell developers worked 12- to 16-hour days and produced tens of thousands of lines of code, a functioning Moonlight prototype was made available for download.

Microsoft now plans to work closely with Novell to ensure that Silverlight is fully supported on the Linux platform. In a blog entry, de Icaza discusses the scope of Microsoft's involvement in Novell's Silverlight development project. "We have had a cordial relationship with many developers at Microsoft for quite some time," de Icaza writes in his blog entry. "Today we are formalizing a collaboration between Microsoft and Novell with the explicit purpose of bringing Silverlight to Linux and do this in a fully supported way."

According to de Icaza, Microsoft will be providing Novell with access to Silverlight test suites to ensure compatibility with Microsoft's proprietary implementation along with additional documentation to help facilitate ongoing development and strong support for future versions, including the upcoming 1.1 release. Microsoft also plans to make binary video and audio codecs that are compatible with the open-source plug-in available for download to individual Moonlight users directly from the Microsoft web site. Since there are no intellectual property impediments limiting distribution of the plug-in itself, Novell plans to make Moonlight available to all Linux users—not just Novell enterprise customers—and will provide both RPM and DEB packages for inclusion in major Linux distributions as well as source code. Although Moonlight presently only supports Firefox on Linux, de Icaza and the Moonlight team hope to collaborate with developers to bring Moonlight support to other browsers and open-source operating systems.

The Mono development team is also working on additional projects that will augment Silverlight support on the Linux platform in other ways. For instance, Alan McGovern is actively developing Lunar Eclipse, an open-source Silverlight design tool for Linux and Mac OS X.
"A shift of tectonic proportions"

Ars spoke with de Icaza after the announcement to get additional details about this new collaborative agreement. "Until today, it was casual," de Icaza told Ars, referring to his team's relationship with Microsoft's Silverlight developers. "Today we signed the agreement in which we will get access to test suites, specifications and more."

We also asked de Icaza if he thinks that this latest move by Microsoft is indicative of an emerging trend within the company towards greater openness and collaboration with the open-source community. "I think this is a significant event," de Icaza replied. "I am not sure what is happening inside Microsoft, but the developer division is opening up like nobody else. They really seem to understand open-source, and they are changing Microsoft from the inside. This is a shift of tectonic proportions."

Microsoft's attitude towards Linux has evolved significantly in recent years, and the company's inconsistent position seems to reflect internal dissonance. Although there are some signs that the company is softening up, Microsoft still demonstrates less promising behaviors. The insights provided by de Icaza seem to indicate that there are a growing number of developers inside of Microsoft who recognize the value and necessity of collaboration with the open-source software community and have enough leverage to make a positive influence on company policy. If this trend continues to grow, we could see Microsoft taking a more active role in the open-source community and possibly opening more of its technologies.

Microsoft's new collaborative agreement will guarantee that Novell has the resources and documentation needed to ensure that Linux will have strong support for Silverlight going forward. Ongoing collaboration between Microsoft and Novell on the Moonlight project could also pressure Adobe to open up its Flash browser plug-in, which competes with Silverlight. Microsoft's announcement is likely to be welcomed by desktop Linux users and many in the web development community. It is also a strong indication that Novell's controversial efforts to work closely with Microsoft can produce technologies that truly benefit the broader Linux community.
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Microsoft releases Silverlight 1.0, announces Linux support
« on: 05. September 2007., 22:26:34 »


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