Silverlight in the

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-09-05 Print this article Print

Moonlight "> Microsoft on Sept. 5 is expected to release to the Web Silverlight 1.0, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering richer user experiences on the Web. In addition, the Redmond, Wash., software maker has announced that it will work with Novell to deliver Silverlight support for Linux, an effort dubbed "Moonlight" that is based on the project started on
The delivery of Silverlight 1.0, along with several user examples and a new partner program, is big news for the Microsoft technology, but that news is overshadowed by the companys sanction of the Moonlight project.
"This is a big day from where Im sitting," said Miguel de Icaza, vice president of developer platforms and leader of the Mono project at Novell, in Waltham, Mass. "This is a big effort on the part of Microsoft to work with Linux." Key takeaways from Microsofts announcements include the companys continued focus on its customers and its partnering with Novell as "a great extension to what weve been doing," said Brian Goldfarb, group product manager of Microsofts Developer Division Platform & Tools Strategy. "Explicit support for Moonlight shows that Microsoft is serious about challenging the conventional perceptions about how it competes in the market and that they are willing to do whatever it takes to establish an RIA [rich Internet application] platform with the broadest reach possible," said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Microsofts competitors just cant credibly say, Silverlights a great piece of technology, but only works on Windows and IE. It puts pressure on other RIA platform providers to deliver a platform with an equally broad reach to developers—and to do so quickly." Chris Swenson, an analyst with The NPD Group, said the plug-ins being developed in the Mono project will give developers greater options. "With the Linux version, developers will be able to target the .Net run-time on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms, something that gets a lot of .Net developers very excited," Swenson said. Microsofts Silverlight will light up Linux. Read Joe Wilcoxs blog. When Microsoft announced Silverlight, a critical piece of feedback the company heard was about the "reach" of the technology, according to Goldfarb. "So we decided to do a partnership with Novell to deliver an implementation of Silverlight on Linux," he said. Novell was "quite excited about Silverlight when it was announced," according to de Icaza. "We were watching it for some time, and when they began working on Silverlight 1.1, we really got interested." Knowing that Silverlight would see widespread adoption, Novell engineers built a prototype of Moonlight with the help of Microsoft officials and later showed a demo of the technology, he said. "Now we will deliver a complete Silverlight implementation for Linux called Moonlight, and it will have complete parity" with Silverlight, he said. Moonlight is "a complete reimplementation from scratch of the Silverlight specification," he said. "Look at it like the TCP/IP spec. Today, were prototyping the [Silverlight] media stuff using an open-source library and using the Windows Media codec from Microsoft." Goldfarb said Novells approach of creating a reimplementation of Silverlight from scratch enables the company to deliver Moonlight as a true open-source project under an open-source license. "We expect to have Moonlight available within six months," de Icaza said, noting that Novell is waiting for a test suite to help with the creation of the technology. He also said Novell is working on a version of Moonlight to support Silverlight 1.1, which itself is still under development. "Were aiming to be as close as possible to the release of Silverlight 1.1" with a supporting Linux version, he said. Moreover, although Novell is running the Moonlight project, as an open-source effort it is open to outside developers who wish to contribute. "The effort is open source, and all of our code is available in our repository," de Icaza said. Silverlight significantly reduces development and deployment costs and provides enhanced Web audio and video streaming and playback using Windows Media Technologies, according to Microsoft officials. Page 2: Silverlight in the Moonlight

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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