Open-Source 'Moonlight' Project Abandoned

The open-source Moonlight project to deliver a version of Microsoft's Silverlight browser plug-in and development platform has been abandoned.

Novell and friends have abandoned support for Moonlight, the open-source version of Microsoft€™s Silverlight rich Internet application plug-in technology, according to a founder of the project.

In an interview with InfoQ, Miguel de Icaza, a well-known open-source developer and CTO of Xamarin, announced that support for Moonlight has been abandoned.

€œWe have abandoned Moonlight,€ de Icaza said in the published interview.

According to the Moonlight Website, Moonlight is an open-source implementation of Silverlight, primarily for Linux and other Unix/X11-based operating systems. In September 2007, Microsoft and Novell announced a technical collaboration that included access to Microsoft's test suites for Silverlight and the distribution of a Media Pack for Linux users that will contain licensed media codecs for video and audio.

Moonlight came out of the Mono project, an open-source development platform based on the .NET framework that de Icaza started at a company called Ximian (formerly Helix Code) in 2001. De Icaza then took Mono to Novell€“which acquired Ximian in 2003€“where he further nurtured the project and launched Moonlight.

However, as Microsoft has signaled its intent to downplay Silverlight in future development scenarios, interest in pursuing Moonlight also waned.

€œSilverlight has not gained much adoption on the Web, so it did not become the must-have technology that I thought would have to become,€ de Icaza told InfoQ. €œAnd Microsoft added artificial restrictions to Silverlight that made it useless for desktop programming.€

Added de Icaza:

"These days, we no longer believe that Silverlight is a suitable platform for write-once-run-anywhere technology, there are just too many limitations for it to be useful. These days we believe that in the C# world the best option is to split the code along the lines of the presentation layer. The user would reuse a core part of their application across all platforms, and write a new UI specifically for each platform they target: iOS with MonoTouch, Android with MonoDroid, Mac with MonoMac, Windows with WPF or Winforms or Mac, Web with ASP.NET, and Windows and Linux with Gtk.It is not write-once-run-everywhere, but the results are applications that can exploit the native facilities and create native experiences on each platform."

According to the Moonlight Website, the goals of the project were to run Silverlight applications on Linux, provide a Linux SDK to build Silverlight applications, and reuse the Silverlight engine we have built for desktop applications.

Microsoft released the latest version of Silverlight May 8. Version 5.1 is a minor update that features performance, reliability and security improvements.