Novell Delivers Moonlight 1.0

Novell's Mono project announces the availability of Moonlight 1.0, an open-source technology that enables Linux and PowerPC Mac users to access Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Media content.

Novell's Mono project on Feb. 11 announced the availability of Moonlight 1.0, an open-source technology that enables Linux and PowerPC Mac users to access Microsoft Silverlight content. Moonlight is essentially an open-source implementation of Silverlight.

"Moonlight demonstrates Novell's commitment to making Linux a first-class platform for multimedia and rich Internet applications. Moonlight provides the platform Linux users need to use Silverlight and Windows Media content. In combination with Banshee, a Novell-sponsored project to produce an open-source media player, Moonlight is part of a complete multimedia solution on Linux," Novell said in a news release.

The company continued in the release, "Moonlight has already proven useful to tens of thousands of Linux users. A pre-release of Moonlight 1.0 was delivered on January 19, 2009, to allow Linux users to stream [President] Barack Obama's inauguration."

In an interview with eWEEK, Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and Developer Platform vice president at Novell, said about 30,000 Linux users downloaded Moonlight to watch the Silverlight-streamed broadcast.

The Moonlight team realized that it needed to tweak the pre-release Moonlight 1.0 code to enable Linux users to watch the presidential inauguration via Moonlight, de Icaza said. "We needed to create a skin," he said. "So they called Aaron [Bockover, the creator of Banshee], who was at the time at a movie, and left him a message saying, 'Aaron, your country needs you.'"

Bockover checked his messages and, when he learned what was needed, left from watching the movie "Waltz with Bashir" and went to work on delivering the functionality needed to enable users to watch the inauguration on their Linux machines. The result took him 4 hours to produce and was ready to go at 6 a.m. the morning of the inauguration, de Icaza said.

So Novell essentially rolled out Moonlight 1.0 on Inauguration Day-except for some glitches that Bockover ran into late in the game. Those have been fixed as part of the official Moonlight 1.0 rollout on Feb. 11. However, users who downloaded the software before Feb. 11 will be updated, de Icaza said.

"Microsoft Silverlight offers the most comprehensive and powerful solution for the creation and delivery of rich Internet applications and media experiences, and is used by hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide," Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft, said in a statement. "We have worked with the Moonlight team and Novell to enable interoperability between Windows and Linux platforms and extend the high-quality interactive Web and video experience for the benefit of the Linux community."

Novell also said in the release:

"Available for all major Linux distributions, including OpenSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Fedora, Red Hat and Ubuntu, this release is in part a result of the existing technical collaboration between Microsoft and Novell that extends interoperability between Windows and Linux. Windows Media Video (.wmv), Windows Media Audio (.wma) and MP3 files are supported through the Microsoft Media Pack, a Microsoft-delivered set of media codecs that brings optimized and licensed decoders to every Linux user using Moonlight. Additionally, it allows developers to write Rich Internet Applications for multiple platforms."Moonlight brings the benefits of Silverlight's popular multimedia content to Linux viewers," said [de Icaza] ... "This first release delivers on the goal of breaking down barriers to multimedia content and creating parity in the user's viewing experience regardless of whether the user is on Windows or Linux."The Moonlight 1.0 release is part of a technical collaboration announced by Novell and Microsoft in September of 2007. Microsoft has provided Novell with access to its test suites for Silverlight, and provides Linux end users of Moonlight with free access to the Microsoft Media Pack, a set of licensed media codecs for video and audio."

Meanwhile, de Icaza said, Novell's Moonlight team is now focusing on delivering Moonlight 2.0, which will be based on Silverlight 2.0. "We plan to have a preview of Moonlight 2.0 by the time of the Microsoft MIX conference in March, which will be about six months before we make it generally available," de Icaza said. "Then we'll follow up in the summer with a beta, and a final version at the PDC [Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, scheduled for November 2009]. And at the same time that we ship Moonlight 2.0 we will have a preview of Moonlight 3.0 available. So we will be about six months behind Microsoft's releases of its Silverlight versions."

For more information on Moonlight, go here.