Novell finalizes Moonlight 2; offers broader distribution terms

Novell released on December 17 Moonlight 2, its latest version of its Silverlight for Linux port. It also announced broader licensing terms for Moonlight, designed to protect from potential lawsuits customers who want to run Moonlight on multiple versions of Linux, not just on Novell's.

Novell released on December 17 Moonlight 2, its latest version of its Silverlight for Linux port. It also announced broader licensing terms for Moonlight, designed to protect from potential lawsuits customers who want to run Moonlight on multiple versions of Linux, not just on Novell's.

Moonlight 2 is a superset of Silverlight 2, as it includes various features from Silverlight 3. Microsoft released Silverlight 3 in the spring of 2009 and is already moving toward delivering Silverlight 4 in the first half of 2010.

Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and Novell Vice President of Developer Platforms, said he and his team are moving ahead to complete delivery of the full Silverlight 3 feature set, with priorities being placed on "getting the major applications that users want to use first," according to a new blog post he wrote today.

Novell released a preview of Moonlight 2 in May. Moonlight is built on top of Mono 2.6 runtime, Cairo and Gtk+ and today supports Firefox on Linux. "We are hard at work to support Google Chrome on Linux as well," de Icaza said in his post.

De Icaza also explained the ins and outs of the new "covenant" protections he negotiated with Microsoft for Moonlight. He said that his team wanted to make sure anyone using any BSD or Linux variant could redistribute Moonlight. From his post:

"The new patent covenant ensures that other third party distributions can distribute Moonlight without the fear of getting sued over patent infringement by Microsoft.

"There is one important difference between the version of Moonlight that will be available from Novell and the version that you will get from your distribution: the version obtained from Novell will have access to licensed media codecs."

A preview release of Moonlight 3 will be made available in the first quarter of 2010 with a final release scheduled for the third quarter of 2010, according to Novell. Moonlight 4 "will follow shortly thereafter," a company press release said.

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