Microsoft officially 'extends support' for Novell's Silverlight Linux port

Microsoft officially 'extends support' for Novell's Silverlight Linux port

Summary: Microsoft announced on September 5 that it is officially has "extended support" for Novell's port of Silverlight to Linux, the project Novell has christened "Moonlight." What does that mean, exactly?


On September 5, Microsoft announced that the 1.0 version of its Silverlight competitor to Flash is now done and the final bits are available via the Web to any and all users.

Microsoft also announced it is officially has "extended support" for Novell's port of Silverlight to Linux, the project Novell has christened "Moonlight." Novell has been working in earnest on the Silverlight port to Linux since April. In June, Novell showed off Moonlight, claiming it took only 21 days to build the working prototype.

Given that Novell already has developed Moonlight, what does Microsoft's official backing get Novell, at this point?

Novell vice president for developer platforms Miguel de Icaza itemized some of the terms and conditions in a September 5 blog posting:

  • "Microsoft will give Novell access to the test suites for Silverlight to ensure that we have a compatible specification. The same test suite that Microsoft uses for Silverlight.
  • "Microsoft will give us access to the Silverlight specifications: details that might be necessary to implement 1.0, beyond what is currently published on the web; and specifications on the 1.1 version of Silverlight as it is updated.
  • "Microsoft will make the codecs for video and audio available to users of Moonlight from their web site. The codecs will be binary codecs, and they will only be licensed for use with Moonlight on a web browser (sorry, those are the rules for the Media codecs.)"

Novell will be the one to implement Silverlight 1.0 and the follow-on 1.1 release due in the summer of 2008, "and will distribute it for the major Linux distributions at the time of the shipment, de Icaza blogged. "We will offer some kind of one-click install for Linux users well as RPM and DEB packages for the major distros and operating systems."

Brian Goldfarb, Microsoft's Lead Product Manager of Web Platform and Tools, said Microsoft is planning to back Moonlight via joint marketing, as well, once the final version of the Linux port releases.

Unlike the case with Mono, Novell's port of .Net to Linux -- where Microsoft had more of a love/hate relationship (love or hate depending on whether you were a Microsoft employee who saw Linux as relatively tolerable or cancerous) -- with Moonlight, Microsoft is leaving nothing to interpretation with Silverlight. The corporate word: Novell's Silverlight port to Linux is something to be embraced.

To what do you attribute the differences in Microsoft's official stance toward Mono vs. Silverlight?

Update: I found a September 5 post on Microsoft's Port25 blog interesting. Director of Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab Sam Ramji tells quite a different story about the extent to which the Moonlight and Microsoft teams are working together on the Silverlight Linux port. Ramji says there's been a great deal of work done in tandem by the two teams. That isn't the story Novell is telling. Nor is it the one Microsoft's Developer Division is telling.

Topics: Software Development, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Once again, Novell is in first place with Linux!

    I guess the MS <-> Novell deal HAS done some good for Linux.

    Shame on the nay-sayers!
    • before it is accepted.....

      #courtesy of: petem LT

      before it is accepted by ANY linux distro other then Novell... i would DEMAND a written document from MS that any implimentation coming from Novell is 100% legal and free of any MS IP.. or that any MS IP used in moonlight is FREE to be used without any license, fee's, fear of suit.. etc....... by any user and linux distro..... without this... i would highly... sorry i meant HIGHLY!!!! recommend that not one distro touch it..
      • But is that even enough? Could Microsoft create compatibility problems

        through undocumented behaviors so that the Linux version is never viable, though free from MS IP issues?
      • You are not in a position to demand anything.

        You may choose Novell or not, thats it.
        • Yes, distributions can demand certain things as a condition for installing

          any software by default. Distributions are under no obligation to include any software they believe is a problem.
          • He is not a distributor.

            And no, I don't think Red Hat can "demand" anything from MS. They can of course become a "partner" as Novell did, or not, thier choice.
          • And he does not have to be a distributor to have an opinion. And, yes,

            RedHat CAN refuse to install Moonlight if they do not like it.
          • But as i said, he is

            in no postition to "demand" anything from MS.
          • And, he was NOT demanding anything from MS he was ONLY giving his opinion

            about what the other distros should demand before they installed Moonlight. He hit the nail right on the head.
          • Reading is fundemental.

            "...i would DEMAND a written document from MS that any implimentation coming..."
          • You understand very well that in that context he is giving his opinion of

            what HE would do IF he were in the position of the distributors.

            He was just basically giving his opinion of what the distributors should do.

            But, you do not have any arguments about his opinion, so you just argue semantics.
        • That all depends on how you look at it, Axey

          I can demand anything that I desire. If the vendor desires my money, the vendor will meet my demands.

          You are correct only in that the vendor does not have to sell to me. BUT, I do not have to buy from the vendor either. The vendor is in NO position to demand that I buy his product if it does not meet my demands.

          Only those who are slaves to Microsoft are in NO position to demand anything.
          Update victim
        • clowntalk

          Are you really so naive to believe that consumers are not entitled to make demands? I thought that was how market forces works. Of course that isn't the case with an incumbent monopoly. I guess that is why you are unable to accept a consumer can make demands of a supplier. Are you not tired of your leash No_Axe. Would you not like to roam free or do you like to have products thrust down your throat without even the slightest of a whimper. I call that spineless.
      • And the Foil Hat Parade begins!! NT

    • I'm happy for Novell because I like SUSE (NT)

      No text (NT)
      • So am I, It actualy works with ATI chips!!! NT

    • But, can we really trust the Fox to guard the chicken coup???

      You have to ask yourself how MS plans to keep this from helping the adoption of Linux desktop.
      • You have it backwards.

        They ARE helping bring it to Linux, that is one of the benefits of the MS/Novell agreement. If other distros want in on it they too can make an agreement with MS.
        • Nobody is denying that MS is helping bring this to Linux, the only question

          is Microsoft's motives.

          Why would the fox want to guard the chicken coup?
          • Thats easy...

            MS is working with Novell to give users what they want.