Xamarin abandons its Silverlight for Linux technology

Xamarin abandons its Silverlight for Linux technology

Summary: Moonlight, the open-source implementation of Silverlight for Linux and Unix, is no more.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Given the continued downplaying by Microsoft of Silverlight, it shouldn't be too surprising that the Moonlight implementation of Silverlight for Linux/Unix is no more.

Xamarin, the company behind the Mono open-source implementation of Microsoft's C# and the Common Language Runtime, has abandoned the related Moonlight technology -- according to Xamarin Chief Technology Officer Miguel de Icaza.

Update: De Icaza said via Twitter today that, in spite of his intentions and blog post to the contrary, Xamarin never ended up taking the Moonlight technology over to Xamarin. He said Novell kept ownership of the Moonlight code. The last changes to Moonlight were made by Novell a year ago and there have been no updates to the code on Github since then, de Icaza said.

De Icaza acknowledged Moonlight's fate in an interview with InfoQ.

Here's the relevant excerpt from the May 29 interview:

InfoQ: Before Novell was bought out, there were some people working on getting Moonlight to run on Android tablets. Is that effort still underway?

Miguel: We have abandoned Moonlight.

InfoQ: I'm sorry to hear that, Moonlight looked very promising. Was it just a lack of manpower or do you there is no longer a future for browser-based Silverlight/Moonlight?

(Miguel): Silverlight has not gained much adoption on the web, so it did not become the must-have technology that I thought would have to become.

"Artificial restrictions" that Microsoft added to Silverlight "made it useless for desktop programming," de Icaza went on to say. He also said that "we no longer believe that Silverlight is a suitable platform for write-once-run-anywhere technology, (as) 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," he told InfoQ.

"It is not write-once-run-everywhere, but the result are applications that can exploit the native facilities and create native experiences on each platform," de Icaza added.

While on the topic of Silverlight, it's worth noting that Microsoft is expected to announce as part of the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview (a k a the Release Candidate) that Internet Explorer will support Flash, but not Silverlight in a way that will allow Microsoft to continue to claim it isn't supporting plug-ins in its Metro-Style version of IE.

Microsoft has collaborated with Adobe to integrate Flash support into an upcoming build of Internet Explorer 10 that's part of the Release Preview, according to WinUnleaked.tk and WithinWindows.com. As part of the collaboration between the pair, Microsoft has extended the Internet Explorer Compatibility View list to include rules for "popular Flash-based web sites that are known to meet certain criteria."

Microsoft officials haven't yet announced this change, but with the Windows 8 Release Preview due the first week of June -- and June 1 being this Friday -- the disclosure seems to be imminent.

Topic: Microsoft


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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  • ugh

    that's it. now I just need MSFT to abandon visual studio so I can find an alternate ide and completely abandon this confused company.
    • I have never found a better IDE

      Quite frankly, what makes Microsoft such a great platform to develop on is there unparalleled IDE.
      Your Non Advocate
      • What about....

      • RE: great platform to develop on

        [b]Doesn't exist![/b]

        In my many years in IT, I have seen a lot of development platforms come and go; with the accompanying waste of dev resources.

        Just as soon as one platform starts taking off; [i]the next big thing[/i] comes along. Time to learn new skills.

        PT Barnum said it best, "there is a ......
      • I'm not so sure that statement is entirely correct.

        What makes Microsoft such a great platform to develop simple Windows apps on WAS there(sic) unparalleled IDE would be better.

        I used VB right through to 6, and still hanker a little for some of its simplicity, you could knock up a working interface with no coding whatsoever. But you cant beat not having to have an IDE at all.

        I use Python most, because its IDE is whatever text editor you like (GEdit for me as it has tabbed multiple files, syntax highlighting and autoindenting for nearly every common script there is, including C), and whatever graphics package you use, to make the GUI look how you like. Plus my code runs without modification on Windows as well as Linux, I havent tried a Mac.

        While I was a Windows programmer, I'd agree, there was nothing to beat VB6 as it was then. But frankly, it remains unparalleled simply because theres no real need for such an IDE anywhere else.

        Python has one called IDLE, written in Python itself, but beyond integrating the command-line with a text editor, it does little more than GEdit does and isnt actually needed.

        Windows native code has to be written in the IDE to gain access to the UI, otherwise its, well, VBScript.
    • Good luck

      MS development tools are currently the best on the planet, so have fun abandoning them.
      • Even with no clear development strategy...

        some still apologise.

        The dumping of moonlight is no surprise. MS's confused development path has been highlighted in these forums for over a year. We're still none the wiser, awaiting Win8 for some clarity. It's confused technology choices and bewildering UI tells me we'll be waiting for Win9 and new leadership before the smoke clears.

        Meanwhile the competition continues with solid alternative offerings.

        I suspect when one has only experienced one tool, clearly it is the best for everything.
        Richard Flude
  • M$ flopped again

    and threw away its work because no FOSS developers would adopt it.
    The Linux Geek
    • They'd have to pay new MS taxes, that's why

      And be charged out the ass for it.
  • Netflix

    The only thing keeping me from going to Linux on my netbook is the fact that I want to use it for watching Netflix. Netflix (please someone tell me I am wrong) runs on Silverlight. It seems like there is no hope now for Linux to be useful for Netflix content. I know, it's small potatoes, but it's my real life use case.
    • How long until Netflix drops Silverlight?

      [quote]It seems like there is no hope now for Linux to be useful for Netflix content.[/quote]
      It sounds like MS is slowly pulling the plug on Silverlight, which would imply that Netflix might soon be looking for an alternative anyway...
      • Microsoft supports Silverlight 5 until 2021

        Netflix should be in no particular hurry unless another compelling solution presents itself.
        Your Non Advocate
      • And with even M$

        dumping it, I see Flash coming back in a big way. Steve was just so........wrong.
      • Someone shouts "Iceberg! Dead ahead!"

        But you see no reason to alter course until you hit it? That doesn't sound particularly practical for a technology company! Especially since Silverlight 5 will be obsolete a lot sooner than 2021.
      • @Zogg What Iceberg?

        Xamarian drops Silverlight. That is perhaps, some crushed ice ... maybe even an ice cube...but definitely not a berg.
        Your Non Advocate
      • The iceberg is MS backing away from Silverlight, silly.

        Xamarin dropping Silverlight is merely a symptom of a larger problem.
      • 2021....that still is close to a decade away

        Quite Frankly, I plan on migrating off of Windows 8 by 2021, much less Silverlight. So, no, no iceberg.
        Your Non Advocate
      • 9 years is an AGE in Internet Time!

        Today we have smart phones, tablets and even "smart" TVs: do you seriously think that Netflix is not interested in streaming movies to any of these devices? And that the number of these devices isn't going to grow in considerably [i]less[/i] than 9 years?

        In fact, after a quick spot of research, I've realized that Netflix already supports Android and the iPad and neither of these implementations is based on Silverlight. So I guess Netflix has more "business smarts" than you, Mr Facebook.
      • Screaming "Iceberg" in a desert

        @Zogg, you are screaming Iceberg in a desert. It is really just a mirage. You are making much ado about nothing. Netflix may or may not migrate off off Silverlight in the upcoming years.

        Like you stated, they support HTML5 on certain platforms. If and when HTML5 becomes a standard, Netflix may have a greater sense of urgency to move away from Silverlight completely. Until that time, who cares?
        Your Non Advocate
  • How unsurprising

    Given that Microsoft seems to be slowly letting Silverlight adrift it isn't a shock that Moonlight is being dropped. That and taking the restrictions placed by Microsoft (as per blog) one wonders why they persisted.