Linux Silverlight implementation goes live

Lead developer Miguel de Icaza has announced the full release of Moonlight 1.0
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Moonlight 1.0, the first open-source implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight rich media technology, has gone live.

Moonlight forms part of the Novell-led Mono project, the lead developer of which is Miguel de Icaza. De Icaza announced the full release of Moonlight 1.0, which went into public beta at the start of December, in a blog post on Wednesday.

However, according to a Twitter post, or 'tweet', made by de Icaza on Wednesday: "Moonlight 1.0 actually shipped on 20 January for the Obama inauguration [but Novell's] PR/marketing [employees] were just not notified".

Silverlight is Microsoft's answer to Adobe's Flash, allowing rich web content, such as animation and multimedia, to be played back through the browser. Moonlight essentially allows content created using Silverlight to be played on Unix- or Linux-based systems — something that has been possible with Flash content for some time.

"We are feature-complete, we pass all the Microsoft regression test suites and we shipped support for Microsoft's Media Pack for x86 and x86-64 architectures," de Icaza wrote on Wednesday, adding that Moonlight 1.0 was available as a plug-in for Firefox 2 or 3, running on Unix or Linux systems using the X11 windowing system.

Silverlight is now onto version 2.0, but de Icaza's project already has a test build for Moonlight 2.0, to ensure compatibility with that version. According to de Icaza, the new version of Silverlight is a "major upgrade" from the original, being "more complete [and] more polished". He was, however, full of praise for Microsoft's co-operation in helping the Mono project — itself an attempt to make an open-source, .NET-compatible set of programming tools — stay compatible with Microsoft's more recent work.

"Microsoft has continued to help us all along in creating an open-source implementation of Silverlight," wrote de Icaza, who visited Microsoft's campus earlier this month. "They have open-sourced the Microsoft DLR, the Microsoft MEF framework and the crown jewels: the Microsoft Silverlight Control Library and the Control Toolkit under the OSI-approved MS-PL licences. Without this it would have taken years for us to catch up."

Also on Wednesday, a related project called Moonshine — formally known as 'Pornilus', in a reference to a Roman senator — was announced by developer Aaron Bockover. Moonshine, which requires Moonlight to have been installed first, uses Moonlight's inbuilt Windows Media capabilities to "bring Windows Media playback to Linux in a fully legitimate way, without forcing the end user to worry about what a codec is", Bockover wrote in a blog post.

An installer module for Moonshine is now available for Firefox 3 on Linux systems, and Bockover said packages for OpenSuse and other distributions would soon be made available.

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