Xamarin abandons its Silverlight for Linux technology

Moonlight, the open-source implementation of Silverlight for Linux and Unix, is no more.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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