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Microsoft

Microsoft To Open Source Some of Silverlight 204

Posted by kdawson
from the short-on-ideas dept.
Kurtz writes with word that Microsoft is about to follow in Adobe's footsteps by releasing the source code to part of its Silverlight technology. The news comes less than a week after Adobe announced plans to open source the Flex SDK. Microsoft is hungry to build the developer base for its rich Internet app tools, if it can.
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Microsoft To Open Source Some of Silverlight

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  • It's Microsoft, they'll probably release the comments in the code and keep everything else shut in. I mean comments are part of the source code, why not just release those and claim it's open source?

    It's not quite a complete lie, but it's underhanded in the evil villian sort of way.
    • Re:It's Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:15AM (#18938303) Homepage
      No, they will just open source the simple bits that Mono already has mostly sorted out, leaving a fairly small but extremely critical patent-encumbered bit (video codec, maybe) that prevents anyone else making a useful implementation.

      The PR people will then jump around saying Microsoft==open!!!eleven!. Do you see?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ady1 (873490)
        They can also release most of the source code and later change the specifications/implementation and license, making it close source again.
      • Um.... guys... this article is totally wrong and misleading.

        Microsoft from the start has always intended .NET to be cross platform.

        The CLI has been an open standard since day 1.

        You can download the source code for the CLI here [microsoft.com]

        If you don't believe Microsoft would ever do this, you simply haven't thought it through, or don't have a clue.

        Allowing other operating systems to leverage some of the power of Microsoft's development platform only ensures that their development platform gains the most market share pos
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bacon Bits (926911)
      As opposed to Adobe, who opens the SDK and gives away the player for free, but charges six or seven times the actual value of the product for server software.
    • by Goaway (82658)
      Remember, if you can't find any thing Microsoft has actually done to criticize them for, just make something up!
      • That wasn't my point at all.

        The point is "open source" could so easily be distorted to the point where it's a joke, yet would still be open source if the letter of the law is followed.

        MS just happens to be the focus of the article and are playing word games with OSS as it is.
        • by Goaway (82658)
          It was pretty obvious that your point was to talk about how evil Microsoft is.

          It's Microsoft, they'll probably [...]

          It's not quite a complete lie, but it's underhanded in the evil villian sort of way.

    • by kestasjk (933987)
      What I don't get is why don't Sun create a Flash alternative? They couldn't be in a better position to do so; the Java VM is practically everywhere, it's relatively more open and platform independent than anything Adobe or Microsoft will put out, and it doesn't only do 1990's looking forms any more; you can create some good looking stuff with it.

      It seems the only reason is that there aren't any IDEs for it; a nice Java Flash MX-like IDE, maybe some API enhancements here and there, and you'd have a univer
  • Ohhhhh Sources (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fox_1 (128616) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:08AM (#18938281)
    "according to sources familiar with the company's plans.----Specifics on which aspect of Silverlight will be open-sourced were not available, and Microsoft's public relations firm declined to comment."

    So RTFA - but none of it's official, there are no details other then a little about the market space. In fact I suspect the discussion on Slashdot will be more interesting.

    • Re:Ohhhhh Sources (Score:5, Informative)

      by Heir Of The Mess (939658) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @06:15AM (#18938483) Homepage

      Read this article http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2123859,00.as p [eweek.com] as it's a bit more interesting. The open source bits are the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) and the IronPython language. The DLR sits on top of .NET, so if you are using Mono and IronPython, then I would assume that you would then have all the source from top to bottom.

      The MS stuff is here http://www.codeplex.com/IronPython [codeplex.com]

      This time I even checked my links :-)

      • Re:Ohhhhh Sources (Score:4, Informative)

        by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @06:43AM (#18938575)
        The OpenLazlo [openlaszlo.org] TFA mentioned in passing looks kind of interesting, at least enough to check out further. The source for their demos looks pretty clean and straightforward.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by thomas.galvin (551471)

          The OpenLazlo TFA mentioned in passing looks kind of interesting, at least enough to check out further. The source for their demos looks pretty clean and straightforward.

          You have not experienced pain until you have tried to express a complex UI and set of interactions in XML, with JavaScript embedded in CDATA tags.

          I was really excited about Lazlo when I first heard about it; it seemed like it was "Flash for programmers." But the way they went about implementing it... one more victim of the XML Bandwagon of

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        IronPython was already open source before Microsoft got to it. It started out as an independent project that's obviously been acquired by Microsoft. They even changed the license from the Common Public License, which OSI-approved, to the Microsoft Permissive License, which is not.
        • Re:Ohhhhh Sources (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Heir Of The Mess (939658) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:03AM (#18939381) Homepage

          I don't think you can aquire an open source project. Your comment is a bit misleading. Rather what happened was that the sole developer Jim Hugunin wanted to join Microsoft after meeting with the .NET CLR (Common Language Runtime) team while discussing with them the technical issues he encountered. Jim joined up, and with a team at MS, brought IronPython to it's 1.0 release in September 2006.

          There's some history on Jim Hugunin's blog here http://blogs.msdn.com/hugunin/archive/2006/09/05/7 41605.aspx [msdn.com]

          There's other Python projects for you purists to get your teeth stuck into, but this one isn't one of them, as it is with a lot of .NET stuff. Here, try Jim Hugunin's JVM based Python called Jython http://www.jython.org/ [jython.org]

        • by e2d2 (115622)
          I'm a bit in the dark regarding IronPython and it's relationship with MS - how can an open source project be acquired? If the license was OSI before couldn't the project just continue? From the wikipedia entry it looks like the project leader decided that the MS shared source license was going to be used. But this is the first time I've heard of it so I'm curious how it played out.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            how can an open source project be acquired?

            Easily. You can acquire my open source project, Stylus Toolbox [sf.net]. Pay me USD $5,000, and I will transfer the copyright to you. All of the code is contributed by me, so no copyright issues. Then, you can take and release under whatever license you want, provided you remove the dependency on GladeWindow.py, which is GPL and not written by me. All other dependencies are either LGPL or Python license, or are dependencies on applications that are called, not linked,

            • by e2d2 (115622)
              Okay that's the info I needed. Thanks for your comment.

              Also thanks for the OSS contribution, every bit counts.
      • by metamatic (202216)
        OK, so it's not interesting at all unless you're prepared to drink the .NET Kool-Aid and run Novell Linux to get patent lawsuit immunity.
      • by Dilly Bar (23168)
        You should also checkout the http://www.codeplex.com/dynamicsilverlight [codeplex.com] CodePlex project. It is open source Silverlight samples written on top of the DLR. I'm sitting in the DLR talk at MIX right now. :-) Miguel de Icaza is sitting two rows in front of me. Not to brag, but I am a bit excited :-).
  • Really. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476)
    Call me cynical, but...

    They..
    Get behind their new technology and push
    Use every leverage they can to promote it to their "partners"
    Give away source code under a restrictive license
    Give away development tools
    Wait until it is a eb de-facto standard
    ... Then refuse to allow it on any operating system but Windows?

    Flash works, Flash movies work, Flash is ubiquitous, Linux/OSX support it, Everybody knows it. So why do we need anything else?

    The underlying argument goes like this: when a technology is est
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjwest (948274)

      Some of us hate flash - small tip if you don't have a T1 connection and things are slow Block flash and the internet really speeds up.

      If people wish to develop sites that we cant view (think scfi channel) or adverts in it then its not a problem here as we associate flash with rubbish/spam.

      Also a defacto standard is not if no 'upto' date linux plugin is available. It is possible to live without flash, and yes the world is a better place.

      Flash (and wannabe ompetitors)is a childrens program whether the

      • by lolocaust (871165)
        If you don't like flash, you probably won't like this thing either. Either way, theres no point in doing this. And what the hell is up with the posting delay? Its a bit excessive.
      • Re:Really. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dFaust (546790) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @06:36AM (#18938549)

        Actually, Adobe released Flash Player 9 for Linux last October... I'm not sure what more you want. They now have Flash Player for Solaris, too. Obviously it exists for Windows and OSX, as well. Yes, Flash can be abused... but Flash can also be really useful for creating engaging user experiences and it's also an EXCELLENT platform for application development, particularly via Flex. Flex 2 is great, Actionscript 3 is a really nice language featuring the best of OO and dynamic languages, the AVM2 virtual machine is a really nice piece of work. I know more and more enterprise developers who do .NET or Java that have been exposed to Flex 2 in recent months and come to like it very quickly. The power that it affords is great, it "just works" (regardless of browser/OS), and it's infinitely better to develop apps of all kinds in than HTML/CSS/Javascript.

        So I'm sorry that you have such issues with Flash. But as a development platform, it's appealing in many ways. And ever since the Adobe/Macromedia merger, Adobe has really become more open with their developers and has been releasing more and more tools to help them out (checkout labs.adobe.com for some examples).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by metamatic (202216)

          Actually, Adobe released Flash Player 9 for Linux last October... I'm not sure what more you want.

          Oh, how about to be allowed to build a Flash player of my own without being threatened with legal action?

        • Actually, Adobe released Flash Player 9 for Linux last October... I'm not sure what more you want.
          I want x86_64 Flash player binaries, and maybe PowerPC. Linux runs on so much more than i386 you know.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)

        Some of us hate flash - small tip if you don't have a T1 connection and things are slow Block flash and the internet really speeds up.


        Do you think Silverlight has some magical algorithm that shrinks 500kb of JPEG and audio into 1kb? A blank flash file is below 30 bytes. The script is stored as bytecodes, the vectors are stored as a compact binary format, bits are bits, numbers are numbers. All of this as then compressed with zlib.

        Silverlight uses XML, everything is a string (even numbers) and compresses tha
    • Re:Really. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kestasjk (933987) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @07:31AM (#18938759) Homepage
      The problem is that Flash doesn't integrate in with anything ASP or .NET . XML is good in some ways for this, but no .NET developer wants to learn ActiveScript, buy FlashMX, learn a whole new way of creating UIs, and learn about AJAX to get Flash integrating with their current systems.

      I think if Adobe invested more in Flash, and specifically getting more developers into Flash, they'd have a solid niche. But they've made Flash development more difficult to get into than it needs to be, and I think that based on that alone you can predict that Silverlight will probably fight a downhill battle and win over Flash.
      • The problem is that Flash doesn't integrate in with anything ASP or .NET

        'Below is shown the Diagramatic Representation of how Flash interacts [smartwebby.com] with the database via an Active Server Page (ASP)'

        Returning a valid string from ASP .. Passing values from ASP to Flash [asp101.com]

        Re:Really. (Score:5, Interesting)
      • by l3v1 (787564)
        but no .NET developer wants to learn

        That is their freaking problem. I don't want to get evenr emotely close to any "developer" who doesn't want to know other languages and/or tools. This is one of the dumbest arguments a developer could say and for me it's totally unacceptable.
         
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        The problem is that Flash doesn't integrate in with anything ASP or .NET . XML is good in some ways for this, but no .NET developer wants to learn ActiveScript, buy FlashMX, learn a whole new way of creating UIs, and learn about AJAX to get Flash integrating with their current systems.

        A client-side developer who's afraid of XML, JavaScript (ActionScript is JavaScript) and AJAX. Not good, my man, not good.

        NET developers really have a big problem on their hands if they all think that.
        • by kestasjk (933987)
          JavaScript and ActionScript are the same language, yes, but all that's shared is the syntax. The Windows Shell Host will run JavaScript too, but if you know web-oriented JavaScript completely, and ActionScript too, you won't know how to use JavaScript with the Windows Shell Host.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jsebrech (525647)
        The problem is that Flash doesn't integrate in with anything ASP or .NET . XML is good in some ways for this, but no .NET developer wants to learn ActiveScript, buy FlashMX, learn a whole new way of creating UIs, and learn about AJAX to get Flash integrating with their current systems.

        1. Obviously you have no experience with flex (flex is flash for web app development)
        2. Flash/flex integrates extremely well with both javascript and any and all server-side platforms
        3. ActionScript 3 corresponds to JavaScript
      • The problem is that Flash doesn't integrate in with anything ASP or .NET. ...or anything else, and it pretty much is based around fixed screen sizes, and that EMCAScript is a horrible language to do anything really heavy in because of a lack of an inbuilt inheritance structure, module loading, or really namespaces of any kind.

        In addition, there are virtually no libraries, no unit testing, and no mature editor technologies to use alongside any flash tech.

        So basically, if we're doing flash stuff, we're limite
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ryants (310088)

      So why do we need anything else?
      To scratch an itch?
    • Re:Really. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nwbvt (768631) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @07:34AM (#18938769)

      "Linux/OSX support it"

      Does it? Aside from the fact that it cannot be offered with the OS because of license restrictions, I have heard of many people having problems running Flash on Linux. What we really need is something like this that uses entirely open standards so third party players can be developed (not sure if MS will agree to do that for Silverlight, though).

      From what I have heard, the main advantage to Silverlight is that it integrates better with .NET applications on the server-side. Besides, how can a little bit of competition be a bad thing? Worst case it will force Adobe to improve their product in order to keep from losing out to Silverlight. If you were to argue we don't need new technologies when there is already something that is "good enough", we should all be running applets in Netscape.

      • Flash isn't perfect under Linux, but it does work pretty well. It used to be nightmarish when it when through its long unmaintained-for-Linux phase, but for a couple of years now it's been pretty solid on mainstream distros.

        There can be problems if you use anything unusual, or run a 64-bit native system.

        That said, I have Flash installed in Firefox on my X11 thin clients at work with no issues beyond what you'd expect when combining software written by idiots (most flash movies) with low graphical performanc
        • by nwbvt (768631)

          First of all, your entire post only covers Flash from the user's point of view, it has nothing on the developer's side of things. As has been mentioned ad nauseum now, the main purpose of silverlight is that it integrates nicely with .NET.

          Second, your entire point seems to be "Flash is fine if you first install a bunch of stuff to prevent it from working". But thats entirely the point. You shouldn't have to do all that. Those options (like play only when you want it, or don't play sound, or don't creat

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jeswin (981808)
      ....Give away development tools, Wait until it is a eb de-facto standard.....
      Flash works, Flash movies work, Flash is ubiquitous, Linux/OSX support it, Everybody knows it. So why do we need anything else?


      Apart from the obvious point that competition is good, Flash is yet another lock-in that is waiting to happen. From the Flash Specification [adobe.com]:
      "This license does not permit the usage of the specification to create software which supports SWF file playback."

      Why would you want to protect a format/specification,
    • Re:Really. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moderators_are_w*nke (571920) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:13AM (#18938971) Journal
      They've certainly pulled that trick before. Where are:

      * MS Core fonts for the web
      * IE for Mac / UNIX
      * Windows Media Player for Mac

      Microsoft's idea of cross platform is do it till its popular and then EOL everything but Windows. The only reason they're doing this at all is that Flash video is killing WMV.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        Microsoft's idea of cross platform is do it till its popular and then EOL everything but Windows. The only reason they're doing this at all is that Flash video is killing WMV.

        Adobe knows Flash is killing WMV, Microsoft known Flash is killing WMV. Interesting why EU doesn't know it.

        The perspective of the whole situation is hilarious. Somehow I don't think EU's going after Adobe and their closed source ridiculously expensive media servers, but oh well. There's at least acknowledgment there's competition out t
  • Always late... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beuno (740018) <argentina.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:34AM (#18938355) Homepage
    Am I the only one who gets the feeling they keep on arriving too late every single time?
    • by kjart (941720)

      Am I the only one who gets the feeling they keep on arriving too late every single time?

      Too late for what exactly?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Don't worry, they have made a search engine [live.com] for finding their late and forgotten attempts to copy other software/websites.

      Although this time around, Microsoft actually has a pretty decent chance (with the .NET backend for Silverlight) at outdoing Adobe Flash Player for consuming the most system resources. So I wouldn't discount them straight away!
    • by steelfood (895457)
      Microsoft has very rarely been at the forefront of technology. They bill themselves as such, but that's just marketing doublespeak. What Microsoft does is waits for other companies to take the risks and introduce new ideas into the market. Then, when it sees a chance of profitability, it jumps into that segment. Now, being the 700lb gorilla, Microsoft pretty much squashes the competition. IE anyone? Or better yet, Office? Which only makes it stronger.

      What Microsoft does bring to the table is improvement ove
  • by Riquez (917372) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:35AM (#18938359) Homepage
    I mean, call me picky, but shouldn't they finish developing IE to an acceptable standard before they start on a Flash competitor?
    • by Shados (741919)
      Different development teams with different interests... At the size of Microsoft, its not uncommon to end up an hydra with 2 heads. Though IE's crappiness ends up helping Silverlight indirectly, since quite a few developers will move to that to avoid having to deal with IE's quirks...
    • by GauteL (29207)
      This is easily summarised by The Mythical Man Month [wikipedia.org].

      Throwing more people at IE would make it worse, not better. Therefore, it is better to spend those people doing other useful projects.
    • That's really funny. This whole campaign reminds me of nothing so much as when they were cranking up IE and telling everyone "What with ALL the sites using Active-X, (there were none) you're gonna want to be using IE, or you'll miss out on the whole Internet experience". For a while there, it became a self-fufilling prophecy, at least until everyone realized that Active-X was crap, Netscape was dead, and the net was full of sites relying on IE's "I know what you mean, you don't have to write well-formed H
    • by ms1234 (211056)
      No. This is Microsoft and they need to on every new field as soon as possible once they recognize such a field in order to crush the competition before it becomes to successfull (Google).
    • that's the genius! they can either fight the hopeless battle to make IE as stable and secure as other the browsers or they can make a MS Silverlight plugin that makes every other browser as buggy and insecure as IE
  • Once a noble idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Seiruu (808321)
    Of a system being worked on by the users for the users to gain a better system through the networking effect, now is slowly becoming another means for industries to get cheap labor. From the OS community POV quite saddening.

    From a commercial POV, if prices do go lower and more people would buy/use it with the backings of corporate Marketing, compared to when it was just OS and mouth to mouth, it might (emphasis on MIGHT) spread more awareness and interest in genuine/creative software.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Been there, done that. M$ is trying to do an ActiveX 2.0. Too late. I for one welcome our new Adobe overlords!
  • Microsoft?... Open Source?... Does not compute, does not compute!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bsantos (655278)
      Lots of people on here worried about interoperability, cross platform runtimes and the likes, but those comments on msdn show that those using MSFT technology couldn't care less. *sigh*
      • by N8F8 (4562)
        It's a cross platform CLR? I don't read any negative comments at all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tomstdenis (446163)
        No sluh. People using MSFT tech are the types who are easily impressed and afraid of change. I don't see what the world gains from yet another flash type scripting thingy, but now MSFT can split up yet another market by virtue of it running on Windows.

        Being an unfan of Flash anyways makes me not really care what MSFT is doing to hurt/help that market. But it's sad to know that MSFT just will never change.

        Oh well.

        Tom
        • by N8F8 (4562) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:43AM (#18939189)
          Before you jump on the MS bashing bandwagon please take a look at the linked video. Even better, download the client plugin and view the demos. It's cross platform and supports a ton of languages including C#, Ruby, Javascript, etc.
          • by suv4x4 (956391)
            Before you jump on the MS bashing bandwagon please take a look at the linked video. Even better, download the client plugin and view the demos. It's cross platform and supports a ton of languages including C#, Ruby, Javascript, etc.

            How cool is it, is not the issue at hand though. Flash is in virtually every visitor's browser (that matters) right now, except for certain business cases, you can assume everyone has Flash, just as much as you can assume they have HTML/CSS/JS (doesn't mean no fallback if otherwi
        • by drew (2081)
          I don't know, maybe it's a good thing. If they manage to split the market with Flash, maybe more people will give up on using either one.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @07:13AM (#18938689) Homepage Journal
    #include "bsod.h"

    main() { if(running_on_linux()) { crash(horribly, messily); } return proprietary_blob(patented); }

    /* anyone remember the days when slashdot allow you to quote pre-formatted text? */
    • /* anyone remember the days when slashdot allow you to quote pre-formatted text? */
      Umm, select "plain old text" instead of "html formatted" and then put your comment inside of <code></code>. I always keep it at "plain old text" so I don't have to bother with <p></p> and <br> tags, but I still can use the allowed html, ie, italic, bold, etc.
      • Ah, right. I got as far as the code tags, I just forgot about the plain old text option.

        Thanks for that :)
  • by tt42 (647778) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:01AM (#18938897)
    While not directly related to the open-source angle of this story, here is Scott Guthrie (Silverlight team manager) talking about some of the more in-depth aspects of it. (36m long) http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=3045 08 [msdn.com]
  • Jeebus, this is frustrating. Saying a company is "Open Sourcing" some of their technology tells me almost nothing about it. Will it be under a reciprocal licensce, an academic license, a Microsoft wannabe open license? You've got to hand it to Microsoft. They're spinning this one pretty well, even though they're coming late to the party and without any pants on.

  • When has Microsoft ever released small, tight, fast, bug free code that did one simple thing and didn't try to incorporate every other business agenda into a single offering? This software will be buggy, slow, not-really-open-source, bulky and have hooks into every single Microsoft package (in an effort to solidify the united front of Microsoft offerings).

    Yawn. I've seen this movie before. It ends badly for Microsoft.

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