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Mono Coders Hack Linux Silverlight in 21 Days 409

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the break-out-the-red-bull-and-go-go-go dept.
Etrigoth writes "After the recent announcement of Silverlight by Microsoft at their Mix event in Vegas, Miguel de Icaza galvanised his team of developers in the Mono group at Novell to create a Linux implementation, a so-called 'Moonlight'. Remarkably, they achieved this in 21 Days. Although they were first introduced to Silverlight at the Las Vegas Mix, de Icaza was invited by a representative of Microsoft France for a 10 minute demonstration at the Paris Re-Mix 07 keynote conference, should they have anything to show.
Joshua, a blogger for Microsoft has confirmed that the Mono team did not know anything about Silverlight 1.1 before its launch. Other members of this team have blogged about this incredible achievement, Moonlight hack-a-thon. It's worth noting from a developer perspective that Moonlight is not Mono and doesn't require Mono to work"
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Mono Coders Hack Linux Silverlight in 21 Days

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  • Wonderful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday June 25, 2007 @11:58AM (#19636817)
    Is Silverlight a public API or closed? Either way this is great news, as some sites might start utilizing it. Personally I think Adobe beat them to the market by a decade. Flash is already soaked in the mainstream, so it'll be tough for MS to uproot Adobe from that position.

    Regardless though, having a native solution is always good.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Personally, I'm the last guy to want MS dominate anything, but I hope they fucking smear adobe.

      As far as web software, adobe is the epitome of crap. MS takes 2nd place.
    • Woderful. now if they could think of a better name. What's wrong with moonlight? well other that not sounding right to me it's going to be hard to search for it on the web.

      Of course my favortite suggestion has the same problem: MONOchrome.

      Suggestions:
      "monochrome" instead of silverlight. (ie. whitelight versus single frequency). Of course those opposed to it might call it silverblight.

      Other possibilities:

      flash-light
      silver-lux
      silver-tux
      silvix
      sliver
    • Re:Wonderful (Score:4, Informative)

      by RingDev (879105) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:23PM (#19637199) Homepage Journal
      Go to http://silverlight.net/ [silverlight.net] and click the "Silverlight in action" link on the right hand side. Then tell me that Flash still has them beat ;)

      -Rick
      • by brunascle (994197)
        i'm looking at it now. i dont see anything flash couldnt do (though i've never developed a flash app myself). it's just a well designed interface and a video player. am i wrong, or couldnt this same thing be done in flash? anyone with flash experience want to take a look?
        • by Splab (574204)
          Flash is a resource hog, doing what he does would kill your computer.
          • Re:Wonderful (Score:4, Informative)

            by someone300 (891284) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:16PM (#19639537)
            Not in Flash 9/CS3/Actionscript 3. It's far faster than previous versions due to the removal of features like variable watching and a new event system, better class system and an entirely redesigned VM. Infact, in my experience, it's of equal speed or faster than managed code as well as easier to hack for.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by AVIDJockey (816640)
          For one thing, Silverlight supports the VC-1 codec [wikipedia.org]. This would allow embedded HD video which Flash currently can't handle.

          With that being said, it'll be a rough road ahead for MS. It's hard to beat the ~98% penetration that Flash has.
      • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

        by roscivs (923777) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:07PM (#19637779) Homepage

        Go to http://silverlight.net/ [silverlight.net] and click the "Silverlight in action" link on the right hand side. Then tell me that Flash still has them beat ;)

        I just watched the video. I saw nothing that Flash couldn't do, much less anything that Shockwave couldn't do.

        The reason why Flash is popular isn't because you can create complicated applications with it. (You can, but nobody uses them.) The reason why it's popular is because it's small, fast, and has a very large, cross-platform installed base. Silverlight isn't any of those three.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jugalator (259273)
          One is missing a large part of the point if assuming it's about the technology, when it's in reality about the platform.

          - Silverlight is gravy for VB and C# developers, and the .NET devs taken together are becoming a very large community. Silverlight integrates itself more closely with .NET than anything else on the market of its kind, which is only to be expected, with both platforms being products of Microsoft.
          - Microsoft will offer very appealing Silverlight hosting plans for the multimedia content -- wh
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by codepunk (167897)
        It did not run on firefox on my ubuntu linux box....so no it cannot hold a candle to flash, which
        just so happens to work on my machine.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by A Clint (1117281)
        This was the most interesting part of the video to me, from the narrator's commentary:

        "... I'm doing this on Windows Vista and Internet Explorer, but you can just as easily do this on Windows XP, Firefox, or even a Mac in - [audio suddenly cuts off] ... Now I'm going to..."

        I suppose he was going to say Safari? In any case it was sloppy editing.

        He must not have edited this with Silverlight, because Silverlight makes precision editing so easy.
      • by asb (1909)

        Go to http://silverlight.net/ [silverlight.net] and click the "Silverlight in action" link on the right hand side. Then tell me that Flash still has them beat ;)

        I'll have to wait for someone to upload that to YouTube so I can watch it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by r_jensen11 (598210)
        I tried to watch the video, but then saw that it's in .wmv format, which is pretty much "illegal" for me to view when running Linux.
      • by mgiuca (1040724) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @06:59AM (#19647575)

        Go to http://silverlight.net/ [silverlight.net] and click the "Silverlight in action" link on the right hand side. Then tell me that Flash still has them beat ;)
        Bit of a problem here, see... I can't watch this video because it's a shitty proprietary Microsoft video format, and I'm on Linux. If they really wanted to advertise Silverlight in a portable manner, I'd recommend a Flash video.

        Oh the irony...
  • Why?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:01PM (#19636865)
    This will give MS more of a foothold in the market. They wanted this to happen! Now flash isn't the only cross platform game in town so now the marketing guys will be able to say YES IT WILL WORK ON LINUX so you dont just need to use flash!
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Yes but...
      So we are trading a closed plugin from Adobe with an FOSS plug in based on a standard from Microsoft.
      Flash is just plan nasty and Adobe doesn't support 64-bit Linux. This is FOSS so it can Support Linux, BSD, and run on CPUs beside the X86.

      IF Adobe would make the flash player FOSS then Microsoft wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
      So yes you are right but I have to ask what is the problem with killing Flash?

      Yea I want my SVG and Theora tags to replace Flash and Silverlight but I just don't see that h
    • Re:Why?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kebes (861706) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:42PM (#19637441) Journal

      This will give MS more of a foothold in the market. They wanted this to happen! Now flash isn't the only cross platform game in town so now the marketing guys will be able to say YES IT WILL WORK ON LINUX so you dont just need to use flash!
      Previously I was worried that any OSS support for Silverlight would just be giving MS an edge. But now I see it quite differently. One problem with Flash (in my opinion) is that there is no full open-source implementation. Some people may say "who cares?" since there are free (but not Free) flash players for every major OS (including Linux). But to me, those closed-sourced players are not so great, and I wish an open-source player (and development environment) existed.

      But the problem with creating a FOSS version of Flash is that it's a matter of catch-up. With Silverlight, this team of coders is showing that they can keep up. Thus, instead of being behind in their implementation, they are showing that they can always deliver a feature-complete alternate (and FOSS) implementation.

      Frankly I hope this displaces flash to some extent. Even if it gives MS's platform more exposure, it won't matter as long as there is also a feature-complete FOSS implementation. Creating marketplace competition is always good... and in this case we have competition to MS's Silverlight, and competition to Flash. This is good. I highly doubt that Microsoft expected or wanted this to happen. In fact, nothing could be worse for their longterm goals than for a FOSS equivalent to be as good (or maybe better?) than their implementation. Having a competing implementation, used by many people, will mean that they cannot "embrace and extend" and cannot lock people into their products. After all, if they try to change the Silverlight standard, who is to say whether the MS implementation or the FOSS implementation will become the defacto standard?
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        "Some people may say "who cares?" since there are free (but not Free) flash players for every major OS (including Linux). "
        Frankly I am one of those people. If Adobe provided a good Linux flash player I would be fine with that. However Adobe doesn't support 64 bit Linux.
        They have finely put enough effort into Linux to provide a the latest and greatest version to Linux users but no 64 bit version.
        Also no version for Linux on the ARM.

        This might actually be a good thing. Not great but good.
      • Having a competing implementation, used by many people, will mean that they cannot "embrace and extend" and cannot lock people into their products. After all, if they try to change the Silverlight standard, who is to say whether the MS implementation or the FOSS implementation will become the defacto standard?

        Then we need to port Moonlight to Windows (and every other platform), so that the MS implementation isn't hte one that's mostly used. Otherwise, MS can just extend their own version in whatever way
    • by abes (82351)
      The sharehold by Linux users is so incredibly small compared to the number of Windows boxes, that I don't think it will really change anything. Look at the number of web pages that are made for IE only. Most companies don't really care about that small of a segment they might be losing. Even Apple users are mostly neglected. And I say this as both a Linux and Max user.

      If anything, it at least keeps Linux as a viable desktop alternative. It's difficult for any desktop to keep mainstream if it can't do the ba
    • Re:Why?! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GauteL (29207) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:52PM (#19637567)
      Please get over yourself. Flash is at best a semi-open standard with severely lacking open source implementations. If an open standard with a complete open source implementation replaces Flash then there is little reason to care who created the standard in the first place apart from blind zealotry.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      This will give MS more of a foothold in the market. They wanted this to happen! Now flash isn't the only cross platform game in town so now the marketing guys will be able to say YES IT WILL WORK ON LINUX so you dont just need to use flash!

      They would've ported it to Linux anyway. Now they just don't have to. Maybe saved Microsoft some bucks, that's all there is.

      But the implementation is open source. You wouldn't think Miguel would port the entirety of .NET but not port Silverlight (a proper subset of .NET)
  • by Yuioup (452151) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:04PM (#19636895)
    ... to congratulate Miguel and his team for this remarkable achievement!

    Gives an insight into what Open Source is capable of.

    Y
    • by jonnythan (79727) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:17PM (#19637101) Homepage
      What Open Source is capable of?

      Would Miguel's team not have been able to code this under a closed license? Was there significant public involvement that was critical to the project?

      Also, what was accomplished? A 100% direct rip-off of a product already created and demonstrated by a closed-source development house? Impressive. Wow.
      • by jez9999 (618189)
        Would Miguel's team not have been able to code this under a closed license? Was there significant public involvement that was critical to the project?

        No, and no. What's your point? GP said it showed what OS was capable of, not what closed-source wasn't.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RidiculousPie (774439)

        Was there significant public involvement that was critical to the project?

        Well, for one they are using ffmpeg, and cairo, so I would say that there is significant involvement.

        Also, what was accomplished? A 100% direct rip-off of a product already created and demonstrated by a closed-source development house? Impressive. Wow.

        At the moment moonlight may not have any significant functionality over silverlight, but one example given of the value of the mono work is that in time you will be able to ship mono

    • by pkphilip (6861)
      Miguel - congratulations! you are one of the few people who can pull off something like this in such a short time!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Gives an insight into what Open Source is capable of."

      We already knew that Open Source devs are capable of cloning the work of others.
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:12PM (#19637013) Homepage
    Right, so MS had promised from the start that Silverlight would have a Linux version.
    I just didn't realize they had been planning on achieving that goal by getting a bunch of OSS coders to do all their work for them for free.
    Oh well, probably better this way, since it might remain capital-F Free. What's the Moonlight license, anyway?
    If this _is_ a "FREE" implementation of Silverlight it really will start to look like a nicer alternative to the poorly-supported, closed-source Flash for Linux.
    • by radarsat1 (786772) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:18PM (#19637111) Homepage
      That said.. it occurred to me that, just like any other "standard" supported by a company, one has to be careful in employing it and depending on it. MS could easily make incompatible changes at any time in the future to the Windows implementation, creating a non-stop game of tag for the Moonlight developers. Remember what MS did to HTML? It will be even easier to "embrace and extend" for MS on their _own_ standard. It would be much better if there were an open standard for this sort of media. SVG comes close, but I have yet to see a fast, dependable, and standardized implementation, and Flash, unlike SVG, supports much more than just vector graphics.
    • by radarsat1 (786772)

      I just didn't realize they had been planning on achieving that goal by getting a bunch of OSS coders to do all their work for them for free.


      I see that I got modded troll for this comment. Is that not what they did?
      It's merely a statement of fact, I didn't make any judgment call here.. in fact, in the sentence following it I discussed how actually that may be the best way they could have approached the situation anyways. Silly mods.
  • Ok, they might develop thousand times faster than Microsoft. Unfortunately it is and always will be Microsoft leading the way, Mono & Co lagging behind. Nothing will change that.
    • by jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@gmail . c om> on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:28PM (#19637271) Journal
      Considering that mono and friends is a project at delivering an open-source, Linux-compatible implementation of .NET, I completely fail to see how they could get ahead. Unless they have a time machine hidden somewhere... It's like complaining that German translation of books written in English are always released after the English versions.
      • by alext (29323)
        A deduction of impeccable, if not overly taxing, logic.

        However, Mono's claim was never that it would be ahead of Dotnet, but always that it was equivalent:

        Mono is an open source implementation of .NET (circa 2005)
        Mono is built on open standards etc.

        of course it never was, is not, and never will be - that is the objection.

        Microsoft would always be in the driving seat and other implementations also-rans that would never be certified by software makers.

        But this is all academic now that the patent threats which
      • MS is ahead.

        How many asp.net running apache/linux do you see on the web? None. .NET is not c# that is osi certified. Its proprietary.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Yeah, but if they're only 3 weeks behind and a lot more stable, does it really MATTER that MS is 'leading'?

      These guys are just doing to MS what MS has typically done in the past: Latch onto something successful and take the ride. It's amazingly hard to get something truly innovative into common usage. It's a lot easier to latch onto a rising star, then follow it to the top and do it just a little better.

      What's 'better' in this case? How about fewer bugs and vulnerabilities, as well as working on more br
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by delire (809063)

      Unfortunately it is and always will be Microsoft leading the way, Mono & Co lagging behind. Nothing will change that.

      Of course "Mono & Co" will always be lagging behind.. What, you expect the re-implementation to come before the original? Regardless, is a lag of 21 days really a dealbreaker here? You didn't buy Vista the day it was released did you? Lighten up on the blanket defeatism, sheesh. It's not War and Peace.

      As a desktop Linux user of many years, I couldn't care if Satan himself made an

      • by miguel (7116) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:21PM (#19640305) Homepage

        Unfortunately it is and always will be Microsoft leading the way, Mono & Co lagging behind. Nothing will change that.

        Of course "Mono & Co" will always be lagging behind.. What, you expect the re-implementation to come before the original? Regardless, is a lag of 21 days really a dealbreaker here? You didn't buy Vista the day it was released did you? Lighten up on the blanket defeatism, sheesh. It's not War and Peace.


        Well, certainly at the core of what Silverlight can do, we are following Microsoft direction, but we have already taken Silverlight in new directions, for example we are able to use it to extend Gtk# applications and to create desklets. Both things that were not initially supported by Silverlight.
  • What is Silverlight? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:39PM (#19637389)
    What the heck is Silverlight?

    Okay, Silverlight is a Microsoft product [microsoft.com], and is some kind of plug-in related to "media experiences and rich interactive applications for the web", according to the above page. Not finding that especially enlightening, I clicked on the FAQ [microsoft.com], where the first question is "What is Silverlight?" [microsoft.com]. Great! Unfortunately it yielded a "We're sorry, the page you requested could not be found" error. Maybe I need Javascript turned on or something? Ah. There we go. [Shrug] Huh? Same terse verbiage-filled useless description as before. Thanks for nothing. Other information on the FAQ page imply streaming of content using "Windows Streaming is another major goal of the product, complete with fancy DRM [weak Golf clapping].

    So, I'm still not 100% sure, but I think it's trying to emulate the typical user experience with Flash, including the ungraceful handling of missing/disabled browser features :-)

    Oh. I did find out that the Microsoft definition of "cross-platform" is Windows (versions unspecified) and Mac OS X 10.4.8+ (Intel and PPC), but they say they are considering wider support.

    Favorite buzzword phrase: "free cloud-based hosting and streaming solution".

    Cloud-based? I haven't heard that one before.
    • by OpenGLFan (56206) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:14PM (#19640229) Homepage
      Favorite buzzword phrase: "free cloud-based hosting and streaming solution".

      Cloud-based? I haven't heard that one before.


      Vapourware.
    • Stupid Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

      by toriver (11308)
      I tried installing Silverlight on my Mac, but the install exited with a message that I needed Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher.

      I have Mac OS X 10.4.10 - like most people who installed the latest patches.

      I guess the six-character string "10.4.1" is less than the string "10.4.8"...
  • by jeevesbond (1066726) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:41PM (#19637417) Homepage

    Now that Moonlight is finished Miguel and his team should, having listened to customer demand (I believe that's the excuse Microsoft always uses), build some Free extensions on to Microsoft's work. Meaning the best experience can only be had by people running Moonlight under GNU/Linux and that some functionality will be unavailable to other platforms.

    Gosh, does that mean people will be locked-in to using GNU/Linux? Well Microsoft could use the GPL'ed code if they want to! We'll call it 'Freedom lockin'. :)

  • by segedunum (883035) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:51PM (#19637555)
    It's a good hacking achievement, but let's just consider the usefulness of this.

    Creating Moonlight assumes that there is going to be lots of web content made for Silverlight, and this assumes that Silverlight will be put in a fairly dominant position on the web in the not too distant future as a result. Silverlight is not a open web standard, nor is XAML, and its future development is always controlled by Microsoft.

    I just don't think people think through what the ultimate aims, goals and endgames are for things like this regarding open source software.
  • Congratulations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:53PM (#19637585)
    Great achievement, and I say good job!

    But just preemptively want to explain why is the development timeframe difference between MS and Linux (because I see stupid uninformed posts coming, it's Slashdot after all).

    What these guys did, is take Mono (for Linux), and make a standalone subset of it, Silverlight (for Linux). So there aren't huge surprises here.

    On the Microsoft side of the story, it's different: they had to first sit down and figure out what the subset will be. Then they had to count the bytes (literally) of every feature they include, since for proper mainstream deployment, the plugin should be as small as possible (I won't be surprised if Moonlight is not something like twice the size of Silverlight or more).

    Then they had to make it work on Mac, where they didn't have a port of .NET before, or port of Avalon or anything at all.
  • I was wondering how hard it would be to port silverlight to macosx and other unixies?

    If we want silverlight to suceed it must be multiplatform.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by miguel (7116)
      It should be very easy to support OSX, but Microsoft already supports OSX, so there is not much of a motivation for us to put the cycles on it.

  • One has to wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trelane (16124) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:38PM (#19639009) Journal
    what could have come about from the Mozilla-GNOME collaboration several years back if people had been as dedicated to Mozilla/XUL/XBL as they are to Microsoft/Silverlight/.Net. I think it's kind of sad, personally.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:31PM (#19640433)
    The Gnash (Gnu-Flash) [gnu.org] team will take another 5 years to get their shit together, despite having declared a Flash 7 compliant Gnash player top priority. Whatever that means. Maybe they'll finish their website this year.

    If only our OSS Microsoft Fanboy Midguel would galvanize his team to implement an entire pipeline of Flash tools, generators and Players. If MS doesn't kill this one off and a viable Kit of OSS tools & players for Silverlight comes to life I might even drop Flash RIA for it.
    But no way, for as long as I live, will I support an non-open RIA standard that MS has total control over. I'd rather mess with Adobes crappy Flash IDE for another 10 years.

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