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Microsoft Software

Silverlight Released, Linux Version Coming 462

Posted by kdawson
from the yet-another-plug-in dept.
Today Microsoft announced the release of Silverlight 1.0 for Windows and Mac OS X. This cross-browser, cross-platform browser plug-in is fully supported and competes directly with Adobe Flash. Included in this release was the promise from Microsoft to support the 100% compatible Linux version, called Moonlight.
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Silverlight Released, Linux Version Coming

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  • by alx5000 (896642) * <alx5000@alx5[ ].net ['000' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:33AM (#20480165) Homepage

    The binary codecs will initially support x86 and x86-64

    They also provide a complete list [microsoft.com] of the supported codecs. I hope that, though I'm never touching *light with a 10-foot pole, this move makes Adobe finally release a x86_64 version of Flash (yeah, we all hate those banners and such, but being able to watch youtube videos without hacks like nspluginviewer would be quite nice. Besides, my nspluginviwer-ed version of Flash SUX at playing real time streaming video...).

    • Gnash (Score:4, Informative)

      by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:46AM (#20480347) Homepage
      Want an alternative to Adobe's Flash? Take a look at gnash [gnu.org], the GNU Project's Flash player. It's still in alpha but works with a lot of flash stuff, including eg YouTube, and on 64-bit.

      We don't need Yet Another Microsoft 'Standard'.
      • Re:Gnash (Score:4, Informative)

        by alx5000 (896642) <alx5000@alx5[ ].net ['000' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:57AM (#20480597) Homepage
        I've tried gnash, and I can only conclude it's incomplete. I use the knash part and it sux both ends. YouTube works when there's a full moon and the day of month is prime...
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        Yes I do but I don't want another version of FLASH!
        Flash just sucks. It really does. Action Script is a terrible language there are all sorts of issues with flash.

        Why doesn't the FOSS community come up with a replacement for Flash and not just a copy?
        Make a plug in for IE and get Firefox, Opera, and Safari to include it in their browsers?
        Make it FOSS BSD please so the embedded people can use it for their systems.
        Use Ogg for the codecs.
        And write good authoring tools.
        Make it good, open, and free.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jandrese (485)
          The "good authoring tools" are the stumbling block. Flash is popular because it is easy to develop for (well, at least for simple projects like online animation). Any competitor has a rather high bar to hurdle to make their stuff easier and better than Flash (well, better isn't too hard, but easier...).

          Also, there's the fact that everybody already has Flash, so you have to fight the market inertia to get a foothold.
        • by mauriatm (531406) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:49PM (#20481373) Homepage

          Yes I do but I don't want another version of FLASH! Flash just sucks. It really does. Action Script is a terrible language there are all sorts of issues with flash.

          Flash does suck in your case, but at the same time *someone* likes to develop using it. Who are these mysterious developers?

          Why doesn't the FOSS community come up with a replacement for Flash and not just a copy?

          Because there is absolutely no incentive. Look at all the reasons Flash is being used: ads, quick games, video, music, forms, etc. With the exception of ads, there is a totally free (open source) method that could work (java, ajax, svg, ogg, etc.). So then why would the "FOSS" community want to reinvent something?

          Make a plug in for IE and get Firefox, Opera, and Safari to include it in their browsers?

          While making a plugin is not so difficult, who would develop for it if there is no content for it? And if there was content for it, why would they want to move from their already existing platforms (Flash) and switch to something new?

          Make it FOSS BSD please so the embedded people can use it for their systems.

          Actually I've seen some Nokia devices that support Flash, I think one of the mini tablets also runs Linux. So Flash *could* be more widely supported, and I suspect it *eventually* will. ... I'll bet Windows embedded devices will support Silverlight. ... But again, without content it doesn't matter.

          Use Ogg for the codecs.

          Windows still won't ship with an OGG codec. I also remember reading that OGG was notably more CPU-intensive (still true?). While I have no objections to OGG, I do wish it was more widely supported (especially in some more popular mp3 players).

          And write good authoring tools.

          *** That's the biggest kicker. *** I personally think major FOSS "developer" products are seriously lacking when it comes to multimedia compared to commercial products (Flash, Director, etc.). Even if there was an perfect plugin, the SDK and all related tools including deployment would take a serious effort to polish to be even remotely competitive with current offerings.

          Make it good, open, and free.

          A great goal, but unrealistic. In the end the commercial incentive for Flash (or Silverlight) are what pushes it forward, not any form of openness or accessibility. If you can't make money out of it, I doubt it will be widely used or developed.

          Ultimately it would be in everyone's best interest to use what (non-proprietary) plugin systems that already exist interfaced with already open standards/technology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      this move makes Adobe finally release a x86_64 version of Flash

      Flash works fine on x86_64, it not working on 64-bit Linux is an urban myth. Seriously, just google for it...
  • by Daimanta (1140543) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:43AM (#20480291) Journal
    Microsoft will include Silverlight as an update and makes it high priority. Silverlight becomes success and passes Flash as the major app in the sector. MS will discontinue Moonlight because of BS reason. Linux is locked out by vendor lock-in.

    This is purely hypothetical but not at all improbable.
    • by 808140 (808140) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:46AM (#20480349)
      MS didn't produce Moonlight. The Mono guys did. MS may try some patent-fu, but at the very least the code is out there. I personally don't respect software patents enough to abide by them anyway.
    • by everphilski (877346) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:47AM (#20480373) Journal
      Note that Moonlight is being developed **outside** of Microsoft, although it has the support (not just verbally, but engineering support) of Microsoft. So it can't be killed quite that easy.
      • by Alphager (957739) <florian@haas.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:55AM (#20480547) Homepage Journal

        Note that Moonlight is being developed **outside** of Microsoft, although it has the support (not just verbally, but engineering support) of Microsoft. So it can't be killed quite that easy.
        It can't be discontinued from one day to the next, that's right. But if Microsoft decides to no longer provide documentation, moonlight automatically falls behind silverlight and is therefore useless.
        • Not that hard to figure out, I mean, Microsoft has to release documentation on how to program in the language, if they want adoption, correct? :)

          (Oh, wait, I see... your website... FSFE... I now understand your bias and will proceed to take you with a grain of salt.)
          • by iluvcapra (782887)

            Microsoft has to release documentation on how to program in the language, if they want adoption, correct?

            Yah, because everybody knows how accurate and complete the Win32 documentation is, just ask the Wine team!

            You can write a program following MSDN documentation to the letter and have it crash horribly; even worse, you can ignore the MSDN documentation and have your program run great.

    • by AirLace (86148) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:48AM (#20480413)
      Remeber that the Mono project has already independently implemented large parts of Silverlight in their Moonlight implementation with little or no help from Microsoft. Microsoft's official support will definitely be helpful when it comes to test suites and some further details, ie. the "last few percent", but it has already been demonstrated that the community is entirely capable of implementing and maintaining this platform by itself.

      Some strange withdrawal by Microsoft will not result in a significant loss of resources here, and will not get in the way of replacing the proprietary Flash platform with a more free alternative. Kudos to the Mono team -- they have played their cards well here.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Strange???

        What happens when they release an update and decide NOT to release the specs for the new features?

        Then Moonlight devs get to learn what it's like to be WINE developers!
    • by Kingrames (858416)
      More likely:

      Silverlight fails to get any support from customers, Adobe crushes Microsoft's pitiful attempt, and then Microsoft retreats, only to come out of hiding to try to buy Adobe out instead of competing against them.
    • by gral (697468) <kscarr73@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:51AM (#20480461) Homepage
      Actually, if we are talking what they have done in the past:

      * The first version will be done in completely open, to show "They" want to work with the
      community.
      * The next version will have a couple things that are different, but not necessarily documented, so it is difficult to "Know" exactly what is being done, people will still use it because it is not too problematic
      * Future versions will continue this trend, until the MS version has completely broken compatibility with other OS systems, and it will be the other companies just aren't cooperating.
    • by jhol13 (1087781) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:20PM (#20480969)
      DRM. I am certain the Linux version will not play DRM'd content.
    • by tacocat (527354)

      They won't go head to head against Linux like that. It's not effective.

      What is going to be effective is to lock out everyone but Microsoft and rather than discontinue it, make it suck so bad that it becomes a standing example of why Windows Rocks and Linux Sucks and therefore everyone should not be using Linux because, by example, it's lame.

      That's one option. The other is they are willing to lose the OS platform and rely on the Mac BSD and the Linux OS to remain open enough that they can sell their cost

    • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @01:19PM (#20481843)
      Why would they being doing this supporting other platforms thing? Here's my best guess:
      1) knock Adobe Flash down from the top of the hill
      -why? Adobe has nearly the same distribution channels as Microsoft since Flash is installed on nearly all computers sold. Flash is an API Microsoft does not control and its multimedia underpinnings are a threat to Microsoft's media file formats, ie control.

      2) Makes Silverlight look like it's good to everyone in the industry by supporting the three major platforms, Windows, Linux, Mac.
      -why? initial support from the industry for one thing. Linux is embedded in way too many devices to be ignored and Mac isn't doing too bad either. As stated by the parent, this won't last if Silverlight is successful in displacing Flash in the market. Microsoft has NEVER been a friend to anybody who's not a Windows-only vendor and they've never considered other platforms in their business model/methods other than how they threaten the cash flow of the Windows monopoly.

      3) Make a platform to replace the browser neutral AJAX kits and eventually bring it all home to Windows-only.
      -why? AJAX is spread all over the place and businesses are migrating old apps and/or creating new apps which run on any browser/platform. There is no NEED for Windows in this world and Silverlight brings that all home to Bill, Steve, and the friendly people at Microsoft.

      Microsofts motives in everything they have done over the past 15+ years has been to keep Windows in a position of power and control. There has never been any desire to profit from cross platform software and nothing shows they've changed. This attempt at cross platform support is only a tool, or hammer if you will. It's going to smack everyone but Windows users on the head. But Microsoft has changed you might say. Just look at how they are manipulating the ISO process in attempts to get a proprietary format, MS-OOXML, as an international standard. They have not changed and Silverlight on Linux and Mac is nothing but a carrot hanging over the trap. There is no trusting of Microsoft and Novell is the fool for thinking once again, they can play in the pen with the wolf. IMO.

      LoB
      • ...but I don't understand why Microsoft even needs its own closed source implementation when it's actively supporting an OSS implementation. Surely the OSS implementation could be ported to Windows, and probably will be anyway sooner or later.

        The only reason for a closed source edition that I can think of are that Microsoft is using the OSS support for PR purposes only, and has future plans to make sure they're incompatible over time.

  • It's a trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:43AM (#20480293)
    ...stick to open formats and Free code ;-)

    They are trying hard to encourage .net to kill off the huge popularity of Java, especially now that Java is moving to GPL they are trying extra hard to kill it off.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mattintosh (758112)
      They aren't trying very hard. Java has a 15-year head-start on .NET. Meanwhile, .NET is vastly superior and is mopping the floor with Java. Why? Because Java sucks. Why should I have to mess with a classpath when I can just include references in a build file or dump a binary into a "magic" directory? Flexibility is no excuse for stupidity. This extends to the rest of the Java vs. .NET issue. Java is flexible but clunky and stupid. .NET lacks a tiny amount of that flexibility in a compromise to ease of use.

      B
      • Re:It's a trap (Score:5, Informative)

        by thammoud (193905) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#20480825)
        C# and Friends are sure mopping the floor with Java. http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm [tiobe.com]
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Read how that works, please. It's a count of the various percentages of search results found for "x programming" where x is one of the languages supported.

          Java's numbers are purely because it's been around longer and has always had a large net presence. The fact that there are more hits for "Java programming" versus "C sharp programming" is really meaningless. Java's been around longer. Of course there are more hits.

          That means nothing, though, since search hits don't determine which language is used the mos
      • Re:It's a trap (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:13PM (#20480855) Homepage
        Every 10 years or so, programming languages take another incremental step. We take the best lessons over the last decade and incorporate them into a new language. Java took the best parts of C and C++, cleaned them up, added a virtual machine, incorporated the best exception handling designs of the time, and standardized a good class library. Java is/was a huge step forward. .NET was the next incremental improvement on Java. They added in some of the things that were missing from Java, removed a few over-complications, and made a new class library that incorporated the lessons Sun learned.

        Maybe, in another 5-10 years we will see another language emerge. One of these languages will finally become dominant when they design it by committee and make it an ISO standard, like what happened with C++. The problem is, by the time the language makes it through the standardization process, some upstart will already have another language ready.

        The game continues forever.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jfbilodeau (931293)
        As both a Java and .NET developer, I must say that from personal experience, you may be right in saying that .NET has a lesser learning c.NET is a thinly disguised layer to 'pretty up' some old MS technologies. Futhermore, it not just slightly inflexible, but highly inflexible.

        As for the classpath complain, I find it moot. I haven't had to fight with classpath in years. I develop on Windows, Mac OS X & Linux and I've used Eclipse, Netbeans and other IDE, as well as the command line.

        My $0.02

        J-F
    • It is built on XAML and Javascript, hard to argue that it isn't open ...
    • Yes, it could be a trap. But this is not about Java(now open sourced) v/s .NET.

      This is about Flash v/s Silverlight. Flash is closed source and bloated, and you can code for it only in ActionScript. Silverlight/Moonlight is language neutral, so the developers can use any language that has a .NET backend available(Python, Ruby, C# etc. etc.)

      The caveat is that there are no development tools for Silverlight except on Windows(Can you develop Flash on Linux?) and that MS can pull support for Linux in Silve

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eravnrekaree (467752)
      The last thing we need is another proptietary content format for the web. The open source community really needs to be focusing on implementing SMIL and SVG on Firefox which will turn it more into the high performance graphics environment which can compete with Flash. This would bring it a long way there. The w3c standards are good starting points however in many cases I think they come short of implementing enough control over the browser and features to make interactive applications more doable and eisie
  • I generally hate microsoft as much as the next slashdotter, but on this they seem to be doing the right thing. I'm sure the cynical will find something evil about it, but I hope most people see it as an attempt by microsoft to be more cross platform and therefore "friendly" to the industry, and that is a good thing.
    • by blueZ3 (744446)
      So far, what they've done is create "yet-another-MS-proprietary-format" to compete with the existing standard. Microsoft's new tool offers almost nothing technically innovative (at which I must say I'm shocked, shocked!) and exists merely to compete with Flash for the simple reason that Flash exists and Microsoft doesn't own it. There's no immediate financial benefit to MS from this, since they're giving it away (the sample is always free, right?)

      I don't expect the Mac version of this to last past the point
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:20PM (#20480967)
        Good god. Shave off your fucking neckbeard. Try actually READING the fucking specs on silverlight and then saying that. It's actually a pretty nice transition from flash. But you're the average slashdot poster. Steve Balmer could save 25 children from burning to death in a building and you dumb fuckers would say he strapped them to a chair and threw them out the window to save them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by FatherOfONe (515801)
          Balmer, chair throwing.... Man that brings back memories. Speaking of memories... you do remember the company that champions the motto of "If it isn't invented here: kill it". Or "We need to piss all over Java2". Or better yet "You develop a browser for Windows 95 and we will cut off your air supply". These are just a few that I can think of, and there are plenty more. So to use your analogy, I could see Steve Balmer running in to the building and saving the 25 kids that actually bought Vista, then b
      • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:48PM (#20481349) Homepage Journal

        You haven't been watching Adobe if you think Microsoft is doing this just to compete with Flash. Adobe is planning on turning Flash into a complete OS-independent application delivery platform. (The Adobe rep insisted this included Linux when asked.)

        The best example of a similar technology is Java Web Start [sun.com]. Adobe has the install base to push a new version of Flash to enough end users to get a large enough user base to really try something like this. Continuing the analogy with Java, Flash currently fills the Java Applet niche, and Adobe wants to move into the Java Web Start niche.

        Microsoft wants that market, which is the point behind XAML [xaml.net] and other technologies. Silverlight is simply Microsoft firing back at Adobe. They both see a future in rich applications delivered over the web, and are both competing for that market. Silverlight is just one part of that - both hope to get web developers hooked on their platform, to support their rich application delivery framework.

        Since that's the point, you can expect Microsoft to support cross-platform Silverlight as long as Adobe supports cross-platform Flash. They're both hoping to slide into a new market using Flash-like technology.

    • by berashith (222128)
      This seems like the typical embrace and extend strategy. Why should the move be trusted this time?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NickFortune (613926)

      It's not so much that I think it's evil - more that I find myself profoundly distrustful of Microsoft's motives.

      I mean it's possible the leopard really has changed its spots this time. But that's not the smart way to bet.

    • Microsoft only goes cross-platform when they are trying to screw a competitor with superior market position. If they aren't, they go as proprietary as they can.

      In this case they're attacking a stupendously well-entrenched player, so they go cross-platform.

      Here's my prediction: Silverlight 2.0 claims to be "Flash-compatible" (implementing 95% of Flash 6, say) and when you install it, helpfully remaps Application/Shockwave-Flash to Silverlight so that any recent Flash files appear borked. They've been doing t
  • by ptr2004 (695756) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#20480313)
    will it be called sunlight :-)
    • by IvyKing (732111)
      Good one...


      On a bit more serious note - Flash is available for Solaris on both Sparc and x86 - wonder if M$/Novell will support a 'Sunlight' port.

    • by Jugalator (259273)
      That product would never get popular among geeks anyway. ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...and the one for embedded systems is called fleshlight.

      err, wait.
  • If so, why the different name?

    I smell a Big Market Differentiation Rat. But then, everything MS touches, stinks.
    • If so, why the different name?

      The Linux version is being developed by the Mono team, with Microsoft's assistance and blessing. Mono came up with the name before hand. You are smelling the Open Source Creativity Rat, that comes up with names like gNewSense (nuisance? heh) and the like ...
  • Yeah, Right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Like I'm gonna let Billy boy put his binary in my linux box.
  • MLB.com (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:51AM (#20480449) Homepage Journal
    Silverlight has been on mlb.com for a few weeks now, I guess they were one of the first partners. I find this all extremely obnoxious as that site is a huge crap mix of Flash, pop-ups, WMV, and now Silverlight. And that's not counting all the issues with the pay-to-view content, DRM, and content black outs. Sometimes all I want to see is some highlights from last night's games, but I don't want to jump through hoops to do so. Silverlight is just the next annoying hoop, it may look pretty, but it's also on fire.
    • Re:MLB.com (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:02PM (#20480687) Journal
      Wouldn't it be cool if some hacker got creative and instead of defacing sites, replaced them with logical layouts and no ads. Sort of a Benevolent Defacer.

      Sure, it would take some extra effort, but the aftermath from disappointed customers now seeing what they missed, as they restored the site to the bloated mess could get pretty funny. :)
  • Hmm... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kingrames (858416)
    It doesn't appear to work with Mozilla Firefox. I wonder when they'll fix that?
  • by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:52AM (#20480483) Homepage
    I am generally quite paranoid about Microsoft's intentions, but this got even me to thinking. On the one hand,
    • Microsoft are publicly endorsing Linux as a respectable OS. Not more of the "multiplatform = Windows and Mac OS" crap.
    • It does appear that Microsoft is willing to conduct a true partnership here - even offering Novell their internal test suites, which means they really do want it to work. Hopefully this isn't a temporary thing.
    However, on the other hand,
    • "[D]etails that might be necessary to implement 1.0, beyond what is currently published on the web" ...why are not all Silverlight specs and APIs publicly available? Are people supposed to pay money to develop on this platform, or are they strategically delaying publishing the specs, or what? In any case it sounds very fishy. Enlighten me if there is a good explanation for this that I am missing.
    • The codecs are binary-only and only for use in a web browser. This is annoying, but it is about the same as Adobe do with Flash, I guess. Bad, but not quite 'Microsoft' bad.
    So what is going on here? Hard to say. The only thing I am sure about is that after years of Miguel de Icaza following a not-always-popular pro-Microsoft approach, today he must feel quite vindicated: Microsoft has taken another big step towards respecting and collaborating with Linux (or at least Novell), and Miguel is a big part of that.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I honestly don't think they have some secret agenda against Linux with this, but they honestly just want it to run on Linux as well, just like when they announced their Opera partnership to soon have an Opera version out despite its 3% marketshare as a browser in most surveys. The reason to me would be quite logical -- they obviously want their tech to be successful, and for that to happen, they understand they can't have something like 20% of the public running Firefox or other operating systems post bad
    • by miguel (7116) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:48PM (#20481353) Homepage
      Hello,

      "[D]etails that might be necessary to implement 1.0, beyond what is currently published on the web" ...why are not all Silverlight specs and APIs publicly available? Are people supposed to pay money to develop on this platform, or are they strategically delaying publishing the specs, or what? In any case it sounds very fishy. Enlighten me if there is a good explanation for this that I am missing.


      Let me explain.

      The specs as published on the web are pretty complete as far as a programming API goes. But there are some things that we do not quite understand how they work (either because the docs are not as complete as they should be, or because as implementors we need more details about the internals than those that are visible to the end user.

      One thing that we have noticed over the years is that internal specifications are probably built by PMs at Microsoft. And these PMs use these internal specifications to explain certain behaviors on their blogs. I suspect this is because it is a fast path of communication as opposed to going through the documentation pipeline for released products. They are also probably able to clarify things for docs that have been already published. This is my guess.

      So access to the specs is basically access to some documents and explanations that might not have made it to the public specification (for example recently Jackson and Chris had some questions about how the namespaces for CreateFromXaml behaved in the presence of merged trees, and it was not entirely clear how it worked; Luckily the Microsoft PM in charge of this was able to resolve the question in seconds).

      he only thing I am sure about is that after years of Miguel de Icaza following a not-always-popular pro-Microsoft approach, today he must feel quite vindicated: Microsoft has taken another big step towards respecting and collaborating with Linux (or at least Novell), and Miguel is a big part of that.


      Thanks for the nice words; I do feel that way.

      In general, I think that there is much to be gained by having friendly relations with everyone in the industry instead of taking an antagonistic position. You attract more bees with honey than with vinegar kind of thing, and am glad that this is starting to show. I hope to see more collaborations between Microsoft and the Linux community in the future, not limited to Mono, but going beyond that.

      Miguel.
  • for FF users (Score:4, Informative)

    by freshman_a (136603) * on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:52AM (#20480487) Homepage Journal
    FYI, it won't work if you have Flashblock enabled on FF.

    • I'd consider that a feature. It'd be annoying to have install the silverlightblock plugin a few months from now.

      Or do you mean it doesn't work at all? Even after you click the view object link? That's a bug.
      • I was able to install it fine and the download page correctly recognized that I had it installed, but when I tried viewing any of the QuickStart examples, there was a "Download Silverlight" button in place of the example previews. If you click it, it takes you to the download page, where it then proceeds to thank you for installing Silverlight. Basically, Flashblock blocks the content and there's no way to view it. You have to turn Flashblock off completely in order to view any Silverlight content.

        This h
  • History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by allthingscode (642676) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:53AM (#20480511)
    Doesn't this sound like the history of the browser all over again:

    Someone comes out with a technology that threatens Microsoft's dominance: Netscape.
    Microsoft develops a multiplatform technology to defeat it: IE on Mac.
    Microsoft incorporates it into its OS to get it into 90% of the PCs.
    Once the competition is destroyed, it levels off development, and ends support on non-Windows platforms: IE on Mac.

    It'll support *light on Linux/OSX until Flash is defeated.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Someone comes out with a technology that threatens Microsoft's dominance: Netscape.
      Microsoft develops a multiplatform technology to defeat it: IE on Mac.
      Microsoft incorporates it into its OS to get it into 90% of the PCs.
      Once the competition is destroyed, it levels off development, and ends support on non-Windows platforms: IE on Mac.


      All this seems like a suspicious false deduction to me. I don't think IE on Mac got abandoned for them being "evil", but because Safari 1) came to existance and 2) started gett
  • by El Lobo (994537) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:54AM (#20480523)
    I've been creating some Silverlight apps the last monts and my impresions are very positive. I have created some flash apps in the past, and there is no comparation. With Silverlight you have a very important subset of the .NET platform ready to use. Silverlight is not only the presentation forms (whichis also goos), but you can transparently use databases, manipulate and parse HTLM, wire handler events for HTML, excellent communication capabilities, and a lot more. IMO everything is more powerful/organized than the flash conteirpart.... Way to go!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:23PM (#20481029)
      With Silverlight you have a very important subset of the .NET platform ready to use.

      Interesting. Now I haven't done anything with .NET yet, so I have to ask. Is .NET also cross-platform, or will Silverlight be a case of "Oh it's crossplatform, but if you actually want it to be easy, you should be using a .NET enabled OS"?

      Which I'm guessing is only Windows at present?
    • by arete (170676) <areteslashdot2&xig,net> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @01:18PM (#20481825) Homepage
      If you're comparing it only to Flash - and especially older Flash - you're not giving Adobe a fair shake.

      Put briefly, Adobe Flex is in beta of it's 4th major version, and it's what Adobe is offering for programming targeting the Flash Player. For a programmer, it is worlds better than Flash.

      Silverlight might be awesome, I haven't touched it, but everything you said about it are all the same improvements over Flash that Flex has been doing for years now.

      Flash is an animation tool. People starting using it for applications, and starting in 2002 and again in 2004 Macromedia gave it real support as a programming language. This is all still true, and they've continued to improve that.

      But we're now on version 2 (3 is in beta, 1.5 was a major version) of Adobe Flex, which should be considered the follow-on to Flash for programmers and applications. The Actionscript which underlies this is identical in the two platforms, although Flex is driving the new AS versions and Flash lags behind a bit. But Flex also removes all the major craziness that programmers hated in Flash - layout is in an MXML (specific kind of XML) file, there is no binary source file like a fla, and it has further strengthened the already-present OOP capabilities. They have a Dreamweaver-like WYSIWYG layout editor and IDE - and it's also an Eclipse plugin. But like Dreamweaver and unlike Flash, there's no requirement that you use that.

      Oh, and if you don't mind command-line compilation and a text editor, the SDK is free.

      And that's all only if you don't install the Flex server. It is ALSO a presentation layer server, and Flex Data Services have a bunch of really smooth ways to give shared persistence or to interact with any other application server you might have.

      I don't know whether Silverlight also requires the server to support it - I imagine it must to have "a subset of .NET" available; Flex can definitely make standalone swf and can operate with it's full server installed. (The server can also compile on the fly)

      REALLY, though, my big issue is mostly that I just do not trust Microsoft to make a good secure sandbox; they've shown no evidence of being able to pull this off in the past. Using something like this is inherently allowing complex arbitrary code to run... I'm sure this will be better than ActiveX, because it couldn't be worse...

  • kdawson (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evanbd (210358) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:55AM (#20480545)
    Why is the entire front page populated with stories by kdawson? Did the rest of the "editors" quit or something? It'd be nice to have more of a mix of stories on occasion.
    • by mikesd81 (518581)
      It's not the entire front page as some stories are posted by Zonk. However, I think the editors each are schedules as primary editors for a set time. For the most part Zonk posted stories over the past weekend. Just my thoughts.
  • by packetmon (977047) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:59AM (#20480643) Homepage
    Original Microsoft® Silverlight(TM) is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications. Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality video to all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows.

    True translation: Microsoft® Silverlight(TM) is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in that will ultimately be leveraged by bot-net herders using the next generation of .NET attacks. Silverlight offers bot-net herders a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications that can be used for spam, IRC, DDoS and XSS "I hax0r3d j0or payGe". Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of all major attacks.
  • Personal computers are now fast enough that we can add yet another layer of abstraction between the hardware and the applications.

    I have a hunch this will succeed, because it will target web developers looking for the easiest way to make web pages "fancier." There's a huge market for this. 90% of the people you make web pages for will have no comments at all except, "Can you make the logo fade in and fly around like on www.ultrashitty.com?"

    So about 20 years from now, we'll be developing applications for t
    • by IdahoEv (195056)
      90% of the people you make web pages for will have no comments at all except, "Can you make the logo fade in and fly around like on www.ultrashitty.com?"

      Speaking as a web developer, this is so true it makes me want to cry.
  • by toby (759) * on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:07PM (#20480775) Homepage Journal
    Open letter to Adobe - release Flash under the GNU GPL today

    Dear Adobe,

    No doubt you've seen the news that Microsoft and Novell are to work on a version of Silverlight for GNU/Linux. This puts Silverlight onto all three major platforms now, and puts yourselves and us into a difficult position. As the free software community, we want users of computers to have freedom to do all the jobs they can, including all those nice interactive websites out there that use Flash. We have Gnash now, but it's not finished yet, but it at least lets us look at YouTube movies in the browser with little or no problem, and Homestar Runner works very well as well. We're not there yet, but we're getting somewhere. Now, from your point of view, you give away the Flash player, but only in binary form, which means that while I'm sure it's better than Gnash, your license prevents us from using it with freedom. So, here's the rub... if you'll do a little thing for us, we can do some great things for you. We can help you beat Microsoft and crush Silverlight, but you're going to have to do something a little unusual, and a lot of people at Adobe aren't going to like it, but you have to do this and do it quickly.

    Here goes... Make Flash free software, specifically, release Flash - the player, the editor, the server, for all platforms, including embedded stuff, under the GNU GPL v3 and do it quickly. As soon as you do this, we can start to win. We can get Flash Player onto the One Laptop Per Child machines, which gets a ton more eyeballs looking at Flash. We can get gNewSense, Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, Fedora, SuSE, Slackware, Mandriva and all the others to distribute Flash Player with their distributions. OpenSolaris can have Flash Player, too. You can still sell copies of the Flash editor, in lovely cardboard boxes on the shelves of computer stores, even as Free Software - you just need to add value. Bundle DVDs of freely licensed shapes, characters, sounds, loops and effects and dead-tree editions of your now freely licensed manuals, and people will still buy it, and of course, you bundle it in with things like Creative Suite, so it gets onto more machines, and you make it a free of charge download, too. You encourage people to torrent it, and the source, and you'll see more features being added, you'll see more video formats being supported and you'll see people doing amazing things with software you created, but only if you act quickly and get this right.

    Don't lose this to Microsoft, for the sake of freedom of computer users everywhere, for the sake of a free web and for the sake of generations of people to come, don't let Microsoft get away with this.

    Sun are doing this with Java, they did it with OpenOffice.org. You can do this as well.

    It's entirely down to you now. If you need help, ask. If you have questions, shout.

    Call the Free Software Foundation today, and make this happen.

    (+1-617-542-594)

    Do the right thing.

    Do it.

    Best,

    matt


    Exploring Freedom [mattl.co.uk] blog.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by everphilski (877346)
      gNewSense ... nuisance ... exactly what it is without the binary blobs :)

      don't let Microsoft get away with this.

      Funny thing is, Microsoft and Novell are already releasing source, but apparently you'd rather see Adobe's. It's funny how hate works. You hate Microsoft so much you go to what is considered one of the more annoying online presences (flash), (and do I need to even talk about them as a corporation?) and stroke their egos, begging them to release their source... when the 'other guys' are alread
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:36PM (#20481197)
      Open letter from Adobe to Matt

      Dear Matt,

      I'm so sorry but real-world companies can't survive on misguided idealism, and if you haven't noticed, we need some money to pay the salaries of our employees. This means we'll not just open source our player, which is already a de facto standard, and s result for which we paid millions upon millions and years of hard work to build.

      In fact we've still not released the Flash 9 spec out there, and when we release it, it'll be full of errors and incomplete, just like the previous flash specs were.

      We open sourced parts of our platforms strategically, but only enough to appeal to the OSS crowds, and ensure our platform is seen as a standard, and not enough so we lose control. As you know The Flash scripting engine will be part of Firefox 4. We also open sources the Flex framework and soon the compiler an Eclipse plugin. It didn't sell well anyway, so what else could we do.

      Recently we announced that we'll embrace open standards like MPEG4 for our video codec, but what we forgot to mention is we'll still require that you buy our owns streaming servers for live streaming, since we intentionally don't support the standard streaming protocol all other MPEG4 videos stream in.

      It's also possible we'll sue the authors of Gnash, if they ever start to matter (they don't now), since our specification of the Flash format specifically says you're not allowed to build players with it, just Flash file exporters.

      Basically, it's business like any business for us and Microsoft. Drop the idealism and get on with your life.

      Sincerely, Adobe.
  • Evil Plan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:11PM (#20480837)
    So now people can pwn my linux box by exploiting microsoft bugs ?
  • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:21PM (#20480995)
    From Moonlight's Blog:

    The highlights of the collaboration are: Microsoft will give Novell access to the test suites for Silverlight to ensure that we have a compatible specification. The same test suite that Microsoft uses for Silverlight. Microsoft will give us access to the Silverlight specifications: details that might be necessary to implement 1.0, beyond what is currently published on the web; and specifications on the 1.1 version of Silverlight as it is updated. Microsoft will make the codecs for video and audio available to users of Moonlight from their web site. The codecs will be binary codecs, and they will only be licensed for use with Moonlight on a web browser (sorry, those are the rules for the Media codecs[1]). Novell will implement Silverlight 1.0 and 1.1 and will distribute it for the major Linux distributions at the time of the shipment. We will offer some kind of one-click install for Linux users (no "Open a terminal and type su followed by your password..." as well as RPM and DEB packages for the major distros and operating systems.
    Licensed codecs on Linux should put corporate types to rest. The restriction that it must be used only in Moonlight sucks though.
  • There is no catch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LS (57954) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:26PM (#20481069) Homepage
    Everyone is wondering what the bait and switch scheme is. Perhaps there is none. Microsoft may be realizing that the OS battle is a losing one. Just look at the Vista fiasco. The move to from local apps to web services has been predicted for a while and has had several false starts, but recently there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Microsoft doesn't care if the the underlying operating system is Linux as long as you are running their web services on top of it.

    LS
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)
      Yeah, there's some real light at the end of the tunnel. Just look at the OOXML ISO fiasco.

      I don't know what you put in your Wheeties pal, but some of us take the null hypothesis with Microsoft to be "They're trying to fuck us over somehow".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eravnrekaree (467752)
      I still consider this to be a bad idea, to use a closed source proprietary plugin for creating content on the web. Microsoft says they are supporting Linux, but this assumes Linux is the only operating system besides Windows people use. It leaves those who run FreeBSD and other OSs still pretty much in the same situation and leaves us in a similar predicament as we were before, proprietary closed source plugins that can only be used on paritcular OSs, locking people out of viewing web content on a broad ran
  • by Prototerm (762512) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @12:58PM (#20481521)
    I'd like to know what the people at Microsoft have against anyone else having a slice of the computer software pie. While I appreciate the idea of competition, Microsoft isn't about competing fairly. It appears they will not be content until they are the only software company left. Do they have so little confidence in their own ability to compete that they must drive everyone else into oblivion?

    Just for the record, I despise Flash in all of its incarnations. Most web sites only use it for annoying ads anyway, so avoiding it is a small loss. But why Microsoft feels it has to drive Flash out of the market with their monopolistic efforts is beyond me.
    • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @01:26PM (#20481981) Journal
      I also detest Flash. I think it is an abomination. However: you are missing the point of what Flash is.

      Flash started as FutureSplash, a system for simple vector based goofy animations on the web.

      Macromedia bought it, and ramped it up. About, oooh, a week (?) after Flash was bought, the writing was on the wall - Macromedia Director was a Dead Duck. What made Director useful, however, was its craptacular programming language, Lingo. Once the vision shifted from Director to Flash, the move was on to develop a programming language for Flash - the result? The even MORE craptacular ActionScript.

      Several year ago, a survey was done [marketingsherpa.com] and it was found that a full 80% of the users of the web would click "skip intro" and avoid using flash if they could. This set off a sea change at Macromedia, and now at Adobe, where Flash is no longer the funky little animation engine that couldn't if its life depended on it, but to become a "development environment" and platform for web based applications. [adobe.com] Now, isn't THAT a totally stupid idea...

      So, what Microsoft is trying to do is strangle and/or marginalise Flash as a dev environment before it gets any real traction.

      Now you know.

      RS

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shados (741919)
      In this case, it is useful to understand where its coming from. With .NET 3.0 (which was originally meant to be Vista-only, but never ended up being so), Microsoft implemented a new GUI API called Windows Presentation Foundation to somewhat replace the old Win32/MFC/etc that has been around forever.

      Part of the features of WPF is that its applications can be ran in "Express" mode, via a browser (this isn't like Silverlight or Flash where its part of a web page. In this case it IS its own "markup" and all, th

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