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Microsoft To Open Source Some of Silverlight 204

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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  • 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.

  • Really. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:13AM (#18938297)
    Call me cynical, but...

    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 established and "good enough" for everyday use then nobody needs to fix what is not broken.
  • 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:Really. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjwest ( 948274 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:25AM (#18938327)

    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 flash developers suck more the program is something that becomes conjecture.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:42AM (#18938391) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is anti everything the internet stands for.

    The Internet is for open, platform neutral communcation.
    Microsoft if for closed source mono-culture.

    The internet is for the creation of new tools, paradigms and technology by anyone for anyone.
    Microsoft is all about where they think you want to go today.

    Fact is, Microsoft has made it their mission to break everything they possibly can, whether it be standard, language or platform.
    If it's not from microsoft, they want to kill it.

    So any developer that sincerely uses MS in anything but their server-side stack is a user hating pro-MS pundit that wants to try to force their user base to use Windows and Windows related products. And personally, has no business whatsoever calling themselves a web developer. Anti-web developer is more like it.

    So I don't care what MS does. A psychopathic culture can not be changed.
    And MS has always been and always will be a psychopathic culture, feigning to be "nice" if it thinks it there is something in it for them.

    Adobe has been quite sincere and has done some great things with Flex, Apollo and will also be creating some nifty webservices.
    Buying Macromedia was a great move and wise to insure that technologies such as Flash, Flex and Director lived on and became more prominant.
    Microsoft on the other hand is reviled and dying a public death in the online marketplace.
    MSN and it's related services are a joke. Online music? maps? Online calender? Search?
    MS will tie their apps to Vista Servers and .Net stacks and the dotcoms will laugh and fart in their general direction.

    I am happy to see MS blowing wads of money on what is bound to be yet another failure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @05:56AM (#18938435)
    Been there, done that. M$ is trying to do an ActiveX 2.0. Too late. I for one welcome our new Adobe overlords!
  • 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 for some examples).

  • 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.

  • Microsoft has been using open source for some time, albeit sometimes with restrictive licenses, but rarely has any of it been useful for anything but developers already committed to Microsoft's platform.

    There are several reasons people may be interested in open source, but they all have one thing in common ... people are interested in what open source does for them. Open source frees them from dependence on a single vendor, it frees them from license fees and royalties, it allows them to share responsibility with a large pool of like-minded developers, and so on. Open source products tied to a single vendor, whether it's hardware (like a Linux-based set-top box or PDA) or software (one of Microsof's efforts was an open-source installer for Windows applications) is only going to be interesting if it's useful for the things they're already doing.

    Open-sourcing *part* of a product, when you're potentially going to have to pay Microsoft to use the rest (the price I read was the first million users free, then 25 cents per user after that), is a pretty obvious poison pill.
  • Re:Really. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jeswin ( 981808 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:11AM (#18938961) Homepage
    ....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 []:
    "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, if not for a lock-in? Even MS-Word formats are becoming more open.

    Everything you said is more applicable to Adobe than to Microsoft. Microsoft is in no position to shove SilverLight down unsuspecting throats. They don't have the trust, the respect or the distribution of Flash to be able to do that.
  • 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.
  • mod parent down! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @08:36AM (#18939141)
    What unfettered arrogance on behalf of the publication that's hosting it in believing that their hack paragraph on a minor tech story is worth a piece of tree - presumably they have a deal going with HP to use up as much ink as possible.

    Techworld - a website I will never, at any time, ever visit again. Makes Flash, or its MS competitor, look positively non-invasive.

    The submitter linked directly to the printer friendly version of the page - notice the printerfriendly=1 in the URL ? It's hardly "unfettered arrogance" for them to assume that anyone who clicks on their "Printer friendly version of this article" link might want to, you know, print the article. The fact that a slashdot submitter bypassed that step is not the fault of Techworld in any way, and to suggest a conspiracy with HP is just ridiculous!
  • Re:Ohhhhh Sources (Score:4, Insightful)

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

    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 41605.aspx []

    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 []

  • Re:It's Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @09:15AM (#18939515)
    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.
  • Re:Ohhhhh Sources (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @10:24AM (#18940445) Homepage Journal

    how can an open source project be acquired?

    Easily. You can acquire my open source project, Stylus Toolbox []. 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, 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, so no problems there.

    If the license was OSI before couldn't the project just continue?

    Sure. Just like someone could fork Stylus Toolbox from the last GPL release.

    From the wikipedia entry it looks like the project leader decided that the MS shared source license was going to be used.

    Actually, it was under CPL, which you can see from the old site []. It is perhaps a bit of a misnomer to say that Microsoft 'acquired' it -- the author was hired by Microsoft and he transfered copyright to them when he hired in.

  • Re:Really. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2007 @10:55AM (#18940925) Homepage Journal

    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?

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