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Mono Coders Hack Linux Silverlight in 21 Days 409

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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  • by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <> on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:07PM (#19636943) Homepage Journal
    It's often said that ideas are a dime a dozen, but implementations are few and far between.

    If it had been done on a normal time scale, the novelty here would be the fact that the implementation exists. But considering it was done in three weeks, instead of six months, shows the sheer speed and effectiveness that Miguel's teams demonstrate.
  • Re:That's great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by DoctorPepper ( 92269 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:12PM (#19637003)
    "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."

    Remember, Google is our friend! :-)
  • Re:The MS teams (Score:5, Informative)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:12PM (#19637009) Homepage Journal
    Silverlight 1.1 is a stripped down version of the .Net framework 3.0. They took the 25+meg 3.0 library and started trimming out namespaces until they got down to a 4 meg library that could be run as a browser plug-in. So while their work is commendable, the hard part (the .Net libraries) was already done as part of the existing Mono project. I imagine the most time consuming part was determining exactly which namespaces Microsoft left in.

  • 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.
  • Re:Why?! (Score:2, Informative)

    by brunascle ( 994197 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:17PM (#19637099)
    it sure is []
  • No Mono in Moonlight (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:22PM (#19637189)
    Moonlight does not use Mono or .Net or C# or anything like that. It's written in C++ and can be used as a Firefox plugin directly. Read all the links at the top of the Slashdot story.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:4, Informative)

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

  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:29PM (#19637281) Homepage Journal
    Moonlight does not use Mono or .Net or C# or anything like that. It's written in C++ and can be used as a Firefox plugin directly. Read all the links at the top of the Slashdot story.

    Correct, it does not need or use Mono because it IS Mono. It is a stripped down version of Mono. Mono is coded in C++, thus Moonlight is coded in C++.

  • Re:That's great! (Score:3, Informative)

    by PetoskeyGuy ( 648788 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:31PM (#19637299)

    So what the heck is "Silverlight"?

    Silverlight can be thought of as "Microsoft" Flash - except it's designed from the ground up for programmers instead of artists. It's got real code behind it, real error checking and exceptions.

    From an artist standpoint Silverlight is kind of blah new and not that many tools for it. At least from the people I know who've tried using it to draw pictures. Macromedia could cut them off at the knees if they had a pluggable programming framework instead of using ECMAScript backend.

    Flash is great for smaller projects, but it's so sloppy that maintaining large project starts to get harder as the codebase increases. If you make a typo you never know it, you just blindly call a non-existant function or property and you won't know it until things don't work right. Silverlight can avoid all this headache.
  • 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 [], 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 [], where the first question is "What is Silverlight?" []. 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.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Informative)

    by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <> on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:49PM (#19637523) Homepage
    That, and the whole Dmitry Sklyarov affair.

    No, Adobe, we haven't forgotten.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:3, Informative)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:11PM (#19637821)
    It did not run on firefox on my ubuntu linux no it cannot hold a candle to flash, which
    just so happens to work on my machine.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:30PM (#19638061)

    The real reason that Flash is popular is because that is the standard that YouTube decided on.

    I disagree; YouTube used Flash because Flash was popular.

    I refer you to the Flash penetration statistics Adobe keeps: layer/version_penetration.html []
  • Re:The MS teams (Score:2, Informative)

    by smodak ( 720991 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:44PM (#19638231) Homepage
    Meh, IIRC Mono hasn't even completed the port of .Net 2.0 (especially the ASP.NET part), let alone .Net 3.0. So they had to implement whatever .Net 3.0 libraries Silverlight may have needed.
  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:09PM (#19638595) Homepage
    In this message [], the real Miguel ("Miguel" (7116) []) said:

    The `Miguel de Icaza' account is an impersonator, I do not know who it is. And his views have nothing to do with mine.
    This is a shame, because that person has been flaming everywhere.
    The slashdot admins have said that they can not do anything about it.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:3, Informative)

    by XMyth ( 266414 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:31PM (#19638887) Homepage
    Flash was huge before 2005. v5 may have been when things started to take off, I don't really know...but Flash definitely had the majority of the market well before Youtube and Adobe came around. []

    References a page on which now only shows 2006 stats but I don't see why they'd post a blatant lie. In 2004 Flash had well over 90% penetration in US and Europe.

  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Informative)

    by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:55PM (#19639221)

    For one thing, Silverlight supports the VC-1 codec. This would allow embedded HD video which Flash currently can't handle.

    Ever since Adobe started using the On2 codec, HD Flash is not a problem. We just shipped several HD clips in Flash for a job and they looked great.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:06PM (#19639395)
    In addition to flash (punch the monkey), it's actually targetted effectively as a replacement of the HORRID windows media plugin for delivering video.

    Comparing Silverlight to WMP, you get: Much smaller download size, much smaller process size, faster startup, scriptable control across all 4 major browser platforms (PC: IE, FF - Mac: FF, Safari), plus the capability of slapping dancing monkeys on top of video, which was previously nigh-upon impossible to do across all those platforms.

    Yes MS is still in the "It supports non-IE, so it must be cross-platform" mentality. Strictly from practical video delivery perspective it's a nice release, but the standards fanboy inside of me says: "yeah, but now we go from mimetype of x-wmp to x-silverlight" which takes it away from being embedded video to being embedded anything. So, good news and bad news for this, and yes, Linux support is something I haven't seen MS touch with a 3.048 meter pole, in any of their products, no matter how much sense it makes.

  • 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.
  • by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:30PM (#19639737) Homepage
    Mono is not coded in C++, it is coded in C.

    The Moonlight rendering engine is written in C++, this is the piece that can be used without Mono, although for most things you will want Mono.

    The binding to link the engine to Mono is written in C#.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Informative)

    by 808140 ( 808140 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:08PM (#19640155)
    You don't seem to understand what "antitrust" means -- and unfortunately, you're not alone in this here on Slashdot. It seems lots of people think "antitrust" means any sort of subjectively "unfair" market manipulation, but that's not what it means. Antitrust law, broadly speaking, has to do with monopolies that are unfairly leveraged, with oligopolies that collude to set prices, and with mergers and acquisitions that consolidate the only major players in a market into one, dominant player.

    First off, despite what you may have heard, in the US at least, monopolies are not illegal. If by fair competition you become the only player on the block, you are not subject to antitrust law. If, however, you use your monopoly position to create barriers to entry into the market (other than the natural barriers caused by competition) or if you use your monopoly in one market to unfairly compete in another market, you may be subject to antitrust law.

    With regards to Apple -- and for the record, I am not a fanboy, I don't own an iPod and I run Debian on my Thinkpad -- there is very little evidence that they have a monopoly anywhere at all. First: the iPod is not a monopoly. This seems to be very difficult for some Slashdotters to grasp. Yes, it is by far and away the most popular digital music player on the market today, but it is not the only one. And it isn't like the only alternative is Microsoft's Zune or some other non-profitable offering subsidized by a powerful company trying to break into the market, either. There are literally thousands of competitive offerings, with the same feature set as the iPod, many of them technically superior in pretty much every way to the iPod, that are cheaper to boot. People in the US don't seem to buy them much, but they most certainly are available. The barriers to entry in the digital music player market are extremely low, and there is nothing whatsoever about Apple's dominance that changes that. Companies like Creative, iRiver, and countless other small no-name brands from China manage to remain profitable, although their volumes are somewhat lower than Apple's. But hey, newsflash: most markets have a dominant player. That doesn't mean the dominant player has a monopoly, and even if it they did, it doesn't mean they obtained that monopoly unfairly or that they're abusing their monopoly to fix prices.

    The only semi-possible charge related to antitrust law that has ever been levied against Apple is with regards to their Fairplay DRM, which is only available on the iPod, and which allegedly causes vendor lock-in. Well, there's a big reason that no one ever pursues this: it's a non-starter. Many competing music players play AAC without DRM these days, and according to Apple's own data, the overwhelming majority of music on people's iPods does not come from the iTunes music store, which is pretty much the only place that you might get AAC + Fairplay tracks. Unless you put DRM on your own tracks -- and who does that -- most music is still ripped from people's own CD collection or obtained illegally via P2P or similar.

    These complaints about Fairplay also ignore the glaringly obvious: pretty much any proprietary software package also has proprietary file formats, many of which are deliberately obfuscated, precisely in order to lock users into their products. Reading Microsoft hackers' own experiences reverse engineering the WordPerfect document formats back when that product was dominant is extremely illustrative in this regard. (The fact that I'm pointing out that this is standard industry practice should not in any way be construed as support for said practice; I am in favor of open document formats precisely because I disagree with vendor lock-in. But the fact remains: this sort of thing, by itself, is not an antitrust violation.)

    In fact, my iRiver (which I purchased because it supports Ogg Vorbis and love) supports some DRM-laden format of its own, IRM or somesuch, which
  • Re:The MS teams (Score:4, Informative)

    by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:13PM (#19640207) Homepage

    Meh, IIRC Mono hasn't even completed the port of .Net 2.0 (especially the ASP.NET part), let alone .Net 3.0. So they had to implement whatever .Net 3.0 libraries Silverlight may have needed.
    You do not remember correctly, and in particular the ASP.NET 2.0 piece is incorrect. We are in fact not done with 100% of .NET 2.0, but we got pretty much all the APIs that people are using according to the 2,000 or so reports that we are getting through our Migration Tool. There is still work left to do, but we are on good track. ASP.NET 2.0 is complete, it is so complete that Mainsoft already shipped their Grasshopper product (whose ASP.NET 2.0 support is the same Mono code base). We have not shipped because we are going to ship other technologies like Windows forms that Grasshopper is not targeting. Miguel.
  • 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.
  • Re:Good job Miguel! (Score:3, Informative)

    by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:23PM (#19640335) Homepage
    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.

  • Re:Wonderful (Score:4, Informative)

    by benwaggoner ( 513209 ) <> on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:48PM (#19640627) Homepage
    Silverlight supports both progressive download and streaming.

    I've been demoing 720p HD streaming to Silverlight at 4 Mbps. It works fine today (and Silverlight 1.0 is still only in public beta).
  • by Frenchman113 ( 893369 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:21PM (#19643423) Homepage
    Hint: WMV3/VC-1 isn't reverse-engineered anymore. Apparently the MS-hating got in the way of your vision and you missed where MS released a full reference implementation including source code and documentation. Further, since it's an ISO standard, there's no "hidden code" anywhere, ok? In fact, On2 Truemotion VP6 (flash) is the reverse-engineered code here. Try reading, it's good for you.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:3, Informative)

    by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:29PM (#19643517)
    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.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban