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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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  • 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 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.

  • Re:Wonderful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:10PM (#19636983)
    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.
  • by Kimos ( 859729 ) <kimos,slashdot&gmail,com> on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:16PM (#19637073) Homepage

    Oooh, Linux developers copied a Microsoft product in two weeks! How novel, how path-breaking!
    What this is actually saying is:
    "Linux developers implement in two weeks the compatibility and usability features that Microsoft intentionally left out."
  • Re:Why?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by archen ( 447353 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:16PM (#19637085)
    Same problems with a lot of open source problems, no one thinks it's all that important. Many people love trumpet the virtues of open source like it can do absolutely anything and that all solutions are just around the corner. Reality is that it depends on who is interested, and how organized the project is - that means that many projects flounder in barely workable solutions that never seem to pan out. Not to say that OS software doesn't have it's merits, but it's not the magic pixy dust for all problems.

    swf is an open format so THAT obviously isn't the problem...
  • Miguel de Icaza doesn't hate Microsoft.
  • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:17PM (#19637101)
    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 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 archeopterix ( 594938 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:19PM (#19637131) Journal
    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@gmai l . com> 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.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:31PM (#19637305)
    That depends, if it were demonstrated to have been yanked to stifle the competition, then yes it could be an antitrust problem. If they yanked it because it was a huge security nightmare, and they were going to release a new more secure browser, then probably not.

    But that being said, Apple hasn't been bitchslapped or even investigated for the charges I read about from time to time, about early on how Jobs manufactured an iPod shortage to enrich Apple's margins. That kind of amazes me, because I'll read about that from time to time in articles that praise Jobs performance since he got back. I suspect that if that and the mandatory minimum pricing on the iPods isn't considered to be fodder for antitrust suits, I doubt that MS should be smacked for removing an insecure browser from the market. Even if it does harm the competition or consumer.
  • Re:Why?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kerohazel ( 913211 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @12:39PM (#19637391) Homepage
    swf is an open format so THAT obviously isn't the problem...

    From []
    "This license does not permit the usage of the specification to create software which supports SWF file playback."

    It's a bit like having a research library that permits you access to any book you want, as long as your paper doesn't cite one as a reference.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by RidiculousPie ( 774439 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:04PM (#19637737)

    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 libraries with your silverlight/moonlight app, extending it's functionality without having to implement yourself from the ground up.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

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

    Go to [] 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:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doctor Memory ( 6336 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:20PM (#19637949)

    every federal prosecutor and his brother will be jumping at the chance to head up the anti-trust suit
    Yes, since that worked so well the last time...

    Court: "Microsoft, you've been found guilty of anti-competitive and monopolistic practices. What do you have to say for yourself?"
    Microsoft looks at the floor, hands in pockets, mumbles "Sorry...."
    Court: "Well, don't let it happen again!"
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brunascle ( 994197 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:22PM (#19637969)
    from wiki []:

    The domain name "" was activated on February 15, 2005
    you mean to tell me you dont think flash was huge before 2005?
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:35PM (#19638131)
    The real reason that Flash is popular is because that is the standard that YouTube decided on.

    And why did YouTube decide on Flash as their standard? Because Flash plugins were mature and reliable, worked well with all leading browsers and OS platforms, and even came pre-installed with many browser distros. Because it allowed them to avoid the game of "Select your poison: Windows Media, Real, or QuickTime?" that users at previous video sites had to play. Because tools for generating and publishing Flash content were not onerously expensive.

    Is Silverlight any of these things yet?
  • by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:45PM (#19638251)
    "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.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Movi ( 1005625 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:47PM (#19638279)
    >All they have to do is yank iexplore32 and flash dies overnight.

    All they have to do is yank iexplore32 and Firefox wins overnight.

    There, fixed that for you.
  • 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.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:48PM (#19639939) Homepage Journal
    Ok, before Mono I, as a Linux user, was unable to run applications written in C#. After Mono I, as a Linux user, now have the choice as to whether or not I want to run a C# application. You want me to be mad about that?

    Miguel has not taken anything away from Linux, everything he's done has added to the choices we have. I would rather have an open-source implementation of Silverlight for Linux than have no implementation or a closed-source implementation. If you don't like Silverlight, don't install Moonlight, but don't presume to tell me if I should or should not use it.

    If anything, Miguel has just proven that even if Microsoft keeps changing the API, the Mono team can keep up.
  • by miguel ( 7116 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:18PM (#19640271) Homepage

    Alrighty. If it is a virtual machine, where can we find documentation about:
    1) the OPCODES of this vm
    2) the standard libraries and interbrowser API
    3) The format of silverlight compiled scripts

    The opcodes of the machine are documented on the standard ECMA 335.

    The standard libaries and browser APIs are available from [] a lot of the documentation is still under development for Silverlight 1.1 (1.0 is much more complete) so for a few things that are new in 1.1, you have to guess what they are, or look it up in the WPF docs (which is where stuff ultimately came from).

    The format of the Silverlight compiled scripts is documented in ECMA 335 as well.
  • by damiam ( 409504 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:18PM (#19640279)
    hate Adobe for their lack of Linux support and hope to see them either shape up or get destroyed by Microsoft.

    Did you really just compare Adobe to Microsoft in terms of poor Linux support? If Silverlight becomes workable on Linux, it'll be because a group of hackers reverse-engineered and re-implemented it, not because MS gives a shit about Linux. If you're going to judge these techs by their third-party open-source implementations, then you should be talking about the several free flash players that are currently much more functional than Moonlight.
  • Re:The MS teams (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bloody Templar ( 702441 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:38PM (#19640517)
    Nope. Miguel de Icaza mentioned explicitly in his blog [] that his team received guidance from Scott Guthrie and others in Microsoft.
  • As usual, Slashdot editors just assume that everyone knows what Silverlight is, as though we all follow Microsoft's every move.

    The developers of Moonlight make the same assumption. I see no explanation on the Moonlight developer web site.

    From Microsoft: "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."

    Most of that seems to be written by a marketing man who doesn't understand the product, but wants write about it anyway. What are "... the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications..."

    What is "delivering ... experiences"? Is Silverlight psychoactive, like marijuana?

    What kind of "experiences"? Does someone ring your doorbell, and when you answer it, pour water on your shoes?

    How is Silverlight "fast"? Isn't the speed limited by the user's internet connection?

    What does "on the Mac OS or Windows" mean? Does Microsoft intend to exclude Linux?
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @05:57PM (#19641685) Homepage
    For the amd64 Linux/Konqueror user, youtube is one of those sites that NEVER works. Now, pages that just provide a link to an avi/mpg file work just fine.

    Flash videos are just incredibly annoying. Inevitably I just figure out the url for the flv file and download it so that it can be played with mplayer.

    Video shouldn't require a plug-in to work. And if it does they could at least make it more widely available...
  • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @05:59PM (#19641707)
    ...unless you happen to not run Windows, of course. While Windows Media has been shipping for years, I don't really think you have an official distribution of the latest codec for Linux and MacOS - unlike Adobe, who offer Flash 9 for all major platforms. After all, if you want to compete with Flash you have to offer all dependencies from one source; telling users to use Google's reverse engineered code (ie. FFMpeg's WMV3 functionality) doesn't quite cut it unless you can guarantee that FFmpeg is 100.00% compatible. Given that you even have Silverlight for all three major platforms, that is.

    This is not supposed to be an "fulfill my unreasonable demands or else!1" flame, but really, Adobe has set a certain standard for interoperability and if Silverlight doesn't live up to that standard it's yet another Windows-only technology that no sane web developer will use because Flash does the same on more platforms. After all, ActiveX has done what Silverlight does now for quite a while, if the user was ready to accept the security issues.

    (By the way, a codec developer who uses the term "video experience" to describe a container format/video codec? Microsoft's PR department must make some really good Kool-Aid!)

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