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Is Microsoft/Novell’s Moonlight Dead Now?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Moonlight

Summary: Microsoft betrays Moonlight in the sense that suddenly it gives Intel access to Silver Lie, for Moblin

AS WE emphasised last night, Intel is not exactly a friend of Linux; it is forced to embrace Linux in order to guard its oversized hardware franchise. Moblin is still property of Intel, but Intel prefers for it to seem like a product on neutral grounds, notably the Linux Foundation.

Intel is now embracing Silver Lie, which is a betrayal of Web standards. Two Microsoft folks, Tim Anderson and Mary Jo Foley, have just written about this major development. They seem to have gotten some 'scoops'.

Update: Microsoft isn’t offering a whole lot of particulars about how Silverlight is being moved onto Moblin, other than reconfirming the effort uses neither Moonlight nor Mono. From a spokesperson:

“Microsoft plans to make a porting kit available to OEMs that will enable them to port Silverlight to their Moblin-based devices. Microsoft will provide Intel with Silverlight source code and test suites, and Intel will provide Microsoft with an optimized version of Silverlight for Moblin devices that Microsoft can then redistribute to OEMs. So when you get a device with Moblin, it will come with Silverlight.”

Anderson writes:

Intel and Microsoft have announced a new port of Silverlight to Linux, specifically for the Intel-sponsored Moblin operating system running on Atom-powered devices such as netbooks. The port enables Intel to include Silverlight as a supported runtime in the Atom Developer Program, which will feed an iPhone-like App Store.

Microsoft has already provided Intel with Silverlight source code and test suites. Intel will build an optimized Moblin version of Silverlight, which Microsoft will supply to OEMs.

There are a couple of surprising aspects to the announcement. One is that a Linux implementation of Silverlight already exists, the open source Moonlight project. We asked Microsoft’s Brian Goldfarb, director of the Developer Platform Group, why Moonlight was not being used for Atom devices. Goldfarb replied by making a distinction between “broad Linux,” which is targeted by Moonlight, and specific Linux-based devices where Microsoft might support other implementations.

Pamela Jones told me: “So that’s why Intel gave it to the Linux Foundation?”

We previously expressed concerns about the implications of Moblin when it comes to Linux and software patents [1, 2]. There is more to it than meets the eye.

Microsoft insisted that it didn’t bring Silver Lie to GNU/Linux (it lies about it being cross-platform) because of Novell, which was willing to make a poorer version that carries with it patent issues.

Regarding the latest development, Will asks: “Where does this put the “M&M” duo?”

“When that marketshare starts slipping, behavior like that is probably going to hit them hard.”
Another reader remarks as follows: “The more I use applications written in .NET, the more I think .NET is a typical Microsoft turd. Avoid at all costs. Silverlight and Mono are second order disasters, dependent on the first larger one. GNU/Linux should want nothing to do with any of it. The originals are bad news. Silverlight, thankfully, is gaining zero traction. I wonder why MJF [Mary Jo Foley] writes about it at all. Do you actually want a cell phone with Silverlight? I don’t.”

Will says that Silverlight is “beginning to gain an impressive list of operations that have dumped it. NBC, NY Times, for starters. I wonder what’s up with Silverlight and Moblin. [...] Silverlight? Just hearing “Windows Mobile” puts it instantly on my “avoid like the black plague” list.”

“Silverlight on Moblin should also send you running for the hills,” adds another person.

Will concludes: “Doesn’t this just confirm that Mono and Moonlight are useless? [...] Sometimes I think Microsoft just spent so much time and energy building walls to keep the competition out that they finally got to a point where they had completely walled themselves in and trapped themselves. They also have a nasty habit of dragging their feet years if not decades about supporting any new technology or format that they don’t control. They rely on their overwhelming marketshare and the network effect to make this work. When that marketshare starts slipping, behavior like that is probably going to hit them hard. You can already see it beginning in the browser area.”

“We could refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight”

Miguel de Icaza

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Pages that cross-reference this one


  1. David Gerard said,

    September 24, 2009 at 10:13 am


    .NET apps are really fat, slow and awful … on Windows, their home platform.

    In fact, they remind me of trying to use Java desktop apps.

    (Java is great on the server. You just throw enough server at it! Where you’re talking about business use, the ease of programming and maintenance is, in my working experience, well worth the additional server hardware. But you *will* need to buy that excess hardware.)

    Gnote shows what can be achieved (significantly smaller and faster binaries) just translating C# into C++.

    Well done, Microsoft! Your new monopoly sucks …

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    September 24, 2009 at 11:20 am


    I know about the claim from Theo that Intel is “only open for business” for a while now, but I finally got around to mention it:
    Also, again I know this for a while now, but thanks to this article, I finally got around to mention that that browsing platforms in Intel ARK requires Silverlight:

  3. Dewey2000 said,

    September 27, 2009 at 1:43 am


    “They rely on their overwhelming marketshare and the network effect to make this work.”

    This is so true! Of course, the rest of the world, and the minorities in this country know this first hand.

    We use the same thing on them, except we take the extra step of making them believe that it’s because they’re somehow inferior that they can’t break our monopoly, and stop the network effect.

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