Novell to release Silverlight clone for Linux

BOSTON—Novell is releasing a version of Microsoft's
Silverlight for Linux platforms. Leading the project is Novell's
Miquel de Icaza, the famed Linux developer who led development of
the Gnome desktop, the Evolution e-mail client and Mono, the Linux
version of Microsoft's .NET.


Microsoft is also lending support to the project by providing
Silverlight internal specifications, and even covering the cost of
licensing patented multimedia codecs for Linux platforms to use
this software.


De Icaza demonstrated the clone, called Moonlight, today at the
XML 2007 conference in Boston.


Introduced earlier this year, Silverlight is Microsoft's
platform for building rich Internet applications. It is widely
considered to be Microsoft's answer to Adobe Flash, albeit one that
runs only on Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh computers.


"We don't know if [Silverlight] becomes successful," De Icaza
said, but if so, Moonlight will offer the same functionality to
Linux.


"We didn't want to be left out. We didn’t want Linux to be
a second-class citizen," he said.


Novell's agreement with Microsoft, inked last year, has helped
de Icaza's team obtain some of the building blocks for the
project.


Microsoft has provided some internal specifications, in addition
to those specifications publicly published. The company is
providing the test suites and also agreed to underwrite the cost of
providing MP3 and other codecs that are needed to run multimedia
copy


For its part, Novell has agreed to make Moonlight 100 percent
compatible with Silverlight, meaning anything can be run in
Silverlight can also be run in Moonlight. Novell has also promised
to support Moonlight for all major Linux platforms.


De Icaza said that the first version of Moonlight will be
released in about six months. Version 2 of Moonlight, which will be
the equivalent of Microsoft's upcoming Version 2 of Silverlight,
will follow Microsoft's release by 6 to 12 months.


Silverlight uses Extensible Markup Language-based XAML to bring
many of the attributes of the Windows Presentation Foundation
— the libraries used to render the controls and graphics for
Windows programs — for Web-based applications. It also allows
Web applications to use the .NET framework for greater
functionality. Moonlight will use Mono to provide that same
functionality.



About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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