back to article Novell fills Microsoft Silverlight hole

Microsoft has extended its controversial partnership with Novell to make the Silverlight cross-platform, cross-browser media player run on Linux desktops. The companies are formalizing the unofficial work of a number of Novell-backed engineers and hackers that put Silverlight on Linux and Unix using pre-release code. Members …


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  1. Lance

    Typical MS

    Typical MS thinking. They want to take the competition head on and try to compete but not offer full compatibility to all platforms. At least they are going to support OS X, but only the latest. Take Adobe, they support Windows, OS X, Solaris and Linux. They have most of the user base covered. Once again MS has big ideas but small support. This is going to be like when you couldn’t watch videos on the web as almost everyone used wmv. When Flash supported videos it changed everything as for the most part, everyone could view them. MS wants to bring back the dark days.

  2. Quinnum

    ... and typical response

    MS are damned if they do and damned if they don't, eh Lance? You'll bash them either way because it's cool to bash 'teh M$'.

    It's a big company, I doubt there is "typical MS thinking" and a concerted effort to "want to bring back the dark days"

    The MS developers are just ordinary hacks like you or I trying to work for a living, not deliberately setting out to destroy the world.

    As the saying goes "do not attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetance".

    PS, Adobe did nothing, they bought Flash, nothing more.

    Not to mention that Flash has existed for years and had time to extend itself. You really think Flash supported every two-bit browser and platform out of the box when it first came out?

    I'd say to the MS bashers to grow the f up, but then that would be offensive.

  3. Les Matthew


    "You really think Flash supported every two-bit browser and platform out of the box when it first came out?"

    Windows and IE? ;)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supports multiple platforms - to a degree

    > they support Windows, OS X, Solaris and Linux.

    Until you want 64 bit I suppose.

    If Microsoft don't hold FUD over patents preventing adoption, then Silverlight really does have potential. The problem they face is that Flash is everywhere, and no-one really wants to lock down their software to Windows. They may choose to use Windows specific technologies for various reasons, but when you have a competitor as mature as flash, you can't win market share locked to Windows.


  5. Mark Rendle

    Complicating my life

    If this actually works, it's just made the future direction of our application suite considerably more complicated...

  6. James Le Cuirot

    Pleasantly surprised

    As someone with fairly strong views on free software and a distaste for Microsoft, I do find this pleasantly surprising. I'm a little wary as there is often a hidden agenda but I don't think this should be seen as bad news.

  7. druck Silver badge

    Re: ...a typically response

    Quinnum from inside his own unique reality bubble writes:

    "The MS developers are just ordinary hacks like you or I trying to work for a living, not deliberately setting out to destroy the world."

    No, that's what Microsoft management are for.

    Of course they are only only supporting Windows and a token Mac version just to pretend its cross platform, while deliberately ignoring anything that might be real competition to the desktop monopoly.

  8. Andraž Levstik

    All MS had to do was...

    Provide the specs and some test tools and everything would have sorted out... Same goes for hardware makers... All the community expects from them is for them to provide the specs

    for their hardware and people would write their own drivers for it...

  9. sadfljsalkjdf


    Are you sure _you_'re grown up?

    M$ is the fat pig who can't really compete and thus comes up with "me-like" technologies and trends: OOXML, .NET, Silverlight, SharedSource, do I have to continue?

    And oh.. they do this to "help their customers realize their full potential" :)

  10. Martin Owens

    The Problem

    See now even if Microsoft come out with useful technology that really moves the industry forwards in some way... there are a whole load of people who are never going to be able to trust them enough to use it, myself included.

    As for videos, considering that the Moonlight project has got videos working with ffmpeg (LGPL) and in doing so has enabled Silverlight to play a whole host of different video types; but is prevented from releasing the code that integrates with ffmpeg because of the agreement with Microsoft. Apparently Moonlight can not push changes upstream to Silverlight and Microsoft only want windows media formats and mp3 supported in Silverlight.

    Once you've dug deeper in a Microsoft story you can always smell the bovine droppings somewhere and I believe I will be pushing MOTU against using Mono based projects in default Ubuntu installs as it just seems too risky these days to be involved in Microsoft technology without some kind of anti-lawyer suite.

  11. Stan

    DRM getting its foot in the door

    Sounds about right to me. MS need to offer silverlight as a viable replacement for flash but thats not going to work unless they can offer the same platform support as flash. If they cant do that then they cant ram this DRM crap down our throats. I for one will be blocking it

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More to the point, what license is it under?

    Fine, Novell's done the initial coding, but what are the odds of it being released under the GPL?

    If they do, then all's fine and dandy, but if there are undocumented binary only protocols, with patent encumbered licenses, then I for one will place it in the same plague pit as OOXML.

    As a Firefox user, I hate the way that flash player overrides Firefoxes right mouse button context menu, as I often want to open such items in another tab and flash, java, ASP and other such plugin technologies prevent me from doing so.


  13. Bob Hannent

    Flash.... arrrr

    The big advantage that MS will doubtless have over Flash is that they have published the spec (WPF+XAML), and however closed we think it might be the Mono project guys turned this project around very quickly because they didn't have to reverse engineer some secret code (which has happened frequently elsewhere). It would have been nice if MS had done this itself, but it's even better that Mono did it, because that way it is much more public domain.

    Flash is actually very expensive to integrate on a large scale, so Silverlight/Moonlight could be much better priced and dominate that way.

    Well done everyone, Miguel, Novell and MS all.

    PS. Hopefully Silverlight won't rape te processor like Flash does on my old laptop.

  14. BitTwister


    > MS are damned if they do and damned if they don't

    But the point is that they *don't*, and they've been doing "don't" for many years now. It's called "lock-in". If someone already has something then churn out your own version, build it into Windows and then claim it's better because people "chose" to use it.

    > The MS developers are just ordinary hacks like you or I trying to work for a living, not deliberately setting out to destroy the world.

    Corporate policy starts at the top, as you well know. That's how Microsoft has an inglorious track-record as a convicted, predatory monopolist. The corporation - not the poor sods who have to churn out the code.

    > PS, Adobe did nothing, they bought Flash, nothing more.

    And if you'd whip off your rose-tinted specs and did some research, you'll find that what Microsoft sell as been bought, too.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft deserve no credit

    Hey, don't give credit to Microsoft where credit is not due. Microsoft had no intention of supporting Linux and never will. If it wasn't for the fact that Novell's Miguel De Icaza has a hard on for anything Microsoft then Linux users wouldn't have Silver/Moon-light. The guy seems obsessed with bringing Microsoft patent laden products to Linux.

    If Microsoft intended it to be on Linux they would have built it themselves. What crap about "saying resources - or a lack thereof - ". I thought this company had $50 billion in the bank. Then again, with America having financial problems maybe Microsoft are not worth as much as they say they are!

    With the comments that have been made by Microsofts CEO, 'Monkey Boy' Ballmer, has De Icaza wondered why Linux users should support this patent laden product? Surely it would give credence to Ballmer 'the chair thrower''s next rant when he accuses Linux of infringing on their patents.

  16. Morely Dotes

    @ Martin Owens

    "See now even if Microsoft come out with useful technology that really moves the industry forwards in some way..."

    Then pigs will fly, world peace will break out, and the stockholders in MS will have Ballmer's head on a platter.

    I can't say that the last item bothers me a lot, but as the Magic 8-Ball says, "Outlook not so good."

    Microsoft has *never* innovated technologically (MS-DOS, for example, was simply the PC version of existing Disk Operating Systems - "DOS" being the acronym - and Windows was a blatant attempt to rip off Macintosh, Atari ST, Amiga, and the Digital Research version of the Graphics Environment Manager). Their sole innovation has always been in Marketing - and they achieved their monopoly position by unlawful means, as documented in not one but two US Federal anti-trust lawsuits brought against Microsoft. See for details of private charges agaisnt Microsoft, some of which date back as far as 1991.

  17. Lance


    MS isn't damned if they do or damned if they don't. MS just doesn't do a damn thing if it doesn't fall into the windows world. Yeah they have a few Mac products here and there, but that is it. Active-X runs on what? That is right, just windows. They talked about porting it to other platforms but dropped it. .Net is designed to compete with Java? Where is MS is supporting it on other platforms? That's right, MS would let others handle that job. Java runs on almost everything. IE, while MS supported some other platforms, more than half were in beta and were never officially supported/released. Office for the Mac has always been behind the windows version. Past history shows us how MS handles things and even still, they are using the same tactics today.

  18. Michael Greenhill

    @ Lance

    "...Office for the Mac has always been behind the windows version..."

    No kidding, sport. That wouldn't have anything to do with the marginal market share of Office for Mac, would it? Because prioritising development resources onto a marginal product instead of one of their biggest income streams makes complete financial sense...

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