back to article Microsoft and Intel port Silverlight to Linux

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. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If any Linux developer had ...

    any doubts about Microsoft's modus operandi can they now, hopefully, be put to rest.

    There is no benefit to Microsoft, as a monolithic corporation, to extend functionality to any other OS or venture, unless they can see a long term benefit to them that might include EEE.

    Now, if the corp was broken up the separate entities, well the apps side, could find some advantage in porting to othe OSs. Not that I think that would be a good thing.

    Linux devs need to stop wasting time on anything MS and focus on fewer distros and make them and the apps that run on them higher quality.

  2. Victor 2


    Take note, Moonlight is NOT "Silverlight for Linux"

  3. Dab Narklon


    > The awkward question: If it's that easy to port Microsoft Silverlight to Linux,

    > why does the Moonlight project exist at all?

    The easy answer: because a port would retain microsoft copyright. An implementation is copyrighted to the implementor, who gets to dictate the terms of distribution (and maybe usage).

    Another awkward question: why does it matter that a free implementation of Silverlight exist, considering that use of silverlight is basically free (beer+freedom, afaik)?

    Insurance against future-closing? yes. But then, all but the staunchiest free-software advocates were (and are) perfectly happy using Linux pre icedtea java.

  4. K. Adams
    Jobs Horns

    The Three EEEs

    "Microsoft has already provided Intel with Silverlight source code and test suites."

    Under NDA, no doubt...

    "The effort with Intel has nothing to do with the developer community of broad Linux."

    Sure it does. Microsoft failed in the smartphone and MID markets w/ regard to Windows Mobile, so it's trying to stage a comeback by maneuvering Intel into including Silverlight with Moblin.

    Which means developers won't be writing Linux apps for Moblin; they'll be writing Windows Presentation Foundation apps instead.

    A perfect example of the Three EEEs:

    1. Embrace Linux (Moblin).

    2. Extend it with Silverlight.

    3. Extinguish native development.


  5. Pirate Dave

    Survey says...

    "Nobody cares " ding ding ding "100"

    Really, who cares? Silverlight is the Zune of platforms, the red-headed, bed-wetting cousin that no one wants sleeping in their room. Flash got their first in both market- and mind-share. Technical superiority (if it actually exists in this case) has nothing to do with it - just go ask the OS/2 supporters. What matters is the 20 million Flash games out there, and sites like Youtube, and let's not forget YouPorn. Silverlight is too late to the party and will stay 2nd place unless Adobe fucks up seriously with Flash/AIR.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Holly, cow!

    This world is totally upside down!

  7. Neoc

    Stupid question

    "The awkward question: If it's that easy to port Microsoft Silverlight to Linux, why does the Moonlight project exist at all?"

    Because there is a hell of a difference between being able to simply tweak the source code and re-compile it natively and having to reverse-engineer the source code based on the behaviour of the executable.

  8. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    You know it will be crap.

    "The effort with Intel has nothing to do with the developer community of broad Linux," he said. "It's specifically scoped to Atom-based devices and is really about customer experiences out of the box. I look at the two things as compatible. Intel and Microsoft working together to deliver these phone and MID [Mobile Internet Device] experiences, whereas Moonlight is focused on desktop Linux."

    Read: "we're taking a Moonlight base and adding some DRM and call-base spyware crap, as well as cutting essential functionnality out so that Joe Bloggs finally understands that netbooks are crap (this last point having nothing to do with the fact that we are unable to provide an OS for these)"

    There, fixed it for you.

  9. John Doe 6


    I will never install anything from Microsoft on my Linux workstation unless it is open source... I don't trust those bastards.

  10. Rebecca Putman


    Sorry, did Microsoft say something helpful?


    I didn't think so.

  11. John O'Hare


    "The effort with Intel has nothing to do with the developer community of broad Linux,"

    Which of course has nothing to do with the licencing or more precisely with the ability to drop linux support once people are suckered into using Silverlight. What? Your Silverlight apps don't work anymore on your Linux platform? Don't worry, it's still completely supported on Windows.

    "Goldfarb says the announcement is part of a high-level strategy in which Microsoft aims to bring Silverlight to "as many platforms and as many devices as possible," "

    Yep, just like we brought Windows NT to the Alpha platform.

  12. Steve the Cynic

    Why does Moonlight exist...

    ... given that Silverlight has been ported?

    This is easy: Because it is heretical for there to be only one implementation of anything in the Linux world, and now there are two Silverlight-like things.

    At least it's not a text editor; how many of those are there in a typical Linux distro, all saying "If you need a program for editing text, install Blah"?

  13. Francis Vaughan


    This is more likely an interesting interplay between the interests of Intel and MS. The big risk for both of them is ARM/Linux on the Netbook. Windows doesn't run on ARM. Intel abandoned ARM in favour of Atom.

    If MS can help Intel improve the user experience on Linux based Atom Netbooks, they can help Intel drive the ARM based Netbooks out of the market. Clearly this is a win for MS. If the ARM based netbooks take hold MS is a very clear loser. They can't regain share of a platform they don't support.

    The big issue isn't Silverlight, but Flash. However Adobe don't have any reason to play favourites. Intel could well partner with Adobe to create an optimised for Atom version of Flash. But Adobe are rather inscrutible. Flash on ARM/Linux is one of the keys to the future shape of the netbook ecosystem. Had Adobe not bothered to create a port, ARM/Linux would have been dead in the water.

  14. tuna 1

    Oh Joy!

    I can't wait to get the infinite fail messages "The installation source for this product is not available" and "Installation Failed". Will MS be releasing a Linux Installer Cleanup Utility or Regedit For Penguins? is the only site to prompt me to install/update it so far, and I only went there b/c of a failed update. I guess I'll be skipping this unless it gets snuck in through the updater or I want to recreate the Olympic sized BSODs.

    Next up: Linux LiveOne Care, now Linux can bog and BSOD just like your father's Windows.

  15. rhdunn

    Broad Linux

    If Linux is running on a platform that competes with Microsoft's dominant position (desktop), Silverlight is not supported so use Moonlight; if Linux is running on a platform that is new/emerging (Moblin), yeah Silverlight is supported!

    Microsoft: Screw people running the desktop, they should be running Windows 7 and Silverlight.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Who uses? Who wants? A Microsoft version of Flash? How enticing. Perhaps they can give it to a patent troll

  17. northern monkey
    Thumb Up

    @John Doe 6

    ^| I'm with him - firstly I don't want silverlight, I've yet to find any site I've not been able to view because of not having silverlight (primarily because so few sites actually use it - not even MS!). Secondly if not having silverlight did become a problem I'd use moonlight as much as possible, and since larger and wider uptake of silverlight would lead to faster development of moonlight that should work fine. What we need is a *light-based porntube - then the number of people sacrificing their principles to work with Miguel would skyrocket.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many me too's

    Rather than accept the defacto Flash standard is good enough, making yet another competing standard dilutes the web experience. It means more bloat on your computer and introduces yet another security risk to keep patched.

    On the other hand HTML 5, which AFAIK is an open standard, will introduce some Flash like features. Being open,it has to be a better long term alternative.

  19. Gulfie


    I would never use SilverLight in a web site, or knowingly for any other purpose. Anybody who folds in a Microsoft closed source component into their application/site is tieing themselves to the Redmond beast, in the same way that using a Google closed source component ties themselves to Mountain View. This move by MS is a clear a way as I can think of saying that they don't support Moonlight. K. Adams has it right.

    We have two very large companies both having a significant distorting effect on consumer information technology and I'm not sure which is worse. All I know for sure is that I'll only use them for their core competency (MS for operating systems, Google for search).

    My preference for non-core competencies is to use 'anyone but', not because these people don't (from time to time) do a good job, but because there is a grave risk of these two companies overwhelming everything in their path (there's no business model that works against free). I'll only use other services from these behemoths if there is no (good enough) alternative, and then only if I can abstract them out behind a vendor-neutral facade, thus ensuring independence.

    Dominance bad, Diversity good.

  20. Jamie Kitson

    I like Goldfarb

    Strict Machine is my favourite.

  21. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    More than meets the eye

    Silverlight is about extending the Microsoft reach outside of Windows to customers who may never (return to) use Windows. As reviews on El Reg have shown it seems to be a real platform for developing those "must have" browser-based apps that are all the rage. As Francis Vaughan points out the threat of non-Intel hardware and non-MS operating systems may actually emerge next year. Silverlight will make it easier for MS to sell an onliner version of Office and getting Intel to do the port to Linux + Atom doesn't stop them working on their own port to Linux + ARM or maybe just iPhones. Office is a tremendous revenue generator for MS and a lot cheaper to support than operating systems. Google and Adobe are the new enemies.

  22. WinHatter

    Ported to Linux

    And now they can port/carry it to the skip.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If Microsoft want to stay ...

    relevant they need to adopt open standards like HTML 5 and ODF. Big companies are starting to develope software people are using in what has been Microsoft's own backyard.

    Microsoft has some really high hurdles to jump though and these they have earned by their behaviour.

    It just may be too late for Microsoft to salvage the trust of those people they may need in the future. I think that Microsoft will be missed by very few and I think that although they have lots of cash that their time is indeed limited.

  24. simpfeld

    The sorry history of IE for Unix

    One of their tick boxes they needed to beat Netscape Navigator, was being cross platform. So they had IE ported to Solaris and HP-UX. They said this would allow corporates to standardise on a single browser. Great, people thought MS had changed etc etc

    However as soon as they had killed Netscape they dropped IE for Unix like a stone, looked like they were trying to make the Internet IE only, therefore the Internet being Windows only. And succeeded for a while until Firefox really.

    This looks pretty similar to Silverlight, get it on Linux now and then get many websites to use it. Then diminish it by releasing newer versions on Windows only (or first with a long enough catch up time on the Linux version so they aren't competitive). Then in order to use the Internet "properly" you'll need a Windows device, pushing mobile device manufacturers to produce Windows devices to meet this MS engineered user requirement.

    MS are always great to rival technologies until they control that market. Do we think "bing" or "bing maps" would work with anything but windows if Google didn't exist? I mean why aren't these ActiveX, like everything used to be?

  25. deegee

    typical comments...

    @AC 1:36 "If any Linux developer had ..."

    "Linux devs need to ... focus on fewer distros and make them and the apps that run on them higher quality."

    Yeah, like that is EVER going to happen... :-/

    Try posting that comment on the various Linux forums or the Ubuntu Brainstorm area, and watch all of the Lintards jump all over you. "Linus doesn't want..." waah waah waah...

    Monkeys will fly out of my arse long before the Linux communities get their crap together. Like so many others, I've pretty much given up on Linux distros.

    @tuna 1 7:43 "Oh Joy!"

    "now Linux can bog and BSOD just like your father's Windows."

    I haven't had BSOD's on Windows in ages. Get educated or get out, Linux fanboi.

    I have had more Kubuntu failures (1) on my dual-boot system than Win7RC (0).

    @AC 8:50 "Too many me too's"


    @Gulfie 9:12 "Never"

    "Anybody who folds in a ... closed source component into their application/site is tieing themselves to the ... beast"

    And Adobe's Flash is different how??

    @AC 12:03 "If Microsoft want to stay..."

    " I think that Microsoft will be missed by very few and I think that although they have lots of cash that their time is indeed limited."

    If MS disappeared tomorrow and all Windows OS's stopped functioning, 95% of all businesses and computer users worldwide would grind to a halt. The world economy would crash.

    Try keeping things in perspective. Until another OS(s) penetrates at least 50% market share, we will have to keep our love/hate relationship with MS.

    My own final words...

    I fail to see why so many people who post on here are so much at-odds or angry against Microsoft when all they are doing is what every other corporation does. Corporations exist to make boatloads of profit and to own a market. Microsoft is doing nothing different than any other large corporation like Nike, Exxon, GE, etc.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and nobody likes those corporations either, but we seem to have a little control over this aspect of lives than we can effect with many corporations. In fact, I don't think any you've listed are in the near/actual monopoly position that MS is.

    Nobody expects MS to disappear tomorrow, but I think over time and seemingly more rapidly, the OS and apps space is changing and many people and hopefully corporations are finding viable alternatives to MS.

    Oh, I can't think of any other major corporation that has been consistently convicted of anti-competitive behaviour and ya' know that those convictions are despite MS using all it's power and influence to create a different outcome.

  27. frymaster

    why 2 silverlight implementations?

    Easy. MS wants silverlight on intel's distro. intel wants a decent level of support. moonlight won't, or can't, provide that. So MS will.

    so why have moonlight? Easy. MS wants silverlight on every other general-purpose distro. It knows that all of the freetards (as opposed to people who use linux or think that OSS is a good thing) would object if MS supplied it, more so if it wasn't open source (there are legitimate reasons why OSS advocates might not like that, as well as the knee-jerk freetard reaction). So MS gives support to other people to write moonlight as an open source silverlight implementation

  28. tuna 1
    Paris Hilton


    Am I a "fanboi"? Or better question, am I being disingenuous for a pay/favor/? The answers are No & No. You?

    I don't hate MS, I do hate their control mechanisms, data collection services(both surreptitious and in your face steering) and most, if not all, of their security tools/annoyances(Defender, Sec Center, Firewall, MalSoftRemTool, UserAllowConditioner and most of all, the LiveOneCare that DID indeed cause BSODs and corruptions of system files...I believe it's been fixed but it still bogs down every system I've found it on and removing it is a manual chore. Does it need to be so hard to remove or are they just digging themselves in?

    I love XP today, hated it pre-SP2. I'm even warming up to Vista, sp2 AND sp7. 7rc has replaced XP as my go-to VM and I will be buying a retail Ultimate when it becomes available. MS's problems are responsible for a good % of my revenue, so, no, I don't hate the gift horse. I do enjoy laughing at the shortcomings of people/entities with swollen egos who claim to do no wrong and chant/cheer their denials, especially when they are the very last to believe the hype.

    Silverlight is an answer looking for a need and porting it to Linux is just a fool's folly, IMO. I wasn't kidding when I said haven't been to any site besides that asked me to upgrade. The WinUpdate failed,I tried uninstalling(failed) so I was looking for a solution after trying what usually works for corrupted 3rd party apps and went to their .net and I agreed to upgrade...guess what happened. Other methods used: I ran the Windows Installer Cleanup Ran Dial-A-Fix then manually stopping/emptying/unregistering/re-enabling I read editing the registry to trick it into thinking I had an earlier version might work, failed. Coincidently, I did all that just a couple hours before this article appeared, so it was fresh in my head stewing along with the aggravation of my own Fail. Haven't found a solution, you have any suggestions besides nuking the drive from orbit + re-installing or waiting for the system to become more unstable? I'd love to hear some ideas. Seriously.

    After numerous hours trying to get a Ralink wireless device to run on Ubuntu(Dapper or Feisty) while it loaded without incident on Puppy I was called a MS fanboi when I called out the claim it worked, hmmm, a deflection from the issue by a personal attack, how original. I did not hesitate to point out it still couldn't run WPA or static IP and I had wasted a dozen hours of my life trying and I was livid. I failed. Just one of the many heartaches/headaches of trying to make Linux Desktop work for me.

    So, to answer your question, No, I am not a fanboi of any group. I don't believe in one or the other, I prefer in strengths and weaknesses, facts over affiliation, with a little(alot?) of dry humor mixed in. If you are a fanboi, you should try independent thought sometime. No one person/thing is perfect, everything is flawed in some way or another. To claim otherwise is just silly.

    While there is an exception to every rule, I will admit, I may be a Paris fanboi.

    ***just in case I haven't spouted enough already and my prosody is not coming through the screen, let me add this to the Paris quip... /sarcasm.

  29. Anonymous Coward


    "I fail to see why so many people who post on here are so much at-odds or angry against Microsoft when all they are doing is what every other corporation does. Corporations exist to make boatloads of profit and to own a market. Microsoft is doing nothing different than any other large corporation like Nike, Exxon, GE, etc."

    Thank you for that excellent point which I had never before considered. Suddenly I love everything MS tries to do to me.

  30. deegee

    let the poo flinging begin...

    @AC 02:14

    " I don't think any you've listed are in the near/actual monopoly position that MS is."

    True, but MS's position isn't entirely its own doing through "evil" means.

    Having been working with computers since the late 1970's, I've seen a lot of hardware and software come and go. OS/2 was clunky and IBM is no better than MS as a corporation; Linux has had 15 years to try to come up with something to compete and still hasn't done it; Apple has purposefully priced themselves out of most people's reach.

    @Tuna 1 07:08

    Nothing personal. The post was just fanboi-ish. The line from your post that I quoted previously is a common example.

    "... DID indeed cause BSODs ..."

    You are painting the OS with a wide brush, saying that any BSOD or "bog" is the OS's fault.

    It is impossible to make totally crash-proof code, and it is not the OS's fault if any bad driver or software causes it to crash.

    I can load crap software onto a Mac or Linux-distro and make it crash as well. Is that the OS's fault on that platform as well?

    LiveOneCare was crap. That wasn't the OS's fault. And MS has different programmer groups for each software division, so it also isn't the OS division's fault.

    With regards to "bogging", if I install Norton or some other AV software that is known to be a hog, how is that the OS's fault? It's not, it's Symantec's (or whoever wrote the crap AV).

    Is it then the OS's fault because you pretty much require an AV due to all of the malware? No, of course not, it is the malware writers' fault. There is no 100% secure OS. In this case, the world needs to start doing public drawn-and-quartering of punks who write malware. It is one of the world's biggest crimes where very little to nothing is being done about it. Public execution would be a good deterent.

    The way that I deal with all of this is to have multiple computers. I have my work systems that have only the required software for my work. Then I have my Internet and hack computer, which I do all surfing on, so it has AV and can be used to test-install software before I put it on the other work systems. I've been running this way since the early 90's and have had virtually no issues whatsoever.

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