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Microsoft's Silverlight gets Linux treatment

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An open source version of Microsoft's potential Adobe Flash challenger, Silverlight, has been developed within two months of being unveiled as a beta.

Miguel de Icaza and a team of dedicated open source coders have hacked together an implementation of Silverlight they are calling Moonlight, for Linux and Unix.

De Icaza came to widespread attention some years back with the Mono Project to implement a version of Microsoft's then-new .NET architecture for Unix and Linux.

De Icaza was among those at Microsoft's Mix 07 in May who liked the idea of Silverlight. Problem was, Silverlight was available only on platforms and browsers Microsoft considers important, with vague promises to consider others.

Sam Ramji, Microsoft director of platform technology strategy, told those at Mix 07 who expressed concern at lack of Linux support: "Post-PC and Mac we will figure out where there is a sustainable platform." Silverlight supports Safari, Firefox, and Mac versions 10.4.8 or higher on PowerPC and Intel in addition to Internet Explorer and Windows.

Clearly de Icaza has now relieved Microsoft of its dilemma. The only questions are how far Moonlight goes in industry support and compatibility with Silverlight.

Silverlight is an important new platform for Microsoft, because it attempts to unify content creation with application development. Silverlight runs in the .NET Framework, potentially enabling application developers to build and deploy media applications using Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages such as C#.

De Icaza blogged: "We believe that Silverlight is a fantastic development platform, and its .NET-based version is incredibly interesting and as Linux/Unix users we wanted to both get access to content produced with it and to use Linux as our developer platform for Silverlight-powered web sites."®

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