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Microsoft team hacks Silverlight for Chrome

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The prospect of Silverlight applications running in Google's Chrome browser is in the air.

A Sliverlight program manager has blogged about a hack to Microsoft's code that would get their company's media player running inside Google's fledgling browser. The hack to Silverlight lets Microsoft's player detect Chrome, clearing the way to playing audio and video.

What happens next is not guaranteed.

One commenter responded saying Silverlight apps will only render in Chrome for the first few frames and wouldn't react to user inputs.

Another claimed Silverlight would work "just fine" in Chrome if you start in single-process mode, noting the issues are "very likely" the fault of Chrome rather than Silverlight. The problem could be caused by the fact Chrome loads plug-ins out of process.

Silverlight program manager Tim Heuer reminded people this is early code and Chrome is not officially supported by Silverlight. Those honors go to Firefox and Internet Explorer.

"We continue to evaluate the browser support matrix for Silverlight and before you ask - no decisions have been made just yet to change the current supported matrix," Heuer blogged.

The hack itself consists of three lines added to Silverlight.supportedUserAgent.js, which is used to check for browser compatibility and that means Chrome can be recognized by Silverlight. The hack to Microsoft's code is possible - even encouraged - because Silverlight.supportedUserAgent.js has been released under Microsoft's OSI-approved Permissive License (Ms-PL)

"Since the detection scripts are Ms-PL licensed, you're welcome to change them to fit your needs," Heuer wrote.

While the work is early - and Chrome is not officially supported - this does show what's possible. The Novell-backed Moonlight project started life because Microsoft dragged its feet over Silverlight on Linux, saying it would target platforms as resources allowed. Moonlight hit its first full release last week and was warmly welcomed by Microsoft.

The Silverlight hack for Chrome - in addition to Moonlight - demonstrate the only limitation to these projects are the willingness of corporations to commit time and resources to making their software run in rivals' runtimes as first-class citizens. ®

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