Feeds

Microsoft to extend Silverlight for Mac?

No growing second-class status

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

HTML 5 in Internet Explorer may mean Microsoft is rejoined the league of civilized nations on browsers, but another Microsoft technology remains under lock and key more firmly than ever.

Microsoft's Silverlight media player has, with version 4 due next month, gone from being closed source but able to work on other platforms - the Mac - to being increasingly tied to Windows.

An up-coming feature called COM Automation has been introduced that potential lets content in Silverlight and Silverlight applications work with documents in Microsoft's Office stored on a PC. Also, COM Automation could access other system capabilities like a USB security card reader.

COM is a Microsoft architecture, not found on the Mac, so this means Silverlight is beginning to be built by Microsoft to give Windows a leg up over the competition.

Brian Goldfarb, lead product manager for web platform tools, defended the decision last year.

"[Mac and Windows Silverlight] are on a par in every other respect. It's important to give developers choice. We also want to have the option to light up the platform," he told Reg reviewer Tim Anderson.

Now, though, it seems things are changing and Microsoft might actually want Silverlight to run equally well on the Mac, either through its own engineering efforts or by working with others.

Goldfarb, fresh from Microsoft's recent Mix 2010 conference where the HTML 5 news was announced, told The Reg that Microsoft is "looking at other ways to extend Silverlight to other platforms". Microsoft is looking at features that are specific to those particular platforms and that could mean support in Silverlight for AppleScript or shell extensions.

"We are waiting for customers to give us some use cases," Goldfarb said.

For the Linux and Unix crowd, we already have Moonlight - the Novell-sponsored project led by Miguel de Icaza. Moonlight spun up when Microsoft made it clear it didn't have the "resources" to target platforms other than Windows. Moonlight is now on version 2.0 but does not implement all features of the main Silverlight. Also, it's only just catching up to the current Silverlight 3.0, as Microsoft prepares to drop version 4.0.

Microsoft has supported Moonlight because it potentially seeds the market and creates interest in Silverlight. If Goldfarb is right, then it looks like Microsoft believes Silverlight on Mac can also play a part in this. While that will suit Microsoft's goals it should also mean that Silverlight on Mac avoids the kind of second-class status Office for Mac has endured. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?