Feeds

Microsoft to extend Silverlight for Mac?

No growing second-class status

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.