I laugh inside when Microsoft loses ground, even in the slightest way. It’s particularly sweet when Redmond loses to a company like Novell, which owned the LAN market it pioneered through the 1990s, only to have it ripped from its grasp by the totally inferior Windows NT. This week Novell’s Miguel de Icaza announced the first public (pre-beta) release of Moonlight, an open-source implementation of Microsoft’s Silverlight browser plug-in for media streaming and running rich Internet applications. Both products would compete in the space now dominated by Adobe’s Flash Player.
In my experience, anything having to do with media playback that Microsoft touches has turned to garbage. Take Media Player. Version 2.0 is a far better utility than anything that has come along since. Media Player 10 is slow, bloated and unintuitive. Not to mention ugly. Who in their right mind would install Silverlight over Flash as their runtime for browser-based RIAs? The same people, I suppose, that now need to use IE to get all the functionality from browser apps containing ActiveX controls. But I digress.
According to Miguel’s May 13 blog post, the Moonlight release for Firefox supports the Silverlight 1.0 profile for Linux x86 and x86-64. The early release support no media codecs. Developers and contributors are invited to visit the download page and submit any bugs.
Microsoft released Silverlight last September, but still has not added tooling to Visual Studio, according to a Redmond Developer News story from May 12. Silverlight 2.0 is reportedly in phase 1 beta testing, and a compatible version of Moonlight is already in the works.