64 bit Linux, flash, and firefox ETA?

Andrew Jorgensen andrew.jorgensen at gmail.com
Wed Apr 23 11:17:32 MDT 2008

Oops, I wasn't reading plug yesterday so I missed this thread until
today.  I thought I should clarify a few things regarding Moonlight.

Disclaimer: I work for Novell on Moonlight but my comments have some
potential to be wrong and do not necessarily represent the views of my

As I'm replying to little bits here and there in this thread I won't
quote people (I'm too lazy).

Silverlight is also better because:

It's a DOM-based graphics model that can even be accessed from outside
plugin (javascript) or be generated dynamically by any web service.

You can program for it in any .NET-supported language (yeah, probably
even fortran if you're into that).  That's SL 2.0 profile only, the
1.0 profile is javascript-only.

Mono is orders of magnitude faster than JavaScript.  Tamarin may help
that some.   There's this cool Silverlight demo where you can play the
same chess algorithm against itself, one in JS and the other in .NET.
.NET is around 100 times faster (and always wins).  I'm sure there are
many factors involved there but it's enough of a difference to impress

Early adopters have reported things like that they were able to
re-implement their flash apps that took a year to develop in a week or

In answer to some other questions or statements:

LGPL (not GPL) with copyright assignment (like MySQL) so that Novell
has the option to re-license the code for situations where LGPL
doesn't work for a customer.  This does not mean that we hold back any
code.  We can't un-license it from LGPL.  It just means that if a game
developer (for instance) wants to sell a proprietary game with
moonlight embedded in it for some reason we can work out a deal with

Doesn't run on PPC, Mips, or SPARC right this minute (actually I don't
know, go try it) but there should be no reason why it couldn't and
since SuSE still builds distros on those platforms it's probably
inevitable that it will.

Novell isn't going to do any work for Moonlight on MacOS because MS
already provides a silverlight plugin for Mac but you're welcome to
port it if that interests you and we will accept good patches.

MonoDevelop is probably not as nice as Visual Studio and LunarEclipse
(our Moonlight designer) is not a high priority for us at the moment
as we expect most Silverlight apps to be written on Windows anyway.
On the other hand I think we have a GSOC student working on it so
maybe it will become usable this summer.

Novell will provide Moonlight plugins for FF2 and FF3 that will be
compatible with supported versions (meaning not end-of-life) of major
linux distributions (Fedora, Ubuntu, [open]SuSE, probably RedHat) on
i586 and x86_64.

Microsoft will provide media codecs for formats supported by SL for
use in the browser plugin Novell provides.  These plugins will not be
usable for other purposes but it wouldn't be impossible for someone
(probably not Novell) to write a XUL application that contained a
simple Moonlight media player.

It will also be possible to compile Moonlight against ffmpeg (and some
day maybe gstreamer) if you can't stand to use binary blobs.  Patent
covenants may not apply to you in this situation though.  Novell can't
help that, we're not the ones that wrote the terms of the covenant.

Mono is deemed a risky technology primarily by people who are
emotionally invested in hating Microsoft.  MS has an interest in the
dominance of .NET on any operating system.  They are learning to
accept that Linux is not going away.

Some of you think Novell (or perhaps Miguel de Icaza) is evil for
flirting with the devil, so to speak.  The truth (as I see it) is that
Novell is helping MS become more friendly and more comfortable with
open source in an economy that requires MS to change the way it does
business.  Novell has been an influence in having MS licensing large
portions of it's code in a OSI-approved license (Ms-PL) and publishing
specs (most with patent covenants) for a lot of their proprietary
formats and protocols like the legacy Office formats, the MMS
protocol, the ASF stream format, and the formula specs for the OOXML
spreadsheet format (initially omitted from the ISO proposal).

Microsoft is a big company.  Some parts of that company are still
anti-open-source but many parts of the company are already
pro-open-source (particularly the Silverlight and ASP.NET folks).

Novell has a good working relationship with Microsoft and a vested
interest in making sure that dominant (for whatever reason) protocols
and file formats work well on Linux.  We're working hard to make sure
that the Flash and Office fiascos don't repeat themselves for Linux in
the future.

There are legal details that complicate and limit what Novell can do.
Microsoft is cautious about the process of opening up but the general
trend is toward a more open-source-friendly Microsoft.  Novell is a
big part of making that happen.

That's my take on it.  As stated above my comments don't necessarily
reflect the position of my employer.  This post ended up being a lot
longer than I meant it to be.  I hope it's not taken as inflammatory.

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