Hell Freezes Over: Microsoft Supporting Linux

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Look for Beelzebub to stroll around in long underwear with a Windows logo on it, now that Microsoft has opted to have its Silverlight media player supported on Linux.

Hell Freezes Over: Microsoft Supporting Linux
Hell Freezes Over: Microsoft Supporting Linux

Silverlight for Linux will be called Moonlight, and Microsoft’s Linux pal Novell will do the heavy lifting in porting the software. Microsoft made the announcement that to be cross-platform with Silverlight, they would extend support to Linux.

Miguel de Icaza and the Mono Project team at Novell will be the ones to take Silverlight beyond Windows and Mac. He had more details about the announcement on his blog:

The highlights of the collaboration are:

•  Microsoft will give Novell access to the test suites for Silverlight to ensure that we have a compatible specification. The same test suite that Microsoft uses for Silverlight.

•  Microsoft will give us access to the Silverlight specifications: details that might be necessary to implement 1.0, beyond what is currently published on the web; and specifications on the 1.1 version of Silverlight as it is updated.

•  Microsoft will make the codecs for video and audio available to users of Moonlight from their web site. The codecs will be binary codecs, and they will only be licensed for use with Moonlight on a web browser (sorry, those are the rules for the Media codecs).

•  Novell will implement Silverlight 1.0 and 1.1 and will distribute it for the major Linux distributions at the time of the shipment. We will offer some kind of one-click install for Linux users (no "Open a terminal and type su followed by your password…" as well as RPM and DEB packages for the major distros and operating systems.

"This is an historical collaboration between an open source project and Microsoft," he continued. "They have collaborated with other folks on the server space (Xen, PHP and) but this is their first direct contribution to the open source desktop."

Microsoft’s "past contributions" to Linux have been much different, including an assortment of veiled threats, highly critical white papers, and other unpleasantness that has been revealed over the years through leaked memos and other accounts.

This is a significant change from the Microsoft that generated the infamous "Halloween documents" listing The Fear Microsoft had of Linux and its inroads into the lucrative server software market.

Hell Freezes Over: Microsoft Supporting Linux
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