My good friend Robert
Silverlight on his latest blog entry, in particular, he asks
No matter how good Silvelright is or how bad the alternatives
are, Silverlight domination will be a really bad thing for
free software so I question why Miguel wants to push in that
Robert, it is very easy.
I have been using Linux as my main desktop operating system
since 1992 and endured every missing feature, every broken
driver, every broken X setup and every missing application
since I started.
I did so because it was free software, and I had decided
that I wanted to run my entire system with free software. I
felt that dogfooding Linux and improving Linux on a day-to-day
basis would help improve this OS as opposed to improving a
Sure, using a proprietary OS had its benefits: more
consistency, more QA, more applications, lots of support,
latest video drivers, but they were not free. So I stuck with
free software. Today the only proprietary software that I use
on my desktop is Flash (I have acrobat installed, but I use
Evince instead, keep it for those cases where Evince has a
From my perspective, it is crucial for Linux to have
good support for Silverlight because I do not want Linux on
the desktop to become a second class citizen ever
Robert, you are asking those of us that use FOSS operating
systems to "take one for the team" by not endorsing
Silverlight, but yet, you are not willing
among us. If you are going to preach, preach by
The core of the debate is whether Microsoft will
succeed in establishing Silverlight as a RIA platform or not.
You believe that without Moonlight they would not have a
chance of success, and I believe that they would have
regardless of us.
In fact, I believe strongly that it is part of Microsoft
becoming more open and adapting itself to the multitude of
shifts in this industry (open sourcing IronPython, IronRuby,
the DLR, the JS library for ASP.NET, the MS-PL, the MS-RL,
opening up their code, and so on).
Ever since I
Zander am a hopeless romantic, and believe in a world of
possibility. I find myself to be happier this way than
ranks. And what better way of bringing Silverlight to
Linux than to work together with Microsoft: they are giving us
specs, they are giving us their test suites, and they are
providing technical assistance. Its been a pleasure to work
with them, and everything we write is open source software, I
for one, could not ask for more.
Now, regardless of the strategic discussion about
endorsing Silverlight, there are technicalities about
Silverlight that make it a fascinating platform. I personally
want to write cross platform web applications using C#, Boo,
Python and Ruby. And that matters to me, and matters
And I have loved Silverlight
embedded the CLR runtime. Nothing new there, you can
read the gory details of my fascination from back then.
You advocate using standards that are implemented by
multiple vendors. But what if none of those vendors is
providing what I want? What if the vendors do not care
about my opinion?
What we got here is a case of an underserved market.
This is why competition is good. Now Microsoft is
providing something that none of the existing web vendors had
provided and some of us want. I liked it so much, that I did
not hesitate for a second when a journalist asked me whether
we would do an OSS implementation of it. "Can I quote you on
that?" he said during the coffee break at Mix "Yes, you can".
You talk about Microsoft's control over Silverlight.
What prevents anyone from taking the Moonlight source code,
embracing it, extending it, innovate with it, prototype with
it, and enter the same cycle that Linux, or web browsers have
entered? Or someone turning it into a standard?
The only thing preventing it is lack of imagination.