We have released the first beta of Moonlight 1.0.
This release supports the Microsoft Media Pack for playing back video and audio files. These are the same video and audio decoders that Microsoft uses in Silverlight 2.0.
Check our Moonlight roadmap for details on upcoming versions.
You can try some of the sites tests that we used to test Moonlight.
Here are some Silverlight 1.0 materials:
Posted on 02 Dec 2008
Before I get started on today's topic, we would like to get some feedback from our users to find out which platforms they would like us to support with packages and media codecs. Please fill out our completely platform and media codec survey.
One of the most important features of the Silverlight/Moonlight web plugin is to support audio and video playback.
Silverlight takes an interesting approach to video and audio playback. In Silverlight the video can be treated like any other visual component (like rectangles, lines) this means that you can apply a number of affine transformations to the video (flip, rotate, scale, skew), have the video be composed with other elements, add a transparency layer to it or add a clipping path to it.
This is the simplest incarnation of a video player in XAML:
<Canvas xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"> <MediaElement x:Name="ExampleVideo" Source="TDS.wmv" Width="320" Height="240" AutoPlay="true"/> </Canvas>
The result looks like this when invoked with when embedded in a web page (or when using the mopen1 command that I am using to take the screenshots):
The MediaElement has a RenderTransform property that we can use to apply a transformation to it, in this case, we are going to skew the video by 45 degrees:
<Canvas xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"> <MediaElement x:Name="ExampleVideo" AutoPlay="true" Source="TDS.wmv" Width="320" Height="240"> <MediaElement.RenderTransform> <SkewTransform CenterX="0" CenterY="0" AngleX="45" AngleY="0" /> </MediaElement.RenderTransform> </MediaElement> </Canvas>
The result looks like this:
But in addition to the above samples, MediaElements can be used as brushes to either fill or stroke other objects.
This means that you can "paint" text with video, or use the same video source to render the information in multiple places on the screen at the same time. You do this by referencing the MediaElement by name as a brush when you paint your text.
This shows how we can fill an ellipse with the video brush:
<Canvas xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"> <MediaElement x:Name="ExampleVideo" AutoPlay="true" Opacity="0.0" Source="TDS.wmv" Width="320" Height="240"/> <Ellipse Width="320" Height="240" > <Ellipse.Fill> <VideoBrush SourceName="ExampleVideo"/> </Ellipse.Fill> </Ellipse> </Canvas>
This looks like this:
You can also set the stroke for an ellipse. In the following example we use one video for the stroke, and one video for the fill. I set the stroke width to be 30 to make the video more obvious.
<Canvas xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"> <MediaElement x:Name="ExampleVideo" AutoPlay="true" Opacity="0.0" Source="TDS.wmv" Width="320" Height="240"/> <MediaElement x:Name="launch" AutoPlay="true" Opacity="0.0" Source="launch.wmv" Width="320" Height="240"/> <Ellipse Width="320" Height="240" StrokeThickness="30"> <Ellipse.Fill> <VideoBrush SourceName="ExampleVideo"/> </Ellipse.Fill> <Ellipse.Stroke> <VideoBrush SourceName="launch"/> </Ellipse.Stroke> </Ellipse> </Canvas>
Depending on the source that you provide in the MediaElement, Moonlight will determine the way the video will be played back.
The simplest way of hosting a video or audio file is to place the audio or video file in a web server, and then have Moonlight fetch the file by specifying the Source attribute in the MediaElement. You do not need anything else to start serving videos.
Seeking on the standard Web server scenario: When the programmer requests the media to be played (either by calling the Play method on the MediaElement, or because the MediaElement has AutoPlay set to true) Moonlight will start buffering and play the video back.
If the user wants to seek backwards, or forward, Moonlight will automatically take care of this. In the case where the user fast-forwards to a place in the file that has yet to be downloaded, playback will pause until then.
Seeking with an enhanced media server: If your server implements the Windows Media Streaming HTTP extension if the user seeks to a point in the file beyond the data that has been downloaded, it will send a special message to the server to seek. The server will start sending video from the new position. The user will get the playback started immediately without having to wait. The details of the protocol are documented in the MS-WMSP specification. This is enabled by using the "mms://" prefix for your media files instead of using the "http://" prefix.
Notice that even if it says "mms", Silverlight and Moonlight do not actually speak to an MMS server, they merely replace that with "http" and speak http/streaming to the server.
The extension is pretty simple, it is basically a "Pragma" header on the HTTP requests that contains the stream-time=POSITION value. Our client-side implementation is available here.
You can use IIS, or use the mod_streaming to enhance the video experience for your end users.
This basically means that you can stream videos on the cheap, all you need is a Linux box, two wires, and a 2HB pencil.
Another cool feature of the Adaptive Streaming support in Moonlight is that the server can detect the client throughput, and depending on the bandwidth available, it can send a high bitrate video, or a low bitrate video. This is a server side feature.
This feature was demoed earlier this year at Mix 08:
I am not aware of an adaptive streaming module for Apache.
Although Moonlight 1.0 exposes the Silverlight 1.0, Moonlight 1.0 ships a 2.0 media stack (minus the DRM pieces). This means that Moonlight ships with support for the media codecs that are part of Silverlight 2.0 and supports adaptive streaming. This is what we are shipping:
We also support server-side playlists.
For more information see the Silverlight Audio and Video Overview document on MSDN.
When we first prototyped Moonlight we used the ffmpeg media pipeline. A media pipeline looks like this:
Charts by the taste-impaired.
Originally ffmpeg handled everything for us: fetching media, demultiplexing it, decoding it and scaling it.
Since we needed much more control over the entire pipeline, we had to write our own, one that was tightly integrated with Moonlight.
Today if you download Moonlight's source code you can build it with either the ffmpeg codecs or you can let Moonlight fetch the binary Microsoft Media Pack and use Microsoft's codecs on Linux.
The Microsoft Media Pack is a binary component that contains the same code that Microsoft is using on their Silverlight product.
The Moonlight packages that we distribute do not actually have any media codecs built into them.
The first time that Moonlight hits a page that contains media, it will ask you whether you want to install the Microsoft Media Pack which contains the codecs for all of the formats listed before.
Today Microsoft offers the media codecs for Linux on x86 and Linux x86-64 platforms. We are looking for your feedback to find out for which other platforms we should ship binary codecs.
No animals were harmed in the development of the Moonlight Video Stack. To ensure that our pipeline supported all of the features that Microsoft's Silverlight implementation supports we used a number of video compliance test that Microsoft provided us with as part of the joint Microsoft-Novell collaboration.
Posted on 02 Dec 2008
As part of SUSE 11, Mono needs to run on the PowerPC in 64 bit mode. The effort was bootstrapped with some early work from Andreas Faerber.
It was fun to watch Mark's daily commits progress of the port, the tests referenced here are the basic runtime tests that we use to check for regressions and to get a port up and running, it is a good roadmap for how a port comes to life:
* mini-ppc64.c, cpu-ppc64.md: Fixed some opcodes. PPC64 passes basic.exe now. --- * cpu-ppc64.md: Fixed a few instruction lengths. * mini-ppc64.c: Don't emit SETLRET. Now PPC64 passes basic-float.exe. --- * decompose.c: Decompose carry and overflow add on PPC64 like on other 64 bit archs. Don't decompose sub at all on PPC64. * mini-ppc64.c, exceptions-ppc64.c, tramp-ppc64.c, cpu-ppc64.md: Several fixes and new opcodes. Now PPC64 runs (but doesn't pass) basic-long.exe. --- * ppc/ppc-codegen.h: Use ppc_load_reg instead of ppc_ld in ppc_load_func to fix the 2 bit shift. --- * mini-ppc64.c, mini-ppc64.h, cpu-ppc64.md: Several fixes. Now PPC64 passes basic-long.exe. --- * ppc/ppc-codegen.h: Make ppc_is_[u]imm16() work with 64 bit values. --- * mini-ppc64.h, cpu-ppc64.md: Fixed caller/callee saved floating point regs. Now PPC64 passes basic-calls.exe. --- * mini-ppc64.c, mini-ppc64.h, exceptions-ppc64.c, tramp-ppc64.c, cpu-ppc64.md: Several fixes. PPC64 now runs objects.exe. --- * mini-ppc64.c, tramp-ppc64.c: Small fixes. PPC64 now runs arrays.exe and basic-math.exe. --- * mini-ppc64.c, mini-ppc64.h, exceptions-ppc64.c, cpu-ppc64.md: Several fixes. PPC64 now runs exceptions.exe and devirtualization.exe. --- * mini-ppc64.c: Several fixes. PPC64 now runs iltests.exe. --- * mini-ppc64.c, mini-ppc64.h, tramp-ppc64.c: Disable generic code sharing. PPC64 now passes generics.exe. --- * basic-long.cs: New test case. --- * mini-ppc64.c, mini-ppc64.h, tramp-ppc64.c, cpu-ppc64.md: Several fixes. PPC64 now passes most of the runtime regressions.
Followed by today's tweet:
The bootstrap means that the Mono JIT is actually doing a full build of Mono's compilers and class libraries and can be built on the target platform.
Update: Mark has posted a great picture of Jim Purbrick from Second Life, the man behind Mono running on Second Life.
Posted on 25 Nov 2008
The first Unity3D on Linux screenshot:
The above program was built on MacOS, the result copied to Linux and then executed using the LinuxPlayer. This is still very basic, the port is yet far from done.
Posted on 14 Nov 2008
The book is a great compendium of best-practices for building software, traps and pitfalls to avoid.
But most importantly, it is the best source to learn the idioms and patterns used in the .NET Frameworks. Learning these idioms will have you writing code like the native C# speakers in no time.
The second edition tracks the evolution of .NET and they apply as well to Mono. For instance, it now contains LINQ design patterns, extension methods patterns and DependencyProperties (used in WPF and Silverlight).
Posted on 13 Nov 2008
Update: Fixed some links, corrected some text.
With the Silverlight Toolkit they are taking a new approach to shipping new controls in an effort to move swiftly and deliver the controls to people at the right time. Their previous approach was to ship the Toolkit when every component was ready, and completely fleshed out.
Now they will be shipping the Toolkit with controls that might have different levels of quality (and they are clearly flagged in the documentation). Shawn explains the new "Quality Bands" model that they are using in his post.
The source code for the Toolkit and the Controls is great to learn how to use Silverlight and it is great for people that need to tweak them for their own applications. When it comes to these controls, you no longer need Microsoft to make small changes for you or the small bug fixes that impact your application.
Themes: An interesting control container in Silverlight is the theming control. You wrap your code around this, and it will let you skin your control with XAML and define the animations and interactions with XAML and the Visual State Manager:
Some of these themes reminded me of the Gtk+ themes from 1998. Back in the days of Enlightenment and the "Cheese Pixmap" theme were hot. Mehdi explains how the themes work and Jafar explains the ImplicitStyleManager, the foundation for themes.
Posted on 10 Nov 2008
Last week we branched Moonlight for the 1.0 release, full with the licensed Microsoft Codecs and started our release process for Moonlight Beta 1 to be available in the next few days. This release is not yet published on our web site, watch this space.
The Moonlight engine team has now resumed our work on Moonlight 2.0, the version that will track Silverlight 2.0.
In the meantime, while the GUI team was busy completing 1.0, the Mono core team has been working on the security framework for Moonlight, the networking stack (Silverlight allows Socket connections using policy files) and web services (System.ServiceModel, a subset of WCF).
The security system is the trickier and is the one that has received the most attention. We started early on last year in to implementing this, as we knew it would end up burning a lot of cycles to get it right.
Moonlight is a blast, and who knows, maybe with our static compilation engine we might be able to deliver Silverlight on the iPhone.
Posted on 10 Nov 2008
I wanted to thank everyone that helped get Barack Obama elected. Those that endorsed Obama passionately, those that videocasted, blogged, improved Obama's web site, donated to his campaign, wrote, discussed and voted on Tuesday to get him elected.
Barack does not only represent a change of direction for public policy, he is a truly brilliant candidate.
Some cool links on Barack:
I was surprised that the Obama campaign already launched their Change.Gov (thanks Nat) web site. You can now see how the team operates in real life, and you can share your story and you can share your vision of where America should go. The blog is here.
The above starts to deliver on the promise he had made during the campaign.
Got a cool collection of pictures about Obama or the reaction to the results? Please post it in the comments.
Inflamatory or misinformed comments will be deleted pronto.
Posted on 06 Nov 2008
Another nice piece of technology that we showed at the PDC was static compilation, the feature behind allowing Mono to run on the iPhone in a fully legit way (no jail-breaking):
Screenshot from the Unity IDE.
Although Mono has supported batch compilation from CIL into native code in the past there was a small amount of code that was still generated dynamically. The intention originally was to help reduce startup and increase code sharing across multiple processes.
Code sharing is important once you have a handful of Mono processes running on the system. Instead of having to JIT the same code once per Mono instance for say "System.Console.WriteLine", the code laid out in essentially a shared object.
Our generated code uses many of the concepts found on the ELF file format to ensure that we can share code and that the code pages are read-only and not written to. This means that methods are invoked through a program linkage table instead of directly (to cope with the shared libraries being loaded at different addresses).
Although we are not certified XBox360 developers yet (we have yet to find the right person at Microsoft to talk to) we know from some of our users that have ported Mono to the XBox360 that JITing is not an option on that platform.
The XBox360 seems to have the same security-imposed limitations that the iPhone has, it is not possible for a Just-in-Time compiler to run in the platform as either the license terms or the kernel do not allow writable pages to become executable pages.
During the last few months we developed a static compilation mode for Mono. First we did this for the 1.0 profile, and now we are working on the 2.0 profile (so that we can support static compilation of generics). The work to support the 2.0 profile is reusing Mark's work on generic code sharing, which I found out to be a very nice synergy of efforts internally.
This means that it is now possible compile code from CIL to native code and not even ship the JIT compiler in your final program (saving some precious kilobytes from the final executable).
To do this, you must:
Developers interested in trimming down Mono can look into our documentation for more features that can be removed by using the --enable-minimal option.
Of course, once you remove the JIT you will not be able to use any dynamically generated code. This means no Reflection.Emit dynamically and at least for the time being or no IronPython/IronRuby.
John Lam told me at the PDC that they are looking into bringing static compilation for IronPython/IronRuby/DLR back, so this might just be a short-lived limitation.
For those interested in using Mono on the iPhone today the situation is a bit painful right now. You must run Mono on the target system to do the batch compilation and send the data back to assembly it on the host before you send the code back to the iPhone to run.
If you are wondering how did the demo go so smoothly at the PDC, the reason is that I was using Unity. Unity modified their local copy of Mono to be hardwired to do cross compilation to that exact platform. A more general purpose solution is needed to allow arbitrary platform-to-platform cross compilation, and we hope that this will be available in the future.
If you must quench your thirst for C# on the iPhone today your best choice is to use Unity's product and start building games instead of the enterprise application you always dreamed of.
From the Unity's Video Sample
If your boss demands that line of application running on the iPhone, you have a perfect excuse to learn the Unity gaming APIs and deliver the most glorious multi-touch, 3D-transformed line of business application to ever grace this world full with spinning AI for your "Sort By Customer Last Name" button.
Posted on 05 Nov 2008
Anders presentation on C# 4 was as usual great to listen to. He continues to evolve the language with solid steps, and the presentation was quite fun.
With C# 4 the new "dynamic" keyword has been introduced to flag a variable as a dynamic variable.
This is slightly different than var and object, the differences are as follows:
Posted on 03 Nov 2008