Microsoft generally likes to keep a tight lock on their products and services. Their update site not working on any browser other than Internet Explorer and Silverlight not working with Linux are perfect examples. But thanks to Novell’s newest release -- Moonlight -- Linux users can now utilize Silverlight apps.
Working hand in hand with Microsoft, Novell has announced the release of Moonlight 1.0, an application that allows users to view and use Silverlight content and applications. Moonlight was pre-released during Barack Obama’s Inauguration so Linux users could watch the Silverlight broadcast and it has received good feedback from thousands of users.
Moonlight is built for use with nearly all Linux distributions including openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Fedora, Red Hat and Ubuntu. Minimum requirements for use are an x86 or x86-64bit computer with at least 128 megs of RAM to use Moonlight, Firefox 2.0 or Firefox 3.0. They strongly recommend Firefox 3.x as it supports windowless operations.
Is Moonlight A Day Late and an App Short?
Microsoft’s Silverlight is in part their answer to Adobe’s Flash, FlashLite and Flex. It allows for developers to easily and quickly develop rich internet applications for a variety of uses. But it requires the installation of a number of applications including Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Web Developer Express with SP1 and knowledge of a range of technologies to develop apps with it. Note that many of the applications for use in developing Silverlight apps are free or offer free alternatives.
While Moonlight provides Linux users with the ability to access, view and develop Silverlight applications and Silverlight is already available for Mac OS X, Adobe has been cross-platform for years now.
So the question presents itself, is Moonlight too far behind the widely praised and widely used Adobe Flash set to be a viable competitor?
With Silverlight being available for mobile also, Moonlight may be just what is needed to push it ahead of Adobe for rich internet media creation. Future plans for Moonlight 2.0 include support for Silverlight 2.0 applications and .NET support as well which will further their endeavors.