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First Look At Microsoft Silverlight 3

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the and-html-5-to-rule-them-all dept.

228

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Martin Heller finds Silverlight 3 gaining ground on Adobe Flash, Flex, and AIR in all the areas where Silverlight 2 had lagged. No longer do developers need to build desktop WPF apps based loosely on corresponding Silverlight RIAs, as Silverlight 3 adds the ability to install Silverlight apps on the desktop, update them in place, detect Net connectivity state changes, and store data locally and securely. Moreover, solid Expression Blend 3 and Visual Studio 2010 betas provide developers with much improved tools to create Silverlight RIAs. '"I do not expect many Adobe shops to give up their Flash, Flex, and AIR for Silverlight 3. I do expect many Microsoft shops to do more RIAs with Silverlight now that it's more capable and to create lightweight browser/desktop Silverlight 3 applications where they might have fashioned heavier-weight Windows Forms or WPF client applications," Heller says.'"

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228 comments

I'll pass. (0, Troll)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318853)

Silverlight is awful. I hope it dies a quick death soon.

Re:I'll pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318861)

agreed... incoming to w7...

I still use Windows XP. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318919)

I still use Windows XP.
Yeah, I can hear the groaning in the room as I type.
However I just couldn't stand having driver problems with graphics and videos.
My favorite Linux distro is Linux Mint [linuxmint.com] and all I can say is *WOW Finally!*

I probably won't ever get Windows 7 since Mint runs so well right out of the initial install.
I've only been using it for a few days though. But every other distro (including Ubuntu which Mint is based off of) has left me disappointed from the start.

I'm hoping Linux grows at an even bigger pace now.

Re:I still use Windows XP. (1, Offtopic)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318977)

The only Windows I'll have in the house is Windows 2000. My day-to-day machine is a SuSE Linux box, and I have an OSX Leopard "Hackintosh" for things like when I need to stream video using "Silverlight". (I don't like it, but some TV catch-up services don't give a choice and reject "Moonlight" clients.)

Re:I still use Windows XP. (4, Funny)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319485)

The only windows box in my house is Win 3.1. My day to day machine is a Beowulf cluster of Swedish bikini models. So there.

Re:I'll pass. (-1, Flamebait)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318901)

Citation needed. only on slashdot a post like parent's can be modded "insightful". And no, saying ItS JuSt M$It is not a valid argument.

Re:I'll pass. (1, Offtopic)

martinmarv (920771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318925)

What's this, you say? An anti-Microsoft post on Slashdot with 100% opinion, 0% content or information, modded up to Informative? Say it ain't so!

Re:I'll pass. (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318957)

Did you forget that it's Windows only and there goes against everything the internet stands for. That's enough to dislike the software.

Re:I'll pass. (3, Informative)

martinmarv (920771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319093)

Just in case anyone decides to post the parent as informative, I'll point out Moonlight [mono-project.com] which is an implementation of Silverlight that runs on Linux. There is also Mac support in Firefox and Safari.

Re:I'll pass. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319143)

Moonlight supports Silverlight 1. Support for Silverlight 2 is in "preview".

Thus far the Moonlight project is "compatible" enough to tell you your version of Silverlight is out of date, and please upgrade.

That's not even close to what I'd call multi-OS or useful. Hell, I barely put up with flash (no-script saves the day most of the time). If sites are forcing Silverlight down my throat, I'll just not use them.

Re:I'll pass. (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319349)

For the forseeable future, the bulk of desktops and notebooks on this planet are going to be running Windows software. If the failures of VISTA did not push a significant fraction of Windows users to Mac OS or Linux, nothing is going to change that. So yes, site developers will be using Silverlight, especially if MS makes it cheaper to develop for than Flash, because they don't really care if you're going to avoid thier site if the bulk of the computing market doesn't share your issues. This doesn't please me as a Mac user, but I've lived in worse times than this.

Re:I'll pass. (1, Interesting)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319423)

For the forseeable future, the bulk of desktops and notebooks on this planet are going to be running Windows software.

eh? go to any tech conference and the only people not using Mac laptops are the ones with asus eee (xandros or ubuntu) or thinkpads running linux. Maybe 1 or 2 Windows machines per hundred.

Re:I'll pass. (3, Insightful)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319557)

And people who attend tech conferences represent what percentage of home and buisness users again?

Re:I'll pass. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319877)

MS knows how to make developers lives easier - this is why DX is far, far more used these days than OpenGL.

The same will happen with Silverlight. It's expected that within 3 years, nearly 25% of what uses Flash today will be moving to Silverlight, and within 5 years, 50%.

Many shops are looking very closely at Silverlight as the Next Big Thing on the web. It isn't quite there yet, but it will be, so they want to get early experience now.

Re:I'll pass. (4, Informative)

digidave (259925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320411)

I had a couple of Microsofties come in to work to present to us about Virtual Earth. They talked a lot about VE's Silverlight integration, but when asked they admitted that only about 35% of desktop users had Silverlight installed. Even if that is not a high estimate, it's pathetic.

Even if you only care about Windows users, Silverlight is not a suitable technology to roll out to end-users. Flash 9+ has something like 98% market penetration.

Re:I'll pass. (1)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319155)

Advertising something as "multi-platform" is a joke when one platform is always at least one version ahead of the other platforms: it looks like silverlight 3 support will be available on Windows before Moonlight actually supports silverlight 2.

Now, keeping things that way might not be Microsofts intention in this case but knowing their track record [robweir.com] I'm not betting on it.

Re:I'll pass. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319095)

Silverlight 3 is actually multi-browser, multi-OS, easy to develop with, versatile, and "showy" in a clean, good way. It's definitely pro-WWW.

I will grant you that the tech didn't really grow up until now, 'cause 1 and 2 were crazy buggy (in development and runtime) and RIA services should provide a giant step forward in terms of coding database-heavy apps.

Re:I'll pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319135)

Correction to my previous statement, SL3 is not multi-O/S yet... 1 and 2 are (though not officially, on Linux... see Moonlight)

Re:I'll pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319211)

Correction to your latest statement, not even Silverlight 2 is multi-O/S.
If you want to astroturf, at least do it well.

Re:I'll pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319311)

Windows 2000/XP/7 Seems multi-OS for me.

Re:I'll pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319359)

That's not multi OS. That's multiple versions of the same OS.

Re:I'll pass. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320129)

We develop for both OSs here, Vista and Windows 7.

Re:I'll pass. (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319455)

I'm pretty sure I have Silverlight 2 running on my Mac OSX Leopard - it's what I use to watch the ITV Catch-up service. It's possible that it's just Silverlight 1, but I'm pretty sure the button I clicked to download it said "Silverlight 2.0"...

Re:I'll pass. (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319147)

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=2316 [zdnet.com]

I asked Becker about Microsoftâ(TM)s plans to support Silverlight 3 on Linux clients. He said if and when that support happens, it will most likely come from Novell, which created the Silverlight port to Linux, known as Moonlight.

So no, it's not really multi-OS. Silverlight will never come to Linux. It will always be Moonlight which will always be behind Silverlight and will always run the risk of MS undermining it.

Re:I'll pass. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320117)

I think the Internet has a good run, but it's now time to move to something more sophisticated. Like Microsoft Winternet 1.0.

The Basic edition will be very reasonable priced.

Muahahaha!

Re:I'll pass. (1)

jcausey (253286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320221)

No, this is FUD.

Silverlight currently runs on the VAST MAJORITY (read 98%+ of non-mobile) of machines today: Windows and OS X.

Anti-MS zealotry on /. is getting a bit nuts: this really isn't a bad platform. It's logic/pres separation is light years ahead of Flash, and as it has .Net underneath it's a much more of pleasure to program with than ActionScript.

Yes, it is vendor 'lock-in'. Sort of (see Moonlight). BUT IT IS NO WORSE THAN ANY OF THE ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING FLASH/FLEX/AIR AND JAVA/JAVAFX!! Please see through the bullshit and realize that the only thing that really sucks about this product is the company that made it.

Re:I'll pass. (1)

Skizmo (957780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320533)

> "realize that the only thing that really sucks about this product is the company that made it." 'nuff said... NOW STOP RANTING !

Re:I'll pass. (0, Redundant)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318933)

It does have the skid mark of .NET on it doesn't it. I feel dirty researching one those rare moments of insanity when look at WinTel horror.

Ad paid by Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318947)

The Infoworld article looks as though it may be a paid ad.

"Bottom Line: Microsoft Silverlight 3 is catching up to the capabilities of Adobe Flash, Flex, and AIR in all the areas where Silverlight was behind."

Silverlight a good thing? (5, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318875)

Well, not in the grand scheme of things it's not, I'd rather see the likes of Silverlight and Flash dissapear altogether. I think however in this context Silverlight might actually be a good thing. Flash has become so widespread because there was really no challenge to it, Java applets never really ever managed to perform as was originally hoped.

On one hand I'm glad to see some competition for Flash rather than it be allowed effectively a monopoly on RIAs but on the other the worry is of course that this'll just mean more RIAs!

I'd personally rather see the advances in Javascript allow us to move forward for RIAs because no plugin is required, and it's not some compiled proprietary lump of bits. Google's chrome demos mentioned here a couple of months ago looked very promising in this area so hopefully this will eventually the path we see taken for RIAs but in the meantime I think Silverlight is possibly a good thing, if not only because even in the worst case it forces Adobe to make Flash a better product.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (0, Offtopic)

giuseppemag (1100721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318909)

This comment is "troll", while "Silverlight is awful. I hope it dies a quick death soon" is "informative"? /. is becoming a pile of shit.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318929)

becoming?

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (3, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318997)

There's at least one more "challenger" (I use the term loosely) in the form of JavaFX. The fact that you hadn't even heard of it says a lot about its potential for success.

I do think you're being unfair on Java applets, though. It took a long time for them to perform as originally hoped, but I think they're there now.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319355)

Java is sort of getting there. My computer still creaks and groans when the JVM is first loaded though, as compared to flash not being noticeable (But maybe flash loads itself when Firefox launches, I haven't checked; that still creates the perception that flash is faster, even if Java is doing a better job of leaving resources alone).

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (2, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319919)

I think Java applets seem to perform better now because processors are faster, and because people are comparing it to Flash/.NET/Javascript, not to C++. For example, the JVM took forever to load, but I don't think the JVM is any bigger than the .NET framework. Java was just ahead of its time and hardware caught up.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320427)

To be fair, I have actually heard of Java FX, but as with Java I've just never come across it in use. Similarly I understand Java has come along leaps and bounds in terms of performance and I've seen some great Java desktop apps, but on the applet front I've still yet to see anything that shows it off as a viable platform. Of course, that's not to say it isn't just that I've not seen it to compare, I have at least seen Silverlight in use in a few places and it does seem to be able to hold it's own against Flash at least.

Perhaps the real issue for Sun then (well, Oracle now) is that they just need to do more on the promotion front? Microsoft spent a fortune pushing Silverlight into some prominent places such as the Olympics etc. maybe Sun/Oracle now need to do the same to demonstrate that Java is a viable RIA platform now?

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319945)

If you look GWT stuff, they use JavaScript in a way it might just as well be proprietary compiled code. As for the required Flash plugin, so what? It's already everywhere.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

Nerftoe (74385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320399)

As for the required Flash plugin, so what? It's already everywhere.

Cough.. iPhone... cough.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320581)

I don't think iPhone runs Silverlight either. This is really Apple's fault. But for some reason, when Microsoft pulls this stuff they get blamed for shutting competitors out, but Apple just gets more praise.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320543)

I've not looked at it to be honest, is it obfuscated or has it simply been run through a non-destructive compression process to shrink the size of the .js file downloads for clients?

Either way the process should be entirely reversible else the Javascript interpreter wont be able to do anything with it.

But that's really the beauty of Javascript - it's open, with a plugin you have no idea what it's going to do unless the plugin explicitly allows you to do so, however with Javascript as it's open a Javascript interpreter can block specific actions at the users request (commonly blocking the ability to open popup windows, or resize browser windows for example). You're not restricted in where it can be used so much, if a browser supports Javascript then your application will run, there is no worry about finding an application that supports Javascript and then searching for a working plugin on top.

Plugins are often less rigorously tested than browsers too simply because browsers have a much wider audience so in general plugins are more problem prone - I'm sure most people who have worked in IT have dealt with the absolute pain that a broken Flash install can be.

Re:Silverlight a good thing? (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320625)

GWT JavaScript code is obfuscated and compressed. But if you can expand that back to readable code, you can also argue that every piece of code ever written is "open" because it can be reassembled somehow and run with a debugger.

Don't get me wrong, GWT is absolutely great, I love working with it. Really great innovation. But I would not call it "open" just because it works on JavaScript.

Mod story flamebait (4, Interesting)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318885)

Seriously. Silverlight is gaining on flash in all areas. What about portability ... open standards ... interoperability. Not that flash is really that much better, but at least Adobe is making a token effort.

Gaining ground! (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318899)

I would sooner accept the existence of elves, gremlins, and Eskimos, than Silverlight apps in the wild.

UltraLearn (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319539)

UltraLearn Studio [ultralearn.com] uses Silverlight.

Re:UltraLearn (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28320485)

And they are? Seriously, never hear of 'em.

Elves, gremlins, Eskimos, and baseball (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320479)

I would sooner accept the existence of elves, gremlins, and Eskimos, than Silverlight apps in the wild.

Mr. Simpson: Elves [wikipedia.org] [1], gremlins [wikipedia.org] , and Eskimos [wikipedia.org] exist. And until recently [slashdot.org] , Major League Baseball used Silverlight. Believe it [wikipedia.org] .

[1] One axis, two axes. One Elvis, two...

Re:Mod story flamebait (4, Interesting)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319163)

What about portability ... open standards ... interoperability.

No-one cares about such things in the real world. Everyone uses Windows, remember? /sarcasm... or is it?

Doesn't seem to matter much. Slashdotters want such things, business don't care, because such benefits aren't seen when the vast majority of people are using Windows. I see it time and time again - we are losing the battle for open standards. If Silverlight and other proprietary technologies are GAINING prominence, how can we win?

Re:Mod story flamebait (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319487)

But the users with highest income use Macs.

And Linux users are techies, who almost by definition have high income.

Most businesses considering Silverlight or Flash want to sell ad revenue, and ad revenue for the demographic not using Windows is categorically higher than that for Windows.

Furthermore, smartphones will not be running x86 any time soon, so making once-off code that cannot easily be ported to a variety of OS's and architectures will only ensure that you're locked out of the young professional demographic, as well as the emerging generation of teenagers who have been using cell phones since the second grade.

Re:Mod story flamebait (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320289)

Silverlight runs on Macs now

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Silverlight#Operating_systems_and_web_browsers [wikipedia.org]

There's the Moonlight package for Linux and since Adobe makes money licensing FlashLite to embedded devices it's reasonable to assume that Microsoft will do the same.

In fact the business model of Adobe Flash could be summarised as this: available on a majority of desktop platforms and with a free player but expensive to developers and expensive to port to other platforms, e.g. phones.

Re:Mod story flamebait (1)

tkinnun0 (756022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319545)

Better question, do we want to win, if the winning entry ends up to be the inpenetrable mess that is html+css+javascript?

Re:Mod story flamebait (1)

Foredecker (161844) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320041)

GF678, the problem is that you focus too much on 'winning' and 'loosing' and not enough on simply building stuff that people want. In the large (100's of millions of users, and 100's of thousands of business, just want stuff that works, if they are open, so much the better). There is no religious war here. There is competition to build things people want.

Re:Mod story flamebait (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320555)

Silverlight is gaining on flash in all areas

It is? Color me surprised. I wasn't even aware that there was a Silverlight "2" having never actually seen any Silverlight plugin or warning about it on any website ever.

I suppose, in the same sense, we could say that "Safari-for-Windows is gaining on Internet Explorer in all areas". It rose from 0.07% market share on Windows boxes to 0.21% when Apple bundled it in their update for iTunes/Quicktime.

IMO (-1, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318887)

As a developer that have worked both with Flash and Silverlight (1&2) I must say: give me Silverlight anytime of the day. Working on Silverlight you have access to a large subset of the dotnet platform with gives you a wonderfully organized library of classes that is just waiting for you to be used. In comparation, Flash is just a mess, really.

Who needs this? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318895)

Where was the need for it? Why? Just because MS made something, there suddenly should be need for it?

Who are they to decide what the world needs?

Re:Who needs this? (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319223)

The market for Flash is huge. That there is a need (perceived or real) is self evident, MS are simply trying to get in on this.

Will Miguel de Iguaza support Silverlight, too... (0, Flamebait)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318917)

The big Q for me is, will Miguel de Iguaza support Silverlight, too... He has a long winding record on playing with fire.

Moonlight? (1, Informative)

youn (1516637) | more than 5 years ago | (#28318971)

Moonlight http://mono-project.com/Moonlight [mono-project.com] (with a semi official technical collaboration from microsoft.. they gave implementation hints). It has been around for a while and I'm sure it'll eventually get to 3.0 compatibility rather quickly

Re:Moonlight? (5, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319159)

It has been around for a while and I'm sure it'll eventually get to 3.0 compatibility rather quickly

And I'm sure it'll remain consistently at least one version behind the Windows one, and still missing features, just as Microsoft would prefer. Moonlight has not even reached parity with Silverlight 2.0 as a final release, let alone 3.0.

Interesting that they focus on Flash/Flex as the competitor, when really the more important rival for developers' attentions is HTML 5, and the various APIs built on top of the open web (Google Gears etc).

If you're developing a web app, why develop using tech which will only ever work properly on Windows? I guess for a shop which thinks they'll never stop using Microsoft software for everything, it might seem like a good idea.

Re:Moonlight? (2, Insightful)

namityadav (989838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319869)

In theory, with support for Canvas, Audio/Video tags etc, HTML 5 does seem like a better option than Silverlight (and even Flash, for most purposes). But when you consider that not even IE 8 will support these elements from HTML 5, and that a huge part of the userbase still uses (and will continue to use) IE7 / IE6, it doesn't take much to realize that we won't be seeing developers leaving Flash for HTML 5 anytime soon.

Re:Moonlight? (2, Informative)

benjymouse (756774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320179)

Microsofts assistance to Moonlight is actually increasing.

Microsoft helped Moonlight users get legal access to commercially licensed codecs by allowing Moonlight users to download the codecs from Microsoft's site. That way the codecs are covered by Microsofts licenses (Microsoft licences these codes from 3rd party IP companies).

Perhaps more importantly Microsoft also open sourced the control widgets for Silverlight so that the exact same controls can be used in Moonlight.

That said, Moonlight still have some distance to cover to reach SL parity. I believe they are still missing code access security (CAS). CAS is paramount when you let foreign code into your system. It forms part of the sandbox which constrain what the foreign code can do (it has to declare up front was privileges it must be granted, and during execution it cannot go beyond those privileges). I believe that is the most important missing piece.

Silverlight 3 also features hardware 3D acceleration. I don't know how far Moonlight has come there. The other parts such as C# 4 and DLR Mono and Moonlight actually seems to be not to far behind.

But another area where Moonlight may actually be more compelling than Silverlight is in the area of cross-compilation. If not already, you will soon be able to develop iPhone apps in silverlight and cross-compile them for iPhone. As Apple does not allow any VM technology into their precious iPhone garden, this is quite interesting (by being compiled to native code Moonlight circumvent this restriction). Developers can develop games in Silverlight and can use almost the exact same code base for iPhone, Windows, OSX and Linux.

Also, do remember that Microsoft develops and supports Silverlight on Intel OSX too. At present Silverlight then covers some 97% of the market (Windows + Intel Macs).

Re:Moonlight? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319237)

No, they won't. Silverlight 3 is miles ahead of Mono technically right now.

I don't see that changing any time soon.

Re:Will Miguel de Iguaza support Silverlight, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319255)

Say what you want but it's nice to see an open source developer playing well with proprietary technologies.
I don't agree with his excessive support to Microsoft, but when it comes down to it, this dispels the myth that open source developers write software because of their hate rather than love. Not everyone hates Microsoft (ok, maybe except for some frontend web developers that live in a world of hurt) but some people just like writing code and the more people can use their code the better.

Re:Will Miguel de Iguaza support Silverlight, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28320081)

this dispels the myth that open source developers write software because of their hate rather than love

I don’t think there was such a myth to be dispelled... whoever thought such a senseless thing couldn’t but be so ill-disposed toward “open source” that he’ll probably continue thinking bad about it, no matter what the developers actually do.

In this particular case, I think that the open source community running after MS will lead to the following results:

  • It will legitimate Silverlight adoption in the eyes of developers, because of course Microsoft will advertise it as being cross-platform, when it actually isn’t. This will mean even more trouble for Linux (well, non-Windows) users.
  • It will not put Linux users on par with Windows users, because - as it had been abundantly foretold, and as it has been happening for two years now - the community-provided Silverlight version will always lag behind the Microsoft one. Even if the community puts heroic effort into developing Moonlight, since Silverlights development happens behind closed doors, it will never be possible to have Moonlight ready the same day as Microsoft delivers a new release of Silverlight.
  • In the end it will put the overall Linux desktop experience in bad light, because after seeing one or two “please update your Silverlight” banners instead of their favourite web sites, end-users will start complaining that, when surfing under Linux, they encounter problems they do not see under Windows (see the never ending complaint, “wine sucks because it doesn’t run Photoshop CS{n+1}”).

Long live the Moonlight team and their efforts, but it would be much better if their work was not necessary in the first place.

Balkanization of the web (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318941)

What would the web be without JPEG, GIF and PNG? Can you imagine what a hot mess it would be if you had to install proprietary binary plug-ins to view images on web pages? And if some of the plug-ins weren't available on your platform?

Then go in the other direction and imagine what the web could have been with a universal video format and vector animation format. That's the crazy amount of damage Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Real and the MPEG4 LA have collectively wreaked on the web at large.

So please, please avoid Silverlight (or Flash, for that matter). It aims to balkanize the web into mutually-incompatible, vendor-dominated fiefdoms in which the overwhelming incentive is to tax users for their access to data.

Re:Balkanization of the web (3, Informative)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319145)

The real underlying problem is software patents. As long as software patents exist, somebody will always find a legally enforcible way to tax users for their access to data.

But will it run on linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28318945)

No? /me doesn't care

Re:But will it run on linux? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319107)

No? /me doesn't care

That's just exactly the problem. TBH I dont care either. I browse with no flash plugins (if absolutely needed then yes I have a separate installed browser with it), noscript, and all the other little useful privacy goodies.

I want information and I want it fast. In all reality text is still text information is information. I dont need popups, animations, ads, etc etc the list is long.

The problem arises when technologies like flash, silverlight, etc come out. Major websites and corporations start publishing there material and information with these technologies because everyone wants to be "up to date". Then your normal user who doesn't have and idea about technologies being used comes along. These users who think the internet is that blue "e" or the little "fox around the globe" on their desktops. These types of people want content too, and if they cant view it then they start to feel they are "missing out". They just don't care and just want it to "work like designed".

Like another reader commented about "balkanizing the web" I feel that this hits the nail on the head. Think of the repercussions if major social networking sites, or other major web presences starting implementing code "X" which doesnt run on every system. (And I am not saying it hasnt already happened) They are alienating people. Which then in turn makes movements like FOSS, OSS, or other kind of free and open standards look bad because your "normal user" thinks while it sounds nice and the idea is good nothing "works as designed" and is in the end limiting their user experience.

imo I think its time that the experienced user base starts taking back the web. Implementing more "open" standards. Showing some of these major asshat corporations that it can be done differently. The internet was not intended just to make a $

Re:But will it run on linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28320167)

You mean like Slashdot, which is dead slow and rendered with the almighty "new" technologies?

Re:But will it run on linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28320409)

Implementing more "open" standards. Showing some of these major asshat corporations that it can be done differently.

This is what Opera, Mozilla et al are all trying to do with HTML5. :)

I take your point that users will have to take back the Web by upgrading to a browser which supports HTML5 though.

Silverlight is becoming ... Java (5, Interesting)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319025)

Applications that can be run in the browser or installed on the desktop? Java's had both for many years (applets and webstart).

Ability to update desktop apps? Webstart again.

Access to a rich, general purpose library? Yup, Java provides that - and it's very similar to .NET for some reason.

So suddenly the old thing is the new thing.

Re:Silverlight is becoming ... Java (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319183)

True, but in my experience the difference between Java and the .NET stuff is performance.

Sure, some synthetic benchmarks might show that Java beats .NET by some margin, but in practice, that's not what matters.

What users notice is that Silverlight loads almost instantly (as fast as Flash), and that desktop .NET apps run just as fast as native, and look as good, or better than native apps.

I can always tell when a Java app starts because the JVM startup brings my machine to its knees, and the end result is inevitably some "non platform specific" GUI that looks like a Solaris desktop app from the late 1990s.

Re:Silverlight is becoming ... Java (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319279)

True, but in my experience the difference between Java and the .NET stuff is performance.

Sure, some synthetic benchmarks might show that Java beats .NET by some margin, but in practice, that's not what matters.

In practice, Java is demonstrably faster than .NET but what matters is that you say it is slow.

What users notice is that Silverlight loads almost instantly (as fast as Flash), and that desktop .NET apps run just as fast as native, and look as good, or better than native apps.

I can always tell when a Java app starts because the JVM startup brings my machine to its knees, and the end result is inevitably some "non platform specific" GUI that looks like a Solaris desktop app from the late 1990s.

Swing's look and feel is completely configurable, and you can make your app look like whatever you want. You can have a near-native look, or you can choose a fully customized one, as it's done on Windows by other Solaris-looking applications like Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, Photoshop, Google Chrome, Windows Media Player, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Google Earth, Microsoft Expression, Visual Studio, none of which use the native Windows toolkit.

Re:Silverlight is becoming ... Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319307)

It's been quite a long time since I've done anything with Java, and I never did much GUI stuff. However, I do remember that it was quite easy to choose between a number of GUI styles in Swing. If you're stuck with a Solaris look then it's not because Java/Swing doesn't support it. It's not inevitable, it's because someone didn't take the trouble to use the available options.

Re:Silverlight is becoming ... Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319399)

Java is a bit long in the tooth and the bloat is incredible but .NET is a Java clone; ultimately it suffers from many of the same problems. The real winner in the RIA arena is already the web browser; say hello to HTML5.

I'm having a hard time figuring out where stuff like Java, .NET and flash will fit into the overall scheme. These VM's can provide some degree of portability for simple apps on constrained/mobile platforms in instances where a browser based app would fall short. Not having to recompile or maintain for different platform / arch is an easy win for developers -- but that's the strength of browser based apps too.

Portable, cross platform code is where it's at and the VM's are a compromise with better solutions on either side.

Re:Silverlight is becoming ... Java (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319829)

How up to date is your Java plugin? Sun made dramatic performance improvements with Java 6 update 10.

I have a question about that... (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319441)

...I'm not a programmer, hence the question. Can HTML five do the things you talk about above? Just wondering.

Thanks.

This is what adobe should do (5, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319057)

For Silverlight, the only direction it had to go was "up". I mean, it had an almost zero percent installed base. Now if I were Adobe, I would seriously consider open sourcing Flash and all technologies around it. Otherwise Adobe will only continue to lose market share to Silverlight.

So, instead of making money, give it all away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319327)

That makes a lot of sense . . . to commie bastards like you. We in the real world can only mock, laugh, and piss on commie bastards like you. Suck my balls!

Re:So, instead of making money, give it all away (2, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319519)

I hate to feed a troll, but obviously no one is suggesting Adobe should open source their dev tools.

Just the flash interpreter. They give it away for free anyway (those commie bastards), why not let other people deal with fixing it? Then they can proceed to rake in tons of profits from people who want to build apps that they now can rest assured will run on the coming generations of Flash-enabled smartphones.

Re:This is what adobe should do (1)

Lorien_the_first_one (1178397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319483)

That's probably going to be a good thing. But I think it's going to have to start from the browser side. I like what Google is doing with Chrome in that respect. They have the capability to distribute and support a browser that will encourage or maybe even require open standards on the web.

So while we do have a few companies seeking their own private monopolies, choosing a browser that requires open standards to render will register as feedback to the various websites we visit. Remember that each browser "identifies" itself. I guess it's a chicken or the egg thing, but the more people can choose replacements for the "big-blue-E", the better. At least Google and Mozilla are creating choices that are easy to acquire and install.

I believe that it starts on the browser side.

Re:This is what adobe should do (1)

christurkel (520220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319843)

Exactly. I see a repeat of the browser wars here. If Adobe doesn't do something radical, and soon, flash is going to relegated to the dustbin of history.

Re:This is what adobe should do (4, Informative)

kpdvx (546561) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320473)

Fwiw, Adobe already /has/ open-sourced Flex, the Flash framework that really makes Flash useful for developing RIAs (they haven't open-sourced their compiler, I don't believe, but all of the Flex ActionScript is available). I'm a Flash/Flex developer, and at least a few times a week I grep through their source code to figure out how to do something, or how to change something about a built-in component, etc. Adobe has also released a specification for their swf file format, available at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/ [adobe.com] .

Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28319109)

just 3 words: I do not want!

JavaFX? (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319181)

Why does any RIA discussion fail to mention JavaFX?

JavaFX ties in seamlessly with server-side Java code. It has a desktop component, a mobile component, and a TV component. This means it uses common APIs among the three, which no other RIA framework has. What's more, depending on what Oracle decides to do, it may become the only open source RIA framework.

Granted, JavaFX is late to the party, but JavaFX 1.2 has shown solid improvements, with more to come. There was a demo of a really cool media builder tool at JavaOne.

So why are only Flash and Silverlight get mentioned in any RIA discussion?

Silverlight = Silverfish (2, Funny)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319357)

Silverlight is a terrible marking choice for a name. I automatically think 'silverfish' when I see the word in print, and find myself substituting that word when I say 'silverlight' or sound it out in my head.

Silverfish, as far as I know, are a small bug that scuttles down further into your mattress when you pull up the covers.

Work on it a little in your head:

Silverlight ,,, Silverfish

Silverlight ... Silverfish

I think you, too will start to associate silverfish... er ..light, with a scourge.

I am rather uninformed but... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319367)

I am rather uninformed, but since when has that ever stopped me from making commentary?

I have heard/read casually that a lot of HTML 5 will do what Flash does. That rather puts Flash and anything Flash-like (including Silverlight) out of business soon doesn't it?

Re:I am rather uninformed but... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320553)

I have heard/read casually that a lot of HTML 5 will do what Flash does. That rather puts Flash and anything Flash-like (including Silverlight) out of business soon doesn't it?

Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 2000/XP is still a significant percentage of the internet browser use. It supports flash.

In fact nothing out there today except beta's and previews really support html5. But nearly all of it supports flash. Its going to be a LONG LONG time before the current crop of browsers have been sufficiently phased out in favor of versions with support for html5 to let html5 come into its own.

securly install Silverlight on the desktop (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319397)

'No longer do developers need to build desktop WPF apps based loosely on corresponding Silverlight RIAs, as Silverlight 3 adds the ability to install Silverlight apps on the desktop, update them in place, detect Net connectivity state changes, and store data locally and securely'

I don't have admin rights on this computer and how does installing some remote app make this computer more not less secure?

Re:securly install Silverlight on the desktop (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319531)

You misunderstand. Silverlight doesn't allow you to store your data more securely. It allows the developers to store their data more securely on your computer. That is, so you can't access it without their permission.

Re:securly install Silverlight on the desktop (3, Informative)

benjymouse (756774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319607)

I think he was referring to "isolated storage". Basically you can allow "applicatoions" to store data locally on your machine. By default only a limited quota is granted (the application can ask for more and the user has to approve it).

The stored data is obfuscated to avoid malicious apps downloading files/scripts and then use social engineering techniques to fool the user into launching them. This allows an app access to data even when offline.

Silverlight itself executes inside a pretty restricted sandbox. Silverlight has an impeccable security record Secunia reports zero vulnerabilities in both SL1 and SL2. That is not to say that there are no vulns in SL. But at least compared to Flash it's quite good.

Even so, installing yet another plugin/app will *never* make your computer *more* secure, except when you're installing some lock-down app or firewall. Obviously any app only increases the attack surface.

Re:securly install Silverlight on the desktop (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320567)

And Java has done that for years, FileOpenService, FileSaveService and PersistenceService [sun.com] , JNLP (Web Start) one of the most useful API on Java that nearly everyones ignores

Advertisement (1, Insightful)

blackjackshellac (849713) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319477)

This reads and smells, no make that stinks, like a microsoft advert. Since the user "snydeg" links to InfoWorld I think that conclusion is at least worth considering.

Silverlight obscurity (1)

MITpianoman (952963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319647)

They're already on version 3? I had no idea there was a v2

Hello monopoly abuse (1)

Eternal Annoyance (815010) | more than 5 years ago | (#28319831)

Apparently Microsoft isn't learning from it's experience with the EU and US antitrust and competition regulatory organs.

Adding silverlight support to visual studio, instead of making a separate IDE for that or a plug-in which is sold independent of visual studio, smells like abuse of monopoly position to me.

In order to make silverlight applications, you now need visual studio. In order to run visual studio, you need windows. You can bet on it that some future version of silverlight will become buggy on linux and will be rock solid on windows... or it simply won't be available on linux, once enough market penetration has been reached.

Lets hope Adobe and Sun start complaining about this anti-competitive behavior of Microsoft.

Re:Hello monopoly abuse (2, Informative)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320519)

Surely you jest? The Silverlight tools [microsoft.com] are an installable plug-in to either Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Web Developer Express [microsoft.com] , which is Microsoft's free IDE.

Or you can get the Silverlight(TM) 2 SDK [microsoft.com] without the extra tools to use it without any IDE at all [microsoft.com] .

Microsoft have also provide support to open source projects like Eclipse4SL [eclipse4sl.org] to add support to the Eclipse IDE to "enable Java developers to use the Eclipse platform to create applications that run on the Microsoft Silverlight runtime platform".

I have never installed Silverlight (my web is rich enough without that or Flash), but all of the above was found with the first few matches of a Google search. But hey, feel free to jump to the anti-competitive conclusions.

Go MIcrosoft! (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320139)

I expect Silverlight© to enjoy the same sterling security reputation as the rest of the Microsoft® stable of software, increasing the joy and ease of use customers have come to expect over the years.

Silverlight is Evil! (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320163)

Microsoft push of Silverlight as a media framework undermines current and new standards (HTML5). Silverlight is meant as yet another way to lock people into Windows and patent-encumbered proprietary products.
The web belongs to no one! Not Adobe and not Microsoft.
Use open standards!

The Old Librarian fallacy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28320443)

Some people see the web as being like an early library, with beelions and beelions of books to be searched. However, they don't like these newfangled 'movies' or 'records' because they are in binary formats and aren't composed of text, which is all that the purists think belong in the library.

Yet, in modern libraries, movies and music are integral, despite not being text. On the web, RIAs provide experiences that aren't available in other formats, yet the Old Librarians of the Web don't like them and want to eliminate them, because they're not text, or because the Librarians say that one day, someone will make a 'book' that kinda sorta does what RIAs do now, but the new format will be approved by the Old Librarians. I suppose there was once resistance in the Iibrary community about buying proprietary movie projectors and phonographs to access this content with, which sure seems silly today. If it were up to the Old Librarians, libraries today would only have books, and the web would only be text, and everybody would be using Lynx. Good thing the Old Librarians are limited to Slashdot ranting!

I'm still going with Flash (1)

StarbuckZero (237897) | more than 5 years ago | (#28320467)

As of right now IE is lagging behind when it comes to most of the web technology. So even when support for HTML5 comes into play I'm sure MS is going to lag behind like they always do. For the company I'm working for now I have to build a HTML and Flash version of the company website. Let me tell you I can't wait to do the Flash version because most of the hacks I'm doing for the CSS/XHTML version is for IE, that's even with a AJAX toolkit. In Flash it will work across the board and I don't have to worry about writing hacks for different browsers and platforms. I don't want Flash, Silverlight or even JavaFX to become the norm. I just want Microsoft to support W3C standards just like the other browsers. Everyone at my work place think I'm not trying to support IE when it comes to the project. They just don't realize how much in the pain in the ass it is to even support IE.

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