Status of Moonlight

August 6, 2007
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I am interested and excited about Moonlight. For those who are not familiar, Moonlight is a project to bring Silverlight (1.1 only) to Linux. Because Silverlight is so isolated into a single plug-in, I was surprised how much was actually required to get it working (in its early development phase) on Linux. The biggest surprise was that Mono is required to make it work. They’ve abandoned the entire “mini-CLR” approach and are just layering on top of their Linux CLR implementation.  Probably not a bad strategy but it does mean there are more moving parts for installation.  Perhaps since I am not a Linux-head, those users will be more comfortable to install a number of moving parts to get it to work on thier machine.  I’d prefer to see a MS-driven mini-CLR on the Linux/Unix platform.

As I read it, to get started with Moonlight you need:

  • Install Mono 1.2.4.
  • Apply a Mono Patch for Moonlight.
  • Install the Olive (.NET 3.0) package for Mono.
  • Install GDK+.
  • Install Cairo.
  • Install ffmpeg.
  • Install Mozilla NSPR, NSS and XPCOM development packages.
  • Install Alsa.
  • Get the Moon source.

I hope this is just going to be for the developer.  I’d love to see the end-user experience be better than this.

While complaining about an open-source effort is fairly fruitless (I know, why don’t I get involved…there is a long list of reasons I won’t delve into here), I think its important to let the community at large understand how Miguel and company are approaching Silverlight.  Most notibly they are skipping Silverlight 1.0 entirely.  That’s an important story I think.

What do you think?