Rather than step up and produce a Linux version of Silverlight, Microsoft is taking a halfway step. It will provide technical guidance — and even support — to Miguel de Icaza and the rest of the Novell-hosted Mono team as they work to create Silverlight on Unix….
But as smart as the developers on the Mono team are, and they are very bright, it’s hard to see how Silverlight on Linux will avoid the fate of COM on Unix-lagging behind the Windows version.
Yet again, Novell is giving Microsoft the pleasure of saying that their technologies (e.g. Silverlight, OOXML) are widely supported (never mind the disturbing notion of “licensed”) and include Linux, but:
- The implementations are poor
- The implementations depends on a single company
- The implementations can be obtained from a single company (Novell)
- The rules can change at any time (for example, elements can be added with a Draconian licence bound to them)
- The implementations give developers false expectations about compatibility (e.g. Windows-only DRM)
- The implementations assist a hijack of de facto standards, which can and will be extended
There are more issues to think about, but the take-home message is that when a burglar approaches the window, you don’t invite the burglar to enter the house. You don’t offer the burglar some tea and cookies, either.