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10.17.07

The Mono and Moonlight Roadblock

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One of Novell’s controversial moves was not only mimicking of Microsoft’s .NET, but also attempts to implement and make available Silverlight support, which gives Web developers the illusion that Silverlight is supported entirely by Linux. The truth is far from this for a variety of legal and technical reasons that we outlined in the past. Moreover, implementation barriers lie ahead. Not only have speculations about licensing changes become true as far as Mono is concerned, but also — as the following shows [via Beranger] — there is an element of uncertainty.

If you ask me, the real reason for them [Microsoft] releasing this source code is to make it more difficult for the mono project to create replicas of WPF, WinForms, and ASP.NET.

Essentially, any further development of Mono (and Moonlight) becomes a plagiarism risk. It’s not a matter of getting caught, but a matter of suspicion. Mono is from not on at the mercy of Microsoft lawyers’ wrath. This isn’t a new observation at all. It would be hard to become blind and ignore the risk.

On a brighter note, it ought to be mentioned that Curl was born to address some of the existing problems.

Curl, the rich programming language specialist back from obscurity, is turning to open source to gain a foothold in rich internet applications (RIA).

Microsoft quickly dismisses this project as a potential threat (JavaFX anyone?), but the interesting bit in this FUD from Microsoft is the use of Novell as an excuse and a defense for Microsoft. How many times and in how many areas have we seen this before?

Microsoft developer Andrew Brust, chief technical architect at development shop Twenty Six, told El Reg that Curl doesn’t impress him at all. “It’s very fringe, given that it has its own programming language and no explicit support from Microsoft or the J2EE vendors.

“Demand [for RIAs] is starting, but it’s still small, and this [Curl] is not helped by the fact that there are so many fringe stacks out there. That puts skill sets in short supply and makes the learning curve a risky investment.”

Brust thinks Silverlight – being ported to Linux by a team of Novell-led developers – will change all that. “The UI is fantastic, the capabilities significant, the platform stable and portable, and the skill set, .NET, is tied in to a huge standard,” he said.

A “port” appears to be mentioned in this article, but it is worth returning to the beginning of the post where the deficiencies in Moonlight should be made obvious. As we said yesterday, Moonlight will always be incomplete, which makes Linux a second-class cititizen in a Silverlight-saturated Web.

With California’s newly-proposed web accessibility law, such binaries-dependent Web will hopefully not see the light of day.

California law may require websites to be accessible to disabled internet users, according to a ruling in a case against retail giant Target. Despite recent improvements to the accessibility of Target.com, the case has now been certified as a class action.

There need to be free and truly RIA open solutions before anything of this kind reaches the Web.

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A Single Comment

  1. Anon said,

    October 17, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m not sure about ASP.NET, but WinForms and WPF are not written in C#, they are written in C/++ and then bound to .NET via C#, so the public WinForms/WPF source code is going to be entirely useless for implementing this stuff in Mono, especially since Mono’s implementations are all in C#.

    In other words… the source code released by Microsoft is utterly useless for implementing WinForms on anything but Windows (where it’s trivial anyway, you just bind the native APIs to a .NET API via P/Invoke).

    Conspiracy theories are simply theories… and in this case, a very poor one.

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