Silverlight in the transparent Open Source world

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Open Source officionado Miguel de Icaza (from Novell) shares his thoughts on Microsoft’s new browser-based technology, called Silverlight, and where it fits in with the Linux world and Open Source in general. A good read.

I like his bullet-list breakdown of the technologies in Silverlight:

* An object oriented canvas, this canvas can be controlled trough the DOM by the containing web page.
* The contents of the Canvas can be preloaded with a XAML-based description. The XAML supported is a subset of the full WPF/Avalon supported by .NET 3.0.
* So far it offers no built-in scripting, instead it relies on the browser’s Javascript engine.
* It supports video playback using the highly proprietary VC-1 formats.
* Silverlight is cross platform in the “Windows and Apple are supported” way, no support for Linux has been announced. So it is even more limiting than Flash.

I think he’s right to see the declarative approach to the UI which Silverlight provides as a worthwhile technology to adopt or at least emulate. Microsoft is onto something with its XAML technology. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s on a good path.

It’s also interesting to see how Miguel approaches the VC-1 video support within Silverlight and how he believes that rallying behind Flash and its video support is a better choice for the Linux/Open Source community. (The Silverlight CTP does not support Linux and Microsoft has only said publicly that they might consider supporting platforms other than Windows and Mac for Silverlight.)

So what should Microsoft do, if anything? All eyes will be on Mix07.