An open-source version of Microsoft's Silverlight platform has been made available for Unix and Linux systems.

According to Miguel de Icaza, the Novell developer in charge of the project, Moonlight 1.0 is offered as a plug-in that can be used in Firefox 2 and 3 on Unix systems using the X11 windowing system.

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"Moonlight 1.0 (and Silverlight 1.0) both come with a graphics pipeline, video and audio frameworks, and a Javascript bridge, and neither one of them contains an actual execution environment," de Icaza, a Novell vice president, said in his blog.

"The execution environment is the browser's own Javascript engine. When developers build 1.0-based plug-ins they script all of the functionality using the browser's own Javascript engine."

Moonlight runs on both 32- and 64-bit systems. Moonlight 1.0, which was based on Silverlight 1.0, actually was released on January 20, for streaming of the Presidential inauguration.

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Developers now are working on Moonlight 2.0, which will be compatible with Silverlight 2.0. "It's a very nice upgrade over Silverlight 1.1," offering easy development of GUI applications, de Icaza said.

A preview of Moonlight 2.0 is planned for release at the Mix09 conference in Las Vegas in mid-March. The general release is planned for the end of the year.

Also on the schedule for the Moonlight and Mono team is version 2.4 of Mono, an open source, cross-platform implementation of the Microsoft .Net development framework. Due in March, version 2.4 will feature a revamped ASP.Net stack that is many times faster than the current version, de Icaza said. ASP.Net is Microsoft's technology for building websites.


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