Moonlight 2 released; no Microsoft codecs unless you get it from Novell

The Mono Project has released Moonlight 2, its implementation of Silverlight for Linux. I tried my own database application and was pleased to find that it works fine; better than it did with the earlier release.

Note the right-click menu which offers some handy debugging features as well as the invitation to “Install Microsoft Media Pack”. If you choose this, you get a dialog offering the Microsoft codecs which are downloaded from Microsoft, not from Mono servers. You have to agree a EULA that restricts use to Moonlight running in a web browser.

That last bit is intriguing; it seems Microsoft is trying to prevent desktop or out-of-browser Moonlight (or Mono) from taking advantage of its codecs.

So what is in Moonlight 2? Miguel de Icaza explains:

Moonlight 2 is a superset of Silverlight 2. It contains everything that is part of Silverlight 2 but already ships with various features from Silverlight 3.

Those additional features include the pluggable pipeline, easing animation support, writeable bitmaps, and partial out-of-browser support. Further, de Icaza says:

We are moving quickly to complete our 3 support. Microsoft is not only providing us with test suites for Moonlight but also assisting us in making sure that flagship Silverlight applications work with Moonlight.

There is also a new patent covenant that:

ensures that other third party distributions can distribute Moonlight without their users fearing of getting sued over patent infringement by Microsoft

That said, the media pack is a source of friction. Only the Novell Moonlight distribution will raise the above dialog to install the Microsoft codecs; others will have to make their own arrangements; at least that is how I understand de Icaza’s post.

It seems an odd restriction, and means that most users should download from Novell.

One thought on “Moonlight 2 released; no Microsoft codecs unless you get it from Novell”

  1. For end user of Moonlight it shouldn’t be a problem to download from Novell. For those who want to fork Moonlight and do something else – there are patents on codecs and you should agree with patent holders about them or use free ones.

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