Back in April, Redmond software giant Microsoft announced it would be taking on Adobe’s market-dominated Flash technology with Silverlight, a new interactive platform for delivering "rich media experiences" across browsers and platforms. Today, Microsoft released version 1.0 of its Silverlight browser plug-in , and has announced it will be working with Novell to offer support for Linux.
"Our expectations for compelling, immersive experiences on the Web are increasing daily," said Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie, in a statement. "With today’s release of Silverlight 1.0, we’re making it possible for developers and designers to deliver to individuals the kind of high-def experiences they crave by integrating data and services in rich and unique ways."
Silverlight builds on technologies Microsoft developed for its streaming audio and video services,and is designed to let developers build interactive content using a variety of technologies available through Microsoft’s .NET platform, including C#, VB, Python, Ruby, and AJAX. To showcase Silverlight, Microsoft has (of course) evangelized the technology to major content and development partners, with the result that relatively high-profile brands like Home Shopping Network, Entertainment Tonight, and World Wrestling Entertainment are already "showcasing" new Silverlight driven online features. Microsoft says more than 35 companies have already signed on to support Silverlight, including major content delivery networks like Akamai, Level3, Limelight, and Internap, design agencies (lke the Microsoft-owned Avenue A/Razorfish).
Silverlight’s Linux support will be called Moonlight, and will be based on work already started at Novell’s mono-project.com. No availability estimates or requirements for the Linux version of Silverlight have been released, but it seems logical to assume the priority will be on supporting Novell’s SUSE Linux.
Microsoft’s Silverlight plug-in supports Firefox 1.5 and 2.0, along with Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista and XP, and Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003; Microsoft says it plans to extend Silverlight support back to Windows 2000 "soon" with Silverlight 1.1. On the Mac, Silverlight requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or newer and operates in Firefox or Safari.