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Moonlight 4 preview launched

Feb 15, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Novell's Mono Project has delivered a preview version of Moonlight 4, the open source Linux implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight multimedia development platform. Moonlight 4 offers support for Silverlight 4 APIs for H.264 video codecs, graphics hardware acceleration, 3D transformation, and pixel shaders, among other improvements.

The Moonlight 4 release gives Firefox and Google Chrome users on Linux access to the latest Microsoft Silverlight multimedia content and enables developers to take advantage of the newest features of Silverlight on all platforms, says the Mono Project.

The Moonlight 4 preview marks the first time the Moonlight project has shipped a release consistent with many popular sites built for the latest release of Silverlight. Moonlight 4 is said to offer full support for all prior versions of Silverlight, plus preview support for Silverlight 4, including Microsoft-licensed codecs for Silverlight 3 and 4.

With the new preview, developers can leverage the Silverlight 3 APIs and numerous Silverlight 4 APIs, including support for the H.264 video codecs, hardware acceleration of graphics rendering using the GPU, 3D transformation, and pixel shaders, says the Mono Project. It is also said to extend web browser support to Google's Chrome.

Other touted improvements include numerous performance and memory management enhancements. In addition, users can run Silverlight applications as desktop applications on Linux in both "sand-boxed" and full-trust modes using Moonlight's unique mopen command. 

Stated Miguel de Icaza (pictured), Mono Project founder and Developer Platform vice president at Novell, "Our team has worked tirelessly to get Moonlight to version parity with Silverlight 3 — finally bringing the latest development and delivery capabilities for visually rich applications to Linux. Now that we've reached this milestone, we are looking to complete the 4.0 APIs."

Developed by the Mono Project, an open source initiative sponsored by Novell that develops a Unix version of the Microsoft .NET development framework called "Mono," Moonlight is part of a collaboration announced by Novell and Microsoft in September 2007 that was highly controversial in the Linux community.

Since then, Microsoft has provided Novell with access to its test suites and specifications for Silverlight, and has given Novell end users of Moonlight free access to the Microsoft Media Pack, a set of licensed media codecs for video and audio.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is at work on Silverlight 5, which is expected to appear in beta some time during the first half of 2011. Silverlight 5 introduces more than 40 new features, including support for running Silverlight applications with desktop features in the browser, video quality, and performance improvements. Other features are said to improve developer productivity.

Stated Brad Becker, director of product management at Microsoft, "By enabling support for Linux, Moonlight 4 gives Silverlight developers the tools they need to develop for the platforms they want to."


The Moonlight 4 beta is available now at the Mono Project's Moonlight site.

Darryl Taft is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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