Microsoft Open Sourcing Parts of SilverLight

I was originally going to discuss this story in the latest podcast but cut it considering how long the discussion of the AACS story took. The fact that the intro still teases the story even though it was cut may give you some insight as to how I edit as I go.

Personally, I think Microsoft is too fixated on lock-in to pursue any genuine open source efforts. That hasn’t stopped Miguel de Icaza from considering a Mono port and working himself generally into a lather over the details of the technology.

Contrast this to other discussions of just portability of existing technology and I think skepticism is the saner course. The .NET runtime is putatively portable but not practically so, even as judged by those who ardently wish it was. There have been some license concessions to OS X and code to go along with but it merely seems to support the old saw about Microsoft doesn’t share their technology with competing operating systems unless they do not consider them to be a threat.

Regardless, there are no details of what will be opened and when. We also do not know what the license terms will be, as open can mean a lot of different things.

Honestly, it is bad enough so much of the web is tied up in Flash, a proprietary technology owned by one company (despite the news of Flex being opened up) without introducing a mutually incompatible second closed technology. It would be far better to see Flash opened way up since it already plays well on most platforms. Maybe Microsoft’s move will prompte Adobe to do so.

Worse case scenario we take one huge step backwards to the bad old days of the browser wars where developers had to pick and choose sides and hope their chosen technology didn’t lose.

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