Tag Archives | Linux

Microsoft: Silverlight will “Optimize Everywhere”

Microsoft wants Silverlight to be optimized for every platform that it runs on, said Brian Goldfarb, director of developer and user experience platforms at Microsoft, during an interview at the company’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC) on Wednesday (Nov. 18).

Silverlight runs on Mac OS X and Windows; it is available on Linux through Mono Moonlight, an open source project that Microsoft supports. I also expect that Moonlight will be running on Android in near future. Goldfarb explained that it was not enough for Silverlight to “run everywhere,” but that it should “light up” specific platforms.

Microsoft needs to consider screen size and other aspects of a device, which is particularly relevant in the mobile space, he explained. There are also mobile platform features such as SMS, phone dialing, and address books that Silverlight could exploit, he added. That would allow Silverlight applications to be customized for smartphones.

Silverlight 4, which Microsoft announced at PDC, will allow applications to access Windows features, hardware, and the local file system. That allows devices such as Webcams to accessed by Silverlight. However, the same level of optimization is not currently being offering for other platforms.

Microsoft will give Silverlight “trusted” access local resources on Macs, meaning that all features work except for COM integration, Goldfarb said. More work is needed to extend Silverlight for non-Windows platforms, Goldfarb admitted, saying that the company was “thinking around” the concept of extensions.

COM is a Windows technology that enables applications that may have been written in different languages to communicate with each other. Microsoft Office makes heavy use of COM. “We are actively evaluating the best way to get COM like features on other platforms,” Goldfarb wrote in a follow up e-mail.

To that end, the company has started an open source project called Managed Extensibility Framework for .NET and Silverlight. The Mono team is working on an equivalent project, Goldfarb said. He expects that Mono will “accelerate dramatically” in the near future, delivering more features to Linux users.

I expect that anything but Windows will be a second-class Silverlight citizen for some time. But Microsoft is making strides toward delivering an optimized experience on other platforms, and in doing so, will gain a foothold on the Web beyond Windows.


Would You Buy a Non-Windows, Non-OS X PC?

T-PollThe IDG News Service’s Dan Nystedt has a report today that Taiwanese electronics behemoth Foxconn is planning to build “smartbooks”–even cheaper netbooks, basically–built around ARM processors. Their lack of x86 CPUs means they’ll run some flavor of Linux–perhaps Moblin (backed by Intel) or, eventually, Google’s Chrome oS. We know they won’t run Windows–not unless Microsoft comes up with a really cheap, ARM-compatible version of the OS.

I don’t think that Foxconn’s machines will be aimed at most of the people reading their post–they’re for folks in emerging nations for whom even netbooks are unaffordable. But all the recent news involving netbooks and netbook-like systems running Linux and variants thereof (as well as other alternative OSes such as Symbian) inspired today’s T-Poll.

For decades now, nearly all consumer PCs have run OSes from a grand total of two companies: Microsoft and Apple. (Yes, I know about the advances that Linux has made–I’m a Ubuntu fan–but the OS has yet to gain any permanent traction in the consumer arena and its market share remains tiny.) Either all this new activity relating to other OSes is going to amount to something, or the companies involved are wasting their time.

Queue the T-Poll:


JoliCloud’s Cloud-Happy Netbook OS On the Way

cloudOne thing that first drew me to netbooks was the idea of living on the cloud. After losing everything on my last PC in a horrifying motherboard fire, I suddenly wanted to have as much as possible running over the Internet.

So JoliCloud’s netbook operating system, reportedly going into alpha next month, is an exciting prospect. In terms of running programs and storing files, “cloud computing” is just a snooty way of saying you do everything from the Web, but JoliCloud fancies things up a bit by sticking Web applications right onto the desktop. By fine-tuning a version of Linux, the makers of Jolicloud say their operating system is fast at booting and smooth at surfing.

Aesthetically, the screenshots I’ve seen give JoliCloud a smartphone kind of vibe. Apps are lined up in a grid with big, easily clickable buttons (it’s a natural fit for touch screens, if you’ve got one). Putting popular Apps — Gmail, Facebook and the like — front and center is a smart move: The OS seems less random than Moblin’s smattering of Web pages and more Web-oriented than Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

My main concern is how these applications will be handled beyond the initial interface. Hopefully, they’ll act like widgets, popping up seamlessly without acting too much like a Web browser window.

At the same time, I wouldn’t want to lose the things that Windows does well, namely easy access to and control over things that do reside on the computer. To put it another way, I’d want JoliCloud to act like a PC at some times and a cool e-mail/social media gadget at others.

If you’re interest is piqued, sign-ups for the alpha are available now through JoliCloud’s Web site, and Netbook Choice has the full compatibility list.

One comment

The Best of Frenemies


Frenemy: Someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive, fraught with risk and mistrust.

Urban Dictionary

That’s not a bad first stab at a definition, but let’s expand on it: A frenemy can be a friend who evolves into an enemy. Or an enemy who morphs into a friend. Or a friend who seems to be an enemy, or an enemy who seems to be a friend. Or someone who teeters precariously between friendship and enemyhood, sometimes over the course of decades. One thing, however, is undeniable about frenemies: The technology world has always been rife with them. Consider these twelve outstanding examples–past, present, and future.