Thursday, June 21, 2007

Implementing Silverlight in 21 Days

For those of you that want to know what we're all about, it's like this ya'll: this is 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain and 100% reason to remember the name...
  -- Fort Minor

Miguel de Icaza, Chris Toshok, Jackson Harper, Sebastien Pouliot, Everaldo Canuto, Rolf Bjarne Kvinge, Atsushi Enomoto, myself and a few other guys from the kick-ass Mono Team, here at Novell, managed to do the impossible: Implement Silverlight in just 21 days.

3 Weeks ago, Miguel sent out a Call-To-Arms email to our internal Mono Team mailing list explaining that he'd been invited to participate in Microsoft's conference in France where he'd he able to demo whatever he had accomplished as far as reimplementing a version of Silverlight for Linux. I would say that within minutes of the team reading that call to arms, I and a bunch of others replied, volunteering for the mission...

I think I speak for all of us when I say that it was a blast working on this project. I know that, for myself, even after heading home from work at around 8 or 9pm every night, I'd walk in the door, grab a quick bite to eat and immediately sit down in front of my computer and begin hacking on it again and I'd almost always find at least Jackson and Toshok on IRC hacking on it too.

I haven't been this enthusiastic about hacking in a long time (and that says a lot seeing as how I said the same thing just a few months ago when I joined the Mono Team to work on MonoDevelop). Even now, I've got ideas I want to experiment with to improve Moonlight even further. I'll probably get back to hacking on it (even though the 21 day hackathon is over) as soon as I finish posting this.

To all the people out there that congratulated us in response to reading Miguel's blog, thanks - we appreciate it. It feels good to both have accomplished something this amazing and be cheered at the same time :-)

To those of you who think this is a waste of time because similar things exist, I have this to say:

nothing ventured = nothing gained.

We, as the Free Software Community, wouldn't have all the great and wonderful things that we have today if the developers didn't "waste their time implementing alternatives." I urge you to take a moment to reflect on that.

If, after that reflection, you still wish to resist change: no one is forcing you to use Mono - you're free to remain in the stone age, living in a cave, trying to write software by scraping coal along the cave walls ;-)

That said, Rock On fellow Mono lovers!


Mike said...

Sounds like a great effort. But why stop at Silverlight, which is a proprietary hijack of an open standard technology that so far has no adoption? If you can do what you are capable of doing, why not implement SVG and support open standard XML graphics? Don't you want to own your own prize?

Jeffrey Stedfast said...

Because I'm not interested in SVG, but I am interested in Silverlight :)

Also, as far as I'm aware, there's already a Free Software implementation of SVG.

Vladimir said...

I admire the Mono team tremendously. You guys put in over one and a half man years in three weeks! The only thing I am upset about is that I have been learning to use the Gtk# controls and I am starting to get familiar when now I want to play with another new toy. Luckily I need to finish my project, and it should last many months... Any chance you guys can do a similar effort on MonoDevelop? The other developers around here use JBuilder and it puts all other IDEs to shame (including MS Visual Studio). Unfortunately, your tremedous effort has raised expectations. Sorry!

FYI I came to Linux from the Windows/.Net world. My gratitude goes out to Novell and its people for giving me a nice migration. I just don't understand why IBM and Red Hat and other distros (Ubuntu) don't invest more into Mono. Sun has a good reason but no one else does. My only issue is the difficulty in moving away from the Windows.Forms stack. I believe like everyone else that MS has potential rights there, but not with the core or Gtk#.

Great work to all of you. Please don't let nay sayers get you down. You're work is very much appreciated.

Vlad Giszpenc

Igor said...


You must do a movie: "21 days later" ;)

Jeffrey Stedfast said...

Igor: haha ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your passionate hardwork. Your efforts to create wonderful software are most appreciated and inspiring to say the least.

Anonymous said...

I envy you guys so much... the corporation i work for would never allow these kind of initiatives.

Perseus said...

" one is forcing you to use Mono - you're free to remain in the stone age, living in a cave..." - not using C# on Linux is living in a stone age? C'mon man, are you serious?

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