Novell's Moonlight shines on Google Android

Open source version of Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet plug-in platform is readied for Google's mobile OS

Novell is porting Moonlight, an open source version of Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application plug-in software, to Google's Android mobile platform, a Novell official acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon.

A preliminary version of the Android port was previewed last week at the Microsoft Mix11 conference in Las Vegas, said Miguel de Icaza, vice president of the Novell developer platform. He has been in charge of the Mono open source project linking Microsoft software development technologies to other platforms. "[The Android port] is the first public preview and it is not yet a product."

[ Novell recently detailed MonoDroid, a developer tool enabling .Net-based development for Android. | Keep up on key mobile developments and with InfoWorld's Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. | Follow Paul Krill on Twitter. ]

Moonlight initially was built for Linux desktops, but is making its way to handheld devices. Novell has shown vector graphic demonstrations of Moonlight running on both a Motorola Xoom tablet and a Google Nexus S phones; both devices use Android.

"Moonlight has historically been limited to the Linux desktop. We have never ported it to anything else before," de Icaza said. "Android is our first effort to port beyond the traditional Linux desktop. We have not even tried an iOS port at this point." Novell is not yet ready to talk about formal release dates for the Android port of Moonlight.

Silverlight, for its part, is Microsoft-proprietary technology. In addition to competing with Adobe's Flash Player, it also is vying with HTML5 technologies for the hearts of developers. Adobe is enabling Flash Player to run on Android.

The Mono runtime has been included within Moonlight. Mono features an open source, cross-platform, implementation of C# and the Microsoft Common Language Runtime (CLR) that is binary-compatible with Microsoft's .Net software platform.

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