Silverlight on Linux

Microsoft, what’s your problem? Why are you so stupid?

My current irritation is with Silverlight. First, it’s a redundant technology. Bringing .Net into browsers is not a compelling argument for redoing everything that Adobe Flash already does better than Silverlight. But fine, I’m not a shareholder anymore, you can waste their money all you want.

I wanted to see how well Moonlight (the Linux version of Silverlight) works. It’s partly because I’m compelled to poke my nose into the train crash that is Linux + Firefox + plugins + video + audio. It’s one of those things… so horrific, you can’t stop watching.

And the amazing thing is that it works, sort of. The install process for Moonlight is no more braindead than all the other plugins I’ve played with. The one dumb hangup is that Novell (sponsors of Mono/Moonlight) did not manage to get their code-signing XPI foo right, and so Firefox warns you the XPI is a scary dangerous virus ready to destroy your computer. Why couldn’t someone just GO SIT in Mozilla headquarters and FIND OUT how to make this work? I just don’t understand how companies like Novell think.

So then I head over to to see how it works. And it doesn’t. Over and over, in 10 different ways and places, Microsoft tries to get me to install their windows plugin. But I’m on Linux! Why are you pestering me? My silverlight support works, stop hassling me! This is the kind of crap that Flash managed to solve YEARS ago. This is why techno-redundancy sucks: the users have to suffer the SAME EXACT BUGS years later.

So I finally get through all the warnings, I don’t even know how, and I get to the showcase. I want to go see some Silverlight apps, find out if this thing works in any other situation then the Mono website (which damn well ought to work). And EVERY SINGLE ONE has the same bug, which is that it’s browser sniffing is not detecting that I have Moonlight and tells me in 12 different ways that I’m not allowed to see their content. Many of them send me back to Microsoft to “upgrade” my Silverlight, and then Microsoft sends me into an infinite hell of “you have to have Windows, you don’t have Windows, click here to upgrade to Silverlight 2 for Windows, you have to have windows, you don’t have windows…”

So, I’m here to tell you that Moonlight works. But that no one will let you use it. So don’t bother installing it, there’s nothing to see anyway.

And the traincrash continues… and I just can’t stop looking. Why do I do this to myself?


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