Microsoft, Novell Eye Moonlight Beta, System Management

Marking the two-year anniversary of their controversial interoperability agreement, Microsoft and Novell this week are announcing upcoming availability of both the beta version of Moonlight, which puts Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application technology on Linux, and the general release of Advanced Management Pack for Suse Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.

The November 2006 agreement has had the two companies cooperating in having Microsoft offer Suse Linux support certificates from Novell and agree not to sue each other's customers over intellectual property issues. Some have protested that the agreement legitimized Microsoft's claims that Linux violates its patents.

(For a two-year retrospective on the agreement, featuring comments from Microsoft, Novell and an opponent of the arrangement, see The Microsoft-Novell Linux deal: Two years later.)

But the two companies are marching on with the two milestones. Moonlight is an open-source implementation of Silverlight, offering Linux users high-definition media capabilities, according to a Microsoft representative. The project is being shepherded by Novell.

Moonlight will be provided as an open-source plug-in for the Firefox Web browser, Microsoft and Novell said. The first source code for the project was released in May. The beta release will be available free of charge.

Advanced Management Pack for Suse Linux Enterprise for Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 is due the first half of 2009.

Microsoft and Novell have collaborated on systems management to ease customers' management tasks associated with mixed IT environments, Microsoft and Novell said. Advanced Management Pack for Suse Linux Enterprise extends cross-platform Linux monitoring capability of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager. It enables management of Windows and Linux servers from a single console.

In another development in the open-source realm, Yahoo said this week that its BrowserPlus Web development technology will be offered in an open-source manger.

BrowserPlus features a plugin framework for building Web applications that contain desktop capabilities. It can be extended with JavaScript APIs to access desktop facilities.

"By releasing BrowserPlus as an open source project, Yahoo will enable open development on the platform for in-browser desktop applications across the Web," a Yahoo representative said. "This will allow developers to rapidly extend the platform in a distributed fashion. Yahoo's hope is that community contributions and review will ensure BrowserPlus stays a secure, robust platform running on all popular operating systems and browsers."

Yahoo said that the two-year-old project was a failure in some respects. The company had been looking to uncover innovative ideas in native clients applications and massage them into reusable client libraries. Yahoo was extracting good solutions to problems with wide appeal and making them easy for anyone in the company to apply, Yahoo said.

"At the end of our two-year run we had many C++ libraries, which ran on every operating system under the sun, to perform tasks ranging from the mundane (say, logging) to the exotic. To our dismay, we didn't have client teams all over Yahoo scrambling to use the stuff we built. We did, however, learn a lot from this experience," Lloyd Hilailel, of the Yahoo BrowserPlus team, said in a statement.

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