Late last night Microsoft announced that they had released Silverlight 1.0, and to mark the occasion they also said that Linux support would be coming soon. This is a big release for Microsoft because it is the first major milestone as they continue to take on Adobe’s cross-platform Flash technology.
Microsoft has made a lot of huge steps by partnering with big sites, such as the Home Shopping Network and Major League Baseball, to offer Silverlight apps that are pretty slick. I was initially skeptical about the success of Silverlight, but I’m starting to come around having played with a few amazing demos over the past few months. One of the most recent that comes to mind is Microsoft’s Tafiti search engine, which undoubtedly looks pretty but can be a bit slow.
Work has also begun on Silverlight 1.1 which is expected to be released later next year, but an early Alpha version is already available. One of the coolest demos that I’ve seen for Silverlight 1.1 is the airline “calculator” pictured above. All you have to do is click and drag from one point to another, select the date you want to travel, and it will show you a listing of the possible flights. It may not sound all that cool, but I could see this type of thing changing the way we search for airline tickets.
I’m still hesitant to think that Silverlight can become a true competitor to Flash since that is already reported to be installed on over 99% of Internet-enabled desktops. Maybe Microsoft will try and push this out via updates, or ship it with future versions of Windows though? What do you think?
Note: There hasn’t been a timeframe announced for the Linux version of Silverlight, but they have said that it will be called Moonlight. A video demonstration of Silverlight running on Linux can be found here.