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Microsoft SIlverlight Proposed For Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Ubuntu

Published on 23 December 2013 10:13 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu
36 Comments

A proposal has been submitted for having Microsoft Silverlight plug-in support in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS as part of the main archive via the Pipelight project.

The Pipelight open-source project was first covered by Phoronix over the summer as a way to get full Microsoft Silverlight support working within web-browsers using Wine for running the Microsoft Silverlight support. This Pipelight implementation of Silverlight works with NPAPI-based browsers like Firefox and is good enough to handle running Netflix and other Silverlight browser-based programs on Linux. Previous to that there was work in 2012 for a patched version of Wine to get Netflix on Linux.

Microsoft hasn't officially provided any Silverlight support and until the advent of Pipelight there was only the Mono-based Moonlight for providing Silverlight support inside Linux web-browsers. Work on Moonlighth as pretty much ceased as has Microsoft's upstream interest in Silverlight seems to be diminishing but there's still many web applications requiring this Microsoft technology.

The proposal this past weekend by Ubuntu contributor Jo-Erlend Schinstad is to have Pipelight in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Right now Ubuntu Linux users wanting Pipelight are required to manually enable a PPA, install the packages, etc, for accessing Silverlight support.

Reducing hope though that this will become an Ubuntu 14.04 feature is the fact that Pipelight still depends upon some out-of-tree Wine patches. Pipelight developers are working to upstream this code but it hasn't yet happened for the Wine 1.7 development series. As a result, the Ubuntu package would need to ship with a separate Wine binary (or package dependency) than what's provided inside the repositories right now. Another stumbling block is that Pipelight works with only NPAPI-based browsers where as Chrome/Chromium and other browsers are moving away from this old browser plug-in API. It will be difficult to see Pipelight/Silverlight support land in Ubuntu 14.04 without the Wine patches being mainlined let alone much more difficult to see the feature shipped by default as it would then make Wine support installed by default on Ubuntu Linux.

We'll see what happens in the months ahead.

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