back to article Microsoft slips out Silverlight 5

In one of its quieter launches, Microsoft has made Silverlight 5 available for download, and rumors suggest this may be the last major upgrade for the code. Among the full list of improvements are hardware decoding of H.264 unprotected content using the GPU, support for 64-bit browsers and a rewritten graphics stack using built- …

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Meh

Meh.

Given that LoveFilm have just changed from streaming Flash movie delivery to streaming Silverlight movie delivery in the last week or so (apparently due to major film studio pressure, no big surprises there), this was interesting timing.

*Idle thought* Wonder how long it'll take someone to crack it wide open? */Idle thought*

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Pirate

No Flash on LoveFilm?

So LoveFilm has just cut-off all its customers who can't run Silverlight. That includes non-Intel Mac and GNU/Linux users. And what about the many non-PC devices that (used to?) have access to the LoveFilm service, like the PS3?

Well I see from the announcement that "this change doesn’t affect or apply to any of our streaming devices (PS3, iPad, internet TVs, etc); only PCs, laptops and Macs."

http://blog.lovefilm.com/uncategorized/why-were-switching-from-flash-to-silverlight.html

And apparently this was done on the insistence of the MAFIAA®, as a "robust anti-piracy measure". But how "robust" is it if half the service is still using Flash, with little prospect of those other devices ever using Silverlight? And how exactly does it benefit the MAFIAA® to cut-off customers and send them running into the welcoming arms of The Pirate Bay?

They didn't really think that one through very well, did they?

One day the MAFIAA® is going to wake up to the fact that DRM and platform-dependent technologies only serve to LOSE revenue. If you take away people's choices, they have no option but to seek "alternative" methods, legal or otherwise, most of which don't send any money in the direction of the publishers.

But then very little of that money ever trickles down to the actual artists anyway, so maybe it really doesn't matter either way. Maybe the only "fair" way of obtaining content is to "steal" it from The Pirate Bay, then send money directly to the artists. That way we get content without restrictions, and the people who actually deserve to be paid for that content get their money.

One thing's for sure: I'll never be a LoveFilm customer. I can't be. LoveFilm has effectively blacklisted me from its service, by refusing to allow my OS access to its content.

Oh well, that's their loss, not mine.

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"So LoveFilm has just cut-off all its customers who can't run Silverlight. That includes non-Intel Mac and GNU/Linux users."

And what percentage of users do you think that would be?

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Headmaster

Percentages?

The fatuous "percentages" argument won't magically transfer my money into the content provider's bank accounts, nor will it change the fact that I'm now forced to seek "alternative" means of procuring that content.

Like I said, it's THEIR loss, not mine, however small you think that loss may be.

And given the number of non-Intel (e.g. ARM) devices out there running Silverlight-incompatible operating systems, I'd say it's a fairly heavy loss.

You do realise that ARM expects to ship about 7.5 billion chips this year, compared to about 320 million Intel chips, don't you? Do you also realise that (according to Gartner) Microsoft's mobile platform only accounts for about 1.5% of those ARM chips (of which only about 0.66% is "Phone 7")?

But hey, if the content providers want to piss-away all that potential revenue, it's no skin off my nose. I'm only too happy to keep my money, and put it to better use.

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Anonymous Coward

your loss

given that there are a very small portion of people who can't run Silverlight - and they're mostly on old/ailing machines that won't support HD video very well I doubt LoveFilm are losing nearly as much as you think... and not protecting their content witha decent DRM solution (ie PlayReady) would mean loss of access to their library of content... which would hurt their business more than the low single digit percentage of users who only have an unsupported Mac or Linux machine.

the platforms where they are using non-Silverlight technologies are either locked down to the point where hijacking the streams would be non-trivial task or also have PlayReady support

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Anonymous Coward

Still going?

The only time I've seen Silverlight on the web is on Sky's News page. So I don't get to watch their news videos.

I'm astonished it's still around at all!!

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End of an era of productivity

It's a shame. Silverlight is a pretty productive environment to develop for. We'll have to see what HTML5 will bring, but I'm expecting the usual 2 days to develop and 20 days to get it to run nicely everywhere kind of approach. Maybe I'm getting old but fiddling endlessly with CSS has put me right off being a software developer.

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Anonymous Coward

Everywhere ...

... the place silverlight doesn't run. So I'm not sure what your argument is.

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Stop

Sitting amongst the flowers and leaks

I guess you've not experienced how fickle Silverlight is to code with, particularly when it comes to memory management.

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IT Angle

Actually...

Silverlight has made some pretty big inroads into corporates and are replacing intranet web applications because of its easier development model; it also allows developers to provide fat-client functionality to users through a browser, so avoiding the usual deployment hassles in large corporates. Also, as almost all corporates have IE 6-8, which are CSS manglers, using Silverlight allows you to avoid the inevitable problems when your organisation upgrades its browser.

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Productivity

His point is that development in Silverlight is more productive than development on the web tech stack - which is something I happen to agree with him on. The ubiquity of the platform is an entirely different question, so I can see how you failed to see his argument when you go off on that old "but it doesn't run on every device" tangent.

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Facepalm

doh

> Trusted Application model

> full trust support in browser including COM and file system access

> native code to be run directly from Silverlight

Those guys never learn, do they? "Do you want some security threats and intrusion vectors with your web software, sir? Of course you do!"

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Meh

RE: Doh

LOB developers wanted this feature because it was a common scenario that the application needed greater access to the client PC to interact with say, legacy components or bespoke hardware.

The feature is enabled for enterprise roll-out through a group policy and the application assembly itself must be certificate signed to match with that policy. Without this, no elevated trust is provided to the application by design. So the risk is malicious code attempting to break that design - but that risk applies to everything - the application, the plugin, the browser. Nothing new there.

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Thumb Down

Kill it, and soon

As it does not work with Linux I do hope it will disappear very soon.

I do have Silverlight plugins, but the versions are not high enough so nothing works.

Luckily I can live without those sites even if I can boot into Windows too.

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Endless updates

It seems like I've been prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Silverlight more often than I've actually gone to sites that use Silverlight.

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Trollface

most of the movies

are crap anyway, so why would anyone want to use LOVEFiLM in the first place? There are eBay, Amazon and torrenttab, so it's always possible to get a fix, just one fix, one fix, one fix...

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10 Silverwhat?

20 Goto 10

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Meh

It's not for everyone

I agree it's not that useful for public websites (and of course neither is Flash) but for bespoke business applications that need to run online/offline, Silverlight is pretty awesome and I'd rather be programming in XAML/C# than HTML/CSS/JavaScript thank you very much.

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FAIL

LoveFiLM and feckin Silverlight

The online streaming was never great but now they've shifted it to Silverlight it's just about unwatchable.

I'm using an older XP machine and I get about 4fps now and each of those frames is fully of jagged artefacts.

Ok my PC is old and my bandwidth is narrow but it was better before.

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What's the repacement?

I suppose the intention is that eventually HTML5 (video and canvas) will replace Silverlight, but in the meantime I wonder what Microsoft expect existing Silverlight users to use. I can't imagine they want them to recode everything in Flash.

Also, is Moonlight (the open source clone) still being developed?

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Silver badge

Yes it is.

And it's still horribly misguided crap that will never support the DRM component and serves to give Microsoft false "interoperability" bragging rights, even though they are the very antithesis of the word.

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Gold badge

Support until 2021, eh?

"Redmond is saying it will support this build until 2021".

I thought the usual policy was "until a few years after the next version comes out", particularly in the case of stuff they don't charge money for.

Has someone at Microsoft let a cat out of the bag here?

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Bronze badge

Support until 2021

@Ken Hagan

That'll be 10 years, which is sort of normal when ending support for a corporate product.

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Bronze badge

Yup MS have always had a ten year support policy. Usually five years of full support and a further five years of limited support, security patches and bug fixes.

This is rather better than the likes of Mozilla who drop old versions as quickly as they can. Their idea of a bug fix or security patch for an old version tends to be to upgrade to the new version. Not great for users who have to stick with old versions for reasons of compatibility.

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Only when HTML5 is widespread will Silverlight be redundant

Until then, Silverlight is needed for things such as Windows Media Center (consumer and industrial editions.

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