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Moonlight 2.0 Comes with a New Covenant

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Moonlight 2.0 (final version) comes with a promise from Microsoft to help the developing of Moonlight 3 and 4, and a new MS Covenant to end users protecting them from patent infringement by using Moonlight.

Moonlight 2.0 Beta 1 was announced in August 2009. The beta phase ended, and the final Moonlight 2.0 is available for download. It runs in Firefox/Linux on Mono 2.6, Cairo and Gtk+. The team is working on running it also on Chrome/Linux. Moonlight 2 currently consists of “142,000 lines of C/C++ code and 320,000 lines of C# code (125,000 lines of code came from Microsoft's open source Silverlight Controls)”, according to Miguel de Icaza.

Microsoft has extended their promised collaboration with Novell to further help developing Moonlight by providing the Silverlight 3 & 4 test suites. Moonlight 3 Beta will be available in the first quarter of 2010 and the final version during the fall of 2010. Moonlight 4 will follow shortly after that.

Microsoft made an important and necessary step by extending the Patent Covenant to End Users of Moonlight. This covenant protects not only users using Moonlight from Novell, but users getting Moonlight from any Linux distributor and running it on any Linux flavor. This actually means that Moonlight can be included in commercial Linux distributions. One caveat: Microsoft Media Pack, containing the MP3, VC1, H.264 and AAC codecs, were licensed only to Novell because they were bought by Microsoft from the original owners and the right to use them could not be extended to everyone unless a hefty price was paid. Third party Linux distributors can use open source codecs (Ogg, Vorbis, Theora), can purchase a license from MPEG owners, sub-license from Microsoft, or simply write their own codecs. 

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