Is it time to open source Silverlight?

Call to action: Vote on User Voice for Silverlight to be open sourced http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/5042512-open-source-silverlight 

For all intents and purposes Microsoft now views Silverlight as “Done”. While it is no longer in active development it is still being “supported” through to 2021 (source).
In today’s age of the “modern public web” with a variety of devices, Silverlight’s purpose no longer stands.

However there is still a section of the .Net community that would like to see further development done on the Silverlight framework. It has a nice collection of portable technologies allows it a small niche in the desktop environment. A quick look at some common request lists brings up the following stats:

Rather than letting Silverlight decay in a locked up source control in the Microsoft vaults, I call on them to instead release it into the hands of the community to see what they can build with it. Microsoft may no longer have a long term vision for it, but the community itself may find ways to extend it in ways Microsoft didn’t envision.
Earlier this year Microsoft open sourced RIA Services on Outer Curve http://www.outercurve.org/Galleries/ASPNETOpenSourceGallery/OpenRIAServices, it would be great to see this extended to the entire Silverlight framework.

We’ve seen what can happen with amazing technologies when they are released into the wild. e.g ID software released the Quake 1 source code to the community, it has since been extended greatly and ported to a variety of platforms. A version was even created for Silverlight http://www.innoveware.com/ql3/QuakeLight.html. Which makes sense as XNA running on Silverlight was a popular technology for students.

I’ve used games as examples of ways to extend it as that is what hobbyists usually latch onto first. But there are equal reasons why people still using it on internal LoB applications would want to continue to extend the core framework, e.g:

Silverlight still has a nice portable core of useful technologies, now is the time to start asking the question if it is time to Open Source it rather than let it mothball. There may be uses in the community for it now, in another 2-3 years its usefulness in the community would be lost. This also may be a great point to release Silverlight to the community.
Microsoft, let the community know if there is a way we can assist in making this happen.

By David Burela

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7 Responses to “Is it time to open source Silverlight?”

  1. Yann Duran Says:

    Great idea David! I’ve added my vote on User Voice.

  2. akismet-5e8b4d223ab3ff9f40db4514b0e0abda Says:

    I wonder why did you decide that Silverlight purpose no longer stands? We still don’t have a unified platform, but a bunch of browsers each with its own interpretation of how things should be done. We have a huge discrepancy between standards and what we get, even with latest browsers. Also, features Silverlight or even Flash offer are way ahead of what we can get from “native” browser development. Quality of the Silverlight UI experience is still unmatched.

  3. advertboy Says:

    I totally support this idea too!

  4. kaps Says:

    Anyone who invested in learning XAML, whether Silverlight or WPF, would understand the power behind the paradigm. It was a sad day when Microsoft announced the death of Silverlight for a change in direction.

    Yesterday I found this project implementing XAML using Javascript rendering it on the HTML5 canvas control. I know, at first I was, WTF… but then I downloaded the project (it is open source) and started experimenting – it is not complete and require more community involvement – but man! my mind was blown. I tested a simple XAML login and tile page I created using copy/paste XAML from my Silverlight app with a new Typescript code behind (similar to C#), using browserstack… WOW!!!

    To have XAML running in almost 100% of the environments, including IPhone, Android, Mac was just mind blowing.

    So go there and see for yourself… http://fayde.wsick.com/home.aspx


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