Microsoft and Novell said Tuesday that they are nearly ready with a beta version of Moonlight--a Firefox add-on that allows Silverlight content to play on Linux PCs.
The software is being announced as the companies tout the second anniversary of their peace deal.
Work on Moonlight began in May 2007 and an alpha version was shown a month later. Novell's Miguel De Icaza, who is heading the Moonlight effort, said on his blog last week that the beta version should be out within days.
The move helps Microsoft in its effort to position Silverlight as a rival to Adobe's Flash. Flash already runs on Linux and is installed on an overwhelming percentage of PCs. Both Flash and Silverlight also run on Macs.
Silverlight's biggest early win was Microsoft's deal with NBC that saw the technology used to power the video on NBCOlympics.com. Silverlight suffered a blow earlier this week when Major League Baseball said it was switching to a Flash-only player for the 2009 season.
In addition to the Moonlight announcement, Novell is releasing a management pack that plugs in to Microsoft's System Center product that will allow IT managers to more easily oversee mixed deployments of Suse Linux and Windows.
As for the broader work between the two companies, they now have more than 200 joint customers, said Susan Heystee, Novell's general manager global strategic alliances. That's up from fewer than 70 customers at the end of the first year.
"That really goes to the value proposition and the focus we've really had around interoperability," Heystee said. "Many of these companies are deploying Linux and windows in their data centers."
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