Is Wikipedia biased towards Silverlight?

Wikipedia's quote I’m getting my presentation together for Perth BarCamp tomorrow, and in my assembly of this awesome presentation I stumbled upon the Wikipedia for Silverlight.

It has the usual guff around what it is, where it come from and so on, but one thing that stood out was a section titled “Criticism

This has turned into a bit of melting pot of “Hey give Microsoft a fair go”, as the current “Criticism Section” basically is argued as having an undercurrent of “anti-Microsoft’ to it. I must admit (even though obviously I am biased towards my employer) that there is an editorial element to this portion of the site. In that, it’s citing bloggers such as Chris Duckett as reference points? (which is essentially a blog post).

Not only that, but there is criticism for not using SVG? I’m not quite sure what SVG has to do with Silverlight as if you’re going to throw the SVG card in the ring over how XAML differs, then you may as well include Adobe’s MXML and countless others.

It gets thicker with debate, as one contributor resigns over it with juicy quotes like this:

It’s absolutely safe to say that no discussion with Harumphy will lead to a conclusion. Believing that Soum and I are Microsoft “PR flack” delivering nothing but “opinions” based only on the fact that we speak in defense of a Microsoft matter, he is in a state of denial, perhaps even paranoia if he really does believe we work for Microsoft.

I agree though with this Rei character, at the heart of it Harumphy appears to the be person with blinkers on.

Personally, I’d remove the Criticism section from not only Adobe Flash but also Silverlight as it all depends on ones perspective, not so much core facts. An example comes to mind “Digital Rights Management” for Flash, while some would argue it should have it – others would say it’s not needed. Eye of the beholder.

One thing pisses me off, is this:

“Silverlight has been criticized for lack of Linux support – or indeed any platform other than Windows and Mac OS X, citing it as a factor that could limit the widespread adoption of Silverlight..”

Linux marketshare is less then 2% depending on whom you believe. Apple are obviously pushing to get more folks to adopt Mac OS X, Windows Vista and so on are selling well etc bottom line – this will have marginal impact on distribution and this for me was the red hearing that underlined the “stupidity” of this section. Linux would be a positive step forward, even at the low percentage uptake, but overall companies like Microsoft (countless others) typically need to ensure the mainstream are stablized before they branch out to others. As where do you stop? BeOS next? heh.

Comments (10)

  1. > Personally, I’d remove the Criticism section from not only Adobe Flash but also Silverlight as it all depends on ones perspective, not so much core facts. An example comes to mind "Digital Rights Management" for Flash, while some would argue it should have it – others would say it’s not needed. Eye of the beholder.

    Let me totally disagree. By definition it’s in the eye of the beholder. Having DRM infection or not, is a core fact and if you allow criticism, you’ll get it in either case, and all will be valid.

    > Linux marketshare is less then 2% depending on whom you believe.

    And how much is that little 2%? 10 or 100 people? Ignore millions and hide behind marketing talk… I know that Silverlight will be coming to Linux, and it’s too good a move I wouldn’t expect from MS, but *initially there was no plan announced for Linux support*. Linux has become a major OS that cannot be ignored whatever the market share is.

    Whatever you do, there will be criticism, some will be dumb, some you won’t agree with at all. Removing the section from Wikipedia won’t stop people criticize…

    Maybe Wikipedia should be a collection of press releases, is that what you want?

  2. Garry Trinder says:

    DRM is about choice, while I have personal issues with it – yet i understand the other side of the fenceline. Point is, whats that got to do with Flash, it’s a bigger issue then Flash.

    Same goes for Silverlight, provide the option for DRM – if folks hate it, don’t use it. If folks love it, use it? .. ahhh choice.

    I don’t think it has a place for Wikipedia to be honest.

    2% is large, didn’t say it wasn’t (you need to cool your anti-Linux rods there Burak and focus on the context of what was said). I did say that if Silverlight opts out of the Linux support (not saying it will or won’t) then will this prevent wide-spread distribution? personally i think not. It would be a constant knawing issue that would always arise when new iterations come out (ie see Flash history for this) but overall it doesn’t prevent distribution.

    Software Vendors would love nothing more then to devote resources for all platforms and multiple client surfaces, but you have to go with the mainstream choices first. Linux is not in the hands of mums and dads first and foremost. Stablize that segment and with successful growth, resources can be allocated to Linux.

    It’s time folks realised that this isn’t a perfect end to end solution world-wide, it’s not isolated to just Microsoft but companies around the world that build software. It’s easy to attack MSFT for non-Linux as thats just the typical "evil" thing to do?

    Apple doesn’t ship Safari on Linux?  so Microsoft & Apple are just pure evil right? Adobe released the player on Linux, but not the CS3 product range? so are they evil? Argue what you want Burak, principals of economics dictatet that you have a budget and if you have 3 options but can only afford 2 upfront, you pick the greater mindshare.

    Actually I wish Wikipedia wasn’t a collection of press releases (did you not read the post?) I think it should stick to the facts, leave editorial commentry out and if others want to find the pro’s and con’s of technology A, do so via your nominated browser/community forum.

  3. > DRM is about choice

    Actually what prompted me to comment was your mention of DRM.

    As I see it, DRM is pure evil. Replace ‘DRM’ with ‘Child abuse’ anywhere you see it, and maybe you will understand how I see it.

    > it should stick to the facts, leave editorial commentry out

    Agreed. But I’m OK with it in a section clearly titled ‘Criticism’, you want none.



  4. jackbond says:

    I used to work for a company that developed Windows and Unix software. Every windows developer had 2 PCs and every Unix developer had a unix box and a PC. The Unix developers did all of their non development work on their PC. Linux may have 2%, but of that 2%, I’d hazard a guess that 98% have some sort of sister PC where the owner does the real work. So that leaves about 2% of 2% where the owner doesn’t also have a PC. In those cases, they typically hate MSFT so much, they won’t run anything produced by MSFT anyway. So what exactly is MSFT giving up with no Silverlight on Linux? For my money, I’d rather see them spend the development time on a textbox control for silverlight. 🙂

  5. Jeff says:

    "Apple doesn’t ship Safari on Linux?  so Microsoft & Apple are just pure evil right?"

    I just want to reply to this bit… Safari is based on KHTML; and since that KPart is what Konqueror uses to render web pages it would be … mostly pointless to port over Safari.  From my (admitted) limited testing between Konqueror and Safari I’ve found if the page displays properly in the one, it will in the other too.  (Generally if I develop a page using Firefox as my test-bed, it displays properly in every browser BUT MSIE… but thats a complaint for a different department)

    Secondly, the one and only reason apple ported it to windows is because the iphone uses that as its web browser and they want web developers to be able to test against Safari without having to own a mac.  

    And to Jackbond:

    I have 5 PC’s and a Laptop in use at my house… one PC dual-boots WinXP and Gentoo Linux, know why the XP partition is there? To play games; period.  I do all my "Real work" on the Gentoo side. (The laptop triple boots but thats just to mess with the Apple zealots @ work.. OSX 10.4.8/WinXP/Kubuntu on that.)  The other 4 PC’s all run linux.  One is an Astaro box, one is my TiVO, the other 2 are both Gentoo, one for MythTV, the other runs Apache/MySQL/Asterisk/DNS and a few other services for me.  

    I think you’ll find most GNU/Linux users either keep a windows box for gaming or for that one app that won’t run usably under WINE.

    As far as Silverlight, I could care less really.  Ya great a possible flash competitor; but the fact that whats really needed is an open framework not another proprietary solution leaves me completely uninterested.  

  6. Scott, 2 things.


    MXML has SVG support (not sure if you knew that). It isn’t the full spec but you can definitely load SVG images (have been since Flex 1, I believe).


    You can’t throw Adobe into the mix of the Apple/MSFT is "evil" comment just because their IDE’s (/products) aren’t on Linux. Silverlight to CS3 products doesn’t match at all. Match CS3 products to the Expression Suite and VS. I know your point but that point invalidates it.

  7. Garry Trinder says:

    Jeff: I realise what Safari cherrypicks for the engine, but "Safari" is what i’m talking about not the engine. I get your meaning but the point still remains, they don’t support Linux.


    1) Yup I don’t want crit on Wikipedia, as this isn’t the forum for opinions. It’s supposed to be a knowledgebase for folks to come to for base answers. If you crit a product, you’re projecting an opinion on said product and that is where we kind of need to draw a line. As every PRO you add to the discussion, there will alway sbe a CON.

    2) Yup I know it had SVG but it’s not total SVG support, as you of people would soon realise that if Microsoft said "x Product fully supports SVG" and later to find it’s a subset, would end in "See they are bad, they don’t support it really!" – which we currently kind of have with pre Mac OSX Intel (ie "they aren’t x-platform see").

    3) I can and will, you’re being selective on what makes it vs doesn’t. It’s not the specific products but the concept at hand, if you’re going to be supportive of Linux and be the "nice guy/gal" about it, then don’t stop with just the Player go the full distance.. as clearly its a market we need to bust open right? …this is what I don’t buy as part of the "though must make x runtime for Linux".

    On one hand it’s "here’s the runtime, see we are nice and we embrace you Linux" .. but then to actually *make* the end result it’s "sorry, buy a Mac or PC".

    It’s throwing a bone over the platform wall and it may suck for Linux users to hear this, but that’s what’s on the table today.. so beat up on MSFT all you want on it, but before we start preaching how great other companies are for their support, understand it’s gesture of pascification.

  8. Scott, where are my comments? Did they get nixed?

  9. @John,

    about SVG. Professional interest in SVG from Adobe is quite recent. Before that, OS involvement in SVG was pretty stagnant and moribund.

    I’ve tried using SVG professionally for a project and good SVG development support from any company is still not there and when it’s there, it’s partial and broken. Just try to find (and use), for example, a good library for SVG to EPS (in vectors) or a good library to SVG to any vector base format…

    In my opinion, SVG is still broken as a vector file format, because it is less inter-operable than other vector-based formats. Let’s just hope that Adobe’s recent support will help SVG get more support.

    As for SVG seen as a replacement for Flash (or Silverlight), the idea is still as laughable as it was years ago.

  10. Viki says:

    Refreshing to the site Riagenic after 15 secs?!