I’m not happy about the fact that [we got into bed with Microsoft], but [the decision] was above my pay grade; I think we should have stayed with the open-source community.
[…] de Icaza explained that anyone who downloaded Moonlight from Novell was protected by the company’s licensing of Silverlight codecs from Microsoft through the company’s own cross-licensing agreement. Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering from Mozilla, then raised the question that if he downloads and then distributes the code for Moonlight, would he get the patent protection?
“There is a patent covenant for anyone that downloads [Moonlight] from Novell,” answered de Icaza, who then acknowledged that “as to extending the patents to third parties — you have to talk to Microsoft.”
In other words, Microsoft controls the codecs (via Novell-as-proxy) and thus, digital media that Moonlight users might expect to play without a fuss. Want your choice of GNU/Linux running Moonlight to work (i.e. play all the eye candy) as Microsoft Silverlight does? You have to talk to Microsoft.
But not to worry, says Microsoft. If you can’t afford our price, we have an alternative solution.