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Silverlight is Microsoft's new collection of software to support rich web-based applications. You may not need it yet, but eventually you might.
I just did a check for fixes & updates using Windows Updates. The result of the check was a software update for which I do not know if I should download and install it or not. As an "end user" home computer, I don't know if I need "Silverlight v1.0". I was wondering if you could shed some light on this Silverlight and, generally speaking, whether or not a home user would need or use Silverlight.
Do you need it? Probably not yet. But I'm guessing that someday you will want it.
And even if you don't, I'm guessing not having it will, eventually, be annoying enough that you'll give in and install it anyway.
This is a frustratingly classic case of "Resistance is Futile".
Here's the Microsoft line on Silverlight:
Microsoft Silverlight delivers a new generation of high-quality audio and video, engaging media experiences, and interactive applications for the Web.
In a way, Silverlight is much like Adobe's Flash in that it enables a bunch of functionality that "plain old HTML" simply doesn't support such as animation, video, multimedia and more. In fact, Silverlight is considered in many ways a Flash competitor.
So, do you need it?
Probably not yet. The number of web sites that are using it is actually small. It's unlikely that you'll actually see any difference as you browse the web without Silverlight for some time, with a few exceptions.
Microsoft is of course pushing everyone to install Silverlight support on their machines so that website authors will be encouraged to use the new technology. You're seeing it in Windows Update. In fact, if you simply visit the Microsoft home page, you'll likely be prompted right there to install it as well, since Microsoft is naturally also using the technology itself. At this point, it's not a requirement, but it wouldn't surprise me if someday certain key features required Silverlight.
My guess is that it's simply going to become annoying.
You may run into a site where you actually want to install it to get the site's functionality, and that's fine. It's actually a fairly small download and install.
What I expect, though, is to be nagged into submission by Windows Update, and by visiting sites that don't require it, but promise some kind "enhanced experience" if you have do it.
Right now there are bumps in the road. I'm finding that if you're running Internet Explorer all seems to be well. Silverlight installs and runs just fine. However, if you are visiting Microsoft.com with FireFox 3, the site doesn't believe that Silverlight is installed and keeps offering it, even though Silverlight is most definitely installed.
That's a little frustrating, but sadly not terribly surprising.
So my bottom line: you can keep avoiding it, if you like. Chances are that for now you won't really notice any issues other than the occasional reminder that you haven't installed it.
Me? I gave in and installed it, just to remove one more annoyance.
It does at times seem that resistance is futile.
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