The Mono project is about the only group of people actively talking up .NET and developing it, but in an interview Miguel de Icaza has admitted that Moonlight, the Mono version of Silverlight isn't worth the effort any more.
Microsoft may be reluctant to admit that Silverlight is dead - even though the writing on the wall is so big and clear that you can't miss it - but the Mono project doesn't have to pretend. In fact, because it has limited resources, what the Mono project works on is almost a better guide to what the future of .NET might hold.
In an interesting interview with InfoQ's Jonathan Allen, Miguel de Icaza admits that the Mono project has abandoned Moonlight. When asked why the answer was revealing:
"Silverlight has not gained much adoption on the web, so it did not become the must-have technology that I thought would have to become.
And Microsoft added artificial restrictions to Silverlight that made it useless for desktop programming.
These days we no longer believe that Silverlight is a suitable platform for write-once-run-anywhere technology, there are just too many limitations for it to be useful. These days we believe that in the C# world the best option is to split the code along the lines of the presentation layer. The user would reuse a core part of their application across all platforms, and write a new UI specifically for each platform they target: iOS with MonoTouch, Android with MonoDroid, Mac with MonoMac, Windows with WPF or Winforms or Mac, Web with ASP.NET and Windows and Linux with Gtk
It is not write-once-run-everywhere, but the result are applications that can exploit the native facilities and create native experiences on each platform."
All good advice and it seems an accurate reflection of the situation, although it stops shorts of actually admitting that Microsoft's interests have moved on to matters that don't include .NET in general and Silverlight in particular. It is just another example of the mess that is being created as existing technologies are abandoned. You could now add Moonlight to the list of extinctions caused by Microsoft.