Silverlight on Surface RT

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface General Discussion' started by Costo82, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Costo82

    Costo82 New Member

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    Our organisation has purchased 50x Surface RT's recently during the special educational offer that Microsoft ran. We are registered as a Microsoft IT Academy and purchased the RT's solely for that purpose however we cannot run any of the IT Academy courses because we are getting an error that Silverlight is not available. Does anyone know how to install Silverlight on Windows 8.1 RT?
     
  2. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Oh no, I'm afraid that's one of the pitfalls of Windows RT. :( Internet Explorer on RT, while it supports Flash and most websites, does not support additional plugins such as Java and Silverlight. While I can understand Java, Silverlight is a MS tech, so it makes no sense to me that MS doesn't support it on Windows RT. Java/Silverlight are impossible on Windows RT devices, thus the RT devices are incompatible with your academy courses.

    Since you have a special educational deal with Microsoft, I suggest your leaders escalate this issue with Microsoft. I have doubts that MS can side-load Silverlight for your organization, but maybe you can exchange the bulk purchase for something that does support Silverlight (any other regular Windows 8 tablet will allow the plugin installation).
     
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  3. ChemCat

    ChemCat New Member

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    Didn't your IT guys test it out first?

    I work for an engineering firm and we test everything out thoroughly before purchasing in bulk.
     
  4. kundas1

    kundas1 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    just an FYI, I read an article that Microsoft plans to phase out Silverlight in the near future, since everyone will be switching to HTML5, including MS.
     
  5. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm an MCT, so I'm painfully aware of the IT Academy's use of Silverlight. I would reach out to your MS Learning Rep to see when their moving to HTML5 on the courseware catalog, but it will most likely be for new courses. Its a bummer that your team didn't bring one into test.

    Your best work around currently would be to set up a Server 2012 R2 Server with RDS enabled and run a VDI implementation to run the online courseware.
     
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  6. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    It's true that the onus is on the buyer to test compatibility with existing systems. I tend to view Silverlight in a similar way as Microsoft marketing the Surface RT to the corporate space without Outlook. What Microsoft is planning for phasing out Silverlight is less of a priority compared to existing support--academia, government agencies, and large corporations tend to have slow technology adoption cycles, often painfully slow due to lack of funding and other resources. While Silverlight has a tiny percent of the overall market compared to Flash, I expect most of that percentage is in the academic and government sectors, though I haven't seen numbers.

    Does the Silverlight plugin take up a huge amount of space? If it doesn't, and remembering that Flash is a third-party plugin, there isn't a good argument not to support it. (Java, on the other hand, is huge and Microsoft lost a lawsuit years ago and can't include it themselves.) Are there distinct versioning issues where there isn't backwards compatibility? Maybe there are additional issues at stake in including a working Silverlight plugin on Windows RT, but merely "we're phasing it out so you must follow suit" doesn't really cut it from my POV, especially when marketing to the academic sector with a student discount to boot; the lack of Outlook was widely publicized in the poor marketing to the corporate space, but there is no visible mention of things like Java/Silverlight in IE RT. Also keep in mind that Silverlight 5 has an official Microsoft support lifecycle end of 2021. Yes, organizations do need to move onto other techs, but I feel the lack of Silverlight in the Surface RT products in particular was a poor and poorly marketed decision for the key academic sector.
     
  7. ChemCat

    ChemCat New Member

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    Which I'm willing to bet won't happen. Not only are academic, government, and corporation organizations slow to adopt new technology, they are also deathly afraid of anything new. This is thanks to the people in charge, who are often grumpy old men that are set in their ways.

    For example, I've written a metro app to replace some of the hand written work load that engineers do. Some grumpy old engineers have expressed their displease with how different my printouts look compared to the hand written work. So, I changed the layouts of my printouts to make them look identical to the forms used in the office. My work so far have been 100% accurate. And why not? They are programmatic. And trust me, the grumpy old engineers who insist on doing everything by hand would love to find a mistake in my work. In fact, I've found mistakes in these guys' work with my app. And yet they keep asking me what if one day my computer decides to make 1+1=3, or some other nonsense.

    These organizations are slow to adopt new techniques and technologies because of grumpy old men who are in charge.

    Your suggestion will solve the school's problem, but my money is on them not doing anything about it to solve the stumbling block. It's human nature to not do anything different.

    To the OP, your organization might want to look into getting a refund. Next time at least test it out first.
     
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  8. Costo82

    Costo82 New Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Yes we are at fault for not testing one first and won't make that mistake again. Despite knowing what they say about assumptions we assumed that a Microsoft tablet would run Microsoft software and the Microsoft eLearning programs... apparently not that simple.

    Already looked at getting a refund however that 'is not possible' according to the department that supplied them to us. They are also not going to upgrade existing eLearning courses to HTML5, only new ones and they have not confirmed a release date for those yet.

    Our solution... we are setting up one of our spare servers with either MultiPoint 2012 or Server 2012 and going to RDP from the Surface's to the server. We have trialled some of our staff using RDP from the Surface's to our Terminal Server and it works fine. Not what we originally intended however it does have some advantages. If that fails, keep an eye out on eBay for some cheap tablets ;)
     
  9. ChemCat

    ChemCat New Member

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    Technically there is a way to get Silverlight to work on rt. But it required dome hacking, which would venture outside of what legit organizations do.
     
  10. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Is there an ARM-compiled Silverlight plugin? Since MS doesn't plan on supporting Silverlight on ARM, and it's proprietary code, I'd assume no. The jailbreak certainly won't help then. If you're going to leave a bread crumb like that, you'd better follow-up as these threads are trawled by search engines. :p

    Anyway, I hope the remote desktop thing works out for OP.
     

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