Novell is porting Moonlight, an open source version of Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application plugin software, to Google's Android mobile platform, a Novell official acknowledged on Tuesday afternoon.

A preliminary version of the Android port was previewed last week at the Microsoft Mix11 conference, said Miguel de Icaza, vice president of the Novell developer platform. He has been in charge of the Mono open source project linking Microsoft software development technologies to other platforms. "[The Android port] is the first public preview and it is not yet a product."

Moonlight initially was built for Linux and Unix systems as a mechanism for running Silverlight applications. It is making its way to handheld devices. Novell has shown vector graphic demonstrations of Moonlight running on both a Motorola Xoom tablet and a Google Nexus S phones. Both devices use Android.

Silverlight, for its part, is Microsoft-proprietary technology. In addition to competing with Adobe's Flash Player, it also is vying with HTML5 technologies for the hearts of developers. Adobe is enabling Flash Player to run on Android.

The Mono runtime has been included within Moonlight. Mono features an open source, cross-platform, implementation of C# and the Microsoft Common Language Runtime (CLR) that is binary-compatible with Microsoft's .Net software platform.