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Adobe Moves Towards Greater Flash Openness and Availability

by Jon Rose on May 01, 2008 |
This week Adobe continued their push towards greater openness within their Flash based technologies. In a move greatly targeted at developers, major adjustments were made to eliminate the licensing restrictions and third-party fees for distributing the Flash Player runtime. The move hopes to address vendor lock-in concerns and further extend the availability of the runtime, specifically on mobile devices.

Over the last few years, Adobe has made a number of changes to open up their developer platforms (Flex and AIR). They began the push with the open sourcing of the Flex SDK, and most recently open sourced the core of their LiveCycle Data Service’s product with the BlazeDS project. The move this week is the next step in what has become a clear initiative of the company to provide an open Flash platform for developers and content creators to utilize.

This week’s announcement features the creation of the “Open Screen Project.” Adobe’s Ryan Steward details the goals of the project:
The goal of the Open Screen Project is to enable a consistent runtime environment across a wide variety of devices and desktops. As part of the project, the next major versions of the Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices will have no licensing fees meaning you can distribute and deploy them anywhere.
The Open Screen Project announcement includes a few significant changes to accomplish this:
  • Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
  • Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
  • Publishing the Adobe Flash Cast protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
  • Removing licensing fees - making next major releases of the Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free
Adobe’s Mike Potter details the expected impact of these changes within the mobile device space:
Mobile development will also get a boost by the removal of license fees for distributing the Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices. Handset manufacturers will not need to pay Adobe to install the Flash Player on their devices. Adobe hopes that this will result in 1 billion phones having the mobile version of Flash (currently FlashLite) installed on them.
In addition to Adobe’s hopes of increasing the Flash Player’s availability, they also expect the move to curtail concerns about Flash within the open web. Ryan Paul of Arstechnica.com sees the move accomplishing this:
The Open Screen initiative is a win for the open web and the Flash ecosystem. This will empower third-party developers and bring a wider range of choices to content distributors as well as to end users, and it seems likely that the growing amount of competition in the rich web content space will continue to push advancements toward openness that benefit everyone.
Adobe’s CTO, Kevin Lynch, details the benefits of the move for developers. In addition, you can always learn more about Flex development for the Flash Runtime at InfoQ.com.

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Tamarin by James Ward

Thanks Jon for posting this. This is really exciting news! You forgot to mention Tamarin which was Adobe's first major contribution to Open Source.



Viva La RIA Everywhere!



-James

www.jamesward.org

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