Adobe Opens Flash 9 Specification (Updated)

As part of Adobe’s OpenScreen project to get Flash onto more devices they have just openly published the Flash 9 specification, with what appear to be no restrictions on their part (that I can see). The OpenScreen site seems to confirm it, listing their moves as:

  • 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® Castâ„¢ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
  • Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free

This is great news, suddenly Flash becomes an open standard and the projects to create open source viewers for it suddenly should have a lot of the information that they need. It doesn’t remove all the issues though, some of the codecs that can be employed are patented and can themselves attract licensing fees, but it does appear that they are not required (unlike OOXML, which requires MP3 for audio content for example). It also means that people wanting to implement open tools to create Flash content, or export to Flash, will have their job made a lot easier too.

Hats off to Adobe – better late than never!

Update: This also includes the FLV/F4V specification too!

Found via the ever excellent LWN..

2 thoughts on “Adobe Opens Flash 9 Specification (Updated)

  1. It’s good news, but not great news. Flash is still a standard that was developed without community involvement, so it has less global desirability than SVG which has been open from the start.

    Adobe’s move is a commercial decision rather than a wholly philanthropic one: if they’re unable to turn a profit from flash then maintaining it in competition with both SVG and silverlight may be too costly to even offset the market position it brings them. It’s the same move that Netscape announced on 5/1/1998. “The product is no longer commercially viable, long live the open-source version of the product.”

  2. I can understand your point of view Rich, but Flash does already have a big head start with a huge amount of content already, and whilst MS’s monopoly will mean that SilverLight may gain some traction their recent failure with PlaysForSure shows that they’re not invulnerable now.

    The two existing open source Flash players are starting to make some progress, but this publication will mean that they should really be able to make some headway now.

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