Adobe Open Screen Project

Adobe Open Screen Project

Summary: Adobe is making a couple of big announcements today that relate to our openness and the openness of the Flash Player. Starting today, there will be no restrictions on the use of the SWF specification or the FLV and F4V specifications that make up video in Flash.

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Adobe is making a couple of big announcements today that relate to our openness and the openness of the Flash Player. Starting today, there will be no restrictions on the use of the SWF specification or the FLV and F4V specifications that make up video in Flash. Previously, in order to look at the SWF specification you had to sign a licensing agreement not to use it to create competing players but in the interest of expanding the reach of the Flash Player we're removing all of those restrictions as part of what's called the Open Screen 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. As part of this, Adobe is also publishing the device porting layer APIs. The device porting layer APIs are what Adobe uses to take the core of the Flash Player and make it work on different operating systems and devices. With that published, anyone can more easily customize and port the Flash Player for their specific device.

We've seen a lot of growth in the Flash Player ecosystem over the years and we've lined up a lot of companies as part of the Open Screen Project that are interested in helping bring that consistent experience to their devices. Bill Perry (an Adobe employee) has a full list of the partners as well as the mobile implications.

As an employee, I'm glad to see Adobe continue to move in a more open direction. Removing the restrictions on the SWF specification is something that people have been wanting for a long time and I'm glad we're doing it. As a company, we want to enable Flash Player everywhere whether that's devices, operating systems, or refrigerators. The Open Screen Project gives developers and companies a stake in where the Flash Player goes and a way to help get it there. Hopefully this means a bigger RIA ecosystem.

Topic: Enterprise Software

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  • Well done Adobe

    Since the market uses this format so much, Adobe realized that there is room for everyone. It is an opinion I got from the bald movement Sun continues to make. As bald as it is, opening the standard to others is a window on improvement. That is how I see it. As I said: Well done Adobe!
    j2010biro@...
  • Wow!

    I'm completely floored by Adobe's decision to remove the restrictions on the SWF/FLV/F4V format specifications. No doubt this would benefit projects like Gnash, which had to use reverse engineering because of the specification restrictions. And this would also mean that Microsoft could add Flash to Silverlight(I doubt it, but who knows).

    Bravo Adobe!
    Tony Agudo
  • Mozilla take that!

    Mozilla take that!
    qmlscycrajg
  • RE: Adobe Open Screen Project

    Awesome to hear this, I really admire the open direction Adobe is trying to move a great bit of their technologies.
    zwigby
  • It's not about openness

    It's about portability to all devices to keep their share of the pie. With Silverlight pushing their scalable approach, Flash has to be able to do the same.

    It's a good move by Adobe. I wonder about the convenient timing a day after criticism from Mozilla, but I'm not a big conspiracy buff, so I'll write it off as a coincidence.

    It's hardly "open", regardless. More like open licensing with published APIs. Smart marketing without giving up code.
    coffeeshark
    • Looks at post above.. yup.. clue bus was definetly there

      Silverlight is the reason for this.. if you havent noticed, its creeping into the major players video aresonal(netflix, olympics, baseball, etc..) and Im sure Adobe has noticed.
      supercharlie
      • It's all about competition

        Of course Silverlight should get some credit for this new
        openness from Adobe. But step back a year, and Flash was
        the reason for Silverlight to begin with, since Flash basically
        wiped windows media formats from the web.

        And all this competition is of course a good thing. It pretty
        much guarantees that Mac and Linux desktops will not be
        excluded from the next generation of online video and RIAs.
        pointzerotwo@...
    • Further reflection on a larger view

      The tech companies making all these computers and devices are starting to see the picture that they need intellectual capital (software) to make their devices interesting and appeal to a market, even create many new evolving markets. Intellectual capital costs money. They want to sell gizmos be they phones, ipods, car engine computers, a/v gear, whatever. They are beginning to realize that leaving it to the crafty among the consumers themselves... the open source community... they get a postive feedback loop that advances their markets and crank out stuff, making them, their energy, and raw materials providers all lots of money far more quickly than if they had to front up all the cash to pay for the proprietary software developers in-house or out-sourced to some proprietary software company. They still see returns on investing in the human capital by paying some developers to work on the open code and help advance the technology, so they have money to help scratch *their* itches in this scenario. Linux is becoming a runaway success in everything but the desktop computing market.

      Because desktop computers are the stronghold of the propagandists. This is the TV of the new paradigm. And the neuvo RIAA, Pravda, new old-Hollywood (mafiawood?) or what have you... there are interests in controlling your media and commerce on-line. Today's bully pulpit: "a terrific platform from which persuasively to advocate an agenda" (Wikipedia).

      Adobe, with Flash, have been the internet's movie studio, renting out their creative tools (flash development software as opposed to lots and sets and artisans and cameras). The flash "movie industry" was the house they built, and they got their paw in everyone's pie (the content creators). But they were also the theaters. They supplied the player as a binary... you had to go to them to see your movie. They realize with Silverlight they are going to loose their theater business.

      Unlike the MPAA who want a piece of your ticket price, rental fee, dvd purchace... and are losing their distribution stong-hold to the sharing community and fighting tooth and nail to keep it, Adobe realize that the value in flash at this point is in it's ubiquity and that ubiquity is under serious threat from Microsoft with Silverlight. Adobe is taking notes from Netscape's play-book, but they haven't quite got the religion yet. They had a pretty good thing going, being the boss at the crossroads. What they are doing now is smart, nimble, desperate, and even a little devious.

      They are conceding the player and composer components and keeping the core of their flash business, the API, close to it's chest. They hope to appeal to the bigger players in the propagandist pool by saying hey, we can keep a handle on this API and make it go everywhere faster than Microsoft can, leveraging what we have already built. Help us do this and we can help make sure the API conforms to your needs where it needs to. You want the access and the control; just out-source it to us and we'll babysit the API for you.

      Notice Adobe mentioned all these partners? This pretty much sums it up: Adobe said, "[They] want to enable Flash Player everywhere whether that?s devices, operating systems, or refrigerators. The Open Screen Project gives developers and companies a stake in where the Flash Player goes and a way to help get it there." The gem is that it gives companies a stake. Companies (plural) have a stake in this. Adobe doing what they can to play their hand, because if they don't it can all come crashing down quickly. They are trying to out maneuver Microsoft who are also smart and ruthlessly aggressive at this game for the "gates", the points of access and control.

      I say they are reading Netscape's play book, but that is not so. Thinking more about it, and about Postscript and PDF... Flash is like a PDF for web content. Similarly they opened up PDF yet retain patents on it. I have not grokked how they make their money there. But I haven't spent much time dwelling on it either. So I'm not sure just how they intend to here. But they know that the gold is somehow connected to the control.

      These are only my immediate impressions and I am taking a wait-and-see stance toward being too judgmental. There be sharks out there, and there be angels too. I'm sure they fall somewhere in the middle, or a little of both. Adobe is a company, not a person, after all. But the decision makers who run the company - I don't know who they are to know their minds. Yet for this, they deserve applause. But I won't gush - I haven't been sold either.

      A healthy skepticism should include a little skepticism of one's own conclusions, no?
      luvdownbabylon
  • Yay. Now make a 64-bit edition, b*tches. NT

    It's really all I want. Is that too much to ask? (I have to put something in here, or it won't post.)
    heres_johnny
    • Yes, an AMD64 version for Linux is long overdue.

      Since you have all the porting tools etc., why have we not seen an AMD64 Linux version in over two years of waiting?

      Jim
      Jim-MN
  • RE: Adobe Open Screen Project

    This is good news for us. We've recently released an online collaborative course authoring tool (Unison) that builds online courses in Flash and XML. This will encourage more devices to support better and more robust versions of the SWF spec which should make it easier for our software to output to mobile.

    Garin Hess
    www.rapidintake.com
    garinhess@...
  • RE: Adobe Open Screen Project

    Don't get fooled, it's not Adobe being nice, it's because they know how the Netscape browser died a slow and painful death because of Microsoft - M$ is doing again exactly the same thing against Adobe by releasing their own version of Flash called Silverlight. Not to mention Mozilla's efforts and the upcoming Sun's JavaFX.
    xlinuks
  • RE: Adobe Open Screen Project

    Starting today, there will be no restrictions on the use of the SWF specification or the FLV and F4V specifications that make up video in Flash. Previously, in order to look at the SWF specification you had to sign a licensing agreement not to use it to create competing players but in the interest of expanding the reach of the Flash Player we?re removing all of those restrictions
    maheshwarmathad
  • RE: Adobe Open Screen Project

    Starting today, there will be no restrictions on the use of the SWF specification or the FLV and F4V specifications that make up video in Flash. Previously, in order to look at the SWF specification you had to sign a licensing agreement not to use it to create competing
    maheshwarmathad