Ted Leung has a thought provoking post titled "Adobe wants to be the Microsoft of the web". From what I've been able to gather, Ted is a big open source advocate, so obviously he has some strong feelings about a platform that seems to be growing. For me, it's absolutely fantastic to see someone like him talking about Rich Internet Applications. They're the future - not every app needs to be turned into an RIA, but the next generation of web applications (a space that is very popular) is going to be based on RIAs. Update: Andrew Shebanow (of Adobe) has some good thoughts.
So being the forward thinking guy he is, Ted wants to make sure this next generation of web app has the same open mindset that the old one did. But as a Flash developer, I don't think open sourcing the Flash player is the way to go. I like knowing that everyone's version of Flash player is exactly the same. I don't want to have to start hacking applications to make them work in the 2-3 most popular versions of the Flash Player. For me, that's the single biggest reason why open sourcing the Flash Player would be a bad thing.
But that's not to say Adobe shouldn't continue to try and be more open. They're doing some of that with the creation of the Tamarin project, joining the Eclipse foundation, and working closely with the ISO committee on standards. There is also a thriving open source Flash community based at osflash.org. Anne's post on why Flash should be more open source is a good read. It's also frustrating because she makes a solid point using the economics of markets (how can I argue with that?!). I think opening up parts of the Flash Player, like they did with Tamarin, fosters some of the growth and innovation that Anne wants. I think there are ways to encourage that without opening the entire player.
This is a healthy debate to have, because as Flash continues to grow, a more diverse set of developers is going to be using the platform. Someday, I hope we have a model that allows for an open source Flash, and to be totally honest, I think Adobe is slowly, steadily marching in that direction. But at this point, I think they can be open without open sourcing the code for the player. While it won't please everyone, the piecemeal approach keeps current developers happy and helps keep the dialog with people like Ted open. What I hope to see, is the open source community become more specific in their requests for Flash. What can Adobe do to be more open without going entirely open source? Or is there no middle ground?