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.