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Will the Google-Adobe alliance benefit open source?

Google's dalliance with Adobe is turning into a full-fledged bromance. Can two companies share a technology apartment without driving each other crazy?
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Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Google's dalliance with Adobe is turning into a full-fledged bromance.

Blog posts at both Adobe and Google confirming that Flash is being integrated with Chrome read like explanations of a peace treaty.

As with all good treaties, the two sides have been dancing toward one another for years. Tools for importing Flash into Google Android have been around since 2008.

There's also a "great game" aspect to all this. Flash competes directly with Microsoft Silverlight. Apple has made no secret of its distaste for Flash, which is notably not supported on the iPad. This is all about new mobile platforms, competitors to the iPhone and iPad.

An anti-Adobe bias is already trickling into the Apple grassroots, ironic given the two firms' close relationship during the old desktop publishing days of the 1980s.

It should be noted that Adobe has taken some steps down the open source road as its relationship with Google has grown closer. Two Flash platforms were open sourced, and as our Stephen Shankland reports, Adobe is adopting next generation Web standards.

Now, Flash will be bundled, and updated, alongside Google Chrome, so Flash users on Chrome have an easier time of it than those on other browser platforms, who must get the plug-in separately. This is also an all-clear to supporters of Android and the coming Chromium operating system to go with Flash for rich Internet applications.

It may not be an all-clear to open Web advocates. HTML5 and open codecs like Ogg Theora (that latter is supported natively in Firefox) are not going away. Google has bent toward Adobe here just as Adobe has bent toward Google.

The fact remains that Adobe Flash remains proprietary, while Google is all about open source. Can two companies share a technology apartment without driving each other crazy?

Many people don't think so. Early comments on Google's post announcing the tighter Adobe relationship were pretty negative, with one writing simply BOOOO!. The Mozilla Foundation has long warned that Adobe, like Microsoft, has an "agenda" which threatens the open nature of the Internet.

What do you think?

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