Today Adobe is announcing the Open Screen Project, something that continues our steady march to being more open and at the same time should help foster the community around the Flash Player by freeing up how and where people use it. (Info for developers is here) Here’s the news from the press release:
- 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® Cast™ 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
The biggest part of the announcement in my mind is that we’re finally removing the restriction on the use of not only the SWF specification but also the FLV and F4V specification. We think we’ve gotten to a point where users don’t want different versions of a Flash Player and that there isn’t much incentive to create one, so opening up and removing the restrictions on the SWF, FLV, and F4V spec is a way to show that. Now our community can really dig into these and see what makes Flash so great. But one of the major reasons I’ve heard for wanting to implement separate versions of the player is because there are parts of the technology world, especially devices, where Flash doesn’t exist yet. That’s also going to change.
The second exciting part of the announcement is that we’re removing the licensing fees for the next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices. That means you’ll be able to distribute and deploy the Flash Player anywhere you want without having to pay Adobe. We’re also planning to publish the device porting layer APIs for the Flash Player. That combined with the removal of the license fees means you’ll be able to actively participate in porting the Flash Player to devices that are important to you. It’s still not open source, but I think this makes the Player a more agile piece of software and empowers developers to expand the number of places it runs. There are also a number of implications on the mobile side that Bill Perry discusses in detail.
I’m really excited about what this means for our community. Developers can now look at the SWF spec, the core video spec in FLV and F4V, and the AMF spec that we released as part of BlazeDS. The goal here is to provide the same Flash Player experience across a number of devices, operating systems, and machines. We haven’t quite had that yet when you look at Flash Player and Flash Lite. But the combination of the Open Screen project, our partners (Intel, LG Electronics, Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, etc), and the recent movement of the mobile business unit into the same business unit as the desktop Flash Player at Adobe, we’re going to see that happen. It’s a really exciting time to be a developer.
Go SWF! There’s a pretty good FAQ for the Open Screen Project up for any more questions you have. Dave McAllister, one of the maestro’s of the project has a blog post up as well.