fredag 2 maj 2008

Flash is now open source

Adobe finally on the 1st of May announced that they will turn Flash and some related technologies into open source. The new open source initiative goes under the name of open screen is backed by a number of really large media and hardware companies like:
ARM, Chunghwa Telecom, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless, BBC, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal.

The goal of the new open source project is to:
• Remove restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
• Publish the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
• Publish the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
• Remove licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free

What this probably means is that Flash content is going to be more common in handheld devices and perhaps even in TV boxes. Wide adoption of Interactive TV is one step closer.

More specific what has been done today is that:
• The SWF file format specification is published and there is no longer a license requirement to support the Flash media format. This makes it possible to write software that support Flash on any devices without paying royalty to Adobe. You can download the Flash specification today from here
• The FLV/F4v specification is published and you can download it from here. FLV/F4V is the standard in Flash that supports Video and Audio. FLV and F4V are the de facto standard for web video today; over 75% of broadcasters who stream video on the web use these formats.

If you are a developer you can find out more about Open Screen at Adobes development page.

It is a probably a safe bet that the open screen announcement comes as a result of Microsofts huge success with its new Silverlight platform. Silverlight offers about the same functionality as Flash but with support of Microsofts mature Visual Studio tools and the .net language.

Flash as a open format can only mean good things for the future of interactive video and is really interesting in the light of W3Cs work on a video extension for the html standard.

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