Feeds

Adobe cites bad blood for closed Flash

Wary of corporate agendas

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Everyone loves open source - well, everyone apart from Microsoft, that is. The only problem with open source is deciding how much code control you're willing to relinquish, especially when open source puts your precious bits and bytes - and ultimately your own product plans - into the hands of your competitors.

Adobe Systems' Flash has long dominated PCs and the web, but the company has been under slowly mounting pressure to open source the player's source code.

This came to a head recently when Dion Almaer, co-founder of Ajaxian.com and Google's open web advocate, delivered a talk on the state of AJAX at Google Developer Day in London. I asked Almaer why Google makes little use of Adobe Systems' Flash, YouTube aside, and he gave a forthright answer.

Flash is not "open enough," he said, explaining that the Flash player is not open source and its development is not driven by the community. Google likes the technology, he added, and its closed-source status is a matter of ongoing discussion.

I put this to Dave McAllister, Adobe's director of standards and open source. "Dion and I have exchanged opinions about this," he said, adding that "there are constant discussions with Google," though he could not confirm any on this specific matter.

McAllister noted the SWF format for compiled Flash content is an open specification and that the Flex Software Development Kit (SDK) for building Flash content is open source, but said there is little prospect of open sourcing the player itself.

Media friendly

"Sixty-five per cent of the code is not owned by Adobe," he claimed. "We spend an incredible amount of money to license audio and video codecs that we then give away for free. If we open sourced the code of the Flash player, we would immediately fragment the video runtime market, because we can't give away those codecs."

McAllister rejected Almaer's point about the community, saying there is "peer participation, a visible roadmap, open bug bases, and open discussion between engineers and developers...the only open source principle that doesn't get communicated is the actual source code." Ah.

Haven't we been here with Sun Microsystems, before it eventually open sourced Java?

McAllister was dismissive of the comparison.

"The lesson learned from the Java exercise is that a marketplace that is losing speed can attempt to regain some of it from open source. We can certainly learn from [Sun] that it's very easy for competitors to sabotage your own efforts," he said.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Next page: Browser comparison

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.