Feeds

Adobe cites bad blood for closed Flash

Wary of corporate agendas

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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.

High performance access to file storage

Next page: Browser comparison

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.