Open Up

Today, Adobe released the source for its ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation.

That’s what Adobe did. Since this blog is a common stop for open source-minded folk, I thought it might be pertinent to use this space to discuss what Adobe didn’t do:

  • Adobe did not open source the Flash Player.
  • Adobe did not incorporate the Flash Player into Mozilla.
  • Adobe did not license Mozilla’s HTML rendering engine.
  • Adobe did not purchase Mozilla, or vice versa.

The project is specified by the name Tamarin, as in the monkey, in keeping with Mozilla’s primate-naming conventions. Fun fact: Adobe is contributing around 135 KLOC (thousands of lines of code) of source code to the Tamarin project. So, in the grand tradition of open source collaboration, I invite you to jump right in.

28 Responses to Open Up

  1. Optic says:

    That is fantastic news. *does a happy dance*

  2. Ivo Emanuel Gonçalves says:

    I suppose we’ll be seeing soon how that one goes.

  3. amd-linux says:

    Another step in the right direction. Me thinks that some people at Adobe are more and more understanding that they are not giving up anything by opening up their code but gaining a lot.Good move, Adobe – BUT NOT ENOUGH! Open source the Flashplayer! It is in your own, vital interest!(and accelerates the predicted world domination of Linux 😉 )

  4. Anonymous says:

    And open the dng converter as well !

  5. Great, this is a step in the right direction.What I’m not sure about is:1. Why do this? What’s the motivation to free ActionScript?2. Why does the development community need ActionScript (specifically in browsers) when it already has Javascript?

  6. Ben says:

    I’m really happy to see this. It’s a step in the right direction.Thumbs up.

  7. Josh says:

    Why does the development community need ActionScript (specifically in browsers) when it already has Javascript?Actionscript and Javascript are both based on the ECMASCript specification. This avoids duplicate coding.

  8. Analyst says:

    It appears Adobe’s strategy is to make ActionScript the “razor” and Adobe applications the “razorblades.”

  9. h. says:

    Given that the ActionScript JIT is the major portability stumbling block for x86_64 and ppc versions, I suppose that if enough dedicated people jump in to get it working in their platforms of choice, the higher the chances to see ports of the Flash player. Great move, Adobe! — now the ball is in the community’s field.

  10. Aaron says:

    I would just like to state the fact that the hover-over menus on Adobe’s homepage work perfectly on Konqueror with the beta of Flash ;).

  11. Malix says:

    IMHO Adobe want integrate Flash directly into Firefox, because I think that Microsoft Expression will integrete the graphic engine directly into Internet Explorer.

  12. RYX says:

    All thumbs up!! That’s fantastic news. I hope Adobe makes more great decisions like that – thanks, guys!For answering the question _why_ this is needed – one reason is because the spidermonkey-engine (which is afaik the “parent” of actionscript) is quite outdated and the OOP-features of AS are far more powerful and mature. The benefit for Adobe obviously will be a wider spreading of AS and a bigger developer-community when it is used as scripting-engine by other apps than the FlashPlayer … (plz correct me if I am wrong).best regardsRYX

  13. tony says:

    first thought- x86_64 version baby!second though- how will this affect the release mechanisims for the flash player? does this mean that adobe is moving to a nvidia style binary portion + locally compiled helper libs?

  14. Rummik says:

    Nice! At the rate Adobe is going, they’ll have all the Open Source-able parts of Flash Player, Open Source! ;PI think I’ll try compiling Tamarin on my iBook. Power Linux PC! ^^

  15. Dark Phoenix says:

    > 2. Why does the development community need ActionScript (specifically in browsers) when it already has Javascript?Actionscript IS Javascript, insofar as they are both based on ECMA-262, aka “ECMAScript”.

  16. maumac says:

    2. Why does the development community need ActionScript (specifically in browsers) when it already has Javascript?AFAIK the ECMAScript implementation in AVM2 (AS3) is far more advanced than those we currently have for javascript in browsers, including JIT compiling, OOP features and garbage collection.Great move, Adobe! The Flash Platform is getting sexier each time you show your commitment on improving relations with the OS community.

  17. Shish says:

    >> 2. Why does the development community need ActionScript (specifically in browsers) when it already has Javascript?> Actionscript IS Javascript, insofar as they are both based on ECMA-262, aka “ECMAScript”.So if they’re both the same thing… why do we need both in one product?The actionscript engine *replacing* the spidermonkey engine might be useful (assuming that the actionscript engine is “better” in some way — is it?); but it’s not specified exactly what mozilla are going to *do* now that they have two engines…

  18. Joeri says:

    The actionscript engine *replacing* the spidermonkey engine might be useful (assuming that the actionscript engine is “better” in some way — is it?); but it’s not specified exactly what mozilla are going to *do* now that they have two engines…The current javascript 1.5 implementation is a lot like actionscript 1. This new engine is going to be used as the basis for javascript 2 which is a lot like actionscript 3. I have no idea whether they intend to modify this engine to include javascript 1.5 and earlier as well, but if not they can always include two different scripting engines, like adobe does with the flash plugin.

  19. Wow, 135KLOC! I should have digested it before the weekend is over. 😉 What an amazing act of goodwill this is. I’m excited by the possibilities.

  20. That was just a smart economic decision from Adobe, nothing else!The current state about ActionScript give then big headache, there was a need for lots of man power to get the x86_64 port, so they decide to OpenSource in the hope to get it for free.I don’t see how implementation could be useful for the Mozilla Fondation, there’s already Spidermonkey (C) and Rhino (Java)

  21. Mark says:

    > “That was just a smart economic decision from Adobe, nothing else!”Yes, it definitely was a smart economic decision. It helps everybody who is comitted to ECMA-262 as a standard — it’s easier to get developers to learn the language (of course, they still need to learn the API), libraries can be used across platforms, and so on. They even will get some help with the x86_64 port, but that pales compared to the benefit of getting more developers (using the engine, not porting it).So what? Does it become an ‘evil’ move just because they benefit, too? Can’t you see it’s great for Mozilla to get a state of the art VM, including some developers working on it, that will likely become the reference implementation for ECMA-262 v4? That there is a range of other projects that will be able to use the engine? That it’s also great for developers, who can re-use code across platforms?It’s a win-win situation. It’s great for everybody. That includes Adobe, and that’s perfectly OK. They developed the engine, now they donated it, if they profit — good for them. Maybe others will follow their example.

  22. Joeri says:

    As I understand it, spidermonkey has some design shortcomings that limit the ability for it to improve performance-wise. The tamarin engine is an extremely high performance ecmascript engine, so I suspect they considered it easier to modify it to support all versions of javascript and 64-bit platforms than to write a new engine from scratch.

  23. Charles says:

    I am excited to see how this works!

  24. algernon says:

    There is an issue I consider important for wider adoption of Flash under Linux that I have yet to see much, if any, discussion of (am I looking in the right place?). That is the difference in the licensing between Flash for Linux and Flash for Internet Explorer under Windows.A key difference that I consider less than polite under Linux is as follows:Under the Flash for Windows IE EULA, there is the following from:http://www.adobe.com/products/eulas/players/flash/13. “Compliance with Licenses. If you are a business or organization, you agree that upon request from Adobe or Adobe’s authorized representative, you will within thirty (30) days fully document and certify that use of any and all Software at the time of the request is in conformity with your valid licenses from Adobe.”I have no problem with the concept, although I wonder how many companies are really prepared to document in 30 days software that may have been installed by various third party hardware and software packages to allow their manuals to be read.For Flash for Linux, however, we have the following from:http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/eula/flashplayer.html2.b. “You agree that Adobe may audit your use of the Software for compliance with these terms at any time, upon reasonable notice. In the event that such audit reveals any use of the Software by you other than in full compliance with the terms of this Agreement, you shall reimburse Adobe for all reasonable expenses related to such audit in addition to any other liabilities you may incur as a result of such non-compliance.”Much less friendly. The word audit does not even appear to be in the Windows/IE version.As a result of this wording, I have not only been unwilling to install a Flash beta under Linux, but unwilling to install the Flash for Firefox plug-in under Windows XP, which has the same license as Flash for Linux.I’m hoping that the appropriate powers that be will read this, and make changes to bring these different licenses to a level playing field.

  25. brodock says:

    nice move… i think adobe received lot’s of karma for that…

  26. We didn’t want you to open source Flash or Flash Player. We just wanted a plugin that worked for our operating system. There are pleanty of programs that are not open sourced that do work on Linux. However, software developers need to get over their fear that we might reverse engineer their products. It’s sort of like how a bias person who doesn’t want to drive through town past the run down neighborhoods because they’re afraid someone from that area will chop their car. Until you get over your fear of the inner city folks, you’ll just continue to drive the long way to get to downtown. [ I think I just got carsick from that analogy. -Mike M. ]

  27. Catalin says:

    Realy realy great.

  28. Sam Tilston says:

    I dont think it’s really necessary to release an open source flash player. There are plenty available across the web and with over 90% browser being flash capable it is now the best choice for online video.