License-Free Spec

Adobe is announcing the Open Screen Project today. The press release mentions that it deals with “driving rich Internet experiences across televisions, personal computers, mobile devices, and consumer electronics.” However, I can guarantee that the part of this announcement that will be of most interest to Linux/open source fans is likely to be these items:

  • Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
  • Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services

Note that this is not about open sourcing the Flash Player (although a non-negligible portion of the Flash Player code is already open source). However, the previous restriction that anyone who looks at the spec technically isn’t allowed to create an independent SWF decoder (if documentation EULAs are to be believed) was a point of contention among many open source types. No more click-through EULA embedded in the actual PDF, or so I’ve been reliably informed.

And if I can find the new documents (there’s the traditional SWF spec, while the FLV and new F4V formats have been split out into a new document) on the vast corporate website, I will be sure to link to them. I’m not even sure if they’re posted yet. But I’m sure my loyal readers will post links in the comments if they can locate them first.

30 Responses to License-Free Spec

  1. Any news about an amd64 version of the Flash Player ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news! Thank you Adobe. Now rather than gripe about a lack of support for our preferred browser, arch, v4l2 or whatever we can do something about it.

  3. Wow, that’s great news for projects like swfdec and gnash. It also gives people confidence they’ll still be able to use the Flash format in the (far ?) future.When you say FlashCast and AMF will be published, will that be under the same restriction-free license that the SWF spec. is now ?

  4. Lucian says:

    Unless there’s some catch, this is great news.

  5. Stoffe says:

    Oh, finally, finally, finally! :DYou know, this is all we in the free software/open source community ever wanted. You don’t have to write any players for us, or do any work (even though it would have been appreciated) – all you have to do is let us do the work ourselves. Same thing as with lots of hardware really, where both Intel and ATI has also done the right thing recently.As for some of the major software, that’s another thing. It’s apparent that we are “unable” to create a Photoshop or Flash or Director or Illustrator on our own, so we can but hope there will be ports. But that’s a sidenote (and so many misinformed people will point to Gimp and Inkscape within seconds).Great news all in all!

  6. Tomer Gabel says:

    This is really, really good news; open-source Flash players are already fairly good, but this introduces great opportunities for the embedded space, not to mention improvements to the existing players.It doesn’t astound me to see Adobe taking this stand, but I’m pleasantly surprised never-the-less. Way to go!

  7. denok says:

    Hi,great news!Do you believe that this will speed up Gnash development, make it really suitable for daily use?Can anyone name other OS projects that will derictly benefit from this?

  8. SvdB says:

    I think these are the ones:swf (direct link).flv (direct link).

  9. Vasilis Vasaitis says:

    This is great news! The SWF file format specification can be found over at the SWF Technology Center, not sure about the FLV/F4V ones.

  10. Linux User says:

    Does this do anything to help with a 64-bit version for linux?Flash is the only reason I’m stuck using half the bits and 3/4 of the RAM on my machine.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean the Gnash folks are now allowed to use the SWF specs as an aid to develop a free replacement to Flash?

  12. David R says:

    I’m more interested in the ‘device porting layer APIs’, but there’s not much info on them.And, as predicted, the 64bit whiners can’t see the good in anything.

  13. Eric says:

    Looks like the OSS community had already figured out the specs on their own, so this really is of much help:http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/swfdec/2008-May/001459.html

  14. Stoffe says:

    Heh, if swfdec already implements the whole spec, how come it doesn’t work for crap? 😀

  15. Linux User says:

    “And, as predicted, the 64bit whiners can’t see the good in anything.”Whiners?People should be stuck on underutilized CPUs and unused RAM because Adobe is dragging their feet on a 64 bit port?How about an article explaining why there is no 64bit version? People wouldn’t “whine” about it if Adobe had the decency to explain themselves. [ Ahem: What’s So Difficult? 64-bit Edition -Mike M. ]

  16. zayed says:

    Good news !!another step to Full Open Source flash player !Now I can move to ubuntu 64 bit version .

  17. Andrew Paige says:

    Mike: that blog post (“What’s So Difficult? 64-bit Edition”) is from two thousand freakin’ six. The first Athlon 64 was released in 2003. There are plugins available for PowerPC and even Sparc. What gives?

  18. Debian Gnu Linux says:

    About posting comments: ‘Adobe has no plans to open source the Flash Player at this time; comments requesting that the code be open sourced will be considered off-topic’.True but D-Day is closer ;)Thank you Adobe!

  19. James says:

    Stoffe: because the spec it implements isn’t the whole of flash. There’s nothing documenting how actionscript and swf interact, which remains the missing piece of the puzzle.

  20. George says:

    James: what do you mean ‘how actionscript and swf interact’?An swf is, among other things (ie graphics, audio), a compiled actionscript file. I’m pretty sure the community knows exactly how actionscript translates to an swf considering there are fully functional alternative actionscript compilers (not to mention adobe’s own actionscript compiler is open source)

  21. MoroS says:

    So what’s the big deal? Gnash and SwfDec already know the part that has been freed very well… The only difference is that now they can use it legally.As the authors of Gnash and SwfDec said: there are still key parts of flash, that are closed to the public, which is why we’ll wait a long time for the first fully-featured open source flash player.

  22. Skottish says:

    Vasilis Vasaitis,32 bit Flash works fine under 64 bit with nspluginwrapper and enough supporting 32 bit libraries. Most of the major distros are already multi-lib setups, or can easily be made to be one.

  23. Gigs says:

    This is good news.I have an offtopic question though. Is it possible to get Flash for Linux 9.0.115.0 somewhere still? The 9.0.124.0 is incompatible with Starfighter: Disputed Galaxy multiplayer.

  24. Beula says:

    Regarding the ‘Licence Free Spec for EULA’ or ‘no more clicks for EULA embedded’ please explain in laymans terms what you mean by this article. I am not aware of having contraviened any acts and if I have done so it is in shear ignorance. Would you please be so kind as to explain it all to me so that I may correct whatever I have wronged.

  25. Anton says:

    Another step to Full Open Source Flash player.

  26. pmueller says:

    Think Open Source is a very good idea – its the future.