Surprisingly enough, Adobe aren’t the bad guys

After recently acquiring Macromedia (and taking over their MacrmediaAdobe Flash business), and due to the large Shopping spree, Adobe has been conducting in the recent years, buying companies left and right (and I have many more links) you’d think that Adobe is trying to corner the computer publishing market or something. Not helped by the Adobe-Microsoft PDF dispute and some Adobe patents which look not unlike Microsoft’s idea of patenting “non-obvious” inventions (no links this time – go look it up on your own), Adobe was starting to look more and more like other computer giants we know and “love” ;-).

But it looks like San Jose is really quite far from Redmond – Adobe yesterday announced that they contributed the source code to the ActionScript virtual machine (the thing that makes Flash all interactive and stuff) to the Mozilla Foundation, to be the basis for Mozilla’s next generation JavaScript implementation. Assuming that this is not a one-off “here’s a present – now go away” kind of contribution and that Adobe will indeed change their Flash engine to work with the now open source implementation (which I think is rather likely), we are seeing something wholly remarkable – its not like it haven’t been done before, but I think its the first time that a very large computer company is positioning one of its most important projects to be based on open source software (even if developed internally initially. anyway, correct me if I’m wrong about this – I’d like to compare it with other such moves in the past).

In addition with the announcement that Adobe Flash would use open APIs for working with underlying audio and graphics sub-systems, allowing Flash to be easily ported to new audio and graphical frameworks by external (maybe open source) developers, and I think that its not unlikely we will one say (very soon now) will see the ubiquitous Flash going entirely open-source.

But, I also can think of several other (non-optimistic) ways to look at the whole thing 🙂

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