It's shaping up to be a good week for open source software with the news that Adobe has freed two of its frameworks via the Mozilla Public Licence.
According to BetaNews
, the company has opened the source code to its Open Source Media Framework and the Text Layer Framework, both Flash-related technologies. The code for both projects is now available via the company's dedicated open source site
Adobe's director of standards and open source Dave McAllister has said that he hopes opening these frameworks – and the company's continued investment in open source software development – will “strengthen the industry and lead to the next generation of Web applications, content, and video experiences.
The Open Source Media Framework is a collection of tools for created customised Flash-based media playback utilities. Perhaps the most important functionality for your average webmaster is full support for plug-ins via a standardised API – meaning easy integration with advertising systems and visitor tracking utilities. The OSMF also includes, naturally, the usual raft of video streaming functionality you would expect from a Flash-based player.
The Text Layout Framework is an interesting beast for anyone who has ever struggled with text layout in HTML or CSS, never quite being able to get things looking precisely the way you wanted: with support for bi-directional text – allowing easy use of languages such as Arabic – along with the ability to neatly wrap text to inline images and create multi-column layouts, it has already been implemented in several projects worldwide including makebook
, the Boston GlobeReader app, and the New York Times' Reader 2.0. The only sticking point for anyone wanting to liven up their website is that the TLF is an ActionScript library designed for use with Flash 10 and Adobe Air – and will not operate correctly with older versions.
The use of the Mozilla Public Licence – the same licensing scheme used for the popular Firefox open-source web browser – means that developers are free to use the code provided by Adobe to both improve the implementation on platforms not directly supported by the company and to develop their own derivative versions. While the move isn't as shocking as Microsoft's release
of several kernel drivers for Linux earlier this week, it's always good to see corporations willing to give something to the open source community.
Is Adobe to be applauded for its efforts with open source, or do you believe this represents the company panicking over rival rich web content technologies such as Microsoft's Silverlight? Share your thoughts over in the forums