Open at Adobe – Dave McAllister

I was happy to see this video by Dave McAllister, Open Standards Evangelist at Adobe, talking about Adobe’s take on open initiatives and how that involves community.
 
There are some common misconceptions about Adobe being very concerned with keeping their core technologies closed and proprietary while, more so than many other leading technology companies, the opposite is true. Even more so in the last few years.
 

 
(via Serge Jespers)
 

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5 thoughts on “Open at Adobe – Dave McAllister

  1. While I’m not one of those advocates that believes open sourcing Flash or other Adobe software would produce any substantial benefit to the community, I believe the word “open” is being misrepresented in this context and only add to the misconception.

    For years “open” in the software world has been associated to the word “source”, when you are “open” you allow others dig your code, modify it, derive other works and so on. If you keep the code for yourself, it stays closed.

    If you tell others how they can produce data files to be used with your technology, you are “documenting” it, maybe you’re “opening the spec”, but software still stays very well closed. While by having the data file spec “open” is a good thing for interoperability, nobody can change/add tags or other data structures, so even in this regard the spec stays “closed”. The only one that can modify the data file spec is the originator of the technology (in the Flash case, Adobe obviously).

    When used in this context, “open” sounds more an attempt to catch the meaning of it without actually being open at all.

    Probably replacing “open” with “documented” would solve the misconception you’re talking about.

    Cheers

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Emanuele — I see your point with regards to contributing back to these open initiatives. Adobe governs the different projects and there doesn’t seem to be a clear path on how you can get your changes considered for inclusion.

    Adobe’s open initiatives in a lot of cases are more than “documentation” though, its not just open specs (FLV, AMF, RTMP etc.) but frameworks and things like the code for the AVM as donated to Mozilla.

  3. Josh Tynjala says:

    “nobody can change/add tags or other data structures”

    If someone creates a decent competing implementation of Flash Player, and the community finds it generally stable and usable, I say go ahead and experiment with new features that aren’t in the official player. If the community starts playing with these non-standard features, getting excited, and blogging with experiments and enthusiasm, I don’t doubt that Adobe will take notice. With strong community support, they would be stupid not to see value in implementing cool stuff that comes out of these sorts of guerrilla efforts. If the community isn’t interested, then maybe those new features aren’t as useful as you think.

    In the browser world, experimental proprietary CSS is created all the time. Often, if it’s good, this stuff makes it into the standard and then gets implemented in other browsers. Until then, it doesn’t get used in real world projects, but the proof of concept shows feasibility and can inspire adoption. Why can’t an alternative Flash Player do the same?

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