Friday, May 2, 2008

The Adobe Flash Specification is Now Open!

As of today, May1st, 2008, Adobe has removed the restrictions on the SWF and FLV specifications. Formerly, these specs could be used to make IDEs, but not players. Projects like Gnash and SWFdec can now use the official documentation to write compliant players for Unix-like systems. Ubuntu users may not need to stay 1-2 Flash versions behind. Thanks to Adobe for this move.

Download the specs.

The text of the FAQ:
What is the SWF file specification?
The SWF file format specification is used to deliver vector graphics, text, video, sound and interactivity via Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. SWF files can reach over 98% of Internet-enabled desktops and more than a half billion handsets and mobile devices.
What is the FLV/F4V specification?
An FLV file encodes synchronized audio and video streams. The audio and video data within FLV files are encoded in the same way as audio and video within SWF files. The F4V format is based on the format specified by ISO/IEC 14496-12, the ISO base media file format. The FLV/F4V specification documents the file formats for storing media content used to deliver audio and video for playback in Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. FLV and F4V are the de facto standard for Web video today. Over 75% of broadcasters who stream video on the Web use the FLV/F4V formats.
What are the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player?
These are device-specific abstractions of Adobe Flash Player that enable it to work on different operating systems and devices.
Why are the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications separated?
The SWF format is the binary file format and the FLV/F4V formats are media container formats.
What motivated Adobe to remove the licensing restrictions from the specifications?
The SWF specification has been published since 1998. Until today, the specification had a license agreement associated with it, which said that developers could write software to output SWF but could not make software that would “play” SWF files. These license terms were initially included to prevent fragmentation, which most client technologies have experienced. These terms have worked well for Flash Player over the past decade as it now reaches over 98% of PCs on the Web with a consistent runtime, enabling things such as the video revolution we see today across the Web. With this announcement, Adobe is removing this restriction from the SWF specification, as we have established a consistent runtime and we want to ensure the industry can confidently continue to support the SWF format. This will permit the development of applications that “play” SWF files. Adobe will of course remain focused on making the best, most reliable and consistently distributed implementation across desktops and devices.
Will Adobe continue to update the open specifications?
Yes, Adobe will continue to update and maintain the specifications as required to support future versions of Flash Player.
When will the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications be available without restrictions and who will be able to access them?
The license restrictions are being removed as of today, May 1, 2008. More details on using the specifications without the previous license restrictions are available on the Adobe Developer Connection at the SWF Technology Center and the FLV/F4V Technology Center.


SilverWave said...

Wow this is great news!

Do we have MS to thank for this :)

Adobe wants to be friends because MS are out to replace flash.

Still a, fully working, free 64bit version of flash would be nice.

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