Adobe is set to release more of its Flash application platform to open source.
The move is viewed by analysts as reactive to the fierce competition the supplier faces from Microsoft's Silverlight.
Also in the open source realm, Canonical, commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, will offer code for the Launchpad software development and collaboration platform in an open source format. The Adobe and Canonical contributions follow by one day Microsoft's contribution of 20,000 lines of device driver code for Linux.
Adobe will make available via open source the company's OSMF (Open Source Media Framework) and Text Layout Framework. Formerly part of the "Strobe" project, OSMF allows for software-based media players to be built based on the Flash platform. Individuals could, for example, add new functionality around the Flash Player.
Text Layout Framework allows users to "to do all the things you want to do with text to make it really cool" on the Flash platform, said McAllister. Sophisticated typography capabilities can be added to web applications.
The two offerings follow previous Adobe efforts to open source parts of the platform. Previous Flash technologies released via open source have included Flex and its compilers, and the Tamarin virtual machine. Specifications also have been released for streaming formats
"People quite often think that the Flash platform is a closed platform, Adobe-only," McAllister said. "What we're doing is continuing this commitment to making the unique features of the Flash platform open."
Although Adobe insisted its latest open source efforts were not done as any sort of response to Microsoft's Silverlight, analysts nonetheless saw a Microsoft angle.
"It's yet another example of the serve and volley going [on] in the RIA space," said Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst for application development at Forrester. "Adobe and Microsoft are pushing each other hard, and as a result, the state of the art for RIAs is advancing at an amazing rate."
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