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The Return of GPLFlash 418

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the guess-who's-back-back-again dept.
ValourX writes "Remember GPLFlash, the free software project that was supposed to replace the proprietary Macromedia Flash plugin? Well it's back in active development according to this NewsForge article. GPLFlash is half of the proprietary duo that the Free Software Foundation is rallying to replace with free equivalents. The alpha release isn't far away, but the development team could use some programming help, if you're available."
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The Return of GPLFlash

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  • Elaborate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @03:57PM (#12707504) Journal
    What kind of help? And more importantly, how are they making something compatable? Reverse engineering? I wouldn't want to be in the USA helping this effort... the DMCA could very well be used by macromedia to contain any third party renderers that may appear. They have a ton of money on the line...
    • iirc Flash is an open standerd
    • Re:Elaborate (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Um, like, RTFA and stuff?

      "So when can we expect a usable release of GPLFlash2? "To make an alpha release," Choquet said, "we need to improve the following things:

      * Improve external resources support, so the player may redirect to a location or use external data
      * Implement keyboard inputs
      * Fix button problems
      * Have an ActionScript engine that works. ActionScript libraries may not be completed, but the engine should work.
      * Make the plugin more robust, especially concerning fonts and
    • They have a ton of money on the line...

      Yeah, definitely. At $0.00 per download for their flash plugin, a hit like this is really going to make them ache.
    • Why should Macromedia care that someone is using a 3rd party renderer as a replacement to their free renderer? Now if somebody wrote a third party flash creation program, there would be problems
      • There are plenty of third party flash creation applications, Flash is a published standard, Macromedia just keep the current specification to themselves for a couple of months to give their own products a headstart.
      • Re:Elaborate (Score:5, Insightful)

        by soulhuntre (52742) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:40PM (#12707952) Homepage
        "Why should Macromedia care that someone is using a 3rd party renderer as a replacement to their free renderer"

        Compatability.

        One reason Flash is so popular is that for complex interactions it is much, much easier to be sure your Flash app will "just work" across any OS with a MM flash player, regardless of browser.

        If a number of players hit there will inevitably be bugs and flaws, meanign that now you cannot be sure your Flash app will behave the way it is supposed to. The usefulness of the format will drop.

        And people don't usually know WHY there is a problem .. the will jsut start saying "Flash? It doesn't always work" not caring that its their "player" made of string and bubble gum that is the problem.

        The thing is, the Flahs player is FREE. So the only reason to write this one is political, not technical.
        • Sadly, I used all my mod points earlier today, but parent is right on the money.
        • Re:Elaborate (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ValourX (677178) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:55PM (#12708128) Homepage

          The thing is, the Flahs player is FREE. So the only reason to write this one is political, not technical

          That's where you're wrong. If you have a 64-bit system, you can't use Flash. Well, maybe if you have 32-bit x86 binary compatibilit you can use it... if you have a 32-bit binary browser. You cannot use 32-bit libraries and plugins with a 64-bit application. So if your uname says AMD64, PPC, SPARC, Alpha, or MIPS, the smug reply from Macromedia is "sorry 'bout your bad luck! Use Windows, buy an x86 machine!"

          There are a lot of people who find this unacceptable. Therefore we have GPLFlash.

          -Jem
        • The thing is, the Flahs player is FREE. So the only reason to write this one is political, not technical.

          A GPLed Flash Player could be legally distributed with Firefox, Konqueror, Mozilla, etc. If there were a solid one available, I'd bundle it into the default Portable Firefox package rather than having to provide instructions on how to hack it in (and violate the Macromedia license agreement).
        • And we should just trust our benevolent dictators that have yet to provide us with a shockwave plugin for linux?

          Forget flash, a good chunk of its usefullness can be handled with simple AJAX. Where in the hell is shockwave for linux? How many more petitions and signatures does Macromedia need?

        • Could you send me a link for the flash player for windows CE devices? PocketPC doesn't count.

        • NOT free (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Luke-Jr (574047)
          The thing is, it's NOT free. Merely free of charge, which is irrelevant. It doesn't matter how much something costs if it denying your natural rights to modify and share it.

          Also, tell me how you expect anyone on non-x86 platforms to view Flash right now? You can't (with the one exception of Mac OS). Hardly cross-platform.

          Besides, isn't there an animated SVG format that does what Flash does better? After all, Flash is merely an animation format. Abuse of Flash (such as interactive websites) are just that--
    • What kind of help? And more importantly, how are they making something compatable? Reverse engineering?

      What the fuck? Flash format is open [macromedia.com], why reverse engineering? Flash format is just as open as, say, PDF. If nobody in the opensource community has not written a opensource flash viewer is OUR fault not theirs.

      Mind you, I've been viewing some simple flash files through gstreamer thanks to swfdec [schleef.org]. Why all this noise now?
    • Reverse engineering?

      Why do it the hard way? [digitalpreservation.gov]

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @03:58PM (#12707512)
    Is it ?? Is it?? Tell me, I dont know what to think now after all the anti flash vitriol.
    • Why flash? especially when SVG and Firefox are starting to happen. Browser can do rich graphics without losing rich content. See Picture of browser rotated 30 degress [mozillazine.org] And then there is ben goodgers demo of thumbnail history . See Thumbnail history [bengoodger.com] Plus there's was that article a while back about Oconner commenting on the absent developers. For flash, like advertisement, if we do not notice it, maybe it will go away.
  • Free flash? (Score:4, Funny)

    by whiteranger99x (235024) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @03:59PM (#12707522) Journal
    All I can say is as long as I can smack the monkey for a free iPod or PSP, I'm give it a try! :D
  • Problem. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sheepdot (211478) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:01PM (#12707546) Journal
    The alpha release isn't far away, but the development team could use some programming help, if you're available.

    I would think that they are having problems getting programming support mainly because there are not enough people that see the flash engine as such a travesty to be closed source when it is given out for free, anyway. Same goes for Java.

    The only problem with replacing free beer with free speech is that if you have the beer, you're more likely to slur the speech or forget about it altogether.

    There is not enough incentive for this project to flourish.
  • Cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by ortcutt (711694) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:01PM (#12707547)
    Linux on PPC users don't expect a flash player from Macromedia anytime soon, so continued GPLflash development is good for us.
    • It would be nice to have the option incase i ever do find myself needing Flash installed , though most of the stuff flash is used for is rather annoying i do on occasion enjoy a few web cartoons.
      Which has ment i would need to boot an x86 machine or boot into OS X , not too much of a problem really but its always nice to have options .
      Added to that the fact of having a GPL version , as OSS is always my first choice.
    • AMD64 is also largely ignored. Running a 32-bit x86 browser doesn't
      work for everyone :/
    • This will sound like a troll, but is an honest question: how many Linux-on-PPC users are there, really?

      The point, of course, is that there are lots of niche areas that aren't worth Macromedia's time.
      • The point, of course, is that there are lots of niche areas that aren't worth Macromedia's time.

        The problem is not with Macromedia, the problem is relying on closed source software for basic infrastructure.
    • Even if Macromedia had distributed something for users on a variety of OSes (not just GNU/Linux systems) on non-Intel-like hardware (such as Mac PPC), this would be a great development for everyone because it gives us something Macromedia isn't giving us: software freedom. The freedom to share and modify should be valued in its own right, not just because it is less expensive or can be recompiled for less popular combinations of hardware and operating system.
  • GPLFlash is half of the proprietary duo that the Free Software Foundation is rallying to replace with free equivalents.

    Macromedia's free as in beer flash plugin is the correct "half of the duo". The other half are the proprietary java implementations.
  • The GPLFlash project appears on Slashdot because it is back in active development. The GPLFlash project is back in active development because it appears on Slashdot.
    • The GPLFlash project appears on Slashdot because it is back in active development. The GPLFlash project is back in active development because it appears on Slashdot.
      That's what happens when you tamper with the Mysterious Future.
  • Will I still be able to disable it with PrefBar?!

  • ...that I see to this is the ability to run flash applications on non-x86 machines. Then again, I've grown accustomed to not seeing little punching monkeys and other such nonsense when surfing the web, so perhaps this isn't such a good thing, after all... ;]

    Anyway, good job guys. I'm glad to hear that you're back in business.
    • Even on machines that are technically x86 (the AMD64 that I'm resting my legs on right now, for example) don't necessarily work with Macromedia's plugin. And besides just the monkey punching, there are still - even in the year 2005 - websites that I *have* to go to that *require* flash. So I end up starting a browser on a collegues machine and displaying it back. Just thought I would take the time to point that out to all the idiots that think X shouldn't be remote-transparent...

      David
      • That would be my hope from a project such as this. I have an AMD64 based laptop, and linux on that, but flash is not an option for firefox.

        I used to just connect to my main system, but it is being replaced with a dual AMD64 system soon too, so I need a working library once in a while.

        Most of the time a barely notice, I don't even install flash for firefox on windows because the random sites that need it I can usually just pop open IE for a moment to take a look, get past the flash and copy the URL back to
  • How about we just finish ditching this flash crap? There are plenty of projects out there that aren't based on nonstandard proprietary specifications, breaking function models, and inane annoyances. Give the effort to something that's worth it.
  • Ah, The Dark Room. Possibly the greatest use of Flash, ever.

    I don't know why there's an IE version [woolythinking.com] and an other version [woolythinking.com], but there you have it.

    --grendel drago
  • by MrByte420 (554317) * on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:23PM (#12707788) Journal
    I'll support it!
  • what about swfdec? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dominator (61418) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:29PM (#12707847) Homepage
    I wonder what their motivations are for working on this instead of helping out the gstreamer guys on swfdec. swfdec is licensed under the GPL and largely already works, including its Mozilla plugin. Even on non-x86 platforms.

    http://www.schleef.org/swfdec/ [schleef.org]
  • since there isn't any kind of linux player for that.
    • The goal isn't to produce a complete software suite. The goal is to produce a complete suite of free software. And with that in mind, you're right that we don't have shockwave, but we don't (in effect) have flash either, which is much more urgent.
  • prefer SVG (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cahiha (873942) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:30PM (#12707863)
    I still think Flash is a bad idea. FOSS developers should concentrate on making SVG happen.

    In fact, the big thing about Flash isn't the format, it's the authoring tools. A Macromedia-like authoring tool for SVG would be a much better investment of time than creating a Flash player.
  • Cairo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by labratuk (204918) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @04:34PM (#12707890)
    I wonder if they'll make use of cairo this time.
  • We all know that Flash can be annoying. But...

    Is there another solution for multimedia web application deployment with the reach (97% web broswer coverage) or power of Flash?

    DHTML
    - suffers from memory leaks
    - Cross-browser issues
    - Minimal typography options
    - No Visual IDE

    Java applets
    - slow
    - memory consuming
    - Microsoft vs. Sun, imbroglia

    A couple more points:
    - There already are free Flash compilers out there (sans IDE).
    - Flash can be used as a frontend to Java using an open-source project called Lazlo.

    GP
  • As the FSF article states, we need free Java, free Java standard classes, and free Flash.

    Conspicuously missing is free standard classes for Flash. Flash ships with useful, though buggy as hell, classes and controls that should have free versions as well.
  • To be honest, I wound up being dissapointed because I thought that GPLFlash might be an open-source Flash authoring tool.

    As far as I can tell, no such tool exists (please correct me if I'm wrong). All I found was MTASC [motion-twin.com], which is just an actionscript compiler (no gui).

    So, both in terms of impact (who is affected, who would use) and interest (pool of people who'd volunteer), it seems to me that an open source replacement to Flash MX [macromedia.com] ($200 upgrade / $700 full price, OSX and WinXP only, sure to go up in
  • This is brilliant news!

    Now instead of disabling the Macromedia Flash plug-in because I'm sick to the back teeth of crappy Flash ads, I can disable the free alternative instead.

    Yay! (^_^)
  • Hooray! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @05:07PM (#12708231) Homepage Journal
    More libraries for me to not install on my computer. I haven't even installed the flash libraries. I don't like animation on my web pages. I've disabled animated GIFs and Javascript in about:config and it makes the web a WHOLE lot less obnoxous to browse around. Sure every once in a while I run across a flash-only website, and I just don't browse those.

    Of course, if you must have it, there's a happy little firefox plugin that only plays the flash when you click on the image.


  • Given (very) limited resources and tons of things to do, shouldn't the community focus on open source replacements for software/protocols which are not supported on a free platforms?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Adobe/Macromedia support flash for FLOSS browsers (eg. firefox) and FLOSS OS's (ie. Linux). The company is not aligned with MS or Apple, and appears to be committed to providing cross-platform support in the future.

    It would be better if they provided source, but surely cross-platfor
  • Remember (Score:4, Funny)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday June 02, 2005 @05:10PM (#12708249)
    Remember GPLFlash, the free software project that was supposed to replace the proprietary Macromedia Flash plugin?

    No.

  • Macromedia already releases a flash player for Windows, MacOS, Linux, PocketPC (wow..), OS/2, Solaris, HPUX, and IRIX..

    Now, a free flash authoring program.. that would be newsworthy!
  • It's a plugin and used the GPL license. This means anything it plugs into has to be GPL as well. Why wasn't the LGPL used instead? The GPL is good for standalone applications, like a flash player, but is less than ideal for a reusable component like a library or plugin. Depending on one's interpretation of the GPL, you might not be able to use this plugin alongside a non-GPL plugin.

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