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GNU is Not Unix

Macromedia Applies For OSI Certification 186

mpawlo writes "As reported by Greplaw, Macromedia, the company behind Flash-technology and more, has applied for open source certification of one of its licenses. The Macromedia license is based on the IBM Public License. You can see the Application for certification as well as the The Macromedia licence."
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Macromedia Applies For OSI Certification

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  • Now maybe my flash plugin will work well. Every time I view some flash thing, it goes WAY too fast. If Macromedia appreciates open source maybe it won't write shit plugins for open source OSes. This may just be my thing - this didn't happen with Red Hat 7.1, but it does now with Mandrake 8.1.
  • by mikosullivan ( 320993 ) <miko@nosPam.idocs.com> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @03:48PM (#3753427)
    If they don't distribute the source code, the following clause pretty much means that the software isn't open source:
    clarify that if Macromedia includes its own open source in its products, Macromedia does not have to state in its documentation where the source code version of the open source material is made available,
    The availability of source code is pretty much what makes it, y'know, open source. That means making the source code available with the compiled code, which in practice usually means giving a URL for download rather than distributing a mega-ton of course code with the compiled code.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 23, 2002 @03:51PM (#3753438)
      They will probably just distribute a 'reference implementation', much the same as Fraunhofer did with mp3 encoding/decoding. That is, unoptimizied but easy to see what is going on. They make their money on having a good Flash 'encoder' anyway, so ..
    • Hmmm... I can think of many projects like the production versions of Cygwin (www.cygwin.com) which are not released. RedHat only releases the development versions without expensive support contracts (although the production versions are, iirc, still GPL'd).
    • Licenses are for *other* parties to use your copyrighted works. Macromedia has just made changes to the license to clarify that they are not bound by the license by which you use their work.
      -russ
    • I don't see the problem. All it says is that if they have released product X under the Macromedia Open Source License and take part of product X and put it in product Y they do not need to tell you they copied the code from product X and where to get the source of product X. But it only applies to their own contributions, so if somebody else contributed a little bit to X as well and that part is to be included in product Y, they still need to include it.
      It is just an assertion that their own licence is not used to force them to opensource more as they want.

      To me, it looks like they just want to make sure their licence is not viral. And that is not a problem for OSI certification, judging by the fact that the BSD licence is OSI certified.
    • And exactly how is this different from the GPL? Where in the GPL does it state that the original author must specify where the source code located? Licenses are restrictions upon the licensee, not the licensor. They are not, and have never been, two way streets.
      • The clause in question is included in most commercially seeded open source licenses. The MPL was one of the fiest with it. The idea is, that the company who opens up the source code still has the right to use it for properitary closed source products. And in addition to that, all patches to the free and open version can be used by the company.

        In fact if you publish source under the GPL you are free to use that source in another commercial product and do not need to open up the source. But as soon as you accept paptches, you cant include those patches in your closed product, cause they will be under the GPL and you do not have the copyright.

        Thats why you see licenses like the MPL. In fact it means a company treats its source base against patches. This can be "fair" or "unfair" to the community, but it is OSI compliant, since it does not restrict the open branch of a product. It only grants additional rights to the original licensor.

        Greetings
        Bernd
        • In fact if you publish source under the GPL you are free to use that source in another commercial product and do not need to open up the source. But as soon as you accept paptches, you cant include those patches in your closed product, cause they will be under the GPL and you do not have the copyright.

          If you require submissions to have their copyright assigned to you, you can do whatever you wish with them. Requiring assignments of copyright is not unheard of. In fact, it is policy for the FSF.

          I agree that the clause in question is very one sided, and I hope Macromedia does not insist upon it. But I don't see that it will disqualify the license as either Open Source or Free. It will just end up being another unused license since no one will want to contribute to projects under it.
  • Great news (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It'll be nice to have the source code for Flash out there. Maybe someone will whip up a tool that will let the rest of us make Flash animations without having to shell out a couple Gs?

    Maybe an open source Shockwave plugin won't run like molasses on Linux...

    • Re:Great news (Score:2, Interesting)

      by puto ( 533470 )
      There is one called Swish http://www.swishzone.com It is like 50 bucks and you can do really good things with it. Great movies, make your text effects. And it exports to swf format. You can also import flash..... Check out the animations there. Hope those guys got bandwidth over there. But then again the thought of having been the cause of the /. effect is making me feel 'naughty'. Puto
  • Not sure what all this is going to mean in the end, but Macromedia does make great web development tools. I would love to see Dreamweaver MX or Flash MX end up as Open Source sometime soon. But this is more than likely a pipe dream.

    "Pipe Dream": When someone is smoking the pipe too much and seriously believes that something will happen.
    • That it is. It's more likely that a native Flash MX plugin for Linux will appear that uses a lot of other open source libraries. Besides the development tools, where else would Macromedia make money?
    • Just maybe I can finaly get a player that comes up with a play button instead of running all the force fed flash advertisements by default.

      The lack of basic end user controls to shut the junk off is the only reason I removed Macromedia from my system. It's the only way to make it "off" by default and in many cases the only to stop flash from playing.

      The noise to signal ratio by advertisers and the disabling of player controls (unstoppable) blew my fuse. I won't drive a car without brakes, my media player should have the same level of control. No stop and go buttons killed Macromedia for my system.

      MS may claim 80% of systems shipped with the player installed, but how many systems have it ripped out afterwards?
  • Flash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RageMachine ( 533546 )
    Untill Flash is at a point to where they write versions for ALL platforms instead of giving M$ platforms at version 6.0, while all the others remain at 5.0, then I don't think they should be given ANY credit for being open source advocates.
    • Re:Flash (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm probably going to be modded -1, Troll for saying this, but this is what I see based on observational evidence ..

      Basically, it makes sound business sense for them to concentrate their resources on building the best tools for the Windows platform, for a number of reasons:

      First, there are more Windows users than any other OS, so it makes sense to make software for this platform based on number of users alone.

      Secondly, Windows users are more likely to pay for the software, as they are used to paying for software, whereas the Unix mindset is to download source for free and compile it.

      And thirdly, Windows is more standardised across versions than the various different flavours of Unix are, for example. So there only has to be one build.

      It is quite clear why they only pay lip service to other OSes - money!
      • Re:Flash (Score:2, Informative)

        I'll be the first to mod you down.

        First, you're correct.

        "Windows users are more likely to pay for the software, as they are used to paying for software"

        God, I hope you're joking at that. Let me think. Almost everybody has Photoshop installed, how many copies Adobe actually sold? Take Autocad. Same. ......... If you'd look at percentage of bought software, you'd see that Windows users are 80% or more using pirated software. Companys will buy software, because they must not because they want. If some company would use Beos (and depend on it), then they would buy software for Beos. At least all companys I know off.

        "So there only has to be one build"
        That's probably why my bank accounting software doesn't work on XP probably (worked on 2000). Yeah, I don't own 2000 anymore, it came bundled with my notebook, which I've sold. New one has XP pro, which is a real piece of expensive shit. Even though new notebook is xt6200 (p4 1,6,512MB, CDRW), whole thing is slower than XE3 (p3 850, 512MB, DVD, next one XE3 933,512MB, DVD, XP HE was a real piece of crap, and I replaced him as soon as possible) ever was, and yes I've disabled all extra desktop features, and yes I've disabled services I don't need. Where is one version of yours. Apart from bank software, I use another 3.1 Win software which isn't working also. So off with XP, bought VMWare for Linux, installed 98 and now everything is working.

        Offtopic:
        Linux works like a charm and snappy, when setup finished everything worked (except I had to do ln -s /dev/dvd /dev/cdrom on my own) just in case someone would consider about buying a notebook.
        • Re:Flash (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          No, I wasn't joking. As a counter-example, just look at the gaming market under Linux - it flopped. And why? Because Linux users expect to get them for free, so they don't pay.

          On the other hand, the Windows platform is a very popular gaming platform, where people will actually go out and spend a few quid on a game.

          As for your last point, yes, there are some compatibility issues with some programs. I didn't claim Windows was perfect in this respect. However, to be fair, most programs work without bother. Also, the MSDN documentation for each function clearly states which OSes it is compatible with. Obviously something which uses undocumented Windows 3.1 hacks isn't going to run very well under XP over a decade later. But most well-written programs will.
        • Even if only 20% of the Windows users are paying for their software (a claim which, of course, came flying straight from your anus), the market that Adobe and just about everyone else cares about - seats in the enterprise - are going to be much higher. And even if that weren't the case, 20% of the Windows market is still far larger than 90% of the unix/Open Source market.
    • Re:Flash (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      we are currently working on the Flash 6 player for linux.

      mike chambers

      mesh@macromedia.com
      • How about a Linux version of Flash? That would be really cool! Linux has already proven itself in the 3D rendering market, now how about Flash too! Woohoo! Jay
      • Hey Mike Baby!
        I'm pretty sure I talked to you on the forums over there at Macromedia. The AhFoo from Taiwan who was complaining about his missing dongle for using Chinese Authorware systems.
        Anyway, I this is not the place to be chatting about missing dongles but it is the place to talk aobut GNULinux and Macromedia with a real live Macromedia rep.
        I just wanted to let you know that the Authorware runtime works fabulously under Wine. I was shocked and I knew that the people over there on the corporate hosted News server didn't want to hear about it as they're decidedly windows centric. I came to that conclusion after getting flamed pretty hard for bringing up the codeweavers plug-in for the Authorware web player and general talk of making a real runtime for GNULinux. Anyhow, just thought I'd pass that along --Authorware and Director apps seem to work awesome under Wine so Macromedia is now the leading Icon/Flow Control based RichMedia Authoring platform for GNULinux! Yee haw. Tell the school districts all about it. No need to upgrade those Windows licenses to leverage existing courseware. Isn't this great news?! You folks hopped the fence without even trying.
        I hope you good people at Macromedia do a fine job of spreading this great news to clients who might be in charge of spending the taxpayers money like the school district that you send your products to every year.
        Keep up the good work Mike. And log in next time!
    • Do you know that both the Flash Player and the Flash Authoring Tool are also released for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X? See here: Macromedia Flash MX System Requirements [macromedia.com]
  • Acid test (Score:4, Informative)

    by AirLace ( 86148 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @04:01PM (#3753461)
    The acid test of any license is whether it's DFSG [debian.org] free and can thus be included in Debian, Mandrake and other Free Software distributions. Groups like Apple and the DivX team have been known to release purportedly "open source" software under look-but-don't-touch style licenses. Of note is the Darwin Streaming Server from Apple which, while passing the OSI open-source definition is not actually Free Software because it demands that you hand over all changes even if you don't distribute the software (you can see why this is a crazy notion).

    Nevertheless, Macromedia has some cool technologies and I can see them being widely implemented if there are truly free and complete implementations.
    • Re:Acid test (Score:2, Informative)

      by Phexro ( 9814 )
      In other words, Open Source [opensource.org] Software is not Free Software [fsf.org]. Thanks, Einstein.

      How is that insightful?
    • If you never deploy APSL'ed software, you don't have to publish your source code. If you give it to a bunch of people -- even if they all work for you -- then you have to publish the source code. How is this different in spirit from the GPL?
      -russ
      • Re:Acid test (Score:2, Informative)

        by MindStalker ( 22827 )
        As long as you keep GPL code inhouse you don't have to publish it. In fact, even if you sell GPL software to the world, you only have to give the source to the people who buy it. APSL says you have to publish it to the world if you give it to anyone. That is a lessend freedom, as you don't have the freedom to keep your program modification secret among your friend. (You can do that of course, but its not legal)
      • Re:Acid test (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Carl ( 12719 )
        The spirit of the GPL is that the user should have the freedom when they receive the software, the APSL makes it sound like the distributor of the software (Apple) should have all the freedom. This is a small but crucial difference in attitude.

        (GPL - if you distribute make sure others receive freedom. APSL - If I distribute I should have more freedom.)

        You might want to read the very good discussion on why the APSL is not a free software license:
        http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/apsl.html

        Note that there are a lot of good Free Software licensing lessons to be learned by reading:
        http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/philosophy .html#Lice nsingFreeSoftware
        • Re:Acid test (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Russ Nelson ( 33911 )
          I've read it. I don't agree with it. You can argue quite reasonably that the APSL increases the amount of open source software because it requires that any distribution -- even in-house -- requires publication of the source code.

          What is important about the freedom to program? That you be free to modify and redistribute. But the GPL forces a requirement on those who would modify. The GPL imposes a cost that you must redistribute source to anyone who gets a binary. The APSL imposes a cost that you must redistribute source to anyone if you deploy a binary. The difference is that you have the freedom to make proprietary changes to your code. Why is RMS arguing that this is a good thing??? Proprietary is suddenly good? What happened to him?
          -russ
      • If you never deploy APSL'ed software, you don't have to publish your source code. If y...

        I don't know the APSL license. I do know that I've seen licenses that claim that you need to submit to them anything that you build using their tool. Even if it's a buggy version of 'Hello World' that you don't want anyone else to know you were ever associated with. I doubt that the license would ever be enforced that way, but that's what it said.
    • Re:Acid test (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by jmd! ( 111669 )
      > The acid test of any license is whether it's DFSG free

      The OSI definition is the same as Debian's. Welcome to the Open Source world. Please refrain from posting in our forums. Thank you.

      > while passing the OSI open-source definition is not actually Free Software

      Of course it isn't. Open Source and Free Software are two entirely different things. They're not applying for Stallman's holy blessing, just for Open Source certification. See welcome message and instructions above.
      • OSI: Open Source International.
        DFSG: Debian Free Software guidelines.

        The OSI definition is the same as Debian's
        Open Source and Free Software are two entirely different things.

        See the contradiction? In fact, if you'd done your homework a bit more you'd see that the DFSG are not the same as the OSI rules. Debian's rules [debian.org] are stricter, which is why the Apple license doesn't qualify.

        And please lose the condescending attitude. It dosen't suit you.

        • > OSI: Open Source International

          Speaking of homework... it's "Initiative".

          > DFSG: Debian Free Software guidelines.

          Quite meaningless, since "Free Software" isn't a trademark, and they aren't using RMS's definition.

          > you'd see that the DFSG are not the same as the OSI rules

          If that's the case, then Debian has changed their rules. OSI's definition was an exact copy of Debians to begin with. All that was changed ware references to 'Debian'. It says this much on opensource.org. I don't follow Debian enough to know if they've changed a word or two in DFSG recently, it's a useless OS as far as enterprise is concerned, and therefor useless to me.
    • The acid test of any license is whether it's DFSG [debian.org] free and can thus be included in Debian, Mandrake and other Free Software distributions.

      Er, no. The Open Source Definition [opensource.org] and the Free Software List of Freedoms [gnu.org] are used a lot more commonly than the DFSG, which the OSD to a certain extend replaced. I think you just saw this as an excuse to advocate Debian ignoring well known yardstick of the Open Source / Free Software community. Mandrake use the OSD themselves to define what should and shouldn't be in their distro, as do Red Hat (both of which do include proprietary apps, eg Netscape 4, when there are no stable OSS alternatives).

      Groups like Apple and the DivX team have been known to release purportedly "open source" software under look-but-don't-touch style licenses.

      They are lying. As there's as little to stop them saying a proprietary application is Open Source under the DFSG as there is the Open Source Definition.
  • by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @04:03PM (#3753463) Journal
    I guess it's pretty unlikely that they'll open up all of it : a lot of flash code is part of the Freehand and Director code base too. And I can't imagine they'll let anyone copy from that. They've got a hard time getting Adobe out of their way in the lawsuits.

    My guess is that they hope for a cheap linux port of flash. But they again : if they keep a ton of code under the wraps in the form of a win32 lib, it all doesn't make much sense.

    Probably they just want to ride the opensource train in case it 'might just catch on'. Big corps are always late on the catching on part.
    • a lot of Flash code is part of the FreeHand and Director code base too. ... [Adobe lawsuit]

      No. The Flash Player (the "plug-in") is (relatively) lean and mean, I doubt it shares any code with those authoring tools. The Flash authoring tool is a big application that runs on Mac and Win** with, in the new MX version, a common User Interface.

      ** How many Linux/UNIX users would pay how much $$$ for the authoring tool? I doubt there's any financial incentive to develop UNIX versions of the authoring tools.

      • Well, a good question for sure.

        Some people use linux because it is better the other OSs. Some people use it because it is free-as-in-beer.

        For the people who use it because it is better, the macromedia authoring tools are better then the tools that currently exist for unix/linux (ie, none save for programatic creation).

        If the win and mac versions of director come from a common code base, esp if they have an OS X version then the code is already writen with cross platform portability in mind. If thats the case then it would be relativly trivial to do the port to linux.

        But the ultimate problem is that web desiginers desigine for IE, which means they test with IE. Which means there running IE on a MS OS. Unitl webdesiginers are actualy using linux then there wont be a market.

    • Why do you assume this is about Flash when the person submitting the email to the discusiion list is working on CFML Language Development?
      Do you know anything the general public does not know, or are you just jumping to conclusions? (Understandable, the wish is the father of the thought.)
    • I bet there is very little common code between the Flash authoring environment and the Freehand and Director environments. There might be a little more in the players but even that would just be the common plugin and OS code. If there was more common code, don't you think they would have integrated they players by now?

      Take a look at this history of Flash [weblogs.com]. Also consider that the Flash interface and featureset hasn't changed much between versions (Adobe's Livemotion and Swish both show how additional features could benefit a SWF authoring environment).

      As regards the open source license, Macromedia has been hinting that they are bringing some of their new 'MX' server features that are already available in Cold Fusion MX to server environments like PHP and JSP. Perhaps some of this will be released under an open source license? Don't think for a miniute they are releasing the Flash Authoring environment as an Open Source app, that has to be one of their best selling products.

    • Not exactly, Onstream didn't do a cheap linux port of their driver. If they create trash it looks bad for the company. Right now every company can just remove Flash like Micro$oft removed JRE from XP. Macromedia wants to change this by OSI. This way only stupid browsers won't support it, like Opera pre-alpha saying "Yeah we support HTML 4.01 w3c specification but we don't render IFRAMEs." It's like IFRAMEs are part of the HTML 4.01 spec, if you can't render them, then your browser is trash, simple as that. OSI compliance moves the locus of responsibility.
  • hey (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Perhaps this means we can stop sayign "Vector graphics, schmecter graphics, it's proprietary, and therefore evil, and therefore shouldn't be used, q.e.d."
    • Re:hey (Score:3, Informative)

      Flash isn't the be-all/end-all of vector graphics. There's also SVG [w3.org], an xml-based open standard for vector graphics. It's too bad the open source offerings for it are lagging behind the commercial ones though. I don't even think they had a head start on that one, or am I wrong?
  • That was submitted by:
    Tom Harwood
    Macromedia Server Products
    CFML Language Development


    Does this mean that they are going to try to pollute the world with more CFML? That is not a real language and will never perform or live up to expectations of a real language. I hate Cold Fusion!
    • Uh . . . explain your rant please. I've seen just as much bad ASP, PHP and JSP as I've seen bad CFML. It's the coder not the code.

    • 1) Cold Fusion MX is now essentially JSP, with chunks of code executed by CFML tags.

      2) Bluedragon [n-ary.com] is a new Java CFML-compatible web application server, promises better performance than CF.

      3) I've often heard of Cold Fusion that it makes the easy incredibly easy and makes the difficult impossible. More importantly, like the previous post said, it's the coder, not the language.

      4) blow it out your ass

      • I've often heard of Cold Fusion that it makes the easy incredibly easy and makes the difficult impossible.

        Makes the difficult impossible? That sounds like a bug, not a feature..
        • I've often heard of Cold Fusion that it makes the easy incredibly easy and makes the difficult impossible.

          Makes the difficult impossible? That sounds like a bug, not a feature..

          Yeah, it's kind of a different linguistic optimization than e.g. the Perl's one, which makes easy things easy and hard things possible. For me it's also a disadvantage, but I guess that's a matter of taste.

    • Does this mean that they are going to try to pollute the world with more CFML? That is not a real language and will never perform or live up to expectations of a real language. I hate Cold Fusion!

      That's right, 'real nerds' hate ColdFusion. Why? Not because it sucks, or it's slow... they hate it because it's too easy!

      The .asp people I know HATE ColdFusion. When pressed for more information, the truth comes out - they hate it because it makes things TOO EASY, allowing 'non-nerds' to develop data driven web pages. Lord knows we can't have that!

      Just admit it, the real reason you hate ColdFusion is that some guy can write the same app you'd write in Perl or .jsp in a third as many lines and that scares the shit out of you. It drives you nuts that someone without a Computer Science degree can build web applications too, doesn't it?

      I can't say I blame you, really. If I'd just invested huge amounts of time and money into a language, only to have something new come along which eliminates the need for that knowledge, I guess I'd be PO'd too.

      Would you build amazon.com using ColdFusion? No. But for the 99% of web apps that consist of "read info from database. display info from database. allow user to add to database" ColdFusion is perfect.

      • Well I'm a Perl developer that hates Cold Fusion and I'll give you some reasons other than "it being too easy" why.

        Now I will admit that I've had limited experiance with CF but this is what I've observed with it.

        1. Hard to separate HTML from actual logic code. Now I know a lot of languages that have this problem (PHP comes to mind). But when you're a web developer who has designers that don't always understand the logic behind a program, separating it makes a lot of since. (I know it is possible to separate but it still feels kludgy to me)

        2. CF runs in user space on the webserver. What I mean here is normally true on named virtual hosts. We do a lot of hosting at my company. We build websites for people. They have the username and password to get into their directories on the system. We can keep the Perl code in cgi-bin or in a perl directory and templates with HTML code that work with the perl in another directory, then the main HTML directory is fairly clean and the user can't go in and break something. With all the CF implementations I've seen everything would have to be in that HTML directory. We can't deny the user access so they can get in and mess with it. (and then call us when its broken).

        There may be ways around these problems but I've not seen them. For now I'll stick with Perl :) thanks.
  • Hopefuly this is Macromedia's first step in porting some of their products to Linux. I'm sure that many developers are wishing that dreamweaver/flash woudl be available on linux. It would olso be a good step forward on getting the visual programmers/designers to hop onto linux.

    Im sure we wont see open source flash any time soon, (or ever), but could be a step to see some great programs to open source platforms.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 23, 2002 @04:19PM (#3753517)
    A story about open source certification posted under the GNU topic?
  • Not an expert... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twilight30 ( 84644 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @04:19PM (#3753518) Homepage
    ... but my guess is that this is nothing more than a sop to the people who would want to use/advocate/further SVG (main target) or the Ming/PHP extensions (secondary target). They're not really releasing the source to Flash. They're not really committing to making Flash-capable editors available a la FlashMX. This strikes me as really just a 'cover-yer-ass' move. Looks nice from faraway, but quite ugly up close.

    The acid test should be whether or not they decide to open it up so that ordinary people can just plug in an Emacs mode and write Flash code. And how likely is that?

    It's too bad, even with all the people around Slashdot that hate Flash. I don't see a lot of Windows users with SVG plug-ins ... and I even know two people that work at Macromedia. Oh well...
    • Have you considered not speculating, and waiting to see what actually happens? Nooooo, this is Slashdot.

      -russ

      • notice how the parent poster stated: ....

        ... but my guess is that ...

        Have you thought of reading before posting?

        Sunny

        • Uh, did you happen to notice that it what his entire point by using the word "speculating", and that perhaps his issue wasn't *what* he was guessing so much as that he *was* guessing, in a fairly reactionary manner? A guess presented without any evidence for the supposition, which made it all the more pointless.
    • Um, why can't you just write Flash code in emacs? The specs are up at openswf.org. If you're complaining that they haven't ported their authoring environment it's probably because they don't think they could recoup their expenses, but the file format is open.
      • I'm not a Flash expert, and no, I wasn't complaining as such. I take your point about the OpenSWF website though, thanks.

        I implied by mentioning the Ming extensions that there were/are plans to just simply write Flash using whatever other tools (on Linux/*BSD), but you're right, I should have noted that explicitly.
    • by jchristopher ( 198929 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @05:37PM (#3753782)
      +3, interesting, huh?

      What's REALLY interesting is that everyone assumes that this article is in regards to Flash - but the guy who submitted the request to review the Macromedia license is working on CFML language development.

      That's right, ColdFusion. In my opinion, an open-source ColdFusion would be a hell of a lot more interesting than an open source Flash.

      The Flash format is already public, and there are 3rd party tools that can write .swf files. ColdFusion, on the other hand, would have all kinds of interesting possibilities if open-sourced. One positive effect might be the improvement of the ease of use of other languages...

      • What does CF do that say, PHP or Perl does not?
        • What does CF do that say, PHP or Perl does not?

          Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head. But that's besides the point - people aren't using ColdFusion because it has some unique feature set that nothing else has, they are using it because it is powerful and easy.

          There's nothing wrong with Perl. But let's say you have someone that knows HTML and nothing else. Compare the time it takes that person to learn enough ColdFusion to build database applications with the time it takes to teach someone enough Perl to build database applications, and the advantages become obvious.

          That's the funny thing, typically, any comparison between ColdFusion and PHP starts with someone spouting "LOL, ColdFusion sucks!" But the error is in the assumption that in order for PHP to be good, ColdFusion must suck, or vice versa.

          Both are good and serve their intended purpose. If you have experience with C and Unix you will probably like PHP. If you are more familiar with Windows and don't have a programming background, you will probably like ColdFusion. Both can be used to achieve the same result.

          • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

            by twilight30 ( 84644 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @07:02PM (#3754243) Homepage
            I used to be a dotbomb manager and one of my employees loved using CF. Looked cool. Anyway, after getting laid off I figured I'd go with PHP for consulting work (no CF on Linux, you see) and I haven't looked back.

            The thing that clicked for me was the fact that I could get documentation, textbooks and all the source easily with PHP. I suppose if CF is moving more to an open-source model that things might improve for Macromedia too. Who knows?

            Anyway, thank you. That was very insightful and I hope the moderators recognise your comment as such (if you care about such things).
    • SVG Plug-In (Score:2, Interesting)

      by schepers ( 462428 )
      If you don't see a lot of people with the plug-in, you probably aren't looking. ;-)

      There are an estimated 167 million installations of version 2 of Adobe's viewer (it's bundled with Acrobat Reader 5). Most people just don't realize that they have it. When I show people SVG stuff, they've usually had the viewer installed.

      That aside, I agree; Macromedia's move strikes me as lip-service. But it'd be nice to see more competition in that space, if it comes off.
  • by GoatPigSheep ( 525460 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @04:20PM (#3753522) Homepage Journal
    I feel that flash becoming open source is NOT a good thing for web designers. If it's support becomes more widespread and standard, it could cause web coders to become more lazy. A couple of examples.

    Often web designers use marquees. Instead of using the much quicker tag, many designers use bloated swf files for their marquees.

    Another way flash is abused is with flashing text. Instead of using the common tag, people create huge swf files to make blinking text.

    Another abuse, forms. Instead of using quick java based forms, people often create huge flash files just to input data.

    Finally, animations. Coders could easily use dhtml and animated gifs to create effective animations on their page, however instead they use bloated swf files that need state of the art pc's just to run simple anumations.
    • depends on the sites you visit.
      Geocities site of the week award winning website about the webmaster's cat might have all that. As for the animations in web pages part: Flash is hyst a better tool. Better than Java or Shockwave, beter than dhtml.

      Another abuse, forms. Instead of using quick java based forms, people often create huge flash files just to input data.

      I think you mean javascript, not Java, they are two different things. And most of the forms i see are just html form tags with some css decorations thrown in to make them look better.
    • ----"I feel that flash becoming open source is NOT a good thing for web designers. If it's support becomes more widespread and standard, it could cause web coders to become more lazy. A couple of examples."

      Take a look at the license. It's too restrictive. They're just using 'Open Source' for a name, like many companies do. I don't blame them for it though. Might even get Linux tools for Macromedia up, and the last thing to do is bad-mouth them for it.

      "Often web designers use marquees. Instead of using the much quicker tag, many designers use bloated swf files for their marquees.

      That's just plain moronic.

      "Another way flash is abused is with flashing text. Instead of using the common tag, people create huge swf files to make blinking text."

      It's because people strip the blink flags off of html. You uuse something that works, and blinking text is annoying, but works.

      "Another abuse, forms. Instead of using quick java based forms, people often create huge flash files just to input data."

      They're a lot less usable, but you know of many bots that can "sign up" using these forms? That's why they use them.

      "Finally, animations. Coders could easily use dhtml and animated gifs to create effective animations on their page, however instead they use bloated swf files that need state of the art pc's just to run simple anumations"

      Using Flash is similar to programming. There's an efficent way of doing it and there's an inefficent way. I've seen both. It's just a tool.
    • by spage ( 73271 ) <spage AT skierpage DOT com> on Sunday June 23, 2002 @05:13PM (#3753706)
      Coders could easily use dhtml and animated gifs to create effective animations on their page, however instead they use bloated swf files that need state of the art pc's just to run simple animations.

      Don't blame the bloat on the file format. SWF files are neck-and-neck with large animated GIFs since they're vector-based and use outline fonts; and a simple drop-down menu in Flash is very compact code compared with roll-over GIFs in DHTML layers. I've built both. If you're Microsoft and you can cram your creative designer's chosen font into the OS, then DHTML *text* layers are extremely compact, but everyone else trying to use a corporate font should find SWFs smaller.

      Macromedia's own global nav movie [macromedia.com] with three fonts and a text box is all of 12.2 kB (the static GIF version may be smaller but has no rollovers). BTW, most users never realize such "quiet" animations are Flash, it's the James Bond-movie-trailer-on-acid intros that you can only do in Flash that give it the Flashy reputation.

      Hey, use whatever works for you; Macromedia Dreamweaver is a fine tool for developing cross-browser DHTML animations, as is vim.

  • That's nice and all, but can't they already fix the annoying Flash plugin bug that tries to open the sound device without any checks of any kind?! It's so simple and annoys everyone, but they can't make that one simple patch!?
  • by extrasolar ( 28341 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @04:36PM (#3753566) Homepage Journal
    "clarify that if Macromedia includes its own open source in its products, Macromedia
    does not have to state in its documentation where the source code version of the open
    source material is made available,"

    Since when is Open Source a noun?

    Anyway, anyone have any idea what they are planning?
  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @06:03PM (#3753861) Homepage Journal
    What software are they open sourcing? The artical on greplaw is shorter then the slashdot blurb. I'm assuming they're opening the flash plug in. Anything else?
  • In the beginning(a few years ago anyway) JRun was hands down the most usable, and stable Servlet server. . . but now Tomcat has matured, and a few other companies offer comptitive java application servers.

    I suspect this competition has erroded Macromedia's profits on JRun and open sourcing might be a way to attempt to breath new life into it.
  • by bfields ( 66644 ) on Sunday June 23, 2002 @09:11PM (#3754785) Homepage

    Why do companies have to keep coming up with their own incompatible licenses? Seems to me that, say, the BSD license, the GPL, and the LGPL cover most of the reasonable things you'd want to do with your (free) code, they're relatively well-understood by the community, and they all play nicely together.

    Why should we have to waste time trying to evaluate new licenses, when we could just deal with licenses that we already know?

    --J. Bruce Fields

    • New licenses make up for the weaknesses of both the BSD and GPL/LGPL licenses. BSD licenses give away the whole candy store, letting leeches like M$ take other people's code without paying them, then charging an arm and a leg for something their own coders are incapable of producing themselves.


      The GPL is anti-money, making it almost impossible for most coders to make any money unless they can nab a consulting job or in-house deal where code release is unrequired.


      I like licenses along the lines of the QPL (QT license), though it has fixable flaws. Nail big money-maker companies for licensing fees (only frickin' fair) but allow joe schmoe to have at the code as he see's fit.


      All they have to do to make the QPL the best of an intractable situation is to eliminate the need to decide up-front whether or not the code you produce is going to be for sale. It should be left to be decided after the benefits, perhaps originally unknown, of the software are realized after its creation - then pay the license fee for commercial development to QT. Instead, they expect you to know up front whether or not you will sell your code and pay or not accordingly. Silly rule.

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