After such ringing endorsements, the response in the free Flash community makes for an almost comical contrast. "Our reaction is pretty much, 'Ho-hum,'" said Rob Savoye, lead developer for the Gnash project, which is creating a free Flash player. "It's a really good thing when corporations figure out that being more open to the community is important but, at the same time, it's not a huge deal."
One reason for the lack of excitement over the project in the free software world is that it omits "huge amounts" of information needed for a complete implementation of Flash. In particular, Savoye points out that the announcement contains no mention of the Real Time Messaging Protocol(RTMP) that is required for the Flash media server. Nor does it mention the Sorenson Spark Codec that is used for video encoding in Flash 6 and 7, and remains the choice of some users still for Flash video because other formats convert easily to it. Both may be encumbered by patents but, without them, the information that Adobe has released is of limited use.
Just as important, what Adobe released is not new to the free Flash community. "Pretty much all of that stuff was known," Otte says. Savoye agrees, remarking, "We figured that all out years ago, or we wouldn't have gotten as far along as we have." Moreover, although Gnash and Swfdec are clean room implementations -- that is, developed without the aid of any information from Adobe -- Savoye suggests that, "Most of this documentation, if we really wanted it, has already leaked out on the Internet years ago."