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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Open Screen Project?
The Open Screen Project is dedicated to driving consistent rich Internet experiences across televisions, personal computers, mobile devices, and consumer electronics. The Open Screen Project is supported by technology leaders, including Adobe, ARM, Chunghwa Telecom, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless, and leading content providers, including BBC, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal, who want to deliver rich Web and video experiences, live and on-demand across a variety of devices.
What is the mission of the Open Screen Project?
The Open Screen Project is working to enable a consistent runtime environment – taking advantage of Adobe® Flash® Player and, in the future, Adobe AIR™ – that will remove barriers for developers and designers as they publish content and applications across desktops and consumer devices, including phones, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), and set top boxes. The Open Screen Project will address potential technology fragmentation by enabling the runtime technology to be updated seamlessly over the air on mobile devices. The consistent runtime environment will provide optimal performance across a variety of operating systems and devices, and ultimately provide the best experience to consumers.
What is Adobe doing in support of the Open Screen Project?
To support the mission of the Open Screen Project – enabling a consistent runtime environment across desktops and devices – and as part of Adobe's ongoing commitment to enable Web innovation, Adobe will continue to open access to Adobe Flash technology, accelerating the deployment of content and rich Internet applications (RIAs). This work will include:
  • Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
  • Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
  • Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
  • Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free
Why is Adobe spearheading this project?
The digital explosion across multiple screens is raising consumers’ expectations for engaging experiences wherever and however they connect with content. Additionally, Web browsing on mobile devices is becoming commonplace, but delivering a complete rich Internet experience remains a challenge. Adobe and the companies working on the Open Screen Project believe in a world where consumers can engage with great content and applications from any device. For this vision to become a reality, a consistent application runtime should be available across desktops and devices, and we have spearheaded a project with the support of industry leaders to work together to deliver on this vision.
Why are companies participating in the Open Screen Project?
Companies contributing to the Open Screen Project share Adobe’s vision that a consistent, runtime environment will remove barriers for delivering content and applications across screens. A more open universal runtime across devices will drive rapid innovation that will ultimately be good for consumers. The participants in the Open Screen Project are leading companies in the mobile, desktop and device ecosystems who will contribute in unique ways to this project.
Is the Open Screen Project a technology announcement?
Adobe and companies supporting the Open Screen Project will work together to ensure a consistent runtime environment based on Adobe Flash Player and, in the future, Adobe AIR technologies. This will include collaborative work between Adobe and mobile OEMs, mobile operators, leaders in processor technology, content partners and others to ensure rich Web and video experiences live and on demand will be available to consumers across desktops and consumer devices, including phones, mobile internet devices (MIDs), and set top boxes.
Why is Adobe continuing to open access to Flash technology?
Publication of an unrestricted SWF file format has long been requested by the Adobe Flash developer community. The longstanding publication of the SWF specification has fostered a vibrant ecosystem of companies and developers who create experiences with Adobe Flash technology and by removing the SWF licensing restrictions we are allowing that growing ecosystem to use the file format for any purpose, including the ability to playback SWF content.
Additionally, Adobe intends to make Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free, starting with the next major releases for devices, along with publishing the device porting layer APIs. As a result of these moves, OEMs, software developers, and content owners will be able to deliver content and applications built with Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR technologies without concerns about device restrictions. By removing the licensing cost and restrictions, as well as opening up the protocols and porting layer, Adobe is making it easier for developers and partners to deliver more engaging experiences to more of their customers, and ensuring that audiences can engage with content no matter what device or medium they use.
When will this new consistent runtime environment be available? Can other companies participate?
The Open Screen Project is just underway and we expect more companies will want to participate. Companies and developers who would like to learn more about the Open Screen Project should email openscreenproject@adobe.com.
What other open efforts does Adobe participate in?
Adobe is very active in working with open source, open specifications and open standards. Over the last year, Adobe has released major technology programs as open source, such as the Flex® Framework, Flex/Ajax Video and BlazeDS. Additionally, Adobe contributed the ActionScript™ Virtual Machine to Mozilla’s Tamarin project and Adobe is working with Mozilla on “Tamarin-Tracing,” a recent release to the project that is focused on better performance across a wide variety of devices. Adobe also opened the specification for AMF and completed the commitment to move PDF into ISO, which is now international standard ISO-32000. Adobe is a member of the Linux Foundation, Eclipse Foundation and the SQLite Consortium. Adobe also recently introduced a public Flash Player bug and issue management system that allows for greater community participation and transparency in the Adobe Flash Player development process. Early work on projects is also available openly on Adobe Labs to encourage early feedback and iteration. More information about Adobe open source efforts can be found at opensource.adobe.com.

For Developers & Designers

How do developers and designers benefit from the Open Screen Project?
With a consistent runtime environment deployed broadly across all devices, millions of developers and designers will be able to distribute content to consumers worldwide, on any device, much more easily than they can today. The Open Screen Project aims to maintain compatibility across devices, supporting rapid innovation and enabling devices to be seamlessly updated with the latest runtimes. Additionally, Adobe creative and developer tools and frameworks facilitate cross-screen authoring workflows. As a result, time to market for RIAs, rich media content and video will be dramatically reduced and developers will be able to more easily deploy content across screens.
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.
What is the Flash Cast protocol?
The Flash Cast protocol is a communication protocol developed by Adobe as part of its client-server solution for mobile operators. The Flash Cast protocol provides a mechanism for data to be synchronized between the mobile phone and the network-based server in an efficient, mobile-network friendly manner. The Flash Cast solution has been deployed with multiple operators around the world and is used transparently by millions of mobile consumers as part of an engaging mobile experience.
When will the Flash Cast protocol be available?
The protocol will be available at the Adobe Developer Center in the next few months.
What is AMF?
AMF is a binary format for exchanging data. It is most commonly used to transfer data between an application built with Adobe Flash or Flex software and a database via a remoting request.
When will the AMF specification be available?
The AMF specification is available now on opensource.adobe.com: http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/blazeds/Developer+Documentation
If I develop my own SWF applications that are compliant with the SWF specification, do I receive a license to use the codecs that are referenced in the specification?
What Adobe announced is the release of the SWF specification without the license agreement. The specification has never included a license to third party technologies like codecs, which is still true today.
Thus developers of SWF compliant applications are responsible for ensuring that their implementations do not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, including those of codec providers.
Where are the new licenses for the SWF and FLV/F4V specs?
Adobe has removed the entire license agreement from the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications. The only remaining restrictions are on copying and distributing the specifications themselves, and on the use of Adobe trademarks, including the Flash trademark. The copyright and trademark restrictions are on the copyright page of the specification. Developers are now free to implement what is documented in the specifications without restrictions from Adobe.
Does this mean that it is possible for companies or developers to distribute Adobe® Flash® Player within their product offerings?
Adobe has removed the restrictions on the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications, not on Adobe Flash Player itself. This doesn't change the license for the distribution of Adobe® Flash® Player. We have not announced any changes to the distribution license for Adobe Flash Player as is available on http://www.adobe.com/licensing/distribution/
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Open Screen Project Supporters
 
“Adobe is spearheading the Open Screen Project with support from industry leaders who share a common vision to provide rich, interactive experiences across computers, devices and consumer electronics,” said Shantanu Narayen, chief executive officer at Adobe. “A consistent, more open platform for developers will drive rapid innovation, vastly improving the user experience.”
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