Adobe Opens ActionScript Code to Mozilla

    November 9, 2006

Adobe announced this week that it has contributed source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation as part of a new open source project entitled Tamarin.

The Tamarin project is aimed at developing new and exciting interactive applications as part of the industry’s climb toward the almost mythical destination of Web 2.0.

Of course, Mozilla isn’t the only developer that might be interested in getting a peek at the ActionScript source code. Conspicuously absent from the discussion, however, were Microsoft and Operasoft, both of which also tout browsers that would see great benefit from an open source partnership with Adobe.

Adobe maintains that the announcement is not indicative of an exclusive partnership with Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

In talking with Adobe’s Matt Rozen, he comments on Firefox and how the idea for the venture came about, “The project really started from the top of the two organizations – with the ActionScript Virtual Machine based on JavaScript and the creator of JavaScript at Mozilla, I think that played into it.”

“And although this relationship isn’t specifically about implementing the open sourced code into Firefox, Firefox is popular with users and developers. According to 3rd party firms such as One Stat and Net Applications, Firefox’s market share is between 12 and 16 percent in the US. And according to Mozilla, some European countries are as high as 30 percent.”

Rozen adds, “I’m not sure whether Adobe considered any other organizations to open source the code to — I do know that Adobe and Mozilla have been working together on the spec for a while now. This didn’t happen overnight.”

As part of my conversation with Adobe about the Tamarin project I also got the chance to hear from Pam Deziel, Director of Product Marketing for the Platform Business Unit at Adobe.

She elaborates on the nature of the Adobe/Mozilla partnership, “This is an open source project in conjunction with the Mozilla foundation; it isn’t specifically a relationship with the Firefox browser and other technologies created by the Mozilla Corporation technologies.”

“The Tamarin project will be hosted by the Mozilla Foundation. Adobe contributed source code from the ActionScript Virtual Machine in the hopes that Adobe, Mozilla and the greater developer community will create the ECMAScript, 4th edition — a high performance, standards-compliant scripting engine, to accelerate the ability of developers to create and deliver richer, more interactive and engaging experiences that work across multiple platforms.”

Deziel continues, “The Tamarin project is an opportunity to help advance the open Internet by broadening its reach, improving the secure engagement of rich content and empowering millions of developers to evolve the technology we are contributing. Microsoft and Operasoft are welcome to implement Tamarin as the scripting language engine in their browsers.”

Inquiries to both Microsoft and Operasoft have thus far gone unanswered, but I’m willing to wager that both companies are more than casually interested in what ActionScript Virual Machine can bring to the development table of their respective web applications.

And at least from appearances, Adobe has extended an open invitation to both companies to incorporate Tamarin into both the Internet Explorer and Opera browsers.

It will be interesting to see if Mozilla, Microsoft and Operasoft can all make nice and play well together in the Web 2.0 sandbox.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.