Flash Player is open and SWF is documented
The core of Flash Player is the Tamarin Virtual Machine, which is an open source project under Mozilla. While the SWF file format is not fully open, it is documented by the community on osflash.org. Additionally, there are numerous open source products that read and write SWF files.
There are also several libraries included with Flash Player that are licensed through other parties (i.e. h.264) that are not open. Thus, preventing Adobe from making the whole thing open source if they wanted to. Not sure that they would, but this definitely kills the idea.
Come save us HTML5 in 2022 AD
HTML5 has been in the works since 2004 and is still in “draft”. Its primary intent is to reduce the need for proprietary plug-ins (like Flash Player and Silverlight).
I can definitely see the benefit of not relying on a plug-in for multiple reasons. There is a concern if users will have the plug-in, but the bigger concern is vendor dependence. I think Adobe has the install base issue covered fairly well, yet it should still be a concern for locked down environments. To the bigger concern, I’d say that we already depend on companies like Apple and Microsoft quite heavily and that Adobe is far from a fledgling start-up that would be considered very risky. Naturally, I understand to the concern and will help my clients choose the appropriate technology.
The reality is that HTML5 is not coming anytime soon
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, claims that “the world is moving to HTML5″. How is that going to happen Steve when Ian Hickson, editor of the HTML5 specification, expects the specification to reach the W3C Candidate Recommendation stage during 2012, and W3C Recommendation in the year 2022 or later?[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML5]
Should we hold off development for a few years while Google (Ian works at Google) finishes the specifications?
Finally, how many different implementations of HTML5 do you think there will be?. There will most likely still be cross browser compatibility issues to deal with.
Flash Player and Silverlight
I’ll sticking with vendor dependence that I can use now over incomplete technology with potential compatibility nightmares any day!