Earlier today Ryan Stewart wrote about taking a somewhat softened stance in the debate around open sourcing the Adobe Flash Player. Given some of his previous comments on the issue it was nice to see Ryan taking a second look. Especially so given the fact that Ryan makes no bones about being firmly in the Adobe Flex camp when it comes to RIA platforms. He took a bit of grief from some for that post but honestly, having someone in Ryan’s position riff on the subject can only be healthy in the long run. It’s easy for the somewhat insular Flash community to dismiss a “zealot” but when someone like Ryan asks “why not?” it forces defenders of the status quo to actually articulate their position.
I’ve always been surprised at how the Flash Player tends to be seen as a a sacred cow by Flash developers while a number of open source tools used to target the platform have gained a well deserved legitimacy. The argument could be made that OSFlash was a big driver in transitioning Flash from an “animation tool” to the application platform it is today. In the period following ActionScript 2 and prior to Flex it really was the open source community that picked up where the Flash IDE left off. Before Flex Builder, Flash RIA development was all about FAME.
Based on that history alone the Flash development community should have a better-than-most sense of the potential for open source in the Flash platform.