In a move no doubt welcomed by Flash developers worldwide, Adobe and the Mozilla Foundation have announced that Adobe has donated source code for the Flash ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla will host a new open source project, named Tamarin, to accelerate the development of this standards-based approach for creating rich web apps.
The announcement is being made this morning at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.The code donation is the largest of its kind to Mozilla since the foundation's inception in 2003. The code covers the ActionScript scripting language in Adobe's Flash software.
"By working with the open-source community we are accelerating the adoption of a standard language for creating and delivering richer, more interactive experiences that work consistently across PCs and mobile devices," said Kevin Lynch, Adobe's chief software architect.
The Flash ActionScript Virtual Machine, while enjoying a broad install base -- Adobe claims the Flash player is installed on over 700 million PCs and mobile devices worldwide -- has historically been a bit feature anemic, lacking such things as Regular Expression support, full XML processing, and robust debugging capabilities. By opening the code up to a broader body of developers, software landscapes, and opinions, the ActionScript engine is sure to make up some lost ground and round a few of the rougher edges.
The project will be jointly managed by developers from Adobe and Mozilla. And the improvements eventually will be incorporated into the Firefox browser, probably in an upgrade scheduled for the first half of 2008, said Frank Hecker, the Mozilla Foundation's executive director.