I never thought I would be posting anything from Happy News, but then I saw the article entitled Adobe Gives Mozilla Some Computer Code. Basically, Adobe shared some code with the Mozilla Project related to ActionScript, which is what the Flash player uses.
Mozilla created a new project called Tamarin to “implement a high-performance, open source implementation of the ECMAScript 4th edition (ES4) language specification.” The FAQ answers the question of what exactly is being contributed:
The Tamarin release will include the following components:
* Source code from the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM2) as currently shipping in Adobe Flash Player 9, including the Just In Time (JIT) runtime compiler and conservative garbage collector.
* A partial implementation of a prototype compiler written in ActionScript, which will be developed by the open source community to implement all of the ECMAScript 4th edition specification. This will be a “self-hosted” compiler that is written in the language it compiles.
I’m surprised more open source news sites haven’t mentioned this news. Maybe I am jumping the gun a bit here, but if the source is being made available, doesn’t it stand to reason that open source implementations of Flash Player will be much better on Gnu/Linux? If so, it means that web-based games will have more reliably available players. To indie game developers, it translates into more potential customers. To us Gnu/Linux users, it means we’ll finally be able to view Flash movies or play Flash games without missing text or wondering if it froze.
That is not to say that Flash Player itself has been open sourced, as Frank Hecker clarifies. Still, if the basic scripting language is going to get better, then Flash might, too.