Free Software

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Items associated with the use or understanding of Free Software.

Safe Surfing

Gnash features in the Safe Surfing CD distributed free by the German Computer BILD magazine.

The safety organization TÜV Rheinland and the Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik) were involved in the CD's development.

Adobe: Flash is open! There's ... Gnash?

Now Gnash is part Adobe Flash's rich developer ecosystem ...

The page, "the Truth about Flash", claims:

Finally, the Flash Platform has a rich developer ecosystem of both open and proprietary tools and technologies, including developer IDEs and environments such as FDT, IntelliJ, and haXe; open source runtimes such as Gnash; and open source video servers such as Red5.

Trennt Euch!

Ein gewisses Riesensoftwareunternehmen aus den USA betreibt momentan in München eine Werbekampagne mit dem Slogan "Münchener, trennt euch". Nun ja, ein bissl provokativ ist es, nur man sieht aus der Ferne die Webadresse nicht, die dazu gehört. Was kann das denn bedeuten?

Aber nachdem ich heute Werbepost bekommen habe, wurde es mir klarer: Microsoft will mit dem Werbespruch Hardware verkaufen.

RTMP encryption

The news that the BBC has started "encrypting" its RTMP streams came, in one of those coincidences, just as I'd decided to work on adding RTMP support to Gnash. So even when Gnash's RTMP video streaming works, it will still be legally difficult, if not impossible, for licence fee payers who care about software freedom to use the BBC's iPlayer.

New features for Gnash 0.8.8?

Gnash will certainly be better in six months for our next release. It already has one major new feature - LocalConnection support - and RTMP video streaming is also planned.

But as Gnash is currently unfunded, many important features that could easily be added will be left out.

Here is an incomplete list of things that I can improve or newly implement in Gnash in a relatively short space of time (between 1 and 4 weeks):

  1. Reliable text handling (HTML text, text formatting, positioning etc). Currently this is not correct and fails in many cases.
  2. BitmapData functions. Rendering to an internal buffer for use in ActionScript. This is used for image handling in many SWF8 movies.
  3. RTMP. A basic implementation for video streaming and remoting should be ready for 0.8.8. But ironing out bugs and getting a really high-quality implementation will take longer.

Free Software in the UK

I wanted, on an impulse, to find out about the prominence of Free Software in the UK. Political support for Free Software occasionally makes the headlines, but how much of a presence does it have in everyday IT?

How would anyone try to find out about Free Software? By turning to the internet, of course! So I want to know what they would encounter. I used a well-known search engine to look for Free Software activity in the UK, and this is what I found:

Flash and freedom

Flash is neither free nor open. Despite Adobe's publicity efforts, its Open Screen project, and its attempt to document various parts of the Flash specifications, it is still closed and restricted.

Flash's lack of freedom is a combination of three things:

  1. it needs a closed player
  2. its sources are closed
  3. it is served in binary format over the internet

Why Free Software?

Linux Logo

The freedom of Free Software does not refer to the price. It guarantees your freedom to use the software unconstrained by licence conditions. You can copy it, alter it, improve it, and distribute it.

The Free Software Foundation Europe offers a more extensive description of Free Software.

Gnash on Haiku

Haikuzone reports that Gnash runs quite nicely on the Haiku operating system, an open-source implementation of the defunct operating system BeOS.

Since there is no official Haiku release of the proprietary Adobe Flash player (and quite likely never will be), Gnash is the only way to see some web content for Haiku users.

Open-Source Flash

Free and Open Source Software provides many alternative ways of manipulating and creating Flash movies.

With the tools offered by Free Software, you can create SWF files in any way you like, as automatically as you like.

On-the-fly generation, pixel-perfect translation from images or documents to SWF, detailed examination of performance are all possible:

  • Compiling SWFs just from ActionScript 2 or ActionScript 3 is easy using ming or swftools.
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