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Re: [svg-developers] Is the SWF format "publicly available"?

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  • Chris Lilley
    On Tuesday, April 1, 2003, 3:08:59 AM, jdowdell wrote: ... jmc Sure, you can use the SWF file format to create a reader if you want. That seems directly
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 31, 2003
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      On Tuesday, April 1, 2003, 3:08:59 AM, jdowdell wrote:


      jmc> Chris Lilley wrote'n'quote:
      >> Yes, you are not allowed to use the spec to create a product that
      >> reads in a swf file. Also, following the spec is not required but
      >> following whatever the Macromedia player does is required:
      >> "You agree that your Product must output SWF files that can playback
      >> without Errors in the latest versions of the Microsoft Windows, Apple
      >> Macintosh, and Linux Macromedia Flash Players"

      jmc> Sure, you can use the SWF file format to create a reader if you want.

      That seems directly contrary to the license agreement that people are
      required to agree to before getting the spec. That part was in my
      email but you cut it. Here it is again:

      "Pursuant to the terms and conditions of this License, you are granted
      a nonexclusive license to use the Specification for the sole purposes
      of developing Products that output SWF"

      jmc> There's no prohibition against creating a reader.

      See above, and the definitions of "sole" and "output".

      jmc> That "must play correctly" clause is to catch people who deliberately write
      jmc> malformed SWFs for buffer-overflow exploits. If someone tries to crash
      jmc> someone else's machine by making deliberately bad files, then it's good to
      jmc> have proof that they abrogated an agreement.


      >> This was well established on this group some time ago -
      >> swf is not an open specification.

      jmc> That's vague


      No, its not vague at all.

      jmc> -- we can agree that it's not an "Open Source Project"

      Now you are trying to make it vague I agree, by trying to confuse
      'open source' and 'open specification'. That won't work on this list.

      jmc> SWF specifications are certainly openly published,


      No, as already established they are not. Specifically, if the current
      Macromedia player does a given thing with a given file that
      contradicts the spec, then the player is right and the spec is wrong
      and "may be updated in the future at the sole discretion of
      Macromedia". In other words, it is defined by implementation; the spec
      is a retrospective and non-authoritative documentation, thats all.

      jmc> and lots and
      jmc> lots of people enjoy supporting it, openly, freely, and profitably.

      Contrary, apparently, to the license terms unless they are enjoying
      export only.



      --
      Chris mailto:chris@...
    • jdowdell@macromedia.com
      ... Lawyers write the lawyerly stuff, not me. I don t interpret them -- if you want a lawyer s interpretation, then you should talk with a lawyer. I do know
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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        At 8:43 PM 3/31/3, wesleytperkins wrote:
        > John Dowdell wrote:
        >> Sure, you can use the SWF file format to create a reader
        >> if you want. There's no prohibition against creating a reader.
        >
        > Is this the official legal position of Macromedia, or just your
        > opinion? If Macromedia is legally bound to this position, why not
        > explicitly say so in their licensing agreement and reap the goodwill
        > of offering a demonstrably open, unemcumbered standard?

        Lawyers write the lawyerly stuff, not me. I don't interpret them -- if you
        want a lawyer's interpretation, then you should talk with a lawyer.

        I do know that people create lots of software that reads, parses, edits,
        and even renders SWF files. If there were a legal constraint against doing
        so I rather suspect we would have seen the effects of such a constraint by
        now.... ;-)


        In related issues in the various threads:

        Here's a set of Java read/edit/write utilties for SWF:
        http://www.flagstonesoftware.com/

        Why don't they make a Java-based renderer? It's more useful to ask "Why
        would they?" The Macromedia Player is already in wider distribution than
        any flavor of Java... although people did invest their time here in the
        early days, for the last few years people have just *used* the ubiquitous
        capability, rather than try to duplicate it.

        The Macromedia Flash Player did have a Java-based engine, but it stopped at
        version 2.0 because:
        -- people didn't like downloading instructions with each file!
        -- clientside Java didn't change enough to be able to implement newer features

        Here's a variety of non-Macromedia Flash Players:
        http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Labyrinth/5084/flash/download.html

        I'm not sure whether any of those were written under any form of OSS
        contracts. Here's a GPL Flash rendering library:
        http://www.swift-tools.com/Flash/


        There isn't a "Flash Markup Language" per se... what would it be that was
        markup-able? XML-formatted files can be used in a variety of ways with this
        technology, but it's not a 1:1 match with SGML, HTML, VML or other actual
        markup languages.


        Original thread was titled "publicly available", then someone said vaguely
        it wasn't "open", but apparently didn't mean by that a locked-down
        definition like "Open Source Project", and instead retreated to the
        only-slightly-less-vague "open specification". This shows the problem with
        treating verbal constructs as more important than mutually-observable
        reality... arguments over labels can go on endlessly.


        jd




        John Dowdell, Macromedia Developer Support, San Francisco
        (Best to reply on-list, to avoid my mighty spam filters!)
        Technotes: http://www.macromedia.com/support/search/
        Column: http://www.macromedia.com/desdev/jd_forum/
        Technical daily diary: http://www.macromedia.com/go/blog_jd
      • domenico_strazzullo
        I followed this whole thread with curiosity and it seems that in the ... observable ... To put an end to your arguments over labels argument, please be aware
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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          I followed this whole thread with curiosity and it seems that in the
          end it resumes to an attack:

          > ... This shows the problem with
          > treating verbal constructs as more important than mutually-
          observable
          > reality... arguments over labels can go on endlessly.

          To put an end to your "arguments over labels" argument, please be
          aware that individual perceptions of mutually-observable reality can
          be tragically wrong. Moreover, the verbal constructs you are
          alluding to were clearly a consequence of "your" much tendencious
          vagueness, in more common terms, a trap. Induction is a very classic
          and cheap means of leveraging opinions, that is, when you target the
          right audience.

          Domenico Strazzullo



          --- In svg-developers@yahoogroups.com, jdowdell@m... wrote:
          > At 8:43 PM 3/31/3, wesleytperkins wrote:
          > > John Dowdell wrote:
          > >> Sure, you can use the SWF file format to create a reader
          > >> if you want. There's no prohibition against creating a reader.
          > >
          > > Is this the official legal position of Macromedia, or just your
          > > opinion? If Macromedia is legally bound to this position, why
          not
          > > explicitly say so in their licensing agreement and reap the
          goodwill
          > > of offering a demonstrably open, unemcumbered standard?
          >
          > Lawyers write the lawyerly stuff, not me. I don't interpret them --
          if you
          > want a lawyer's interpretation, then you should talk with a lawyer.
          >
          > I do know that people create lots of software that reads, parses,
          edits,
          > and even renders SWF files. If there were a legal constraint
          against doing
          > so I rather suspect we would have seen the effects of such a
          constraint by
          > now.... ;-)
          >
          >
          > In related issues in the various threads:
          >
          > Here's a set of Java read/edit/write utilties for SWF:
          > http://www.flagstonesoftware.com/
          >
          > Why don't they make a Java-based renderer? It's more useful to
          ask "Why
          > would they?" The Macromedia Player is already in wider
          distribution than
          > any flavor of Java... although people did invest their time here
          in the
          > early days, for the last few years people have just *used* the
          ubiquitous
          > capability, rather than try to duplicate it.
          >
          > The Macromedia Flash Player did have a Java-based engine, but it
          stopped at
          > version 2.0 because:
          > -- people didn't like downloading instructions with each file!
          > -- clientside Java didn't change enough to be able to implement
          newer features
          >
          > Here's a variety of non-Macromedia Flash Players:
          >
          http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Labyrinth/5084/flash/download.ht
          ml
          >
          > I'm not sure whether any of those were written under any form of
          OSS
          > contracts. Here's a GPL Flash rendering library:
          > http://www.swift-tools.com/Flash/
          >
          >
          > There isn't a "Flash Markup Language" per se... what would it be
          that was
          > markup-able? XML-formatted files can be used in a variety of ways
          with this
          > technology, but it's not a 1:1 match with SGML, HTML, VML or other
          actual
          > markup languages.
          >
          >
          > Original thread was titled "publicly available", then someone said
          vaguely
          > it wasn't "open", but apparently didn't mean by that a locked-down
          > definition like "Open Source Project", and instead retreated to the
          > only-slightly-less-vague "open specification". This shows the
          problem with
          > treating verbal constructs as more important than mutually-
          observable
          > reality... arguments over labels can go on endlessly.
          >
          >
          > jd
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > John Dowdell, Macromedia Developer Support, San Francisco
          > (Best to reply on-list, to avoid my mighty spam filters!)
          > Technotes: http://www.macromedia.com/support/search/
          > Column: http://www.macromedia.com/desdev/jd_forum/
          > Technical daily diary: http://www.macromedia.com/go/blog_jd
        • Ian Tindale
          ... Out of interest, and from your point of vantage, how does it compare with, for example, how open Adobe s PostScript and PDF seem to be? -- Ian Tindale
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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            On Monday 31 March 2003 11:42 pm, Chris Lilley wrote:

            > This was well established on this group some time ago - swf is not an
            > open specification.

            Out of interest, and from your point of vantage, how does it compare with, for
            example, how 'open' Adobe's PostScript and PDF seem to be?
            --
            Ian Tindale
          • Chris Lilley
            On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, 1:07:26 AM, Ian wrote: ... IT Out of interest, and from your point of vantage, how does it IT compare with, for example, how
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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              On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, 1:07:26 AM, Ian wrote:

              IT> On Monday 31 March 2003 11:42 pm, Chris Lilley wrote:

              >> This was well established on this group some time ago - swf is not an
              >> open specification.

              IT> Out of interest, and from your point of vantage, how does it
              IT> compare with, for example, how 'open' Adobe's PostScript and PDF
              IT> seem to be?

              About the same - controlled by one company, not clear the spec gives
              you everything that is needed to implement and people claim there are
              important parts missing.

              PostScript level 2 was standardized through ISO as SPDL. I'm not sure
              if compliant implementations were produced.

              I have not looked at specific licenses, but my copy of the big red
              book did not seem to have one before I could read it. I don't know if
              compliance is to the spec of to an implementation. I have heard
              conflicting accounts on that.

              Why?

              --
              Chris mailto:chris@...
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