I have spent more weeks than I care to m

December 3, 2009 by Dave Haynes

I have spent more weeks than I care to mention on this very issue. Here are the key take aways….

The EULA is not well written and can indeed be interpreted as ‘on a standard PC with a standard OS its OK’
‘Its Not OK on something like XP embedded’. Adobe have lost suites in the past because of their poorly written agreements (or so our Attorney tells us !!)

The other fact is that there is nothing in the EULA to prevent software vendors writing their app to play well with Flash, the EULA is around the deployment of such. So its one big grey area. Lets say I install a DS app that just happens to leverage flash (perfectly legal) on a standard PC (perfectly legal) that just happens to have IE and the flash ActiveX installed for web browsing (perfectly legal)and then I run that DS app (perfectly legal) and that DS app start to play a flash piece – Now what – our Attorney says it is legal but a grey area because of the poorly written EULA, and in any case its the user not the vendor who is taking the risk.
However the risk is for those vendors who ship STB’s using Windows Xp embedded or such like that are REALLY putting their head above the parapit!!

Incidentally the same EULA is used for Adobe AIR, so all those ‘cheap as chips’ SaaS AIR players have exactly the same issue.

I spent months emailing Adobe and they acknowledge the situation and if you bug them enough you may just get a license (but you may not, and they then know where you live!!). They were talking about making flash player/AIR available for these use cases for sale in the Adobe Store, but its not high up their list.

The whole debacle is ridiculous Adobe are trying to make a development platform out of their technology to compete with Silverlight but have the draconian licensing rules out of the Macromedia dark ages (anyone remember Director licensing – lol). Imagine if Microsoft said “here is Visual Studio a great dev platform, but you cant use it to create these types of things !!!”

Adobe have to change what with HTML5/SilverLight/Java FX coming to eat their lunch in the browser wars, they have to address this if they wish for Flash to remain ubiquitous.

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