Adobe has created an Open Source Media Framework for creating video players based on the Flash platform. Formerly known as Strobe, the OSMF initiative is intended to reduce the cost and complexity of developing Flash video players, providing a flexible framework that includes standard player features that can be easily customised, extended, or integrated with third-party services. The source code for the framework will be subject to the Mozilla Public Licence.

The project was previously announced at NAB under the codename Strobe. It is now being opened up on an open source basis. It will generally enable commercial applications to be based on the framework, providing the underlying code is not modified.

The goals of the project include sharing best practice processes for video player development and encouraging the adoption of open standards. The framework will support plug-ins to enable developers to assemble, rather than code, new functions, as well as allowing them to create their own extensions.

The initial focus will be on enabling standard playback experiences, integration with content distribution networks, quality of service management and support for new features in the latest version of the Adobe Flash Media Server such as dynamic streaming and digital video recorder functions.

A number of partners have been lined up to support publishing, distribution, advertising and analytics.

There are a number of independent open source video player projects based on Flash, but the Adobe framework has the potential to become the de facto standard, providing a single integration target for third-party platforms and components.

“Adobe is committed to providing core Flash Platform technologies to the community as open source,” said Dave McAllister, director of standards and open source at Adobe.

Akamai and Adobe are collaborating on the Open Video Player initiative, previously founded by Akamai, and the release of OSMF technologies. The goal is to ensure a consistent framework for media player development.

“Open Source Media Framework complements and solidifies Akamai”s Open Video Player initiative,” said Tim Napoleon, chief strategist for digital media at Akamai. “OSMF leverages code from Akamai’s Open Video Player and Adobe’s expertise and resources to assist media companies and publishers in redefining the benchmarks for online video experiences that are powered by standards based workflows.”

While the OSMF may be open source, the Flash file format is published and the ActionScript language is open, the Flash player itself remains proprietary, controlled by a single vendor.

New standards, such as HTML 5, which is supported in the latest version of Firefox, allow video to be played back directly through a <canvas> element without the need for a plugin like Flash, but support for different compression schemes is limited by patent licensing issues.

Adobe appears to be committed to ensuring that Flash remains the leading platform for delivering video on the web, in the face of competition from Microsoft Silverlight. The latest version of the Flash Player , has been installed on more than 86% of computers worldwide in just over six months since it was released.