“I don’t believe in OS or Flash, I just believe in me.”

Back when OSFlash was really taking off in the last quarter of 2005, many of us who had projects with OSFlash.org made our way to Spark in Amsterdam and I have to say, that was a great time! And it was a time that really galvanized some of us in our OS efforts.

That being said, I wish to put my thoughts out about being apart of Open Source projects and contributing time to them and what it means to me.

At Spark, we heard a term: “Open Source Mafia”. That REALLY took me by surprise. What in the world were they talking about? My surprise was based on the thought that alot of the Flash code up to that point had nearly always been shared and open and I considered OSFlash.org to be an official place for those types of projects – that’s it! But with this new wave of OS work and the types of projects that were coming out of OSFlash, it was clear that despite what I may have thought OSFlash was, the perception was much greater – hence the “mafia” label.

I sat in on an Open Source panel at Spark and had thought “hey, this is cool, we’ll get to talk about flash projects and so on”. What transpired was a complete shock to me. Yes, at first, we had some great questions about being involved with OS and how it impacted us personally. But then we found that people had some real reservations about OS and the intentions of people involved with it. I was utterly surprised to realize that people actually thought we might be “anti” Adobe or anti-corporate etc. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but yet, people really thought we or *I* might have some sort of agenda. It was a really crazy time. I can’t say I blame them though – Red5 was brand new and making tremendous headway, and I know that’s what brought most of the heat.

We’re nearly 2 years removed from that time in Amsterdam, and I still get comments that assume I’m a crusader for Open Source initiatives. DOOD, once and for all: I don’t believe in OS or Flash, I just believe in me. Yes, that’s a hacked quote from John Lennon (I don’t believe in the Beatles, I just believe in me).

Recently, I had chance to give comment on a project, and all went well, but at certain points, I was challenged by people who seem to think I carry an OS Flash flag around championing Free code for all good men. It’s not true. I don’t. They thought my motivation was anti-capitalism – it’s not. I’m not a purist, I’m not anti-adobe, I’m not anti-capitalism – I’m just ME. Ok, I’m anti-spam, but that’s it.

You wanna know what makes me tick? Here’s the honest truth: I like control of my time. That’s it. You wanna figure me out? Make sure you let me do what I want in my free time. It really is as simple as that.

There’s the attraction to OS right there – it allows me control. Control over features, control over deadlines, control over look, control over naming conventions, control over the length of my hair. Ok, that’s silly, but you get my point. I work in flash, I love flash. If you don’t believe me, just look at my blog and sample work. It’s all Flash all the time. And I like working in an environment where friends of mine can chip in with ideas and we work together to rock something out. Red5, Papervision3D, Xray are all great examples of that. People request changes, people want to help out, pitch in – its an awesome experience and it’s contagious.

And another thing: I dig the folks at Adobe. NO they’re not paying me, no, they’re not distant relations. They’re nice to me at conferences, they include me in discussions, and seem to value my opinion on topics from time to time. They’ve helped me out TREMENDOUSLY with software, for which I would struggle greatly financially to cover the costs – yes, that’s the down side to OS πŸ˜‰

Flash is Flash, we all have to remember that. And its a very small Flash world. We all participate in OS at some level, we all participate in for-profit flashing. It’s a great eco\m/system and I’m glad to be apart of it.

Now, before I forget…


  1. You’re right!


  2. I think it’s funny that someone would say you are anti adobe considering most of your projects require the use of some Adobe product right? What good is xray without a flash app to test it on? What is papervision without flash? Also, it’s not like red5 is the first Flash media server competition, although it might be one of the better ones and the cost difference is substantial.

    anyways, rock on john and keep working on things that i wish i was smart enough to work on =)

  3. great post John. i think OS is important for the flash community and i’m thankful to be able to check out other people’s code to learn and adapt from it . OS drives innovation and brings together great minds to solve complex problems (PaperVision3D!) … in my opinion it seems the open source community has been more successful at the introduction of technology than the management of the technology…. and i’m sure this will change over the course of the future. but having a company that embraces aspects of the OS community (Adobe, Apple, Google, etc) ensures the technology stays focused and on track. being an open source anti-corp dood and using flash doesn’t really work IMHO. rock on. πŸ™‚

  4. John, Amen! Ever since I first started checking out Flash resources on the web, it was all about open source, but I don’t really know if anyone called it that. Everyone just shared pretty much everything they did on the forums and their sites. Figure out some new cool technique, post not only the code, but a full tutorial on how to do it.

    I think once open source became OPEN SOURCE in the Flash community, it tended to carry with it a lot of political connotations. God knows there are some hard core, almost religiously zealous OS supporters. There’s a few times when I’ve communicated viewpoints and opinions that weren’t totally in line with hard and fast OS viewpoints, and got totally attacked for my “anti-OS rhetoric”!!! (Anyone who knows my history should find this laughable.)

    So, yeah, I’m totally with you. I love doing Flash, love figuring out cool stuff and love sharing it with the community. And that’s all I have to say about that.

  5. Whenever I’ve met you I’ve often pondered whether you have control over your hair. This post finally clears that up ;).

  6. Right on!
    It wasn’t always about Open Source but it was about sharing right from the start.

  7. LOL [Tink] – are you serious?? I gotta dig up a Spark pic of you πŸ˜‰

  8. HA, thanks for the link Tink! Now THIS is hair!

  9. Hey John,

    OSFlash has never been and will never be political. As Keith pointed out, there are some people who would like to see it used in that way — I’m not one of them. As far as I’m concerned, open source is about creating, sharing and learning. As you mention, Flash has always had a very strong open source community, from the earliest days of Flashcoders and Flashkit.

    That said, I’m also at the point where I’m sick of defending our right to make and give away software. In fact, it’s not something that we have to defend: If you want to create something and give it away, it’s your honest-to-goodness right to do so.

    Open source is about positive things: Creating, sharing, learning. If anyone wants a partake in a political crusade, they are welcome to join the Free Software movement, which is very different from open source. In the meanwhile, we will continue to promote the positive efforts of those of us who just want to create, share and learn.

  10. And on reading the post again, I do take great offense at the statement “Open Source Mafia”. We are talking about independent people here who freely give their time, knowledge and output to the community. Don’t thank them if you don’t want to but do not go insulting them either. Whomever spoke those words at Spark was a Grade A Dimwit and I’ll happily say that to their faces if they own up to their remarks. That was not the perception of OSFlash by the community at large at the time and that is not the perception of OSFlash today.

  11. OS projects are well oiled synapses in the capitalist system. I too am active in that certain projects opensource’d create entire new platforms for more markets to grow. That is essentially what the internet and RFC standards did for the web mafia. OS helps to make your arsenal to provide solutions and killer experiences.

    Bonus points for the John Lennon reference. Its all about independence and being as free as one can be.

  12. John. I’m anti-spam too. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

  13. Hey! I’m not able to find you email.. so i’ll leave a comment here.

    Thanks for your time and kind comments at FITC Pacic Room (i showed you the desktop application with flash/ajax).

    It compensated alot from the time i tried to talk with Adobe staff on my setup as related to Apollo.
    Maybe it was my english skills that where making the communication difficult, but it was not a fun experience.

    I was not aware that you where behind Xray! I only used it a bit, but i have to admit that it’s from Xray that i got the strongest hint on Local Connections and the cool stuff that can be done with it…

    So really, you have a bit of “paternity” on the stuff i showed you.. The application use it extensively and also the flash-photoshop hack (could have been possible with a server setup, but then i would need to install a server on each user station and handle firewall settings wich i way less convenient than local connections).

  1. April 18th, 2007
  2. April 27th, 2007

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