Monday, April 21, 2008

Open-source Flash rival "Gnashes" out

A non-profit open source project with high-profile backers has released beta code for an open source Flash media player, with a media server in the wings. Open Media Now's Gnash player runs standalone or as a plugin, and may run better than Flash on constrained devices.

Last week the Gnash development project released the first beta (release 0.8.2) of its GPLv3 SWF (Shockwave Flash) movie player and browser plug-in. The free player is designed for "computer, gaming, embedded, and consumer electronic devices," according to the non-profit Open Media Now Foundation (OMNow) funding the effort. Gnash is likely to use less memory and power than Adobe's Flash.

Originally created as a user interface for a digital stereo set-top box (STB), and based on work done by the GPLFlash project, the Gnash player runs as a browser plugin for Firefox, Mozilla, Konqueror, and NetFront, and is optimized for Firefox 1.0.4 or higher. Gnash is said to run on embedded GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. There is also a standalone player for GNOME- or KDE-based desktops, and ports to Darwin and Windows are said to be in progress. The player supports embedded architectures including MIPS, PowerPC, ARM, and Sparc.

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