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[Gnash-dev] Re: Gnash + OLPC

From: Carlos Nazareno
Subject: [Gnash-dev] Re: Gnash + OLPC
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2008 23:12:39 +0800

Hey all!

Please let me clarify a few things before this gets out of hand.

The term "OLPC project members" from Ben's post:
"But how can the answer then be for OLPC project members to recommend
installation of a proprietary player that has MP3 and FLV codecs (and
various others) built in?!"

needs to be qualified.

1) OLPC Philippines is undergoing a sort of reboot/reorganization
right now and Melch, MJ and I are relatively new members of OLPC
Philippines. I just signed on around June when I first discovered that
it existed and MJ & Melch mid-September when I made a shout out at
Philippine Flash Actionscripters for volunteers to do XO Flash dev
work. We'll make a shout out to the global flash & flash lite
developer community once we're done with some preliminary tests in
order to reduce the pain of adapting to a new platform by new
non-Linux-using Flash developer volunteers.
2) We are not OLPC core members and do not speak for 1CC. We're just
speaking from independent volunteer perspectives.
3) We just got the dev XO units 2-3 weeks ago and that's only how long
I've started being active on OLPC dev.
4) I guess there hasn't been enough active participation from Flash
developers on the OLPC before and so my project proposal to target the
XO as a Flash Gamedev/Edu-gamedev platform got approved by the OLPC
contributor/developer program. Judging from the state of the Wikis on (official OLPC site) and googling around the internet, I
guess there haven't been too many Flash developers who've gotten
involved with the XO too :P

> Why should we contribute to OLPC when OLPC has already agreed to using
> Microsoft's software and apparently has no (moral) objections to using
> Adobe's software?

Actually, almost all OLPC developer members/volunteers choose to steer
people towards using Gnash instead of Flash. As much as possible, the
OLPC team wants Gnash to be targeted instead of Adobe Flash, and this
has been very consistent in all the discussions I've had with active
volunteers and team members so far. So yes, there are general
objections to using Adobe software from the OLPC team & volunteers and
a strong leaning towards the use of Gnash. It's just that with the
line that was crossed when OLPC & MS partnered up, I guess the
agreement that only FOSS be used with the XO is not there anymore.

Me, having tested several flavors of Adobe Flash & Gnash on a few
different OS builds of the XO in the short time I've had my hands on
physical units, have only recently come to my *personal* preference to
use Adobe's Flash player as my primary browser plugin for now because
of the pain in trying to get sound in Gnash to work on XO's latest
signed test OS build (767) (which will be the basis for the stable
build 8.20 which will come shipped in the upcoming XO units that will
ship in the new Give 1 Get 1 program that's going to run this

Also, there's the issue of AS3/AVM2. Having done tests with a
benchmarking app we made to test AS2 vs AS3 performance (both
published for Flash 9, using nearly identical algorithms), the AVM2
(AS3) version definitely trumps the AVM1 (AS2)'s performance. And this
is extremely relevant because we need to squeeze every bit of juice
out of the XO's limited memory & CPU.

> To me (again, as an outsider) it seems to me that OLPC has generated a
> *huge* free software development momentum, and a massive amount of work
> was completed in order to let a giant software stack run cleanly and
> quickly on the OLPC. Now OLPC has decided to throw the majority of that
> work out of the window (pun not intended) in favour of a proprietary
> solution from a vendor that has apparently discovered a new part of
> the world to enslave.

Not really. All that work being thrown out the window is far from the
reality. Despite the looming invasion of Windows XP on the XO, almost
all of the dev work being done is still for Fedora-Sugar-XO and with a
strong leaning towards FOSS projects.

> To me, it seems like whatever work might be done to get Gnash working
> nicely on the OLPC is going to be thrown away almost as soon as it
> might potentially be finished. So, I ask, why contribute?

Again, Gnash is the default (and therefore *preferred*) flash player
that ships with the XO. OLPC, a group that enjoys mainstream media
attention and openly espouses the use of Gnash, helps greatly in the
advancement of Gnash's cause.

As such, it would be really fantastic if some of you guys could also
sit in at OLPC's developer mailing list at (address@hidden)

Carlos Nazareno

interactive media specialist
zen graffiti studios

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