Shumway: Mozilla wants to virtualize Flash

Mozilla wants to “virtualize” Flash technology, making rich Internet contents available to users without the need to install additional (and often flawed) plug-ins inside the browser. The “virtual machine” designed to achieve such a feat is called Shumway, a new open source project officially backed by the Firefox foundation.

Hosted on the open source software repository GitHub, Shumway is described as “an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building a faithful and efficient renderer for the SWF file format without native code assistance”. Originally meant as an acronym for Shockwave Flash, SWF is the default extension for multimedia/interactive files interpreted by the Adobe Flash Player.

Over the years, Flash has become more of a security risk than a multimedia plug-in and is often the butt of many jokes. Hence the idea sponsored by Mozilla: by using standard web technologies as HTML5 and JavaScript, Shumway would execute Flash code inside the browser’s own process eliminating the issue of running external, native code as the aforementioned Flash plug-in.

Halfway between an HTML5 virtual machine and a web interpreter for Flash contents, Shumway is a “community-driven” project that needs a lot of work and love from the open source developers. If the experiment of creating “a general-purpose, web standards-based platform for parsing and rendering SWFs” was successful, Mozilla would eventually integrate the code with Firefox and give Adobe web tech a means for extending its permanence even in the so-called “post-Flash” world that awaits us (or so they say) in the not-so-distant future.

Source: Phys.Org.

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