[TLUG]: ECMAScript ("Javascript") Version 4 - FALSE ALARM

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.org
Mon Oct 29 16:51:34 PDT 2007

On Oct 29, 2007, at 3:06 PM, Neil Mix wrote:

>> What would Adobe and Mozilla possibly have to make a "deal"
>> concerning?
>> Its probably the case that the head decision makers of Mozilla and  
>> the
>> head decision makers at Adobe have never met each other, much less
>> made
>> a "deal".
> I'll play devil's advocate for a moment, and say "Tamarin".  It goes
> like this: someone claims Adobe and Mozilla are in cahoots, and that
> triggers the memory that Adobe open-sourced its AS engine to Mozilla,
> and then the wheels start turning.  It's a lazy thought process, of
> course, because what's really gained?  Did they team up to make sure
> the spec results in as little modification to Tamarin as possible?
> So they're teaming up out of laziness?  I don't get it either, but
> you asked.

As the press release noted, Tamarin was open-sourced to share effort  
and accelerate development (and inform specification!) of a sound,  
implementable, high-performance ES4. I think I can say that without  
speaking too much for Adobe.

Also, and this is edgier: it's not as if Macromedia (remember, it was  
Macromedia who developed the VM originally) wanted to bear the cost  
of a high-performance VM all by itself. To add relevant information  
at the risk of dishing a rumor (sue me), I heard that Macromedia  
originally tried to license an existing small VM, and started on what  
became Tamarin only after being denied that license.

I'll also testify, as an outsider with no interest in Adobe, that the  
Adobe (originally Macromedia) employees on TG1 have always worked  
from shared principles and evidence to reach better design decisions,  
without regard for a corporate agenda. In particular, they've been  
willing to develop changes -- even if those changes inflicted  
incompatibilities on ActionScript users. I've heard this came at some  
political cost inside Adobe; it's not hard to imagine marketeers and  
evangelists there who might prefer a rubber-stamp.

But ES4 is not AS3, and it differs enough (see http:// 
wiki.ecmascript.org/doku.php?id=clarification:adobe_as3) that the  
claim that Adobe is forcing something it owns, without thoughtful  
changes, through a rubber-stamp process, is demonstrably false.  
(Rubber-stamped standards exist; you may have heard of OOXML?)

Of course Adobe desires to standardize, even at the cost of  
incompatibility. Reduced developer brainprint from variant dialects  
of JS is in their interest, and in their developers' interest. How  

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