Adobe: friend or enemy of open source, open standards?

I’m sitting in a session at Adobe Max Europe listening to Senior Product Manager Laurel Reitman talking about what a great open platform Adobe is creating.

She refers to the open sourcing of the Flex SDK; the open bug database for Flex; the ISO standardization programme for PDF; the donation of source code to Tamarin, the Mozilla Foundation ECMAScript 4.0 runtime project, and the use of open source projects such as SQLite and Webkit within AIR, the Adobe Integrated Runtime which lets you run Flash applications on the desktop, and the fact that AIR will run in due course on Linux, though the initial release will be Mac and Windows only.

So is Adobe the friend of open source and open standards? It’s not so simple. Adobe is more successful than any other company in promoting proprietary standards on the internet. It ceased development of the open SVG standard for vector graphics, in favour of the proprietary Flash SWF.