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Old Apr 29, 2010, 2:48 PM   #1
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Default Steve Jobs on Flash

If anyone hasn't seen the many news articles about this yet, you can see Steve Jobs' open letter about Flash here:

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Just use Google to search news and you'll find lots of articles hitting the net about it now:

http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&t...s%20on%20flash

Personally (and this is my personal opinion, not necessarily that of Steve's), I don't like it when vendors try to control what I can or cannot load on a given platform (as Apple is apparently doing in this case).

But, I admire him for his position on Flash, since his stance on Flash should help to promote better, open source, alternatives (since Apple products like the iPhone and iPad are selling quite well now).

Hopefully, his stance will also help to reduce the number of photographers relying on Flash content for their Photo Albums (since users of some of those Apple products can't view those albums), as the use of Flash is a huge negative from my perspective for a variety of reasons.

There are just too many web sites that are so "Flashy" (pun intended) that the presentation layer distracts from the photos.

Now, that's not to say that all Flash sites are that bad. But, IMO, many of them are, where you can't focus on the images being presented because of too many distractions from the way the content is being presented, not to mention resource requirements (memory, CPU, bandwidth, etc.) and the potential for developers to to take advantage of yet to be identified security vulnerabilities in Flash (as vulnerabilities have been patched on a regular basis before).

I've been trying to be more tolerant of Flash based photo albums (whereas I'd often just close a browser tab or window when I went to a site using Flash in the past), as it's a popular way to present images now. But, I'd prefer almost any approach to Flash for viewing photo albums, as there are many other solutions out there now that don't require it.

I'm not a big Apple Fan anymore (the most recent Apple product I still have is an old Apple II+, although I have owned a more modern Apple IIe in the past). ;-)

But, in this case, I'm with Steve Jobs. If Apple refuses to allow Flash Content on some of their devices, then we'll see better alternatives to it as time passes, as more developers will explore open source solutions (HTML5, etc.).
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 2:54 PM   #2
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It is ugly when two big boys get in a fight.

But I have to side with Apple on this one also. There is step around with getting video to work with non flash products on apple. But there is no way around having to use flash for flash videos.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 3:29 PM   #3
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Don't get me wrong... I feel the same way about other proprietary formats. For example, I think Microsoft's Silverlight stinks, too.

There are open source solutions available for rendering content, without the problems associated with proprietary, closed source plugins and viewers.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 3:58 PM   #4
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I feel the same way about Apple QuickTime, too. So, Apple is a bit "two faced" in that area. But, anything that helps to rid the world of the requirement to use proprietary plugins and viewers to see content is a good thing from my perspective. So, I'm with Steve Jobs on his decision to keep Flash off of some Apple devices.

There are open source alternatives available for rendering content, eliminating the need for proprietary plugins and viewers.

Again, I'm no Apple Fan, and I see where Adobe is going to focus on other operating systems like Android. But, I'd prefer it if Flash went away entirely on all platforms.

Ditto for other proprietary formats. That's one big problem with technology and software, today... patents and proprietary formats (along with licensing fees, royalties, etc.) are stifling innovation.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 4:03 PM   #5
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I work for corporate america, they are all 2 faced. That is the way it works.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 4:32 PM   #6
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For delivery of media content html5 is the way to go - no question.

Silverlight is gaining huge traction as the new development environment for business applications. It's not direct competition for html but it sure as heck is easier, faster and more productive than javascript and the abomination that is AJAX. So the corporate enviroments are using Silverlight to replace native windows applications, it's nice that the apps run in multiple browsers and on Macs (and partially on Linux) but even if it was windows & IE only it's still much better than windows forms where a web application is just too clunky.

Flash is kindof in no-man's land. It has inertia and momentum on its side, but it's not as business-app friendly as Silverlight, and html5 will do just about everything that 99% of the currently deployed flash apps do.

I'm also with Apple on this one. Paradoxically Flash runs very well on Windows machines, but the Mac and Linux ports are terrible. Very buggy and inefficient. I have no problem at all with "appliance" technology, and that's what the iPod, iPad, iPhones are meant to be. Apple have always liked to lock down their systems where it suits them and I have no problem with that.
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Old Apr 30, 2010, 2:31 PM   #7
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I can see two philosophical sides to this issue. The first is the personal desire for open source and a dislike for proprietary things (though I do use mac computers, and Apple is known for proprietary tendencies). On the other hand, if I had just spent thousands, perhaps millions on developing a software program, I'd want to be paid for it, not just give it away for free. It is sad that Adobe and Apple are duking it out now - they used to be the best of friends (as soon as Apple came out with a major new operating system, Adobe was one of the first companies to come out with programs that would run on it properly).
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Old Apr 30, 2010, 2:49 PM   #8
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I don't like Flash (as you can probably tell), and the same thing applies to Apple and Microsoft proprietary formats, as I see far too many problems with that approach compared to other solutions.

For example, even though Adobe has much better support for Flash Player on Linux now (even including 64 bit pre-release versions designed to work better with 64 bit browsers), they've lagged behind in this area before (where you couldn't see content at all from some sites when they required a higher Flash Player version than was available for a given operating system).

Apple's Quicktime has issues, too (as they don't offer versions for all Operating Systems), and have even taken steps to block being able to see content using third party codecs designed to decode that content on other platforms in some cases. For example, Apple's Movie Trailers may not play if you're not using Apple's player, without "fooling" the sites into thinking you're using an Apple Quicktime Player (by "spoofing" the User Agent). Microsoft's proprietary formats present similar problems.

From my perspective, anything that gets rid of these proprietary formats is a good thing, since that will encourage development on open source alternatives as content providers look for a way to make their content available on more platforms.

Again, Microsoft and Apple are guilty, too. From my perspective, Microsoft is probably one of the worst offenders in that area, despite some effort at apparent openness with products like Silverlight and their work with Novell on Moonlight, although personally, I think it's garbage and would prefer Flash if I had to choose between SilverLight/Moonlight and Flash.

Microsoft's reputation speaks for itself in that area if you look at vendor lock in strategy they've used in the past

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace...h#The_strategy

Apple is not exactly known for being an "open" company either.

The Patent wars are creating problems for consumers that want to use multiple platforms, stifling innovation, thanks to manufacturers attempting to "lock in" customers to a specific platform (or player products in the case of Flash, Quicktime, etc.) by using proprietary formats.

If they want to make money on products for content delivery, fine. They should develop commercial tools and players that allow content delivery using open source formats that are free from patent issues. But, please don't use vendor lock in strategies with proprietary formats and players to achieve that goal.
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Old Apr 30, 2010, 3:09 PM   #9
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I think Jobs has a lot of nerve calling somebody else "proprietary". Jobs is the one that stopped the Macintosh clones. Apple could have made a ton of money by selling the OS that it already made, to third parties that had to put together their own computers (using, btw, motherboards they bought from Apple!) That was a win-win situation for Apple, but it wasn't proprietary enough for Jobs.

And while Adobe seems to forget that it's the company it is because Apple put PostScript in their LaserWriters, they had been proprietary about their fonts for far too long as well. When that bubble finally burst, Adobe was out in the cold. Open standards help everybody, and if Adobe doesn't open up, they'll lose on their developer tools as well.

There are no good guys in this battle. All we can hope for is that we can stick it out until the smoke finally clears.
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Last edited by TCav; Apr 30, 2010 at 3:11 PM.
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Old Apr 30, 2010, 7:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
I think Jobs has a lot of nerve calling somebody else "proprietary".
Yeah no kidding. Apple and Sony sit atop the proprietary heap. iPods are a prime example. You can't just access an iPod like nearly every other MP3 player. You need to use Apple's own software or software that emulates Apple's software (i.e. Media Monkey, SharePod, etc.) which runs Apple's iTunesHelper in the background out of necessity.
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