So, did Steve Jobs Kill Flash? What does this mean for Type on he web?

designpuck's picture

Is Adobe Flash dead? (And, was it Steve Jobs in Cupertino with the candlestick holder?) Here's the article from Slate: Slate: Did Steve Jobs Just Kill Flash?

What does this mean for typography on the web? (Heck, what would this mean for typophile.com?)

How about motion graphics on the web? Or is this a VCR / Betamax situation—answerable simply by asking which does the porn industry support? There's an excerpt (the "they" refers to Adobe):

"They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash.

No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5."

Thomas Phinney's picture

Given that an iPad is a telephone, security is very critical on such a device; subverting its software could switch it into modes that allow intercepting other people's telephone conversations.

If an iPad *were* a telephone, that would be a concern. One of the things that irks me about the iPad is that it is *not* a phone. You can get cellular data service with the highest-end models, but not cellular audio service. Weird, but true.

Cheers,

T

VBM's picture

Flash's downfall is its underutilized by the middle men. Content Management Systems like this one, vBulletin, IPB, and others have Flash banned from use by default and Admins are falsely co-erced by fear mongering that its devastating to a website's security. I do see that Typophile uses Flash, but Flash has a far greater capacity for community interaction than an animated header. Or even porn banner ads for that matter.

It has superior quality for web animation compared to .gif and can be used for avatars, posting custom text, scripting out and posting in-line animated ideas to your fellow community members.

Adobe is lazy. I think AIR was the greates software idea in recent years. The ability to integrate Flash & Java to your desktop and the web... You could create huge, action intensive, websites that sit on the user's PC. All of the users posting here for instance, could be having a dynamic conversation with streaming video, simultaneous news articles, real-time instance based pictures, a whole lot can still be one with Flash's capability. Its just not getting done.

aluminum's picture

"All of the users posting here for instance, could be having a dynamic conversation with streaming video, simultaneous news articles, real-time instance based pictures,"

I think you just explained why so many people loathe sites that use Flash.

henrypijames's picture

@VBM: "It's just not getting done" because people don't want it. The primary function of the web is providing information, not enabling interaction just for the sake of it. Flash has always been catastrophically bad for information -- after a decade of development, Flash content still cannot be automatically indexed. As to interaction, just watch how miserable Google Wave is failing, and you get an idea how overrated highly-integrated real-time interactivity on the web really is.

hrant's picture

> I think you just explained why so many people loathe sites that use Flash.

Then you should move to Typo-L, where not even pictures are allowed! :-/

> you get an idea how overrated highly-integrated
> real-time interactivity on the web really is.

"Overrated" is misleading; it's simply technically not there yet. You can't really believe people wouldn't want to engage in it. It's sort of how many people still do a lot of drawing/design on paper then move to the computer; not [necessarily] because they really want to, but because computer drawing tools are still... inhuman.

hhp

aluminum's picture

Why aren't video phones the standard? The Jetsons promised us that.

Well, the technology is certainly here. It has been for a while. It's built in to almost any laptop these days.

The thing is that people just didn't need or particularly want it.

There are certainly uses for it...MMORPGs use it a lot. And video chatting with relatives once in a while is 'neat', but for the day to day communicating with the world, unecessary.

Adobe had really hoped that Flash would BECOME the internet, but that didn't happen. It has its place. It's just that that place is going to shrink a bit going forward.

And, as stated, if Adobe is smart, they won't care too much. They make IDEs. They make the tools that make the web. Flash is a robust IDE and if they could get it to output other formats than SWF, I think they'll do just fine.

hrant's picture

> the technology is certainly here.

Dude, your precious iPhone has a resolution of 480 x 320*, less than 40% of the resolutions of the Motorola Droid and a number of HTC models. In fact WVGA has been available on phones for two years now. Why does the iPhone, something cast and seen as prestigious, have such a poor display?

* That's one ironic reason the pan/zoom seems so useful on it! :-/

> for the day to day communicating with the world, unecessary.

Actually that's how I feel about 99% of phone conversations, which is why I don't own a cellphone.

hhp

henrypijames's picture

@Hrant: I most certainly can believe people wouldn't want to engage in that. For starters, I don't want to engage in that.

BTW, I don't own a cell phone either, and like you, I don't even like regular phones. So tell me, why the hell would I want any remote real-time interaction that's more complex still?

henrypijames's picture

For Flash to "become the Internet", it really needs to become (easily) indexable first. That's an absolute deal-breaker, and it's unbelievable how Adobe has been ignoring the issue this whole time (particularly strange considering that PDF -- also from Adobe -- has made so much progress regarding indexability in the last years).

hrant's picture

> why the hell would I want any remote real-time interaction that's more complex still?

But I'm not talking about you or me. I'm talking about most people. People who apparently think Twitter is da bomb, people who happily pay $90 a month to "express themselves" (nevermind nobody else really cares). Most "conversations" these days are really just rapid-fire quickie monologues.

I'm not out to save the world. I'm just a designer.
And just because I care doesn't mean I'll be a martyr.

hhp

henrypijames's picture

This is once again confusing the prominent with the prevalent. Just like Apple, Twitter is more talked about than actually used. As of today, the majority of Internet users don't use Twitter or any other social networking services, and don't publicly "express themselves" via a personal blog, either. While many believe it's just a matter of time until most people do, someone has yet to provided a convincing argument why that will eventually be the case. I'll believe it when I see it.

crossgrove's picture

"Dude, your precious iPhone has a resolution of 480 x 320*, less than 40% of the resolutions of the Motorola Droid and a number of HTC models."

Hrant, can you accurately translate the Droid screen into pixels per inch? I have a feeling (but can't confirm) that the difference isn't really that great. A clear, oranges-to-oranges comparison would be useful. I think the iPhone screen is around 163 pixels per inch, which is really not bad, and is capable of surprisingly clear image and text display.

I do think it's funny that you don't have any cellphone, considering all your opinions. For the record, I do have an iPhone, and I think twitter is a mess. Waiting for "Shutter"... ;)

hrant's picture

> can you accurately translate the Droid screen into pixels per inch?

It's about 280 dpi.
The difference is minimal if you're looking at a photo. The difference is huge if you're browsing or reading. This is largely from personal experience (I borrow smartphones all the time, although I almost never make calls on them :-) but also from common sense. Try setting the browser window to 480 x 320 on your computer and see how quickly your hair will fall out!

BTW, although I don't own a cellphone*, I do used them, and I watch people use theirs (which you can't do when you're using yours :-) and I read up on them all the time. And I will note here that I've used computers since 1977, so I'm no technophobe! :-)

* I'm totally sure it would make my life worse, not better.
And to be honest I believe this is true for almost everybody.
Communication is fun and can even trigger ideas, but you
can't really solve problems if you're talking all the time.

hhp

bowerbird's picture

hrant said:
> No proper operating system can
> leave itself at the mercy of a browser plug-in!

i believe you just gave us the reason jobs blew off flash.
i know my mac is a _lot_ more stable with click-2-flash.

> installed base! And that's also the reason
> Jobs can't kill anything as huge as Flash

you don't need to "kill" flash to cause its downfall...

you just need to rob it of the ubiquity which has been
the primary reason for its uptake by web-designers...

and jobs is well on his way to disrupting that ubiquity.
once designers decide they need to provide alternatives
for non-flash users, they'll end up using an alternative
that will work on _all_ platforms, like flash used to do...

-bowerbird

p.s. hrant, i admire your independence in resisting the
trend towards cell-phones, even while i think it means
you really don't have the current-day experience needed
to fully understand how things will move into the future.
as for me and my sweetheart, how would i be able to talk
with her when one of us is away from a landline if we didn't
have our trusty iphones with us? that would make me sad...
don't you have a girl, hrant? maybe i can hook you up, dude.

Gus Winterbottom's picture

>did Steve Jobs Kill Flash?

I certainly hope so. Flash is the STD of the web -- you get it by trying to be artsy. The only half-*ss reason to use Flash is for video, and that wouldn't even matter if the video codec area wasn't so screwed up -- Quicktime is a PITA, RealPlayer and the ilk are badware, and there are far too many other competing codecs for consumers to make sense of -- see the list on Wikipedia, for example. Websites that use Flash, especially for those annoying mezzanine pages and navigation menus, never get my business again.

paul d hunt's picture

i'm with Pete Cashmore on this one:
Apple's iPad -- Will it improve the Web?

hrant's picture

> i believe you just gave us the reason jobs blew off flash.

?
What I meant is an OS that crashes because
of a browser plug-in needs to be fixed.

BTW, I've been married for ~14 years. Anyway my wife can email me from her phone, and the only time I'm away from my email is when I'm driving, and the way I drive that's a godsend! :-)

hhp

John Hudson's picture

I've no idea what impact Steve Job's comments may have on Flash.

I do know that I think web standards should be, well, standards: open, documented. So of course I favour HTML5 over Flash, Silverlight or other proprietary RIAs.

cuttlefish's picture

What I meant is an OS that crashes because
of a browser plug-in needs to be fixed.

I've never had Mac OS X crash because of Flash, but many times I've had a web browser running on Mac OS X crash due to faulty Flash. Sometimes what crashes Safari won't crash Opera or Firefox or Camino or iCab or Shiira, or it may crash any one or more of those. What is true that the Mac version of the Flash plugin has always run less efficiently than the Windows version on equivalent hardware. I've seen Flash animation that still runs choppy on my year old iMac that ran smooth as glass on a Windows PC a decade ago.

But there is still a lot of Flash content on the web, and it is very unfortunate that it can't be accessed on mobile devices.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

This is just an idea, but does anyone else see a correlation: Mac/PC Flash, and Mac/PC fonts. I know this is stretching it a bit, but similarities are there.

So, are we looking forward to a new, good HTML, or a new shell, or something, to just making things sort of work well enough?

aluminum's picture

"But there is still a lot of Flash content on the web, and it is very unfortunate that it can't be accessed on mobile devices."

Yes, that's true. However, I think we'll see that remedy itself in short time.

For video, there are options now (provided web site is willing to implement them) and more options coming soon (HTML5 video support).

For animations, there are some options now (.js libraries) and some coming soon (webkit CSS transformations).

For complex animations, that's where flash might stick around. It'd be nice to see that on a mobile device. However, I don't think that's a huge amount of content one would be missing.

For the typical use of flash...gaming, I'm not sure a touch-based mobile device would even work for that. The standard keyboard and mouse interactions wouldn't apply to a multi-touch interface. So that might be moot. Fortunately, for that there are solutions now that help migrate a flash app into an iPhone app and, I'm guessing, other mobile OS apps soon. In fact, that'd be a great thing for Adobe to focus on...using Flash as an IDE for mobile OS apps.

Miguel Sousa's picture

I'm going to bookmark this thread and come back in 5 years to see who's got it right. Now that'll be interesting to read!

bowerbird's picture

hrant said:
> What I meant is an OS that crashes
> because of a browser plug-in
> needs to be fixed.

yes, and what i meant is that the quickest and
best way to "fix" it is to disable that plug-in...

hey, i _wish_ flash worked, i really do, because
i've seen some awesome artistic work created
in flash, some totally cool and radical stuff, so
why doesn't adobe just fix the bugs in the thing?
for heaven's sake, what are all those programmers
on that campus _doing_ that they can't fix flash?
i'm not sure i agree with jobs that adobe is "lazy",
but it can't seem to code its way out of a paper bag
these days, and it used to be cracker-jack smart...

> Anyway my wife can email me from her phone

i love to make my girl laugh, and i need to hear it,
so an e-mail just ain't gonna do the job for me...

-bowerbird

hrant's picture

> the quickest and best way to "fix" it is to disable that plug-in...

You must be that guy who fixed the
king's headache by chopping his head off.

Like you say, there's tons of stuff made with Flash, and some of it is
valuable. A buggy OS* should not cause you to throw the baby out
with the bathwater.

* Apple should not depend on Adobe to satisfy
their users. They should make a proper OS.

> i love to make my girl laugh, and i need to hear it

I hear her laugh in my mind, and the emotive quality is much
higher than a laugh going through wires and a compression algorithm.

Just like how I think photography is just entertainment, it's not really culturally valuable. A photograph doesn't even convey 1% of what the mind is capable of; and if you need a photograph to trigger a memory, that memory simply wasn't memorable - you're fooling yourself. Which brings us back again to iTards.

hhp

hrant's picture

From before:
> you really don't have the current-day experience needed
> to fully understand how things will move into the future.

On the one hand not depending on a cellphone deprives me from certain insights - I admit. On the other hand not depending on a cellphone -especially a specific one- gives me a broader and clearer outside view, like how when I'm in a restaurant waiting area or ski resort chair lift I can observe instead of "communicate".

But most of all my objectivity comes from being emotionally detached. I dislike all of these companies. MS, Apple, Adobe, to me they're all part of the problem*. This probably comes from my lack of faith in capitalism. The only computer company I really liked (and not for their management :-) was Commodore. The C64 and especially the Amiga could really do things. I was so emotionally attached I convinced my dad to buy stocks in Commodore... :-/ But I can't think of a computer company now that I like, and that's putting it mildly. I believe this gives me a clearer view into the distance than somebody who wants specific companies to succeed.

* Which is not to say I don't like or value some of their employees; knowing many of them personally I have no doubt they're good people. But I don't envy them - whether they realize it or not they're struggling for goodness and relevance within an ideologically nefarious environment.

--

Let me ask you (plural) this:
Do you like Apple -I mean emotionally- more than the others?
Think about it, be honest to yourself, and then to the world.

hhp

Mark Simonson's picture

Just to clarify:

- I've never heard of Flash causing OS X to crash. An OS crash (kernel panic) is a rare occurrence, usually related to low-level hardware driver problems (like installing an out-of-date audio interface driver).

- Flash does cause problems in Safari and other browsers on the Mac. It's a resource hog when playing video and sometimes causes the browser to crash. Other kinds of Flash content work fine in my experience.

hrant's picture

I'm just going by what Dan said:
"Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash."

But really, the same thing applies to Flash crashing a browser.
When a guest in your home misbehaves, you don't just watch.
Sometimes Flash has too much to drink. So you grab the vase
he's about to throw against the wall and send him home. But
he's usually so much fun you invite him back again. If you
ban him completely you're the loser.

hhp

kari.patila's picture

I don't think anyone here honestly believes that some company or a technoloqy can kill Flash, just like that.

Blocking Flash entirely is a good call when you have to make sure everything else stays up and running and you're certain that the culprit is indeed the plugin.

As for Adobe being lazy, the same can be said about any major software company. They rarely pay any attention to their support forums. The following website was on Hacker News today and it contains a Flash bug reported to Adobe in September 2008:

http://flashcrash.dempsky.org/ [this web page should crash your browser, just to illustrate a point]

The bug should have been fixed in the latest beta, though.

Mozilla also disabled Flash by default on its Mobile Firefox, but besides some Nokia users that's not going to affect anyone yet. They listed the same reasons for doing so as Apple did, and they do make a valid point: if a piece of software they have no control over deteriorates the user experience to a level where the user perceives their product as somehow defective, they have a good reason for disabling it.

bowerbird's picture

hrant said:
> You must be that guy who fixed the
> king's headache by chopping his head off.

actually, i chopped off the king's head
because he had sprained his ankle...

i know, he was as confused as you are.

"why do you have to chop off my _head_
when it is my _ankle_ that is sprained?",
he asked.

"because you feel the pain in your brain,
which is in your head," i said.

so i chopped off his head, and now he's dead.

"the king is dead, long live the king!"

and they called me a hero for killing the king,
and we all lived happily ever after...

***

> I dislike all of these companies.
> MS, Apple, Adobe, to me
> they're all part of the problem*.
> This probably comes from
> my lack of faith in capitalism.

i dislike all corporations. and most rich people,
especially if/when they feel _entitled_ to be rich.

i hate apple less than the others, simply because
their products don't suck _quite_ as much, and i
can't see why products need to suck at all, really,
except most people aren't too good at what they do,
and everyone's too busy being selfish to be _good_.

i hate adobe worse than the others, simply because
i have watched it buy out any competitors who had
better technology only to shelve that better stuff,
so they could then proclaim their worse stuff as the
"de facto" standard, and benefit from that falsity...

but when it comes to code running on my computer,
as long as it works, that's what i care about, no matter
who made it. if flash worked, i'd be quite happy with it.
it just so happens that it slogs my browser, _often_...

doesn't actually _crash_ it, just gives me the spinning
beach ball for so long i force-quit it to avoid misery.
javascript often causes the same problem. honestly,
i don't know whether it's flash/javascript, or stupid
scripters who don't really know what they're doing,
or smart scripters who are collecting info secretly
and phoning it back home, but in the long run, it
doesn't matter, as they all bog down my machine.

so i turned off flash. and things got a bit better...

-bowerbird

hrant's picture

> i can't see why products need to suck at all

Can't you see why Apple can get away with
low-dpi devices, and doesn't that unnerve you?

> i have watched it buy out any competitors who had
> better technology only to shelve that better stuff

You mean how Apple bought out that Brazilian company
that was making Mac clones, only better? That's a rule
of capitalism, and if Adobe is doing a better job of it than
Apple, you can bet Apple is envious and it's trying to learn
how to catch up! :-/ I don't think it's a good idea to like a
company more simply because it's clumsier.

> they all bog down my machine.

To repeat: your machine's software needs
to be fixed if it lets Flash do that to you.

hhp

aluminum's picture

For hrant (I, too, miss my C64):

hrant's picture

:-)

hhp

david h's picture

> Let me ask you (plural) this:
> Do you like Apple?

YES!

Adobe?
YES!

MS?
YES!

capthaddock's picture

There's definitely a movement among cutting-edge web designers and software companies — the same folks who led the way in the semantic web, XHTML-CSS design, AJAX, and now HTML5 — to abandon Flash. I've been using the Click2Flash plugin to block all Flash except sIFR, and it's a godsend. Youtube videos now play as high-quality H.264 videos embedded in HTML5 pages.

In early 2009, 65% of global mobile web content was accessed by iPhones and iPods. It is as high as 92% in some markets, like Australia, and 78% in Western Europe. 32% of visitors to popular tech pundit blog Daring Fireball have Flash disabled (like I do). Firefox for Maemo (Nokia's mobile smartphone/tablet platform) will disable Flash due to performance issues. The release of the iPad will only serve to increase the percentage of web users who don't use Flash.

Other smartphone competitors will face the same choice Apple did. Do they ship with Flash, and leave a core part of their browsing functionality to black-box code by a third-party company known for its bugs and security holes, and thus have no power over compatibility and updates? Or do they rely on HTML5 and open-source Webkit, which can do everything Flash can do, as well or better?

My hunch is Flash is done for, and good riddance when it goes.

henrypijames's picture

Mobile is still but a minor factor in the development of web technologies, and I don't think that will change in the next few years.

Also, there are a great number of web users blocking JavaScript with NoScript -- is JavaScript therefore "done for", too? There are a great number of web users blocking ads with AdBlock -- is advertising on the web "done for"?

xo's picture

On one hand, flash is a slow/closed-source technology and I'd like to see it a lot less in favor of javscript. On the other hand, even if this happens, I'll still support Adobe's Flash as a great program for animators.

I can see why Jobs hates Adobe Flash, I've had to work on OS X a few times before, and Flash does crash incredibly frequently. Moreso, Flash support on Linux is incredibly embarrassing (to a point where developers are trying to built their own interpreter). Everyone is moving towards HTML5 and javascript anyway. The death of flash is an inevitable consequence to open technologies advancing past it. I'm rather glad Apple decided to acknowledge this.

I really do hope that Flash dies as a format, but as a program, may it live on.

Also, regarding more accurately the actual topic and attempting to steer my wild tangent, the death of flash on the web means little to typography. Viva la CSS3!

hrant's picture

> the death of flash on the web means little to typography.

I wish that were true of Apple - they've been ruining typography for years.

hhp

bowerbird's picture

hrant said:
> Can't you see why Apple can get away with
> low-dpi devices, and doesn't that unnerve you?

would i like higher-dpi devices? well, certainly...
as long as they weren't too much more expensive,
and i still had all the other functionality i wanted...

but i don't see anyone selling such machinery.

and no, i don't get "unnerved" at much of anything.

> You mean how Apple bought out that Brazilian
> company that was making Mac clones, only better?

i didn't hear about that.

and i'm not sure a company from another continent
that was making "clones" would be preferable to me,
so i'm not all that concerned.

i saw where a company in orange county was making
tablets out of macs a couple years back, and i was
quite interested in that, but their prices were too high.

> That's a rule of capitalism

yeah, that's probably one reason i hate the capitalism...

> and if Adobe is doing a better job of it than Apple,
> you can bet Apple is envious and it's trying to learn
> how to catch up! :-/

you seem to have an axe to grind. fine by me.
but there's no reason to make me the straw man.
i can register my own complaints about apple,
and mine hold water because i have no axe here.

> I don't think it's a good idea to like a
> company more simply because it's clumsier.

i don't think apple is "clumsy". quite to the contrary,
i think they are overly controlling, which is even worse.

microsoft, in these ballmer days, seems "clumsy" to me,
and if anything, it has endeared them to me of late...
(not enough for me to buy anything they sell, but still.)

> To repeat: your machine's software needs
> to be fixed if it lets Flash do that to you.

i'm surprised you'd repeat something so stupid.

any time anybody's code can run on my machine,
it can cause performance problems. by disallowing
flash, i'm saving myself from people's flash code...
and so far, i'm completely happy with the tradeoff.

and yes, there are times when i wish i could turn off
javascript as well, because there seems to be a lot of
buggy javascript out there now, most especially on the
websites of the legacy print-magazine publishers --
with "wired" being the worst offender in my experience.
but when i've tried to turn off javascript, i haven't been
able to negotiate some sites that i like, so i was forced
to turn it back on. but would i like a choice? heck yes!

as for apple as a company deciding not to support flash,
they get crashlogs from a ton of users, so they _know_
with great certainty what is causing their machines to
suffer bad performance, and they tell us flash is bad,
so bad that they have made a point (and made it loud)
to say that they aren't going to support flash anymore.
it's a wake-up call to adobe, and adobe better wake up.

-bowerbird

hrant's picture

I have no axe.
I've watched computer companies come and go since the 70s.

> i don't think apple is "clumsy".

In most ways I agree. I was specifically talking about shutting down
competition. If Adobe is better at it, Apple is probably just envious.

> i think they are overly controlling, which is even worse.

Agreed.

> i'm surprised you'd repeat something so stupid.

It's not stupid.
A good OS is just very hard to make. And just like most any other company (especially a publicly-owned one), sadly Apple knows that saving money not doing a quality job can be cost-effective, especially when it can lay all the blame on another company rather than admit a failing.

In the end, it's not Apple that's annoying, it's people who get fooled by Apple. No other computer company has such berserker followers, and it's not healthy for anybody, not even Apple.

hhp

xo's picture

@hrant

At least they bundle their Operating Systems with decent default fonts.

hrant's picture

?!
It's been the other way around for many years now.

hhp

capthaddock's picture

"No other computer company has such berserker followers, and it's not healthy for anybody, not even Apple."

Although this notion is common from the peanut gallery, it's not quite correct.

There are two things that can be said about the core fan base, and neither makes these people (me included) "berserkers":

1. Mac users love their computers and love using them. Is it really such a bad thing for Apple that people who love the computers they use tend to prefer Apple's computers?

2. Mac users are not delusional. On the contrary, they are more demanding than typical people and complain loudly whenever things aren't perfect. There is a strong correlation here between expectations and platform loyalty. If we weren't anal about everything working right, we'd stick to Windows.

henrypijames's picture

@xo: Flash may be "closed source" (as in "not open source", in the sense that the public has no way of getting involved in the development process), but the full spec has public for years, so it's not as bad as it once was.

bowerbird's picture

> I was specifically talking about shutting down competition.
> If Adobe is better at it, Apple is probably just envious.

every company should be "envious" of adobe in that arena.

they've played the buy-and-dismantle-competitors game
_far_ better than anyone else, at least in the tech sector...

and that's rather remarkable, because they aren't a _huge_
company. but they do know their place on the totem pole.

they know that the big fish eat the smaller fish, and they
have successfully avoided being eaten themselves, a feat.

and they know their station in the pecking order, so they
make sure they're picking on a competitor of the right size.

they're also highly skilled at deception. for instance...

> Flash may be "closed source" (as in "not open source",
> in the sense that the public has no way of getting
> involved in the development process), but
> the full spec has public for years,
> so it's not as bad as it once was.

this is one of the biggest tricks they play on the public...

the make a spec "public knowledge", so that -- in theory --
anyone can make use of it. but when you get down to it,
you discover all kinds of caveats. for instance, you'll find
that you are specifically disallowed from making a player.
moreover, you'll find that there are all kinds of difficulty
in that spec, which make it extraordinarily complex to
code an authoring-tool. moreover, because adobe is
in complete control of the spec, they can change it at will,
and they _will_ change it if you _were_ to manage to create
an authoring-tool that threatened their income-stream...
(they can also make sure their player will choke on any
content that's created by your player, making it worthless.)

they're currently pulling this type of charade with e-books,
where they combine their viewer-tool with their d.r.m., thus
making it impossible for anyone else to make a viewer-app,
which then makes it easy for them to control authoring-tools,
and thus manipulate what started out as "an open standard",
the classic "embrace-extend-extinguish" model of microsoft.

(and, in case you weren't paying attention to e-books then,
this is what microsoft did with e-books in the late '1990s,
with an earlier version of this same "open standard" format.
publishers pulled out once they realized what microsoft was
trying to pull on them, but e-books suffered a bad setback.
now we're replaying the scene, with adobe in the ms-role.)

(also, in case you weren't paying attention to e-books then,
adobe also bought-and-shelved some competitors to .pdf in
the early 1990s, which is when i became hip to their strategy.
it's how they established .pdf as a "defacto standard", which is
another trick they love to play, and repeated later with flash.)

i admire the craftiness of adobe in executing the strategy, but
they're sleazy, they're very sleazy, and i don't trust 'em a bit...

-bowerbird

hrant's picture

bowerbird: Sleazy people rarely apologize.
When is the last time Apple apologized?

hhp

Richard Fink's picture

Poor Flash is dead
Poor Adobe Flash is dead
Jobs, he says it sucks and it's been banned.
Poor Flash is dead
Poor Adobe Flash is dead
It crashed too many Macs for Jobs to stand.

Poor Flash. Poor Flash. RIP.

oldnick's picture

I don't know if anyone else has covered this, but I came across a rather disturbing story in today's Washington Post regarding the iPad and its extreme stance on vertical integration. It appears that the iPad OS is so closely controlled by Apple that it would be possible for Apple, remotely, to delete content on individual iPads; here's a brief snippet from the story...

Apple's iPad could be game-changer in digital-media censorship
Sunday, February 14, 2010

With the iPad structure, Apple is creating absolute control for product, delivery and even ownership that can be revoked at will. Apple allows or rejects the application (the container); it can remove all or part of any content from its servers; and it can even remotely delete the stuff you purchased.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

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