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Steve Jobs Publishes Some "Thoughts On Flash" 944

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what's-under-that-turtleneck dept.
teh31337one writes "Steve Jobs just posted an open letter of sorts explaining Apple's position on Flash, going back to his company's long history with Adobe and expounding upon six main points of why he thinks Flash is wrong for mobile devices. HTML5 naturally comes up, along with a few reasons you might not expect. He concludes in saying that 'Flash was created during the PC era — for PCs and mice.'" Tacky that his first point is that Flash is proprietary, when Apple restricts the apps that can be installed on the phone. Pot, meet kettle.
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Steve Jobs Publishes Some "Thoughts On Flash"

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:54AM (#32030576) Journal

    Tacky that his first point is that Flash is proprietary, when Apple restricts the apps that can be installed on the phone. Pot, meet kettle.

    Exactly, and the software/iPhone is not only proprietary, but actually restricted too. It's even worse than just proprietary software.

    - Open source: Nobody restricts where you can install the application, and you get the source code too -- the best situation.
    - Proprierary software: You dont get the source code, but nobody is restricting where or if you can install it, as long as its freeware or you have paid for it.
    - Apple: Not only will you not get the source code and in most cases you have to pay for it, Apple is in total control what applications the user is allowed to install. They dont even give you the option to decide yourself.

    If you want to sell your software in App Store, you are not allowed to redistribute the source code or your app outside of it.

    While certainly true, making a comment about Flash being proprietary is just hypocrisy and at the same time hilarious from Steve Jobs and Apple.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:57AM (#32030654) Journal
    First off, the original press release is strangely hidden behind a div below the paraphrase of the press release -- why not press release and then commentary? A minor gripe but reading them in the order they presented them, I got the feeling I was being told what to think about what Jobs said prior to reading what it actually was that he said. Then there's always the fear that the reader doesn't bother with the actual press release.

    Tacky that his first point is that Flash is proprietary, when Apple restricts the apps that can be installed on the phone. Pot, meet kettle.

    And of course, he knows this. Which is why he spends one paragraph railing against Adobe and the next paragraph justifying Apple as distinctively different products and then even another paragraph praising Apple for their WebKit work. From the original press release:

    Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple's mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

    Apple even creates open standards for the web. For example, Apple began with a small open source project and created WebKit, a complete open-source HTML5 rendering engine that is the heart of the Safari web browser used in all our products. WebKit has been widely adopted. Google uses it for Android's browser, Palm uses it, Nokia uses it, and RIM (Blackberry) has announced they will use it too. Almost every smartphone web browser other than Microsoft's uses WebKit. By making its WebKit technology open, Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers.

    Of course, he spends more time and words making sure that Apple's version of proprietary is justified while they have even been a leader in open web standards.

    My opinion, if you care to hear it, is that it's really easy to jump on someone for not being open when it's not your bread and butter that's at stake. I don't like Adobe and I don't like Apple but what I see here is Adobe scrambling to maintain control and authority over Flash because they perceive (possibly correctly) that to be their lifeline in a turbulent marketplace. Essentially I feel like Jobs said "Adobe's not open and we're not open in our core business but there are auxiliary/complimentary efforts we've been instrumental with that are actually open." While he completely overlooks similar "good will" efforts by Adobe to release the source code of the Flex 3 SDK [wikipedia.org] (I don't find it to be truly open source [adobe.com] like they market it though). And he's being disingenuous towards his users in order to make more money which requires reduced functionality of his device. He's a businessman. They are known to not only make decisions like this but their stockholders often require it with threat of litigation.

  • Whoosh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Akido37 (1473009) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:59AM (#32030700)

    Tacky that his first point is that Flash is proprietary, when Apple restricts the apps that can be installed on the phone. Pot, meet kettle.

    That's kind of the whole point. Jobs admits that Apple has a closed system, when Adobe is claiming theirs is open. When he talks about open, he's referring to HTML5/CSS/JavaScript, which you DO NOT need to submit to the app store.

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:02AM (#32030752) Homepage

    Flash is a standard. There are projects that try to implement it (like gnash, if I've got the name right). But the problem is that's just like Wine or ReactOS: you're always chasing the pack leader. When Flash 11 comes out with neatNewFeatureX, you have to scramble to try to implement it and make it work well while many people see broken content. And since it may have taken Adobe with all their engineers 3+ years to make that feature perform well, as someone making an alternate implementation, you're going to be quite behind.

  • Re:Whoosh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:05AM (#32030808)
    Exactly, hes using the HTML5 argument against one portion of the Flash discussion, while completely ignoring the other half of said discussion - Flash native apps versus Cocoa native apps. Proprietary vs proprietary.

    His point about Flash sites being built for hover overs, which isn't supported on touch capable devices, is also a bit strange since a lot of JavaScript requires hover overs as well - don't see him take issue with that, do we?
  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:06AM (#32030822) Homepage
    Java is open and proven in the mobile space and Apple (or anyone) could ensure the JVM used is up to date and allows the use of any new features or hardware.

    I think apple mmeans they only want you to do it their way and preferably you do it their way on a mac when developing.
  • by skelterjohn (1389343) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:08AM (#32030856)

    How is this hypocritical? Jobs makes no assertion one way or another about how Adobe should handle licensing flash to developers. He's just saying "If you want to see something in my store, it may not be flash." You may think it's a bad idea, but bad-in-your-opinion and hypocritical are two different concepts.

  • by Joe U (443617) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:10AM (#32030898) Homepage Journal

    So, we'll get a full version of Opera for the iPhone any day now?
    (Not Opera Mini, mini is a hybrid browser)

  • H.264 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:14AM (#32030972)

    Um, H.264 is proprietary, isn't it?

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:14AM (#32030984) Journal

    So if Apple embraces an open web, how come I can't run anything but Safari and Opera on the iPhone?

    I don't know..... If it didn't say "Steve Jobs" at the top, I might think I was reading a letter written by Bill Gates. Or the GM CEO. ("We paid back the money loaned to us by taxpayers," except they really didn't.) Typical double-speak. I think Steve would have been better off just saying, "It uses too much battery power," and been done with it.

    Uh oh.
    Here come the Church of Apple monks.
    There goes my karma.

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:14AM (#32030988) Homepage

    When Jobs uses "proprietary" he means "not mine."

  • Proprietary (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cyp43r (945301) <cyp43r@gmail.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:15AM (#32030990)
    I can understand his stance - he doesnt want to use proprietary technology that isn't his. It's not a random hatred of proprietry (pretty sure I'm misusing that) it's stemming from the ideology that made the App Store so closed in the first place.
  • Tacky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qoncept (599709) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:15AM (#32030992) Homepage
    What is really tacky is all the whining about the lack of Flash on Apple devices. The people calling for it are undoubtedly the same people who were bitching about what an awful piece of garbage Flash is right up until they found out they couldn't get it on their iPhones. At a time where there are alternatives and better options are right around the corner, no less.
  • Mercy mercy!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by burris (122191) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:15AM (#32030994)

    "We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

    Yet, it is just fine with Steve Jobs if every iDeveloper is at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when their enhancements will be made available to their customers.

  • Re:Whoosh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:16AM (#32031030)

    Just for reference, the AppStore restrictions have nothing to do with 'proprietary'.

    If you don't know the difference between proprietary and closed system you shouldn't be commenting.

    The AppStore and everything on it could be entirely open source and still have the same approval process.

    Likewise, you could have the anarchy of the Android store with totally proprietary applications.

    People need to actually learn the words they are speaking or writing before writing them.

    CmdrTaco clearly doesn't know the meaning of either of the words judging by his little jab.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:19AM (#32031084)

    My opinion, if you care to hear it, is that it's really easy to jump on someone for not being open when it's not your bread and butter that's at stake. I don't like Adobe and I don't like Apple but what I see here is Adobe scrambling to maintain control and authority over Flash because they perceive (possibly correctly) that to be their lifeline in a turbulent marketplace

    Probably at the urging of the biggest users of flash - advertisers. For everyone wanting flash - I dare you to disable all addons that block flash - including NoScript, AdblockPlus, FlashBlock and others. You'll find that a good majority of pages will have some flash ad or other on it, and sites that require flash like YouTube, Vimeo, HomeStarRunner and the like are the narrow minority of sites.

    You'll probably turn flash blockers on again after a few minutes of browsing. Now imagine that on your phone, except you've got a processor that's a third as fast (since the Nexus 1 and iPad have Ghz CPUs), and which is probably spending more time rendering the flash than rendering the page.

    I've got devices that have full Flash. Let's just say having the page stop rendering so I can view the ad in real time isn't exactly the best browsing experience I've had. Or even worse, videos that still drop frames (on my Nokia N810), or one site that consumed so much CPU time, it was effectively locked up trying to play a video (1 frame every 30 seconds, 2 seconds of audio every 30 seconds, UI unresponsive). Easiest way to back out of that was remove the battery, losing other data (yay multitasking).

    Adobe's probably getting pressure from advertisers. Surprisingly, Adobe hasn't fast-tracked a Flash player for the more open platforms out there - 3 years of griping about Flash on the iPhone, and they don't have anything for Android.

  • by V!NCENT (1105021) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:21AM (#32031108)

    Steve Jobs aknowledges that he of course the Mac OS X platform is totally proprietary, but he then raises his concerns about the fact that he believes that the WORLD WIDE WEB should ALWAYS be OPEN.

    And Steve Jobs completely nailed it:
    "New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."

    Kaboom!

    Signed,
    -Fedora user that buys AMD hardware to support AMD's new FLOSS and non-NDA-restrcited freely available documentation for everyone to be able to write a fully working driver for Radeon hardware

  • Re:Whoosh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#32031138)
    NO, nearly everybody in this thread is, again, missing the point. Steve had six, 6, different points or items or arguments he brought up. EVERYONE here wants to rail about openness. I get it, we all get it already. That argument would be the same whether iPad supported flash or not. But what about security, performance, reliability? No one here has anything to say about that, and I'll take that as tacitly agreeing that Steve is right on those issues. Likewise, what about the HW vs SW argument? It's easy for code developers, some of whom I'm guessing have invested a fair about of time and training in becoming adept at flash, to just wave their arms and say "battery life is somebody else's problem". Well, yes, the hardware manufacturer's, for one. Here is a hardware manufacturer's response. Etc. Maybe you could just post an open thread each day in which people could gripe about the App store and its closed system, instead of allowing every thread about Apple to devolve into that.
  • by sribe (304414) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:25AM (#32031184)

    Gee, do you think maybe that was a big part of it? Yes, there's plenty of other reasons for him to not want Flash on iPhone and iPad. But if Flash on the Mac were a decent-quality product, I suspect Adobe might have at least had a prayer of convincing him. But when their current product is the single largest source of instability, why on earth would Jobs let a mobile version anywhere near his pet project?

    I know that some people here will jump all over his assertion, and accuse him of lying. But let me tell you, I think it's true.

    I'm a heavy web user, and around Safari 3 I started to really get fed up with how crash-prone Safari was. Always crashing when I had many windows and tabs open. Everything else on my system extremely stable. Only Safari crashing. For crying out loud, the 3rd major version, and they still couldn't make it stable? Ridiculous!

    I started actually looking at the crash reports. Dozens of crashes, probably close to 100. And every single one of them was in the Flash plug-in. Not a single exception, not a single crash not in the Flash plug-in.

    Now, how many users would read a crash report and discover that Flash is the problem? And how many would just assume that Safari is buggy and blame Apple?

    That's why I knew with 99% certainty before the iPad was announced that there would be no Flash for it. To be blunt, it would have been irresponsible to let Flash near the iPad or iPhone until Adobe proves enough commitment and competence to get it working well on OS X, where it has access to vastly more resources in a far more forgiving environment.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:25AM (#32031194)

    Java is open and proven in the mobile space and Apple (or anyone) could ensure the JVM used is up to date and allows the use of any new features or hardware.

    It breaks the security model. Right now someone writes malware for the iPhone, Apple finds out, revokes the keys and the malware goes away except on phones it managed to jailbreak. It stops spreading and we move on. If Java apps are allowed in the JVM then, Apple has to revoke all Java apps and they all stop working the first time someone writes a Java-based malware.

    Now take the same concern and apply it to multitasking etc. and add in the fact that every time Apple adds a feature they have to update the JVM to work with it as well as their normal APIs. Apple does not want to go back to maintaining their own fork of the JVM like they used to do for the desktop.

  • Re:Whoosh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:26AM (#32031204)

    He doesn't ignore that argument at all. He makes it very clear that they are rejecting flash applications because they don't want it to become a primary way of developing applications. If it *did* become a primary way of developing applications, apple would add features to the iPhone, and no one would use them, because adobe hadn't yet got round to adding support to flash. They don't want that situation.

  • Re:Typical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymusing (1450747) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:27AM (#32031222)

    Except, of course, he praises HTML5, which Apple also didn't invent.

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:28AM (#32031234) Homepage

    But he's not denying Flash apps in the app store because they're not open while being closed himself. That would be hypocritical.

    The real reason is the last one he gives: stuff made through Flash is made to the lowest common denominator between mobile platforms. That's why people want to use Flash to write things: multiple platforms. They'll have to wait for Flash to support newNeatFeatureX before they can use it, and Steve doesn't want that.

    The other points (like openness) are there to rebut Adobe's "We're open, everywhere, and necessary" argument. They're not open the way HTML/JS/CSS is. Remember you can make anything you want for the iPhone, no matter how pornographic, if you make it via the web. It's only applications that get restricted. The web is open to anything.

  • by sqlrob (173498) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:30AM (#32031268)

    - Proprierary software: You dont get the source code, but nobody is restricting where or if you can install it, as long as its freeware or you have paid for it.

    Ubisoft would like a word with you

  • yeah well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:31AM (#32031274) Homepage

    ...sticking HTML5 and wanting to use standards like it is all fine and well, but there is an assload more Flash content than HTML5 content out there right now. Why not support both HTML5 AND flash?

    HTML5 may be the future, but Flash is still what is in use today.

  • by TheNumberless (650099) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:31AM (#32031280)

    Jobs' argument is poorly stated. But I do see a difference here:

    One is devices that all view the same open web. Apple pisses you off for not letting your run your browser of choice on the iPhone? You can buy any other phone and get to exactly the same content. This approach puts the power in the market, and it's what Jobs appears to be, advocating, in a half-assed, self interested way, of course. And if I want to buy a locked down phone? That's my business, not yours.

    The other is devices that view a web where the good bits are all controlled by Adobe. Now suppose Adobe pisses you off for not including some feature, or performing poorly on your device of choice. Your option here is basically to conform to Adobe's wishes or do without the content they lock up.

    Basically, I'm okay with Apple doing what they want as long as I have the option of not buying or using their products (disclaimer: I currently own an iPhone. They haven't crossed my personal line yet). I don't really have that option with Adobe, although it's getting a lot better lately.

  • by bickerdyke (670000) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#32031330)

    A browser with HTML-Blocker???

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#32031338)

    So, we'll get a full version of Opera for the iPhone any day now?

    Opera is an application that can view the Web, not the Web itself. Jobs actually has a very good point. Being able to view a video or read a page should not be dependent upon if you are using a phone, desktop, game console, or any other device, and the only way we can do that is adherence to open and interoperable standards on the Web. If Apple is using it's closed and popular phone to push that agenda, I say, "FUCK YEAH!". I don't have to buy an iPhone, but I do have to use the Web. He can keep the iPhone as locked down as he wants so long as he supports open standards and does not have monopoly influence on the market.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:38AM (#32031402)
    Because those things aren't the web, those are browsers which are tools used to access the web. Get the difference? In Jobs' view, a company should be able to sell whatever software/hardware they want to access the web, BUT, those things should access the web in an open way. It's a nuanced position, but it's not hypocritical in any way. To use a car analogy, Ford can put whatever proprietary parts they want in their cars and void your warranty if you the owner put anything but Ford-approved parts into the vehicle*, but the gas it runs on and "the interface" that the car uses to the outside world (i.e., the road) should be accessible to anyone driving any type of car and not rely on a single manufacturer.

    * By the way, car manufacturers actually do this, there's an issue with Toyota FJ cruisers developing cracks in their bumpers that Toyota is claiming is due to the modifications for 4-wheeling that the people who are reporting this issue have put in their vehicles and thus won't honor the warranty.
  • by macshome (818789) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:39AM (#32031432) Homepage
    Because those are applications to browse the web with and not the web.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#32031442) Homepage

    He is protesting that Flash is pushing a closed standard when he is the biggest pusher of closed standards on the planet.

    All of his multitudes of apps are by definition "closed".

    So are the vast majority of the media he pushes in his store.

    While it is true that he recently recanted on music, there's still a lot of legacy music out there
    that is trapped in DRM and is essentially being held hostage. Sure, Apple customers can cough over
    a ransom but they really shouldn't have to.

    Adding DRM to an open standard makes it a closed standard.

    Steve's binary standards are under his thumb. That's kind of the whole point of him trying to ban
    any sort of intermediate programming layer. He's not content to trap customers on his devices, he
    also wants to make sure that programmers are too.

    Programmers are a little more unwieldy in this respect.

  • by bondsbw (888959) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#32031444)

    It's even worse than just proprietary software.

    It depends on your definition of worse. Apple may be overly controlling, but it seems to work well for them and their target market. Don't you remember how fast the iPhone grew and how it changed the world of smartphones?

    My guess is that you don't fit perfectly in their target market. I don't see how that would make them "bad". It just means that they have chosen the best path for growing their business and company. You are still perfectly free to say "F--- you, Apple!" and go find a Droid, Pre, Blackberry, W7 Phone, etc.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:41AM (#32031462)

    I suppose you didn't read Steve Job's words because in the very next paragraph he writes:

    Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open.

    Steve is making this distinction: apps can be proprietary, web standards should not be. Text is open while Word, NotePad, TextPad, AppleWorks, etc. are not open. That's his point.

    Apple: Not only will you not get the source code and in most cases you have to pay for it, Apple is in total control what applications the user is allowed to install. They dont even give you the option to decide yourself.

    This is true of iPhone SDK. This is not true of Apple in general. Darwin, CUPS, and WebKit are all open source. Apple also distributes for free the other open source code it uses like their version of bash, BIND, etc.

  • The missing reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:43AM (#32031484)
    The missing reason:

    I'm still bitter that Adobe made Photoshop CS4 64bit for windows and not mac.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:45AM (#32031540) Journal
    ... which is the real reason Apple wants to kill flash - it won't let Apple fully exploit their h264 patents via, among other things, html5 video codecs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:46AM (#32031550)

    What he is saying is that the content on the web should not require a proprietary plug-in to view. The fact that you cant run firefox on your iPhone in no way "closes" the web, unless your premise is that somehow firefox can access/display pages that the current options cant. what it does is limit the choices you have for accessing the content. You may disagree with that stance and want firefox on your iPhone, but it is an entirely separate issue.

  • by catbutt (469582) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:47AM (#32031580)
    I don't see it as hypocricy. Flash being closed is a problem not simply because it is closed, but it is closed to Apple. If it doesn't work the way Apple wants it to, they can't do anything about it. If Apple's own closed stuff doesn't work as they wish, they can do something about it because it is, obviously, not closed to Apple.

    Whether or not you agree with their business decision to not allow closed things from other companies on their devices, I don't see how you can call that hypocrisy, especially since he specifically mentions that many things from Apple are indeed closed.
  • by nosfucious (157958) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:51AM (#32031654)

    You know, I'm actually ok with that.

    Nobody's holding a gun to your head, making you buy it.

    Yes, it is proprietory. No, my PCs run linux. There are alternatives phone and PDAs out there which are free.

    Linux on my workstations does the job I want. Apple on my PDA does the job I want. There isn't a piece of data on it that isn't hosted somewhere else. There is a place for Open source, and closed source (and open and closed platforms).

  • Re:Whoosh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:52AM (#32031668) Homepage

    ...except the problem with Flash has been that Apple has neglected to provided access to features.

    The necessary acceleration framework for Flash was released for the Mac just last week.

    So yes, Adobe was right and Apple was wrong. The problem is not that Adobe is lazy
    but that Apple is a control freak and doesn't want to be upstaged by 3rd parties.
    Apple should start performing before it whines about how anyone else isn't doing
    their part.

  • by piquadratCH (749309) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:52AM (#32031678)
    That statement from Jobs is absolutely tactless. Not only did he ridicule the work of the KHTML devs ("a small open source project"), he didn't even feel like writing out its name. I really love what Apple's done with WebKit, but Jobs could at least acknowledge that, thanks to KHTML, they had a great foundation to build upon.
  • by beakerMeep (716990) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#32031778)
    When many apps are moving to cloud based syncing, desktop and mobile apps seem like an arbitrary line in the sand for forgiving yourself for being proprietary. Not only that but the SWF spec is open, and there are open source Flash development tools too. Adobe has other significant open source work too with Flex, Tamarin, BlaseDS, etc etc. Heck they originally wrote the JIT for firefox.

    So yeah, his distinction rings hollow and untrue.
  • by Tom (822) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:00PM (#32031798) Homepage Journal

    - Open source: A concept
    - Proprietary software: A collective term for actual implementations of code
    - Apple: A (hardware, mostly) company
    - App Store: An online sales channel

    You compare these with each other and get modded "insightful"? *sigh* - there were times on /. when "category mistake" wasn't a foreign term to the majority of readers (or mods).

  • by numbsafari (139135) <swilson@@@bsd4us...org> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:00PM (#32031800)

    The iPhone supported sending pictures taken on the phone using the built-in email client from the very beginning. The best part: this feature was basically free (you'd already paid for the data service regardless).

    By contrast, MMS messages require an additional charge (either an additional data plan or a per-message fee).

    The only reason Apple ever decided to support MMS was because US-based customers wanted this feature to send pics to non-email capable phone users.

    The iPhone also has no serial port sticking off of it. That's how it goes with old, outdated technology.

  • Re:yeah well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Akido37 (1473009) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:02PM (#32031850)

    Why not support both HTML5 AND flash?

    HTML5 may be the future, but Flash is still what is in use today.

    That's not the way Apple works. It adopted USB when there was exactly ONE USB printer on the market. It dropped floppies while they were still in common usage. It's been pushing FireWire when nobody else is.

    Apple decides when to deprecate technology on their own devices. If you don't like it, buy something else.

  • by drolli (522659) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:03PM (#32031872) Journal

    Basically what Jobs says is: dont use things which dont work well, even if you kill off some things which work.

    Its the counterexample off microsoft: Never kill things which work, even if some things dont work right.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:07PM (#32031960)

    Everything you've mentioned can and has been done without Flash. It just requires someone with more than a basic clue to do it. The only thing flash has going for it is a really good editor that allows even idiots to make things with it.

  • by putzin (99318) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:12PM (#32032058) Homepage

    The real reason is the last one he gives: stuff made through Flash is made to the lowest common denominator between mobile platforms...

    No, the real reason is to control ad and app revenue. Apple now owns the ad revenue stream into their devices with iAd in 4.0 and later. If you allow flash, then iAd becomes a non factor and has to compete for dev interest. With flash, it's simple enough to add a web view to an app that can be used to display a small bit of ad content without issue, thus bypassing Apple altogether. And if you can run flash apps on the phone, then it's easy enough to build web delivered flash apps that Apple can't easily stop. Make no mistake, this is about money first and control of that money second. Apple uses the lack of flash to make sure they own all the entries into their device. The ad stream and the app delivery mechanism. No matter what Steve might say, it's simply about controlling who can generate revenue from their device in mass quantities.

  • by Altus (1034) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:15PM (#32032108) Homepage

    So if Apple embraces an open web, how come I can't run anything but Safari and Opera on the iPhone?

    I don't understand this. I mean, I understand why you want to run another browser, but I don't understand how restricting the iPhones browser choices is inconsistent with embracing an open web. He isn't embracing an open phone, but the browser they provide on that phone is standards compliant. Apple has a pretty good history of using open standards and often when they develop a new way of doing things they open it up to others.

    Sure, the iPhone is a closed system, but if its standards compliant, especially in the way it deals with the internet, then it supports a standards compliant internet.

    Flash is closed, it is not an open standard. If adobe closed up tomorrow the amount of flash that we rely on would become a problem. Right now a fully featured internet experience depends on using a platform that is supported by a single company that produces a non open plug in. If your platform isn't supported by Adobe, or isn't supported well, you are out of luck when it comes to using the internet. If your platform isn't well supported by Apple that doesn't make nearly as big of a difference when it comes to your internet experience (though quicktime can be an issue, at least there are tons of other options for streaming video).

  • by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:19PM (#32032160) Journal
    It's a great way to attack F/LOSS, since you can't infringe the patent, even if its cost is 1 cent per thousand. Hence the current problem with html5.

    Also, the rate is only low during the initial phase - like crack, the first one is free.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:26PM (#32032256)

    I see this all the time, and every time I read it I just think. "So what?"

    Why do people insist on saying that Apple should sell this or that, or do something this way or that way - as if its a statement of fact?

    The great thing about freedom is it applies to everyone, Apple are free to sell whatever they like. You are free to do with that thing whatever you like.

    As a manufacturer, retailer, Apple have manufactured goods and provided them for sale. So long as those goods are fit for purpose (and I think that purpose is well defined, and does not include any of the desired features that the open-source evangelists keep demanding) then your purchase is bound by simple contract of sale.

    It is only if you wish to use the additional services that are available to you that you need consider conditions that regulate those services, and rightly so.

    Why as a business, or individual, should I provide a service to you under terms which you dictate? That sounds like a tender contract process. You are welcome, I am sure, to invite Apple to tender for a contract under which they will provide to you some hardware and such services as you may desire. They are free to decline your invitation.

    I am not against open source, far from it. The business I run is based around software that I develop, and it is licensed under the GPL. In the current circumstances it suits me to do so. In other circumstances it may not. Sometimes open-source is just not appropriate.

    Really, get a HTC or a droid or whatever else, nobody minds. Just quit whining about how the iPhone isn't what you want its so tedious.

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:28PM (#32032302) Journal

    I happen to agree with practically of his points, and have been saying much the same thing about Flash since the beginning of this whole debate.

    Honestly, I don't have much sympathy for Adobe here. No matter how loudly they whine - the fact remains that they rely too heavily on their products securing a place in the computing world simply because they're "good concepts", vs. making the effort necessary to ensure they're solid and reliable in actual use.

    EG. Adobe Acrobat Reader is in such widespread use in the Windows world, it may as well be rolled into the operating system itself. BUT, if you actually stop and look around, you find plenty of better alternatives to work with your PDF documents. Kind of pathetic, really, when you consider PDF is Adobe's own invention, yet other people are handling the format better than they are! For example, people using the free PDF reader offered by Nuance get the ability to do document markup/annotation to their PDFs, and it launches a lot faster than Acrobat Reader too. And on the Mac side, the difference is even more striking. Apple's own "Preview" app in OS X is MANY times faster than Acrobat Reader for OS X, and even allows re-ordering pages in a PDF before printing or re-saving it. But all of that aside, look at Adobe's track record just handling installs/uninstalls/updates! Take a look at any Windows PC that's been around a while. If it has the latest (or even version 8.x) of Acrobat Reader on it, obtained through Adobe's automatic updates over time - go into C:\Program Files\Adobe and see what's in there. Betcha it's not just the folder for the current version of Acrobat Reader! I've seen multiple megabytes of leftovers in there on most systems from Acrobat 7 and even 5 or 6. They're TERRIBLE about doing housekeeping when updating their product!

    And frankly, Acrobat Reader may arguably be Adobe's BEST piece of free software they let you download! Flash is multiple times worse! It crashes regularly, eats huge amounts of CPU time, and isn't consistently updated to work with the latest browser and OS technologies.

    I'm not much of a Microsoft fan either, but let's face the facts. When have you heard the kind of negativity about Microsoft's competing Silverlight technology? It's basically the MS version of Flash, but it seems to run much better for people (even if that's just because it isn't as old, and doesn't have as much "legacy code" in it?) I've heard rumors they may release it for the iPhone at some point, too. That would further illustrate that this is a real failing on ADOBE'S part, not Apple's.

  • by Zorkon (121860) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:29PM (#32032342) Homepage

    Double amen to the above post!

    Anyone that gripes about wanting Flash on their phone/mobile device *HAS NEVER HAD* Flash on a mobile device. If they had, they wouldn't want it so bad.

    I've got a Nokia N800, and the Flash experience is *terrible*. Let me tell you what great fun it is to wait for a page to render because some advertiser has a tiny little flash ad in the corner of a page. On an iPhone, the page loads instantly. On my N800? Forget it. It'll sit there and churn on that on poorly written/designed Flash app until *finally*, it appears.

    And let's say that for the fun of it I actually want to interact with that silly little Flash ad. Oh look! It uses hover states for mouse tracking - something that isn't supported on a touch interface... so instead of playing its silly little game or whatever, I end up clicking through to whatever site it links to.

    Flash on a mobile? No thanks. Been there, had that, sent it back to the kitchen.

  • by 2sheds (78194) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:34PM (#32032428) Journal

    And when there is widespread adoption, it won't be milked? Compuserve GIF, anyone?

  • by sribe (304414) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:44PM (#32032560)

    We only have Apple's word that that's the case...

    Granted I'm only one user, but you also have my word, as detailed in the message to which you are replying. But you seem to want to ignore that because it would undermine your name-calling. (Well, actually it's not just me. There are plenty of other people who have come to the same conclusion, independently and based on their own experience.)

    ...and it is a convenient argument to divert attention from Apple's clear goals.

    Yes indeed, it is a very convenient argument. Handed by Adobe to Apple on a silver platter, completely unnecessarily. And whose fault is that?

    I personally don't believe that Flash is "the single largest source of instability" in OS X...

    Please explain the basis of this belief, preferably with similar specificity to my description of how I came to believe that Flash is the single largest source of instability in OS X. (One thing I realize I left out of my original post is that I came to this conclusion long before Apple started making the claim.)

    You are demonstrating a clear lack of understanding of the issues, and since you seem to think that Apple's product is Safari I'd say your opinion doesn't count for much.

    That doesn't even make sense. Of which issue did I demonstrate a lack of understanding? Safari is one of Apple's products, and an important one to end users, whose experience of Apple's products is determined to a very great extent by their experience with Safari. Further, as I stated in my message, everything else was stable--just Safari was crashing, and only because of Flash.

  • by cmburns69 (169686) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:45PM (#32032586) Homepage Journal

    In response to Steve Jobs anecdotal evidence regarding Flash as the #1 source of crashes for OSX, let me present my own anecdotal evidence: In the last week, safari on my iPad has crashed 4 times. I think safari itself is the #1 source of crashes.

  • Re:Tacky (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Roadmaster (96317) <roadmr@tomechang o s u b a n a n a.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:48PM (#32032626) Homepage Journal

    I've been bitching about Flash for years now. And no, I don't care about the lack of Flash on my iPhone; actually I consider it a feature.

  • by virgilp (1774784) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:53PM (#32032716)

    Well, but SWF format is open, did you know that? You're free to do your own player today. In fact some people are trying now to run SWF files in HTML5 (effectively a player made using HTML5 technologies - see http://paulirish.com/work/gordon/demos/ [paulirish.com] )
    So your analogy is backfiring... if "text is open whyle AppleWorks is not", Adobe can say the very same thing: "SWF is open format, Flex SDK is open source, only Flash Player and Flash Pro are not".
    As for Webkit being open-source.... it's the engine of Safari, right? Safari is not. open-source, right?
    Now let's see... the engine of Flash Player is Tamarin. Flash Player is not open-source, but Tamarin itself *IS*.

    What a surprise.... guess Adobe is just as open (scratch that, sorry, it's much more open... they don't restrict what you can and cannot run on their platform).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:00PM (#32032826)

    To be fair webkit has gone quite a bit further. Chrome uses webkit rather than KHTML.

  • by cHiphead (17854) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:00PM (#32032828)

    Your distinctions are grossly incorrect.

    Shared Source, Accessible Source, Viewable Source, mean the source can be viewed. Using Open Source in this fashion is incorrect and is an unethical PR word-play ploy by a proprietary company trying to cash in on what Open Source actually is.

    Open source is used to imply that it is an open (freedom based) license that allows you to view, change, compile, install the software as you need.

    "Free Software" is used to imply no cost software, but not necessarily open source (ala SpiceWorks IT software, its "Free" but not "Open").

    I can buy a Wii and install whatever I want on it if I can figure out how it works without agreeing to any software 'license' they attempt to tack on to it (or bypass the software portion entirely).

  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:01PM (#32032852)

    He is protesting that Flash is pushing a closed standard when he is the biggest pusher of closed standards on the planet.

    Microsoft is. Apple is likely the largest proponent of open standards and open source, outside of primarily open source companies and organizations, on the planet.

    So are the vast majority of the media he pushes in his store.

    Interesting. Since all of the music on the iTunes Store is non-DRM, you mean "closed" as in "copyrighted"? Or are you just plain wrong?

    While it is true that he recently recanted on music, there's still a lot of legacy music out there
    that is trapped in DRM and is essentially being held hostage. Sure, Apple customers can cough over
    a ransom but they really shouldn't have to.

    I see, just plain wrong. In other words, situation normal.

    Adding DRM to an open standard makes it a closed standard.

    No it doesn't. The term Open Standard does not mean what you seem to think it means.

    Steve's binary standards are under his thumb. That's kind of the whole point of him trying to ban
    any sort of intermediate programming layer. He's not content to trap customers on his devices, he
    also wants to make sure that programmers are too.

    If you'd read his letter (I know, that's asking a lot), you'd see that he's not trying to "trap" customers or developers (it's amazing how insanely paranoid some slashdotters are). It's because, as outlined in his letter, and as pointed out to you by the non-mad among us, he wants the iPhone OS devices to provide the best user experience Apple can create. That's how Apple tries to sell their products, by actually making them better than the competition. Yeah, I know, crazy concept right?

    By allowing Flash-developed apps on the iPhone, Apple couldn't just improve the iPhone OS and have those advances widely and quickly taken advantage of. Many developers would also have to wait for Adobe to support those new features, which they may never do. This negates one of the biggest competitive advantages that Apple has--their superior operating systems.

    Now, you may not agree that Apple has the most superior mobile operating system (after all, it would be uncharacteristic of you to actually be right about something like this), but Apple sure thinks they do, and their actions, from the App Store, to the developer agreement, to Flash, all fit this explanation perfectly. This explanation also has the added benefit of being the simplest, most rational one.

    The egomaniacal, all-controlling, all-censoring explanation suffers from at least two major flaws. First, it isn't terribly consistent. Webkit being open source and html5 being an open standard as well as the many other open source and open standards that Apple supports (many of which Apple created), all contradict this view. The other flaw is that this requires Jobs to be exceptionally villainous, beyond anything you'd find in a Bond film. A lot of the "control" people here seem to want to attribute to Jobs makes no sense whatsoever. Steve Jobs doesn't want to control what you think or do. How absurd is it that one would have to write that sentence as a legitimate rebuttal?

    Programmers are a little more unwieldy in this respect.

    Yeah, I'm sure vast untold hordes of developers are fleeing the App Store as we speak. /sarcasm

  • by ahankinson (1249646) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:03PM (#32032898)

    Apple's track record with Java--from having 1.6 appear years late, to dropping 32 bit support, to insisting on packaging it themselves--seems to strongly indicate that they have to be dragged kicking and screaming to cross-platform compatibility.

    First: It was Sun that decided (up until recently) that they wouldn't open-source Java. (I still don't know if all of it is open source...) If they had, then users could compile it themselves, with the options they want.

    Second, Apple wanted to make sure that the crappy Swing interfaces in most Java apps at least looked somewhat native.

    And finally, when Apple takes away the ability to cross-compile most Linux/UNIX packages, usually with just a few modifications, then you can whine about cross-platform compatibility.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:03PM (#32032904)

    Well, I don't get this argument I see all the time that people aren't allowed to complain about anything. What kind of argument is, "If you don't like X, just don't buy/use it." No, frankly, if I don't like X, I'm going to let people know so they are aware of its shortcomings and can make an informed decision about it. And I'm also going to let the company know my opinion so they have some feedback.

    I'm not gonna shut up if I think something's wrong. What is wrong with people like you that they can't listen to people validly criticizing something? That's like saying if you don't like your government, just shut up and vote them out next time. Well, guess what, I'm not just gonna vote, I'm also gonna make my voice heard so that I can drum up some support for my side.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:17PM (#32033140)
    You can make web delivered apps in HTML5/JavaScript. They are not stopping this. Your point of Apple trying to stop web apps is invalid.
  • by harl (84412) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:17PM (#32033146)

    Um that's exactly what he's doing. He runs one of the largest closed systems in the world and then blasts another company for being closed. That's the epitome of hypocrisy.

    From the article:
    It's not open. "While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system."

    Here is I fixed it for you version:
    It's not open. "While Apple's products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Apple and available only from Apple. By almost any definition, Apple is a closed system."

    Psystar lawsuit.
    Apple must approve all iThing apps. You can't even write for your own device.
    Even little things like scrambling the names of media files on your iPod so you can't copy them yourself even if you have the rights to.

    Apple is The Definition of walled garden.

  • by sglewis100 (916818) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:19PM (#32033202)

    No, the real reason is to control ad and app revenue. Apple now owns the ad revenue stream into their devices with iAd in 4.0 and later.

    This doesn't REQUIRE developers to use it. It just provides it as an easy thing to implement. AdMob apps won't disappear overnight... except for where they find Apple pays them more and they switch out of sheer excitement.

  • by macshome (818789) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:34PM (#32033464) Homepage
    Web standards are one thing. Browser choice is a totally different thing.

    From the TV analogy, the choice of TV set is irrelevant as long as it supports the broadcast standards I want.

    Browsers have different levels of support for W3C standards, but that level of support isn't what defines the standard. I might want to use a browser with a different feature set or code base, but that has nothing to do with the "open web standards" of the content to be consumed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:36PM (#32033494)

    The real reason Jobs doesn't like Flash and cross compiling others too like JVM or C# is:

    You could create an iPhone app without purchasing Mac hardware.

    Currently, the only possible way to develop an app for the app store is to compile it on a Mac.

  • by beakerMeep (716990) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:39PM (#32033546)
    Ok let's sum up:

    -You hate low uids. Really what does that have to do with anything?

    -Apple is cool because the DRM they developed is weak (You've also been around long enough to know that Apple was developing DRM for quicktime pre itunes right?)

    -Since the original dev kit iphone was some unusably-lame browser based thing, you somehow count that as a point for open standards.

    -You think that open+proprietary = open.

    I'm at a loss for why you got modded up, you seem pretty incorrect to me, and you were very rude.
  • by TheNumberless (650099) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:04PM (#32034002)

    iPhone doesn't work I want and I own the damned thing.

    It sounds like you didn't know this when you bought it, despite the fact that it's always been that way, and it's never been a secret to anyone. Caveat emptor.

  • Re:Whoosh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:32PM (#32034458) Homepage

    No, they don't merely "recommend against it". Apple argues jailbreaking is illegal [macnn.com]. They also intentionally bricked jailbroken devices.

    With that stance, hell will freeze over before Apple sees a cent of my money. Though even if they didn't say that, why crack the system when I can buy a better one that lets me do whatever I want?

  • by peacefinder (469349) <alan@dewitt.gmail@com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:34PM (#32034514) Journal

    See, that's the interesting thing in this discussion.

    * With Flash, one must use Adobe tools to create the content and Adobe tools to view the content. The content itself may or may not be free, but the means to manipulate it are not.
    * With Apple iPhad*, one must use Apple tools to develop applications, but the device itself can view most open content.
    * With HTML5, one may use any tools to create the content and any tools to view the content. (Though H.264 has some patent and licensing encumbrance iirc.)

    HTML5 is clearly IMHO more open than Flash. (It'd be even more open with Ogg, but still it's a big improvement over Flash.)

    A common theme about Apple and Flash is that Apple is hurting itself by not using Flash, and that's seen as a bad thing. Another is that Apple should be doing more to promote open standards. But somehow, even when one takes these together to see that Apple is hurting itself to promote more open standards, Apple is still the bad guy. :-)

    Personally I find that hilarious.

    [*: iPhone+iPod +iPad]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:36PM (#32034548)

    Tell us all again why his distinction (that while apps can be proprietary, web standards should not be) rings hollow and untrue simply because "many apps are moving to cloud based syncing"?

    The way I see it, proprietary apps (like the ones on the App Store) that use open web standards to perform their online functions are clearly what Apple is shooting for here, and personally I say who cares if the apps themselves are open source or not? As long as the standards they use to communicate with one another are, there will always be sufficient room for innovation and collaboration.

  • by KharmaWidow (1504025) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:43PM (#32034704)

    Flash is proprietary ***language***. I swear, you people are either incapable of reading comprehensively or choose not to. And you get an F in syntax. Job's use of "open" is clearly in regards to ***developer language***. Why on Earth should a hardware developer like Apple design their products around another company's proprietary language!? ...That's a D in business-sense. (Adobe should design their products around Apple's OS and hardware.)

    As for the app store, it is open but with restrictions. Apple allows 3rd party apps, but it retains the right to screen out that apps that conflict with it's business plan and key user demographics (family, education). If the app store were truly closed, there would be no 3rd party apps. As a share holder of Apple, I agree with their policy.

  • by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:49PM (#32034812) Journal

    He is protesting that Flash is pushing a closed standard when he is the biggest pusher of closed standards on the planet.

    No, he is protesting that Flash is pushing a closed standard on the web when he is the biggest pusher of open standards on the web on the planet. But thanks for putting your hate towards Apple above that towards Flash.

  • Paul Who? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:16PM (#32035222)

    Why is this linking to someone's retort and not the actual page. [apple.com]
    The headline should read, "An Editor at Engadget Responds to Steve Job's Thoughts on Flash".

  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @04:35PM (#32036444)

    Apple is a corporation and they will make the best choice that benefits their duty as a corporation. They will only contribute to open standards when it benefits them and they will close anything and control anything when it benefits them.

    Corporations are not rational entities that only do things which meet their objective goals. They are groups of humans. Sometimes they follow rules, sometimes they follow committees, sometimes they follow an individual.

    In the case of Apple, they follow an individual. When a corporation follows an individual, that corporation's actions and intentions take on the characteristics provided by that leader. Steve Jobs' primary motive force isn't to make money, it's to create the best products he and his company are capable of. The fact that seeking his goals allows him and Apple to make money is what allows him to do this.

    People often mischaracterize this as saying Steve Jobs is some sort of selfless saint and that Apple is a non-profit seeking organization or some other hippy bullshit. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that Steve Jobs (and by extension, Apple) are doing what almost any one of us would do, which is to do the one productive thing we love most if it were capable of making us the money we need.

    For the situation right now, they cannot control the web, therefore it is to their benefit to "play along" and "contribute" (or poison) the web till they can control it or have it work in their favor.

    You're right that they can not, and that it's not in their benefit to try to control the web.

    When they don't have control of course they will agree to a standard; the standard benefits smaller players much more than bigger players. So by agreeing to "standards" they can guarantee that they can play.

    Who is a bigger player in the web than Apple? Microsoft, certainly. Google? No. Cisco? No. Sun? Linux? Mozilla? No. No. No.

    Apple already is big enough to muscle the web, and in fact, they are. They are muscling it towards open standards. They are muscling it away from their control, not towards it. As are Google, for example.

    But when they become the big fish, I guarantee that the standard will be theirs, come with an license agreement, and probably cost an arm and leg.

    Upon what do you base this guarantee? What action has Apple taken on the web that leads you to think this is even remotely true? Apple competes not by controlling the standards, but by being the best implementation of those standards. The iPhone OS and App Store, and the locking of Mac OS X to Apple branded hardware are the only really notable exceptions to this, and these are all examples of Apple exerting control over their own products. This is what you'd expect any corporation to do, whether the most ruthlessly, cynically avarice-minded corporation on the planet, or the most generous, giving, non-profit organization on the planet. Ubuntu, for example, exerts control over their product. Mozilla exerts control over theirs. There are very few examples counter to this, and are mostly just individuals who toss their code out there and abandon it.

    What's important to understand is why Apple exerts control over their own products. Some companies do this to nickel and dime you. Apple does this to help ensure their products maintain a high standard and outshine the competition. This ends up benefiting Apple greatly, because it's one of the single-most important ingredients in their success. But the thought process isn't, "exerting control means higher profits", it's "exerting control means better products means higher profits".

    If you want an example of a company that would lock the web into using their own proprietary technologies if they could, it's Microsoft. I say this because they've already tried this many times in the past, and it's something that they did succeed with on the PC.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:16PM (#32037070)

    Why do you feel the need for Steve to make the decision for you? Are you incapable of making your own? Isn't that precisely what any "philosophical objections" are about in the first place - giving people choice, rather than taking it away from them?

    See The Paradox of Choice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paradox_of_Choice [wikipedia.org]

    In a nutshell, there is a an idea that's popular on slashdot and amongst libertarians, and some others that choice is always a good thing. It may seem intuitive, but it's wrong. In fact people's lives are not enhanced by giving them extra poor quality choices. In fact it's detrimental to their happiness.

  • by Snocone (158524) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:21PM (#32037132) Homepage

    Adobe isn't exactly known for their open source efforts, but they do a hell of a lot more of it than Apple does

    http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/site/Projects [adobe.com]

    http://www.apple.com/opensource/ [apple.com]

    That is a very interesting definition of "more" you must be using. It does not appear to correspond in any factual way to the definition of "greater quantity" which a reality-based person would expect.

  • by Graff (532189) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:01PM (#32038344)

    This is why it's so one-sided to link to the analysis of the letter without linking to the letter itself. Yes, the letter is available at the bottom of the article, hidden behind a button that you have to click to see it, but that's not quite the same thing as being up-front and giving people a chance to read the letter first, digesting it, and then the analysis.

    Anyways, here's the letter for people who may have missed the link: Thoughts On Flash [apple.com]. Steve Jobs fully admits that a lot of Apple's stuff is proprietary and he explains why the proprietary nature of Flash matters in this circumstance.

    Here is a relevant section from the letter:

    Adobe's Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

    Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript - all open standards. Apple's mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

    It's an interesting read which makes quite a few thought-provoking points.

  • by Longstaff (70353) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:54PM (#32040136)
    Anyone that gripes about wanting Flash on their phone/mobile device *HAS NEVER HAD* Flash on a mobile device. If they had, they wouldn't want it so bad.

    *raises hand*

    Here, please. I have an N800 and an N900. I *do* want flash on my devices and I *do* use it. Both of those devices have adblock plus to combat annoying ads with the built-in browser. The main thing is, I can still use flash if (and when) I want to. That's my choice to make - not the manufacturers.

    Oh look! It uses hover states for mouse tracking - something that isn't supported on a touch interface... Oh look! The N900 has a touch interface that supports hover!
  • by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday April 30, 2010 @12:42AM (#32040744)

    Microsoft is. Apple is likely the largest proponent of open standards and open source, outside of primarily open source companies and organizations, on the planet.

    Sarcasm right?

    Interesting. Since all of the music on the iTunes Store is non-DRM, you mean "closed" as in "copyrighted"? Or are you just plain wrong?

    Not true a short while ago. Apple was the biggest pusher of DRM on the planet with the iTunes store that propelled us into the crap we have today. (They later realized it was a crappy idea and abandoned it). That doesn't mean they aren't evil, they just want to be profitable. But then you already knew what he meant since it was explained in the next line. So really you are just creating false arguements.

    No it doesn't. The term Open Standard does not mean what you seem to think it means.

    While technically true there is no such thing as an open standard DRM in the world of today.

    Now, you may not agree that Apple has the most superior mobile operating system (after all, it would be uncharacteristic of you to actually be right about something like this)

    Shill. And inflamatory.

    The egomaniacal, all-controlling, all-censoring explanation suffers from at least two major flaws. First, it isn't terribly consistent. Webkit being open source and html5 being an open standard as well as the many other open source and open standards that Apple supports (many of which Apple created), all contradict this view.

    Webkit was GNU based before apple got there. They didn't make html5. And list some open source things apple has created. Even M$ is better.

    Anyways, jesus christ. I hope Apple is paying you well.

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