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Flash Is Not a Right 850

medcalf notes that game designer Ian Bogost enters the debate about Flash by saying "[A] large number of developers seem to think that they have the right to make software for the iPhone (or for anything else) in Flash, or in another high-level environment of their choosing. Literally, the right, not just the convenience or the opportunity. And many of them are quite churlish about the matter. This strikes me as a very strange sort of attitude to adopt. There's no question that Flash is useful and popular, and it has a large and committed user base. There's also no question that it's often convenient to be able to program for different platforms using environments one already knows. And likewise, there's a long history of creating OS stubs or wrappers or other sorts of gizmos to make it possible to run code 'alien' to a platform in a fashion that makes it feel more native. But what does it say about the state of programming practice writ large when so many developers believe that their 'rights' are trampled because they cannot write programs for a particular device in a particular language? Or that their 'freedom' as creators is squelched for the same reason?"
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Flash Is Not a Right

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  • That's what happens when you choose a closed platform.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:24PM (#32113392)

    Using your own device in whatever manner you wish is your right!

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:26PM (#32113426) Homepage Journal

    Yea and you can write the program and use it on the iPhone with any tool you want.
    You just can not sell it in their store.
    But you can use it on your phone all you want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:26PM (#32113434)

    I don't see a problem with Apple not allowing a built-in or "Apple Store" version of Flash, per your arguments in TFA. What I *do* have a problem though, is when a device I *own* won't let me install a piece of software that *I* want to install. And when I say I have a problem with it, that means I don't own an iPhone/iPad, and I educate my less-informed family members and friends of what I feel is pertinent to all consumers, whether they know it is or not.

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:27PM (#32113450) Journal

    Flash may be proprietary itself, but there's a large extent to which it doesn't dictate what you can do with it.

    Apple dictates what software you can develop for their mobile products to an absurd level -- everything from what tools you may use to what kind of morality is appropriate (no porn for you).

    I don't like either of them, and I am glad to see Apple kill Flash, but I despise the way they're doing it.

  • by jcheezem ( 96097 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:27PM (#32113470)

    True - but look at the end user agreement for the software.

    You don't own it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:28PM (#32113484)

    The issue isn't that flash is or isn't a "right". I don't care if there is flash player for IPhone or not. The issue is that Jobs is basically telling us what kind of IDE we can use. Apple wants to stomp developers who would build something out in a high-level environment/language, and then translate it to another language that is more appropriate for their target platform.
    Jobs has obfuscated this with his letter because he's trying to hide some very nasty politics/business practices.

  • Provided... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:28PM (#32113488) Journal

    You can do that, provided you pay for their development kit (isn't that a yearly subscription?), or jailbreak your own phone.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:30PM (#32113552) Journal

    Flash Is Not a Right

    There seems to be some confusion here. I don't recall the argument being that developers thought it was a right, the argument was that it is a tool that is useful and can probably run with little effort on Apple's mobile devices. So it was perceived that Apple was deliberately stunting some developers. Now, I think Java's been outlawed as well so you should be just as upset about that. Now, as a consumer, the iPad is right out of the question as here we have two empowering functionalities disabled for no apparent reason on my device. And it looks like they're going to do everything they can to stop Java and Flash from ever running on iPads.

    The outcry is not that Apple is revoking a right but simply that they are deliberately crippling a product ... and for what reason? Well, Jobs gives a few reasons but a lot of people assume it's marketshare and money. I happen to side with the latter group and find that despicable under the assumption that it would not take much to get Java or Flash running on an iPad.

    Couple the above with the fact that there are a lot of social games out there and lightweight games running Flash already that might have hoped the iPad would just automagically support their game and I think you understand why there's so much backlash for lack of Flash. It's not a right but it lack of Flash on the iPad is a wet blanket to many.

  • by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:31PM (#32113584) Journal
    Of course this article is tagged troll; the three people or so on Slashdot who try and explain this every Apple discussion know what's it's like to make sense in a sea of selfishness and entitlement.
  • by EvilNTUser ( 573674 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:32PM (#32113610)

    That's what happens when you choose a closed platform.

    Exactly, but TFA is one big strawman. The argument is that closed platforms are bad, not that open platforms are a right. We can call Apple assholes without trying to revoke their business license.

    Hell, I hate Flash too. But there's a huge difference between not actively supporting a technology and doing your best to ensure people can't use it even when they want to.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:34PM (#32113646) Homepage

    Just keep this in mind: Apple used Fairplay DRM to kill the use of WMA and DRM in the music industry. Apple's insanity isn't all bad.

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:36PM (#32113674)
    I want to run Flash on my microwave - who do I complain to since I can't. I want to use my device in whatever manner I want to, just as you say - I want to run Flash on my microwave.

    And, if you can't see the similarity between my far-fetched comment and using Flash on one of Apple's devices, then you aren't looking at the entire picture.
  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:37PM (#32113694) Homepage

    I read the title as "Flash is not right". A more appealing as well as truthful title all round.

  • by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:37PM (#32113714) Journal
    Dude RTFA seriously. I mean WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR POINT? If people do not like developing under these rules then they don't have to and won't. But most people don't mind which is why there are tons of iPhone apps. You may not like it but the fact is no one cares. Don't develop for Apple. No one will miss you. No one needs you. And you are certainly not entitled to everything. This goes for everyone. Get the fuck over it. I bet half the people who bitch on Slashdot aren't even devs but children trying to be edgy (the majority of Flash "developers"). It's this stupid "me me me" crap that pervades everything here and let me tell you, it's worse than the made up demons of Apple and Facebook people feel entitled to hate as well.
  • by amorsen ( 7485 ) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:42PM (#32113790)

    The manufacturer of your microwave isn't actively going out of its way to block flash. You can legally sell flash for the microwave oven; software installation is a chore but the playing field is level for everyone. You don't sign an EULA when you buy your microwave.

  • by tarsi210 ( 70325 ) <nathan&nathanpralle,com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:43PM (#32113810) Homepage Journal
    Why does this strike me that this is more about a bunch of so-called, "developers," who are getting all huffy about not being able to easily whack out Whack-A-Mole and Fart apps for the i(Pad|Touch|Phone), than about a true fight for a "right" to develop as you please? So develop stuff in Flash -- you just won't be able to publish it via these devices. Why is this a big surprise? It's not as if Apple's hidden the fact that Flash isn't supported. It's not like you USED to be able to use it and now you can't -- they've been VERY open about their dick-waving with Adobe.

    Hey -- I want it to have Flash, too. I'd like to have a Ferrari, but it's just not in the cards, ya know?

    A million baby entrepreneurs thought that the iPad would SURELY have to allow the use of Flash and they were already counting the stacks of bills in their minds garnered from the various apps they were going to whack out in a hurry using Flash; now that dream has been shattered and they're getting all surly about it. Wah.
  • Re:Provided... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:44PM (#32113864)

    Close. All that analogy is missing is the point that the behavior that would require you to buy replacements and lose warranty coverage is watching a different channel.

  • by Webz ( 210489 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:45PM (#32113888)

    The outcry is not that Apple is revoking a right but simply that they are deliberately crippling a product.

    How are they crippling the product? People seem to have this assumption that open is better. I say no. It's just like a gated community. There's a barrier of entry higher than zero. It's to keep the riff raff out.

    Oh man, Apple must be doing so badly. Check out the wild, wild success of all those open devices. Get real. Openness is not the end all be all of these types of devices. Is openness important? Sure, to some people. But it's probably not THAT important to the many other people that are willing to spend money.

    Why don't YOU prove that the lack of openness correlates to the lack of quality, since that's what you and many other people seem to be implying.

  • by GameMaster ( 148118 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:47PM (#32113934)

    First off, IANAL but, In the US, we have anti-trust laws designed to stop companies from doing this kind of stuff. The don't, necessarily, require the company to have X% market-share before some of the laws apply. Has Apple crossed the line here? I don't know, I guess we'll find out when the recently announced legal issues resolve themselves. The point is that there are laws that limit how much a company can control what you do with a product you've purchase from them even when it comes to your future use of that product with their services. A prime example is in the automotive industry. Car makers aren't allowed to just void your warranty for not using "Ford" brand gasoline; "Ford" brand tires; "Ford" brand spark plugs; etc. They don't get to void the warranty just because you installed an after-market tail pipe or radio. From my perspective, I can see them having the right to refuse to host a Flash plug-in on the iTunes store (though, Microsoft's recent issues in the EU with providing a list of alternative browsers might suggest possible issues for Apple in the EU) but the thing I see as most contentious would be their refusal to allow anyone to install software onto the device that isn't provided through iTunes and their, active, banning of users that jailbreak their device. This is the behavior that I can see the US government/courts coming down hard on.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:48PM (#32113946)
    Does your microwave producer actively prevent you from installing software on your microwave? No, they do not -- they may not provide you with tools or documentation, but there is nothing built into the microwave that thwarts efforts to install third party code.

    Apple, on the other hand, deliberately and actively works to prevent you from running unapproved software on the iPhone/iPad.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:49PM (#32113986)

    Then they don't need my business.

    Their sales figures agree with you.

  • by zentec ( 204030 ) * <zentec AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:49PM (#32113990)

    I don't consider it a misunderstanding over their "right", but a complete lack of understanding of the platform for which they want to develop. There's a lost art of having to program devices with limited memory and energy budgets. Thanks to the desktop, the solution wasn't to code more efficiently and have the developer bear the pain, it was just far easier to push it to the user in the form of more memory and faster processors. And yes, more energy.

    This can't be done on tiny devices, and the write-once run everywhere mantra comes at a hefty expense. I also agree with Jobs' point that high level abstractions and languages *do* reduce the application down to the lowest common denominator.

    At some point, Adobe and their peers will want to start putting their libraries inside the iPhone OS. We've all seen how intrusive and bloated Adobe Reader has become, that's just the kind of behavior I hope to avoid on my phone. Sure, Flash would be nice, but am I willing to get it at the cost of allowing Adobe to modify files in the OS? The alternative is that these Flash applications carry the necessary libraries with them and these simply Flash games are now pushing tens of megabytes in girth.

    Furthermore, where does it end? They permit Flash, then Java and hey what about .NET /CLR for applications? How about Visual Basic on the iPhone? Wait, that we've left out the Fortran programmers so we need to support them as well.

    Here's an idea. Instead of being a "Flash Developer", how about you just be a developer and understand that a language is a tool and like all tools, there's a right one for the job. Tiny device programming is a different art form, one of where less really is more and it isn't necessarily an easy world in which to work.

    Sorry to be a buzz kill.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:50PM (#32114006)
    So let people install software from sources other than the apps store. You know, they way I can add any repositories to my Fedora system, or even just install software without using yum or rpm? I am not saying Apple needs to provide support for people who choose to do that, and they could even program the iPad to warn people about a loss of warranty or support if they choose to enable third party software sources, but the fact that they are actively working against the installation of third party software is a problem.
  • by nwf ( 25607 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:51PM (#32114036)

    The manufacturer of your microwave isn't actively going out of its way to block flash. You can legally sell flash for the microwave oven; software installation is a chore but the playing field is level for everyone. You don't sign an EULA when you buy your microwave.

    Sure they, most electronic devices with firmware, which is just about everything, have their microcontroller's flash memory locked so you can't read it out and then modify it. Nor do they publish any information about how you could write your own and will refuse (I've asked) any request for such info since it's "proprietary." Not really very different than Apple, but at least they provide SOME way to do development on the device. I'm developing for the iPhone and it's a very nice environment and very well done. Sure, you have to learn Objective C and Cocoa, which is what I'd bet most people have an issue with: they don't want to learn anything new. Get over it.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:52PM (#32114050)
    "Either way, you know what you're getting when you buy it."

    At what point did Apple come out and say, "We do not allow cartoons that mock politicians on the iPhone/iPad?" Oh, that's right, they leave out the details about their restrictions when you ask about these devices.

    Some people do not know what they are getting when they buy it.
  • by sbeckstead ( 555647 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:53PM (#32114066) Homepage Journal
    I don't really think you guys know what you mean by a "Closed Platform". Flash is just as closed as anything Apple or Microsoft puts out there. The development tools cost more and the capabilities are stifled in comparison to native tools on any system that Flash runs on.
  • by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:54PM (#32114084)

    Look, any proprietary company that cares about the stability of their product is going to be interested in keeping their platform very tightly controlled. Instead of talking about closed platforms, tell people to decide for themselves.

    I did my research. I'm an existing Apple user. I can live without Flash, so I decided to buy an iPhone, and later, an iPad.

    Flash is not the center of my universe. In fact, I do think the web would be better without it (that's why I use flashblock). But that's why the iPad and iPhone are devices I'm comfortable using (among other reasons).

    If you can't live without flash on your device, or if you want to run any old crappy app under the sun, do your research. Don't buy Apple. Buy a product that supports what you want.

    The market will speak and the product that succeeds will be the superior product.

    I'm tired of this flamebait crap that tries to tell people what to think. Everyone should be making their own decisions for what product supports features they want.

  • Re:Apple's right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SRHavoc ( 1339933 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:55PM (#32114100) Homepage

    Yea, Microsoft's closed practices have literally made their products obsolete...

  • by jayme0227 ( 1558821 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:57PM (#32114156) Journal

    Completely false analogy. The correct analogy would be if Linus Torvalds (or someone from Red Hat or Ubuntu) went out of his way to stop Microsoft from developing Word for your Linux distro. Or suing Microsoft for not letting you create and distribute a program for Windows.

    I seriously doubt you have to worry about either happening.

  • by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:57PM (#32114158)
    If Apple is outselling the entire netbook-ish end of the market, it's a problem. Apple sells well because of their hardware, but their lockdown on software is bad for everyone else, and if they continue to grow and take over device markets it's going to be a long, hard road for developers.
  • by jjoelc ( 1589361 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:57PM (#32114160)

    Couple the above with the fact that there are a lot of social games out there and lightweight games running Flash already that might have hoped the iPad would just automagically support their game

    You just inadvertently stated exactly what I have been thinking all along... There are a lot of people who have a lot of existing apps written in flash. There is a lot of money floating around the iPhone/iPad app store right now, so that is where they want to be. What they don't seem to want to do is put any more work into all of these existing apps to optimize them in any way shape or form for the platform. They want to just press a button that says "compile for iPhone/iPad" and start rolling in the money...

    It doesn't work that way. Odds are that you chose to program in flash because it was the hot field. There was a lot of work and money and opportunity in that area, so that is where you went. Now the money and opportunity are somewhere else, and you are complaining that you have to learn something new or do something different to get access to it? Sorry charlie...

    If you are looking to follow the fads, expect to change brand names regularly. How many of you are still wearing your parachute pants?

  • by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @01:58PM (#32114180) Homepage
    Maybe I'm just misunderstanding your point, but a "right" is not a "well-established social norm". A right is a thing you can do that compels no one else to do anything, nor prevents them from exercising their own rights of the same kind. Your right to use your property any way you like doesn't prevent me from doing the same with my property. In other words, a right is something for which you cannot justly be punished. It is one of the four controls of societal interaction, along with a privilege (which you are granted immunity from punishment for, even if it creates an obligation on someone else or in some way infringes another's rights), a duty (which you can be justly punished for not doing) and a prohibition (which you may not do without facing at least the risk of punishment).
  • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:00PM (#32114240)

    And you are certainly not entitled to everything.

    Not everything, but no hardware manufacturer has the right to dictate what tools you may and may not use to develop on their platform. As long as the software winds up as code their device can understand, that's all that matters. Apple is way out of line on this issue.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:01PM (#32114274) Homepage

    My take on the whole thing is "WAH" if you dont like it then dont code for the closed platform. There is a huge Android platform that would really like some more great apps to compete with apple's head start.

    Plus android based tablets are actually already here (I have had an android based tablet for a year now. I installed Android X86 on a older tablet PC. works great.

    I agree, you dont like it, then dont code for it.

    but I dont see anyone writing Symbian apps with Flash. And symbian phone sales outnumber the iPhones and all android phones put together.

  • That's what happens when you don't know how to program! You choose one language one platform over all others.

    Why is it that everyone assumes I am pro-Flash, simply because I dislike Apple's stand on this matter?

    I'm glad Flash is slowly dying. I just don't like the way Apple's chosen to kill it.

    As for forcing people to learn multiple languages and multiple platforms, that's a very good thing, but having to completely rewrite an app from the ground up for multiple platforms is a bad thing.

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#32114284)
    Apple deliberately and actively do not sell you software that they don't approve. Apple has not, to my knowledge, taken any action against people jailbreaking their device and running unapproved software (and fixing security holes that lead to jailbreaking does not count as taking action against the process - it's fixing security holes). Further, developers can make web apps that run on the iPhone (see Google Voice or Bejeweled 2 for examples). So, no, Apple does not "deliberately and actively work to prevent you from running unapproved software on the iPhone/iPad" - they simply won't sell apps through their store unless the apps are made to their specifications.

    In other words, it may be difficulty for me to install and run Flash on my microwave but, similarly, it is difficult (less so, compared to my efforts with my microwave...) for you to install and run Flash on your iPhone. In both cases, however, it is possible for the end user to use the device however they want, with a bit of difficulty.
  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#32114292)

    Exactly, but TFA is one big strawman.

    That's exactly how I was going to describe it. I am solidly in the camp that thinks Apple's business practices around this whole debate have been deplorable, but I haven't seen anyone claiming they had any inherent RIGHTS one way or the other in the matter.

    Not any serious developers, at least. I'm sure there are plenty of Internet trolls saying things like that, but if he's arguing against trolls he lost before he started.

  • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:02PM (#32114308)

    If you don't like it, don't buy it, don't develop for it. Simple.

    I haven't bought it (and never will), and don't develop for it (and never will). However, that doesn't mean I shouldn't also express feedback as to why I didn't/don't do those things. You believe in a false dichotomy.

  • I really wish everyone would quit whining

    If you don't like it, don't listen.

    If you don't like it, don't buy it, don't develop for it.

    Check. Now what?

    Watch the rest of my profession, and a large chunk of the general public, be pulled into this trap? Or speak out against it?

    I want what the iPhone should have been, and what Android still has a chance of becoming. That is not going to happen if all of us just sit down, shut up, and let Apple take all the marketshare. There absolutely is a PR battle to be fought over this, and I am going to continue to warn people away from walled gardens as long as they will listen, until the only people left in those gardens are their creators.

  • Flash is just as closed as anything Apple or Microsoft puts out there.

    Nope. Flash is closed-source. Apple is both closed-source and closed-access, which is a very different thing.

  • Re:I have a dream (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kherr ( 602366 ) <kevin.puppethead@com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:07PM (#32114426) Homepage

    That one day, little iPhones, and little Android phones, may one day access the same content.

    That was, essentially, Steve Jobs argument in his letter slamming Flash. His view is that the Web should be based on standards.

    The truth is Flash is not a standard, it's a convention. A huge amount of Web content may be in Flash, but it's a closed system. Only one company, Adobe, decides how it works. Ten years ago you could say the same thing about RealPlayer. Shouldn't the iPhone support Real video? What about ActiveX?

    The iPhone platform is closed, sure. But it's not delivering content to others, it happens to include a way to access web content. If it does a poor job of that the market will reject it, but the only ones who seem up in arms are Flash developers who are mad about their favorite tools not working on some shiny, popular platform.

  • by secretcurse ( 1266724 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:09PM (#32114470)
    A right absolutely isn't a well established social norm. At least, it's not supposed to be. A right is supposed to be something that is illegal for the government to take away from you because all humans deserve it. Consider segregated schools. The well-established social norm at the time was to send the black kids to the crappy backwoods school and the white kids to the best mommy and daddy could afford. The norm of "seperate but equal" was established by the courts. Then the Supreme Court finally squashed the nonsense and said that those black kids had equal rights to educational access as the white kids because they're all human beings.

    Please don't confuse rights and social norms. Otherwise the slightest majority will get to decide what the rights are for everyone. What Apple violated was an expectation, not a right.
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:10PM (#32114488) Homepage

    The outcry is not that Apple is revoking a right but simply that they are deliberately crippling a product ... and for what reason?

    There are apparently a number of reasons and Jobs gave them. You may not like those reasons, and you may think those reasons are stupid, but I don't really see a lot in the way of grounds to disbelieve that those are the main reasons. To boil it down to what's probably the biggest reason: Apple *wants* developers to develop apps specifically for the iPhone/iPad because they believe they'll get better apps that way. They don't particularly want cross platform apps that have been ported over, because Apple's belief is that they'll get flooded with tons and tons of crappy applications that don't work well and don't take good advantage of their devices' capabilities.

    Personally, I think a lot of this anger against Apple for refusing to allow Flash comes from two factors: latent anti-Apple sentiments and successful astroturfing by Adobe. You have tons and tons of people who, a few monts or a year ago, would be complaining loudly about how Flash is a horrible blight on the free Internet, and instead today they're complaining about Apple's evil plot to damage the beautiful and perfect Flash platform by forcing people to use the terrible proprietary H264 format. It's kind of dumb.

    If you want to complain about Apple's lock-down, I say go ahead, but pick some better examples. Let's talk about the fact that they're still using DRM on their video purchases. Let's talk about how they rejected the Google Voice app. Let's talk about how you can't put the iPhone or iPad into "disk mode" and copy your files on and off. Those are all instances where Apple is actually restricting functionality. But Flash? Apple's doing us a favor. They're not saying, "You can't build an application that does [such and such]." They're saying you can't build an application using a crappy tool that crashes constantly and causes everyone various problems.

  • by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:15PM (#32114588)

    Oh, so there's a real Apple somewhere which lets me actually own my own hardware? Or a real Facebook which lets me own my own data?

    Yes, it's called Nokia.

  • by Lundse ( 1036754 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:16PM (#32114606)

    You may not like it but the fact is no one cares.

    Which is why we are arguing against Apple's platform - if noone cares, everyone is worse off. So you can call us whatever you want, I for one will still argue that Apple's methods is hurting developers, and in the end consumers. If you believe I am wrong, or wrong that this matters, tell me why and we can discus it.
    Yelling "noone cares" is just silly...

  • Re:Straw man (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sweatyboatman ( 457800 ) <sweatyboatman AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:17PM (#32114616) Homepage Journal

    it's still a strawman, because the argument isn't that developers have a right to develop iPhone apps in Flash or Java. It's that limiting how developers can use your device makes your product weaker.

    Apple is well within their rights to deny 3rd party development environments and to cripple their products as much as they like. And users are certainly free to purchase as many iPhones/iPads/iGlasses as they can afford. But independent developers play an important role in the success of such products and they are equally free to voice concerns over Apple's iron-fisted approach.

    So we are pointing out that Apple is handcuffing the functionality of their devices in terms of how they can be used and who can use them. And that the stated reasons for doing so -- that flash/java is buggy and promotes bad apps -- do not actually hold up to examination.

    I would add that historically, platforms that are difficult to develop for or place needless restrictions on content creators struggle in the medium to long-term. (Right now the iPhone/iPad has an advantage in terms of user-base, but that is not guaranteed going forward.)

    Is it whining to point out that by not supporting popular environments like Flash/Java and by forcing users to use their language and development environment, Apple is giving a huge advantage to their competitors?

  • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:18PM (#32114642)

    What I don't understand is why people aren't doing just that. Most of us program because it's fun, but it's just not fun when you're limited. Yes, when I program for fun it is all about me, and damnit, I deserve to be able to do what I want. That's why I use Linux :)

    I program because it puts food on my table.

    So... why are you people still developing for iPhone? Put your money where your mouth is.

    That's exactly what they are doing...they are going where the money is.

    But why are so many techies defending Flash "programmers". Isn't that about like defending people who could only program in VB6?

  • by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:20PM (#32114686)

    And you are certainly not entitled to everything.

    Not everything, but no hardware manufacturer has the right to dictate what tools you may and may not use to develop on their platform. As long as the software winds up as code their device can understand, that's all that matters. Apple is way out of line on this issue.

    FALSE. They do have the right, so long as they tell you first and then leave it up to you to decide if you want to play by those rules. You CHOSE to buy Apple fully aware of the restrictions, then blame Apple when those restrictions finally affect you in a negative way. If you wanted an fully open platform, you wouldn't have bought an iPhone, so it doesn't make sense that you're complaining about it not being open. So the only conclusions I can come up with are either a) you're short sighted, b) you're hypocritical, c) you're easily blinded by marketing campaigns, d) all of the above. Apple is not out of line, you are.

  • Apple in the right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:22PM (#32114728)

    I have to say that I think that morally (even if not legally) Apple is in the right here. The bottom line is that Apple (or any other company) has the right to make their products as restrictive as they want regardless of their reasons for doing so. If they want to approve every app that goes on their device they have the right. If they want to support only certain programming languages and API's, it's their right. If they want to enforce a Draconian EULA according to which users rent their device instead of owning it, that's their right. They invested the time and money to develop the product so they should be able to excercise complete control of it.
    Even in the case of Ford mentioned above, they should have the right to do that with their product. The fact that most consumers are ignorant and do not care or read/research the EULA is not Apple's problem. I despise Microsoft but I think they had every right to bundle IE in Windows and integrate it into their shoddy OS.

    That being said I personally have no interest in the iWhatever nor would I be interested in a Ford car as described above because of said restrictions so I excercise my right not to buy it. I don't rant and rave about how Microsoft is evil (well, maybe sometimes), I just don't use their products and don't recommend them to anyone I talk to. These companies' restrictions or crappy products are just an opportunity for someone else to come along and develop a non restrictive product that, in the end, will force Apple/Ford/Microsoft to open up or improve their system or else lose significant market share. These whiny developers should, if anything, only be angry at the technical and legal ignorance of the consumers who allow the iWhatever to become the dominant product and to that end should back educational campaigns and/or competing products

    I know this view is extremely Randian and I'd love to hear some opposing viewpoints.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:25PM (#32114802)
    They also sell well because of their software and in part BECAUSE of their lockdown. What is annoying for developers translates to a better experience for consumers and better PR for Apple. If you want to blame anyone, blame consumers. They are the ones that blame Apple (or any other embedded device manufacturer) when an app written by joe-shmoe causes the system become less usable. That is why Apple controls the chain so closely, because THEY get the PR hit when 3rd party applications effect the device rather then the application authors... this is esp true for systems like flash where people are used to seeing it work on their PC and thus assume that it will work just as well on an embedded system.
  • by I_have_a_life ( 1582721 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:26PM (#32114820)
    What exactly is YOUR point? Should we all just roll over and accept the things we don't like in life? Maybe for some people the issue is big enough that they want to change the status quo. How can you make a claim that no one cares? Where's the evidence? Obviously the DoJ and the FTC cares. That's somebody backed by alot of guns. If you don't care then tune them out but really who gives a damn whether you think it's worthwhile to complain about it or not especially on a site where half the content could be construed as people whining about stuff. And if you think /. is a dev exclusive community then you MUST be new here.
  • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:30PM (#32114890)

    Nope. Flash is closed-source. Apple is both closed-source and closed-access, which is a very different thing.

    Yep. Maybe that's why they use "Think different" as a slogan? That could be what they're referring to.

  • Re:Provided... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:33PM (#32114942) Homepage

    That's a fancy way of saying you have to pay Apple $99 just to run your own applications, even ones that you developed for your own personal use.

    That cut both ways. By restricting what applications can be installed on the device by some form of vetting procedure, they also cut down heavily on the likelihood of malware.

    So, by restricting what everyone can do, they also curtail the malicious idiots out there. Which, is remarkably consistent with Apple trying to give their users a non-sucky experience with their products.

  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:36PM (#32114966)
    The Symbian point is an important one. While Apple is getting a lot of flack for this (because people just love hating Apple), this is pretty normal practice for embedded devices like cell phones. Crow, Apple is being a hell of a lot more open then many of the networks have been over the years. Ever try publishing something for, say, Verizon branded phones? I think this is what is pissing me off so much about this entire discussion.... people are taking what is a normal and sane buisness practice and, because it is Apple, throwing a fit.
  • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:39PM (#32115014)

    Nope. The fact that something is legal does not make it right. Apple absolutely has the right to dictate what does and does not go on on their platform (as much as I dislike it). Their right ends at the device, however. When they dictate what goes on on my machines, they are very far out of line. The fact that developers agree to this has nothing to do with whether it is right or wrong.

    Furthermore, I don't own an iPhone (and never will), and I don't develop for the iPhone (and never will), precisely because of the unreasonable restrictions Apple puts upon this platform. Not only do you have a poor grasp upon what Apple's rights are, your argument amounts to making false assumptions about what I own, and drawing conclusions about my character based on those false assumptions. Hardly a strong position you have, there.

  • by abulafia ( 7826 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:40PM (#32115026)

    Go for it. Seriously. Do it. The Apple Zipline Attack Ninjas aren't going to come through your window if you figure out how to get Flash apps running on your iPhone.

    Neither will they do so if you distribute the result through Cydia.

    What's that? You want to use Apple's infrastructure to distribute your code? Doesn't Apple have the right to control their servers?

    Aren't you really bitching about the entire ecosystem Apple set up? In which case, isn't the proper answer, "don't buy it?"

  • by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:42PM (#32115078)

    You may not like it but the fact is no one cares. Don't develop for Apple. No one will miss you. No one needs you.

    But if they end missing and needing you, Apple will care and about face as quick as they can. So, if you want to see these things on the iPhone, go someplace else and make them. Get Flash and Java on Android. Make tons of killer apps for some other phone that allows the coding methods you desire. Hell, build a new phone. According to all the bitching here, there seems to be a good opening in the market with demand. As soon as the things that Apple doesn't allow become selling points to the general public, they will allow those things.

    That being said, keep bitching. Remember that Apple didn't originally even want apps on the iPhone. Everything was supposed to be a webapp. However, with demand, they came out with the IDE (although I suspect there would have been one out anyway.) Apple does reverse their stand if they feel the outcry is loud enough. We've seen articles about reversed rejected app decisions here on /. Apple rumor sites are filled with stories though the years of public outcry being met with Apple changing their ways and giving the public what they want. I's say that Apple is one of the few companies that bitching too actually does work. Still, it's not enough just to be loud, you have to be loud and have a crowd behind you.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:54PM (#32115332) Homepage Journal

    Oh, so there's a real Apple somewhere which lets me actually own my own hardware?

    Yes, it's called Nokia.

    Then why can't I find any Nokia phones in electronics stores where I live?

  • by Darth Snowshoe ( 1434515 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @02:55PM (#32115336)

    Every day here it's another hatefest for Apple's dev policy - the same thing as every day for the last half of forever. You people, you're just being intentionally dense.

    The vast majority of iPad purchasers have no, zero, interest in programming flash. People WANT a walled garden. It's a feature, it's THE defining feature that makes the device dependable, fast, trustworthy, secure. If you want something else, you go get something else. No one's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to write Objective C. You can't, so far as I know, write Lisp or Forth and run it on your XBox 360 or your Blackberry either, but I swear I've never seen a byte's worth of ascii text spent complaining about those situations. I think that's a fair indication that slashdotters feel like culturally the iPad is some kind of an affront, rather than that some real injustice is being done to them. Here, I'll try it out for you "Lisp on a Blackberry! Lisp on a Blackberry! Oh, the humanity!" Meh.

    If you really want something worthwhile to gripe about, I encourage you to go visit websites of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the EFF. Get involved in something of consequence. There is plenty of real injustice in the world, but the Apple/Flash thing is not it.

  • by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:04PM (#32115474) Journal
    What it boils down to is this. The free market Slashdotter's love so much? It is defining the Apple turf. The App Store is fine and it doesn't need you to write applications for it. In a free market, if there really were so many issues with Apple's lockdown, Apple would be forced to open up a bit. But they aren't. Because people still work with them. And that is how the free market works. Making Apple open up isn't a free market, it's the opposite. But of course on Slashdot, "free market" is misunderstood term used whenever the poster wants to somehow rationalize why everything should go his way.
  • by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:09PM (#32115540)
    No, I think I'll continue to blame Apple. Modern tools like Flash have increased the quality and ease of software development because they provide common functionality support at a very high level. While there are a few holes in the Flash provider itself, those are not comparable to the damage done by developers who have to reinvent the wheel every time. Consumers don't give a damn what something was written in, and Flash has been one of those technologies consumers have glommed onto en masse. Apple shutting down Flash and comparable frameworks is Apple's fault and nobody else's, and it's bad for everyone.
  • by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:15PM (#32115646)

    Your arguments and comparisons are predicated on Apple being a monopoly in a space. Smartphones, tablets/netbooks, whichever. This is not currently even close to the case. Until it is, i.e. "When Apple has that position and leverage . . .", you will be correct.

    But as so many are fond of pointing out, they do not now control any market, with the exception of portable music players. Certainly not computers.

  • by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:17PM (#32115680)
    There's no internet in your village? Or maybe, you can reach slashdot, but not nokia.com?
  • by insertwackynamehere ( 891357 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:18PM (#32115700) Journal
    Um no. Sorry try again. The iPhone is a closed platform. Sucks for you if you don't like it. The free market will ruin Apple if this didn't work but it does. That's how the real world is. It isn't Apple coddling you every step of the way giving you everything your special little self needs to develop an application. You are all so fucking entitled it's not even funny. I don't care if you dislike Apple's business model, but the sense of entitlement in these posts is what pushes me over the edge. It's as if everyone needs to drop everything for some developers on Slashdot who don't like the SDK for the iPhone and want Apple to tailor it for their usage, with the expectation that Apple cares about them enough for this to be a possibility. It is so incredibly acceptable and a non-issue that you need to use the iPhone SDK and Obj-C to program on the iPhone.
  • by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:26PM (#32115824)

    Sure, and you can develop for iPhone using open source tools; all of Apple's extensions to gcc or llvm are contributed back to the main distribution. And how ARMv6 or ARMv7 binaries work is certainly well documented in many places. You can (relatively) easily write a new tool that targets the iPhone or iPad from that information; MonoTouch, Unity, the Flash app packager and so on all did so, after all.

    Open tools does not necessarily imply an open format.

    And the code for compiling Flash logic into an ARMv6-binary .app bundle for the iPhone is NOT freely available from Adobe, last I checked... it was part of Flash CS5, which you had to pay for. So one could even argue that Apple's tools (gcc, llvm, clang) for generating iPhone binaries are more 'open' than Adobe's (Flash CS5). But that just gets into arguing semantics which, for purposes of this discussion, aren't really meaningful.

    At heart, the issue people have isn't that the tools are 'open' or 'closed' (whatever the definition of those terms may be to a given person), but that Apple is saying 'only binaries generated with approved/blessed tools will be sold in our storefront.' I imagine even that wouldn't be a problem outside of a few grumbling folks, save that Apple is also the /only/ storefront outside of the jailbroken world. There's no 'allow installs from alternate markets' option like Android has. So Apple saying 'no go' effectively bans you from the majority of users who don't jailbreak (i.e., the majority of casual, non-techy users).

  • by TheGreek ( 2403 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:27PM (#32115854)

    As an independent developer I have to spend more money to develop for the iphone since I must use a Mac and I must use Snow Leopard. Adobe allowed me to skirt this requirement by using Flash, which has a significantly lower starting cost. Lower starting cost = entry to market = lower out of pocket funding for iphone development.

    Flash CS5 is the only product that comes with the Flash-to-.ipa converter. It retails for $700. The Mac Mini starts at $600. Last I checked, $600 was less than $700.

    They don't have the funds to start a legal fight, nor could they survive apple's change in terms of services. That, sir, is a monopoly. Apple has a monopoly on the market.

    Let's get a couple of things straightened out:

    1) Changing your terms of service does not give you a monopoly in your market.
    2) Apple's US smartphone marketshare is 25% [theequitykicker.com]--18% less than RIM. How can you have a monopoly in your market if you're not even the largest player?

    I'd ask for a refund on whatever it was you spent on your "education."

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <s73v3r.gmail@com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:34PM (#32115962)
    And you can. If you have a dev phone, and you have a dev account, you can run code on your device. However, you can't distribute that code through Apple's distribution channel.
  • by EWAdams ( 953502 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:35PM (#32115972) Homepage

    They are anti-competitive. They are in restraint of trade. They are wrong. End of story, really.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:35PM (#32115974) Homepage

    > Actually, yes, you were. WMA DRM locked you into using Windows. So one could argue it was just as bad.

    Except Windows represents a multi-vendor platform just like Flash does.

    The key difference between Microsoft and Apple is that Microsoft wants their stuff used far and wide and don't want to p*ss off the developers.

    At the end of the day, there is some value to platforms that started out by catering to developers.

    The rube-on-the-street might not think it's obvious, but he benefits from the efforts of those that do.

    All technological liberty boils down to this.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:51PM (#32116210)

    Except Windows represents a multi-vendor platform just like Flash does.

    Which is incredibly ironic IMHO. We spent the better part of a decade railing against Microsoft for being a closed/proprietary system. As an Linux user, that seems obvious. I can get my software from any group (currently Ubuntu, but if they piss me off I can go to Fedora if I like - worse comes to worse I COULD go LFS), and I also can get my hardware from any group.

    Microsoft is a step down. You have to buy the software from them, but at least you get your own choice on hardware.

    Apple is the worst. It's their software, their hardware, and their rules.

  • Re:Provided... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @03:53PM (#32116246) Homepage Journal

    Even Microsoft never made us pay money to them just so we could run applications we developed ourselves!

    Actually... look up "XNA Creator's Club".

    See, there's this hobbyist dev environment for the XBox 360. The dev environment is entirely free! You can download it and install it for free (as long as you run Windows), and run the apps you build on your desktop (as long as you run Windows).

    You can even install the code you write on your own XBox! But to do that, you have to have an active membership. Wanna guess how much it costs?


    By the way, after you've looked all of that stuff up... go look up how "Windows Phone 7" development is done.

  • by Late Adopter ( 1492849 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:29PM (#32116816)
    I agree 100% with your concern, that this is a scummy thing to do, that there is quesitonal moral ground for them to get involved with the process. But there is a legitimate motivation buried in there. Apple doesn't want to be in a situation where developers are relying on 3rd parties to push API enhancements. Imagine if when Apple released the 3GS a significant fraction of their developers couldn't write apps that used the compass, all because Adobe didn't get around to it for a week (a month? ever?).

    I don't think Apple's interested in having grounds to censor any particular app (they do that already), but making sure they can change things without worrying about 3rd party influence.
  • by jabbathewocket ( 1601791 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @04:34PM (#32116882)
    Go tell Microsoft, sony and nintendo that you intend to put out a cross platform Flash game as an A title on their respective platforms.. and that its your RIGHT to do so , and as such they should implement flash immediately in the SDK.. I will sit and wait.. While you are at it.. you could also try telling every other embedded device maker that you will not use assembler, every "programmable" device (as in research/medical/etc type fields devices) that you will now require flash support or they are exerting monopoly power and restricting you from using hardware you own as you wish. Get over it, Get over yourself.. you chose to learn flash and now are pissed that you cannot directly translate that to the only mobile app market that is actually making money.. and its pissing you off..
  • by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:07PM (#32118162) Journal
    Saying "you can't use these tools" is silly.

    it's not silly at all when the actual goal is to stifle innovation and competition by artificially raising the cost for developers to sell apps on other platforms like Android, WebOS, and windows mobile.

    this has nothing to do with app quality, if it did they would just continue to enforce or tighten up quality requirements before approving.
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:08PM (#32118176) Homepage

    Sorry, I don't think that Flash on the iPad is quite at the same level as freedom of speech. My Sony TV also doesn't support playing Flash video, nor does the GPS unit in my car. My firewall at work doesn't decode Flash either. My rights have not been violated by any of this.

  • It's clear... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:09PM (#32118184)

    It's clear that Apple is viewing 3rd party tools as an encumberment. They want to invent the future, not negotiate at a giant round table, where most of the participants couldn't innovate their way out of a paper bag. They want to create new interface idioms, invent new form factors, etc. They want to do what they do best--not be stuck in a legacy tar-pit.

    Of course, all the Flash people are upset their skill sets are locked out of the iPhone. Who wouldn't be. The iPhone is the only mobile platform you can make $$$ on. Without iPhone or iPad, you are up shit creek. Good luck making money on Android, Blackberry or Symbian.

    The whoe "anti-competitive" complaint is funny, if you think about it. Apple ranks 3rd in smartphone marketshare. But the iPhone is where all the app sales happen. That is because the 2 market leaders give consumers an extremely poor app experience.

    Anti-trust law says: When a market participant achieves strong market power, and uses it to harm other market participants, it is unlawful. But to define "market power" and "market participants", we must define what market we're talking about.

    If we're talking about the smartphone market, then clearly Apple does not have much market power. They are number 3.

    If we're talking about the mobile app market, it's another story. Apple pretty much created that market, by opening up the iPhone, and the iPhone continues to be the dominant "channel", if you will. But Apple doesn't really participate in the mobile app market. As provider of the iPhone platform, it brought the market into being, and continues to be the reason it has significant volume.

    So it's pretty hard to make the "anti-competitive" argument against Apple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:34PM (#32118532)

    Adobe Flash for Apple platforms has not been very good, and in some respect makes Apple platforms look bad.

    Apple finds that intolerable. Apple makes excellent development tools available; third party products, not to mention Mac OS X, have skyrocketed in quality. Yet Apple gets dinged because Adobe's Flash port to Mac OS X crashes regularly. Mac sales get hurt because someone's web site crashes the Mac-based browser, but doesn't crash the Windows-based one, and so the IT director orders everyone to replace their Macs with DELL machines. He doesn't know what actually breaks the browser, but he does know that PCs don't have a problem with the corporate web site.

    Apple since '97 has had no patience for bad third party software products, particularly bad development tools, because of the major problems it causes for Apple. It was definitely the case in the late 80's and most of the 90's.

    Apple doesn't want Adobe Flash on iPhone for a number of reasons that it believes are extremely significant. If Flash were really important to the company, I believe Apple would have written its own Flash.

  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @06:37PM (#32118594) Homepage

    And even the fanboys must know this is true. The ONLY people who take Apple desktops/laptops seriously are the people who NEED to run photoshop

    This hasn't been true for a decade, which is why five years ago Apple stopped using LCD monitors on their laptops and iMacs that were easily calibrated for true colors. Photographs whined a bit, and Apple's market share continued to grow.

  • by Altrag ( 195300 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @07:27PM (#32119376)

    You can't buy windows from anyone but Microsoft.

    Sure I can. I can buy Windows from HP or Acer or any number of other OEMs. They in turn might have to buy it from Microsoft, but that's pretty irrelevant -- if you want one vendor's product you obviously have to get it from that vendor at some point along the chain. Even Linux requires someone at some point along the chain to download the source from the main dev repository. The only real difference is that the OEM Windows has to come with hardware, while Linux can be downloaded on its own.

    What isn't irrelevant is that each of those OEMs are allowed to put Windows on virtually any hardware they can get it to run on reasonably well. When was the last time you saw a (legitimate) Apple OS running on anything but Apple hardware? Sure they sell boxed OSX and you might be able to shoehorn it onto something non-Apple, but they don't sell it that way. This is very very old Apple precedence, and at least one factor in why the original Mac failed so miserably against the far-inferior PCs that were available at the time.

    And then the iPhone takes it one step further and in addition to disallowing non-authorized hardware, they're also disallowing non-authorized software as well. There's precedent for this as well though, mostly on gaming consoles.

    And now Apple's gone yet another step and is even disallowing non-authorized development tools. As far as I know, there's no precedent for this. I'm sure there's the odd smallish company out there who strong-arms their couple dozen customers, but I've never heard of this on such a high-profile device before (then again I'm not ancient.. my knowledge of these things starts mid 90s so maybe there was stuff before that.. and of course maybe stuff I just missed.. but still). Sure if you want to develop for the PS3 you likely need to get a dev kit, but there's nothing stopping you from porting a LUA or Python interpreter for use with your dev kit and in your games. On the iPod you can't do that now. This is a huge step beyond hardware lockin or even software authorization submissions.

    Heck, I'd bet that most if not all RPG-style games (and likely others) use some sort of scripting language internally, whether a roll-their-own or something commonplace like LUA. Are these games now breaking ToS? Does this mean that any future RPG developers will need to hardcode every single timed event and whatnot in their games? Not to mention developers who for whatever reason aren't a fan of C-style languages (though I don't know what support there would have been for those guys before this change either so maybe that's a moot point).

  • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:09PM (#32119890)

    Apple also refused to license Fairplay DRM

    Yes, which is part of how they killed DRM in the music industry...

    Do I really need to explain? Aren't we all aware of the history of these things?


    Ok, apparently we don't all know the history of these things. Amazon didn't kill DRM. Apple successfully persuaded EMI to drop DRM, and Jobs published an open letter asking them to drop DRM. The record labels were so frightened of the power that Apple was amassing that they allowed Amazon to sell music without DRM while still refusing to allow Apple to sell DRM-free files. It was a strategy by the record labels to hurt Apple's market share.

    The part that mystifies me is that you want to credit Apple with accomplishing something that it did not do. Yes, Steve Jobs published his open letter. Then he promptly made a deal with EMI to sell tracks at $1.30 without DRM versus $0.99 with DRM. Then Amazon announced tracks at $0.89-$0.99 without DRM. Whether it was a conspiracy against Apple or not does not matter -- Amazon achieved DRM-free music at the standard $0.99 price point. Five months later in October 2007, Apple finally achieved the same thing. Did Apple fail to negotiate well in the first place? After all, it didn't introduce variable pricing until April 2009, but it got $0.99 DRM-free music in October 2007. If there was a conspiracy to weaken Apple, that shouldn't have happened. Apple should have been stuck with charging a premium until far later.

    Apple settled for lack of DRM as a premium feature, and perhaps more to the point refused to license a DRM system that was already cracked [theregister.co.uk] because "it might be cracked." Specifically:

    "Some have argued that once a consumer purchases a body of music from one of the proprietary music stores, they are forever locked into only using music players from that one company. Or, if they buy a specific player, they are locked into buying music only from that company's music store. Is this true? [DRJlaw - Yes, especially when the purchased music is worth more than a new player]
    The second alternative is for Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology to current and future competitors with the goal of achieving interoperability between different company's players and music stores. On the surface, this seems like a good idea since it might offer customers increased choice now and in the future. And Apple might benefit by charging a small licensing fee for its FairPlay DRM. However, when we look a bit deeper, problems begin to emerge. The most serious problem is that licensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak."
    Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies.

    -Steve Jobs, "Thoughts on Music," February 6, 2007

    Why? In my opinion, because iTunes $0.99 purchases were essentially tied to Apple hardware and only Apple hardware (unless you were a dirty stinking pirate), and DRM-free music was not. Once Amazon upset that apple cart, pun intended, Apple amazingly managed to renegotiate its price with EMI -- who you allege favored Amazon -- and who could sell music through Amazon to be played on Apple players (thus with no possibility of a lockout by Apple).

    Whatever Apple's aspirations, Amazon broke the final wall by achieving portable, DRM-free music at the standard price point. Apple refused portability on questionable grounds, and compromised its position on DRM in a way that favored its hardware over any competing hardware. I see no reason to give Apple sole or even primary credit for freeing the general music marketplace from DRM.

  • by floodo1 ( 246910 ) <floodo1@g[ ]ias.org ['arf' in gap]> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:37PM (#32120226) Journal
    You ignore the fact that one of the primary benefits of developing for Flash is it's cross-platform-ness. When developers leverage this they can easily lose sight of the benefits of one specific platform (iPhone OS) and thereby leave out features or develop kludges. Jobs specifically addressed this by saying that many Flash products (specifically drop down menus) don't translate well to touch screen devices.

    Consumers care about quality, and going cross-platform almost universally decreases quality. You can see it time and time again in the console game world. While this isn't a rule it's highly typical.
  • Security issues (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sl149q ( 1537343 ) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:43PM (#32120898)

    Apple does not want 3rd party API's as they are a vector for malware. If a security problem is found in their (Apple's) software it will be fixed and pushed out quickly. There is no guarantee that would happen with a 3rd party product.

    Also, a single app with a problem can be withdrawn from the App store (and possibly disabled pro-actively in customers iPhones)

    Think of the fallout if a flaw in a widely used 3rd party API was found and Apple had to withdraw ALL of the app's that used it. A popular API (e.g. Flash) could involve thousands of app's. Leaving them available and running on customer units leaves the flaw available and Apple possibly liable for damages. Pulling the apps probably gets Apple widely abused (especially in Slashdot.)

    Microsoft is taking years to get back control of Windows, introducing code signing and gradually making it required, adding in security after the fact, etc.

    Apple is keeping the iPhone environment secure from the start. Easier to open it up a bit at a time than to get it closed again if they make a mistake.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday May 07, 2010 @12:28AM (#32122262) Homepage

    Yes, Steve Jobs published his open letter. Then he promptly made a deal with EMI to sell tracks at $1.30 without DRM versus $0.99 with DRM. Then Amazon announced tracks at $0.89-$0.99 without DRM. Whether it was a conspiracy against Apple or not does not matter -- Amazon achieved DRM-free music at the standard $0.99 price point.

    DRM-free files were cheaper on Amazon first, but the whole point here is that Amazon would never have been able to swing that deal if not for Apple. You talk as though Apple had the option to drop DRM and lower prices for years, but they refused because they were a bunch of greedy bastards. In fact both the DRM and the price points have been contractual obligations of the record labels from day 1.

    This is not my opinion. This is historical fact. Jobs had been anti-DRM since the iTunes store opened, but the record labels would not allow their music to be sold without DRM. Apple had to choose: create a DRM scheme, or have no channel for providing content for the iPod.

    Apple had been arguing for dropping DRM and lowering prices, and the record labels always refused. The record labels wanted Apple to allow their DRM applied to *ALL* music sold on the Internet from any store, and Apple refused. Finally record labels agreed to give Amazon a better deal to hurt Apple, and Amazon got DRM-free $0.89 tracks. Apple wasn't legally allowed to sell their tracks DRM-free for $0.89 even if they were willing to sell them at a loss. Finally Apple agreed to the variable pricing that the labels wanted, and suddenly Amazon's prices shot up to match Apple's prices. Only recently they've come back down.

    Amazon didn't break down anything. Amazon was the company that the labels happened to pick to get leverage over Apple. If Apple had agreed to license Fairplay, Amazon would be selling Fairplay-wrapped AAC files right now.

  • "programmers"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WoollyMittens ( 1065278 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @01:02AM (#32122464)
    I find that most "programmers" that jumped on the internet bandwagon because of hype, are only capable of cutting and pasting code from Google into ready made frameworks. Having your framework yanked out from under you must be really scary in that case.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor