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A Peace Plan To End the Flash-On-iPhone Fight 495

GMGruman writes "As the pro- and anti-Flash camps have hardened their positions, the editors at InfoWorld have come up with a four-point peace plan that would allow Flash on the iPhone while addressing Apple's very real concerns over performance, stability, and security. Readers can vote and comment on the peace plan, which InfoWorld hopes will result in serious talks between Apple and Adobe."
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A Peace Plan To End the Flash-On-iPhone Fight

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  • by courteaudotbiz ( 1191083 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:24AM (#32155052) Homepage
    It's about Profit going down the drain if Flash apps make it to the iPhone!
  • by Roogna ( 9643 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:26AM (#32155070)

    Where's the option for "I support Apple not because I agree with their acceptance policies but because I honestly don't want Adobe's crapware anywhere near my phone!"
    After all, unlike my desktop where I can easily -remove- Flash or block it with browser plugins, if Flash is on my phone then they better make sure I can remove it!

  • by The Fanta Menace ( 607612 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:26AM (#32155082) Homepage

    It's /anything/ on iPhone. Someday, there will be another widely used application that people want on an iPhone, that Apple won't approve. This won't be resolved until Apple pulls their collective heads out of their arses and gets rid of the insane requirement that they approve all applications on these platforms.

    For me, this application would be Ogg Vorbis and Theora support, hence I won't be buying an iPhone or iPad any time soon.

  • by jacks smirking reven ( 909048 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:27AM (#32155090)
    The Apple/Adobe fight is about money and control. Apple wants to wall people into their garden and Flash is an impedance to that. Apples banking on their customer loyalty (accept that owning an iPhone/iPad == no Flash) and that HTML5 will replace Flash for video.

    If this was only about technological/security hurdles it'd be done and done already. Apple and Adobe have the resources to get this working in short order. The issue is money. No amount of standards and compatibility will get past that.
  • It's all about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by C_Kode ( 102755 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:30AM (#32155134) Journal

    It's all about not allowing unapproved apps to play on the iProduct. Everything else is mostly an excuse to hide the blatant fact. If it was truly about stability and performance, then iTunes among others wouldn't suck so bad.

  • Missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:31AM (#32155156)

    Apple wants total control over the tools used to create applications on their devices. They can't do that with Adobe Flash. Peace is not possible.

    Having flash in the locked down iPhone/iPad environment would be akin to having a dynamic programming environment on the iPhone/iPad. It would open up so many vectors for screwing with the security on the devices. I imagine it would be a great vector for hacks as well, especially given how homogenous the iPhone/iPad environment is.

  • by drumcat ( 1659893 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:31AM (#32155158)
    Why make them "at peace". This competition has been driving standards forward like nothing else has. The byproduct has been great for all, and I'm not interested in seeing this end.
  • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:31AM (#32155164)

    1) Forget about it, it's their device and they'll do what they want with it, no matter if you like it or not.

    2) Learn another language. WTH is wrong with developers these days? It's not that hard to learn another language! Makes me ponder if most the flash developers are actually programmers or just script kiddies.

    3) Web authors: start using HTML5 video standards and quit the stupid flash video player already!!!

    Finally: I actually hopes flash dies, I hate the tech on my browsers and hate feeling forced to install it on every computer I have. Flash should die and Adobe should turn all their Flash authoring tools into HTML5 authoring tools instead. Heck, that would get them into the iphone too!!!

  • Screw Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mark19960 ( 539856 ) <> on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:32AM (#32155170) Homepage Journal

    If they want to control what users do in their walled garden, let them.
    Flash sucks... hell acrobat reader sucks too.

    I don't care for either Apple or Adobe personally.
    But neither should control what I have on my phone.

  • Re:Waste of time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dingen ( 958134 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:35AM (#32155196)
    Exactly. It's completely stupid to think Steve Jobs will read such an article and rethink his position on Flash. He doesn't want it. So it won't be happening. Period. I don't understand why all the tech sites are still so busy with this subject. Want Flash on your phone? Don't buy an iPhone. It's really that simple.
  • Lock-in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Enuratique ( 993250 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:37AM (#32155222)
    The author misses the real point here: vendor lock-in... Why would people even bother to buy an iPhone if any of the Google offerings allow them the same apps? If there's a really hot app that can only be had on the iPhone, then people will buy iPhones... Plain and simple.
  • Slave to 3rd party (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:40AM (#32155272)
    How do so many people seem to miss the rather glaring issue that Apple has no desire to be a slave to a third party development tool. They've stated as much and it is a very real and serious concern. They offer features to their customers but, if a third party provides developer tools (such as Adobe with Flash) and that third party decides to take their time offering support for those new features or to outright not offer it at all then those features do not make it to the customer. That is a serious concern. In an environment where manufacturers need to provide every advantage possible to stand out from the other offerings on the market, Apple would be hamstringing themselves if they allowed Adobe, rather than themselves, to dictate what features do and do not make it to their customers. Anyone who thinks, even for a second, that this is a trivial part of the equation is not thinking clearly about things.

    I'm surprised that InfoWorld completely overlooked this very real and very significant concern. Ah, who'm I kidding?... I'm not surprised at all... sigh...
  • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @10:42AM (#32155308)

    Apple's new terms forbid applications written in any language that is not called C, C++ or Objective-C. For example, I work on the Free Pascal Compiler [] and added iPhone support a couple of years ago (it compiles straight to ARM assembler, no intermediate code or frameworks are involved). Most people that use it write their GUI in Objective-C and reuse Delphi or other existing Pascal code for their backend, just like other people would reuse C or C++ code.

    But simply because FPC stands for Free Pascal Compiler rather than for Fast Progressive C, this way of working is no longer allowed. That just does not make any sense to me. Why on earth would the name of the programming language matter in any way? I could understand it if they would limit you to using their tool chain (although I'd still disagree with it), but limiting to a particular set of programming languages?

    The fact that I can't even discuss this on the iPhone developer forums without first signing the new developer agreement (and thereby make it illegal for me to continue working on that project) only adds insult to the injury.

  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:01AM (#32155554) Homepage

    Read carefully: the iPad/iPhone is NOT A GENERAL PURPOSE COMPUTER. Why is this so hard to grasp for the vocal minority of Apple-complainers on Slashdot?

  • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:08AM (#32155676)

    If you're generating arm assembly, can't you just dump that to C file and wrap it using the GCC inline keyword?

    Unfortunately, the SDK agreement explicitly says that the code must be originally written in one of the approved languages (C, C++, Objective-C). And yes, technically this means that any use of inline assembler is forbidden (e.g. to optimize part of a 3D engine, even the rest is completely written in C), which does not make any sense whatsoever either.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:12AM (#32155734)
    Flash is a god-awful piece of software, but the issue for many people is that it's the cheapest option to do cross-platform, dynamic applications. While the iPhone is a nice piece of kit, it doesn't have the levels of market penetration that makes it worthwhile developing your application twice, so developers are left with the choice to either drop iPhone OS support (which they'd rather not do because it's a nice marketing coup at the moment) or spending an extra amount developing an iPhone specific version of your app which probably won't give you the same ROI (of course, the other option is to use something like HTML5, but then you're screwed if you want to also offer your app on older desktop browsers which tend to have a much higher market penetration). Now, having said that, I too hope Flash dies sooner rather than later - but experience tells me this is unlikely to happen (since I'm stuck supporting IE6 on 50% of my projects, I don't see HTML5 saving the day in the near future).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:26AM (#32156046)

    No, but they are making a killing off of the iPhone native apps that would be difficult to implement with HTML 5 alone, but would be quite easy with Flash.

  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:35AM (#32156256)

    Because it is the geek version of an 'inconvenient truth". Folks on here love to bash the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, comparing it's 'closed' system to a general PC, which is wide open. The argument makes no sense when it is taken for what it is: An appliance.

    Apple and Flash Haters in general have very real arguments against the use of flash (for the record, as to performance, if Flash improved in that arena, I wouldn't see an issue from that side of the argument. I could simply make the choice to use or not to use). It is proprietary, it encompasses an framework within itself, and it is out of Apple's control. If Apple were to allow Flash 'apps' on the iPhone, and Flash introduced a security vulnerability across such a large scope of applications (and you know there would eventually be thousands of such apps), Apple would be totally at the mercy of Adobe, who has a terrible track record when it comes to security. In such an instance, it would be Apple who suffered the scorn, not Adobe. Why would any sane person want to put themselves into that situation, when they obviously do not need to? The lack of Flash has arguably not hurt iPhone sales in any significant way.

    I also found this statement from TFA a bit ridiculous: "At, we believe such lockouts of technology, however well rationalized, could eventually lead to an Internet future of multiple, incompatible platforms that demand multiple proprietary technologies."

    The simple fact is, that if a technology is good, and absolutely needed, it will be placed where demanded, or the vendor refusing to will simply shrivel and die. The market ultimately makes this decision for a vendor. Standards group typically end up incorporating technologies when evolving needs require them, although they may take their time, they do eventually get there. These standards don't happen in a vacuum. Prior to HTML5 and no viable alternative to PROPRIETARY Flash, there simply wasn't much of a choice. The market demanded the features that Flash delivered. Even though it is a proprietary technology (like the one the above quote is slamming), it became hugely popular. This in itself I believe was it's biggest downfall. It had no competition within the market, and Adobe became lax with it. They had the 90+ percentile numbers of multitudes of Windows users who were lapping it with nary a choice to the contrary. 64 bit OS's have been around for years, yet we are only now seeing betas of a 64 bit plugin? Smart phones have been around for years, yet we still have no production version of the client. The geek herds should be all up in arms that Flash is so 'last century', yet they are clamoring to get it installed (well at least some are) onto their Droid's, only to complain that it crashes, kills battery life, and generally sucks. Why so surprised?

    I'm actually rather shocked that Flash's downfall is so tantalizing close considering it was an almost impossible 'ball' to fumble given the unbelievable good fortune Adobe has had and squandered.

    The InfoWorld article misses the point. It is for me the consumer to decide, and I believe the Apple crowd has overwhelmingly already done so, and new the new directions like HTML5's capabilities are a reflection of that (note I'm not saying Apple is responsible for HTML5 or anything of the sort, but their refusal to 'sign on' to Flash due to it's very obvious shortcomings are being answered by new standards to address those concerns).

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @11:58AM (#32156710) Homepage Journal

    Yes but you left out the other side.
    Adobe wants to keep making money selling Flash Tools. They do not want people to move off of Flash because they have control over Flash so they will always have the best tools for Flash development.
    Adobe will also keep updating the Flash player so you will need to spend big bucks to buy the latest development tools for Flash.
    Also Adobe can just kill support for any platform that it wishes at anytime. Even without killing they can lag bringing out an update to the Flash player for that platform like they have done to Linux and the Mac in the past. Not to mention the lack of a Linux Shockwave player.
    Also Adobe has failed to provide a good workable Mobile Flash solution. Flash-Lite sucks and Flash 10.1 for mobile is still not shipping "Beta==not shipping".
    So yes it really is all about money and control. The thing is it is about money and control ON BOTH SIDES!

  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Optic7 ( 688717 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:03PM (#32156830)

    Thanks for clarifying. I was mistakenly thinking it was a general purpose computer because of the availability of 200,000 general purpose applications for it. After reading your post I realized that it's just a phone, nothing else, nothing more. It's just like my old Panasonic cordless phone on my desk. My bad.

  • Proprietary? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:06PM (#32156888)

    I don't know a lot about flash, so here's my question:

      If flash is proprietary, then how can someone easily write a program that reads and plays it (other than Adobe)?

  • Re:Waste of time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PenguSven ( 988769 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @12:42PM (#32157562)

    Want Flash on your phone? Don't buy an iPhone.

    I'm pretty sure you meant to say:

    Want flash on your phone? Too bad because there isn't a full version of flash for ANY mobile platform, and the version that will finally make it, will only be available to a fraction of the users/devices of a single mobile platform at launch, and there is no timeline for when it will reach any other platforms.

  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Monday May 10, 2010 @01:01PM (#32157966) Homepage Journal

    "*Grrr*- look, there's thousands of games available for the Xbox, does that make it a general-purpose computer too?"

    Are we talking about the original XBox? FUCK YES IT'S A GENERAL PURPOSE COMPUTER, given it had a goddamned x86 core and ran a modified version of Windows, or even Linux if you felt like doing some hacking. Shit you modify the firmware and you could use the original XBox for TONs of applications.

    The new 360? Not so much. The PS3? Most certainly (if it's the old fat version.)

    Go do some actual programming for the devices before you run off at the mouth about something that is painfully obvious you know nothing about.

  • Re:Apple Plan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @02:31PM (#32159508) Journal

    Read carefully: the iPad/iPhone is NOT A GENERAL PURPOSE COMPUTER.

    The only reason why it isn't is because it's artificially restricted from running arbitrary code installable by its user. So using that as a supporting argument for the restriction introduces a circular dependency.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday May 10, 2010 @02:45PM (#32159756) Journal

    Thank you for clearly explaining why this whole Apple's mess is such a bad idea, regardless of how evil Flash is.

    Honestly, for a geek forum hell-bent on openness and other such stuff, it's as if the magic keyword "Apple" flips some switch inside the heads of those people. It's like "think of the children" for techies...

    Who fscking cares about Flash in particular? At stake here is the freedom of development with the tools of your own choice. And mark my words - if this flies for Apple on iPod/iPad (and so far it seems to be), this will expand to your MacBooks and desktop Macs in a few years - and, God forbid, in a few more Microsoft will catch on as well.

  • Re:Waste of time (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @06:06PM (#32162704)

    Too bad because there isn't a full version of flash for ANY mobile platform>

    The Nokia N900 has full Flash 9.4 -

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982