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InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman fails to understand Apple, Adobe Flash

Daniel Eran Dilger

InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman likes to offer an authoritarian opinion about tech subjects, but rarely has any clue what he’s talking about. That’t evident in his “peace plan” regarding Adobe and Apple.

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Gruman fails to understand competitive markets

Contention and competition are necessary for life, for functional democracy, and for markets. If we all just attempted to “get along,” we’d end up without technical advancement, without social advancement, and without genetic advancement. Eventually we’d all end up dead.

Gruman apparently doesn’t understand this principle, instead offering his “solution” to solve the “problem” of competition, an idea he endorsed under the name of his trade rag, IDG’s InfoWorld. The rest of his writeup is so similarly and completely off the mark that it serves as a useful framework for dismantling much of the ignorance about the current contention between Apple and Adobe in mobile software development.

Apple vs. Flash: The InfoWorld peace plan

Gruman fails to understand Apple’s issues with Flash

First off, Gruman starts by saying “No one doubts at this point that Apple is on a mission to kill Flash.” That’s not the case however, because were Apple trying to simply kill Flash, it would have removed Flash support on its desktop platform as a bundled plugin three years ago when it launched the iPhone.

Instead, Apple has worked to develop new APIs to allow Flash to access hardware acceleration on its Macs, while also devoting considerable efforts in Mac OS X Snow Leopard to enable Adobe’s Flash plugin to crash without taking Safari down with it.

That was done because Apple identified Flash as the number one reason for crashes in Mac OS X. The only thing Apple can do about Adobe’s bad code is to isolate it from causing additional damage when it blows up. There is little Apple can do about Flash Player hogging all system resources on the Mac.

Gruman seems to think the main problem with Flash is related to poorly developed content that eats up too much RAM and CPU, but the main problem for the Mac is Adobe’s terrible code delivered in its Flash Player web plugin, which consumes massive resources even when nothing is currently happening.

Adobe’s Flash monopoly game against Apple

Gruman fails to understand that Flash as a mobile platform doesn’t exist

Apple similarly didn’t kill Flash on the iPhone OS platform. You can’t kill something that doesn’t exist. Adobe’s chief executive Shantanu Narayen promised two years ago that it would bring Flash to the iPhone, because it simply wasn’t available when the iPhone launched. All Adobe had back then was Flash Lite (which didn’t do anything of value) and the desktop Flash plugin, which wasn’t at all designed with mobile issues in mind, and couldn’t run on mobile architectures such as ARM.

Back then, the iPhone was running an ARM11 processor at 412MHz, yet Narayen said, “We have evaluated [the iPhone's software developer tools] and we think we can develop an iPhone Flash player ourselves.” Adobe promised a mobile version of Flash by the end of 2008, then the beginning of 2009, then the end of 2009, then the beginning of 2010, and now the middle of 2010. That beta is still just crashing in demos today.

As Adobe’s mobile Flash vaporware has failed to develop across the last two years, the minimum specifications Adobe says it will need have ballooned, currently to a Cortex A8 CPU running at 1GHz with 512MB of RAM. That effectively leaves out any potential for mobile Flash to ever run on any phone sold before mid 2009 (the generation of the Palm Pre, iPhone 3GS, Droid/Nexus One).

So Adobe, over the last three years, has flat out failed to deliver Flash for the iPhone as promised. And yet Gruman words this failure as a preemptive strike by Apple, as if Steve Jobs willed Adobe to be incompetent just so his company could refuse to install some software that didn’t ever exist. Presumably, this was the result of Apple being angry that Adobe did essentially delivered the same lack of progress on its Mac plugin.

Gruman actually called this a “lockout of technology,” fearing that it “could eventually lead to an Internet future of multiple, incompatible platforms that demand multiple proprietary technologies.” Perhaps Gruman and the InfoWorld publication he speaks for isn’t aware that both he and his trade rag have been doing nothing for the past fifteen years but hailing a series of silos of proprietary technologies, from Windows to Flash. Pretty much everything apart from Apple’s, which fails to enrich IDG with much ad revenue.

Five Tremendous Apple vs. Adobe Flash Myths

Gruman fails to comprehend that he isn’t Jimmy Carter

In his efforts to broker peace between Apple and Adobe, Gruman suggests that all Adobe really needs to do is “take a step toward openness as well and help ensure that developers create Flash apps that are secure, stable, and suited to mobile use.”

This is like solving the issue of America’s dependence upon foreign oil by asking Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to simply “take a step toward being countries that provide oil in such a way that doesn’t fund Communist enemies of the US and/or enrich repressive regimes run by religious fundamentalists who funnel money to terrorism.” Problem solved! We can keep fueling up our SUVs without also fueling up enemies. Peace!

Gruman then fleshes out his simpleton view of what’s wrong with Flash, without ever really happening upon what’s really wrong with Flash in the first place. He talks about “application stability, resource hogging, compromised security, and lack of gesture support” as if these are things that could be quickly addressed in Flash if only InfoWorld were to bring them to Adobe’s attention. He seems to fail to understand that these are only symptoms, not the root causes, of what’s actually wrong with Flash.

After failing to comprehend anything about what’s really wrong with Flash, Gruman then throws out the logical fallacy, “we can all agree, however, that the HTML5 future is years away,” even though HTML5 is already in production use now, as well as being supported in all of the significant mobile browsers, none of which currently support Flash. HTML5 was “years away” years ago, when Flash was also years away. Now, HTML5 is here in the mobile realm, and Flash isn’t. Make a note of that, InfoWorld.

Why Apple is betting on HTML 5: a web history

Gruman fails to understand video playback

As part of his solution to the problems he fails to understand, Gruman first insists that Apple should “let Adobe create a Flash video player plug-in for the Phone OS,” as if Adobe’s inability to deliver a Flash Player for any mobile platform is the fault of Apple refusing to “let Adobe do it.” He then thinks outloud that such a feature might perhaps need to wait for iPhone OS 4′s multitasking, apparently unaware that the iPhone has been playing audio and video media without needing a multitasking UI, but effectively multitasking nonetheless, for three years now.

Apple’s role in helping Adobe create a “Flash video player plugin” for the iPhone (which Gruman seems to think is separate from Flash Player), would be to “make sure that security, stability, and other concerns are met” as part of its normal app review. This apparently will work along the lines of Apple making sure that the Mac version of Adobe’s Flash Player plugin also works as its supposed to, and its fine software overall.

Gruman then throws out some tech talk to suggest he has some understanding of what’s involved with playback of Flash video, most of which is in older codecs that can’t be played back in hardware as H.264 can. “Apple can also set the processing threshold required for supporting Adobe’s F4V video format and its more resource-intensive VP6 codec,” Gruman muses, apparently unaware that this could only possibly result in unacceptably poor playback. If a task is too resource intensive, limiting its resource allocation doesn’t exactly solve the problem.

“Sorenson Spark codec [based on H.263, the codec most Flash video like older YouTube stuff is encoded in] is equivalent to the requirements for the H.264 codec used in HTML5 and on the iPhone, so it should be allowed,” Gruman says, clearly unaware that H.263 and H.264 are not “equivalent” by any measure, and that mobile devices play H.264 via hardware, while other codecs (just like Ogg Vobis) would need to be played back far less efficiently via software. This is so blatantly ignorant that Gruman needs to edit the entire section out just to limit InfoWorld’s shame.

Fraud science used to promote Flash performance over web standards
Ogg Theora, H.264 and the HTML 5 Browser Squabble

Gruman fails to understand standards

Next up, Gruman offers his genius solution to Flash being proprietary: just open it up as a standard! The problem is that Adobe didn’t put up $3.4 billion in stock for Macromedia just to make Flash a free software standard. Additionally, publishing a proprietary standard under the guise of being an open standard does not make it one. Just look at Microsoft’s VC-1 (aka Windows Media Video, which were rubber-stamped by the SMPTE) or Open Office XML (the proprietary Office file formats which were run through EMCA and then the ISO using a bulldozer of money).

“For Adobe to realize its ubiquity goal, it needs to do with the Flash technologies — the ActionScript language and the Flash file formats — what it did with PDF files: Release the core subset to the standards community,” Gruman writes. But Adobe isn’t trying to make Flash ubiquitous, it’s trying to make Flash profitable as a proprietary platform it controls.

Gruman next writes that since Flash’s ActionScript was actually derived from JavaScript “it’s time for ActionScript to become a standard, too. That should remove one of Apple’s reasons to not support it on Web pages at least.” How ignorant. Yes, Apple and the world should maintain two versions of JavaScript, one that everyone else uses in the browser, and another one that Adobe has bastardized to drive Flash and which it incorporates into the binary blob that is Flash content. How exactly Apple would support ActionScript “in the browser” is not specified, because it makes no sense at all.

“Likewise,” Gruman writes as he tumbles downhill in terms of logic, “the Flash video formats should be released to the standards bodies, since Adobe wants it to be a de facto alternative to the MPEG-4 video standard.” If that happened, Gruman says, “Apple would — and should — be able to support it natively as it does MPEG-4.” Gruman seems to think that “being an open standard” suddenly makes it free, simple and attractive for vendors to support.

The reality is that there are already plenty of open standards for video encoding. There’s even lots of MPEG-4 profiles that Apple doesn’t support, because there’s no compelling need to. Apple also doesn’t support MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 playback on the iPhone, not because they’re not open and available, but because they’re not necessary to support.

Apple purposely does not support Ogg Vobis and Microsoft’s VC-1, for good reasons. Vobis, like FLV, isn’t supported in hardware playback and isn’t sophisticated enough to bother doing all the work to support. VC-1 provides a good example of Apple not supporting a standard for competitive reasons. There’s no need for Apple to enrich Microsoft when it has a perfectly acceptable, widely-used, high performance MPEG standard. More standards are not better, they’re just more work.

The best solution to lots of standards is more standardization upon the best ones, which is why Apple moved from its own proprietary, Sorensen-based video codec in QuickTime to the ISO’s MPEG-4 when it became available. Apple doesn’t support playback of old QuickTime codecs on the iPhone, so why should it be supporting old codecs from Adobe, particularly when the world is rapidly moving toward H.264?

Origins of the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD War (VC-1)
Ogg Theora, H.264 and the HTML 5 Browser Squabble

Gruman fails to understand platforms

Similarly, Gruman’s solution to the Creative Suite iPhone-export issue is for Apple to simple certify that Adobe is doing everything right. The real problem though is that were Apple to sanction Adobe’s tools as a way to generate code that could be pushed into the App Store as an “app,” it would not only end up with a lot of junkware, but would also end up being dependent upon Adobe to continue delivering updates for its Flash CS5 development tools that would keep pace with its own development of iPhone OS 4 and subsequent releases, something Adobe has historically failed to do.

Gruman’s next childish solution, for “Adobe and Apple to work together on gesture UIs for SWF interactive content, so InDesign-based SWF creators can use mobile-oriented interface elements,” suggest that its somehow in Apple’s interests to make sure that the incompetent Adobe, after having proven for years to be unreliable as a partner, is intimately involved in the success or failure of its iPhone OS platform.

Similarly, Gruman continues with outlining how Apple should “explore a Flash app certification process,” as if Apple would somehow benefit from taking on a massive certification process for the simple junkware apps created with Flash that it does not benefit from in any way.

Apple runs the world’s largest certification process for mobile software apps. There are 200,000 apps its approved in the last two years, and the company earns a modest (in the view of the industry) 30% cut from the sales of these apps as a retailer and merchandizer. Why would Apple want to take on the same type of work for applets that it would not make any money from? Gruman doesn’t say, nor perhaps understand. But he does throw out the idea that “Surely, Apple and Adobe can figure out how to solve this issue if Apple’s business strategy can accept Flash as an iPhone app dev tool.” Um, what?

Gruman fails

In conclusion, Gruman insists that Apple and Adobe “give peace a chance,” unaware that both companies are peaceably competing in the market already. Were Apple and Adobe actually at war, killing civilians around them, then Grumans’ ignorantly simplistic plea to stop the war might make some sense. But this isn’t a war, it’s competition. And competition is supposed to occur so that we don’t end up stuck with a bunch of bad options.

For the last fifteen years, the tech world has been strangled with the bad technology of Flash and Windows. Now that Apple is breaking this monster grip and injecting some real competition into the industry, we have idiots like Gruman insisting that Apple take on the task of making sure the losers and their poorly performing, insecure software should be preserved to “keep the peace.”

Gruman’s previous articles show a steady, ignorant bias against Apple, such as his blaming Apple for Microsoft’s lax optional security policies in Exchange Server, where he announced that the iPhone was “lying” to the server because he didn’t know how any of it actually worked. What the world really needs is accurate information, not misguided opinion. Maybe InfoWorld can live up to its name and employ some people who know what they’re talking about, rather than just writing up nice sounding but profoundly ignorant articles that make as much sense as Emily Litella.

IDG’s Galen Gruman throws fit about Apple’s iPhone 3.1 Exchange fix

33 comments

1 MikieV { 05.10.10 at 4:56 pm }

Sweet.

Why does the phrase “Tell us what you really think!” come to mind? :)

2 Ludor { 05.10.10 at 5:04 pm }

Very well thought through and written.

“A bulldozer of money.” Now there’s a picture!

3 stormj { 05.10.10 at 5:14 pm }

Sounds like David Broder is moonlighting in tech. “Compromise” and “bipartisanship” in politics mean “just do what the batshit crazy people want.” And it’s usually based on a lot of bologna.

This sounds like the tech version: Apple should just do whatever Adobe needs because that would be a compromise and everything would be nice.

I must say I am more than a little disturbed by the effect of what appears to be a massive entitlement syndrome in the tech community. It’s not politics; people’s lives aren’t at risk here. The best way to keep things moving forward is to allow cutthroat competition, not to institutionalize old dinosaurs like Flash.

Similarly, before 2015, I will be wondering when we will be rid of HTML5.

4 daGUY { 05.10.10 at 5:20 pm }

That was awesome. Classic RDM. I’d love to add some meaningful comment to this, but there’s nothing left to say – you’ve covered it all, and better than I could ever do anyway. Also:

“‘Likewise,’ Gruman writes as he tumbles downhill in terms of logic”

I literally laughed out loud when I read that. Well done!

5 BonneCop { 05.10.10 at 5:21 pm }

“…in such a way that doesn’t fund Communist enemies of the US…”

Venezuela isn’t a Communist country, it is a socialist country. Much of Europe, in particular, and other parts of the world (like Canada) have strong socialist political parties.

While Venezuela is a foe of imperialism, it’s hardly an enemy of the USA.

I enjoy your articles, but it’s good to use facts, so as not to invalidate your other points.

[Well Venezuela is a pretty tight ally of Cuba. And Hugo Chavez is not exactly a fan of the US. It might be overstating it to call him a Communist enemy, but that's pretty much how the US government views it, when it's not buying his oil. Bush tried to remove him in a failed coup in 2002, and diplomatic relations were actually terminated for a while through last summer. - Dan]

6 The Lone Deranger { 05.10.10 at 5:52 pm }

Short version: Gruman doesn’t understand that when Steve Jobs makes up his mind his wife is the only person with a hypothetical chance of changing it. And when it comes to business decisions even that last little straw flies out the window. His article can be summed up in two words: hypothetical horses*t. Or to put it more politely, Steve Jobs has his ears covered and is yelling “la la la can’t hear you” real loud, and I would too if I were in his position.

7 sauerkraut { 05.10.10 at 6:30 pm }

Great article, as always.

One thing I keep hearing on forums, and from Narayen as well, is that flash is an open standard, ostensibly because of the availability of free third party flash development tools. What would you say is the biggest difference between an open standard like javascript or html5 and this kind of assertion about the openness of flash? I read your articles every week, but I don’t believe I’ve seen you take on this particular claim.

8 stevelee { 05.10.10 at 6:56 pm }

I’m afraid that even with competition, we’ll still all eventually wind up dead.

9 eddieclay { 05.10.10 at 7:04 pm }

I am having problems with this one (besides the wish you would tackle the Nokia story – and forget about Nokia/Google/MS for awhile), you say “Gruman fails to understand that Flash as a mobile platform doesn’t exist” but he clearly stated in the article what they have is buggy and they have failed deliver. You also quibble with his comment “No one doubts at this point that Apple is on a mission to kill Flash.” …Certainly you can’t say the opposite, that Apple does not want Flash to die?

Anyway, this Flash debate is getting old, I don’t miss it at all on the iPad, wish some of the apps that ran in Flash would give it up (such as prezi.com) as a platform…but I know these will be blown off the map with native apps on the iPad soon enough.

10 tundraboy { 05.10.10 at 8:42 pm }

“I’m afraid that even with competition, we’ll still all eventually wind up dead.”

Yeah but with niftier toys in our cold, dead fingers.

[The point of the game is to leave behind genes in a better place than we found ours. - Dan]

11 gus2000 { 05.10.10 at 9:55 pm }

Flash has open development tools…for creating content. There’s no such openness for the Flash player.

If there were, the jailbreak community would have cooked one up by now. I mean, they ported DooM for gods’ sake, and that was before the iPhone SDK was even published! They even have freakin’ *Andriod* running on the iPhone, but not Flash? Fail. And nobody cares.

I think the underlying context of the article is about how the most ardent laissez-faire, market-based pundit will suddenly want everyone to get along and be reasonable when it’s their own ass in the crosshairs. Everyone loves competition when they’re winning!

12 Jon T { 05.10.10 at 11:34 pm }

Last year I complained to Infoworld about some nonsense that Gruman had written and got this reply: “I think the issue here isn’t Gruman..”

‘Well, M’lord, I think with the latest evidence, the issue IS with Gruman. The prosecution rests its case.’

13 gashead { 05.11.10 at 12:35 am }

Excellent as usual.

Small point: for all I know Gruman might want an authoritarian opinion, but I think you probably meant authoritative in your first sentence. In English as in code, the devil is in the detail.

14 jomi { 05.11.10 at 1:18 am }

“First off, Gruman starts by saying ‘No one doubts at this point that Apple is on a mission to kill Flash.’ That’s not the case however, because were Apple trying to simply kill Flash, it would have removed Flash support on its desktop platform as a bundled plugin three years ago when it launched the iPhone.”

The issue with that is of course, that the Mac has a much smaller mindshare than the iPhone, so Apple would have suffered from that decision. Also, the iPhone/iPad doesn’t replace a computer so iPhone users can still watch some important Flash content on their computer. However not supporting flash on both the iPhone and the Mac would pretty much *force* people to use a PC for Flash content – definitely not something Apple would want to encourage.
In addition: How would Apple kill Flash support on the Mac where it’s lacking the control it has on the iPhone?

“Instead, Apple [has devoted] considerable efforts in Mac OS X Snow Leopard to enable Adobe’s Flash plugin to crash without taking Safari down with it.
That was done because Apple identified Flash as the number one reason for crashes in Mac OS X.”

Also, without sandboxing plugins it would not have been possible to run Safari in 64bit-Mode on Snow Leopard.

However, I enjoyed reading that article, in particular this line:
“‘Likewise,’ Gruman writes as he tumbles downhill in terms of logic”
:-)

15 David Dennis { 05.11.10 at 6:04 am }

I’m confused about one thing – I thought the Nexus One was the first phone to have a 1ghz processor, so Mobile Flash actually would not run on a Palm Pre or iPhone 3Gs.

In other words, Apple has no phone model available currently that could run Flash.

Is that not correct?

The good news is that iPad should be able to run Flash. The requirement is a 1GHZ processor, which iPad definitely has.

But then again, do I really want its entire CPU power to be taken over by Flash content? (After all, this is what sometimes happens on my Mac, with far greater processing power.)

It would probably make that aesthetically perfect, buttery-smooth scrolling experience turn into the kind of stuttery, juddery mess you see on Android phones.

If you ask me, that’s the real reason Jobs wants to ban Flash: It would ruin the aesthetics of his perfectly-plotted experience.

I’m cool with that.

D

16 md5sum { 05.11.10 at 8:02 am }

This is your sixth article on Apple vs. Adobe in the last month and a half. That’s one article a week. Nobody cares any more. We understand, you don’t want Flash on your mobile device, and you don’t want Apple to give you a choice in the matter. We’re happy for you, since you’re (at least currently) getting what you want. Now, let’s move on to something new, and stop picking on the Adobe supporters, ok?

[It's not about "not wanting Flash on my device," it's about pointing out the truth that Adobe has never delivered a functional mobile version of Flash; that Adobe has done a terrible job in supporting one alternative platforms, which it now promises to do really well for five or so different platforms; and that all the propaganda about how essential Flash is to the web is wildly overstated and about to collapse in Adobe's face.

It's the pundits advocating proprietary monoculture who keep lying about everything, portraying this as a teary soap opera where Adobe is the battered wife and waaa shouldn't we all boycott Apple and buy other devices that also don't run Flash. Maybe complain to them instead.

By the way, what are you contributing in your comments? - Dan]

17 stefn { 05.11.10 at 8:09 am }

Great article. There are still folks who don’t know that the shoe is on the other foot. Back when, Adobe helped Apple; later Adobe decided to harm Apple and did so without hesitation.

18 donarb { 05.11.10 at 8:43 am }

Whining about too much Adobe coverage? Go on over to InfoWorld and complain there.

19 DesperateDan { 05.11.10 at 9:29 am }

Absolutely brilliant Adobe bollocking. ‘Nuff said. Case must be closed after that.

Let’s hear something about Nokia vs Apple now. There’s a story there somewhere I’m sure…

20 daryl3d { 05.11.10 at 9:39 am }

has anyone seen this new Engadget piece… Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ and Flash run like butter on Nexus One (video) http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/11/android-2-2-froyo-and-flash-run-like-butter-on-nexus-one-vide/
… the thing is, it doesn’t look that smooth to me in the video :)

there was another interesting story there on H.264 which is a part of html5 called “Know Your Rights: H.264, patent licensing, and you” ( http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/04/know-your-rights-h-264-patent-licensing-and-you/ )… it’s interesting because it explains the difference between something being open and being free (they don’t necessarily go together)… it appears that even though html5 is an open standard, someone(s) is making alot of money off of it because of the embedded use of H.264 and their control over it….
btw, I really am new at this so if I am misquoting please correct me… and Dan, I love to hear your comments on that article.

[Free standards are ones where there's not enough value to ask for money, but perhaps some value in spreading a particular technology. So for example, Mozilla had no chance of making money off Netscape so it made it free open source. Apple did the same thing for QuickTime Streaming Server. Web standards are free because there's value it having interoperability on the web, but no real market for individual technologies that nobody is going to use if they're not free.

In video however, there's lots of value in advanced patents, but how does anyone push ahead their own codec when there is a minefield of patents assuring mutual destruction and constant patent war between vendors? You get everyone together and call a truce. That's what the ISO did with MPEG: pool all the advanced patent holders together and create a standard that licenses all their top technologies to anyone who wants to use them. This isn't free, but it is open, so anyone can license from the pool.

The problem with supposedly free codecs like Ogg Vobis is that there are too many essential concepts in video that are already patented, and so there's no way for an old codec (Vobis is very outdated stuff) to progress to modern performance and technology without running into that minefield. Apple could invest in it until its business is tied to those free technologies, but then the patent holders would then target Apple and take away all that work and seek damages. So it's not free in the long run.

For another example at how things work in video, consider Microsoft's WMV. It planned to go it alone and sell its codec in competition with MPEG, only to find that most of its work was already patented, to the point where licensing WMV (aka vc-1) was really only benefitting generic video patent holders, and not really Microsoft. - Dan]

21 Ringgo { 05.11.10 at 9:57 am }

David Dennis 14

Love this: buttery, stuttery, juddery! Ha ha!

22 Berend Schotanus { 05.11.10 at 11:04 am }

Good statement. Innovation and great products can (hopefully) be obtained by fair competition, certainly not by slippery “peace talks”. I completely agree with you there is nothing wrong with Adobe and Apple playing the game hard.

23 jomi { 05.11.10 at 12:35 pm }

Daniel in #20:
“Apple could invest in it until its business is tied to those free technologies, but then the patent holders would then target Apple and take away all that work and seek damages. So it’s not free in the long run.”

But of course the patents which are in the MPEG4-pool wouldn’t hurt Apple, because they have licensed those. So from Apples POV the patent threat is rather about “submarine patents” – something that MPEG4 isn’t fully protected against, as well.

(At least that’s the way I understand it, feel free to correct me if you notice an error!)

Therefore, obviously, patent violations in Ogg Vorbis/Theora would be dangerous mostly to those who have not licensed the MPEG4-pool (read: Mozilla).

Therefore, a huge part of the argument against Ogg has to be about performance/quality/lack of hardware acceleration/lack of use – but not about patents.

24 SteveS { 05.11.10 at 1:49 pm }

I don’t always agree with Daniel, but I have to admit. Galen Grumman is an idiot. My first exposure to his general lack of understanding of how things work was with regards to how Exchange Server integration rules work. It’s been downhill from there regarding Galen’s level of competence. For his sake, I can only hope he’s “pulling a Dvorak” in hopes of hit counts for Infoworld. If not, the shame really belongs to IDG for continuing to publish such utter nonsense.

Daniel is right to call him out on such a ridiculous article. It’s too bad the call out is filled with so much emotion and half truths and claims which cannot be substantiated. But, like all RDM articles, you take the good with the bad.

25 cy_starkman { 05.11.10 at 5:18 pm }

But does he fail whales cause this is really important!

26 mr_kitty { 05.11.10 at 10:33 pm }

@7sauerkraut
“What would you say is the biggest difference between an open standard like javascript or html5 and this kind of assertion about the openness of flash?”

The components needed to create 3rd party flash compilers were released, but none of the components needed to make flash RENDERERS are. This is why you can use Eclipse to create flash files, but you can only use Adobe’s flash player to play those files.

Were Adobe to release the flash player runtime as an open standard, you’d see VLC rush to release a flash plugin, and Apple would likely create it’s own flash playback component for mobile safari.

JavaScript & HTML5 are both truly open in that all data needed to create content and to create renderers for that content are available to everyone.

So Adobe’s claims of Flash being an open standard are about as misleading as if Apple claimed that Mac OS X were an open standard (they haven’t made such a claim, but oh how they’d be eviscerated if hey did) — Apple has published the APIs and details needed to build compilers to create apps that will run on Mac OS X, but not the components needed to build your own OS to run Mac OS X apps. By Adobe logic tho, Mac OS X would be an open standard….

Unfortunately, Adobe seems to have been taken over by marketing managers that understand nothing about technology outside of the bullet point lists their focus groups produce and they seem to have fired all the talented coders that once drove the flash innovation.

27 airmanchairman { 05.12.10 at 12:52 am }

daryl3d said: “has anyone seen this new Engadget piece… Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ and Flash run like butter on Nexus One (video) http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/11/android-2-2-froyo-and-flash-run-like-butter-on-nexus-one-vide/

What he missed, and I am absolutely amazed that Daniel missed too (I expected to read about it here in humorous and mocking tones) was that the first public demo by Adobe evangelist Ryan Stewart of Flash 10.1 on Nexus One a week ago at a Flash developer camp (FlashCamp) in Seattle failed miserably and was widely panned for its lack of preparedness and un-professionalism:

http://jeffcroft.com/blog/2010/may/08/android-flash-demo-flashcamp-seattle/

This repeat demo appears to be more of a “here’s one I prepared earlier” come-back, thankfully. The performance problems are there for all to see, and this is the major issue for most objectors to Flash technology – far more critically important than the proprietary nature of Flash, or Adobe’s least-common-denominator multi-platform approach to application development, which will not result in truly competitive offerings and will ultimately defeat itself, much like Java appears to have.

28 truthseeker { 05.13.10 at 12:51 pm }

Apple killing Flash?!?! Ha! Adobe killed Flash years ago through incompetence. Also, shifting away from the sensationalism of the cretins (ahem ~ “authors.” Beg your pardon.) and shifting towards a quick analysis of semantics Apple didn’t give Flash the kiss of death. Apple chose to keep Flash off the iPhone. Apple did not command all other manufacturers to get rid of Flash – they are welcome to embrace Flash (though I think it would be a horrible decision). Writers stating “Apple killed Flash” just seek to continue getting paid to shill. Barf.

29 rale { 05.14.10 at 8:01 pm }

“This is so blatantly ignorant that Gruman needs to edit the entire section out just to limit InfoWorld’s shame.”

A lol classic!

30 gslusher { 05.16.10 at 5:00 pm }

@mr_kitty

“The components needed to create 3rd party flash compilers were released, but none of the components needed to make flash RENDERERS are. This is why you can use Eclipse to create flash files, but you can only use Adobe’s flash player to play those files.”

Do mean interactive Flash files? I ask because there are several players that play Flash videos, including VLC. According to VideoLan, they use the ffmpeg library for Flash video.

[Playing back video files wrapped in a Flash video container is very different from executing Flash content. It's like the difference between being able to open a Word file without Word (fairly easy on any platform) and being able to run a Windows program without Windows (which requires extensive, complex emulation support that nobody can really deliver without Microsoft's help). - Dan]

31 GusDoeMatik { 05.18.10 at 2:08 pm }

Dudes solution isn’t viable… But here is a solution that might be more viable…
@GusDoeMatik
What I think is the biggest problem is that people aren’t truly understanding the situation from a designers perspective.

Designers need flash for rich interactive content. Supposedly you can create the same content with a combination of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. But here’s the issue–designers can’t!!! A programmer can, but how many programers can actually design?

Another issue is that people are comparing Adobe Flash with the open standards of Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. You can’t compare it, they are totally 2 different animals. Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3 are computer languages, while flash is an application. Flash does use a bastardized version of the computer language, Javascript, which adobe called ActionScript, but that’s goes without saying.

See I can go inside Flash and create a stunning advertisement without knowing a lick of code. There is no such editor currently on the market that has a WYSIWYG user interface, that converts Javascript, HTML5, and CSS3. If I’m wrong please point me to one.

I have thought about this for a while and came up with a solution.

Note: This solution isn’t perfected but it’s a point in the right direction Also this solution is for the tag which is the new HTML5 tag which enables the user to have flash like content on their page:

First:
Either Adobe, Apple, and/or an Independent company needs to create a MAC/PC compatible application that solves this problem. Personally I would like to see Apple make it. Although if Adobe made it they would add support to Photoshop, Illustrator and/or other apps in their line up. The type of support only adobe could do like layers and editing.

Second:
I would call this Application iCanvas(Apple), Canvas H5(Adobe). [Of course they would never use these names cause they would feel some type of way about using a name I created for their apps since I don't work for them.]

Third
The App:
I would add a timeline, code/designer view, the many tool palettes that are currently available in most creation applications, and of course a canvas for creation. The canvas is where you would create your animations and such, just like you would do in Flash except to the left/right would be the code view in which you could see the actual code that creates these animations. That way an expert coder could also adjust, fix, and/or add custom code. The app should also automatically create an external CSS3 file to go with the project, but give the user the flexibility to name the styles being used.

Once the designer finishes the project the user saves it in 2 different formats. The first format would be the native app project format. the second format would be a text file that the web could use.

Implementing this file so that the web can use it. The solution for this would be create a new tag or alter the existing tag.
Example:
…/directory/fileName.canvas. You would place that tag in the area where the current flash file is located. You would use the class/id for positioning, borders, height, width, and so on.

Embedding the file would be better so you can have other files point to it rather than having to copy and paste the code to each file that wants to use that particular file.

Problem:
Adobe might not want to do this cause it would compete against their current line up of apps, Flash/DreamWeaver. But they could make it as an extension/plugin for those apps.

Now this is just me brainstorming, but Adobe/Apple have teams and think tanks that can take this idea and transform it something more powerful.

One thing I will add before I end this very long comment is that any independent company that sees this idea please jump on it… The first company to make such an app will have millions of purchasers…
And if Apple is reading this then I want you to hurry up make it…. PLEASE!!!!

Thank you for taking the time out to read this…

[As you point out, designers see Flash as being the Adobe app they use to create Flash content, while tech people generally think of Flash as the binary alternative to web standards that Flash Professional (the app) cranks out. This includes both full-fledged apps (including kiosk type uses) and web-less websites as well as embeddable content such as Flash video.

But it's this very Flash platform that many tech people are opposed to seeing pushed as an alternative to the web, for the reasons outlined (it's proprietary, not an industry collaboration; it's complex and a web browser plugin, and therefore suffers bugs and security issues and does not scale well; Adobe does a poor job of supporting platforms other than the Windows PC, and so on).

Designers like the idea of creating interactive content using the same tools they use to create print. The problem is, the web isn't supposed to be print+interactive. That was AOL. The web is supposed to be semantically marked up, open information that can be interpreted by the browser to serve various uses by various people. Flash fails at this because it's not intending to do this at all. It's trying to deliver interactive+print content that looks exactly the way the designer intended it to look. That's not the web, its AOL '95.

That's why Adobe wanted into the App Store so badly (because native iPhone apps are designed to do that, and not be the web) and also why Adobe is doing to poorly on the web in so many respects (because it's not trying to deliver what the web is supposed to do), including accessibility, mobile devices, freedom of content, cross platform delivery, and so on.

So you're right, they're very different things. I agree; my angle of criticism is that Flash is not the web. If you're creating Flash, you're not making web content, you're making Flash content. And the web shouldn't be replaced with Flash content. But I'm a tech nerd, not a designer. So I recognize other people want to create interactive content without knowing how to work with web standards, and don't care about the fidelity of the web, and don't want anyone competing with their business model. I'm just rooting against them because I think they're wrong and fated to fail. - Dan]

32 uthne { 05.21.10 at 1:16 pm }

@GusDoeMatik

Like you I’m a designer and i use Flash every day. I started out as a print-designer, and back in 1995-96 i started hacking out my first HTML-pages.
I love my Flash application like most applications from Adobe I use; InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and AfterEffects. However I seriously doubt how “stunning advertisement” you create “without knowing a lick of code”. Sure you can hand-animate everything on a single timeline, but if you are serious you need to use ActionScript at one point or another.
So as a Flash user I had to learn not only ActionScript, but AS2 and then AS3, which is a completely different beast as most of what you did in AS2 is depreciated or won’t work in AS3.
Then, to actually have the Flash interact with the web-page or a server you need to at least know Javascript and preferably PHP. Sure, you can leave all that to others but I prefer to do my own PHP-programming rather than explain everything to some “geek”.

I agree, we do need a real creation tool for HTML5 content. Adobe have finally released “Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 HTML5 Pack”. It is not enough, but they are doing something. I think Apple is working on a new version of Dashcode, or maybe a completely new tool to go with it’s iAd.


What does Gruman mean with InDesign-based SWF anyway? I make all my page layouts in InDesign, and i SWF files I publish from Flash.

33 uthne { 05.21.10 at 1:59 pm }

@GusDoeMatik
Rereading my post I must add that my point was not to be a troll. My point is simply; as an advanced user you need to get into some level of scripting, maybe more so with HTML5 than Flash.
However, tools are being made as we comment. Even Adobe, dominating with its Flash platform will get their hands (tools) on the HTML5-market.

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