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April 29, 2010 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Here's Why We Don't Allow Flash On The iPhone And iPad. An open letter by Steve Jobs. Some previous discussion here, here.
posted by mazola (967 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's a handy way to send your thoughts back to El Jobso too.
posted by mazola at 7:16 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nothing new in the letter. I think it's more interesting that he felt the need to write it.
posted by smackfu at 7:16 AM on April 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


Does this mean that iPad and iPhone users can't access Flash-based porn websites?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:18 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironically enough, the formatting of that page is not compatible with an itouch/iphone.

Webpage people, maybe you answer this: is there any reason that HTML cannot wrap for small screens while still having a set readable width for large ones? or is the culprit here the inferiority of safari to firefox or opera?
posted by jb at 7:21 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Allow": Here's Why I Don't Use Apple Products
posted by DU at 7:22 AM on April 29, 2010 [49 favorites]


My iPhone 3Gs' battery lasts for about 7 hours with no calling at all. And it's brand new. Man am I glad it can't run that Flash!
posted by chavenet at 7:23 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe.

oh really?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:24 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


(Which is not to say I wouldn't like to see Flash dead and HTML5 take it's place. Just that Apple is being pretty disingenuous calling the kettle black.)
posted by DU at 7:24 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve Jobs, may you never die!
posted by kuatto at 7:25 AM on April 29, 2010


Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary.

That he can say this with a straight face is amazing.
posted by anti social order at 7:26 AM on April 29, 2010 [51 favorites]


Webpage people, maybe you answer this: is there any reason that HTML cannot wrap for small screens while still having a set readable width for large ones? or is the culprit here the inferiority of safari to firefox or opera?

It looks like the page forces the main div to be 650px wide. Which is why it's not wrapping correctly on small browsers. Regular HTML has no problem wrapping correctly on large or small screens. I think the culprit is stupid CSS.
posted by kmz at 7:26 AM on April 29, 2010


jb fixed width is just that, fixed :( There is no easy way for software to infer beyond the explicit intension of the developer
posted by kuatto at 7:27 AM on April 29, 2010


I really hate flash websites. I cringe every time one pops up in my browser and all of a sudden every fan in my computer is blowing full strength. I detest trying to navigate poorly implemented (but colorful! and animated!) menus. I really feel like the developer is condescending to me when I have to sit through a splash page, or an intro, or I can't find the information I came for because everything looks like something other then a webpage.

Part of me feels like Steve Jobs is standing up for people like me. The other part of me doesn't really think he needs to be the daddy of the Internet.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2010 [52 favorites]


Well, that's 0.1% of mobile phones Flash isn't going to be allowed to run on then :(

I was also a bit confused about the 'There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.' part. Are there really more games for the iThings than there are for Windows? It seems unlikely.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2010


You know, I'm as much of an Apple fanboy as anybody (I woo-hooed a little this morning at getting my shipping notice for an iPad 3G), but we have a lot of open threads discussing Apple already, several of them already discussing Apple vs Adobe, mobile platforms vs Flash, and so on. Is this news, or an excuse to bump up the same heated exchanges that a dozen people here feel really strongly about?

You know what's a lot more interesting and more world-changing than a Steve Jobs press release? HP bought Palm. Make an FPP about that instead.
posted by ardgedee at 7:30 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


I sure am happy that the proprietary technology vendors are sniping at one another. The more that Apple undermines Adobe and Adobe undermines Windows and Windows undermines Apple, the more breathing room open standards get. If Apple's refusal to play nice with flash means html5 rolls out faster and gets a better browser implementation, I can't help but cheer it on.
posted by idiopath at 7:30 AM on April 29, 2010 [15 favorites]


Webpage people, maybe you answer this: is there any reason that HTML cannot wrap for small screens while still having a set readable width for large ones?

It can, using max-width.
posted by enn at 7:31 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever.

Yeah, okay, Steve. It's a neat gadget, sure, but your 9.7 inch slab o' plastic doesn't offer better video viewing than my 19 inch monitor and high end graphics card. Let alone better video viewing than someone with a nice monitor. If you want me to take your arguments seriously, try not actively jerking off while you explain your position.
posted by Caduceus at 7:31 AM on April 29, 2010 [15 favorites]


iPod won't run Java applets, either. I'm not taking to the streets over this.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:31 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained

Odd, most of my friends who have iPhones are lucky to get 10 hours unless they don't use the phone at all, much less play 10 hours of video.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:32 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


And this just after Google pledged Flash support for Android 2.2.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 7:33 AM on April 29, 2010


Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc.

First falsehood, 4th paragraph.

It's true that Adobe controls the direction that flash goes in, but actually flash itself is an open standard, and there are alternative implementations. You don't need to buy adobe's flash products to author flash apps.

"Apple, you guys were the rebles, man, the underdogs. People believed in you. But are you becoming the man" -- Jon Stewart
posted by delmoi at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


"And this just after Google pledged Flash support for Android 2.2."

That feels a bit like Sun pledging support for every open-sounding standard they could back in the day just to have a stick to beat Microsoft with.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


H.264 is the one true video codec, anything else is bad because it's not open. Except Quicktime of course.
posted by smackfu at 7:36 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


He goes through great pains to explain why their proprietary is bad but his proprietary is good. Apple is eventually going to lose this battle. The more the company takes a stand, the longer it will take them to catch up and the more embarrassing it will be for them when they eventually cave.
posted by adipocere at 7:36 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary.

Okay. More like 99% (and he *does* address many Apple technologies being proprietary later on in the letter)

If Flash was truly open, we'd have had a usable open-source alternative years ago. Instead, my reasonably powerful machine can't play a YouTube video the size of a postage stamp without stuttering, thanks to the hilariously-inefficient Flash 10.

As far as I'm concerned, Adobe's digging their own grave.

Yes, they've done a few cool things in recent memory. CS5 looks quite cool, and Lightroom has become an indispensable tool for any professional photographer. However, before Adobe purchased Lightroom (then RawShooter), it ran quickly, and on modest hardware. Now, the feature set has barely increased, and it requires a quad-core machine to run at acceptable levels. Being purchased by Adobe is the kiss of death for a product.
posted by schmod at 7:36 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


Flash and Javascript are usually abused, anyway. I would rather just see text.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 7:37 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Crap, I'm gonna need more popcorn again. This has been a good month for Orville Reddenbacher.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:38 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are there really more games for the iThings than there are for Windows?

No no, he said game titles. Steve's got a whole notebook full of killer platformers he's going to start working on any day now.
posted by echo target at 7:39 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


Counting apps or games doesn't really mean anything. Lots of shovelware out there.
posted by smackfu at 7:41 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Counting apps or games doesn't really mean anything. Lots of shovelware out there.

Indeed, there are boatloads of near identical common games, and every time a new movie or product comes out there seems to be a corresponding app for it.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 AM on April 29, 2010


I get the feeling Steve really wanted to end the letter with "...so shut up already!!!"
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:43 AM on April 29, 2010


You know what's a lot more interesting and more world-changing than a Steve Jobs press release? HP bought Palm. Make an FPP about that instead.

HP buys Palm? That's as yawn inducing as Honda and Ford announcing a Civic/Taurus hybrid.
posted by geoff. at 7:44 AM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Apple went though the effort of building their own damn office suite rather than just shipping OpenOffice or something because they really really believe that native programs are better than cross-platform ones. And on the Mac, which is a powerful enough platform to be able to handle the overhead of things like XUL and AIR, this is still obvious when you put a Cocoa app beside one built with a cross-platform toolkit. On the iPhone the platform is much more limited. Having the shiniest Twitter app on the phone be one that doesn't use multitouch right, scrolls jerkily and heats the phone up and kills the battery would be platform suicide.

Adobe could own the HTML 5 Canvas authoring market if they weren't so blind to the direction of the web.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:44 AM on April 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


It's true that Adobe controls the direction that flash goes in, but actually flash itself is an open standard, and there are alternative implementations.

It's an open standard in the sense that it's a published, free to implement standard, but effectively only Adobe can make changes to the specification. It's not like HTML where there's a large committee that works on it.

As for alternative implementations: they're all terrible and incomplete. Gnash, for example, has only partial support for SWF 8 and 9, which suggests that its support for 10 is nonexistent. Swfdec is a dead project and only got up to version 4.
posted by jedicus at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adobe could own the HTML 5 Canvas authoring market if they weren't so blind to the direction of the web.

This.
posted by sveskemus at 7:47 AM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


So Metafilter hates Apple now? Somehow I missed that memo. Can someone let me know when we stop liking Lady Gaga and Mad Men? Cause I don't want to be in a thread and be all "Mad Men is awesome!" only to be told I'm wrong.

It's just so damn hard to keep up sometimes.
posted by bondcliff at 7:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


The important part seemed to me this:
Sixth, the most important reason.

Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps.
This seemed to me the disingenuous bit. If the "third party platform" supplies a bad experience to users, missing out on the cool platform features, why not leave it to the user to abandon it or not?

This isn't really for the benefit of the users. If users run cross-platform apps on the iPhone, then they're not tied to the iPhone. You start having open competition, where the users can move to another platform (Blackberry, gPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile, whatever). It's for the benefit of Apple, to keep users tied to the platform.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:49 AM on April 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever.

Caduceus, it is my impression that Apple products are designed to the demands of one man, Steve Jobs. I'm sure if you had a large computer manufacturing company at your bidding then you could also build something that you consider to be the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience EVER!

If your wants and desires for computers are similar to Steve Job's wants and desires then you probably like OS X and the iPhone. If you want something else, well then you need to buy a different product.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:49 AM on April 29, 2010


Having the shiniest Twitter app on the phone be one that doesn't use multitouch right, scrolls jerkily and heats the phone up and kills the battery would be platform suicide.

And we need Apple to protect us from using crappy software? (And I've seen bad multitouch and scrolling in stuff that passed Apple's review process.)
posted by smackfu at 7:50 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm confused as to why H.264 is the answer. Beyond the fact Apple chose to support it in hardware a longtime ago. The article would be slightly more believable (like 2% instead of 1%) if he were talking about an open codec that didn't have to be licensed.
posted by yerfatma at 7:51 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The most important reason he listed was "we don't like third party frameworks, because We Know Better". There is the biggest stinking lie in that document. For many years on the Mac platform, the *only* reasonable application kits were third party (TCL, PowerPlant, etc). In fact, after the glow has worn off the initial use of *any* toolkit, the developer has to rewrite key parts because the tools weren't up to his/her task. And if one of your goals is portability across platforms, you're SOL without a 3rd party solution or roll-your-own.
posted by plinth at 7:52 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


1) I agree that Adobe's bleats about "openness" are disingenuous. Flash is a closed platform, as is the App Store. However, Adobe's record at being a good citizen in the broader software ecosystem is much, much better than Apple's at this point. I'm glad Apple is pushing web standards; I'm not so glad that they're wielding them as a club.

2) "Full Web". 50k games in the App Store? Lovely. But I'm not so chuffed that Steve suggests I write my games from scratch, twice: once for the iPhone and once for desktops. Without even the option to use automated porting tools.

3) It's a laugh that Jobs is blaming Adobe for Flash's performance problems on the Mac and throwing FUD on its future on mobile devices. Apps written natively for the Mac crash a lot too; but because Flash is a platform, its crash stats aggregate those of all the shitty web apps and banner ads in existence. And given how hostile Apple has been towards Adobe in helping Flash run well on OS X, well...

4) Battery life: he's got a point. I do wish he'd stop going on about H.264 like it's a good thing though; it's horribly patent-encumbered, and risky for any business to base their revenue stream on something that could have its licensing fees jacked up as soon as the standard really takes off.

5) Touch: bullshit bullshit bullshit. The iPad and iPhone already have ways of working around mouseover and mouseclick events in existing JS webapps: touch to "hover", double-tap to click. An iPhone flash player would simply need to do the same.

6) Here's where the mask slips. It's OK that Apple is not interested in helping developers create content for anything other than their proprietary, locked-down platform. It's NOT OK that they actively seek to control not just what appears on the platform, but the entire engineering process (and therefore business model) of their developers.

This has always been a delicate dance between Apple and their developers: Apple tends to demand more uniformity and architectural compliance from their apps, and we developers have usually been kinda sorta OK with that. However, with the App Store, Apple has become increasingly draconian in their demands for control over every aspect of application development. I think it's reaching the level of abuse, and they're pushing hard to see how far they can go by leveraging their monopoly on decent smartphones.

Steve is clearly irritated that his serfs have started to grumble, and is trying to use his trademark blend of happytalk and alpha-geek FUD to herd us back in line. I'm glad to see he's rattled; he should be.
posted by xthlc at 7:54 AM on April 29, 2010 [25 favorites]


I agree with Jobs that Flash is not open source and there are no good open source options for playing Flash. Nevertheless, there is much content for it and it is too bad you can't access that on Apple devices.

This is really about power. Apple is starting to develop some market power and wants to use it to muscle Adobe out of this space.
posted by caddis at 7:54 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Flash and Javascript are usually abused, anyway. I would rather just see text.

Houyhnhnm, I agree. I know that I'm looking at a computer screen right now, just make it a good looking computer screen. I won't be fooled into thinking it's suddenly become a television, or the bridge of a spaceship, or the set of a game show.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:55 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


And we need Apple to protect us from using crappy software?

Compare: pre-1984 video game market to what came later when releases were controlled. There's a good argument for ensuring a new platform is shown in the best light by its software.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:56 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This argument against third party development tools is completely ridiculous. Yes, if an OS adds some incredible new feature (such as copy and paste), third party development tools will need to be updated to support that feature. But that one downside of using a third party development tool in no way justifies Apple's policy of completely banning any code not created with their tools.

Third party development tools, both proprietary and free (as in speech), have been a core part of every personal computing device ever. If computer manufacturers had always forced developers to use their own proprietary development tools, we wouldn't have languages like Python, PHP, and Ruby. And if web browsers had been created on locked down systems like the iPad, we wouldn't have JavaScript or any of the other various hacks that browser developers were free to put in to make the web better without clearing it with Apple or Microsoft first. Apple products are popular enough without Flash, but the fact that a manufacturer like Apple can dictate what kind of code can run on their computers will stifle the kind of unfettered innovation that led us to where we are right now.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:56 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anybody who thinks Apple is going to lose this particular pissing match is smoking crack.

If they have to write a free vector animation program to add to their little productivity suite they'll do it, but they can probably just wait for some small, hungry developer to write the Flash killer they've just created the need for.

I have done a lot of work in Flash, and believe me, it can't be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery fast enough.
posted by ecurtz at 7:58 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


but your 9.7 inch slab o' plastic doesn't offer better video viewing than my 19 inch monitor and high end graphics card.
He said a better YouTube experience, and I think he's probably right: my 30" monitor and high-end graphics card are great, but when it comes to YouTube all they're doing is throwing a mass of lego blocks at the screen, even in HD mode.

I'm most surprised that Lightroom was a buy-in. I thought it was an internal skunkworks. Damn, the sole thing I admired Adobe for since, ooh, PS 5, and it's just chequebook dev. Shit.
posted by bonaldi at 8:01 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


but your 9.7 inch slab o' plastic doesn't offer better video viewing than my 19 inch monitor and high end graphics card.

He said a better YouTube experience, and I think he's probably right


I'll give jobs that, output device quailty notwithstanding. The YouTube app automatically filters all the comments and feels like an integrated component of the iPxx rather than the clicky-box in the browser. Still, my plain PC can render 1080p YouTube just fine in full screen mode without any glitches, so there's that.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:05 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm more torn about this than my above posts would indicate, I like the technical things developers are doing on Android getting Python and other hacker-y tools up and running, seeing what neat tricks they can pull off. And if I get a pot of play money sooner or later an Android device is on my wishlist. But there's still no comparison between the user experience between the two platforms. Especially how having a slightly out-of-date device seems to leave some Android customers stranded. So I can respect Apple not wanting to complicate the task of cultivating the best user experience, but if Android ends up being a good-enough alternative that can reach more users the way Windows supplanted Mac OS then so be it.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:05 AM on April 29, 2010


Anybody who thinks Apple is going to lose this particular pissing match is smoking crack.

What does "lose" even mean? Apple has complete control, like a dictator. This is just a fight for public opinion.
posted by smackfu at 8:05 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Especially how having a slightly out-of-date device seems to leave some Android customers stranded.

Apple seems to be going in the same direction, unfortunately. You can buy an iPhone 3G today, but it won't be fully supported by iPhone 4.0 which comes out this summer. Like you won't get multitasking, so all those neat apps won't be usable.
posted by smackfu at 8:08 AM on April 29, 2010


I don't have a problem with apple not supporting flash at the level of the browser. I wish there was a way to enable it selectively but the trade offs there make sense. What I don't like is not allowing flash as a cross platform development environment. I get that it will make apps that are in some ways lower quality than what is potentially possible, but there are already so many apps that are glorified rss readers, terrible clones of other apps, soundboards, and lazy accelerometer toys. Development tools hurt apple not because they create an inherently inferior product but because they allow for the creation of a product that is accessible to apples competitors.
posted by I Foody at 8:08 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


So Metafilter hates Apple now? Somehow I missed that memo.

We don't hate Apple any more or less than we hate any other big corporation that makes toys we like to play with. What we hate are people being disingenuous assholes, which is what Steve Jobs is doing in this letter. That doesn't mean we're on Adobe's side instead.
posted by Caduceus at 8:11 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]



Apple seems to be going in the same direction, unfortunately. You can buy an iPhone 3G today, but it won't be fully supported by iPhone 4.0 which comes out this summer. Like you won't get multitasking, so all those neat apps won't be usable.


I can see this being because of technical limits of the 3G making it impractical to offer those features, though. I'm much happier with them offering us 3G owners what they can in an OS upgrade and not holding back arbitrary new features of a new OS as a way to push us to buy a new device.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:12 AM on April 29, 2010


I'm most surprised that Lightroom was a buy-in. I thought it was an internal skunkworks. Damn, the sole thing I admired Adobe for since, ooh, PS 5, and it's just chequebook dev. Shit.

Not to derail, but you are partially correct. Lightroom started off as a skunkworks offshoot of Adobe Camera RAW. The Pixmantec acquisition provided much of the technology necessary to make Lightroom into a usable, sellable product, and also improved the quality of ACR's RAW processing by a bit.

Unfortunately, they seem to have missed RawShooter's primary draw of being highly simplistic, fast, and multithreaded.

Of course, this is still partially on-topic, as it provides yet another example of Adobe's general incompetence.
posted by schmod at 8:13 AM on April 29, 2010


This seemed to me the disingenuous bit. If the "third party platform" supplies a bad experience to users, missing out on the cool platform features, why not leave it to the user to abandon it or not?

Oh yes. There are many times that I'll prefer a pure Cocoa interface over a hybrid. But while interfaces like Adobe, Mozilla, Microsoft, Java, and Opera are klunky under OSX, they still offer features that I need and/or want.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:13 AM on April 29, 2010


we need Apple to protect us from using crappy software?

Yes, for the same reason we need Facebook to disallow HTML coding in profiles.

Have you ever seen the average user? They're stupid. At least they're stupid when it comes to computers. If Apple allowed crossplatform shitty apps most users wouldn't be able to tell the difference when looking for programs. "Well, this is a native app, so I can trust it'll have a better user experience..." isn't going to happen. The average user doesn't know what user experience is, or what a native app is. All they know is if they like the thing they're using or not.

It was perfectly possible to use MySpace and create a tasteful, attractive profile. I have seen beautiful MySpace pages. But I don't think of MySpace as a collection of beautiful profiles. I think of it as a vast shitheap, because most profiles are really, really bad.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:15 AM on April 29, 2010 [30 favorites]


And, since I'm in the middle of figuring out what we need to do about this whole SNAFU for work anyway...

HTML5 canvas demos (require Safari, Chrome, Firefox?)
Video Playback
Processing
Graphing Toy
Tetris
Another World
posted by ecurtz at 8:18 AM on April 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


The page is blue, but this reads like another Cory rant.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know what's a lot more interesting and more world-changing than a Steve Jobs press release? HP bought Palm.

This news affects a lot of people who depend on Apple mobile products, and knowing that Apple refuses to support a widely available web standard may influence them when they are making a decision to buy an Apple mobile product in the future.

As someone in the market for an iPod Touch, I'm glad mazola made this FPP.

Make an FPP about that instead.

I don't mean to be rude, but is something stopping you from doing so?
posted by zarq at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2010


Like you won't get multitasking, so all those neat apps won't be usable.

Umm, my 3G runs apps just fine without multitasking. I'm not sure what you mean by this?
posted by antifuse at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I loathe flash and love my iPhone, but here is the problem:

When I buy a phone, it becomes MY phone, not YOUR phone, Steve. Everything else in your little essay becomes moot after that.
posted by empath at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Myspace's HTML was a (table based) mess. That's the main reason that the custom profiles were so awful, because making them look good was really, really hard.

If MySpace had a sensible layout to start with, most profiles would have looked good. Most of the kids were using profile generators, not rolling their own HTML.

Metafilter actually allowed HTML and CSS in profiles for a while, and the results were pretty good (it was removed over concerns about cross site scripting)
posted by delmoi at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Of course Jobs can talk about Flash's proprietary nature with a straight face. Jobs builds a proprietary platform of course. But he also builds hardware, and he sells his shit straight to consumers through stores. Adobe's trying to make some sort of (bizarre) internet / computer freedom argument for being on the iphone and thereby makes themselves vulnerable to accusations about who the fuck they think they are.

Honestly not everyone else is a stupid as mefis think they are. They know what flash is and they can make their own informed decisions about what they want on their phone.

Personally I just wish Adobe would put up or shut up. Why didn't they release Air for Android before the iphone? Their freakout about Apple followed by, hey, don't cha know we're in a closed beta for android. Release some freaking apps!
posted by Wood at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2010


We don't hate Apple any more or less than we hate any other big corporation that makes toys we like to play with. What we hate are people being disingenuous assholes, which is what Steve Jobs is doing in this letter. That doesn't mean we're on Adobe's side instead.

Yeah, please don't speak for the entire site as if we are all some sort of monolithic group that holds the same opinion.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


When I buy a phone, it becomes MY phone, not YOUR phone, Steve. Everything else in your little essay becomes moot after that.

But is your phone just the hardware? the hardware+OS? or the 'experience'?
posted by mazola at 8:22 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Umm, my 3G runs apps just fine without multitasking. I'm not sure what you mean by this?

OS 4.0 adds new stuff to allow multitasking in apps. If any new apps use that for critical features, you won't be able to use them on your 3G.
posted by smackfu at 8:22 AM on April 29, 2010


I've been on the App Store. Apple's going to have to do a lot of weeding if they want to protect us from crappy software.
posted by graventy at 8:22 AM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Holy shit. The Reality Distortion Field is in full swing here.

First:

so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Who the hell are you to determine what your customers can and can't run? How much more 'closed' can you get than that? An approval and vetting process is a great idea. A coerced approval process, on the the other hand, is control-freakish and anti-competitive; you're using your control over the app signing process to keep other App Stores, ones that could do it even better than you do, from coming into being. An App Store could be done a lot better than yours, but your control over the keys absolutely ensures that nobody can show you how to improve, and it turns customers into a captive market. I'm sure that hasn't escaped you.

Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc.

Well, sure, but anyone can develop for Flash, and they can do it any way they want. Customers can choose whether or not to accept certain apps. Flash isn't really any tighter than any other operating environment; Adobe has no vetting process of any type. Now, it could be argued that some kind of voluntary vetting process would be a good thing, and I'd love to see one happen. But criticizing Adobe for being closed, sitting as the gatekeeper to the largest coerced software market ever invented, is well beyond disingenuous.

we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open.

Only when it's to your benefit. Your recent moves, for instance, to put language in your dev licenses forbidding all other development environments from running on your phone is disgusting. You only want open Web standards because you don't control the Web. Your desire for openness disappears the instant it's to your advantage.

iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video.

The fact that they're missing any at all is purely for your benefit, not your customers'.

We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.

How about you let your customers decide that? It's their damn phones. If you don't want to approve Flash for your store, that's fine. You're entitled to have and share your opinion of another company's products. You're not entitled to keep them off hardware you don't own.

In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices

Again, that's up to customers to choose. They certainly don't have to install it. If they don't like it, they won't run it, case closed. Putting your weight behind the development of better standards would be laudable; trying to force those standards to exist, by using your customers as a coerced weapon, is not.

Although Flash has recently added support for H.264, the video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software.

So, in one breath, you talk about all the H.264 video that's available for the iPhone, stating that iPhone users aren't missing much video, and then in the next breath, the video that isn't in that format is a terrible problem.

Yeah, right.

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover.

Okay, fine. Let Adobe work that out. If Flash is really crappy, they won't run it. You don't have the right to make decrees.

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.

No, what it really means is that cross-platform software becomes easier, making your competitors more attractive, and putting you in in a poorer position. Screw the customers, it's all about Apple.

Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features.

Yeah, maybe. But we'll never find out. Adobe has no ability to add support for those features, and thus drive demand for those features in other phones. Not coincidentally, this helps protect Apple's market share. Color me unsurprised.

For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

Yeah, Adobe kinda sucks. Sure, I buy that. But they DID just finally fix that problem, so criticizing them for it seems a bit late. If your development environment is really that much better, that provides a powerful advantage for Adobe competitors, like you, that use it. If it's really that important, you will gradually crowd Adobe out of their market. But you're not willing to compete fairly.

But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The mobile market is about whatever mobile customers want it to be, not what Apple wants it to be. If you think they want low power devices, touch interfaces, and open standards, then provide those things, and if they agree with you, you'll win. If they don't, you'll have to keep trying to convince them, instead of coercing them.

Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Perhaps Apple should focus more on what's best for its customers, instead of what's best for Apple.
posted by Malor at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2010 [21 favorites]


At least it supports Green Lantern
posted by nomisxid at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2010


What does "lose" even mean? Apple has complete control, like a dictator. This is just a fight for public opinion.

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I would consider it a loss for Apple if this Flash thing slowed down their inexorable crushing of the entire cellphone market.
posted by ecurtz at 8:24 AM on April 29, 2010


Who knew cross-platform would become a bad word?
People who have to use cross-platform Java apps.
posted by verb at 8:24 AM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


When I buy a phone, it becomes MY phone, not YOUR phone, Steve. Everything else in your little essay becomes moot after that.

It isn't entirely your phone, though. Never has been. An iPhone is not a BlackBerry or a Droid. As an iPhone user, you're held to a stricter TOS agreement, which sort of makes it more of a lease. Apple has prevented their products from being unlocked by users, and they can brick "your" phone if you violate your TOS.
posted by zarq at 8:25 AM on April 29, 2010


I'm also curious as to how people are getting such horrendous battery life on their iPhones. Just an example of my 3G, which I've had for almost 2 years now (so it's not like it's a brand new battery): Starting with a full charge at 8am yesterday, I surfed on 3G network for roughly 2 hours non-stop, and at another point I was on hold for an hour with Air Transat. I listened to about 4 hours of podcasts. And I still have 20% battery life left, 27.5 hours later.
posted by antifuse at 8:26 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Steve Jobs is like an architect who arranges it so that all your furniture is bolted down and it's impossible to change the color of the paint on the walls. I really love the look of his work, but damn, it's my fucking house. You just designed the thing.
posted by callmejay at 8:27 AM on April 29, 2010 [18 favorites]


Compare: pre-1984 video game market to what came later when releases were controlled. There's a good argument for ensuring a new platform is shown in the best light by its software.

Nintendo's idea of controlling what software could be published for their systems proved that manufacturing video game systems could be profitable, it did not make things better for the consumer or developers.

Nintendo dragged their feet on releasing any new hardware for nearly a decade, and was only forced into it by competition from Sega, while the completely open world of computer game development was always the first to adopt innovations like realistic sound, 3D graphics, and network play. The FPS genre that dominates games today was created by small group of computer shareware developers who wouldn't have been able to get their games published by Nintendo.

The modern game industry is often criticized for sticking to established IP and genres rather than creating new and innovative games, and in my opinion that's directly due to the focus on profits and the barrier to entry for small developers. If someday a kid has to solder a modchip into his computer to be able to run his own code, the software development world is going to look pretty bleak compared to today's.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:27 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


This will be moot when Apple buys Adobe just to prove a point. Then at the next Apple conference, Steve walks out thrusting an iPhone into the air as the speakers loudly blare:

FLASH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!
posted by ALongDecember at 8:27 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Perhaps Apple should focus more on what's best for its customers, instead of what's best for Apple.

Apple is a publicly traded corporation. It is required to focus on what's best for Apple, in the shape of a fiduciary responsibility to maximise return for shareholders. If it did anything else, it would be sued into oblivion.

Seriously, don't like Apple products? Buy something else.
posted by unSane at 8:28 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, he's dead right about Adobe taking a FREAKING DECADE to update the CS code from Carbon to Cocoa. Fuck 'em.
posted by unSane at 8:29 AM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


If MySpace had a sensible layout to start with, most profiles would have looked good. Most of the kids were using profile generators, not rolling their own HTML.

I dunno, Delmoi. My problems with MySpace never had to do with how information was laid out. My problems had to do with 24pt pale blue Comic Sans over a repeating background image of the galaxy. Tweren't tables what caused that.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


(It would not surprise me at all if Apple *did* buy Adobe).
posted by unSane at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2010


Also, he's dead right about Adobe taking a FREAKING DECADE to update the CS code from Carbon to Cocoa. Fuck 'em.

But at the same time, people still bought Adobe products because even though they were not the best citizen on the Macintosh desktop, the alternatives were usually worse.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2010


Our 3G sure as he'll isn't my 3G.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2010


These are all excuses not reasons.

One more falsehood. The Nokia n900 runs Flash. Flash Lite plays on numerous phones as well.
posted by euphorb at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


OS 4.0 adds new stuff to allow multitasking in apps. If any new apps use that for critical features, you won't be able to use them on your 3G.

I guess I'm just not that creative, I can't imagine an app or a specific piece of functionality in an app that would be a *critical* feature making it completely unusable on my 3G. Not to say I'm not bummed that my 3G won't support multitasking, but I imagine it would run terribly slowly any way. Luckily for me, I'm an early adopting whore, so maybe when the new iPhone gets announced this year I'll decide to pick up one of those :)

Or, maybe I'll decide to switch over to the Android platform, or Windows Mobile 7 Phone Mobile Series 7 Series Mobile Phone Edition.
posted by antifuse at 8:33 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The mobile market is about whatever mobile customers want it to be, not what Apple wants it to be. If you think they want low power devices, touch interfaces, and open standards, then provide those things, and if they agree with you, you'll win. If they don't, you'll have to keep trying to convince them, instead of coercing them.

Apple coerces its customers? Seriously? Seriously? Your suggestion is that Apple should compete for it's customers instead of .... whaat?

Talk about a reality distortion field.
posted by Wood at 8:35 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, please don't speak for the entire site as if we are all some sort of monolithic group that holds the same opinion.

Really? Of all the things you might be doing with your time, and you're bothering to take offense at my speaking in generalities? I'm really sorry, I didn't really think anyone would seriously consider me to be the spokesman for the entire site. 'Cause that would be stupid. But you're right, clearly everyone else reading this is an idiot, and automatically assumes I'm the Metatron of Metafilter if I talk like I am. I'd hate it if anyone isn't able to figure out that you if fact now do hate Apple and/or are on Adobe's side and/or love disingenuous assholes. My deepest apologies.
posted by Caduceus at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


But at the same time, people still bought Adobe products because even though they were not the best citizen on the Macintosh desktop, the alternatives were usually worse.
Which is why most of the iThing users I know use Apple products. Turtles all the way down.
posted by verb at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2010


Does this mean that iPad and iPhone users can't access Flash-based porn websites?

PornHub works on the iPad (and the iPhone). Those forward thinking pornographers.
posted by chunking express at 8:37 AM on April 29, 2010


I've been a Mac guy since I was, literally, three years old. These are the computers I grew up on: Macintosh II, SE, LC III, Performa 475, Power Mac 7200, and a 2nd-gen gumdrop iMac. In college I had a PowerBook G4 and a 1st-gen Mac Mini. Nowadays I use a MacBook at home and a new iMac at work. My phone is an iPhone. My router is a Time Capsule. Mac geek cred established?

My family and I have given Apple a lot of business over the years. I've never owned a Windows PC; I bought XP once for dual-booting when Apple switched to Intel chips and only use it to play a handful of games. That said, I'm not really the flag-waving apologist type. I've stuck with Macs because it's what I know, and what I like. 22 years on one platform is long enough to be a pretty freaking hardcore power-user, and I'm frankly a lot more productive in a familiar environment.

(Incidentally, I develop for both LAMP and BlueDragon/IIS platforms, so I'm no stranger to the non-Mac world. I still prefer OS X though, for plenty of subjective reasons.)

Anyway, I'm really disappointed with lockdown approach Steve & Co. are taking these days. Information and software want to be free; DRM only hurts the consumer. There is zero benefit to me, the end user, of using artificially restrictive systems. But I'm in this tight spot, because I've gotten myself dependent on Apple products, and I still love them more than I hate them, but they're getting worse. I don't like what Apple's doing to the tech world. It's smothering innovation and competition. It's becoming as evil as the eternal villain we love to hate, Microsoft (though it arguably always has been, and was just too small to draw the same kind of ire).

Apple's not coercing anybody. I'm free to leave. But I still love the product... I'm just not such a fan of the company. The best solution for people like me is for lots of us — especially ordinary, non-techy people — to start jailbreaking iPhones/iPods/iPads, removing iTunes FairPlay DRM, and building or buying hackintoshes. This shouldn't be the exclusive realm of open source geeks (like me), but should be the standard course of action for any thoughtful consumer who wants to unshackle Apple's software without kissing it goodbye. In my opinion, that's the best path to take, better than killing Apple, and better than letting it continue down this path believing its customers support this kind of thing.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


The story of Be and NeXT is great but this is one of my favorite quotes:

Gassée begged Red Herring, "For God's sake, don't compare us to NeXT. We want to be a better tool for developers, not to be tasteful. We don't cost $10,000. We have a floppy drive. We do not defecate on developers."
posted by jadepearl at 8:40 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


One more falsehood. The Nokia n900 runs Flash. Flash Lite plays on numerous phones as well.

Jobs didn't say Flash doesn't run on any mobile devices. He said it doesn't run well, which is of course quite subjective. I'm not familiar enough with the device to say whether it runs well or not. Anyway, the n900 runs Flash 9.4, whereas the latest stable release for the major platforms is version 10, which is evidence of Jobs's point that the cross platform nature of Flash means that Flash for iPhone/iPod/iPad may well lag behind Flash on other systems.

Flash Lite is a joke.
posted by jedicus at 8:40 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


My problems with MySpace never had to do with how information was laid out.

Have you ever looked at the actual HTML? It's not about how it was laid out on the screen, it had to do with the technical aspects, using nested tables instead of <div>s meant that trying to change the styling on any individual element had to be done by indexing it using the nesting structure, which was very difficult. You couldn't just change the font size and color in one section, you couldn't easily change the padding or spacing between elements at all, etc.

So trying to make your myspace profile look good would be like trying to remodel a car with a baseball bat. Even if you used a custom tool to precisely aim the bat, it's not going to work very well.

On the other hand, if myspace's layout had been better designed from the start, it would have been a lot easier for people to edit it, or create editing tools.

I'm sure you'd still see some ugly pages, but I think the results wouldn't have been nearly as bad.
posted by delmoi at 8:41 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


So Metafilter hates Apple now? Somehow I missed that memo. Can someone let me know when we stop liking Lady Gaga and Mad Men? Cause I don't want to be in a thread and be all "Mad Men is awesome!" only to be told I'm wrong.

It's just so damn hard to keep up sometimes.


Play it safe: hate everything.
posted by homunculus at 8:42 AM on April 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


> Steve Jobs is like an architect who arranges it so that all your furniture is bolted down and it's impossible to change the color of the paint on the walls. I really love the look of his work, but damn, it's my fucking house. You just designed the thing.

Actually.. here's a Frank Lloyd Wright house where that's exactly the case.
posted by xorry at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Appholes. God I love the Daily Show.
posted by Ber at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2010


The more the company takes a stand, the longer it will take them to catch up and the more embarrassing it will be for them when they eventually cave.
posted by adipocere at 7:36 AM


Have you ever paid attention to Apple? Two button mouse? Surely they'll cave. Getting rid of the floppy? They'll regret that!

Maybe they'll lose this one. I don't know. But neither do you. A lot of people hate flash, and alternatives are becoming more prevalent.

Steve is clearly irritated that his serfs have started to grumble, and is trying to use his trademark blend of happytalk and alpha-geek FUD to herd us back in line. I'm glad to see he's rattled; he should be.
posted by xthlc at 7:54 AM on April 29


Rattled how? I think it was a good move. Sure, we've heard all these points before, but not in one easy to digest list. I think he was more frustrated at having to answer the same question over and over again. So now, here's your list. Agree or disagree. Whoever said it should have ended with 'now shut the fuck up already' has it right.

Apple seems to be going in the same direction, unfortunately. You can buy an iPhone 3G today, but it won't be fully supported by iPhone 4.0 which comes out this summer. Like you won't get multitasking, so all those neat apps won't be usable.
posted by smackfu


Oh bullshit. Android has differences in their OS depending on what you buy today. The iphone 3G is 2 years old now. That's ancient. And anyone that bought a 3G are coming up on their upgrade discount. But if I keep my 3G multitasking is about the only upgrade in the OS I'll be missing.

We don't hate Apple any more or less than we hate any other big corporation that makes toys we like to play with. What we hate are people being disingenuous assholes, which is what Steve Jobs is doing in this letter. That doesn't mean we're on Adobe's side instead.
posted by Caduceus


I don't have much to say except I think it's precious you believe you speak for all of metafilter. :)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually.. here's a Frank Lloyd Wright house where that's exactly the case.

There's no pictures inside the place. Flash probably not allowed...
posted by mazola at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2010


Have you ever seen the average user? They're stupid.

That's the Apple attitude, in all its patronizing glory. It's also its biggest weakness in connecting with customers. Sure there's a sizable chunk of the market that doesn't want to be bothered to learn how to do anything, they just want their email, but that chunk is a minority: 1 in 6, if you believe the general computer market figures, perhaps 1 in 3 if you believe the smartphone market ones.

Still, the majority of the markent doesn't want Apple (and Mr Jobs) deciding what's kosher for them to do. Jobs doesn't edit books, he doesn't design fuel injectors, he doesn't try to analyse sales data from a trillion-entry database. He does sit on the couch to read books, watch movies and listen to music. He apparently doesn't play "casual" games either.

The negative reactions here and in every other iPad/Phone thread are coming from that majority of people who want to do things that Jobs doesn't do and hasn't thought of. The risk to Apple is recreating the Mac split all over again. Is the iPhone/iPad going to be a high-price, high-status system with limited market penetration? Is the iPhoneOS turning into a niche programming platform? Jobs seems to be on that track right now; closed API, niche first-class languages. It's a real problem for Apple if Apple is the best developer for the device.
posted by bonehead at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


It occurs to me that you may have been referring to the ship date for Flash on a smartphone slipping. There are a handful of smartphones that run Flash, although the n900 is really more of a tiny computer as it runs a full-blown OS. It is nonetheless the case that the ship date for the smartphone OSs that account for the vast majority of the smartphone market has slipped. This applies to Android, WebOS, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. So Jobs may be technically incorrect in that there is a device that is categorized as a smartphone that runs (an out of date version of) Flash, but that vast, vast majority of smartphones cannot run Flash because Adobe can't deliver it even if the smartphone maker wants it.
posted by jedicus at 8:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think banning flash from the iPhone makes sense to me for all the reasons that Jobs listed. Has anyone here used a Flash app ported to the iPhone? If you have, you would see Apple's point of view. It turns your iPhone into some kind of cheap Chinese rip-off.

I'm more concerned about apps being rejected from the app store. More transparency and consistency is needed.

I've noticed this on other sites as well but Apple haters are always the first ones to post comments. They seem more passionate about Apple than the Apple fanboys.
posted by Ajit AP at 8:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think this is just another case of Apple calling out another company on their bullshit waaayy before anybody thought they would or could. Adobe rather innocently creates an export app for CS5 and gets told to pack its bags by a company it seemingly has a good relationship with. Why all the hostility?

But the truth is that Flash is a shit product; maybe not exactly worthy of being obsolete, but definitely shit. They have made Flash a more feature-rich dev environment since 2005, but have done little to address some of its bigger underlying problems. Two things stand out to me: Adobe should have never bought Macromedia in the first place, and Apple's done playing the lowest common denominator game.
posted by phaedon at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


I get that Jobs is being really high-handed with his, "We know what's best for our customers," letter.

But that doesn't negate the fact that Adobe IS a huge, huge power drain, that it is responsible for a lot of crashing macs, and that it is lagging way behind the market with updates, etc.

And I absolutely agree that it is a hassle to run a third-party app when the support just isn't there. But I still want the right, even as a stupid user, to choose to do so when, for example, Open Office meets my needs as well as an expensive office suite I can't afford.

So, this letter isn't going to keep me from buying Apple products, which I enjoy, or make me a big fan of Adobe, which I wish wouldn't slow my mac all the hell down whenever I want to use it.

But it also isn't going to convince me to just shut up and take whatever Apple gives me just to make Steve Jobs happy.

And please get my iPhone the hell off of AT&T already.
posted by misha at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


TheophileEscargot: This seemed to me the disingenuous bit. If the "third party platform" supplies a bad experience to users, missing out on the cool platform features, why not leave it to the user to abandon it or not?

Gruber had a piece that touched on this a while back (indeed, this letter from Jobs almost reads like a rehash of some of Gruber's think-pieces). In particular, scroll down to the paragraph beginning "Maybe you don’t believe…" and read a few paragraphs from there.

This isn't really for the benefit of the users. If users run cross-platform apps on the iPhone, then they're not tied to the iPhone. You start having open competition, where the users can move to another platform (Blackberry, gPhone, Symbian, Windows Mobile, whatever). It's for the benefit of Apple, to keep users tied to the platform.

You're assuming that if compiled Flash apps were made available through the App store, that Apple would not wrap them in their own DRM. I don't think that's a safe assumption.
posted by adamrice at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure the hardware and software are closed, but the letters are open.

And that's what really matters.
posted by mazola at 8:49 AM on April 29, 2010


Play it safe: hate everything.

'cept The Wire, right?
posted by bondcliff at 8:51 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


flash itself is an open standard

No, it is not.
posted by stbalbach at 8:51 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's no pictures inside the place. Flash probably not allowed...

Finally found a gallery: http://www.samara-house.org/edgall1.htm
posted by xorry at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2010


Grrr http://www.samara-house.org/edgall1.htm
posted by xorry at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2010


Why can't Adobe leave the source code for Flash in a bar so that Apple can implement Flash properly?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:53 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Apple's not coercing anybody. I'm free to leave.

Only if you abandon your expensive hardware and spend a ton of money to replace it. You do not own your iPod, iPhone, or iPad, even though you 'purchased' it. If you were really free to leave, you could run anything on that hardware you wanted.

Two button mouse? Surely they'll cave.

They did cave; it's called multitouch. Multitouch is far more complex than multiple buttons. But they had put so much political capital into the one-button idea that they weren't willing to back down from the ledge until they could pretend they hadn't.
posted by Malor at 8:54 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


'cept The Wire, right?

You're allowed to hate the main plot line involving McNulty in season 5, if you really must. But if you do so you had at least better respect that it was done to illustrate the confluence of media and law enforcement and the problems therein. Any other "The Wire" related hate will result in banination

posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 AM on April 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


adamrice: "You're assuming that if compiled Flash apps were made available through the App store, that Apple would not wrap them in their own DRM. I don't think that's a safe assumption."

Apple can do whatever they like with the App once it's in their store. It wouldn't stop developers doing another build that targets Android/Blackberry/WinPhone7/Symbian.

Regardless, we already have Android OS on an iPhone. Anyone want to take bets on how long it'll be before someone ports the flash-enabled Android build to an iPhone, or how long after that video is leaked before Apple has the developers arrested?
posted by mullingitover at 8:54 AM on April 29, 2010


Jobs sort of circles around the main issue which is, from my own perspective as heavy web user and web developer: though Flash may have been necessary in the past to provide functionality in the browser that wasn't possible using JS, HTML, and CSS, that is no longer the case. Those open web technologies have matured (or will in the near future) and can do most or even all of what is possible with Flash. For 95% of all cases, Flash is, or will soon be, obsolete because there is a better way to do it that's more accessible, more open, and more "web-like".

kottke
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I right click all the time on my Mac. It's fun.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does anyone have an HTML 5 Tower Defense game? Because I have some time I'd like to burn, and I've played all the good flash ones.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:56 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash, in Flash.

:)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:57 AM on April 29, 2010


So trying to make your myspace profile look good would be like trying to remodel a car with a baseball bat. Even if you used a custom tool to precisely aim the bat, it's not going to work very well.

I'm not talking minor things like placing items on the page. I'm talking choices of color that had nothing to do with HTML and everything to do with an appalling taste. Rather: An apathy towards developing taste.

Most users are apathetic toward learning to find native applications. They simply don't care. So banning cross-platform applications makes sense, because it makes a choice for users that most users aren't educated enough to make.

(I wish there was an "expert mode" on my iPod and on the iPad that let seasoned users make more choices. But I completely understand Apple's disregarding the tech elite in favor of the casual user.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:57 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we replace the FPP link with this one? I find it's a big improvement.
posted by mullingitover at 8:57 AM on April 29, 2010


Rory Marinich: "Most users are apathetic toward learning to find native applications. They simply don't care. So banning cross-platform applications makes sense, because it makes a choice for users that most users aren't educated enough to make."

Most readers have poor taste in books. They simply don't care. So banning bad books makes sense, because it makes a choice for readers that most readers aren't educated enough to make.
posted by mullingitover at 9:00 AM on April 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


Malor, just don't buy one, ok? Steve Jobs can't hurt you if you don't let him.
posted by Hoenikker at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I dislike both Flash and Apple, but, like Premiere, wouldn't it be something if Adobe pulled Photoshop from Macs and cancelled CS5 support as a response?
posted by CarlRossi at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2010


Anyway, the n900 runs Flash 9.4, whereas the latest stable release for the major platforms is version 10, which is evidence of Jobs's point that the cross platform nature of Flash means that Flash for iPhone/iPod/iPad may well lag behind Flash on other systems.

Uh, Flash for the iPhone will lag behind other systems by virtue of it's not being available at all. Jobs is making sure of that. The rest of us believe that half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.

Flash Player will be available on Android and WebOS later this year or early next and then we'll see if it sucks horribly. Then maybe Jobs will be seen as having been prescient. I'm not so sure.
posted by euphorb at 9:02 AM on April 29, 2010


So... when Apples talking about the open HTML 5 it's actually talking about the video tag and canavas.

Video is just a container for a codec they happen to like. And the iPhone deals with it by giving you a link to Apples propriety video player. Whether that's some amazing leap forwards in web standards is kind of debatable. Certainly it seems a lot more like the web before Flash video players became ubiquitous.

Canvas is of course apples baby, and though it's theoretically becoming part of the open HTML 5 standard you can bet that they are going to be taking a proprietary interest in it and performing all kinds of tweaks just like they did with Quicktime when it became a standard. Also Canvas is slow and kind of dumb - you can't apply accessibility features or anything else semantic to anything on the canvas because there's nothing really there - it's just a big block of pixels that you draw on using a set of commands that would be familiar to anyone who did any graphics programming in the early 90s.

But the funniest thing is that CANVAS benchmarks really poorly on iPhone and iPad. We can't compare it with Androids flash support, of course, but Android does canvas significantly faster than the iPhone and iPad does - video here, iPhone is towards the end.

So basically there a lot of problems with the arguments for HTML 5 as an awesome replacement for Flash on Apples phones. Use an App instead. It's what Steve wants.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash, in Flash.

Yet another unnecessary use of Flash. :P
posted by antifuse at 9:03 AM on April 29, 2010


The iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone are closed platforms. Apple makes it clear from day one. If you don't like that, don't buy it. You can buy a MacBook if you want something more open from Apple, or you can go for another company's hardware.

If I were in the market for a smartphone, I'd get an Android powered one, most likely. I like that openness. I'm kind of thinking about picking up something like an iPod touch, but nobody seems to make something like that, without the phone, that is quite as good. I've read about the Zune HD, and its browser sounds lacking. Any suggestions?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:03 AM on April 29, 2010


Are there any frameworks out there for JS/HTML/CS that a high school kid could pick up in a few weeks and make a game with? Or is our proto-developer going to have to sit down with a few shelf-feet of manuals and then still write their own pixel blitters? Until that happens, Falsh is going to continue to be dominant.
posted by bonehead at 9:04 AM on April 29, 2010


Steve Jobs’ Thoughts on Flash, in Flash.

Scrollbar arrows in the wrong place, non-proportional thumb, scroll wheel has no effect. Definitely Flash.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 9:05 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Marco Arment of Tumblr suggests something interesting:

Establish Flash (the tool) as the premier tool for creating rich HTML5 content, the same way Photoshop is the premier tool for image manipulation and Illustrator is the premier tool for vector drawing. Adobe is in the tools business, first and foremost.

Make Flash (the tool) cross-compile between Flash Player binaries and HTML5/Javascript. Then use Flash Player as a legacy compatibility layer for browsers that don’t fully support the necessary standards, including Internet Explorer and Firefox.

posted by Rory Marinich at 9:05 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


tl;dr summary: "We have always been at war with Eurasia."

But seriously... the platform needs to be closed and tightly controlled in the name of openness? What a load of shit. Apple's one and only true reason for excluding Flash from the iPhone is that it would let app developers bypass the Apple's stranglehold on the marketplace and development tool chain.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


It is nonetheless the case that the ship date for the smartphone OSs that account for the vast majority of the smartphone market has slipped.

Did you even read the full article, especially the update? An explicit link from Engadget, in case you're still confused.
posted by kmz at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2010


Until that happens, Falsh is going to continue to be dominant.

Dominant? The product (air) at the heart of this brouhaha is not yet out for Android or any other phone. Adobe seems to be in the business of producing whines lately, which I suppose is why they found unlikely common cause with web standards nerds.
posted by Wood at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bonehead, I get the feeling Jobs wants him to write it as an App. Which is ironically very proprietary, since you're not going to play it on a Droid.

It'd be interesting to see if something like the Unity development suite came out with a compiler to make games in HTML 5. I think it can already export the same game to Web (via plugin), iPod touch, and Wii IIRC.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2010


Flash is proprietary, what few versions of it run on mobile devices are slow and wasteful, and Adobe is slow - glacially slow - to adopt new and better technology that Apple puts into its products. That is all bad news for iPhone and iPad users. In those major respects, Jobs is correct about almost everything in his letter. That detractors, people who wouldn't care to use Apple products anyway, get into such an apoplectic fit over his observations only underscores why the iPhone and iPad have been and will continue to be successful and the driver of most of the innovations that will end up in your Android or Kin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

You what platform has more game titles available for it than the iPhone?

Any platform that can run Flash.
posted by 256 at 9:08 AM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.

posted by euphorb at 9:08 AM on April 29, 2010


So Metafilter hates Apple now?

Oh, I think you'll find that anyone pulling a dick move of the magnitude that Apple pulled off and then making a bunch of lame excuses would be likely to get the same reaction.
posted by Artw at 9:10 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


And in related news...
posted by phaedon at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Blocking Flash from their platform makes a lot of sense for Apple in one major way: it hides what's shaping up to be a big deficiency in RAM compared to a lot of the upcoming competitors' hardware. Apple makes a lot of phones, and if they can cut corners by only giving them 256 MB of RAM then it helps them maintain their obese profit margins. Flash can be RAM-hungry and would make their iPhones look very bad in a side-by-side comparison with any of the Android phones that are loaded with 512 MB and up. I could be wrong, but pay attention to how much RAM the forth-gen iPhone has. I suspect they won't upgrade it this year.
posted by mullingitover at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich - It would perform really badly as soon as it did something complicated, because it would be in canavas, and then everyone would blame Adobe. Yay!
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on April 29, 2010


People saying the market wants more freedom in their phones apparently haven't been following the iPhone for the last four years. Because that shit was selling before they even had an app store, and now it's selling even better.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:13 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, he's dead right about Adobe taking a FREAKING DECADE to update the CS code from Carbon to Cocoa. Fuck 'em.

Bingo. As far as I'm concerned, Adobe's been throwing Apple in the backseat for years, which is fine, it's a smaller market, makes sense for Adobe. But they really don't have a moral leg to stand now that Apple has 85 million devices (and growing) doing just fine without Flash. It's been almost FOUR years since the iPhone came out, why hasn't Adobe hacked an iPhone and made Flash the best damn environment on the thing? 'cause they've gotten lazy and arrogant and feel everyone should be using Flash just because, even the platform they've been treating as a second hand citizen.

Put up or shut up Adobe.

I'd respect and be rooting for them if, when Apple pulled the latest move of shutting down the Flash bridge to iPhone, they had publicly and unanimously said "look, we have a failure to communicate. We would like to see Flash available on the iPhone, what can we do? We have this demo running, which we think shows massive improvement and would be a win win for everyone, what are the specifications you need to allow Flash to run on the iPhone OS. Tell us what they are, publicly, and we pledge to not only match, but exceed those specs."

Instead, we got individual Adobe employees crying and bitching all over the web in one of the most unprofessional tantrums I've ever seen. Unreal.

I've had an iPod Touch for years and I haven't missed Flash except in a few video instances. In those cases, I left the website and made mental notes not to go back. Make of that what you will.

Note to Apple: I don't mind you slapping Adobe around a bit, they need it, but frankly so do you. Get your crap together on the App store and publish some clear rules about what you will and won't allow. Stop restricting books and cartoons, if you need to make rating system with parental controls, but quit being such an asshole about letting stuff into the App store, it won't scale and you need to scale if you want to pull this off, ok?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:13 AM on April 29, 2010 [15 favorites]


Did you even read the full article, especially the update? An explicit link from Engadget, in case you're still confused.

Of course I did. It's all well and good if Adobe ships the runtime to OS companies in the first half of 2010, but that doesn't mean it will be in the hands of users. The OS companies still have to integrate it into an OS update, and in the case of some platforms that update has to be vetted and pushed out by the phone company. And the engadget article you linked notes that only the Android platform was specifically mentioned for 1H2010.
posted by jedicus at 9:13 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an iPhone owner, I want to thank Steve for not letting the App Store turn into a stinking swamp of shitty Flash ports. There's already enough crap in there as it stands.

And unless you're a Mac owner, you can't really appreciate how badly Flash sucks in OS X. I just bought one of the brand new MacBook Pros, and Flash still crashes on me all the damn time (yes, even when I'm watching YouTube videos, so don't try to blame this one on sleazy ad-banner developers).

I hate Flash and I hope Steve kills it.
posted by eggplantplacebo at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


Blocking Flash from their platform makes a lot of sense for Apple in one major way: it hides what's shaping up to be a big deficiency in RAM compared to a lot of the upcoming competitors' hardware.

Remember that screen resolution comes out of RAM - so the iPAd might theoretically have the same 256Mb as you 3GS, but actually it's less.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2010


Dominant?

For phones, sure. The market is still to immature for anything to be really dominant. But for the web, what are young developers and artists doing? Putting up short animations and games on places like newgrounds or kongregate or whatever. Student licence to Flash and off they go, no gatekeepers and they can even make a few bucks if they're lucky. Plus they have a portfolio to show to companies when they interview. Total out-of-pocket outlay maybe $50 bucks if they don't just pirate Flash in the first place.

There was a iPhone developer on local news recently, they'd made a game which had gone to #1 on the Japan App Store and was doing well elsewhere. Their average development budget for an iPhone game was $80,000 to $100,000 for what amounted to a casual game. Even considering the free labour a student would put in, that's a huge barrier to entry.
posted by bonehead at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2010


152 comments and no one is talking about erotic fart apps
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:15 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Flash is proprietary, what few versions of it run on mobile devices are slow and wasteful,

Au contraire. My BlackBerry runs YouTube videos in both H264 and Flash through Windows Media Player with no problem. The image doesn't fill the screen, but they play. My understanding is that Winamp Remote/ORB also streams Flash on BlackBerries, but I haven't tested it yet.

Also, a standalone flash player is coming to Blackberries in the second half of this year.
posted by zarq at 9:16 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The only flash game I've ever loved

http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/blix.jsp

It would be awesome on a touchscreen phone. But I already went through 300 levels of it when it first came out like 7 years ago so it's hardly a factor in my purchasing decisions. Thought I should be fair though, and honestly, take it from someone who's been pro-Jobs in this whole debate: it's a good game.
posted by Wood at 9:16 AM on April 29, 2010


There are plenty of free fart soundboards online. Flash would kill the market. Think of the great American fart app entrepreneur, Adobe!
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:16 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


You what platform has more game titles available for it than the iPhone?

Any platform that can run Flash.


Is there something like the App Store for Flash? I'm asking seriously, because one of the things I like about the App store is that I don't have to hunting all over the web for a game, there's one specific spot for everything. Flash could use that, if it isn't already there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:17 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Erotic fart piano in HTML 5 would be high quality and appstore worthy, whereas if it were in Flash it would be of such low quality that users should be protected from it.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only flash game I've ever loved

That's a Shockwave applet, you monster!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Kongregate is a pretty good gathering of flash games. Not really a store, but it's formated well enough that I think it wouldn't be a pain on a touch screen.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:19 AM on April 29, 2010


pay attention to how much RAM the forth-gen iPhone has

Almost no major cellphone maker whose products you see on the shelves of Verizon or AT&T makes RAM a selling point. Very few cellphone buyers know or care what RAM is, let alone begin to understand its relative import when there are so many other features they care about - camera, keyboard, price of the service plans, etc. RAM is a non-issue for pretty much everyone shopping for a phone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:19 AM on April 29, 2010


Is there something like the App Store for Flash?

There are bunches. Here are a few:
www.jayisgames.com
www.newgrounds.com
www.kongregate.com
posted by bonehead at 9:20 AM on April 29, 2010


That's a Shockwave applet, you monster!

Fudge!!! I didn't click through to play it. I could have sworn it was flash. It's been a long time as I mentioned. I had blocked ever using Shockwave from my memory.
posted by Wood at 9:21 AM on April 29, 2010


If you're going to make that comparison, bonehead, be consistent. $50 for a student Flash license or $99 for an iPhone dev license. The fact that average game budgets in corporations is so high has no bearing on what the barriers are for someone who wants to cobble something together in their garage.
posted by phearlez at 9:21 AM on April 29, 2010


Is there something like the App Store for Flash?

I hope you like IN YOUR FACE ADVERTISING!
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on April 29, 2010


"Allow". As others have said, that's the key word, and the reason I would never pay for an iPhone.

I worry that the success of the evil Trusted Computing model on the iPhone will encourage it to spread, as many powerful entities in the industry very much want it to, to real computers.

But more than that, it offends me at a deep level that "my" device isn't really mine. It's Apple's device, you just pay them for the privilege of pretending it's yours and using it for a while.
posted by sotonohito at 9:23 AM on April 29, 2010


There are bunches. Here are a few:

Thanks, could you tell me what the difference is between the various portals?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:23 AM on April 29, 2010


My girlfriend won't care about any of this—just that when I'm talking about something cool I found on the web, she'll ask, "Does it use flash?" and if I say yes, she can't see it on her Touch.
posted by klangklangston at 9:24 AM on April 29, 2010


Their average development budget for an iPhone game was $80,000 to $100,000 for what amounted to a casual game.

That may be true of that company, but the development budget for an iPhone game consists of the following:

an iPhone or iPod Touch (at the low end, $50 for a refurb 3G to $200 for a new iPod Touch)
a Mac ($500 for a refurb mini to $550 for a new mini at student pricing)

So that totals up to well under $1000 even if you opt for new gear and have to buy a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. If you go for a MacBook it'd still be well under $2000. And of course you need a computer to make a Flash game (not necessarily a Mac, but still) as well as the student version of Flash, which is something like $250, more than the cost of an iPod Touch.

The $80-100k development budget is for paying developers, artists, sound and music composers, etc. A student doing everything on his or her own time can make an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app for the same price as a Flash program.
posted by jedicus at 9:24 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


But the funniest thing is that CANVAS benchmarks really poorly on iPhone and iPad. We can't compare it with Androids flash support, of course, but Android does canvas significantly faster than the iPhone and iPad does - video here, iPhone is towards the end.

From the page of Artw's benchmark link:

Update (23/3/2010): For those whose browsers crash on the Flash test I have a feeling that the flood of setInterval calls might be causing it, so you can try the versions of the tests that are rate-limited to 25 FPS

[I'm pretty sure the snark writes itself]
posted by ecurtz at 9:25 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Argh, I forgot the dev license. Anyway, the overall point stands.
posted by jedicus at 9:26 AM on April 29, 2010


From the page of Artw's benchmark link:

Yeah, you can write bad actionscript as easily as bad javascript, that’s certainly true. The issue of running too fast is certainly one you are never going to hit with canvas.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on April 29, 2010


>> Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary.
>
> That he can say this with a straight face is amazing.
> posted by anti social order at 10:26 AM on April 29 [24 favorites +] [!]

Belial notices that Beelzebub is actually pretty creepy
posted by jfuller at 9:30 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


[A few comments removed. Please cut it out with the interpersonal sniping and the calling out people who haven't commented in the thread yet.]
posted by cortex at 9:33 AM on April 29, 2010


If Jobs was really concerned about the user experience with Apple software he would do something about iTunes for Windows. Isn't Apple using some kind of cross-platform middleware to develop it ?
posted by rfs at 9:34 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, though the horrendous UI of iTunes on windows is accentuated by the Apple skinning, most of the UI blunders are fully cross platform and horrendous on PC and Mac.

And let's not even talk about the store... yuck. Worse with every iteration.
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on April 29, 2010


Anyone remember when Apple were doing that brushed metal effect on their stuff? Now some of the ports of QT from back then were really horrendous.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on April 29, 2010


So Metafilter hates Apple now? Somehow I missed that memo.

It wasn't a memo in its own right, but a rider on the hipster-hate memo.
posted by acb at 9:38 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Jobs was really concerned about the user experience with Apple software he would do something about iTunes for Windows. Isn't Apple using some kind of cross-platform middleware to develop it ?
posted by rfs


I honestly think iTunes for Windows is considered a promotional tool for Macs. They must expect users who don't know the difference to run iTunes on their PC, have it run horribly, and then see it running great on their friend's Mac and make the switch.

I uninstalled all iTunes related software from my PC and started using Winamp to manage my iPod Classic instead, and it works quickly and perfectly. Also it didn't crash my computer when I tried to add my mp3 folder to the library. Now if only someone would get rockbox to work on the damn iPod classic, I'd be thrilled.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I installed windows Safari on my work computer a couple of jobs ago, and for some reason the network didn't like it, so the stupid thing kept trying until my user account got locked. That was awesome. Sticking with the G5 for Safari testing now.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on April 29, 2010


Also, I wanted to add one more thing to my prior comment, in reference to this:

For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.

What you carefully aren't pointing out there is that, until quite recently, Carbon was fully-supported under OS X; it was supposed to be 'the way forward' from OS 9. Cocoa has always been better, but Carbon was an integral part of the feature set. And Adobe's products are almost certainly the most complex applications running under OS X.

Between the mixed signals you guys were sending, and their enormous codebase, of course they were the last developer to fully switch over. It cost them more to do it than anyone else, even you guys.

Carbon wasn't officially put on the hit list until WWDC in 2007, when they announced that there would be no 64-bit support. Siracusa says:
Perhaps the most painful part of this for developers with large Carbon code bases (poor Adobe... ) is that Apple did, in fact, port Carbon to 64-bit. There were sessions on it at WWDC 2006, and the code appeared in Leopard seeds. The decision to drop 64-bit support for Carbon was obviously a hard one to make, but eventually it was made, despite the work already put into the effort
So Adobe didn't even know that they were supposed to go Cocoa until 2007. It's really only been three years since you guys dropped the bomb, and it's not particularly shocking that Adobe would wait to integrate full Cocoa support with the 64-bit transition. They are, after all, managing three platforms; 32-bit Windows, 64-bit Windows, and OS X. Keeping releases in sync, when one codebase is changing so dramatically, is not an easy thing to do.

Further, I'm pretty sure OS X itself continued to use Carbon into Leopard. IIRC, Quicktime was the biggest culprit.

Expecting the single largest outside developer to completely switch over to your technologies in under three years, when you yourselves took at least eight years to do so (OS X Server was released in March of '99, and Leopard came out in October, 2007), is both unreasonable and rather disingenuous.
posted by Malor at 9:43 AM on April 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


I think Google may have just made a huge mistake in vowing to integrate Flash into Android, for the reasons that Jobs articulates. Flash UIs invariably look shitty (they make Java Swing look good), and unless Flash seriously lifts its game, it's going to chew up resources, drain batteries and make Android phones unstable and insecure.

Having said that, Adobe have a spectacular opportunity here. If they get a team together, add hooks into Flash for the whole Android API stack, and write Flash-based resident apps for phones (things like organiser tools, messaging tools, &c.), they stand a chance of taking over the Android platform (in the way that the population of Brazil took over Orkut, another Google property) and making it into a substrate for a Flash-based mobile environment. Of course, then they'd have to make it not suck.
posted by acb at 9:46 AM on April 29, 2010


Apple is a publicly traded corporation. It is required to focus on what's best for Apple, in the shape of a fiduciary responsibility to maximise return for shareholders.

This is a myth.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


Adobe could own the HTML 5 Canvas authoring market if they weren't so blind to the direction of the web.

CS5 can target Canvas. My understanding is that it's somewhat limited (you can't do everything you can do in Flash) but if there are rockstar canvas-targetting tools out there kicking Adobe's trash, I'd be interested to hear about them, and I think it shows they certainly have some awareness. I also think it's fair to say that Adobe has not exactly ignored the market for authoring HTML content in general in the past (you may have heard of Dreamweaver, you may or may not have heard of PageMill and GoLive).

If they [Apple] have to write a free vector animation program to add to their little productivity suite they'll do it

Isn't Quartz Composer halfway there?

Gassée begged Red Herring, "For God's sake, don't compare us to NeXT. We want to be a better tool for developers, not to be tasteful. We don't cost $10,000. We have a floppy drive. We do not defecate on developers."

As great as BeOS was, Gassée overplays his hand in this comment, just like Be did in negotiations with Apple. Yeah, Jobs' aesthetic obsessions were on display in the hardware, but it was priced fairly enough for its time, the developer tools were widely considered pretty great, and they were arguably the womb of the world wide web.
posted by weston at 9:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, so, that search bar in the top pane, that’s sort-of contextual even though it looks like it shouldn’t be? And that from the podcasts view searches podcasts you already have rather than looking for new ones? Every damn time I click on “podcast directory” in the lower sort-of-contextual pane and get taken to the podcast homepage in the iTunes store I expect it to search for podcasts, not do a general iTunes store search. That gets me every damn time.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on April 29, 2010


This is really about power. Apple is starting to develop some market power and wants to use it to muscle Adobe out of this space.

It's quite funny, really. If I were to buy a Mac, it would immediately be filled with Adobe software. I suspect I am not alone in that. While Apple likes to market itself as the computer brand for creative types, well, no, actually, it's the Adobe software that makes it so. If Adobe were to just take their ball and go home, Apple would be royally fucked.

Steve Jobs should be kissing Adobe's ass.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:49 AM on April 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


The iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone are closed platforms. Apple makes it clear from day one. If you don't like that, don't buy it. You can buy a MacBook if you want something more open from Apple, or you can go for another company's hardware.

It will be interesting to see what happens if Apple ever plugs up the holes that allow jail-breaking, or start banning users that use exploits like Microsoft did with modded XBox 360s on XBox Live. I think a lot of power users are happy right now that Apple's closed platforms aren't as closed as Apple wants them to be.

But yes, if there will always be popular alternatives to Apple's locked-down systems then it's not a big deal. Apple customers will miss out on the kinds of technology and software that Apple doesn't want them to use, but that's a trade-off that many people are willing to live with. The problem is if Apple's business model of tightly controlled apps and no third party development tools becomes that standard instead of the exception.

Going back to video games, the Commodore 64 came out around the same time as the original Nintendo did. You could go to a store and buy Skate or Die for the C64 or NES and they were more or less identical. If a kid had a Nintendo system, that's all they could do, because it was a closed system and Nintendo decided who could sell games for it. If a kid had a C64 though, BASIC was built-in and they could write their own games. Ask most professional developers today that grew up in the 80s how they got started, and they will most likely tell you it was on a C64 or similar home computer. They didn't have to buy a special dev machine or pay for a license to do it, and when they started they didn't even know how to write code or that they even wanted to.

If you give a bunch of people the power to create things, innovation happens. It doesn't matter if that innovation is profitable or even legal, if it's possible someone will figure out how to do it. You get things like BBSes, the demoscene, new types of games, new programming languages, and the web as we know it today, that would never have been created by major established companies. If todays kids grow up playing PS3s and surfing the web on an iPad, always consuming media rather than being given the tools to create fundamentally new things, we're going to lose out on the kinds of innovation we've seen in the last 30 years as personal computers took off.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:50 AM on April 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


Heh. I have never been strongarmed into putting flash onto a site that damn well didn’t need it by anyone other than a Mac-based developer/designer.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm torn between my hate of Flash and hoping that it disappears as a bygone era of "Web 2.0" just as VRML and Vivdas VIV are no longer in use versus my hate of Apple making it so I have to root my phone to make it usable.

But then again, there's way more important things to be focused on than first world geek shit problems.
posted by wcfields at 9:52 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking minor things like placing items on the page. I'm talking choices of color that had nothing to do with HTML and everything to do with an appalling taste. Rather: An apathy towards developing taste.
Well, I think that's a minority view. I've never heard anyone else complain about the colors people chose; rather it was the layout and the fact that everything was a horrible cludge. Most people can at least pick good colors, it's pretty intuitive. The problem was that while myspace allowed you to "tweak" things it didn't allow you to do it in a way that made sense, even to developers or graphic designers. The result: Disaster.

Besides, there's an example of a site that lets users pic whatever colors they want: Twitter. You can have whatever color you want for the background, text, links, sidebar. True you can't change the white background on the tweets, but anyway I've never heard anyone complain about it.
Remember that screen resolution comes out of RAM - so the iPAd might theoretically have the same 256Mb as you 3GS, but actually it's less.
The iPad only has 256mb of ram total.
Almost no major cellphone maker whose products you see on the shelves of Verizon or AT&T makes RAM a selling point. Very few cellphone buyers know or care what RAM is,
The more ram you have, the more complicated your programs can be. An average user might not see the connection, but its there.
posted by delmoi at 9:54 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you can write bad actionscript as easily as bad javascript, that’s certainly true. The issue of running too fast is certainly one you are never going to hit with canvas.
posted by Artw

The Safari Results, which seem a lot more relevant to the iPhone / iPad discussion, don't entirely agree. Flash still performs better overall, but only on the tests with extra particles. This is probably related to the scanline painting algorithm that Flash uses, the more overlap of opaque particles Flash has the better it is going to do relative to the other methods.
posted by ecurtz at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2010


Is there something like the App Store for Flash?

Yes, the internet.
posted by mullingitover at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


Although I still use it to do the family Xmas card each year, I've always hated sites built in Flash. Even while building them at the day job, I've secretly (actually, not so secretly) been cursing them under my breath. Glad to see a hopeful sign that Flash's inevitable marginalization has finally begun. Long overdue in my opinion.

I can't remember, did people get this worked up when Apple decided to stop supporting the floppy disk?
posted by fartknocker at 9:59 AM on April 29, 2010


If Adobe were to just take their ball and go home, Apple would be royally fucked.

Adobe would be stupid to let all that money go and leave themselves room for a competitor. The Mac market may be smaller for them, but it's sizable one and they'd be utter fools to leave that market to anyone else. They're not fools.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:00 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I could make an iPhone app that would give a huge, painful electric shock to anyone from Apple or Adobe who uses the words "open" or "closed." And it would give a slightly smaller shock to anyone in threads like this who tries to argue that one or the other company's technologies is open, closed, partly open, open-ish or mostly closed.

Unless we're talking about technology that is 100% alterable in any way by any person -- or 100% locked down -- those words are vague and open (heh!) to personal interpretation. "Open" means whatever the speaker wants it to mean, and so it becomes a mindless bit of bullshit spin.

I can make content in various tools that runs in the Flash player, but I can't alter that player itself. Nor can I influence the non-existent committee that decides which features to implement or optimize in the next version of the Flash player. I can't even look at the Flash player's code.

I can't write apps for the iPhone, unless I'm willing to use HTML5 (which is limited in terms of how much of the iPhone's power it can harness and has no connection to the app store), and, for non-HTML5 apps, I MUST use Apple's authoring tools. And if I spend months developing an app, it may be rejected on a whim. At which point I have no reasonable way to deliver it to iPhone users.

On the day that Apple or Adobe makes the above-two paragraphs false, they will MAYBE be allowed to use the word "open" again to describe their technologies. Until then -- Jesus -- respect my intelligence and shut the fuck up.
posted by grumblebee at 10:01 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Carbon was fully-supported under OS X; it was supposed to be 'the way forward' from OS 9

Carbon was always a stopgap for transitioning OS 9 applications to OS X Cocoa, which was available as far back as NeXT. If Apple wants developers to start using Cocoa, then upgrading Carbon to support new technology (e.g. 64-bit support) makes about as much sense as Microsoft putting a priority on having full-time developers write support for full-screen DOS apps in Windows 7.

At some point the technology needed to move forward and Adobe chose to drag its feet. It was Adobe's choice to allow its products to languish on OS X, even those it deigned to bring over from OS 9. Perhaps it is now starting to reap the fruits of those long years of general neglect.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, the internet.

That's like saying "skip the supermarket, you can find all the food you need in the forest!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:03 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's like saying "skip the supermarket, you can find all the food you need in the forest!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher


You need a specially trained pig to sniff out twinkies though.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:05 AM on April 29, 2010


That's like saying "skip the supermarket, you can find all the food you need in the forest!"

Cool metaphor, bro!
posted by mullingitover at 10:08 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I honestly think iTunes for Windows is considered a promotional tool for Macs. They must expect users who don't know the difference to run iTunes on their PC, have it run horribly, and then see it running great on their friend's Mac and make the switch.

haveanicesummer, how strange, I think the same thing is going on with every version of Microsoft's Office for Mac. I can't even have Excel open for more then an hour before it crashes, hard.
posted by Hoenikker at 10:10 AM on April 29, 2010


My nephew has been playing nintendo handhelds for almost a decade now. It's a shame he's been contributing to the end of innovation.
posted by Wood at 10:11 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a metaphor, kind of. For something.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: That detractors, people who wouldn't care to use Apple products anyway, get into such an apoplectic fit over his observations only underscores why the iPhone and iPad have been and will continue to be successful and the driver of most of the innovations that will end up in your Android or Kin.

By the way, just FYI... I'm one of the loudest detractors, and I've owned four Macs. I use a Mac every goddamn day. I owned an iPhone, back when I thought AT&T was the villain in the lockdown, but it broke, and by then I'd figured out that replacing it wouldn't be a good idea.

I want to buy a new iPhone, but I want to put whatever the heck I want on it, without having to go through the contortions of a jailbreak. If it was a more open platform, I'd definitely own one, and I might have an iPad, although probably not. There's (very poorly substantiated) rumors floating around that they may lock down OS X the same way in 10.7, and should they do that, I'll abandon the platform completely.

But I don't want to. I like Apple products. I don't, however, think they know better than I do what's good for me. I support the overall idea of the App Store, and I'd happily pay for apps. I just want an easy escape hatch.
posted by Malor at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's 516 for ya, BB.
posted by graventy at 10:20 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


That would be the site I would use to find good flash content.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on April 29, 2010


I honestly think iTunes for Windows is considered a promotional tool for Macs. They must expect users who don't know the difference to run iTunes on their PC, have it run horribly, and then see it running great on their friend's Mac and make the switch.

One word: Entourage.
posted by phaedon at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2010


Here's 516 for ya, BB.

Eh, not really a supermarket, you know? I'm thinking most people just want to go to one or two places to get their Apps, they're not keen about wandering all over the internet, unless there's some great deal or service to be had.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


ere's (very poorly substantiated) rumors floating around that they may lock down OS X the same way in 10.7, and should they do that, I'll abandon the platform completely.

Oh, you mean those rumors that Steve explicitly denied?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I won't be fooled into thinking it's suddenly become a television, or the bridge of a spaceship, or the set of a game show.

That's why you've won a brand new toaster oven!
posted by dobbs at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2010


There's (very poorly substantiated) rumors

Rumors that were denied by Apple, in very clear language. I guess that's how those myths start though, when they get repeated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 AM on April 29, 2010


The Safari Results, which seem a lot more relevant to the iPhone / iPad discussion, don't entirely agree.

Dude, the OS X tests are not going to be relevant to be more relevant the iPhone / iPad disscussion than running it on the iPhone / iPad, where you hit single diget framerates at the low end. If you are moving a lot of stuff about on screen, like the hypothetical HTML 5 tower defence game, it's going to die on it's ass on mobile, Apple mobile most of all.
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2010


Apple would never deny something then go ahead and do it.
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


There are some arguments saying that whether to use Flash on an iWhatever should be the users' decision. However, it's really in the context of the iPhone/iPad's user base: Apple really does know better than the majority of technology consumers they are selling to, at this point in time. Because if these people get frustrated with a cross-platform app, they won't blame Flash--they'll blame the iProduct hardware.

Flash is not only bad; it's also a weed. Allowing its existence in Apple's Walled Garden will slow the growth of the newer, more advanced development frameworks. And as everyone knows, in IT, timing is everything.

Because as demonstrated in other news, most consumers will keep having the Tropicana for breakfast.
posted by polymodus at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


newer, more advanced development frameworks

Sorry, those are banned.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


haveanicesummer, how strange, I think the same thing is going on with every version of Microsoft's Office for Mac. I can't even have Excel open for more then an hour before it crashes, hard.
posted by Hoenikker


That's probably just Microsoft's incompetence. Their manipulations of the userbase are anything but subtle and well planned.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2010


God there's so much in this thread I want to comment on. I'm going on a response diet or I'll get nothing done today.

Compare: pre-1984 video game market to what came later when releases were controlled. There's a good argument for ensuring a new platform is shown in the best light by its software.
There are precious few games I can stand playing anymore, and a good deal of them are classic arcade games, all pre '84. Yet if I let myself I could rant for hours about the problems platform control has produced in the console video game development industry. (I know I've done so here, on multiple occasions.)

Anybody who thinks Apple is going to lose this particular pissing match is smoking crack.
Anybody who attempts to handwave a complicated situation into a superficially-obvious conclusion by saying those who disagree are smoking crack, is smoking crack.

I like the technical things developers are doing on Android getting Python and other hacker-y tools up and running, seeing what neat tricks they can pull off.
This. Except Python is not really a hack thing, increasingly it is an important tool. It's important enough that OS/X installs it automatically. A friend who has looked into iPhone development says that Apple is standoffish even about using user-rolled, proprietary scripting on the platform.

It was perfectly possible to use MySpace and create a tasteful, attractive profile. I have seen beautiful MySpace pages. But I don't think of MySpace as a collection of beautiful profiles. I think of it as a vast shitheap, because most profiles are really, really bad.
By your own logic, we would get neither the crappy pages or the beautiful ones. It would be like being denied the Daily Show because there exists Fox News.

Malor, just don't buy one, ok? Steve Jobs can't hurt you if you don't let him.
Just like Bill Gates couldn't have harmed you, through say creating poisonous market conditions, if you personally didn't buy Windows?
posted by JHarris at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think Jobs makes a solid point in regards to the write-once-run-anywhere dream that Adobe's been selling with Flash CS5 porting to mobile devices.

The iPhone has full multitouch, accelerometer support, GPS support, push notifications, system-wide search, a camera (sometimes with full-motion video support), and a whole host of new & fun things coming along with iPhone OS 4 - not to mention the next iPhone.

If Adobe was building a sort-of interpreter/compiler that can package full apps across mobile devices, you'd probably lose a lot of that. It's my understanding that, for instance, there's not a shipping Android phone with full multitouch support.

What it comes down to is that giving an end user the choice to use apps that don't work the same way natively-developed apps work becomes a black mark on the whole system. If you download a photo viewing app that were made in Flash but didn't support multitouch, you'd be confused as to why you can't suddenly pinch-and-zoom. Or, maybe that the accelerometer isn't working correctly. Enough of these kinds of apps get pushed through, and a user starts to think that only Apple's own apps have these bells and whistles and maybe everything else is just substandard crap. They might avoid the App Store entirely, or toss their iPhone for thinking it's just overhyped crap.

Furthermore, which APIs would Adobe be tapping into? How can Apple be sure Adobe's not using (or allowing access to) private APIs? What if Adobe made a mistake in the backend of their compiler code that opens up a huge security hole? You could end up in a scenario where 1000s of apps made w/that compiler will need to be removed from the App Store by their developers, re-compiled with a freshly-patched version of CS5 and then re-submitted to the App Store again. How many developers are going to do that in a timely fashion (or at all)?

The whole thing just sounds like a nightmare.

Keeping everything under the Apple umbrella makes a HUGE difference in customer support. If you call Apple with an iPhone issue (provided it's not jailbroken) they can tell you what's wrong, and/or they'll replace it (under warranty, of course). There's no malicious apps in the App Store that will brick your iPhone, cause it lock up or crash, fuck w/the internals in any way, or alter low-level system code.

What is lost in the freedom of branching the codebase out and allowing 3rd parties to come along and muck around in the internals, or bypass Apple's tightly-controlled system, is made up for in security, stability, and some pretty rock-solid performance.
posted by revmitcz at 10:45 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rumors that were denied by Apple, in very clear language. I guess that's how those myths start though, when they get repeated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:33 PM on April 29


You seem to aggressively defend Apple whenever it is attacked. Do you work for Apple?
posted by Pastabagel at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2010


Apple would never deny something then go ahead and do it.

It's a different business relationship with software developers on OS X, I think, and one Apple is unlikely to want to disturb too much. As one counterexample, Steam would probably never happen within an App Store model, where Apple takes 30% off the top of Valve's Mac sales. I'd imagine Valve would just walk away, and they'd be right to do so. The ecology of iPhone and iPad apps, how they are made and sold, is in its youth. The classes of computers are different, how and where they are used are differences, and so there is an App Store set up for the touch devices.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2010


Going back to video games, the Commodore 64 came out around the same time as the original Nintendo did. You could go to a store and buy Skate or Die for the C64 or NES and they were more or less identical.

Argh, another reponse....

In fact, the C64 was largely obsolete by the time the NES rolled around (although it doggedly persisted for a few more years), so Skate Or Die for the '64 and the NES cannot be strictly called contemporary with each other. Also, the NES ports of 8-bit computer games were, generally speaking, quickly and sloppily developed in order to cash in on a trendy platform. I can't speak for Skate or Die's implementation exactly, but I can tell you that no one should play the NES port of M.U.L.E.
posted by JHarris at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


grumblebee: I wish I could make an iPhone app that would give a huge, painful electric shock to anyone from Apple or Adobe

Sorry, Apple does not allow third-party developers to access the torture device drivers.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


You seem to aggressively defend Apple whenever it is attacked. Do you work for Apple?

No, I do not work for Apple. When the same people on Metafilter aggressively attack Apple whenever it is mentioned, however tangentially, should I ask them if they work for Google, etc.? Or should I just assume we're all interested in discussing the subject and deal with the substance of their comments?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Eh, not really a supermarket, you know? I'm thinking most people just want to go to one or two places to get their Apps, they're not keen about wandering all over the internet, unless there's some great deal or service to be had.

If you want a gaming portal, then head to Kongregate. It has a lot of great flash games (and achievements! I have a problem). There's a lot of shitty flash games, of course, but hey, they're free! (or freemium, at worst).

I linked the posts on Mefi because you're probably going to pick games to play in part based on how well they are scored by the players. I consider a flash game posted here to be a pretty trustworthy seal of approval.
posted by graventy at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2010


Eh, not really a supermarket, you know? I'm thinking most people just want to go to one or two places to get their Apps, they're not keen about wandering all over the internet, unless there's some great deal or service to be had.

The Apps Store model isn't really like a supermarket, because although people can't choose what foods a supermarket sells, they can choose to get their food from wherever they want.

A better analogy would be that the company that Kroger gives you a license to live in your house also requires you to only buy food from their supermarket, and they decide which types of food you can buy. They will never let you eat hot dogs in your house, for example, because hot dogs are bad for you and have you seen how they make hot dogs it's disgusting and kids choke on them all the time, all of which is outlined in an open letter from the CEO of Kroger. But they brag about all of the other food you can eat in your house, all prepared using their proprietary Kroger food preparation process and verified by Kroger, so that people can't just sell you regular old food that you could buy somewhere else. That doesn't include basic ingredients like flour or sugar of course, because you could prepare your own food with that stuff which would be totally against the rules. Some people disable the food security systems in their houses even though it's technically a violation of the lease, but Kroger has publicly stated that this is major safety violation and is working on fixing the problem. And the houses are really nice, and they have plenty of food in their supermarket, and most people don't like cooking, and hot dogs are overrated, and if you don't like it you could always lease your house from someone else, so what's the problem?
posted by burnmp3s at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Eh, not really a supermarket, you know? I'm thinking most people just want to go to one or two places to get their Apps, they're not keen about wandering all over the internet, unless there's some great deal or service to be had.

Weird. There are a couple of major sites that work like an 'app store' for flash games, kongregate is one. I think the idea that picking your own "app store" is too much work for people, so they need to have that choice taken away is kind of weird.
posted by delmoi at 10:53 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lee Brimelow, the Adobe Evangelist who told Apple to screw itself over the SDK language change, has been quiet so far. Wonder how long that'll last or what other Adobe developers or evangelists will say this time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on April 29, 2010


an iPhone or iPod Touch (at the low end, $50 for a refurb 3G to $200 for a new iPod Touch)
a Mac ($500 for a refurb mini to $550 for a new mini at student pricing)

So that totals up to well under $1000 even if you opt for new gear and have to buy a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.


Technically, you don't actually need an iPod/iPhone/iPad to develop for one. Hell, almost NONE of the iPad apps in the App Store were ever even tested on an actual iPad. Furthermore, anyone can download the full Dev Kit from Apple for free. I've done it. I was making little test iPhone apps before I even bought an iPhone. Total cost of development : $0.

Sure, you still need to do all the development on an Intel-based machine (for the latest SDks) running OS X, but you could cobble together a Hackintosh for the same price you'd have paid for whatever computer you'd have used for flash/php/whatever development.

The true cost of development is in the time it takes to learn a given platform/language. I'm a js/css/php guy (with a lot of Actionscript 2 knowledge, but I loathe AS 3), so getting into this whole Objective-C thing is a mindfuck for me. But, hey, that's my own shortcomings.
posted by revmitcz at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2010


The Apps Store model isn't really like a supermarket

It is in communist Russia!
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2010


I've loved my iPhones and the iPods I've given as gifts and the Apple laptops I've borrowed over the years and the experience of browsing in Apple stores -- but I've never really considered myself an Apple fan, despite how much I've enjoyed their products.

And I want to categorically state that the irrational Apple rage here has NOT changed my opinion -- and I've never seen the need to get so worked up about a consumer product, even when it comes to things like openness and all those other things that I'm not technical enough to get worked up over.

But Christ, what an asshole.

My aforementioned stolen iPhone is increasingly likely to get replaced by something else.

(The seeming double standard when it comes to gay cock in the app store... or really the censorship in general... also has something to do with this...not that I'm looking to use an app for that (no, seriously, I like it in person or on bigger screens) but it's the principle, I tell you, the principle.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2010


Why do I have a feeling that "iPhones/iPads don't multitask" will quickly become the new "but Apple only has one button on their mouse!"?

I am not sure about my punctuation grammar and I have to get to a meeting.
posted by Silvertree at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2010


The Apps Store model isn't really like a supermarket, because although people can't choose what foods a supermarket sells, they can choose to get their food from wherever they want.

I don't think most care about getting their Apps from another place, they're happy to do one stop shopping.

There are a couple of major sites that work like an 'app store' for flash games

What about non-game Apps for Flash, are there portals for those?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2010


Artw: The Apps Store model isn't really like a supermarket

It is in communist Russia!


In Soviet Russia, Party App Store writes Yakov Smirnoff joke for you.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2010


Why do I have a feeling that "iPhones/iPads don't multitask" will quickly become the new "but Apple only has one button on their mouse!"?

Umm... Except in iPhone OS 4, they *do* multitask.
posted by antifuse at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2010


Apple is anti-customer.

But when someone says: hey, I like this feature (app store) of Apple, the response is: here's something else you should like better.

This thread raises so many questions...
posted by Wood at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dennis Murphy: So now, here's your list. Agree or disagree. Whoever said it should have ended with 'now shut the fuck up already' has it right.

That would be a really awesome attitude to have towards app developers, the people around whom Apple has built their entire marketing strategy and value proposition for the iPhone.
posted by xthlc at 11:03 AM on April 29, 2010


Apple is a monarchist. Open source is fascist, dressing up their programmer dictatorship in populist libertarian ideology. Which is worse? At least we know how to behead a king.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2010


Umm... Except in iPhone OS 4, they *do* multitask.

Technically, no, but they'll just have specific ways of running background processes. It's a good idea, IMO, for Apple to still supposedly be able to manage battery life, while providing a semblance of multitasking, but it's not true multitasking (developers feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2010


[appstore witejokein: SovietRussia recpient:YOU]
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on April 29, 2010


Sorry, those are banned.

I was referring to HTML5, in comparison to Flash.

You are referring to various cross-compilation frameworks. And those should be banned--that is, by Apple, for its devices. Mobile devices are not general purpose computers. When developers write to these meta-compilers as opposed to unique APIs of different mobile devices, it is a loss to consumers.

Maybe one could argue that incentives are better than banning. But Apple's stance on disallowing cross-compilation at a time when mobile technology standards are still nascent--I can see that
posted by polymodus at 11:06 AM on April 29, 2010


From what i can tell OS 4s multitasking is actually a hell of a lot like Windows Phone 7s not-multitasking.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on April 29, 2010


I want to buy a new iPhone, but I want to put whatever the heck I want on it

The interesting thing about Apple is how very quickly they raise the baseline. It wasn't too many years ago when you couldn't get a single phone that wasn't a frustrating exercise in bullshit. Now that there's really a pretty great one, it's all "yes, but it isn't open".

If you care so much about your ability to put what you like on the phone, pay the $99 and get to put whatever you like on the phone, no jailbreak required. It's how I got iProxy, for instance. If you don't want to support them, then go to Android or Palm.

Just please god everyone with similar complaints stop girning about this. It's not a surprise; it's not going to change. Apple watchers have known since at least 1997 that this is how it'd be. If you want the shiny, put up. If you don't, go elsewhere. Some high-profile Mac people went to Linux when DRM became too onerous on OS X. Ogg worshippers shunned the iPod.

What didn't happen was Apple changing tack.
posted by bonaldi at 11:07 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I don't think most care about getting their Apps from another place, they're happy to do one stop shopping."

Yo dawg, I herd u liek iPhones so we made your car so it can only drive to one store.
posted by mullingitover at 11:08 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know that many people particularly paid attention, and rightly so, but for what it's worth, I engaged in some threadshitting above, and I apologize for that. Carry on.
posted by Caduceus at 11:11 AM on April 29, 2010


Eh, Apple isn't going to change on this because it's one of their selling points in regards to the business plan for their mobile devices. And they are making money hand over fist on the proposition that their app store distribution model greatly reduces the risks of malware or software that makes your system unusable through bad configuration.

Likewise, Adobe isn't going to change on this, because they make their millions on the idea that you need Flash and their tools to produce cutting-edge web content.

Of course, it annoys those of us who don't like aggressively-managed software environments. But that's aside the point.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:12 AM on April 29, 2010


Yo dawg, I herd u liek iPhones so we made your car so it can only drive to one store.

They're not going TELL you it only goes to one store, they'll just build such a gorgeous road to their beautiful store and you'll never wonder about other stores.

Nyah nyah.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:16 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of people hate flash, and alternatives are becoming more prevalent.

I can't wait for <canvas> pop-up ads to become more ubiquitous.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:20 AM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I must say that the sheer drudgery of managing iTunes music (I live in Canada, and iTunes is the only option to purchase music online) has pushed me to start downloading torrented files. Of course, for now I'm only download music that I've actually purchased first off of iTunes or in the store, but it would be nice if Apple actually cared more about customer satisfaction rather than customer entanglement.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:20 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I live in Canada, and iTunes is the only option to purchase music online

emusic.com.
posted by mazola at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: That detractors, people who wouldn't care to use Apple products anyway, get into such an apoplectic fit over his observations only underscores why the iPhone and iPad have been and will continue to be successful and the driver of most of the innovations that will end up in your Android or Kin.

By the way, just FYI... I'm one of the loudest detractors, and I've owned four Macs. I use a Mac every goddamn day. I owned an iPhone, back when I thought AT&T was the villain in the lockdown, but it broke, and by then I'd figured out that replacing it wouldn't be a good idea.


What never fails to amaze me is how this particular exchange always crops up every time there's a discussion of Apple with one or more evangelists involved. There has to be some repetition of the incestuous litany of "I'm mainly a Mac user!" before an opinion is worth even deigning to acknowledge, let alone take seriously.

I don't own Apple products, because I have serious problems with their pricing models, hardware setups, software development ethos, and interface design. When I've had to use them, I've found them counterintuitive and underpowered, and that the layers of obfuscation get in the way of getting any real work done. However, since I don't own Apple products, all those complaints are apparently meaningless. All the "detractors" are people who "wouldn't care to use Apple products anyway", ignoring entirely that maybe the reason they don't use Apple products are the same things they're objecting to here. I'm just a hater. For my opinion to have weight, I have to use Apple despite what I see to be deal-breaking flaws. How fucked up is this mindset?
posted by kafziel at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


It understands what an album is, but as far as I can tell there is no way to directly burn an album to CD - you have to set up a playlist. WTF, obsessed-with-playlists-UI?
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2010


I must say that the sheer drudgery of managing iTunes music

Can you elaborate on this?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:23 AM on April 29, 2010


I can't wait for pop-up ads to become more ubiquitous.

The wonder of iAds!
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on April 29, 2010


Turn this sentence from Jobs: "We cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms." Into this: "We cannot accept an outcome where our apps are blocked from using innovations and enhancements because Apple doesn't approve." Just sayin'. (source)
posted by blue_beetle at 11:24 AM on April 29, 2010


This is meant to please any non-techies wondering about it, I think. What's interesting is that Jobs hardly mentions what I think must be the real reason for wanting to kill Flash: because Adobe insists on keeping it to a 32-bit binary, whereas Apple seems to be looking to move to an exclusively 64-bit platform. I imagine Steve's talked to Adobe about fixing this and helping him move ahead, and he was apparently unsatisfied with whatever their answer was ("uh, we'll work on it" or "we'll get to it when we get to it") - which would be why he's made some cracks about them being lazy and unwilling to move their products into the next generation of devices.

There's a very well-written rundown of the possibility that Apple is dissing Flash because of its desire to boost hardware speed over here. Steve Cheney points out there that Apple's own metrics might be showing them that iPhone OS 4.0 could boost processing speed by 50%. That would be pretty much an insane jump in speed, noticeable to all users. So I have a feeling Steve's trying to push forward in this area in order to get to the point where they don't have to wait for Flash to catch up with the architecture.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


s the iPhone/iPad going to be a high-price, high-status system with limited market penetration? Is the iPhoneOS turning into a niche programming platform? Jobs seems to be on that track right now; closed API, niche first-class languages. It's a real problem for Apple if Apple is the best developer for the device.

I think what may be going on here is that fragmentation on these devices causes some problems, such as your users getting confused over the distinction between plugins and content, not to mention the notorious instability of Flash and other plugins on certain platforms. I think the Mac is more a platform Jobs sees as being simple enough for everyone. The "elite" part just comes from the design and relative absence of cheap quality - and prices. A major source of frustration for pc users is the fragmentation, because many users do not care whether the platform is open or not. They mostly do not have opinions about computer design philosophy and just want it to do the things they want it to do.

A loud minority exists - myself among them - who wish for something more, for open platforms and low barriers to entry for developers, mostly technical and/or professional users. But most people are going to be far more concerned about whether they get frustrated in trying to use their computer or gadget. Unfortunately, this also means focus on power users and productivity is not as emphasized. You can still get a Mac tower if you want a powerful, open desktop platform. But the iPad is an appliance, like the iPhone, introduced at a high price point to help cover the initial high costs of manufacturing and R&D, which will come down, meaning sales go up as it becomes more broadly adopted, and everyone talks about it and everyone wants one. It's not a desktop, and to give Jobs the benefit of the doubt, I think he's probably on the right track.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:28 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know that many people particularly paid attention, and rightly so, but for what it's worth, I engaged in some threadshitting above, and I apologize for that. Carry on.

We noticed, but we forgive you.
posted by graventy at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2010


Unless we're talking about technology that is 100% alterable in any way by any person -- or 100% locked down -- those words are vague and open (heh!) to personal interpretation. "Open" means whatever the speaker wants it to mean, and so it becomes a mindless bit of bullshit spin.

I don't entirely disagree with this comment -- people do abuse "open" to mean what they want it to mean, and this whole discussion really does get confounded by the different platforms here -- but I can't agree that (a) there are no useful and important distinctions between 0 and 100% for a platform and (b) that it's impossible to make a meaningful comparison between different platforms and assign either relative positions or scoring (and it's important to note that in this discussion, it's not really Apple's platform vs Adobe's platform, it's three different platforms: Apple Mobile, Flash, and the open web-ish HTML/JavaScript/CSS).

Regarding (a): there are some fairly relevant standard questions about openness. Is there a published spec? Is there an accessible community or standards body working on the spec, or is it largely one person/organization? Is the source to the runtime or a reference runtime available? Can it be forked? Is there open source for targeting the runtime, or is it all vendor controlled? Can the targeting tools be forked? Is there any way in which the vendor inserts themselves between the developer and the end user?

How much each of these matters is going to vary from person to person -- I think they're objective questions, but the value of the answer may differ in weight depending on your perspective, and I suspect that's one big source of the fluidity surrounding discussion of "openness," possibly as significant as any weasiliness going on.

But I still think they're useful guides between 0 and 100%, particularly if you know how you weigh answers to those questions.

Now you can take those questions as a guide, and as long as you lump in the Open Web with Apple or Adobe (as Jobs did with his letter), you're going to be confounding things. The fact is that both Apple and Adobe support it in their products to some extent, but it's neither their platform and it probably should be compared against their platforms as much as with them.

When I run through those questions, the conclusion I come to is:

1) The Open Web is more open than Flash or Apple Mobile. Surprise. Participatory standards bodies, even ones weighed down with near monomaniacal players, are hashing out ideas, there's a bunch of different runtimes, at least two that are open source, and anybody can target.

2) Flash has a single vendor largely dictating spec and controlling the main (closed) runtime. But on the other hand, the runtime is in theory re-implementable, even if in practice it hasn't been done right, and it's definitely targetable by a number of different tools, some of which are totally open. There is no insertion of the vendor between the customer and the end user. In practical terms, that means that a developer can do pretty much any damn thing they want on the platform, short of addressing shortcomings in the runtime itself.

3) Apple mobile has a single vendor largely dictating spec and controlling the main (largely closed) runtime. The runtime might in theory be re-implementable and the GNUStep folks will probably try to do it and be completely ignored by 99% of the industry. The runtime is in theory targetable by a number of different tools, but because the vendor inserts themselves between the programmer and the end user, and requires the use of their toolchain (and in fact, a limited subset of languages and libraries) among other restrictions, some of which may have good reasons, others of which may be totally arbitrary, you're limited to their tools no matter what else you or anyone else can build.

The Open Web > Flash > Apple Mobile in terms of open-ness.
posted by weston at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey, Apple detractors:

If you're right, if the user always knows the right thing if he can make hard choices in order to be free, then he'll flock to Android or other open environments. Apple will have to adapt or die.

If Apple's right, if the user needs to be guided, if he doesn't always know what he needs, then the iDevices will prosper, and Android will remain a minority choice for tinkerers, customization-lovers, open source advocates.

Simple, no? We'll see.

I like to have a choice. A choice between an open, messy environment and a closed, quality-controlled one. For now, I choose the latter. Why do you think I shouldn't have that choice?
posted by Baldons at 11:41 AM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh, and RE: Adobe's trip from Carbon to Cocoa. Anybody know when iTunes completed that journey? Is it actually done yet?

Just sayin'.
posted by weston at 11:44 AM on April 29, 2010


Umm... Except in iPhone OS 4, they *do* multitask.

My point exactly. That statement will become the BS line that is trotted out instead of the whole "one button mouse" statement that people always bring out in a flame war.
posted by Silvertree at 11:47 AM on April 29, 2010


How is Apple refusing Flash like a writing desk?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:49 AM on April 29, 2010


I'm just a hater. For my opinion to have weight, I have to use Apple despite what I see to be deal-breaking flaws. How fucked up is this mindset?

Totally agreed. I think the underlying argument is, "but they just don't understand how much better it is. Apple products are so good that only those who are unfamiliar with the product would criticize." It's a way of dismissing the arguments without actually dealing with them, kind of like the old conservative canard, "oh, he's just a liberal"... ie, you can ignore him safely without any of that inconvenient thinking.

In actual fact, I know Apple products very well. I like their laptops in particular. I find the hardware engineering to be compellingly better than competitive offerings, and the tradeoffs (slow video, mostly) are generally worth it. And I was quite fond of the iPhone, although the limitations bugged me. I was very excited when the dev kits were first announced. I had all kinds of ideas for things to do with it. Talk about crushing disappointment when I found out how awful the terms were.

And, in all honesty, it continues to mystify me that people can seriously argue that an inescapable software ecosystem is somehow better for them. Ecosystem, sure. But locked hardware? Did they buy DRMed music, too? I mean, what the heck are they thinking?

If you only want to use Apple-approved software, I can totally buy that. It makes sense to me. But why on bloody earth would you accept Apple's continued absolute control over hardware you've bought and paid for? Why would you trust that any corporation will always do things that you agree with, and will always make decisions that are in your best interest? Why would you ever make yourself dependent on any corporation to not be evil, especially when they're already being evil right in front of you?

Sometimes, I find people's thinking processes to be exceptionally alien.
posted by Malor at 11:50 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, what's a good non-Apple alternative to the iPod Touch? I want a PDA-MP3 Player hybrid that doesn't come with a phone. Anything that runs Android?

I'd particularly like the ability to browse the web and watch Youtube.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:52 AM on April 29, 2010


Antifuse: Starting with a full charge at 8am yesterday, I surfed on 3G network for roughly 2 hours non-stop, and at another point I was on hold for an hour with Air Transat. I listened to about 4 hours of podcasts. And I still have 20% battery life left, 27.5 hours later.

Mine does that too! It's only when I pull the plug out of the wall that the battery lifespan drops to +/- 7 hours. And that's with no talking, and not much surfing.

Seriously, maybe it's like a muscle: I need to use it more to get the battery life up.
posted by chavenet at 11:52 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Arrow keys are the new arrow keys.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on April 29, 2010


What about non-game Apps for Flash, are there portals for those?

I don't think there are really many stand-alone flash apps that are not games. There are site-specific apps that integrate with a particular website, but you need to use the website to know about them anyway, so it's rather moot.
The interesting thing about Apple is how very quickly they raise the baseline. It wasn't too many years ago when you couldn't get a single phone that wasn't a frustrating exercise in bullshit. Now that there's really a pretty great one, it's all "yes, but it isn't open".
You couldn't really get an open phone IN THE US. Mainly because the carriers wanted to keep their locked-down ringtone markets. I think there were a few expensive "serious business" phones that technically could be programmed (like windows mobile/blackberry) but they weren't consumer focused at all.

But people in other countries had lots of options.
This is meant to please any non-techies wondering about it, I think. What's interesting is that Jobs hardly mentions what I think must be the real reason for wanting to kill Flash: because Adobe insists on keeping it to a 32-bit binary, whereas Apple seems to be looking to move to an exclusively 64-bit platform.
64 bit machines aren't faster then 32 bit machines unless you're dealing with programs that use a lot of 64 bit integers. Most programs use 32 bit integers for everything.
The performance boost you do get is being able to index more then 4gb of ram. But the iPad/iPhone only has 256 megs of ram. So it's really a non-issue here.

Also, that makes no sense. When you cross compile for another architecture, like ARM, it doesn't matter if you compile to 64 or 32 bit instruction code, you have to do the same amount of debugging. If Adobe is going to start targeting different platforms, they'll need to make the player work on all of them.

So I don't think the 32/64 bit thing is a big issue.
posted by delmoi at 11:53 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once e-mailed Steve Jobs, I asked him what his favorite color was.

He never got back to me.
posted by hellojed at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


ALERT THE CONSUMERIST!
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


People bitch and moan, but I love all the Apple stuff I've ever bought (I currently own an iMac, an iPad, a MacBook and an iPod) and have had no real problems (ever) with any of them - the sole excpetion being I can't currently watch hulu.com stuff. No big deal. Every non-Apple product I've worked with has been, in comparison, a piece of crap. Nobody and nothing is perfect, but I'm going to save my complaints for the many more grievous things on Earth than Apple products and propaganda.

And my new iPad? I watched streaming movies from Netflix for more than 14 hours without plugging it in - not all at once, of course! And when I did plug it in, it said I still had 27% of my battery life left. Several times I've found the truth behind Apple to be better than what they advertise - that's one example.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:56 AM on April 29, 2010


Adobe's response.
posted by yiftach at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree that there are degrees of freedom that users and developers have with various technologies. But I think we need a distinct term for what I think of as "open." It doesn't need to be the word "open," but we need some word for it, so that when companies claim they have open technologies, we can say, "do you mean [term]?" and it will be unambiguous what they mean.

To me, open (or whatever you want to call it) means three things:

1) the spec for the source-file format is published so that anyone can build tools and compilers that process it.

2) the spec for readers/interpreters is published so that anyone can build a reader/viewer/interpreter that takes the above source format as input and give you the expected output.

3) there is an independent body that monitors both specs and certifies new features as canonical or not.

HTML is a good example. The spec for the format in open and anyone can build a reader for it.

One problem in this debate is that almost all parties -- people here and people in the companies involved -- want to simplify things that are actually quite complicated. The truth is, both Apple and Adobe are tying to satisfy at least three distinct groups of people: stockholders, developers and end users. And there isn't just one sort of end user. There's hipster, tech-savvy guy and there's grandma (and there are many other types). On top of this, top-level people in those companies have various philosophies (independent of their business strategies) about how technologies should work.

On top of THAT, there's the day-to-day mess of running companies, which involves mistakes, missed deadlines, bad predictions and all sorts of other random events.

So nothing is pure. Is Apple dedicated to X? Partly. Is Adobe going to implement Y? Partly.

Yet we get statement after statement, from both insiders and outsiders, claiming that Apple IS this sort of company and Adobe's agenda IS blag blag blah. Those companies agendas are to maximize their profits, to look good to their customers, to please their developers, to please their stockholders, to take care of their employees and to realize the visions of their decision makers. When two or more of those goals contradict each other, the result is messy and somewhat unpredictable.

On top of that, there's a huge layer of spin that words stolen from ethics. So and so is evil. So and so doesn't care about users. So and so believes in blah blah blah. Such language takes the chaotic truth and tries to fenagle it into a simplistic mythos.

And what amazes me that though people are entrenched in their various sides, they all seem to agree on one thing: to collaboratively build the mythos. It's like none of us can handle the realities of capitalism, so we require this veneer to ride on top of it.
posted by grumblebee at 12:01 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


But why on bloody earth would you accept Apple's continued absolute control over hardware you've bought and paid for?

It doesn't seem that big of a deal at this point. I honestly can't see why you're so worked up about it.

Why would you ever make yourself dependent on any corporation to not be evil, especially when they're already being evil right in front of you?

You could ask that question of any company, from the one that makes the pen I'm using, or the clothes I have on or the one that farmed the orange I'm about to eat.

I don't consider Apple's actions evil. Arrogant and headstrong, sure? But far from evil. They're attempting to make a walled garden, for lack of a better term, I'm aware of that and the fact that are things outside of the garden (which is good, IMO). I just happen to like their garden and don't see the walls as a barrier.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:04 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Adobe's response.

I'm dying to hear what Adobe will say, 'cause you know they'll say something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2010


I just happen to like their garden and don't see the walls as a barrier.

I finally understand Apple. It's a company that makes products for people who don't see walls as barriers!
posted by gum at 12:10 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Flash can be RAM-hungry and would make their iPhones look very bad in a side-by-side comparison with any of the Android phones that are loaded with 512 MB and up.

Heck, even the web is pretty RAM hungry. Load up The Big Picture on an iPad and see it stop showing photos about halfway through. It's pretty bad for a brand new device with no upgrade ability. And if you use multiple tabs, it almost always has to reload the content when you switch, since it doesn't have enough RAM. Really the big problem with skimping on RAM is that it means apps can't properly cache, which causes performance issues.
posted by smackfu at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't care what anyone says, Betamax IS the better platform.
posted by pentagoet at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2010


Baldons: I like to have a choice. A choice between an open, messy environment and a closed, quality-controlled one. For now, I choose the latter. Why do you think I shouldn't have that choice?

See, that's a false dichotomy; you've bought the party line that the walls are required for the garden to work. This is not at all the case.

You can have exactly what you want, exactly what you want, without impairing my use of the device in any way. Apple just needs to give me a buried Control Panel setting somewhere to disable enforcement of signed apps, and then to absolutely forbid any App Store app from changing it. Since they review all the apps in their store, they can do that.

Voila, we both have what we want. Everyone's happy. You get a closed, quality-controlled environment, and so do I. I can take advantage of the exact same benefits that you can. But then I can go outside it, should I choose, to get non-QCed apps, without needing to spend extra money.... $99/year to take partial control of your own device, especially on a $400 piece of hardware, is more than a little ridiculous.

My ability to go get non-approved apps in no way affects your ability to stay within the garden. You just don't change that setting, and you have exactly the same protections you already do. You get precisely what you want. But..... you can also change your mind later. If you decide, say, that you'd really like Google Voice on your iPhone, you can do that, whatever Apple's opinion might be. This is pure win for you, with no cost.
posted by Malor at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Adobe's CEO responds in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
posted by jedicus at 12:16 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Malor: The counter-argument (playing devil's advocate here) is that the traditional design of computer systems is already evil. It's insecure. It's user-hostile. And it's possible for smart people to break the system through routine and reasonable actions.

I've spent about 8 hours this week trying to figure out why World of Warcraft has such miserable network performance on a fresh install of Windows 7 with nothing but drivers and security patches. Is it the software firewall? Is it Microsoft anti-virus? Is it a failing network card? Have the many community-suggested tweaks that were made deep within regedit, the command line, and the control panel made the situation worse?

And the thing is, I've argued the other side as well. Computer systems are not complex because, in the arguments of Gruber and other iPad boosters, software developers are sadists who want to make their customers suffer. Computer systems are complex because they've attempted to capture complex, messy, and ambiguous real-world tasks. Microsoft Word is bloated because it tries to grab 50 years of business communications, and adds some the incredible complexity of analog page design as well.

But apparently there is a critical mass of people who are willing to trade off complexity for the deceptive safety and simplicity of a locked-down business model. And as people willing to deal with an appliance model of mobile computing are making Apple millions of dollars and growing, there isn't a strong argument for them to change.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:18 PM on April 29, 2010


I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification

Ah, language is a beautiful thing. :)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on April 29, 2010


I don't consider Apple's actions evil. Arrogant and headstrong, sure? But far from evil

Shutting out Google Voice from the App Store is 100% pure evil.
posted by Malor at 12:20 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why would you ever make yourself dependent on any corporation to not be evil, especially when they're already being evil right in front of you?

I'm no more dependent on Apple than purchasing a nintendo dsi makes me dependent on Nintendo.

To be clear: none of my data is in any way dependent on Apple. Apple even helpfully provides an xml version of all of my (critically important) song ratings and playlists.
posted by Wood at 12:24 PM on April 29, 2010


it continues to mystify me that people can seriously argue that an inescapable software ecosystem is somehow better for them. Ecosystem, sure. But locked hardware? Did they buy DRMed music, too? I mean, what the heck are they thinking?

Do you listen to the arguments for it, or just sit open-mouthed going "but ... you can't think that! I don't agree!" Hell, people live in gated communities, and that's far more onerous.

I bought DRMed music, sure: I like that musicians get paid, even if it's only the trickle they get after the record companies get a cut -- I'd have bought DRMed music from them direct, too. As for the locked-down system; well, it's yet to feel really constraining to me, to be honest. And the rewards in terms of finally having a phone I don't hate are so huge that the trade-off seems minimal. Especially when $99 gets me virtually everything else.

If the open world can produce a competitor that is more open without sacrificing any of the iPhone's advantages, then sure, I'd be wise to switch to it. As would everyone else. But that doesn't seem to be happening (though HP is a really interesting development). What I'm not going to do is switch out of ideology or a huff that I can't run Perl scripts on it.

It's the old "you want the bug fixed get coding" open source retort turned back on them. If they want a great open phone, make one, or keep clutching Google's skirts and hoping it'll keep doing it for them. There's no alternative: what the market is showing pretty clearly is that the "is very open" feature checkbox is really low down the priority list.

Same as it did with the iPod, btw. How are those iPod killers coming along?
posted by bonaldi at 12:24 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


You can have exactly what you want, exactly what you want, without impairing my use of the device in any way.

Or, you can get what you want by buying an open device and others can get what they want by buying a closed device. So long as there are neither laws nor (probably antitrust violating) agreements between device manufacturers that forbid open devices, then what's the problem? If people value openness then open devices will win in the market. It's not like Android is struggling in the marketplace.
posted by jedicus at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2010


You can have exactly what you want, exactly what you want, without impairing my use of the device in any way.

Also, this continues to be bullshit, like it was on the previous thread. If users can get around the walled garden, then developers can require it. The guy behind the Facebook app hated the App Store. What's to stop them saying "to install the Facebook app, just go into settings, click the Malor switch, and then click this link"?

Then suddenly the biggest app on the iPhone is totally outwith Apple's control. And the people who liked the benefits of Apple's vetting have lost those benefits, all so you can have a feature that somehow won't affect them.
posted by bonaldi at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then just don't install the app. It's very simple. If you want the walled garden, then don't leave it.
posted by Malor at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2010


Shutting out Google Voice from the App Store is 100% pure evil.

Rwandan genocide was 100% pure evil. Not letting a particular application into the garden? Shitty, but far from evil, IMO.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vote with yer cash, peeps.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2010


Shutting out Google Voice from the App Store is 100% pure evil.

I wouldn't disagree that a more consistent and transparent app approval process would be better, but using the term "100% pure evil" is quite strong. As when a Google VP compared users of Apple devices with people living under the North Korean regime, past a certain point, you'll start to lose the ears of reasonable people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


bonaldi: It's the old "you want the bug fixed get coding" open source retort turned back on them. If they want a great open phone, make one, or keep clutching Google's skirts and hoping it'll keep doing it for them. There's no alternative: what the market is showing pretty clearly is that the "is very open" feature checkbox is really low down the priority list.

Which is why Open Source has had problems getting traction beyond server-side technologies. Given a choice between Software Freedom and a paycheck, people take the paycheck rather than wait for Software Freedom to finally address that critical feature request.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:31 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then just don't install the app. It's very simple. If you want the walled garden, then don't leave it.
That doesn't work if the walled garden empties out, does it? Jesus. you can't have a walled garden with a bloody great hole in the wall.
posted by bonaldi at 12:31 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you're right, if the user always knows the right thing if he can make hard choices in order to be free, then he'll flock to Android or other open environments. Apple will have to adapt or die.

If Apple's right, if the user needs to be guided, if he doesn't always know what he needs, then the iDevices will prosper, and Android will remain a minority choice for tinkerers, customization-lovers, open source advocates.


Yes, the invisible hand of the market always ensures that consumers get what's best for them. The fact that tons of people shop at Wallmart proves that they are right about not giving their employees health insurance. If consumers want a choice between companies that do good things and companies that do bad things, why shouldn't they have that choice?

Honestly I do think that locked-down computing devices are probably the way things are heading. It disappoints me that Apple is the one taking the lead on that front, because they have done great things like basing OS X on Unix that have been popular with the exact same "tinkerers, customization-lovers, open source advocates" that they are currently alienating. Software developers in general tend to fall into that group, which leads to the ironic situation that the people Apple is expecting to write all of the apps for their devices are also in that minority group who would like other more open devices. And as that minority group gets smaller and smaller, I wouldn't be surprised if suddenly there aren't very many people around who write great software that make any of those devices worth buying.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:40 PM on April 29, 2010


HTML5 is a nice idea. I think it has a lot of promise. But it's simply not on par with Flash yet, even in the narrower world of video (obviously HTML5 is a lot more than just the media tags). We're in a position now like other HTML standards have been in -- nobody is implementing the spec as written, partially because the spec is in flux. You have to tweak it per browser. You can't go fullscreen in most browsers (Chrome, for example). Buffering is inconsistent. etc, etc. There's no solution for secure streaming (like it or not, some content owners will not offer content without something like rtmpe). Ad content is all in Flash, and that will also take time to get support for (since it's a large ecosystem).

These issues will work themselves out, yes. But not yet, and that's why Jobs, for example, points to the apps over the web in many cases [also, they control the apps and not the websites, so of course Apple often thinks the apps are better].

For those complaining about Flash 10 performance on video, I'd also suggest checking out Flash 10.1 (it's available as beta, obviously there could be issues). It's noticeably better. Even if you prefer HTML5, right now you're still going to have to choose between Flash or nothing in many places, and 10.1 is a nice improvement. (And there's no inherent reason HTML5 will perform better or worse than Flash -- it will be a nice race for the consumer, and unless you have an ideological issue with one or the other, this is great).
posted by wildcrdj at 12:48 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


64 bit machines aren't faster then 32 bit machines unless you're dealing with programs that use a lot of 64 bit integers.

This isn't true. Intel 64-bit mode includes e.g. more registers and non-execute bit (reference): it is more secure and faster for most apps (even on Vista). In addition to this, Mac OS X adds more security for processes in 64-bit mode.
posted by flif at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2010


But I think we need a distinct term for what I think of as "open." It doesn't need to be the word "open," but we need some word for it...

We also need to clarify that when something is "open", its not really open to all. Much is made of the fact that open source is in principle open to all, but no-one seems to be bothered by the fact that in practice, most people can't take advantage of it because they aren't programmers. The normative claim is that we should have the right to freely determine how our technology operates, instead of having it imposed on us from corporations who may not be aligned with our interests, and that's why we need open source. But open source only delivers this ability to a tiny minority. Few open source projects take the needs of their end users very seriously -- how many do user research or study how people use their software?

In practice, what's the difference between the tiny minority of business types who control proprietary software and the tiny minority of programmers who control open source software? From the perspective of non-programmers, open source is actually more closed than proprietary software. As a customer, a software vendor has at least some incentive to listen to what I want; but open source software projects have less incentive to listen to end users, because the coin of the realm is bragging rights that can only come from the programmer subculture.

The truth is that programmers are as much an elite class as corporate elites, with the same potential problems that occur when elite interests diverge from those of ordinary people . The main difference is that programmer elites have co-opted the populist democratic rhetoric to justify their elite position, in much the same way that the Tea Party co-opts the language of freedom to justify white privilege. This is how the conflict between open source partisans and Apple should be understood, as a conflict between which elite class has the power.
posted by AlsoMike at 12:55 PM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


"We also need to clarify that when something is "open", its not really open to all. Much is made of the fact that open source is in principle open to all, but no-one seems to be bothered by the fact that in practice, most people can't take advantage of it because they aren't programmers. "

I don't understand how cars work. Ergo, cars are useless!
posted by mullingitover at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


but open source software projects have less incentive to listen to end users,

Um, I think you're referring to a certain type of open source project. Many of them are started by and heavily financed by corporations, which certainly do have an interest in making their product useful. IBM and Google, for example, both do this. Google wants Android to succeed -- you can certainly debate the merits of Android usability, but everything you describe for proprietary software exists for something like Android.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:03 PM on April 29, 2010


I don't understand how cars work. Ergo, cars are useless!

Surely magnets are the better example here. Fucking magnets.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:05 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just don't buy the fucking phone/pad/whatever. Jeez.
posted by unSane at 1:05 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]



The problem with the app store is that there is only one, and it's Apple's way or the highway. It sucks to search, the apps are mostly crap, and it's the only real way to distribute your work - throw it in the bin with the rest, and hope someone notices.

It seems like Apple would have done the universe a favor and allow other vendors to have their own App store. Then I could subscribe to the Amazon App Store, and the Walmart App Store and whatever. They'd still be able to exercise some control, but they'd be buffered against all responsibility for all idiocy related to app store offerings.

This would solve a problem organizations have, whereby they want to readily distribute an app, but don't want to put it on *the* app store. They could get a license from Apple and make thier own. Or - especially in our case as a tax exempt entity, we want to use apps from the app store, but getting the tax refunded is an exercise in futility because Apple just doesn't know how to deal with it (with regards to the app store). An App store for orgs like us sure would be sweet.

And this leads me what really frustrates me with Apple. The stuff they make is 80% awesome and 20% WTF were they thinking.

Steve Jobs' obsession with control gets the best of him sometimes, and this turf war with Adobe is no exception. Sure, his reasons are OK, but there are better ways to have handled it, and the userbase is the worse for his lack of grace here.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:09 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash."

"Speaking about Mr. Jobs's assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayan says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something 'to do with the Apple operating system.'"

Above is why both companies -- or at least their spokesleaders -- are fuckheads. There's a REAL WORLD that EXISTS. In it, apparently, Macs crash. Why?

Maybe it's because, though OS X is incredibly well constructed, Adobe's products are doing stupid things which would thwart any OS, even one that was incredibly well made. If that's what happening, Jobs needs to make it clear. He needs to explain exactly what Adobe's products are doing and why they shouldn't be doing it.

If, as Narayan, suggests it's an OS problem, then he needs to explain what sort of problem. He needs to explain why he's so sure it can't possibly be his company's products that are it fault.

And so one here can say anything intelligent about this, unless he really understands the technical issues involved. We get a lot of yadda yadda about Adobe being lazy and Apple being secretive. WHY ARE ADOBE APPS CRASHING MACS? Unless you know, for sure, that it's because of some specific thing that Apple or Adobe has done wrong, you should keep your mouth shut about it. And by "you," I mean (partly), Jobs and Narayan.

If either of these men are unsure about why Adobe apps are crashing Macs, then they should be upfront about that. "Huh! Another crash... well, there must be a problem with the OS, a problem with the app, or some odd problem that is created when the app meets the OS. What can we do to solve it?"

I am a software developer. I write code that's WAY simpler than OS X and Photoshop. When something goes wrong, it's often really hard to tell if it's my bug or a bug in the platform that's hosting my app. So what I don't do is start pointing fingers and saying, "Hey, it's not my fault! It's the browser that's fucked up!" Computer Science has the word "science" in it. Jobs and Narayan need to learn how to be scientists. Scientists tests before they place blame. Maybe they've done these tests. If so, can we see the results?
posted by grumblebee at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2010


What's interesting is that Jobs hardly mentions what I think must be the real reason for wanting to kill Flash: because Adobe insists on keeping it to a 32-bit binary, whereas Apple seems to be looking to move to an exclusively 64-bit platform.


$ file /usr/lib64/browser-plugins/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib64/browser-plugins/libflashplayer.so: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, stripped


I don't understand why you think Adobe is insisting on keeping Flash as a 32-bit binary when they've had 64-bit binaries available for the top three platforms for years now.
posted by cmonkey at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The stuff they make is 80% awesome and 20% WTF were they thinking.

1. It's a resounding success, for the time being.
2. The average quality of the apps is arguably better than the more open Android Store. It has more apps too.

More app stores? It would be confusing, conflicting, chaotic. It wouldn't help at all. Let Amazon and Walmart create their own smartphones, if they want to control the openness of their software.
posted by Baldons at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2010


2. The average quality of the apps is arguably better than the more open Android Store. It has more apps too.

More app stores? It would be confusing, conflicting, chaotic. It wouldn't help at all. Let Amazon and Walmart create their own smartphones, if they want to control the openness of their software.


Yeah, the 938,473 fart apps have excellent font rendering, there is no denying that.

And, it's funny everyone brings up how confusing it would be to get apps if there were more than one place to get apps.... From a computer that is populated with Apps not bought from Apples App Store. Would these people starve to death in a town with more than one restaurant ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem with the app store is that there is only one, and it's Apple's way or the highway. It sucks to search, the apps are mostly crap, and it's the only real way to distribute your work - throw it in the bin with the rest, and hope someone notices.

If you're just hoping people notice your app, that's not a good way to make money. You set up a website, offer screenshots and feature lists, and a link to the App Store. You advertise, if it makes sense. Etc. It's not perfect, but the good stuff usually rises to the top either through word of mouth from other iPhone users you know, bloggers who talk about apps they use, or the storefront itself.

That said, there are a few real ways to distribute your work that do not involve the App Store. You can use Cydia to sell your work, or if you're a business of sufficient size you can get a license to distribute your own apps, or if you're into open source models, you can distribute source code and let users compile apps for their own phones.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2010


And, it's funny everyone brings up how confusing it would be to get apps if there were more than one place to get apps....
Compare to the people who told me after it was announced that the App Store would go nowhere because it was already dead easy to put apps on Symbian and WinMo phones, just choose a link from the many great online app sites. Right.
posted by bonaldi at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2010


And, it's funny everyone brings up how confusing it would be to get apps if there were more than one place to get apps.... From a computer that is populated with Apps not bought from Apples App Store.

Oh, I'd love an App Store for the mac. With my credit card account and automatic update notifications across the board. Just like Steam, which is coming to the mac! Of course, Apple couldn't - and wouldn't - ban all non-app store programs on the mac. That would be a very bad thing, and very different from creating a platform that is closed and controlled from the start.
posted by Baldons at 1:41 PM on April 29, 2010


Yeah, the 938,473 fart apps have excellent font rendering, there is no denying that.

What's a real gasser about this trope is that Apple initially rejected fart apps and got grief on the Internet for not being open to fart apps. Then they accept fart apps and get grief on the Internet for having fart apps. Apple will clearly get their share of griefers, either way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:44 PM on April 29, 2010


Just like Bill Gates couldn't have harmed you, through say creating poisonous market conditions, if you personally didn't buy Windows?

JHarris, so you're saying Microsoft hurts me, even if I don't have a copy of Windows? I believe you're right, because friends are constantly asking me to look at their cheap Windows XP laptops that they can't get the wireless networking to work on, and I have to enter their 128bit WEP key in hex, which is such a secret that it needs to be starred out, making error correction impossible, but that's okay, because Bill Gates saw fit to make me confirm all 26 of those characters in another starred out box! Seriously, that's a painful error message that you typed it wrong, can't see where, and have to start over again.
posted by Hoenikker at 1:45 PM on April 29, 2010


Er, I'm really not finding the ability to play well with wireless networks a strong feature of Apple products.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2010


Artw, I didn't say it was. All I said was that entering a 52 character password might not be a part of the most user friendly interface. I had to do this yesterday, and I screwed it up about a dozen times. Maybe I'm just not a good enough typer for real computers.
posted by Hoenikker at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2010


There are a lot of comments to the effect of, "it's my phone, so I should be able to put whatever I want on it." OK, but if people could and did put whatever they wanted on their iPhone, and then it got slow and crashy and the battery kept dying, who do you suppose they'd blame? Not Adobe, not themselves, but Apple.

I have no illusions that Apple's first priority is their own self interest and profit, but if a side effect of that is that I get a more stable, more reliable, and better user experience, I'm willing to sacrifice punch-the-monkey ads1 and the occasional flash-only site.

1 That is, until the inevitable punch-the-monkey iAd.
posted by howling fantods at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2010


Troublingly, that will be more of a "touch the monkey" situation by definition.

Touch it. Tooooouch iiiiit.
posted by cortex at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


AlsoMike: I'm not getting the "open" vs. "open to all" distinction here. There's a difference between opening a door, and walking through it. Are you suggesting that OSS developers need to provide a layman-readable flowchart representing the logic of their code for every release, in order to be considered truly open?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2010


they'll just build such a gorgeous road to their beautiful store and you'll never wonder about other stores.

I don't understand this perception. The iTunes Store has some great applications. The iTunes Store itself is a HORRIBLE application.

People saying the market wants more freedom in their phones apparently haven't been following the iPhone for the last four years. Because that shit was selling before they even had an app store, and now it's selling even better.

Really? Depends on how you look at it.

Android marketshare grows while iPhone market shrinks
Apple iPhone Market Share Slips In 4Q
The iPhone grabs/loses market share

There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.

...

You what platform has more game titles available for it than the iPhone?

Any platform that can run Flash.


Yeah, that claim threw me the most ... there are more game and entertainment titles for iPhone/iPad than any other platform?!? Windows?! Flash?! I can't fathom that.

Kongregate alone has 25,000+ Flash games. And if you're gonna include iFart or "Sexy Exotic Ladies" as "entertainment" titles, then Windows has literally millions of those shitty things. Hell, American Greetings screensavers provide as much "entertainment" as some iPhone apps.

Seriously, don't like Apple products? Buy something else.

Better yet, don't buy anything.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:15 PM on April 29, 2010


Of course, Apple couldn't - and wouldn't - ban all non-app store programs on the mac. That would be a very bad thing, and very different from creating a platform that is closed and controlled from the start.

Why shouldn't they? All you have to do is read some of the comments in this thread to find out that requiring users to get all of their applications from the App Store is vastly superior than allowing users to create and install whatever software they want.

If any of the small minority of tinkerers, customization-lovers, and open source advocates don't like it they could go buy some other computer and let Mac users enjoy the great benefits of a completely locked-down OS. For example, did you know that most of the plugin crashes on Macs are caused by Flash? The best solution to that problem would obviously be to prevent all Mac users from installing Flash, but since they stupidly allow any joker like Adobe to whatever kind of crazy Mac software they want, that's not an option. Hopefully in newer versions of Mac OS they'll fix this problem and protect their users from installing things that they shouldn't really be installing.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Baldons wrote Of course, Apple couldn't - and wouldn't - ban all non-app store programs on the mac. That would be a very bad thing, and very different from creating a platform that is closed and controlled from the start.

Nonsense. That's the ultimate wet dream of both Apple and MS, a completely closed environment in which everyone has to play by their rules, all authors have to pay them a fee just to play, all apps are completely under their control, and the DMCA is there to make a criminal out of anyone who tries to get around their controls. That's Trusted Computing, and both of them have been pushing for it since the concept was first proposed.

They can't have that, yet, because the public wouldn't accept it. Yet.

But the iPhone is a foot in the door for Trusted Computing. People see the benefits, and there are benefits to TC, they see that there's third party apps out there, and they're less resistant to the idea of TC on their home computer or laptop.

But don't doubt for a moment that both MS and Apple really, really, want to do exactly that on regular computers. No paranoia involved, both have stated repeatedly that it is their desire.
posted by sotonohito at 2:24 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The CEO also disagreed with Jobs' claim that Flash is the No. 1 cause of crashes on the Mac, suggesting that the issues are instead related to Mac OS X. He also said claims about Flash draining battery life of mobile devices were "patently false."

I doubt he has seen Safari's plug-in isolation, which can let the flash plugin crash, without affecting Safari itself. It also shows a nice "Flash Plugin" just crashed dialog.

Also, I will begin to believe Adobe's opinion's on OS stability when they can:
Write a proper installer (and not 'extend it' and break it [self link]).
Understand the MCX framework and use it
Not have an updater create a file in my Library folder called "Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat."
Save to a network share
posted by mrzarquon at 2:25 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm for once just glad I live so far in the sticks that I don't get any data reception, making all of this moot.
posted by maxwelton at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2010


Artw, I didn't say it was. All I said was that entering a 52 character password might not be a part of the most user friendly interface. I had to do this yesterday, and I screwed it up about a dozen times. Maybe I'm just not a good enough typer for real computers.

Yeah, anyone who wants to use the wireless router at my place has to that, the one comcast provided us with. It particularly sucks on iPhone. Also sometimes Apple stuff just decides not to work with it at all.

So yeah, WEP kind of sucks.
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on April 29, 2010


Brandon Blatcher: It doesn't seem that big of a deal at this point. I honestly can't see why you're so worked up about it.

In my head, that totally came out in HAL 9000's voice, with a ", Dave" at the end.
posted by oulipian at 2:30 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Will Trusted Computing also control the free and increasingly flexible html standards? Right now I can install the Ibis Reader webapp on my iPhone. It could contain porn, insults hurled at Steve Jobs, etc., and it still couldn't be blocked by Apple - unless by shackling the entire World Wide Web. Open web standard are just going expand. This doesn't look like a prison. You do have choice.
posted by Baldons at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


WEP? You might as well not bother running encryption at all.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:40 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


What's funny in this debate between Jobs and Narayen is that the word "open" seems to have become a big PR weapon. I mean, honestly, I have a hard time believing that either side really cares about open standards. It does benefit Apple to decrease the number of frameworks they have to accommodate themselves to in designing their machines, and Jobs is right that Adobe is 100% proprietary (despite Adobe's halting attempts to dress up here and there like they're an "open" company) - but I don't know how much room Apple has to make that argument, given how incredibly proprietary and closed their systems are in general.

They're using the word, but it really doesn't matter to the debate at all. Apple wants to shift architectures. Adobe wants to remain the major player in web media frameworks, and to keep monetizing it.

I start to feel as though RMS was spot on in his objections to the nouveau term "open source." It's just way too easy to twist the words until they don't mean anything anymore to anybody who doesn't know all that much about the technical details. I just can't imagine Jobs and Narayen insisting to everybody that their products are free, can you? Maybe Eric S Raymond was wrong - maybe we should've stuck with the old nomenclature. "Free Software."
posted by koeselitz at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


WEP? You might as well not bother running encryption at all.

TBH I wonder why I bother turning on the password. It mainly seems to be security against me or anyone I know using it, whereas anyone who wanted to fuck with it could in an instant.

Really i should bug them for something better. I guess I am just extremely lazy and have low expectations when it comes to Comcast customer service.
posted by Artw at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2010


> Really i should bug them for something better

Get something simpler... Just the basic router, and your own WAP that supports WPA encryption and actually has updates. I don't have high expectations of performance from a device that is either given as free or for $1/month as part of a service contract. Let alone a networking device from a cable company.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:48 PM on April 29, 2010


Jobs is right that Adobe is 100% proprietary (despite Adobe's halting attempts to dress up here and there like they're an "open" company) - but I don't know how much room Apple has to make that argument, given how incredibly proprietary and closed their systems are in general.

But Steve Jobs doesn't avoid it:

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

Its position is that cross-compatible proprietary isn't good, because it can slow new features adoption, makes the programs lowest-common-denominator, etc.
posted by Baldons at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2010


Probably should. Fucking thing stops working all the time as well, but that's more of a Comcasts-internet-sucks-in-general thing.

Comcast are very lucky that I am so very lazy and hate making phone calls, as my every interaction with them seems to lead to disappointment in the end.
posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on April 29, 2010


The 2Wire "residential gateway" that ATT UVerse sent us has WPA, supports just about any kind of WiFi device, and has loads of management features, and even had BitTorrent pre-populated as an app for passthrough in the unit's firewall.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2010


The truth is that programmers are as much an elite class as corporate elites, with the same potential problems that occur when elite interests diverge from those of ordinary people.

Well, you know, AlsoMike, I can't imagine a profession (or pseudo-profession) with lower barriers to entry than programming. And you know what? You can't bullshit a computer. You can't schmooze a computer. It simply does exactly what you tell it to. Relentlessly. You can either make it do what you want, or not.

These days, I think the Python programming language is a good place to start. There are lots of tutorials and beginners' programming texts based on Python. So have at it! Take back programming from the evil elites!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:17 PM on April 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


[obligatory Hypercard mention]
posted by Artw at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2010


*lights a stack on memory*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:22 PM on April 29, 2010


Its position is that cross-compatible proprietary isn't good

Well, except for where they're fine with it (h264 is the only codec they support in Safari), so I don't agree that's a consistent position.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:27 PM on April 29, 2010


Baldons: “Its position is that cross-compatible proprietary isn't good, because it can slow new features adoption, makes the programs lowest-common-denominator, etc.”

True, but Apple keeps plenty of things closed which might increase innovation and improve the quality of software and hardware. For example, the architecture of their computers. So - that bit is fair enough, and I agree with him on it, but it's also clear to me why he's saying it - because it helps Apple to win market share by improving the speed of their devices.
posted by koeselitz at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2010


I can't imagine a profession (or pseudo-profession) with lower barriers to entry than programming
Writing has a lower barrier to entry, but YouTube comments are what we get.
posted by bonaldi at 3:29 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


10 SAY DUMB
20 GO TO 10
posted by Artw at 3:30 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually to be proper YouTube programming it should probably have some of the line numbers spellwd wrong.
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on April 29, 2010


Every single one of the slowest, crashiest, ugliest apps for iPhone and iPad was made in Xcode. Guess it'll get banned next.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


To lighten things up : A conversation I have every month or so*


*where "I" = Dan Wineman
posted by revmitcz at 3:40 PM on April 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Those apps just lacked a white background.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:40 PM on April 29, 2010


>I must say that the sheer drudgery of managing iTunes music

Can you elaborate on this?


- iTunes can a system hog on Windows machines
- music purchased on iTunes cannot be played on any MP3 player
- machines have to be registered to play purchased music
- although it is possible to convert music purchased on iTunes into (lossy) MP3s, it takes a lot of time and energy
- music purchased on one iTunes account is difficult to share across multiple iPods and other devices

Why can't I just buy some songs on iTunes, download it onto a hard drive, and then transfer these to my (non-iPhone) phone, MP3 player, etc.?

I'm sure there will be folks in this thread who say I'm an idiot, but why can't purchasing music be simple? Steve Jobs and the rest of the Apple folks have the skills and knowledge to make it simple, but they don't.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:48 PM on April 29, 2010


- iTunes can a system hog on Windows machines

I have a Mac, but I can guess this may be true.

music purchased on iTunes cannot be played on any MP3 player

Any MP3 player which can play AAC can play iTMS purchased music.

- machines have to be registered to play purchased music

Nope. Not true since April 7, 2009.

- although it is possible to convert music purchased on iTunes into (lossy) MP3s, it takes a lot of time and energy

Not sure why you would want/need to do this. Any modern digital audio device can play AACs.

- music purchased on one iTunes account is difficult to share across multiple iPods and other devices

Not since since April 7, 2009.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:55 PM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just got back from work, I can't say where because it's under NDA but it's a multibillion dollar IT firm. I spent the whole day wrestling with one of our proprietary in-house products, written primarily in Flash, targeting WinXP and running in IE6. Millions of dollars of work is done in this software every month, at sites all over the US. This is idiot-simple GUI stuff, bare bones software. And I spent most of the day reloading the app and waiting for it to launch, then waiting to see if it was hanging this time, or if it would eventually recover, or whether it would crash. And when it finally DID work once in a while, I had to step through work I'd already done, over and over, just to get to the new bits I hadn't finished yet.

Flash must die. It is rubbish. Even in the hands of skilled professional programmers, the results are always crap.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2010


Even in the hands of skilled professional programmers, the results are always crap.
Even in the hands of Adobe itself the results are crap: witness the various Flash installers and particularly the unbelievably awful CS5 sales app. I mean, really, even the most atrocious companies are good at selling their own stuff.

Oh, wait: The last tech company that sucked at actually selling its wares? Sun
posted by bonaldi at 4:09 PM on April 29, 2010


Well, you know, AlsoMike, I can't imagine a profession (or pseudo-profession) with lower barriers to entry than programming. And you know what? You can't bullshit a computer. You can't schmooze a computer. It simply does exactly what you tell it to. Relentlessly. You can either make it do what you want, or not.

I don't know. I once worked with someone who was a Visual Basic coder by profession. Somehow, I think he managed to bullshit a computer.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:10 PM on April 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Are you suggesting that OSS developers need to provide a layman-readable flowchart representing the logic of their code for every release, in order to be considered truly open?

Not at all. As I said, openness means the ability to determine for yourself how technology should behave rather than having it foisted on you, right? But a door that only programmers have the keys to is not an open door. If open source projects made efforts to engage their non-programmer users in determining which features get built and how they look and behave, this would go a long way to achieving true openness. They could do this, through standard UX techniques, and some open source project do, like Firefox, but this tends to happen only when there's a financial incentive.

A clear-cut example is when 2 UX designers tried to get involved with Drupal. Open source, right? Get involved, make a difference? A large part of the developer community lost their shit, leveling all kinds of accusations, that the UX team was destroying Drupal, etc. It seems like it got pretty nasty. Some developers were very supportive, but many weren't and this ultimately killed the UX redesign project. From a blog post:
The changes that are required to the interface to really achieve the goal that we were tasked with – to really make Drupal understandable to [non-tech users] has the consequence of making Drupal a less efficient and enjoyable place for Drupal developers to build cool stuff.
The reason they got this reaction was not because devs are assholes, but because they (the UX designers) fundamentally misjudged the purpose of an open source project. In large part, it exists for devs to be able to work on stuff without the interference of clueless managers, marketers, sales people and other pointy-haired types, including UX designers, which I can sympathize with. So the goal of redesigning Drupal to make it easy to use for non-tech users runs counter to the reason for Drupal to exist at all, at least from the perspective of a large section of the developer community.

The point of this example is to illustrate that there are barriers to entry to participate in an open source project, and those barriers are enforced. Many open source projects discourage non-programmer participation - passively by not seeking out input from their end users (and throwing a fit when someone tries to do it), and actively, when the guiding principle of OSS is "scratch your own itch", which you can't do unless you are a programmer. They're wrapping themselves in all this freedom and democracy rhetoric, but what we find in reality is an elite group defending their own prerogatives.

Given all that, it's deeply hypocritical for OSS partisans to attack Apple for their lack of openness, when OSS's embrace of openness is so opportunistic.

There are lots of tutorials and beginners' programming texts based on Python. So have at it! Take back programming from the evil elites!

Thanks, but I know how to write code. I just think it's absurd to expect everyone on the planet to be a programmer. The truth is, I'm OK with having experts do things for me, I don't need the source code to my microwave. I'm OK with a elite class of programmers (or Apple product designers or doctors or what-have-you), but they should know that if they abuse their privileges, we're ready to drop a guillotine on their necks. Elites dressed up as populists is what's truly dangerous, because they do an end run around these natural checks and balances, but Apple adopts their elite position out in the open, so I think this is basically a trustworthy thing.
posted by AlsoMike at 4:29 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


Call them what you like, but open source developers are putting out code for everyone to use. Even if you're not directly getting value out of the stuff that's being developed by the 'elites,' they're protecting ideas from being claimed by for-profit companies that would love nothing more than to be able to charge rent on the obvious.
posted by mullingitover at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, wait: The last tech company that sucked at actually selling its wares? Sun

Yeah, don't remind me. All our software that isn't Flash, is written in Java. It's all browser based and runs on servers with a Solaris version from 1994. I have tried to plant the rumor with Management that Oracle is planning to discontinue Java, now that it's bought Sun, but my rumor campaign doesn't seem to be taking hold.
A couple of hotshot kids with fresh CompSci degrees could rewrite everything we run in a month or two in some modern language, hell it would be more stable even in PHP, ferchrissakes.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:04 PM on April 29, 2010


charlie don't surf - TBH it sounds like you've got some problems there that go beyond the particular peices of software.
posted by Artw at 5:08 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the danger of Flash on the iPhone is greater than just a few apps. If Flash were at all a reasonable choice on the iphone, developers would essentially be forced to use it; it'd be financially foolish to not choose something that gave you three platforms from one codebase, even if you knew you could make a better app by doing it custom for each platform. Under such conditions, it would not be too long before most new apps were Flash, and Flash was the dominant factor in iPhone app development. The short-term economics virtually guarantee it.
posted by breath at 5:08 PM on April 29, 2010


Open != open source. One type of open thats very useful to non programmers is the ability to install any program they want. Like they can on a MacBook, Windows, Android, Windows Mobile, Linux, etc. Notice that both closed and open source products are in that list. A lot of the attack on Apple's openness is unrelated to source, it's their closed platform.

That being said, the nice thing about OSS, at least in theory, is it makes it very hard for the developers to institute Apple-style lockdown, since someone can pick up the code and make a tiny change to remove that lockout. Only one dev has to do this, not every user of the device. It doesn't even have to be picked up by the main distribution, it can be available elsewhere.

I don't think most OSS people expect everyone to tinker with the source code, even most developers who use OSS products don't look at the source code (I've never looked at the Linux kernel code despite using it for 16+ years, just not something I'm interested in).
posted by wildcrdj at 5:13 PM on April 29, 2010


If Flash were at all a reasonable choice on the iphone, developers would essentially be forced to use it

So it's better to have no option? Right now you either write an App, in which case you're locked into the iPhone, or you write a web app, which can't be as powerful as Flash. There's no cross platform way to replicate Flash, HTML5 isn't there yet. The closest would be Java but that's even more inconsistently supported.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2010


Wait, wait, wait... Apple make phones now?
posted by No-sword at 5:21 PM on April 29, 2010


I don't see why people are confused by Apple's stance that their appliances (as opposed to their general purpose computers) should be locked down, but that the web that they access should be as open as possible. If you want to develop for their appliances, you've got to go through them, or write for everyone. Remember that they didn't have any way to develop native apps, originally.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:29 PM on April 29, 2010


Holy shit. The Reality Distortion Field is in full swing here.

Yup, both flavors - pro and anti Apple.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:35 PM on April 29, 2010


$99/year to take partial control of your own device, especially on a $400 piece of hardware, is more than a little ridiculous.

Someone should tell Microsoft this, concerning the XNA developers club.

Rwandan genocide was 100% pure evil. Not letting a particular application into the garden? Shitty, but far from evil, IMO.

There is a tremendous difference of degree here, many, many orders of magnitude, but it's still evil. And when you multiply a tiny fragment of evil across many victims, you do end up with measurable quantities.

Joel: "Evil works best when it's subtle. For example, what do you think about Hitler?"
Crow: "Well I hate him, yeah."
Joel: "Okay, now what do you think about the band Styx?"
Crow: "Oh I don't know, they had a couple of good songs but-- oh my god Joel, you're right!!"

JHarris, so you're saying Microsoft hurts me, even if I don't have a copy of Windows? I believe you're right, because friends are constantly asking me to look at their cheap Windows XP laptops [...]

I didn't mean it quite in that sense, but I'll be happy to take credit for it!

What's a real gasser about this trope is that Apple initially rejected fart apps and got grief on the Internet for not being open to fart apps. Then they accept fart apps and get grief on the Internet for having fart apps. Apple will clearly get their share of griefers, either way.

A. Your pun has not been approved by the joke police. Prepare to have your humor license revoked.

B. Come on now. People complaining about the lack of fart software is not the same thing at all. But there is the fact that, by choosing to exert editorial control over the software that can run on their platform at all, it has put Apple in the position of preferring to simulate flatulence over 8-bit computers. AND NO YOU MAY NOT MAKE A JOKE ABOUT THAT I MEAN IT

1. It's a resounding success, for the time being.

I put it to you that you are mistaking the reasons for that success, that the App Store is doing well despite Apple's policies instead of due to them.
posted by JHarris at 5:52 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Knowing advanced mathematics is a prerequisite (and a strong barrier to entry) for publication in peer-reviewed physics journals, but I don't think anyone is calling physicists fascist elites because of it, and I suspect most people support the idea of peer review even if they cannot themselves participate in it.

Programming is the literacy of software. If you're illiterate, you'll find that the exchange of ideas fostered by free speech is largely closed to you, although you'll benefit in many ways indirectly.

Perhaps in some sense physics, writing, and programming are elite activities. But even if you aren't able or are unwilling to participate in these elite activities, you can still support transparent and open processes for the elite who do.
posted by Pyry at 6:03 PM on April 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


On one hand, even after reading every comment, I never had a chance in hell of understanding the complex computer-related reasons why everyone's seems so angry about this issue. On the other, I got cool mental images of armies screaming towards each other, one in white Apple-esque armor waving aesthetically ergonomic rifles, and the other in custom-built performance-enhanced exoskeletons covered in crazy symbols. Which is a net win for me.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:28 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


i'm not really interested in the technical aspects of it all. my impression has been that apple keeps the system closed in large part for quality control. i don't particularly agree with their content control (though i understand some of the reasons for it), but i kinda get the idea that third-party stuff that doesn't meet their standards has the potential to mess up their stuff; and when some fucked-up third-party app fucks over their system, apple gets the call from some angry dude with a fucked-up system, and that angry dude wants apple to fix it or replace the phone, and if apple tells them to call the third-party people, the third-party people are going to be all 'that's not us, angry dude, promise" and then there's the general impression that apple's shit is unstable because it can't handle third-party stuff, and then apple has to consider putting in it's own fixes so somebody's fucked-up app doesn't fuck over their system, putting apple in jeopardy when, say, some 14-year-old kid about to get his face blown off can't get through to 9-1-1 because he can't beat the high score in bejeweled (and don't lie, you know you were totally going to write that shit); not to mention that then every time apple does it's own updates it has to get caught in the middle of the fight when a whole bunch of apps that people paid for all of a sudden don't work, and the vendors are all "don't blame us, apple changed such and such and it broke our app," and then apple's name is shit because they don't play nice with developers and fucking consult every one of them before they make changes to their system because they don't know all the fucked-up nonconventional ways they're writing their shit, and next thing you know you're walking around with a 500 GB drive duct-taped to your iphone to hold the operating system and all its patches.

i'd rather not deal with that shit. and as a user, i just want the phone to work when i turn it on. and my iphone has worked every time i've turned it on. it does all the stuff apple told me it would do, and some stuff apple didn't tell me it would do.

and but didn't everybody always know it was a closed system and that apple controlled the apps running on it? did they wait for like millions of people to buy the phone and then spring that bit of news on everybody? it's not like people bought ipods and all of a sudden everybody's upset that they can't write their own player software for it. everybody knew the iphone didn't do flash and didn't have plans to, and had some vague idea why; and now everybody is all pissed afresh that apple won't put flash on the iphone? does this maybe go some way to explaining divorce rates, that people can suddenly revise their expectations and expect the other party to comply? do you like accuse your wife of being the gestapo when you all of a sudden want to invite a third party into bed, and she's all "no way, i control my body and what gets installed there," when you always knew that she felt that way, no matter how much you were hoping she would change her mind? if that's what you wanted you should have gone out and bought a flashy whore who would let you do anything you wanted.

i kinda suspect that at first developers were like "i'm not getting the iphone because i want full control of my devices" but then the iphone kept getting awesomer and people were flipping their shit over it, much to the chagrin of the stubborn developer, and then it's all like apple is somehow keeping them from that magic app-hungry demographic, although apple is still doing exactly what they said they were going to do. it's like resenting apple for being who they said they were, resenting other people for liking them (and a lot of that going around these days), and being upset that their stuff works so good and people are happy with it, when really, a big reason it works so good and people are happy with it is likely that apple didn't give you free rein to fuck it all up.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:45 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Alsomike: I'm OK with a elite class of programmers (or Apple product designers or doctors or what-have-you), but they should know that if they abuse their privileges, we're ready to drop a guillotine on their necks.

You do realize that these so-called 'elites' provide you with absolutely everything you need to replace them completely? If they're trying to use their code as a weapon to make you dependent on their services, they're doing a remarkably bad job of it.

You get everything, absolutely everything. You can recreate the system entirely from scratch, if you wish. You're not dependent on them if you don't want to be, and the vast majority of free software has real competition from other free software projects. The Linux kernel team, for instance, has the reputation of being very unfriendly, but you can use any of the BSDs instead. (they actually just had a recent thread on this on Linux Weekly News, and by most reports, the Linux dev team has improved markedly over the last few years, so this may be an obsolete "truism".) And teams like Debian maintain their stable OS releases for very long periods, 5+ years, meaning you don't have to quickly change much of anything, if you don't like the direction a software package is going.

Pretty much the entire job description of a free software programmer is to make him or herself non-essential to your computing future. They want to be IMPORTANT, but not ESSENTIAL. And yes, they do tend to scratch their own itches first, but then you get distros like Ubuntu that have a much sharper focus on end-users. They really do a pretty good job, overall. Ubuntu is highly usable, even for non-techies. It still occasionally has weird polish problems in spots, but on the whole it really works well.

The nature of this kind of software development is that the early iterations are primarily for the people writing it. Later iterations add things for non-core developers. Very gradually, the universe is expanding, providing new functionality for less and less technical people.

The main drive of the entire ecosystem is to NOT make you dependent on any one company or project. I think you've completely, utterly missed the point. If you don't like a particular batch of 'elite programmers', they've given you absolutely everything to either fix it yourself or form a new group to take it in a new direction, if you're not capable of handling it on your own. When free software projects get abusive, like the XFree86 project did, they fork. X.Org has essentially killed off XFree86. They forked and killed the old project because the management was trying to be assholes. If you're unhappy with Apple, well... they certainly don't give you the tools you need to remove them from your life.

You are not, in any way, dependent on these people unless you want to be. You seem to have convinced yourself that you're at their mercy, but that's about as far from the truth as anything could be.

I'm not aware of any proprietary software companies that give you everything required, except brainpower, to compete with and/or supplant them.
posted by Malor at 7:47 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


did they wait for like millions of people to buy the phone and then spring that bit of news on everybody?

They kind of did, actually. The original iPhone was a pure appliance. It could be jailbroken, and there were dev kits starting to be built, so that you could use it as the nice little general-purpose computing device it is. Most folks assumed the lockdown was AT&T's fault.

So, when Apple announced a real dev kit, that was pretty exciting. But then the other shoe dropped, that they were retaining near-absolute control, and that you were NOT ALLOWED to use their dev tools unless you paid them for a key, and you couldn't distribute to more than just a few people unless you went through an approval process. Even then, lots of people thought it must be AT&T driving that requirement.... but then we got the new iPods and the IPad.

Even without cellular hardware, even on a device that connects only to your own networks, Apple decreed that they retained ownership of the computer forever. And that did, indeed, catch a lot of people by surprise.
posted by Malor at 7:56 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


well maybe it's me, but the term 'jailbroken' it would seem to imply a level of functionality that apple did not promise or give expectation for.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:58 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


AlsoMike: “Given all that, it's deeply hypocritical for OSS partisans to attack Apple for their lack of openness, when OSS's embrace of openness is so opportunistic.”

Whoa there, bub. I didn't attack your precious Apple, okay? So don't act like you're better than me just because your computer has a fruit on it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 PM on April 29, 2010


*puts banana on Dell laptop, basks in a sultry atmosphere of superiority to koeslitz*
posted by Burhanistan at 8:57 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Someone should tell Microsoft this, concerning the XNA developers club.

That's not really fair, is it? I mean, no one finds the XBL community support anything but embarrassing at best.

(Although, to be fair, it has just as many shit awful apps as the App Store does.)
posted by graventy at 9:12 PM on April 29, 2010


Programming is the literacy of software.
That's a profoundly flawed analogy: programming is the literacy of creating software, perhaps. But pretending that the ability to write one's own software is essential is, at the end of the day, a profoundly egocentric vision carried around by -- coincidentally -- people who write software.

Programming is the advanced mathematics of software. If you're building a bridge, you need it and you need it something fierce. But if what you need is a bridge to drive over, and that bridge is there, you don't need to understand the math that went into building the bridge.

We can talk about how it's essential to understand the full stack, from the high level abstractions to the underlying frameworks to the low level OS to the hardware to the manufacturing processes to the network protocols to how the routers work to how TCP/IP works and so on, but at the end of the day it's chefs arguing about the best way to grill a steak. There are certainly right and wrong answers to that question -- I'm not suggesting that all visions of how software should work, be distributed, and be licensed are equally good -- but at the end of the day the people who want dinner want dinner. And if the steak cooked the "right" way tastes like shit, and the steak cooked the "wrong" way is delicious, there is no question which cook people are going to return to.

I write, troubleshoot, deploy, and train people to do the same with open source software. Every single day. I came from the closed source world, working with the MS stack. Before that I was a Mac guy. Before that, I used an 800XL. I speak and teach business owners on how they can leverage open source and be good citizens of the ecosystem. But at the end of the day, fundamentalist wankery inside the 'open' community (OSS, open platforms advocates, whatever) is the biggest advantage that closed platforms have.

I've talked to valued colleagues who compared "not being able to write your own software" to being obese. There is only one way to convince people they should use open systems: make the open systems do what those people need to do better than closed systems, and let the people who will be using the tools define what 'better' means. That is difficult. Very difficult! Open systems are by definition more chaotic, more difficult to control, and more difficult to direct towards a clear vision. But to people who want a tool and want it to work, being told that they now possess a tool building tool, and that its clumsiness as a first-order tool should be excused because they can do anything they want with it, including bake their own tool or use someone else's half-finished tool, or wait for someone else to make an even better tool... "open-ness" is not a virtue, it's a warning.

I want open systems to be better than closed ones. For the time being, though, many are only "better" for homebrew developers and ideologues.
posted by verb at 9:46 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


do you like accuse your wife of being the gestapo when you all of a sudden want to invite a third party into bed, and she's all "no way, i control my body and what gets installed there," when you always knew that she felt that way, no matter how much you were hoping she would change her mind? if that's what you wanted you should have gone out and bought a flashy whore who would let you do anything you wanted.

Well, truth be told, I ...

Wait a minute. Are we still talking about Apple?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:51 PM on April 29, 2010


Lee Brimelow, the Adobe Evangelist who told Apple to screw itself over the SDK language change, has been quiet so far. Wonder how long that'll last or what other Adobe developers or evangelists will say this time.

Google Sidewiki to the rescue! Disabling comments on a blog is cowardly, but thankfully there is a platform-independant way to respond to news articles and rants which do not allow comments.
posted by Sukiari at 10:05 PM on April 29, 2010


Update on the HTML5 video tag codec battle: Microsoft announces that the IE9 video tag will be H.264 only.
posted by Artw at 10:17 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want open systems to be better than closed ones. For the time being, though, many are only "better" for homebrew developers and ideologues.

and i imagine that if apple had not gotten into the music player and phone business, the same developers wouldn't have this whole app sandbox to play in, at least this early; they created a common and reliable system that allowed for rapid, wide adoption of the technology. i guess in a way those critical of apple for their closed, proprietary ways should be grateful to apple for the privilege of having something so exciting and promising to hate them for. otherwise, they might still be whining about big bad microsoft.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:40 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Speaking about Mr. Jobs's assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayan says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something 'to do with the Apple operating system.'"

Above is why both companies -- or at least their spokesleaders -- are fuckheads. There's a REAL WORLD that EXISTS. In it, apparently, Macs crash. Why?
An OS shouldn't crash, period. In fact, I don't think the figures reflect entire OS crash numbers, as opposed to application crashes. Apps crash every once in a while, that's just how it is. I can't remember the last time windows (Vista 64) crashed (meaning blue screened) on me. I think it's only happened only twice since I've built this machine.
Yeah, don't remind me. All our software that isn't Flash, is written in Java. It's all browser based and runs on servers with a Solaris version from 1994. I have tried to plant the rumor with Management that Oracle is planning to discontinue Java, now that it's bought Sun, but my rumor campaign doesn't seem to be taking hold.
A couple of hotshot kids with fresh CompSci degrees could rewrite everything we run in a month or two in some modern language, hell it would be more stable even in PHP, ferchrissakes.
Bad programmers will produce bad code no matter what language it's written in. Good programmers will produce good code regardless of language, but probably won't waste their time with COBOL or Visual Basic, or whatever.
i'd rather not deal with that shit. and as a user, i just want the phone to work when i turn it on. and my iphone has worked every time i've turned it on. it does all the stuff apple told me it would do, and some stuff apple didn't tell me it would do.
So has my android phone! And my PC! (And all my previous PCs, for the most part)
posted by delmoi at 12:09 AM on April 30, 2010


It's quite funny, really. If I were to buy a Mac, it would immediately be filled with Adobe software. I suspect I am not alone in that. While Apple likes to market itself as the computer brand for creative types, well, no, actually, it's the Adobe software that makes it so. If Adobe were to just take their ball and go home, Apple would be royally fucked.

This, 1000000 times this.
posted by omegar at 4:26 AM on April 30, 2010


This, 1000000 times this.

Then it makes perfect sense for Apple to do whatever it takes to ensure Adobe doesn't become a major provider of Apps.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]



It's quite funny, really. If I were to buy a Mac, it would immediately be filled with Adobe software. I suspect I am not alone in that. While Apple likes to market itself as the computer brand for creative types, well, no, actually, it's the Adobe software that makes it so. If Adobe were to just take their ball and go home, Apple would be royally fucked.


This is a chicken/egg argument though, as Adobe's success largely rides on Mac users who are firmly entrenched in their love for their computers. If Adobe took its ball and went home and made users choose between Photoshop and their MacBook, both companies would surely go under.

You don't always love or even like your family, but walking away generally leaves everyone miserable.
posted by Hiker at 5:28 AM on April 30, 2010


If Adobe were to just take their ball and go home, Apple would be royally fucked.

Apple has money to burn. If Adobe were to take their ball and go home, Apple could buy them, burst their ball, and then knock down their home to boot (bye, CS for Windows)
posted by bonaldi at 6:02 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, he's dead right about Adobe taking a FREAKING DECADE to update the CS code from Carbon to Cocoa. Fuck 'em.

Isn't iTunes, Logic, and Final Cut still Carbon? Hasn't Final Cut been around for a FREAKING DECADE? So Fuck Apple too?
posted by juiceCake at 6:04 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


So Fuck Apple too?

Yes, Apple should totally get into a public feud with itself.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:06 AM on April 30, 2010


I am not a programmer, but wouldn't be considerably better and more future-proof for Adobe to create a tool that converts Flash-based media to HTML5? The switch is bound eventually to happen, and Adobe could offer a software for making that kind of content and giving to flash developers a way to easily transition.
posted by darkripper at 7:35 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple has money to burn. If Adobe were to take their ball and go home, Apple could buy them, burst their ball, and then knock down their home to boot (bye, CS for Windows)

Pardon my ignorance, but would there be anti-trust issues in that scenario?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:36 AM on April 30, 2010


Well it's not like they trust each other at this point anyway.

Tip your waiter!
posted by cortex at 7:39 AM on April 30, 2010


Then it makes perfect sense for Apple to do whatever it takes to ensure Adobe doesn't become a major provider of Apps

Perfect sense for Apple, but only in a short-term sense, because they're deliberately making your life worse, making their platform less useful over time, and ultimately less attractive to purchase. You lose out completely, both now and later. They lose out only later.

Healthy technology companies realize that they can't serve every need, and encourage companies to serve their customer base, not try to shut them out to keep all the money themselves. That's short-term, stupid thinking.

Let me rephrase your argument for you: "Gee, Adobe is the biggest software seller on our computer, and a huge number of our customers depend on their products. Obviously, we need to make sure they can't get onto our new platform."
posted by Malor at 7:43 AM on April 30, 2010


I am not a programmer, but wouldn't be considerably better and more future-proof for Adobe to create a tool that converts Flash-based media to HTML5? The switch is bound eventually to happen, and Adobe could offer a software for making that kind of content and giving to flash developers a way to easily transition.

My guess is that Adobe is monitoring the progress of HTML5 really closely and will probably implement something like this if it makes good business sense for them to do so.

But note that they can't just make an Flash-to-HTML5 converter, because Flash has capabilities that HTML5 doesn't (microphone support, webcam support, etc). So there would have to be a complicated system that stopped you from using certain features if your target was HTML5. That's achievable, so I'm not saying it's a huge hurdle. I'm just pointing out that the general story people are telling is that HTML5 and Flash have the same capabilities. That's not true. They share many capabilities, but there are a bunch of things that only Flash can (currently) do.

Can HTML 5 read in binary data and give you byte-by-byte access? This is a big area of growth for Flash. I hope you can do it with HTML5, too.
posted by grumblebee at 8:00 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Then it makes perfect sense for Apple to do whatever it takes to ensure Adobe doesn't become a major provider of Apps

Only if you're thinking about the next quarter results.

Are the users of Adobe products on Macs loyal to Macs or Adobe? If forced to choose between CS on Windows or some brand new thing on MacOS from Apple, which way do you think the majority of graphic artists and designers would jump? The OS is almost a commodity; people mostly buy computers for the apps, imo.
posted by bonehead at 8:27 AM on April 30, 2010


Then it makes perfect sense for Apple to do whatever it takes to ensure Adobe doesn't become a major provider of Apps

Perfect sense for Apple, but only in a short-term sense, because they're deliberately making your life worse, making their platform less useful over time, and ultimately less attractive to purchase. You lose out completely, both now and later. They lose out only later.


but then i kind of get that apple doesn't want to get into a position where adobe is dictating to and pressuring them on what to do with their system. look at how indignant adobe is now that apple won't carry flash; apple had no obligation to, they didn't promise to, and they have reasons for not doing it; they're making it sound like apple has somehow violated their rights, as opposed to simply deciding for itself what to do with its own products. why should apple adjust its system and philosophy to accommodate it, particularly when this is kind of a preview of demands adobe would make on them down the line--not to mention that adobe would continue to threaten to take their complaints to developers in order to pressure apple? apple seems kind of smart by not putting themselves in a position where, for instance, later on they could not drop flash even if they wanted to because it was a consumer expectation, giving adobe more power over its decisions. as bad as the criticism is now, i could easily imagine a scenario in which adobe adds some functionality on other platforms that apple doesn't support, and people jump to faulting apple for not supporting it.

i'm not so familiar, and so maybe i'm wrong on this, but hasn't it been the case that flash--whether it is the fault of the platform or its developers--has caused so many problems with browsers and OS's that those who develop them--and not adobe--have had to put in the time and expense to correct for it?
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:43 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perfect sense for Apple, but only in a short-term sense, because they're deliberately making your life worse, making their platform less useful over time, and ultimately less attractive to purchase.

Me personally, I'm not going to be missing any Flash games, and I'm going to guess that not many other people are either. I will however continue to marvel at the ability to have so much music, photos, internet and a few useful apps in my back pocket. If that's making my life worse, well ok.

Everything else you've said is speculation and guess, which may or may not happen over time. But currently the App store can be profitable for developers, so I doubt we'll see much decline in it for the foreseeable future. I'm going to guess that several platforms will appear, with Apple holding a sizable part of the total market share. I don't think it's an either or thing, but rather several platforms co-existing together.

Let me rephrase your argument for you: "Gee, Adobe is the biggest software seller on our computer, and a huge number of our customers depend on their products. Obviously, we need to make sure they can't get onto our new platform."

There's nothing preventing Adobe from making Apps. I'm betting they won't, they have too much invested in their desktop applications to actually port them to mobile platforms and have them be useful.

Are the users of Adobe products on Macs loyal to Macs or Adobe?

There aren't Adobe Apps on the iPhone OS and if I had to guess, I'm betting people are going to be more loyal to the device that holds all of the music, photos etc, rather than Adobe the company. Creatives are a small set of the total market (and I say that as someone who uses CS pretty much every day day), so it makes sense for Apple to concentrate more on the consumer market.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:56 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


MeFi's own Charles Stross has an interesting take on both this and HP's purchase of Palm.

Not quite sure I agree with him completely, I think the five year timeframe for desktop computing collapsing into semi-identical low profit margin stuff is overly optimistic just to begin with, but overall I think he's got a good take on Apple at the very least.
posted by sotonohito at 9:00 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are the users of Adobe products on Macs loyal to Macs or Adobe? If forced to choose between CS on Windows or some brand new thing on MacOS from Apple, which way do you think the majority of graphic artists and designers would jump? The OS is almost a commodity; people mostly buy computers for the apps, imo.

If that was true, designers would be using CS on Windows because the machines are cheaper and the app is largely the same. That added cost of performing the same task on, say, an iMac, is largely based on the value of the experience of the operating system, its integration with the software and the machine itself.

That's not to say that Apple can live well without Adobe, it's just that if Adobe loses a non-significant number of users to the Mac experience (and whatever alternatives emerge), they're a lot more likely to take it in the chin relative to the size of their revenue stream.
posted by Hiker at 9:23 AM on April 30, 2010


Not quite sure I agree with him completely, I think the five year timeframe for desktop computing collapsing into semi-identical low profit margin stuff is overly optimistic just to begin with, but overall I think he's got a good take on Apple at the very least.

Yeah, thin client apocalypse speak has been around for a while, but I think he has a fair handle on them.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on April 30, 2010


A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on April 30, 2010


“Steve Jobs just hates Adobe, personally. That’s all there is to it.”
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on April 30, 2010


I don't think that "former Apple employee" is quite correct. I mean, Jobs may or may not "just hate" Adobe, but the fact remains that there are very real hardware reasons for Apple to want to move to a platform that simply won't run Flash in its current form.

Of course, it seems like Adobe would want to keep up with the platform and make Flash work. But I get the feeling Jobs was trying to urge them to do so and failed; that's the only reading of the whole period in which he kept dropping hints that they were "lazy." He would not have said that, I imagine, unless he hadn't gotten what he wanted from them, but still hoped to. Now he clearly doesn't hope to - he's jettisoning them.

But it seems like Flash is still perfectly viable on any platform that doesn't want to have the very specific hardware (I guess) that the iPhone and iPad have, and that Apple wants to take advantage of moving forward. I guess Jobs can throw his market weight around as much as he wants if he feels like it, and it looks like he has some reasons for doing so. But one wonders why exactly Adobe and Apple don't have a better relationship. I guess there must be a lot behind the scenes that we don't know about.
posted by koeselitz at 10:03 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


“Steve Jobs just hates Adobe, personally. That’s all there is to it.”

Well, their installers have been been terrible lately.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:06 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Microsoft weighs in: 'the future of the web is HTML5' - which is pretty much what they've been saying since MIX, of course. And they're all hardware-accelerated SVG centric with no CANVAS support that anyone has heard of.

(Plus, you know, XP will never die, and 9 won't run on XP, so we'll be supporting 8 forever)
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on April 30, 2010


Pff. If Flash wasn't viable on iPhone they wouldn't have tweaked the developer license to kill it.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw: “Pff. If Flash wasn't viable on iPhone they wouldn't have tweaked the developer license to kill it.”

Well, you obviously know more about flash than I do, but -

Yes, Flash is viable on the iPhone. And it's almost certainly viable on the iPad. But from what I've read, it seems as though Flash is only viable on the iPad because the A4 processor at its heart is emulating an ARM processor architecture. Apple's dropping of Flash support is part of an apparent larger effort to move all app development toward Objective C - I don't think it's a simple vendetta between Jobs and Adobe - and it seems reasonable to suspect that Apple is gearing up, with the release of the 4G iPhone and iPhone OS 4.0, to drop the ARM emulation altogether.

So - yeah, it works fine now. I think Jobs knows that it won't work fine with the next firmware update. I think he's utterly unwilling to call Adobe and say "hey guys, here are our new processor specs and the things you'll have to work with for the A4! Update Flash for us, okay?" So I think all this bluster from him is just that, bluster, a bunch of stuff meant to satisfy the common workaday users and developers who are up in arms about Flash. And he'll keep trying to market this change as hard as he can so that Apple devices can still seem ridiculously fast compared to others in the future; only he has to lie if he wants to keep their processor architecture (which is unique in that they're very much alone as a company that develops them in-house) a secret and manage competition from other manufacturers.

But yeah - it's complete bullshit that Flash doesn't work at all on Apple machines. Hell, I use a Linux machine most of the time, and it works fine generally, despite the fact that Adobe doesn't give much of a shit at all about the Linux releases of Flash. I also think that Steve Jobs is too good at marketing a quality product to dis Adobe because of a personal grudge, and I think the processor inside the iPad and iPhone 4G is the wild card in this equation.
posted by koeselitz at 10:55 AM on April 30, 2010


The State Of Web Development Ripped Apart In 25 Tweets By One Man
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Artw wrote Yeah, thin client apocalypse speak has been around for a while,

Futurists, pretty much definitionally I think, tend to be optimists. People have been talking about slate computing for a long time too, and it's just barely beginning to become a reality. I'm sure that the thin client apocalypse will come, at least to some areas, eventually. Just not in the overly optimistic timeframes the futurists think it will.

There's a lot of infrastructure that's going to have to be built before the wifi everywhere thin client model can even think of displacing desktop computing. There's also a lot of human level thinking that's going to have to change before it becomes accepted, and that I think will take longer than the technology. Plus the cost of buying new hardware when old hardware works just fine, etc.

I'm re-reading The Transparent Society b David Brin, and it strikes me both how prescient he was, and how wrongly optimistic he was. He wrote it 12 years ago, and many of his predictions are coming to pass, just a lot later than he thought they would.

Who can say if Stross' predictions will be as accurate, but I'll bet his timeframe is way off. Five years isn't enough time for desktop computing to even begin to wither. Ten maybe.

I'm not even sure that being one of the early entrants to the field is a good business move, get there too soon and your hardware looks clunky, it doesn't work well, and eventually when you do get it right people remember you for the failures and go with your new competition, a competition that's been learning from your mistakes.... Of course trying to get in late isn't great either.
posted by sotonohito at 11:05 AM on April 30, 2010


I don't think that "former Apple employee" is quite correct. I mean, Jobs may or may not "just hate" Adobe, but the fact remains that there are very real hardware reasons for Apple to want to move to a platform that simply won't run Flash in its current form.

I dunno, in the past Job's personal pique have had long running effects on his company's choices. The loooong refusal to switch to Intel chips was as a result of them not giving him a deal back in the Apple II days.
posted by delmoi at 11:08 AM on April 30, 2010


Joe Hewitt invented <canvas> in 2001
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on April 30, 2010


The State Of Web Development Ripped Apart In 25 Tweets By One Man

That guy needs to quit his bitching? Who cares about "innovation" really? it doesn't really matter for most users, and having open standards is more important for the world then having snazzy websites that don't work unless you buy a machine from a particular vendor (like microsoft)
posted by delmoi at 11:13 AM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, the the Hewittstorm appears to be reaching mini-teacup levels.

innovation in browsers
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on April 30, 2010


For those wondering who he is: Wiki, Twitter
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on April 30, 2010


Are there any great HTML5 games?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:23 AM on April 30, 2010


Pretty much all just tech demos and that video of the WebGL Quake. There's this gallery of NES style games though.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on April 30, 2010


Pff. If Flash wasn't viable on iPhone they wouldn't have tweaked the developer license to kill it.

Yes, Flash is viable on the iPhone.

Let's try to keep clear what we're talking about. Apple DIDN'T tweak their license to keep Flash off the iPhone. They didn't need to. The iPhone can't run Flash apps, because to run them, it would need to have a Flash Player (interpreter) running on it, and it doesn't. Apple doesn't need to do any tweaking to keep Flash apps off the iPhone. All it needs to do is to disallow the Flash Player. And it has done that since day one. Similarly, you can't play Real Media files on the iPhone, because there's no Real Player on it.

There are Flash apps (swf files) and they are distinct entities from the Flash authoring tool, which is called Flash CSx (x being a version number). So if you want to make sense when you discuss Flash on the iPhone, you have to be really clear whether you're talking about Flash apps or Objectic-C apps made with the Flash authoring tool.

(Is a JPEG a Photoshop file because you made it in Photoshop? Or when you say Photoshop file, do you mean, specifically, a PSD?)

Flash CS5 allows you to program an app with its native language, Actionscript 3.0. The SOURCE file is programmed using AS 3.0. The final file, the one that you output, can be one of several different formats.

1) The SWF. Standard Flash apps that run on the Web are SWF files. SWF files are similar to Java files. They contain byte code that is interpreted by the Flash Player, a browser plugin. So when you say that Apple doesn't allow Flash on the iPhone, you COULD mean that Safari, on the iPhone, doesn't have a Flash Player plugin (and Apple won't let you add one), and so there's nothing in that browser that understands how to interpret SWFs. This is true, and it's why you can't play browser-based Flash games on your iPhone.

2) The Flash authoring tool can also wrap SWFs in a projector file (the most up-to-date sort is called an AIR app) that allows you to play them back on desktops, outside of the browser. This basically packages the SWF and the Flash Player as as single file. So it's sort of as if Microsoft had a version of Word that only displayed one document. The iPhone (iPad, etc.) also doesn't support this. So there's no way to make a stand-alone SWF run outsife of its browser. As with item #1, above, this is NOT what the license tweaks are about. Since iPhones have never been able to run SWFs, there's no need to for Apple to mention it in their license. It's not against their rules to run a SWF. It's impossible. There's no projector for it.

Since Flash Players (a.k.a. projectors) are interpreters, which interpret byte code that has been semi-compiled from Actionscript, you can't make your own player and submit it to the app store. It won't be approved, because Apple doesn't allow interpreters to be sold as apps. (They have allowed a few exceptions in, such as the Commodore 64 app, but the rule against interpreters has been part of their license for a long time. It didn't require a tweak.)

3) Starting with Flash CS5 (remember, that's the name of the authoring tool, not the app), you can also output compiled Objective-C code. Though apps output as such can be made in Flash CS5, they are not Flash apps -- unless you are going to call anything made in CS5 a Flash app. (You can export JPEGS from Flash CS5, too. I doubt anyone would call one of them a Flash app.) Flash apps are SWF files -- either ones wrapped in a projector or browser ones. Calling an Objective-C file (a native iPhone app) made with Flash CS5 a Flash app is like calling a text file a Notepad file, because you happened to type it in Notepad.

The hitch is that, in order to translate from Actionscript to Objective-C, Flash CS5 relies on a bunch of custom code libraries. Apple has tweaked its licenses to disallow those. You can now only use the libraries that come with Xcode, which is Apple's own Objective-C authoring app.

Though this tweak may well have been aimed at Adobe, it doesn't mention Flash apps specifically. Rather, it makes it difficult for anyone to author iPhone apps unless they do so in Xcode. What you can't now do is write the code in some other editor -- one that uses a language you're more familiar with than Objective-C, and let that editor port the code over for you. You must write it in Objective-C in Xcode.

This distinction is important, because depending on what you mean by a Flash app, you're bringing up a different set of issues. Issue one is that, for many people, SWFs are part of the web experience. Does it make sense for Apple to forgo providing that experience in iPhone's Safari browser?

Issue two is whether or not app developers should be forced to do all their development in xcode in Objective-C. Apple's push towards this -- whether you agree with it or not -- is unusual. There are dozens of applications I can use to make an mp3; there are dozens I can use to make a JPEG. There are even dozens I can use to make a SWF (Adobe does not force you to use Flash CSx to author your Flash files.) But now you MUST use Xcode to make iPhone apps.

This is a separate issue from the $100 developer feel. Back when it looked like you'd be able to author iPhone apps in Flash, you STILL were going to have to pay the fee. No one was trying to rob Apple of that.

Many developers, even ones who hate Adobe and Flash, are pissed off about the license tweak, because, traditionally, developers have been allowed to develop software using any tools that they want.
posted by grumblebee at 11:43 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, Apple should totally get into a public feud with itself.

Yes. Perhaps they'll see how fucking absurd and insulting it is to belittle another company for doing exactly what they've done.
posted by juiceCake at 11:44 AM on April 30, 2010


Who cares about "innovation" really? it doesn't really matter for most users, and having open standards is more important for the world then having snazzy websites that don't work unless you buy a machine from a particular vendor (like microsoft)

Hewitt's point is that if innovation stops with an open standard, someone else is going to do it outside of the standard and that's what the users are going to move to.

So instead of Microsoft putting new non-standard features into IE, we get Macromedia putting new features into their plugins and Apple putting new features into iPhone apps. And instead of the incremental process where IE or Netscape would introduce a new tag and the other browser would eventually catch up, you have to use a buggy third party plugin or buy a completely different hardware device.

Even if open standards exist, what gets shipped decides what becomes the standard, not a committee. It's always been like that, the IMG tag exists because someone shipped code that supported it, not because everyone decided it was a good idea.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:45 AM on April 30, 2010


Let's try to keep clear what we're talking about. Apple DIDN'T tweak their license to keep Flash off the iPhone...

Long story short: The anti-Flash Player stance would look a bit silly if Flash-derived apps started cropping up, so they banned them at the very last moment they could to prevent that form happening.

The technology argument is bullshit. It's business all the way. Business and, apparently, bizarre mustache twirling revenge.
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's always been like that, the IMG tag exists because someone shipped code that supported it, not because everyone decided it was a good idea.

Indeed – look at XMLHTTPRequest, the foundation of AJAX. People tend to forget that it started as some random un-standardsy feature that Microsoft threw into IE5. A lot of what we take for granted today is based on this kind of throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks-and-if0it-sticks-make-it-a-standard approach. At the same time, I find the argument a little ooky because the times he’s talking about where times when being a web developer meant wading through a hell of a lot of cross-browser development issues and all kinds of hacks and bullshit, and an emphasis on standards means that though that hasn’t gone away we’re at least keeping a lid on it now.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's always been like that, the IMG tag exists because someone shipped code that supported it, not because everyone decided it was a good idea.

And yet here we are, in the blue, stripped of our beloved IMG tag...
posted by mazola at 12:17 PM on April 30, 2010


"Flash filled a real need; for a lightweight portable graphics programming environment, and for a ubiquitous reliable video codec." --- Tim Bray.

Remeber Real? Java? these are what Flash saved us from. And continues to until HTML5 arrives (in 2020?). There are years yet left in Flash's run, though, arguably, this is its peak.
posted by bonehead at 12:31 PM on April 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Artw: “The technology argument is bullshit. It's business all the way. Business and, apparently, bizarre mustache twirling revenge.”

Yeah, actually, I think you're right.
posted by koeselitz at 12:38 PM on April 30, 2010


The State Of Web Development Ripped Apart In 25 Tweets By One Man

WTF? It's the anti-trust trial's fault or the W3's fault that Microsoft stopped working on IE entirely for half a decade before deciding to try to catch up to CSS 2.1 and make even its own custom APIs actually work right?

Hewitt's right about the relative merits of Obj C / Cocoa as a development platform vs the web for general purpose applications. But then again, if he thinks this is largely a function of standards bodies vs vendor innovation, I think he hasn't thought about this very closely. The technologies at the core of Apple's mobile stuff are a general purpose platform going on 25 years of development. The core of the World Wide Web is hypertext document focused and it won't turn 20 until this winter, and it wasn't until about six years ago that the idea that html/http would go the way of gopher and be replaced by something like XAML and/or XUL or Flash or Silverlight really lost enough ground that big players started thinking about sticking with the web platform we have and transforming it incrementally. Even Hewitt's 2001 Canvas "invention" was XUL... not an addition to HTML. Maybe standards bodies contributed to the document-centric inertia, but I'm pretty sure there was more than enough of that to go around.
posted by weston at 1:05 PM on April 30, 2010


Remeber Real? Java? these are what Flash saved us from.

Don't forget QuickTime. It took a long time for that to run on my PC without taking up most of the processor. There was also that year or so when they made it really hard to install QuickTime without also installing iTunes.
posted by Gary at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't forget QuickTime.

*shivers*
I almost had! You bastard!
posted by bonehead at 1:15 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The real reason Steve Jobs hates Flash"
posted by koeselitz at 1:23 PM on April 30, 2010


That's a profoundly flawed analogy: programming is the literacy of creating software, perhaps. But pretending that the ability to write one's own software is essential is, at the end of the day, a profoundly egocentric vision carried around by -- coincidentally -- people who write software.

It's essential for participating in open source. AlsoMike is right to some extent-- open source is a process for the benefit of programmers (like peer review is mainly for the benefit of scientists). To take your chef analogy about steaks, the chefs are making steak (for free) to impress each other, or to advance state of the art steakcraft. If left to their own devices, chefs will make things that impress chefs. You shouldn't expect the "open cooking movement" to hand you a steak done to your specifications for free.
posted by Pyry at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2010


Why Jobs hates Flash.
posted by mazola at 2:16 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


To take your chef analogy about steaks, the chefs are making steak (for free) to impress each other, or to advance state of the art steakcraft. If left to their own devices, chefs will make things that impress chefs.
That's absolutely correct. As one of those chefs cooking to impress other chefs, I know how that goes. However (and this is where it gets important) it's impossible to deny that the number of 'diners' is much larger than the number of 'chefs.' If you actually don't care whether anyone else eats your steak that system works fine. Once most open source projects make it over the initial hurdle of recognition and success, though, they start getting seduced by comparisons and competition and beating the closed source alternative. And that's where things get tangly. Because if you are trying to grow, or compete, you are not building something exclusively for your own satisfaction anymore.
You shouldn't expect the "open cooking movement" to hand you a steak done to your specifications for free.
As advocates of open systems, though, we can't have our cake and eat it too. We can't berate people for not caring about openness, then tell them 'Do it yourself' when they talk about what their pain points and priorities are. 'Openess' is a feature that we happen to value highly. If most people outside of the active internet commentariat don't care about that, that means we are a niche -- not that everyone else is foolish.
posted by verb at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2010


I have a question. It's an honest question. I'm not trying to downplay Apple's philosophy or HTML5 as a video-delivery platform: can HTML5 currently (or will it be able to in the near future) play streaming (as opposed to progressive) videos? Can it play live videos?

Before I can even think about dumping Flash for HTML5, I MUST be able to use it to play video from a streaming service (including live video). This is about 50% of my work.

I hear Apple talking about the fact that most videos are now H.264, so you don't need Flash to play them back (as you did when they were FLV), but it sounds like they are talking about progressive files, not streams. If they are talking about streams, they should make that clear.

I'm sure there's a lot more progressive video on the web than streaming video (or live streaming video), but the major players (e.g. TV networks) demand streaming.

In case the distinction is obscure to you, progressive video and streaming video both play before they are fully downloaded, so it's not about whether or not you have to wait before it plays.

The difference is this: a progressive video ultimately downloads all its frames, as a file, to the end-user's computer. So if you look in your temporary-internet folder (or whatever it's called for your browser), you will see it in there. Streaming servers, on the other hand, download frames, and those frames are never saved on your machine as files. Streaming is much more like a traditional TV broadcast.

TV networks (and many other companies) demand streaming, because they don't want end-users caching the whole video. So if I told my clients I was going to ditch Flash and use HTML, the first thing they would ask me is whether they'd still get to deliver their videos as streams.
posted by grumblebee at 2:30 PM on April 30, 2010


Streaming is served to the iPhone (Apple calls it HTTP Live Streaming); I'll be surprised if there isn't support for something very similar in HTML5. Like you say, it's a real dealbreaker with TV companies.

That said, perhaps I wouldn't be surprised: too many people are treating this like it's just a simple change and the big sites should get with the programme already. Gruber's definitely one, with his "yes, you'll just get left behind then" rhetoric.

People seemed to understand that newspapers and the like needed serious CMSs to plug in to their print workflows, they didn't go "here's wordpress, that'll do". But with video, they think it's just a minor codec change and a different plugin on the site. There's a whole world of back-end technology out there that's geared around Flash, and it's non-trivial to replace.

(I think it should be replaced, but there's a lot of time and a lot of money invested here, and the iPhone and iPad alone aren't enough to convince corporations they aren't being betamaxed. Yet.)
posted by bonaldi at 2:56 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


As I understand it, it should just handle whatever you put in SRC, and it's up to the browser what to do with it - obviously that's a huge area of blurriness right now as far asthe actual HTML 5 spec goes.

Might be worth peeking at the HTML 5 version of youtube and seeing what they do.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on April 30, 2010


grumblebee: “Before I can even think about dumping Flash for HTML5, I MUST be able to use it to play video from a streaming service (including live video). This is about 50% of my work.”

Well, er - this isn't really an issue that comes down to HTML5 or Flash at all, frankly. It comes down to the codec the video is encoded with. Some codecs can be played in chunks; some can't. H264 is one of those codecs. If you're wondering about the specifics of how this looks, you should do what Artw recommends and go check out the Youtube HTML5 beta. It is precisely the same, visually, as normal Youtube (there is no "download" button, nor is there a right-click "Download" option) if that's what you're wondering.

Also, as far as I know most Flash video does indeed cache on the user's computer; at the very least, it doesn't come through in "frames," although I guess maybe you're being metaphorical there. It's trivially easy to grab the original .FLV file as it's being cached; that's the principle on which FlashGot functions. The only reason streaming offers an appearance of security is because most users don't appear to know how to grab the file. I have seen players that actually cache video files in smaller chunks, but those seem to be quite rare; Youtube and the rest of the major players don't use them.

But I have a feeling you already know all this; and anyway, somebody who knows more about Flash than me would probably be able to speak to this better.
posted by koeselitz at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2010


Also: live video? I don't know much about real-time streaming. I would've though that flash just progressively transcoded to .FLV when it did things like that, in which case HTML5 should be able to do that just as easily, I imagine. But I have no idea - you don't see true "live" video much, I don't think, although maybe I just don't know...
posted by koeselitz at 3:43 PM on April 30, 2010


TBH I’d be able to tell you more about what it’s doing if it were available for Firefox – I can look at it in Chrome but I don’t really have the same set of tools.

Certainly all the HTML 5 video I’ve seen seems to begin playing before the file is fully downloaded, and to me that looks like streaming, but as you say that might not actually be the same thing.
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on April 30, 2010


I can tell you that when i view source i don;t seem to see an actual <video> tag... just a whole bunch of DIVs, so I guess they are getting the video onto the page via some kind of Javascript.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on April 30, 2010


The h.264 codec supports streaming (ie, not progressive downloads, but actually streaming), the difference is you need the content to be served from a streaming server, over RTP (or RTSP), instead of HTTP. It appears it is as simple as calling rtp://yourserver.com/video.mp4 to have the codec process the streaming, vs calling http://yourserver.com/video.mp4 (which would start the progressive download of the video file).
posted by mrzarquon at 4:07 PM on April 30, 2010


We are removing flash from OSX.
posted by mullingitover at 4:47 PM on April 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, streaming has nothing to do with whether or not the video is playing before it downloads. That's a common misconception. The reason you can download videos from youtube is because they aren't streaming, they're progressive. Open up Firebug while you're watching a YouTube video and you'll see, in the Net panel, the video gradually downloading. Once it's done, it's on your computer.

If, on the other hand, you watch a show on abc.com (which also uses the Flash player), you won't see anything gradually loading in Firebug. That's because only a tiny bit of the video is being cached, the data for the frame you are currently seeing and a few frames around it (so that there's a bit of a buffer). You can't download and save a video that's streaming like that -- at least not with one of those download extensions. There's no file to download.

I'm not an expert on how this works, but it uses a technology called RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol), which I think is based around socket connections. It requires a specialized server, such as the Flash Media Server or Red5. It's not HTTP technology.

Like I said, the majority of videos on the web, such as those on YouTube are not streaming. It's very expensive to set up a stream, which is why people use progressive download instead (which also plays AS its downloading). But the major media holders, such as the networks, insist on streaming.
posted by grumblebee at 5:11 PM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


It appears it is as simple as calling rtp://yourserver.com/video.mp4

That's awesome if it's true. It's not that easy even in Flash. You have to set up and instantiate live connection and streaming objects.

Do you have a source for your info?
posted by grumblebee at 5:12 PM on April 30, 2010


> Do you have a source for your info?

Originally from stackoverflow: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1735933/streaming-via-rtsp-or-rtp-in-html5

Some more googling shows apple's developer notes (so that may be safari specific), with references to RTSP.

These guys appear to have rtsp working in an html5/ipad situation as well, http to deliver the .m3u file which references the streaming server.

Again, Apple has a technote on HTTP Livestreaming for iPhone/iPad.

And here is the RFC for h.264's rtp based streaming, but it appears that HTTP live streaming is the preferred method.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:06 PM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gregory Maxwell, of Xiph, responds to Jobs' claims:

Because many knowledgeable people have heard of the problems faced by these patent-soup standards [like the MPEG], they may extrapolate these risk to codecs developed under a different process where these problems are less considerable. This is a mistake, and I'll explain why here.

I'm not sure that he fully does but it makes for some interesting reading.
posted by euphorb at 9:48 PM on April 30, 2010


I saw a post on Ars Technica that claims that Quicktime, Logic Express Pro, and a third product that didn't stick are still using Carbon.

The last major developer for OS X to ship Carbon apps, holding you in the 1990s by their sheer organizational incompetence, would appear to be Apple.
posted by Malor at 3:44 AM on May 1, 2010


...Quicktime, Logic Express Pro, and a third product that didn't stick are still using Carbon.

So what?

If this is just a counter to Jobs' statement about Adobe being the last major developer to switch from Carbon and that was the only example of Apple having to wait for a third party to write or rewrite applications for its platform, you might have a point.

But there was Metrowerks PowerPlant framework and it's lateness in switching to Mac OS X, Quarkxpress's problems in doing the same, Motorla's low yield of Power PC chips, Adobe shipping the CS suite for Intel on its timetable, not Apple's and so on and so on. The point here is not that Apple still has rewritten some of its applications, but that the company has seen and felt the effects of third party companies holding back its platform and Apple is trying to avoid that now, at seemingly all costs.

...holding you in the 1990s by their sheer organizational incompetence, would appear to be Apple.

I know right, they can't ship anything on a regular schedule.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 AM on May 1, 2010


Dammit, do you deliberately misunderstand? Apple itself isn't transitioning away from Carbon in some of its leading applications, and yet they're demanding that third parties do so? And right up until 2007, they were promising to bring Carbon forward to 64-bit?

Don't you see the hypocrisy there? Don't you see how disingenuous that argument is?
posted by Malor at 6:38 AM on May 1, 2010


Also, Malor, I'm pretty sure iTunes still isn't off Carbon either. And the Finder wasn't until Snow Leopard.
posted by weston at 8:22 AM on May 1, 2010


Don't you see the hypocrisy there? Don't you see how disingenuous that argument is?

Nope. It's one thing to be held up because of late projects of your own, it's an entirely other thing to be held up by a third party you have no control over.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


That makes fuck all sense.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on May 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


The difference is that Apple is always right. When other people haven't switched to Cocoa, Apple is right and they should have switched years ago. When Apple is still shoveling out Carbon software, Apple is right and there's a good reason for it and it's still everybody else's fault somehow.
posted by kafziel at 11:09 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple is right and there's a good reason for it...

It's astounding isn't it. Adobe's reasons aren't good enough but Apple's are. Apple just had some other stuff to do, Adobe apparently didn't. I mean offering up InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and the lot was so crass of them because just like Apple's own Final Cut and other applications, it was coded in Carbon and they were under the illusion that there'd be a Carbon 64 but that was changed. How fucking dare they.
posted by juiceCake at 11:25 AM on May 1, 2010


That makes fuck all sense.

Actually, you're right ArtW, in a way.

I was responding to an moral and philosophical view of Malor's, that Jobs is being hypocritical in his letter about Adobe converting its applications to Coco late, yet Apple still has a few major applications it hasn't converted.

From a business perspective, I don't see a problem with Apple's stance, having a major third party supplier of software lag behind probably does suck, while Apple's efforts aren't as big a deal to itself. Hypocritical, sure, but hardly surprising IMO.

Adobe's reasons aren't good enough but Apple's are.

I'm sure Adobe feels the exact opposite.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2010


I'd also question the longterm business sense of Apple going out of it's way to fuck with 3rd party supliers of software as well, TBH.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2010


Adobe's reasons aren't good enough but Apple's are.

I'm sure Adobe feels the exact opposite.


Adobe more likely feels, justifiably, that applying a double standard is ridiculous. Up until the announcement that Carbon 64 wasn't going to happen, Adobe was developing for that. I think it can be safely assumed that Apple, as the entity making that decision, had a bit of advance warning that Cocoa migration was a necessity. And here we have Apple, as the platform developer and sole source of first-party software, still working in Carbon for their headlining products. Adobe has a better excuse than Apple for not moving to Cocoa, and when Adobe's moving to Cocoa and Apple isn't, for Apple to whine about Adobe being slow to adopt is hypocritical and insane.

If the Windows version of CS5 needed to be run in compatibility mode for Windows XP if installed on a Vista or 7 system, that wouldn't be good. But if Microsoft Office 2010 did too? Then no, Microsoft doesn't get to bitch Adobe out for it.
posted by kafziel at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd also question the longterm business sense of Apple going out of it's way to fuck with 3rd party supliers of software as well, TBH.

I mean by far the biggest market for macs is 'creatives', and without Adobe software on OSX, most of them would have windows machines.

Apple's needling of Adobe really makes me think that apple is going to abandon OS X, which makes me sad.
posted by empath at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


If they do that and go down the Strossian path then it would seem like 3rd party developers would be forever relegated to being makers of toys and novelties, but never any really big or serious applications.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on May 1, 2010


I mean by far the biggest market for macs is 'creatives', and without Adobe software on OSX, most of them would have windows machines.

The iPhone OS and associated devices account for 40% of Apple's sales, so I don't think creatives hold a big sway over Apple these days.

...apple is going to abandon OS X

Of course, that's should be pretty obvious by now, I'm guessing it's a 5-10 year time frame.

3rd party developers would be forever relegated to being makers of toys and novelties, but never any really big or serious applications.

True, Pages, Notes and Numbers aren't serious applications.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:01 PM on May 1, 2010


Well, they're definately not 3rd party.
posted by Artw at 1:06 PM on May 1, 2010


empath If Stross is right, Apple may be looking to get out of the desktop/laptop computer business completely in the next decade or so. Or at least seeing the desktop/laptop computer side of their business become largely irrelevant to their strategy.

I've still got my doubts on that one, but if Stross is right then pissing off Adobe to completely lock down their ownership of the app ecosystem, even at the cost of Adobe ending support for its Mac products, may be considered perfectly acceptable.

Artw Well, for their moneymakers anyway. Even assuming Stross is right in all particulars I'm doubtful that we'll see thin client Photoshop equivalent software coming out for the slate computers anytime soon. That will be handled by his predicted dirt cheap, low profit margin, remnant desktop/laptop market, a market which presumably won't be completely a walled garden and software developers still have a degree of freedom.

One does wonder, in Stross' scenario, what sort of niche Apple and its imitators will demand for themselves as the owners of the walled garden. Apple has already demonstrated that it will kill anything that competes with its software, so the question is: how much of the software market will Apple claim for itself?

The argument that Apple will build its own business necessities software (word processing, spreadsheets, etc) makes intuitive sense, but I think there's an argument to be made that it would be more profitable for Apple to eliminate much of its own software development costs by allowing third parties to make such software and collect rent to make a higher profit than they could making the software themselves.
posted by sotonohito at 1:09 PM on May 1, 2010


And here we have Apple, as the platform developer and sole source of first-party software, still working in Carbon for their headlining products. Adobe has a better excuse than Apple for not moving to Cocoa, and when Adobe's moving to Cocoa and Apple isn't, for Apple to whine about Adobe being slow to adopt is hypocritical and insane.

I think that was a stupid jab by Jobs in the letter -- Carbon was a fully supported API until very recently. But it's not negated by the fact that FCP and iTunes are carbon -- it kinda is the whole point, in fact.

Apple still have apps written in Carbon isn't a problem for Apple: if they need to kill Carbon in 10.7 they can do so, and can throw a shitload of devs at their internal apps so they're ready in time. They've already done this once, when they abandoned Java for OS X (this is pre 10.1) and rewrote all their own apps into Obj-C.

Adobe still having apps written in Carbon is a problem for Apple, as it means some sort of Carbon support needs to hang around until new versions of CS are out and enough people have upgraded.
posted by bonaldi at 3:49 PM on May 1, 2010


I saw a post on Ars Technica that claims that Quicktime, Logic Express Pro, and a third product that didn't stick are still using Carbon.

Jesus, are people still harping on this? QuickTime X is now mostly Cocoa. In the near future, the API will be wholly Cocoa. Real developers never have to worry about this because the innards are hidden from them when using the Cocoa API. Apple keeping Carbon around for internal use when they have control over the lifespan of whatever remaining pieces of that framework they need to update is an entirely different logistical matter from keeping all of it updated and working indefinitely for third-party developers who drag their ass in updating their code. Hating Apple for this shows a ridiculous disconnect from the reality of how software is written and managed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 PM on May 1, 2010


are people still harping on this?

That particular discussion seems to have started with people harping on Adobe as some kind of large dysfunctional weight hindering Apple's progress because they were still using an ostensibly well-past-expiration-date API like Carbon. The point isn't that Apple sucks for continuing to use Carbon, the point is that if Apple has had good reasons for slowly moving some applications to Cocoa and continuing to use Carbon right up through the present, it's only reasonable to concede that Adobe might have good reasons too.
posted by weston at 5:25 PM on May 1, 2010


...it's only reasonable to concede that Adobe might have good reasons too.

What's reasonable for Adobe may not be reasonable for Apple, they have different goals and business interests. I don't think either is wrong in what they want, just that Adobe is being a bit of whining crybaby about it and Apple is being dickishly arrogant about it. So it goes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:14 PM on May 1, 2010


To be honest, sometimes I have a hard time believing that Flash and CS are made by the same company. It's kind of like Rod Stewart before 1974 and Rod Stewart after 1974. Really? The same person? Not possible. That's not to say that Flash is horrifyingly bad at its core - it's perfectly serviceable, and frankly the best thing out there for rich web development - but if it's possible to screw that up by layering shit all around it, Adobe seems hell-bent on trying. And it's to be expected that Apple - who clearly wants to move into a future where they have more and more control over what happens on their platforms, given the particularities of this iPhone OS they've tied their fortunes to - will do all they can to remove any other player who threatens their dominance there.
posted by koeselitz at 6:22 PM on May 1, 2010


...apple is going to abandon OS X

Of course, that's should be pretty obvious by now, I'm guessing it's a 5-10 year time frame.


OK, now you're just making stuff up. Why on earth would Apple abandon the general computing platform that you need to make apps for their appliances? They're going to let Microsoft handle that for them?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:51 PM on May 1, 2010


What's reasonable for Adobe may not be reasonable for Apple, they have different goals and business interests.

Sure, varying goals in the marketplace. But when it comes to logic behind how/when their software is composed, refined, and updated, I suspect the reasons why Apple and Adobe have been slow moving to Cocoa are pretty similar: the benefits can be marginal and often largely deferred while the costs are high.
posted by weston at 6:53 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Churchhatestuckers: Xcode for iPad in two years, tops.

You once needed a Lisa to code for the Mac, btw. Remember those? Exactly. The Mac's going into maintenance mode soon, will be retired in a decade. Hell, that's been Jobs's plan since 1996, when he told Fortune that Apple should "squeeze every last drop out of the Mac and move on to inventing the next big thing".
posted by bonaldi at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2010


The Mac's going into maintenance mode soon, will be retired in a decade.

Bet you a quarter it isn't. (Compounded yearly at 2%.)

I think what's more likely is an iP* based HTML/CSS/JS dev environment, so you can make the sites that the iAppliances are designed to access on the iAppliances.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:34 PM on May 1, 2010


Xcode for iPad in two years, tops.

Heh. XCode is bad enough on one of the smaller laptops, on the pad it would be a horror.
posted by Artw at 8:26 PM on May 1, 2010


Heh. XCode is bad enough on one of the smaller laptops, on the pad it would be a horror.

Bad on the smaller ones how? Worked fine on my twelve inch PowerBook (as of Leopard.)

But yeah, I could see it struggling on the iPad.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:35 PM on May 1, 2010


I don't see Apple killing off OS X whatsoever, nor see them take their locked down iPod/iPad model to a desktop OS. I doubt it will ever crack the Enterprise desktop market in significantly large numbers and Linux will continue to grow in the Enterprise server market but OS X is a great OS, and is in demand by millions, and therefore generates revenue for Apple and third party software developers in numbers that, unless I'm in error, are higher than ever.

Of course, unlike others, I don't see the desktop market being replaced by commodity consumption devices. The desktop is also pretty much a commodity anyway. I know people who don't understand there is a difference between a Mac or a Dell (in terms of being aware that software has to be native to one or the other outside of virtualization) when first purchasing. it's just a computer that doesn't define their identity and they don't give a fuck about openness, HTML 5, etc. and so forth.
posted by juiceCake at 8:54 PM on May 1, 2010


And somewhere in the recovery was a moment when Apple stood on a hill, before the setting sun, and shook its fist at the heavens and vowed that it would never be hungry (and powerless) again. Never again would another company decide whether the Macintosh lived or died. So, Apple supplanted Metrowerks and wrote its own IDE. It wrote Keynote to inform Microsoft and the world that, should Microsoft discontinue Office for Mac, Apple would be prepared to replace it without delay. It wrote Safari to ensure that it would have a Web browser option, come what may.

This is the key to modern Apple. It’s a big company, and it’s now wildly successful. It assumes that it can write a successful software product in any niche. It’s very talented and very confident. But always, at the back of its collective mind, is fear — the fear of depending on the kindness and competence of others, and the fearful memory of the days when it was cowering in a dark closet, waiting for the blow to fall, while the trade press laughed and jeered.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:24 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Programming for the iPhone can be tricky. Developers have put together a wealth of third-party frameworks and libraries written for Objective-C that wouldn't come to an iPad version of Xcode without some serious work by Apple, and its pool of engineers is already overextended trying to deliver on making new features for the next WWDC, and the one after that. Not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be more like Touchcode than Xcode and would be a watered-down IDE, making watered-down apps. OS X and Xcode will be safe for a long, long time, I'd imagine.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 AM on May 2, 2010


I think what's more likely is an iP* based HTML/CSS/JS dev environment, so you can make the sites that the iAppliances are designed to access on the iAppliances.

This "iAppliances" stuff sounds an awful lot like the "it's a toy" dismissals of the original Mac. Which is an interesting parallel: it came out in 1984, but the Apple II was still the big money-maker for most of the 1980s. They didn't actually kill the Apple II line off until 1993 -- 9 years after the Mac launched.

This transition could well be the same. Except it's already clear that the Mac is no longer the big money maker, it's not even close.

Demographics is destiny.

The next 10 years are going to change computing, again. It's barely been out a month, but already a sizable number of people I know with iPads have just sold or retired their laptops -- and some of those are devs. In a few years there will be a big-screen OS X touch model -- what will that do to desktops?

It's already pretty evident that the pace of development on new Mac OS X apps is slowing way down -- most of the effort in Cocoa is going to OS X Touch. Project these trends into the future, and you end up with a Mac that's in a position not very different to the Apple II in 1989. Still selling, for sure, but ultimately irrelevant and shortly to be gone.
posted by bonaldi at 3:39 AM on May 2, 2010


Bonaldi--That's an interesting point, but the computing world has changed a lot since 1984: the computers have, and so has what we expect from them. The Macintosh was more powerful than the Apple ][, whereas iPhoneOS devices are less powerful than Macs. The Apple ][ (any home computer back then, really) was basically a hobbyist gadget that a very small audience. While the Mac may not have dominant market share, there are a lot of them around, and the desktop computer paradigm will be around for a while for use as a serious tool.

I do think a lot of people will get an iPad or something like it over the next 5-10 years and say "you know, I'm fine with this. Why get anything more complicated?" I think iPad-like devices will become a mainstream platform, but not necessarily the mainstream platform.

And it's especially interesting that you made your point by linking to the blog of a developer who publicly swore off iPhone development after releasing one app for it. As far as I know, he hasn't reversed this decision, and it points to one of the obstacles to the platform taking over: getting developers to sign on.
posted by adamrice at 7:27 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


True, but he's also one of the ones who has just sold his MacBook!

A lot depends on what you mean by powerful, too: if you just mean hardware, well, give it a year or two. There's no reason a device running OS X Touch couldn't have the same specs and a similar form factor to an iMac (probably angled more like an architect's board, however).

Also remember I'm talking about a decade: if in 10 years enough people have gone that way, as you suggest, I fully expect Apple to retire the Mac long before the End of The Desktop PC has come -- just as they did with floppies. They won't run it into the ground.
posted by bonaldi at 7:40 AM on May 2, 2010


Can you imagine typing an essay on an iPad? If Macs are truly beginning to become obsolete, then the iPad is going to need a full-sized keyboard. And yes, I know about bluetooth keyboards, but I mean an in-box, hard to lose solution.

The iPad is meant to be the Mac's answer to Netbooks. It lets you easily browse the internet and type short emails, and play a few 2D games. I predict in five years people will still have full-sized laptops and desktops for home use, but they will be much cheaper and commodified, and meant for doing work (outside of gaming and graphics machines). Macs will still be around, but they will be more about ergonomics, since people will be mostly concerned about if they can use it for days on end without developing carpal tunnel.

BTW, why is it taking so long for the Android clones of the iPad to come out? I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of tablet computing, but the iPad is too expensive.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:47 AM on May 2, 2010


mccarty.tim I disagree, actually, with the idea that the iPad/whatever slate needs an integral keyboard to become dominant.

The lack of a keyboard is, I think, a major positive component in slate computing. Adding a keyboard would add weight, take up room, and in general detract from the appeal of a slate computer.

Most people, regrettably, don't type. Not in any real sense of the word. They hunt and peck, and some do it pretty quickly, but they can do it just about as quickly with an anticipating text entry method such as the iPad features. Add in possibilities like Swype and the fact is that most people will likely be able to enter text faster without a real keyboard than they could otherwise. Us actual typists, of course, will leave them in the dust if we've got a real keyboard, but that doesn't much matter to the average non-typist.

I'm enough of a geek/tinkerer that I'll want a real computer as well as a slate, but for the non-geek non-gamer crowd I think even the typists would be happy with a keyboard at home and using the touchscreen when away from home; or a portable keyboard if they're really dedicated to typing.

Speaking as a typist I don't see the lack of a keyboard preventing me from buying a slate when a non-Apple (cheaper) model comes out. The purposes I want a slate for just really don't call for a keyboard, and if they do I can lug a portable as well as the slate. But I don't expect to be buying a portable keyboard.
posted by sotonohito at 8:16 AM on May 2, 2010


John Sullivan of the Free Software Foundation responds:
Watching two proprietary software companies deeply opposed to computer user freedom lob accusations back and forth about who is more opposed to freedom has been surreal, to say the least. But what's been crystal clear is that the freedom these companies are arguing about is their own, not that of their users. And what they are calling freedom isn't freedom at all—it is the ability to control those users. Adobe is mad at Apple for not letting Adobe control iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users via Flash, and Apple is mad at Adobe for suggesting that Apple is arbitrarily abusing its control over Application Store users...

What's strangely absent from "Thoughts on Flash" is any explanation for why proprietary technology on the Web is bad, or why free standards are good...

If he had said anything about why user freedom on the Web is important, his hypocrisy would have been explicit. In a nutshell, he says, "Don't use Adobe's proprietary platform to engage with information on the Web. Use Apple's." He doesn't want users to freely wander and creatively explore the Web or their own computers; he wants them to move from the fenced-off "Freedom Zone" based in San Jose to the one based in Cupertino...

The definition of proprietary software is software which restricts users' freedoms to view its source code, run it for any purpose, share it, or modify it... Looking at the EULAs for Apple and Adobe, we can see that they look pretty much the same, and that "iPhone OS" and "Apple" could be substituted for "Adobe" and "Flash" in Jobs's own quote. His implicit admission of this, that "Apple has many proprietary products too," is a comical understatement...

Jobs has hit the nail on the head when describing the problems with Adobe, but not until after smashing his own thumb. Every criticism he makes of Adobe's proprietary approach applies equally to Apple, and every benefit attributed to the App Store can be had without it being a mandatory proprietary arrangement. Apple can offer quality control and editorial selection over available free software, and encourage users to exclusively—but voluntarily—use their store. Instead, Apple chooses to enforce legal restrictions, the transgression of which is punishable by criminal law, on users who want to make changes to their own computers, like installing free, non-Apple, software...

So, the correct decision in the dispute between Apple and Adobe is "none of the above." The past we need to leave behind is not just Flash, it's Apple's proprietary software as well. There is plenty of room for them to join us along with everyone else in the free world—but they must stop pretending that their little cages are the free world.
posted by tybeet at 8:25 AM on May 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I do think a lot of people will get an iPad or something like it over the next 5-10 years and say "you know, I'm fine with this. Why get anything more complicated?"

If the last 20 years of computing was about infrastructure/enterprise, the next 20+ are about consumption. At least that's the part that Apple cares about and that seems to be a high-growth, high-margin sector. If iPhone, iPod, iPad do well, the Mac will continue to do well.

And yes, something like the iPad is ideal for many people I know: it's just as much technology as they need to do the things they would benefit in doing with minimal fuss.

Is this the future of tech consumer? Looking at the history of say, the auto sector, the underlying technology of autos become more sophisticated but the demographics of the consumer sure wasn't restricted to mechanics.
posted by mazola at 8:29 AM on May 2, 2010


Theora lead developer Gregory Maxwell responds to Steve Jobs' weird and worrisome reference to an anti-Theora "patent pool."
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 AM on May 2, 2010


Meanwhile, in Linux land...
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on May 2, 2010


Yeah, Ubuntu 10.4 is indeed freaking awesome thus far. There are a lot of great improvements, but most importantly to me they really seem to have ironed out the difficulties with sound support.
posted by koeselitz at 11:11 AM on May 2, 2010


Suprised a major release like that hasn't earned itself an FPP of it's own, TBH.
posted by Artw at 12:20 PM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Watching two proprietary software companies deeply opposed to computer user freedom lob accusations back and forth about who is more opposed to freedom has been surreal, to say the least. But what's been crystal clear is that the freedom these companies are arguing about is their own, not that of their users. And what they are calling freedom isn't freedom at all—it is the ability to control those users. Adobe is mad at Apple for not letting Adobe control iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users via Flash, and Apple is mad at Adobe for suggesting that Apple is arbitrarily abusing its control over Application Store users...

yes, yes, and yes
posted by caddis at 3:13 PM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


‘HTML5’ now refers to a collection of related client-side technologies, branded together as a product. It is no-longer just a hypertext specification document, and everything that concerns document semantics is being ignored anyway. This is usage that Steve Jobs employed this week.
posted by Artw at 6:20 PM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


‘HTML5’ now refers to a collection of related client-side technologies...

Indeed. It is mildly annoying for the term being used beyond what it actually means but that's to be expected. I find it very bizarre that Apple and MS are being seen as primary movers to an open standards based web when web developers have been pushing for this for years, save the one's in basements or Microsoft heavy IT departments who don't care to know a thing about their own profession (see any code with class names like style1, style2, style3).

Furthermore, the reduction in Flash use over the last several years has been primarily, in my experience (which may differ from others of course) because of Google. Google's search engine indexes HTML content, not Flash, and furthermore, responds well, if that's what one can say about technology, to semantic markup. This, more than anything else, has helped us convince clients to let us develop their sites without Flash (except for video because until HTML 5 and the codecs get settled (and IE) it is the best choice, and of course for animations), and use standards for better indexing by Google, not to mention the benefit of separating content from presentation keeping future redesigns cheaper and easier to deploy, and finally, an end user using a CMS can update HTML content far easier than Flash content.

Sure, Apple's push, Microsoft's supposed push with IE 9, will help, and it's wonderful to have more high profile support even if most end users couldn't care less, but they are hardly at the forefront of pushing standards into place. I'd credit developers on the front line, Mozilla and Opera, and Google just as much if not more. Apple and Microsoft's support for only h.264 is fucking awful though.
posted by juiceCake at 9:30 PM on May 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, the correct decision in the dispute between Apple and Adobe is "none of the above."

I hope that fair and balanced summary includes Google-sponsored devices and software. If not, it certainly should.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 PM on May 2, 2010


Yeah, BP. I'm sure the operations manager for the Free Software Foundation is a huge fan of Google and everything they stand for. I'll bet his boss Richard Stallman, the guy who has said that Google search itself is too restrictive because all the code under the hood isn't released to users, is a closet Google lover.
posted by koeselitz at 10:08 PM on May 2, 2010


Google, Apple, etc. are all closed, secretive companies, selling closed products, relative to FSF's notions of openness. The take-home point is that if you follow FSF's edicts to the letter, there is no phone you would be able to use. At all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 PM on May 2, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: “The take-home point is that if you follow FSF's edicts to the letter, there is no phone you would be able to use. At all.”

Look, I'm not Richard Stallman, and I don't know how much I agree with him; moreover I think I take your larger point that all the companies involved engage in aggressive business tactics, so it's really not reasonable to single out Apple as being unique in this regard.

But you're saying that no advancement of the state of the art would happen at all without those companies and their aggressive business tactics, and I can't really see that being true. At the very least, at this point I'm pretty sure Richard Stallman could build a phone himself if he really wanted to; lately I've been digging into gawk and the work he did there, and I think that alone qualifies him as a great creator in the 20th century. This is only one of the whole cluster of programs that power the operating system that runs most of the millions of web sites in the world today. So I think we probably ought to accept the Free Software Foundation's assertion that without non-free sources we indeed would have phones and computers and all of this technology, even if you think those things might not be quite as snazzy as they are.
posted by koeselitz at 10:43 PM on May 2, 2010


You know what's fascinating is that nobody cares enough about Microsoft to be mad at them any more.
posted by empath at 11:09 PM on May 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


empath I don't think that's the case, its more just that MS hasn't done anything particularly awful lately, while Apple has. MS is still evil, but that's yesterday's news. Apple is revealing to everyone what us geeks have always known: that it too is evil, and that's startling to many of the people who believed all that snazzy advertising about "Think Different" and all the other BS Apple has spewed about how it isn't evil.
posted by sotonohito at 4:37 AM on May 3, 2010


You know what's fascinating is that nobody cares enough about Microsoft to be mad at them any more.

Microsoft doesn't seem the relevant in terms of doing much new, you know? Apple and Google are shipping interesting new OSes (iPhone, Android) while Microsoft has what? Windows 7? Some phone OS later this year? That may change once it ships and if it proves to be competitor to Apple and Google, but for now Microsoft seems like a cranky old grandfather: You know he's a little crazy, but pretty harmless these days.

Apple is revealing to everyone what us geeks have always known: that it too is evil, and that's startling to many of the people who believed all that snazzy advertising about "Think Different" and all the other BS Apple has spewed about how it isn't evil.

Actually, I'd argue that it's mostly only geeks who care. The general populace is probably thrilled to have decent phone and internet device, filled with useful and/or fun Apps.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:52 AM on May 3, 2010


Antitrust?
posted by mazola at 9:01 AM on May 3, 2010


Apple is the new China.
posted by mazola at 9:38 AM on May 3, 2010


Antitrust?

They've certainly done everything they canto bring that attention to themselves.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on May 3, 2010


John Sullivan of the Free Software Foundation responds:

Watching two proprietary software companies deeply opposed to computer user freedom


Woo, 11 words till he made me check out! I know some portion of the FSF folks simply cannot function without some portion of their brain looking at the world through their particular filter, but opening up with an attribution of motivation? You've lost everyone who has affection for the folks you're maligning and making people like me think that I can't trust anything you have to say.

Sullivan could have opened with a simple statement of fact about the options those companies provide to customers, but instead he's fully in the grip of his disease and has to START with ideology. If I presume you open a discussion by stating your strongest positions and you choose to make that assigning unknowable motives to people... why should I listen to you? It's like the movie trailer that can't find 30 good seconds out of a 2h movie to show me.

If this is your best then don't waste my time.
posted by phearlez at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


They've certainly done everything they canto bring that attention to themselves.
Right? How dare they decide what's best for their platform!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Right? How dare they decide what's best for their platform harm consumers by abusing their position as the dominant mobile application platform to reduce competition in the marketplace!"

ftfy
posted by mullingitover at 10:32 AM on May 3, 2010


The general populace is probably thrilled to have decent phone and internet device, filled with useful and/or fun Apps.

Apple Sells One Million iPads

CUPERTINO, California—May 3, 2010—Apple® today announced that it sold its one millionth iPad™ on Friday, just 28 days after its introduction on April 3. iPad users have already downloaded over 12 million apps from the App Store and over 1.5 million ebooks from the new iBookstore.

“One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.”


Go Apple!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on May 3, 2010


Apple is the new China.

Apple users are the new North Koreans
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:40 AM on May 3, 2010


Corporate loyalists are the new flesh.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2010


The general populace is probably thrilled to have decent phone and internet device, filled with useful and/or fun Apps.

Agreed. Steve's bit about open standards etc. won't get much traction from consumers, and they don't give a fuck about Flash and the issues with it either (I watched a Flash based video on my Eee PC Linux netbook today no problem, why would a consumer care?) Hence the wild success of the iPad/iPhone and the wild success of Windows 7 from Microsoft, Adobe software, etc.
posted by juiceCake at 10:46 AM on May 3, 2010


"Corporate loyalists are the new flesh."

Meh, brand loyalists are no different than sports fans. I submit that there's little difference between and Apple fan and a Yankees fan.
posted by mullingitover at 10:54 AM on May 3, 2010


From the interview with Google's Andy Rubin

As to when the number of Android phones sold would exceed the number of BlackBerrys and iPhones sold, Mr. Rubin said, “I don’t know when its might be, but I’m confident it will happen. Open usually wins.”

Currently Windows outsells Macintosh by a huge margin, yet Apple is still quite profitable. We can see how Google is defining win, but I wonder what Jobs' definition is.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: “Currently Windows outsells Macintosh by a huge margin, yet Apple is still quite profitable. We can see how Google is defining win, but I wonder what Jobs' definition is.”

People say that, but frankly I think that deep down Jobs' definition of winning isn't that different from Microsoft's or Google's. Profitable is great, but as far as I can remember the 1980s didn't end with Apple saying "gee, Microsoft, it appears that you're gaining the majority market share - but we don't mind, we're happy with our slice so long as we're making the computers we want to make."

I mean, Steve Jobs certainly has more passion about computing, and he cares a lot about his product, which is something that we've all always wondered about with Microsoft. But if you asked him to answer honestly whether market dominance is something he wants, I think he'd have to say yes. And everything Apple has done since he took back the helm demonstrates that.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on May 3, 2010


Not sure if it would get instantly deleted were this to be made into its own FPP, but if you're really that concerned about your iPhone being locked down and you want the ability to do just about whatever the hell is technically possible on a computer in your pocket.. there's a new Jailbreak out called Spirit.

It works with EVERY iPhone device, all the way up to iPhone OS 3.2 - including the iPad and iPad 3G.

I jailbroke my last iPhone and it was a prohibitively difficult and scary process. This new one is as simple as launching an app, plugging in your iPhone and clicking "jailbreak". The whole thing takes about about 10 seconds, then about another 45 seconds to reboot. Voila! (here's a screenshot of my now-jailbroken iPhone)

Oh, and you should backup your SHSH file first (instructions are inside the Umbrella download), just in case. And here's how to grab your iPhone's ECID to use with Umbrella.
posted by revmitcz at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


(oh, quick addendum to my comment a moment ago - BACKUP YOUR iPHONE with iTunes before you Jailbreak it. Some people have reported losing their camera roll just after jailbreaking, but a simple "restore from backup" brings them all back in without any problems, and the phone remains jailbroken. It's annoying, but it's an easy fix.)
posted by revmitcz at 12:20 PM on May 3, 2010


I, for one, am glad the federal government is focusing its efforts on preventing a popular cell phone manufacturer from deciding what's best for their platform, especially when cell phones do not have a history of openness.

Clearly, this is a much more pressing issue than media consolidation, domestic spying, corruption on Wall Street, torture, etc., etc., etc.,
posted by entropicamericana at 2:49 PM on May 3, 2010


"Clearly, this is a much more pressing issue than media consolidation, domestic spying, corruption on Wall Street, torture, etc., etc., etc.,"

Exactly. If only the federal government were capable of doing more than one thing at a time! Why are the feds ignoring the cleanup of the biggest oil spill in history to harass Apple?

Seriously though, I'm glad we agree: when a platform is the dominant platform in its market, and the platform vendor decides that anti-competitive practices are what's best for their platform, I'm glad somebody is looking into that. Apple turning into the Microsoft of mobile computing isn't good for anyone, not even Apple.
posted by mullingitover at 4:09 PM on May 3, 2010


when a platform is the dominant platform in its market

Apple has no monopoly in the cell phone business. Apple is not Microsoft. Apple is not doing the things Microsoft did in the 1980s and 1990s.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


BP: "Apple has no monopoly in the cell phone business. Apple is not Microsoft. Apple is not doing the things Microsoft did in the 1980s and 1990s."

Apple responsible for 99.4% of mobile app sales in 2009

You're right that Apple isn't doing things MS did. MS forced OEMs into restrictive licensing deals in order to stifle competition. Apple is forcing software developers into restrictive licensing deals in order to stifle competition.
posted by mullingitover at 4:33 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple accounts for 16.6% of smartphone sales

There is no way to stretch the English language to turn Apple into a monopoly, and certainly 16.6% of the smartphone market is not a fraction that justifies the federal government wasting its time on aiding Adobe's very real, significant and damaging monopoly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:40 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple is stifling competition FOR GOOD!
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on May 3, 2010


BP: "There is no way to stretch the English language to turn Apple into a monopoly"

Why bring up smartphone sales? We're talking about mobile app sales, where Apple currently owns around 99% of the market. At what point would you be willing to consider that Apple might hold a monopoly there?
posted by mullingitover at 4:52 PM on May 3, 2010


Minor note/question: In America, monopolies are fine, as long as they're legally gained and maintained, correct?

If so, the question is does Apple's restricting of the tools to build Apps to only the tool they make constitute an illegal method of maintaining a monopoly? Does the ability to make javascript/html/css apps provide a sufficient alternative?

Interesting questions, indeed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 PM on May 3, 2010


BB: "If so, the question is does Apple's restricting of the tools to build Apps to only the tool they make constitute an illegal method of maintaining a monopoly? Does the ability to make javascript/html/css apps provide a sufficient alternative?"

Let's step back and imagine that tomorrow, Microsoft released a patch that prevented any unsigned code from running in Windows (and let's say MS required a licensing deal, skimming 30% cut of gross revenue before they'd sign your code, and would arbitrarily refuse to sign any applications that interfered with their business model), and the alternative solution that Microsoft suggested for non-signed apps was recoding them in javascript and html. Do you think you'd be able to count the fine, in billions of dollars, on your fingers and toes?
posted by mullingitover at 5:28 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It might be useful to recognize not all antitrust law is about monopolies specifically. I'm no lawyer, but it's my understanding that certain kinds of tying and restrictions on purchasing widgets only from a given vendor/supplier can run afoul of the law whether the party in question is a monopolist or not.
posted by weston at 5:34 PM on May 3, 2010


At what point would you be willing to consider that Apple might hold a monopoly there?

When Apple shuts down Google's app store.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:54 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: “Apple has no monopoly in the cell phone business. Apple is not Microsoft. Apple is not doing the things Microsoft did in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Microsoft has never had any kind of a monopoly. That's not why people hate them.

Apple, however, is indeed exactly like Microsoft in the 80s and 90s. Of course they are. They're not some kind of computer collective in the sky, happily churning out beautiful things for all the happy geeks of the world. They're a business, and being a business means sometimes you have to sacrifice cool gadgets and useful software in order to increase your profit margin. Steve Jobs cares about computers up to the point that it is profitable to Apple to care about computers, and no farther. Which is only natural - he's the CEO of a company that's in the business of making money, not in the business of making great computers. It's surprising to me that people are still under the impression that those are both the same thing.
posted by koeselitz at 6:02 PM on May 3, 2010


BP: "When Apple shuts down Google's app store."

I'll defer to real lawyers, but I'm pretty sure weston's point stands. A business doesn't have to choke all competition out of the market before its practices can be examined.
posted by mullingitover at 6:06 PM on May 3, 2010


Microsoft has never had any kind of a monopoly.

This isn't what the courts said.
posted by weston at 6:08 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


A business doesn't have to choke all competition out of the market before its practices can be examined.

It just needs to choke about 16.6% of the market before Adobe's lobbyists get what they want.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:15 PM on May 3, 2010


Let's step back and imagine that tomorrow, Microsoft released a patch that prevented any unsigned code from running in Windows...

That analogy doesn't work, since what Apple did is open a store for a specific set of devices and declared "if you want to sell Apps in this store for this device we built, you have to do X, Y and Z". If you don't want to, that's fine, but then you're not selling products in our store, which we built to cater exclusively to these devices we built."

To me, you can't argue that Apple is a monopoly when people can say "Screw it, I'll buy an Android phone." Not sure if that's a valid legal argument though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve Jobs cares about computers up to the point that it is profitable to Apple to care about computers, and no farther.

I'm sure Apple as a company, Apple's shareholders, and probably Jobs personally all care about Apple as a profitable business. I'm sure they're not above venal motivations. But as crappy as I think their behavior over the App Store is, I don't think a careful observation of what they've produced fits with the idea that they don't care beyond what gets them paid. The fit and finish and innovation that consistently comes out of the place is hard to do without having people there who cares about craftsmanship and vision.

It just needs to choke about 16.6% of the market before Adobe's lobbyists get what they want.

Apple will probably have to be found to be breaking the law before the law can successfully be brought to bear against them, whether or not there are actually any Adobe lobbyists bringing the FTC's/DOJ's attention to the matter. And if they are breaking the law, well, you can hardly blame Adobe for that.
posted by weston at 6:27 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


At what point would you be willing to consider that Apple might hold a monopoly there?
When Apple shuts down Google's app store.


Seriously? By this logic, Microsoft never had a monopoly in computer sales, because the possibility always existed to buy a Mac or a Linux machine. No matter how infeasible that was for any real purpose, no matter how few programs were functional on them. Obviously, the law's definition of monopoly is a bit broader than yours.

And if they are breaking the law, well, you can hardly blame Adobe for that.

Oh, he'll find a way.
posted by kafziel at 7:28 PM on May 3, 2010


Obviously, the law's definition of monopoly is a bit broader than yours.

If the law calls Apple a monopoly, then the law is broken and should be dismantled.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:49 PM on May 3, 2010


"The difference is that Apple is always right."
posted by kafziel at 7:52 PM on May 3, 2010


Instead of smarmy comments, why not just admit that Apple is not a monopoly? Why continue to resort to specious arguments like this? What do you gain from it?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:54 PM on May 3, 2010


Seriously? By this logic, Microsoft never had a monopoly in computer sales, because the possibility always existed to buy a Mac or a Linux machine. No matter how infeasible that was for any real purpose, no matter how few programs were functional on them. Obviously, the law's definition of monopoly is a bit broader than yours.

Not exactly. Microsoft was bullying vendors so they would not offer competing software on machines running Microsoft Windows. That's a monopolistic practice.

Apple is refusing to support an industry standard on their own machines. They do not seem to be discouraging competition in the same way that Microsoft was.
posted by zarq at 8:01 PM on May 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


By which I mean that they do not seem to be a monopoly -- but especially not when compared to Microsoft.
posted by zarq at 8:02 PM on May 3, 2010


The change to the developer agreement barring cross-compiling and cross-platform development strongly discourages, even penalizes competition. Developers are faced with the choice of either writing their app for either the iPhone or for everything else - not realistically a choice, given that App Store sales constitute 99.4% of mobile app sales. When the iPhone OS version is done, developers can choose whether it's worth it to start from scratch and re-code everything entirely to get a part of that last .6%, which again really isn't a choice at all. With the well-discussed and strong probability that cross-developing will be the #1 flag for getting your apps rejected from the App Store as violating the agreement - and the fact that an arbitrary and closed approval process without appeals gives Apple an incentive to disallow cross-developed apps and claim, unprovably, that they were cross-compiled - Apple is using its market clout to try to make the vast majority of apps iPhone-only. With, again, 99.4% of mobile app sales - even at its peak, Microsoft never came near that number - it's absolutely a monopolistic practice.
posted by kafziel at 8:14 PM on May 3, 2010


The change to the developer agreement barring cross-compiling and cross-platform development strongly discourages, even penalizes competition.

The developer agreement clearly bars derivative applications flowing to the iPhone (i.e. Flash->iPhone) but does the reverse hold? If such a tool existed, could Apple prevent cross-platform development to flow the other way (i.e. iPhone->Flash)?
posted by mazola at 8:46 PM on May 3, 2010


No, no, everybody, remember that Microsoft is eeeeeeeeeevilll!
posted by Artw at 8:53 PM on May 3, 2010


The change to the developer agreement barring cross-compiling and cross-platform development strongly discourages, even penalizes competition

This is nonsense. Adobe is all smiles and handshakes with Google, handing out free Android phones to its staff. There's plenty of competition.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:00 PM on May 3, 2010


Can't we just agree that they're all evil?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:00 PM on May 3, 2010


Developers are faced with the choice of either writing their app for either the iPhone or for everything else - not realistically a choice, given that App Store sales constitute 99.4% of mobile app sales. When the iPhone OS version is done, developers can choose whether it's worth it to start from scratch and re-code everything entirely to get a part of that last .6%, which again really isn't a choice at all.

I agree with you that they're flexing and even arguably somewhat abusing their market power. But I think it's harder to make the case that they're a real monopoly and even harder to make the case that they're abusing a real monopoly, given that they don't seem to be in a position to do anything (or actually seem to be doing anything) to keep the rest of the smartphone market from developing one or more ecosystems of its own.

This was the thing about Microsoft that made them so terrifying: they not only had the market power to offer some sweet carrots --- or twist arms and break kneecaps -- to knock down competitors and would be comers, they used it. If Apple had the market power MS had and the inclination to use it, you'd see them telling record labels that if they wanted to sell through the itunes store, they had to sell exclusively through the itunes store, and AT&T that if they wanted to sell the iPhone, they'd better not be selling other smartphones. The recent 3.3.1 changes are annoying, unreasonable, and somewhat anticompetitive, but they're not telling an OEM that if they agree to install a potential competitor, they'll be seeing their OS cost per unit triple.

None of this means that Apple isn't running afoul of other antitrust measures, and I wouldn't mind seeing that investigated. Not because I really believe they're going to reach even 2/3 marketshare in mobile devices. I'm more worried about the concept of general purpose computing devices as locked appliances with tight vendor control spreading to other manufacturers, and of course because I'd personally find Apple's mobile platform more appealing as a developer and as a consumer if they weren't so controlling and capricious.
posted by weston at 9:48 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Apple had the market power MS had and the inclination to use it, you'd see them telling record labels that if they wanted to sell through the itunes store, they had to sell exclusively through the itunes store, and AT&T that if they wanted to sell the iPhone, they'd better not be selling other smartphones.

If Apple's threatened monopoly was for music sales or smartphone sales, yes. But the threatened monopoly is in mobile apps, and they're essentially telling developers that if they want to sell through the App Store, they need to sell exclusively through the App Store.
posted by kafziel at 9:55 PM on May 3, 2010


No, the "monopoly" is in mobile apps on the iPhone. That's no more a monopoly than Warner Bros. not allowing your cousin's band on their label.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:28 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hint: That 99.4% isn't of iPhone mobile apps. It's of ALL mobile apps.
posted by kafziel at 10:31 PM on May 3, 2010


Hint: That 99.4% isn't of iPhone mobile apps. It's of ALL mobile apps.

Yeah, for various reasons, they've been able to turn their fraction of the smartphone market into the most active subsection of the app space, but they've pretty much done it using carrots rather than sticks, and given how wide open other devices are to similar markets, the only thing really keeping other players from providing competition is their ability to get it together. It's hard to argue that amounts to an entrenched monopolistic position for Apple.

This doesn't mean they don't have market power. They clearly do and I see the argument that their development requirements raise the investment bar for going cross-platform, which is somewhat anti-competitive. But even that's not a prohibitively high bar and so while I think it's not necessarily good, it also seems really unlikely that there's a monopoly-abuse case to be built out of it.
posted by weston at 11:56 PM on May 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hint: That 99.4% isn't of iPhone mobile apps. It's of ALL mobile apps.

What percentage of those Apps were cross platform before?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:08 AM on May 4, 2010


Or was is the dominate tool for making Apps in Apple's App Store?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 AM on May 4, 2010


Also, a bit of clarification please, from the developers about the bolded part in section 3.3.1:
3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).
Does this mean that those multiple languages can be used to create Apps and developers don't have to use Xcode?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:20 AM on May 4, 2010


I don't like Apple because I'm out of money and their products cost money and that's dumb.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:28 AM on May 4, 2010


Skynet's opinion on recent Apple products.
posted by bonehead at 5:30 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rumours of 'Menlo': Microsoft's real tablet effort?
posted by bonehead at 9:18 AM on May 4, 2010


I'm sure Apple is quaking in their New Balance sneakers.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:25 AM on May 4, 2010


Really? I would have pegged Apploids as more Converse All-Stars. The more you learn.
posted by bonehead at 9:35 AM on May 4, 2010


Feds eying Apple.

The soup opera may be able to get even more interesting.
posted by grumblebee at 9:39 AM on May 4, 2010


Now Microsoft should start pushing an image of themselves as a bunch of hippies working in a garage. The wheel will have come full circle.
posted by grumblebee at 9:41 AM on May 4, 2010


Rumours of 'Menlo': Microsoft's real tablet effort?

All this vaporware... The sooner that Ballmer gets removed the better, he's running Microsoft into the ground.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:48 AM on May 4, 2010


How Apple is breaking the law with the App Store

(apparently boils down to "restraint of trade")
posted by koeselitz at 9:58 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: “Does this mean that those multiple languages can be used to create Apps and developers don't have to use Xcode?”

Er - no. Although I'm no expert on Apple licensing or coding, if code is being "executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine," that means it's running via a web browser. I don't think web apps count as capital-a "Apps," at least not in this technical sense.
posted by koeselitz at 10:06 AM on May 4, 2010


The whole issue of "stores" is an interesting one.

The App Store, allows Amazon (as compeditor to iBooks), will Google Editions be kosher too? It looks to launch soon, with a massive number of books, possibly more than 1/4 million or more. If Apple refuses Google while allowing Amazon, it's clearly using the App Store in a discriminatory way. Is that anti-trust? I think only if they're clearly a market leader.

Furthermore, Steam is coming to Macs, apparently. Could Steam come to the iPhoneOS? Would Apple ever allow it to? Does the developer licence effectively prohibit Steam on the iPhoneOS?
posted by bonehead at 10:17 AM on May 4, 2010


I think it's obvious they won't let Steam come to the iPad, even if Valve wanted to (they're largely a computer game company; anything without a mouse and keyboard tends to get lacking support). Apple already runs the gamestore, and their whole model with the iPhone and iPod/iPad is to own the software distribution.

I'm curious how well this will endure compared to more open platforms, since I could see companies like Popcap wanting to increase their profit by offering their own gamestore apps on more open platforms. They could sell their software for cheaper and still make more profit, making Apple a redundant middleman. Eventually, casual users would catch on that Apple Store apps cost more than the same games on Android.

Of course, that's assuming enough Androids sell that developers bother to port their games between the iPod/iPad/iPhone platform and Android.

Feel free to sub in Symbian/Windows 7 Phone/Linux if you don't like Android and are rooting for another platform.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:29 AM on May 4, 2010


I don't think web apps count as capital-a "Apps," at least not in this technical sense.

No, the question was about using other languages besides Objective C. Since the license seems to allow C and C++, does that mean tools other than Apple's own X-Code can be used? That's where the confusion (ignorance?) on my part seems to be happening
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 AM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, and I'm not sure how much of that is language designed to just prevent them from shooting XCode itself in the foot. I've only just begun to poke around and am still basically stone ignorant about the specifics of the toolset, so I can't really help a ton on that front, but given that Obj-C is a superset/extension of C it'd be kind of weird to allow Obj-C and not C, and if Apple's providing/allowing specific C++ libraries as well as part of the whole package then Bob's your uncle there as well.

I would be happy to hear from folks who actually know their way around the dev environment on this front, because I'm mostly wondering too.
posted by cortex at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2010


How Apple is breaking the law with the App Store

(apparently boils down to "restraint of trade")


Seems like Apple would argue that by installing non-santioned software, they can not legally be held responsible for the performance of the phone, nor any problems the user might have with it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2010


Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.

So, for instance, if I make a language called Grumblecode, and it has its own API (as all programming languages do), and I let you compile from Grumblecode into an iPhone app, you'll be using Grumblecode's API. Which is a violation.

That's the problem with Actionscript under Apples new TOS. It allows me, the programmer, to use a foreign (to Apple) API to program iPhone apps. They want me to only use the APIs that come with Xcode.
posted by grumblebee at 11:07 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited.

E.g. If Grumblecode calls native API methods, it is in violation. The programmer must call those API methods directly.
posted by grumblebee at 11:11 AM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


How Apple is breaking the law with the App Store

(apparently boils down to "restraint of trade")


Interesting.

If Jailbreaking is the issue then, yes, I could see that applying to a lot of other peoples products as well.
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on May 4, 2010


does that mean tools other than Apple's own X-Code can be used?

I'm pretty sure that gcc is the compiler underlying the XCode toolchain and that you can use it standalone if you like. Don't know if that really counts, though.
posted by weston at 11:39 AM on May 4, 2010


I'm curious at what point the middle-man sanction kicks in. For instance, is it okay to use a middle-tier API if it's written in Objective-C? What if I write a big abstraction layer in Objective-C and use that to access all the native APIs? What if I sell it to other people and they use it?
posted by grumblebee at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2010


Wouldn't the "intermediate translation or compatability layer" rule that out?

I wonder how third part API are going to work. What if I want write a twitter app, or a blogspot app?
posted by bonehead at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2010


Wouldn't the "intermediate translation or compatability layer" rule that out?

Yes, but it's got to be a matter of degree. ALL programming involves intermediate translation. To be really trivial, let's say that the native API gives me the ability to add and divide numbers, via these two methods:

add( num1, num2, ..., numN);
divide( nul1, num2 ); //divides num 1 by num 2

I'm writing an app in which I need to figure out averages, so I write a function that looks like this:

float average( Array arr )
{
//psuedocode:
float sum = add( arr );
divide( sum, length( arr ) );
}

I now have a middle-tier API function, average, that sits between me and the native functions, add and divide. Apple is definitely going to allow that sort of trial middle-tier, because if they didn't, no one would be able to get any work done at all.

But at what point do those trivial examples add up to a verboten middle man?
posted by grumblebee at 12:06 PM on May 4, 2010


What if I write a big abstraction layer in Objective-C

I think you've hit the nail on the head, here, with the observation that to some extent, when you write functions or classes, you're rewriting the language. Let's even go a step further, though: what if you write a massive set of C preprocessor macros to go with your libraries? From what I've read the initial versions of C++ (and maybe even Objective C?) were created this way, so it's not really a stretch to assume you could more or less create the Grumblecode language this way and distribute it to others.

The line between language and abstraction can be a really fuzzy one in general, and particularly so in languages with preprocessor macros.
posted by weston at 12:15 PM on May 4, 2010


I think sales or other third-party distribution would put you over the line. Presumably GTK or QT would be verbotten, for example.

Would an in-house API? I can't see it. Would Apple even be able to tell just from a binary?

It is grey though. Would the BOOST libraries be a problem?
posted by bonehead at 12:19 PM on May 4, 2010


(Bad example, that's C++, sorry)
posted by bonehead at 12:20 PM on May 4, 2010


The line between language and abstraction can be a really fuzzy one in general, and particularly so in languages with preprocessor macros.

Sounds like the line is wherever Apple wants it to be.
posted by grumblebee at 1:19 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that's pretty much the takeaway from their choices over the last two years.
posted by weston at 1:31 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


when you write functions or classes, you're rewriting the language

Not really. You're just abstracting away details, and the underlying programming syntax remains the same. Most of the NS-classes you see used in Cocoa are going back to calling C-based Core Foundation (CF) base classes. You're not using anything but Objective-C when using NS-classes in methods or writing wrapper classes, and Objective-C still remains the same old superset of C89, C99 and K&R C that it was before you wrote a method or wrapper class around CF- or NS-classes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:50 PM on May 4, 2010


So are you saying that Apple would have no problem if I wrote a complex framework that abstracts all (or a big chunk of) their API, as long as I wrote it in Objective-C? That's not the sense I get.
posted by grumblebee at 5:07 PM on May 4, 2010


via Gruber, Adobe complained to Feds.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:16 PM on May 4, 2010


Here's an example macro that logs only if I'm doing a debug build:
#ifdef DEBUG
	#define DLog(...) NSLog(__VA_ARGS__)
#else
	#define DLog(...) /* */
#endif
#define ALog(...) NSLog(__VA_ARGS__)
Even though this define statement has its own "syntax", this isn't creating an API because it gets translated directly into Objective-C or C instructions. This doesn't violate any of Apple's guidelines because I am using Xcode to ultimately translate a macro into a call to an Objective-C class (NSLog), if a DEBUG compile-time flag is set.

If you wrote a bunch of macros and compiled it from a non-Xcode toolkit, you'd probably be in violation of the Apple dev agreement — not because you're using macros, but because you're using a different pipeline for turning this into a compiled app.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:28 PM on May 4, 2010


Who needs Flash?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on May 4, 2010


So, BP (I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just trying to get this straight), I am okay, even if I get miles and miles away from directly accessing Apple's libraries, as long as whatever frameworks I write are in Objective-C and are coded in XCode?

I am genuinely confused about this. Is there any possible coding I could -- in XCode -- using C, C++ or Objective-C, that would be in violation of this part of Apple's TOS?
posted by grumblebee at 5:41 PM on May 4, 2010


from BB's link "Who needs Flash?" : “There’s a ton of momentum behind HTML5, and it’s well-justified momentum,” Mozilla VP of engineering Mike Shaver tells Webmonkey. “The future of the web is the web, and betting against the web is a bad idea.”

That, sir, is irrefutable logic.
posted by koeselitz at 5:42 PM on May 4, 2010


The future is the future man, so don't bet against it.

I'd be happy to see Flash dethroned as the dominant form of delivering video and photographer's website, but it definitely has uses elsewhere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 PM on May 4, 2010


via Gruber, Adobe complained to Feds.

This is good news for everyone but Apple's shareholders.

Anybody know where I can find this in html5?
posted by mullingitover at 6:14 PM on May 4, 2010


Adobe shows off prototype Android tablet running Air and Flash 'flawlessly'
posted by Artw at 6:28 PM on May 4, 2010


Here I showcase a number of HTML5 websites on the iPad. This is the web experience Steve Jobs wants us to have. errr.... I hope not. That's pretty bad actually.
posted by Artw at 6:33 PM on May 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adobe shows off prototype Android tablet running Air and Flash 'flawlessly'

What's the battery life like?

Oh and real artists ship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 PM on May 4, 2010


Sorry, what? I haven't gotten over that HTML on iPad video. It's... horrifying. It's like the guy stumbled into every way to make the device look terrible possible. I almost want to sign up to YouTube to try and assure people that it;s not all that bad and we're just looking at worst case there.
posted by Artw at 6:45 PM on May 4, 2010


I should sincerely hope it's not really like that, Artw. That was just a rollercoaster of dashed expectations.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:50 PM on May 4, 2010


That was basically a series of demos that run fine on desktop but that you probably don't want to let anywhere near your comparitively underpowered mobile device. If you were serious about making a HTML5 app that worked well on iPhone/iPad you'd avoid the various sizing issues, UI issues and particularly the math and redraw heavy CANAVS tag animation. Probably bets to use CANVAS pretty sparingly in fact.

On the other hand, if your serious about how HTML5 on your mobile device is a complete replacement for Flash maybe it better take that shit in it's stride.
posted by Artw at 6:55 PM on May 4, 2010


What do you expect? Try ripping out your computer's standard-for-2010 4GB of RAM and sticking in the 256 MB that Apple thinks is enough for you, and see what your web experience is like.
posted by mullingitover at 6:57 PM on May 4, 2010


So, BP (I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just trying to get this straight), I am okay, even if I get miles and miles away from directly accessing Apple's libraries, as long as whatever frameworks I write are in Objective-C and are coded in XCode?

I guess I don't understand how you would be "miles away" if you're using Objective-C and Apple pipeline. Do you have a technical example that might demonstrate what you mean? As far as I can tell, a macro does not really create a unique language in this case, if it gets translated to Objective-C before compilation. If you have a counterexample, I'd be curious to see what it looks like.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:01 PM on May 4, 2010


mullingitover - Hionetsly i think you could put together a very demo of web apps using Javascript, CSS and some cool new HTML5 stuff that would look amazing on the iPad... just that wasn't it. And if you did make it, it wouldn't really be flash like... it'd be more like a really, really nice web page designed to fit a specific form factor.
posted by Artw at 7:05 PM on May 4, 2010


Artw: “Here I showcase a number of HTML5 websites on the iPad. This is the web experience Steve Jobs wants us to have. errr.... I hope not. That's pretty bad actually.”

Eh, that guy's obviously just being a massive tool. I mean, picking a bunch of amateur games from canvasdemos.com is probably the worst way to test HTML5 on a device.

“That was basically a series of demos that run fine on desktop but that you probably don't want to let anywhere near your comparitively underpowered mobile device.”

Seriously? They didn't work on my desktop, either. Well - my laptop, and I'm in Ubuntu right now - but that shouldn't matter. Honestly, I had precisely the same problems that dude had trying to run this stuff in Firefox. I have a feeling he just picked some crap stuff.

I'm not saying this because I think HTML5 is a complete replacement for Flash yet - far from it. But it's a pretty disingenuous test to pick a bunch of little test-apps like this, particularly ones that clearly don't work in the first place, and pretend that that's a complete test of the framework.
posted by koeselitz at 7:12 PM on May 4, 2010


(And it's pretty obvious, I think, that that guy's just trying to be lamely sardonic: "see, this is the future, throw away Flash, blah.")
posted by koeselitz at 7:14 PM on May 4, 2010


There isn't really a counter-video though, is there? For all the big talk for HTML5 on the iPad I've yet to see it really deliver.
posted by Artw at 7:18 PM on May 4, 2010


I'd really like to see what HTML5 Youtube looks like on an iPad. I mean, it seems like that'd be a much better test, as far as professionally-coded HTML5 interfaces go.
posted by koeselitz at 7:19 PM on May 4, 2010


Looks like video plays inline on the Youtube HTML5 site pretty well.
posted by Artw at 7:25 PM on May 4, 2010


And that 3D page runs fine for me on my desktop. Equivalent flash would probably be smoother, but it's still double digits framerates and not dying on it's arse like it did on the pad.
posted by Artw at 7:29 PM on May 4, 2010


That does look nice.

Of course, I know there are miles between a simple Youtube video interface and an interactive Flash game. But as far as the assertion that HTML5 is a memory hog that slows down dramatically on mobile devices, well... I guess I just don't know enough to say whether that's true or not.
posted by koeselitz at 7:30 PM on May 4, 2010


Yeah, I hadn't found that 3D page - I just tried the Tetris game and the etch-a-sketch thing, and neither of them really worked. The Tetris game died in the same place it did for him - no more blocks after the third, no matter what I do, although oddly sometimes it seems to work fine.
posted by koeselitz at 7:31 PM on May 4, 2010


The 3D page actually runs better on my G1 than it did in the iPad video.
posted by kafziel at 7:34 PM on May 4, 2010


TBH The two examples are comparing apples and oranges, and that they are thrown into this one bucket called "HTML5" is kind of ridiculous. Of course the iPad is going to be good at showing a H264 video - that's what it's designed to do. JS animation of the CANVAS tag, on the other hand, is a completely different thing. TBH I'm not surprised that it can't match desktops, but given how much it's been pushed I am surprised at how hard it falls down once you ask it to do anything complex.
posted by Artw at 7:34 PM on May 4, 2010


But this is the thing - I've seen Flash that does exactly the same thing, just because it's coded poorly. At the same time, though, maybe it's pretty unlikely that these are just bad hack jobs, given that HTML5 seems pretty simple on the face of it. Hmm.
posted by koeselitz at 7:37 PM on May 4, 2010


I guess I don't understand how you would be "miles away" if you're using Objective-C and Apple pipeline. Do you have a technical example that might demonstrate what you mean?

You know how, in most languages, people write really complex frameworks, and sometimes those frameworks basically "become" the langauge -- meaning that programmers start interfacing with the original language only through the framework?

An example is JQuery. It's 100% Javascript, but it's got its own, unique API -- and you can basically do anything most JS programmers want to do by using JS features through JQuery. So it is a sort of middle-man between Javascript's raw api and the developer. If I told someone that he HAS to program in Javascript and only Javascript, I might feel that he was violating the spirit of the law if he started using JQuery. But JQurey IS just Javascript, so do we allow it or not?

Let's say I built something like that in Objective-C. I thought the language was too difficult, so I built a whole series of functions that map onto the raw ones. My functions are all written in Object-C, but your experience, when you use them, won't feel much like Objective-C, and if you just learn my way of doing things, you'll never know how you might optimize the code by going into the raw guts.

Similarly, people who learn JQuery instread of Javascript may make all kinds of mistakes. And I thought Apple was against that sort of thing. They don't want middle-men, because middle-men move developers away the real api. And Apple feels that leads to sloppy code.

If they're right, it should apply to all third-party frameworks, whether they are written in Actionscript or Objective-C. Either way, you're not writing code using the methods that Apple has documented; you're writing code that uses that code.
posted by grumblebee at 7:41 PM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Of course the iPad is going to be good at showing a H264 video - that's what it's designed to do."

It has a huge crutch with its hardware decoding of the video. Meanwhile, I checked out all the same demos he was hitting on my laptop and they all ran like buttah. A lot more processor chug than I'd expect to see with Flash, but the framerates were high enough.

The iPad design makes some huge compromises to maintain Apple's profit margins and to get the 20-hour battery life. It's not good or bad, (well, it's hilariously bad but that's just my opinion) that's just the engineering choices they made. I'm sure there will be another generation along to fix some of the shortcomings and keep the upgrade treadmill spinning. What's the term for people who buy first-gen hardware?
posted by mullingitover at 7:43 PM on May 4, 2010


The iPad design makes some huge compromises to maintain Apple's profit margins and to get the 20-hour battery life.

If only it had a swappable battery.
posted by Tenuki at 8:57 PM on May 4, 2010


An example is JQuery.

I guess what I meant by technical example was something that used preprocessor directives and relates directly to the issue of generating Objective-C used to make iPhone apps, which is the basis on which you and weston were criticizing Apple and/or questioning the developer agreement.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:24 PM on May 4, 2010


if you just learn my way of doing things, you'll never know how you might optimize the code by going into the raw guts

In any case, that's no more creating a different language than the internals of deques, b-trees, linked lists, etc. being hidden away by abstract container classes in STL C++ or Cocoa or Java any other language being languages unto themselves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 PM on May 4, 2010


U.S. antitrust enforcers are considering an investigation of Apple Inc. following a complaint from Adobe Systems Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Adobe could not win in the court of public opinion and so are trying to strong-arm Apple in a federal courtroom. Honest people will recognize this scheme to label Apple a monopoly as an out-and-out scam.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 PM on May 4, 2010


Apple: Bad press roundup
posted by Artw at 12:12 AM on May 5, 2010


Not really. You're just abstracting away details, and the underlying programming syntax remains the same.

I suppose if you're sticking to the basic idea that a computer language is its syntax, what you're saying here is fine from a debate standpoint. But on a pragmatic level, when it comes time to write programs, I think vocabulary matters just as much to what you mean by "language", and that's what you're changing when you build abstractions. Hence my statement that the line between abstraction and language can be a fuzzy one.

And the C preprocessor makes it even fuzzier. There's not a lot of daylight between:

int max(a,b) { return a >= b ? a : b; }

and

#define max(a,b) (a >= b ? a : b; )

and

s/max\([^,]+,[^)]+\)/(a >= b ? a : b; )/

and generating those tokens using Scheme or Lua.
posted by weston at 2:02 AM on May 5, 2010


We can debate what constitutes a language, but I'm more interested in how Apple thinks about it, because whether they make sense or are foolish, I have to deal with Apple's rules. If I develop for the iPhone, I don't want to put in months of work and then have my app rejected.

So, if I decide that I want to use something like JQuery for the iPhone -- a meta-language or whatever you want to call it, one written entirely in Objective-C but one that abstracts me away from many of Objective-C's functions and classes -- can I safely do so?
posted by grumblebee at 4:41 AM on May 5, 2010


Here's an example of the kind of thing I'm talking about. Is Apple okay with PureMVC?

PureMVC is a popular framework for Actionscript developers. It abstracts away from parts of Actionscript's core. For instance, AS has a built-in event-listenener/broadcaster API. PureMVC skips it and rolls its own. But, under-the-hood, PureMVC is written in Actionscript.

Now it's been ported to Objective-C. The idea is that someone who doesn't know Objective-C well, but who is used to PureMVC from Flash or some other platform (it's been ported to several) will feel at home. The won't use the standard Objective-C commands; rather, they will use the PureMVC equivalents.

But this version of PureMVC is really just a library of Objective-C code.

So is it allowable or not?
posted by grumblebee at 4:52 AM on May 5, 2010


Sorry, what?

It's a prototype, let's see how the final, shipping product performs, especially in terms of battery life.

Because now that I'm seen a prototype and read the gushing review over zedomax, anything less than flawless performance is substandard.

Interesting difference from Apple's secretive approach, where the final product is released and there's nothing to compare it to.

The iPad design makes some huge compromises to maintain Apple's profit margins and to get the 20-hour battery life...

Minor nit, it's a 10 hour battery.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:01 AM on May 5, 2010


Apple: Bad press roundup

...and then Apple goes and puts the screws to pool ol' Ellen.
posted by mazola at 6:00 AM on May 5, 2010


Apples attack on Adobe Flash, its all about online video
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on May 5, 2010


But this version of PureMVC is really just a library of Objective-C code.

If it is a C, Objective-C, C++ or Objective-C++ library that you add to an Xcode project, it will probably be allowed, just like ASIHTTPRequest or json-framework and many other libraries that are built from calls to Apple's core APIs. If PureMVC uses a third-party compiler to turn ActionScript into a compiled app or a compiled, static chunk of an app that you add to a project, then it will probably be rejected. This is not anything different from what Apple has already said.

And the C preprocessor makes it even fuzzier

If you're using Xcode to compile an app, it seems like the fuzziness stops where macros, methods, functions, and wrapper classes ultimately have to turn into compiled C or Objective-C code.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 AM on May 5, 2010


I hope you are right, BP. Here's what scares me:

"Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)."

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that a framework written in Objective-C is not what they mean by an intermediary or undocumented API.

But API literally means an Application Programming Interface. It's whatever commands a programmer uses to control a system. The only "Documented" APIs that comes with XCode are the standard ones for C, C++, Objective-C and the specific ones for Mac and iPhone/iPad programming, such as Cocoa Touch.

PureMVC is 100% written in Objective-C (the version I liked to is) by humans (not in some machine-translated process), but it has its own API. It has it's own interface by which you program it. There's nothing strange about using the acronym "API" when referring to a complex library like PureMVC or JQuery. That may not be what Apple means, but how do we know?

If I had to take a wild guess, I would assume that, in general, they won't bug you if you use 100% human-written Objective-C code, but that their vague language leaves the door open for them to step in if they want to. Which means that I'm at some risk if I choose to use frameworks like Objective-C. Maybe I'm not in much risk, but I smell some risk there.

I wish Apple would define their terms better. But it may be in their best interest to not do so.
posted by grumblebee at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2010


Another Flash Vs HTML5 benchmark - PC and Mac, mostly desktop based. Basically HTML5 gets slaughtered on everything bar a somewhat iffy text rendering benchmark.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it is a C, Objective-C, C++ or Objective-C++ library that you add to an Xcode project, it will probably be allowed

Probably.

If you're using Xcode to compile an app, it seems like the fuzziness stops where macros, methods, functions, and wrapper classes ultimately have to turn into compiled C or Objective-C code.

I don't think I get your point. I do agree that when everything gets mixed down to object code rolled into a ready-to-eat binary, there's no more fuzziness. But I don't see how that changes things upstream. There's still very little conceptual room between a function as a device used as a shorthand for a set of C tokens and macro as such a device, and in turn little room between having cpp emit C tokens to be consumed by gcc and having Perl or Scheme or Lua emit those C tokens. But the last part of that conceptual continuum is forbidden by the 3.3.1 license, and it's this line drawn across these several closely coupled concepts that I find most crazy about the restrictions. Particularly because in the end everything gets turned into code compiled by the same toolchain.
posted by weston at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2010


PureMVC is 100% written in Objective-C

Then it's a non-issue. There are many Objective-C libraries and none are remotely in question. I think you're reading more into this than is there, honestly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 AM on May 5, 2010


There's still very little conceptual room between a function as a device used as a shorthand for a set of C tokens and macro as such a device, and in turn little room between having cpp emit C tokens to be consumed by gcc and having Perl or Scheme or Lua emit those C tokens

This is irrelevant to questions about the wording of the dev agreement. If you're using a third-party compiler, your app will get rejected. Macros don't have anything to do with it; technically, they are just a shortcut to writing code before compilation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on May 5, 2010


Interestingly the MonoTouch guys seem to be still pushing forwards, though theres that bit about not hearing any direct feedback from Apple. Apple seem to actively want to be ambiguous in all this.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on May 5, 2010


So, Blazecock, you're saying that were I to write an Actionscript interpreter in Objective C - something that takes Actionscript code and converts it to Objective C for Xcode compiling - and then write all my apps in Actionscript and just run them through this, that's okay by Apple's developer agreement?
posted by kafziel at 12:03 PM on May 5, 2010


This is irrelevant to questions about the wording of the dev agreement.

I'm not arguing over whether it's clear that the dev agreement disallows X -> C compilation but allows preprocessor use. I'm arguing it's ridiculous as place to draw the line because of the vanishing differences between the things under discussion.

technically, they are just a shortcut to writing code before compilation.

Exactly. So, why this shortcut but not other shortcuts which are similar in terms of programmer utility and the same in terms of emitted object code?
posted by weston at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2010


I think you're reading more into this than is there, honestly.

I hope so. But I'm far from the only person who is confused, and thought it's been a while since this change to the dev agreement came out, it's odd that Apple is so quiet about it.

Here are some quotes from a cursory search I just ran:

The point is: we don’t know what Jobs means. We might not know until apps hit the app store and are approved or not approved.
http://www.itwriting.com/blog/2457-apple-locks-down-its-platform-just-a-little-bit-more.html

I originally thought this would ban games written using Unity3D, but perhaps not — Unity3D produces a complete Xcode project and Objective-C source files, so it’s more like a pre-processor than a cross-compiler. Hard to tell.
http://daringfireball.net/2010/04/iphone_agreement_bans_flash_compiler

I can't help wondering what does it mean even for C++ libraries such as Qt or wxWidgets
http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/04/08/2122254/iPhone-OS-40-Brings-Multitasking-Ad-Framework-For-Apps

what does “originally written” actually mean?
http://alblue.bandlem.com/2010/04/collateral-damage-in-331.html

The language as written is very broad and impacts too many developers & publishers for Apple's own good. It is also difficult to enforce for games in particular. I firmly believe Apple will clarify it with a fairly narrow interpretation, or even revise it, but it might take a while to get the answer we want.
http://answers.unity3d.com/questions/7408/is-unity3d-banned-by-new-apple-sdk-licence
posted by grumblebee at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Unity3D is a really confusing case. Unity has its own languages, but if you output for iPhone, it doesn't compile am iPhone app. Instead, it translates your code into Objective-C source code and creates a whole XCode project for you. The only way for you to compile it is to open it in XCode.

The CEO of Unity is optimistic but unsure of whether or not Apple will allow such iPhone development -- even though he's talked to people at Apple about it. WHY IS HE UNSURE? Why can't Apple say, with 100% certainty, "No, we will not allow this" or "Yes, we will allow this." Shit. They could even say, "You know, we're still hashing it out, internally" and it would be better than just vagueness.

I don't blame Apple for keeping Flash off the iPhone. I don't blame them for forcing developers to use certain tools and certain languages. I may not like some of those choices, but it's their device and I am capable of following their rules or moving onto some other device.

What I can't stand is vague rules. THAT is not fair. Come on Apple, CLARIFY! Give us ten use cases and say this one is okay, that one is not okay, etc. Or, if it's a gray area and each app will be judged separately, then say THAT. If that's the case, then iPhone app is a crapshoot. If it is, be honest about that!

I feel like someone is telling me that if I walk on their property, they PROBABLY won't shoot me.
posted by grumblebee at 12:25 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, why this shortcut but not other shortcuts which are similar in terms of programmer utility and the same in terms of emitted object code?

Because Apple doesn't want third-party compilers building write-once, deploy-everywhere iPhone applications, even if some commercial developers want that feature?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:26 PM on May 5, 2010


Via Daringfireball:

I especially like this video, showing the Android browser playing YouTube videos using Flash, where the guy narrating the video says “Good thing I didn’t buy an iPad, because this one does Flash”, and at that moment, the browser crashes.

Via WSJ:

``Speaking about Mr. Jobs's assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayen says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something "to do with the Apple operating system." ' '

lol
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2010


were I to write an Actionscript interpreter in Objective C - something that takes Actionscript code and converts it to Objective C for Xcode compiling

Can such a thing reliably exist through #define statements? I suppose it could but it would be an awful lot of work and debugging of edge cases and grammar translation. Does such a library of #define statements exist that is used for commercial development? There's probably a research paper in there somewhere, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2010


And on the general subject of benchmarking Javascript, IE must be damn confident in their new engine if they are suggesting people run this on it – the thing barely runs on FireFox and just about crawls along on Chrome.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on May 5, 2010


Because Apple doesn't want third-party compilers building write-once, deploy-everywhere iPhone applications

That might be their motivation, but they won't limit their collateral damage to that end and they might not even actually achieve it by fairly applying those license terms. And it's a pretty darn questionable goal in the first place.
posted by weston at 1:54 PM on May 5, 2010


I especially like this video, showing the Android browser playing YouTube videos using Flash, where the guy narrating the video says “Good thing I didn’t buy an iPad, because this one does Flash”, and at that moment, the browser crashes.

Via WSJ:

``Speaking about Mr. Jobs's assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayen says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something "to do with the Apple operating system." ' '

lol


BP, I respect your opinion, and I'm a big Apple fan (I own two macs, an iPhone and an iPad)*, but this is EXACTLY the kind of rhetoric we don't need. Computers crash all the time. It's ironic that one crashed just as someone was demonstrating how Flash is all that, but all we can learn from that is that, for whatever reason, that computer crashed right then.

About once a week, my iPhone crashes. It seems to do so pretty much at random. It would be pretty shitty of me to say, based on that one crash, "Oh, see! X sucks." X being whatever app I was running.

It's like if I promote eating well and exercising and then I die young of a heart attack, and then someone saying, "See! I guess it's NOT so helpful to live a healthy lifestyle," ignoring the fact that people have heart attacks for all sorts of reasons, including bad genes.

Your second quote is Adobe doing the same FUCKING thing. It's lies, damn lies and spin. An Apple machine crashed while it was running a Flash app. So instead of a reasoned discussion about it, we get the Apple team shouting "It's Adobe's fault" and the Adobe team shouting, "It's Apple's fault."

Has anyone -- on EITHER team -- actually diagnosed what caused the crash? If not, then they should shut up. Either come out with your expert knowledge about what caused the crash or be honest and say, "I'm going to say anything that supports my team, whether it's based on reality or not."

Meanwhile, we developers are out in the cold. We have to wade through the filthy sewer water of fanboy statements, CEO spin and outright ignorance.

I don't give a shit about Adobe. I don't give a shit about Apple. I just want Computer Scientists to act like SCIENTISTS and for those of you who are enthusiasts, hackers, pundits, etc. to pretend to be scientists for five seconds.

Since I run the world, I am not enacting a moratorium on the following in this discussion: "open standards" and "crashes." Exceptions will be granted to experts who can convince me that they do not have an iron in the fire and are more in love with truth than with defending Adobe or Apple or being defensive.

*I make my living as a Flash Developer. (However, I would prefer not to have Flash on the iPhone and iPad, and, in general, I am in favor of iPhone/iPad development being done in Objective-C, which is not that hard to learn.)
posted by grumblebee at 2:04 PM on May 5, 2010


Can such a thing reliably exist through #define statements? ... There's probably a research paper in there somewhere, at least.

Not just a paper, a precedent. Strousup says he created the "C with Classes" language first as a set of C preprocessor instructions that yielded C. The way I'm reading what he's saying, it sounds like he created those instructions using another program he wrote in C, but either way...
posted by weston at 2:05 PM on May 5, 2010


About once a week, my iPhone crashes. It seems to do so pretty much at random.

I notice that the endless freezes and shutdowns of the 3.1 update on 3G pretty much never get mentioned in these discussions... They updated it after a while but i was damn close to ditching the thing. I think a lot of these discussions are predicated on an expectation of stability from Apple products that experience does not bear out, and every one is supposed to politely ignore it when it doesn't.

FWIW I still get regular Safari hangs. That's pretty much the number one App to crash on my phone.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on May 5, 2010


they won't limit their collateral damage to that end

This hasn't happened, so until it does, you're speculating — and given that just about every app on the store probably uses some wrapper classes, you're speculating without good cause. I'll say it again: you're reading something into this which does not exist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:00 PM on May 5, 2010


I just want Computer Scientists to act like SCIENTISTS and for those of you who are enthusiasts, hackers, pundits, etc. to pretend to be scientists for five seconds.

Well, if you have an example of a computer language like Actionscript, C# etc. used with the iPhone, other than the big four that are already accepted, and which is facilitated through #define statements, please post it. The scientist in me would like to see it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:03 PM on May 5, 2010


What? I haven't said anything about #define statements in this thread. Do you have me mixed up with someone else? I have ZERO interest in Apple supporting Flash or Actionscript (or C# for that matter).

I was responding to your post about crashes, in which you reposed spin-like, political, rah-rah-team statements that shouldn't have been made in the first place.

Just because Adobe and Apple are making bullshit statements, that doesn't mean we have to spread their nonsense. Computers are very complex. Anyone who says "X causes my computer crash" is either an expert who has done rigorous tests (in which case, more evidence and less rhetoric, please), an idiot or a spin doctor.
posted by grumblebee at 3:18 PM on May 5, 2010


It's ironic that one crashed just as someone was demonstrating how Flash is all that, but all we can learn from that is that, for whatever reason, that computer crashed right then.

Come on, it's not only ironic, it's funny!

Robert Reich, former US Sect. of Labor, chimes in with a sensible take on Apple vs. the whole world:

Why is the Federal Trade Commission threatening Apple with a possible lawsuit for abusing its economic power, but not even raising an eyebrow about the huge and growing economic (and political) muscle of JP Morgan Chase or any of the other four remaining giant banks on Wall Street?

Our future well being depends more on people like Steve Jobs who invent real products that can improve our lives, than it does on people like Jamie Dimon who invent financial products that do little other than threaten our economy.

Apple’s supposed sin was to tell software developers that if they want to make apps for iPhones and iPads they have to use Apple programming tools. No more outside tools (like Adobe’s Flash format) that can run on rival devices like Google’s Android phones and RIM’s BlackBerrys.

What’s wrong with that? Apple says it’s necessary to maintain quality. If consumers disagree they can buy platforms elsewhere. Apple was the world’s #3 smartphone supplier in 2009, with 16.2 percent of worldwide market share. RIM was #2, with 18.8 percent. Google isn’t exactly a wallflower. These and other firms are innovating like mad, as are tens of thousands of independent developers. If Apple’s decision reduces the number of future apps that can run on its products, Apple will suffer and presumably change its mind.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:19 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Has anyone -- on EITHER team -- actually diagnosed what caused the crash?

Just to point out, Apple has in fact put in a plug-in isolation method in Safari 4.0.5, which specifically keeps a plugin crash from taking down safari. Pops up a nice "the flash plugin has crashed" dialog as well. I haven't seen other plugins crash on my machine yet, but in instances where it was or would have crashed, I am now seeing that Safari had to go and preemptively kill the flash plugin process.

Now, it could be something in Apple's code that is making it vulnerable to crashing when Flash is running, so they took precautions to isolate it, but the fact that by Apple isolating the Flash Plugin means that Safari crashes less, is leading me to suspect that the stability issue is more in Adobe's court than Apples.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:28 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised, mrzarquon. Adobe hasn't hasn't had much competition in the web-video and multimedia world, so they probably got lazy. On the other hand, you're also right when you say that MAYBE Safari should be more robust and not let plugins like Flash thwart them. I don't know. What I do know is that I'm going to be VERY careful about making half-cocked statements without knowing all the facts.

BP, you plopped anecdotes about crashes into this thread. Then, when I called you on doing that -- on spreading rumors as if they added something substantive to the discussion -- you neither confirmed it or denied it. You didn't say, "I guess you're right." Nor did you say, "They aren't just anecdotes. Here's hard data to back up what I'm saying." You didn't even say, "Yeah. I'm spreading anecdotes. So what? It's fun!"

Instead, after wasting at least as many words as I have here, you implied the whole thing is silly, because there are more serious problems in the world. I agree, there are. But here, we're talking about Apple and Adobe.

And people from those companies are telling lies.

Adobe has implied that OS X is buggy in a pretty serious way. That's a SERIOUS charge. They'd better be able to back that up. I use OS X and I also program Flash apps. I need to know what serious bugs Adobe has uncovered in OS X. If they haven't ACTUALLY uncovered any, they should quit bullshitting. If they have found bugs, they should share them with us so that we can work around them or bug Apple to fix them.

Apple has implied that Flash is deeply flawed and that it causes Safari to crash. I assume that means that Flash is going beyond what it SHOULD be doing inside Safari. In other words, if Flash is playing by the "plugin rules," then it's Safari's fault if it's crashing. But that can't be the case, because Jobs says it's a Flash problem. I don't find that hard to believe. On the other hand, I don't just accept statements like that without evidence -- evidence that the problem is all (or mostly) Adobe's fault. So why doesn't Jobs come forward with evidence?

Why don't you come forward with evidence? You have enough self-respect to do that, right? To keep quiet about things you're unsure about and explain things you are sure about.

By the way, if you're sick of me, here's how to get me to leave this thread: rather than giving your evidence for how you know it's Adobe, and not Apple, that is responsible for the crashes -- or rather than explaining why, without evidence, you are spreading these rumors -- just don't respond at all. Or "respond" by telling me I'm taking it too seriously. Or respond by pretending I am talking about #define statements. Or respond by saying, "Tell me this:" and then act like I'm trying to defend Flash or denounce the iPhone. (I'm not doing either.)

I will take any of the above as a sign that you don't take my comments seriously and I'll be on my way.
posted by grumblebee at 4:12 PM on May 5, 2010


This hasn't happened, so until it does, you're speculating.

If you take a straightforward reading of the license, it has indeed already happened, since the language of the license seems to clearly forbid writing in, say, Scheme that compiles to C.

And while it may be speculating to say that there'll come an Apple ban on intermediate libraries written in the blessed languages, what we're talking about isn't the distant possibility realm. Some of these libraries will almost certainly grow up into solutions that span other mobile platforms. If, as you say, Apple is motivated by and committed to eliminating cross-platform targeting, they'll have to follow with a stance against these libraries... leaving developers who've invested in them stranded.
posted by weston at 4:38 PM on May 5, 2010


spreading rumors

For the record, all of the observed instability that Flash causes — or happens when people use Flash — is pretty well documented. I just found it funny that Adobe is using the media to blame Apple for Flash being buggy, and at the same time it demonstrably cannot make a stable product for Google. Or, sorry: crashes happen "coincidentally" while Flash content is pulled up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:07 PM on May 5, 2010


Presumably, if you make a system and allow people to write plugins for it, there are certain expectations that you have of those plugins. You ask that they only use X amount of resources, etc. You then say, "as long as your plugin plays by these rules, you will not be held responsible if something bad happens, because we are guaranteeing that plugins that follow those rules will work in our system. And if they don't, that's our fault."

Flash crashes Safari. Okay, is that because Flash is not following the rules? Because just saying that Flash is causing the crashes isn't good enough to place the blame on Adobe's shoulders. If I tell a kid he can jump up and down on the bed, and then, when he jumps up and down on it, it breaks, that's not the kid's fault.

As Adobe says, it might be Apple's fault. Maybe Flash is playing by the rules, and yet, even though it is, OS X has bugs in it that cause Flash to crash.

Of course, Adobe SHOULDN'T say that unless they 100% know it to be the case.
If they are saying that without evidence, they are liars.

Can you link to the documentation that shows that (a) the browser crashes more often when it's running Flash than when it's running other processes that do similar things (play videos, etc) and (b) that this is because Flash is violating the rules it's supposed to be following?

I am not trying to catch you out or prove that Flash is a fine and dandy piece of work. My suspicion is that Flash is riddled with bugs. But I don't judge without evidence. I am trying very hard to get accurate, honest, un-politicized answers.
posted by grumblebee at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2010


The problems with Flash, I suspect, often have to do with poor flash programming and/or malicious flash ads, too.
posted by empath at 6:53 PM on May 5, 2010


The problems with Flash, I suspect, often have to do with poor flash programming and/or malicious flash ads, too.

I think the unfortunate tester was using Google's YouTube at the time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:52 PM on May 5, 2010


Adobe could not win in the court of public opinion and so are trying to strong-arm Apple in a federal courtroom. Honest people will recognize this scheme to label Apple a monopoly as an out-and-out scam.

Spot on perfect parody of the sort of nonsense argumentative tactics we see all to often. If you disagree with the statement you're "dishonest" because "honest" people see it otherwise or ike this. Bravo, a better parody of an assholish statement could not be made. Up there with the use of fanboy and haters.

As for beta applications (and for the matter released applications crashing, well beta application crashes. Laugh fucking out loud. Unreal.
posted by juiceCake at 11:25 PM on May 5, 2010


I think the unfortunate tester was using Google's YouTube at the time.

On a prototype device.

More on point, I'm inclined to agree with empath about the root of most Flash issues. Let's face it, there are millions of Mac users using Flash often hundreds of times a day without issue. I find the assertion that Flash is fundamentally flawed pretty ridiculous. It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

Now if Jobs wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater and just ban Flash altogether, that's his prerogative but it's going to be a long time before HTML5 is able to replace all the stuff being done with Flash today and you're not buying a device for 5 years from now.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:42 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


grumblebee I think you're taking too legalistic an approach. The new license means one thing, and one thing only:

Apple gets to dictate not only what gets on the iPhone, but how it's written, and the rules are so vague that pretty much any program can be found to be in violation if Apple chooses to see it as violating. Therefore if, for any reason whatsoever, Apple dislikes your product or especially if your product threatens their vendor lock in model of business, you will be found to be out of compliance with the TOS and your program will be removed from the iPhone.

The TOS is deliberately vague. Of course it can cover wrapper classes, if Apple ever chooses to kill a threatening program and it doesn't violate anything else they'll kill it for using wrapper classes.

Earlier I would have speculated that the draconian, blatantly self serving, and monstrously vague TOS would have frightened developers away. The fact that Apple has, repeatedly, demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to let people invest time/money/energy into a product then unevenly enforce their TOS to kill one product, but not similar products, is all the evidence you need to know that the TOS isn't a legalistic document enforced evenly but rather an umbrella document meant to be unevenly enforced and exists only to give cover to discriminatory action. You develop for the iPhone at the mercy of Apple, and they're pretty damn merciless.

You'd hope that sort of hostile, anti-programmer, environment would hurt the iPhone and force Apple to change it's evil ways. But that hasn't happened, apparently there are enough developers out there who will write code for the iPhone no matter how much shit Apple makes them eat, and how risky it is from a business standpoint.

But let's not fool ourselves, we all know, even Blazecock Pileon if he'd just admit it to himself, that the entire purpose of this TOS is to give Apple cover for when they go after anything that threatens their vendor lock in. I'll give you any odds you want that the presence of an app on the Apple store and the Android store results in an automatic TOS violation notice from Apple. The objective of this isn't quality, it's business: Apple benefits from having any given app available only for the iPhone, and they can and will punish you for making it available anywhere else.
posted by sotonohito at 7:03 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


the entire purpose of this TOS is to give Apple cover for when they go after anything that threatens their vendor lock in

That's certainly the malicious interpretation. The flip-side is they are trying to shepherd developers to using a supported set of APIs to ensure smooth delivery of advancing and evolving technology. It's good for Apple and good for end-users (and perhaps even good for some developers) and goes a long way to avoiding "My apps' busted/buggy/slow!" complaints when development is based on a third-party (see: Apple-Adobe).

Apple has a pretty consistent track record of creating products that must win/lose on their own merit. When they introduced the iPod they could've sold it below cost to gain immediate share and kill all the competition. Instead they released it at a ridiculous price point and it won on the basis of its features and design. They really don't have a history of an 'own the market at-any-cost' kind of ruthlessness about them.

On the other hand, I have first-hand experience on what Flash does on my laptop. Fans start a'blazin' and things can slow down or lock up. It is not inconceivable that it would be a bad technology add-on to other mobile devices. Apple has acted in a principled way in the past and there's enough goodwill built-up that I accept Jobs' arguments at face value on this one.

The biggest danger that I see is a post-Jobs Apple where decisions are being made on perhaps less visionary or principled grounds. The company is now large enough that it may have to play by a new set of rules in order to fuel growth and provide shareholder value.
posted by mazola at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2010


That's certainly the malicious interpretation. The flip-side is they are trying to shepherd developers to using a supported set of APIs to ensure smooth delivery of advancing and evolving technology.

They why use vague language?
posted by grumblebee at 9:07 AM on May 6, 2010


I'll give you any odds you want that the presence of an app on the Apple store and the Android store results in an automatic TOS violation notice from Apple.

Off the top of my head, Remember the Milk is on both.

I totally agree that Apple has demonstrated they can be capricious and investing in developing for their mobile devices is something of a risk because of that, but I haven't seen evidence yet that just writing for another device is enough for them to reject an app.
posted by weston at 9:28 AM on May 6, 2010


Smartbooks have been delayed by Flash issues, says ARM

However:
Drew [ARM VP marketing] suggested that solving the issue of Flash optimisation had involved "lots of heavy lifting" but once the new version of Adobe's rich media software is in place for smartbooks, that would be "very powerful" for ARM....However, Drew said he was "far from disappointed" with ARM's smartbook development experience thus far. "I actually think we're a lot stronger because of it," he said. "We now know what we didn't know two years ago. It has taught us a lot about how we work with software companies."
posted by bonehead at 9:31 AM on May 6, 2010


Drew said. "[The delay in optimising] Flash has stalled [non-iPads]".

So, basically, Steve Jobs was 100% correct in his letter that sitting around and waiting for Adobe to ship fresh product can put your business at a severe disadvantage.

"I am disappointed that you can't go down to PC World and buy a smartbook at the moment, but I'm convinced something will happen," Drew said.

Keep convincing yourself while your smartbook companies' only real competitor keeps shipping millions of working smartbooks, while you're testing prototypes and waiting on Adobe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2010


Off the top of my head, Remember the Milk is on both.

Off the top of my head, Pandora, Simplify and Opera are on both as well; all of which compete with Apple on some level. I'm sure it's just an oversight, though, and Steve will have them removed shortly before he holds your phone ransom for ONE MEEELYUN DOLLARS.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just mean ARM right? Be fair, the iPad's main competition at the moment is Intel-based.

The Intel-based smartbooks, Asus, HP, Dell, etc... seem to be selling well. My wife would be very surprised to hear that flash games don't work on her netbook. It's one of the main purposes she uses it for.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2010


You just mean ARM right? Be fair, the iPad's main competition at the moment is Intel-based.

I don't know if a prototype can be fairly called a competitor. Nonetheless, the Android tablet prototypes from Dell, ASUS, etc. that are meant to compete with the iPad are running ARM, I think. A few prototypes are running Intel's Atom (WePad?), but not as many, I don't think.

In any case, however, the iPad isn't a netbook (some call it a "content consumption device", but "smartbook" works) and wasn't designed to be one, but it appears to be hurting netbook sales, among other categories:

How the iPad gobbles up netbook sales

Also getting cannibalized: iPod touches, eReaders, desktop PCs and handheld videogames
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:49 AM on May 6, 2010


Scribd CTO: "We Are Scrapping Flash And Betting The Company On HTML5"
posted by mazola at 11:57 AM on May 6, 2010


Heh. Good. That thing needs killing with fire.

The question is how will they manage to make their HTML based version suck as much?
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank God. Scribd is an incredibly stupid use of Flash.
posted by grumblebee at 12:27 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like how their all "obviouly Adobe was making us suck so bad, but now thanks to the iPad we can move our* stuff onto the radical new format that is HTML used to display a static document!"... Not at all reaching and desperate at all there.

Of course they'll probably do something stupid like render the whole thing in canvas with an equally bad UI.

* for often quite dubious values of "our".
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on May 6, 2010


Okay, here's something REALLY outrageous: [Insert some random fact here about how Steve Jobs did something nasty or about how OS X is flawed.]

So, you see, that just proves my point that iPads suck!
posted by grumblebee at 1:14 PM on May 6, 2010


Ha! More proof that Adobe's products are buggy security risks and that Flash is evil, evil technology: [insert proof here.]

See? Can we all FINALLY admit that Apple is the good guy here and Adobe is the bad guy?
posted by grumblebee at 1:16 PM on May 6, 2010


Just. can't. quit. this. thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:24 PM on May 6, 2010


See? Can we all FINALLY admit that Apple is the good guy here and Adobe is the bad guy?

Microsoft, always Microsoft.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on May 6, 2010


Apple is the beneficiary of a robust developer group that was nurtured (not by Apple but by quick profits) during the earlier days of the iPhone; the same developer group that Apple sometimes seems to being working against.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's from a website called "PC Perspective," surely it is free of bias and agenda!
posted by entropicamericana at 3:23 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bit more detail on the Scribd thing - looks like they make the browser a big SVG viewport, which makes a lot of sense.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on May 6, 2010


Entropicamerica - if you think that's evidence of partisanship you should check out what the name of the site linked in the FPP is! Phew!
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


entropicamericana: "It's from a website called "PC Perspective," surely it is free of bias and agenda!"

facepalm.jpg

First sentence of article: "The Apple iPad has been out for about a month and I have been a user of a 16GB Wi-Fi model since day one."

Yeah this is clearly a PC fan! Burn the heretic! Heed not his lies!
posted by mullingitover at 4:27 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I have to dispute how much of the success of the iPad is the result of Apple. In fact, I believe that the iPad is a success despite of Apple, not because of it.
...
These programs and numerous others that users love on the iPad could have been published on the Windows (or other) platform had there been the initiative to do so and if Microsoft had been able to convince developers to change their way of thinking about touchscreen applications. The programs that ran on Windows needed an interface switch that developers seemed unable to do without insistence. Insistence that they apparently got from Apple.
How on earth does someone even write that? Does any of that even make sense?
posted by mazola at 5:43 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, it totally makes sense. Apple made them write better code because Apple's standards are extremely high in this area. The Apple Store is Steve Jobs' greatest innovation. All the shiny devices etc. are the window dressing that brings people into the store and it is the store that makes the money, especially into the future. He has already started to monopolize music sales and now he has his sights set on video. Crushing Flash is all about monopolizing video. Through the Apple Store content vendors now providing free content will eventually be able to charge for their content. We will pay because it will be cheap like it is with dead tree media because everyone will be paying. Jobs is an evil genius, but it might actually be a pretty rich non-free environment he leaves as his legacy.
posted by caddis at 7:21 PM on May 6, 2010


Bit more detail on the Scribd thing - looks like they make the browser a big SVG viewport, which makes a lot of sense.

It's actually pretty good. There's been some complaints about fidelity and the way various browsers handle font fidelity apparently, but it's infinitely preferable to their previous awful UI.
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM on May 7, 2010




"No more IT track, few scheduled Mac sessions, and it was only announced six weeks ahead of time. And it sold out in record time.

Last year’s took a month to sell out. This year’s took eight days."


[source]
So much for leaving in droves.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:58 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh lordy. Viewing source on that Scribd thing brings up some horrors.
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on May 7, 2010


I am an unabashed partisan of the Web — its architecture, culture, and content. I’m proud to have played a very small part in shaping bits of the machinery and having contributed probably too many words to that content But as for HTML5? It’s a good enough thing to the extent it turns out to work. But nothing terribly important depends on it.
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Top 10 Luxury Brands’ Sites Fail To Work On iPad - Well duh. Those sites are nothing but a single flash movie. Someone needs to fimnd a way to replace monolithic flash based "sites" with lots of animation and poor UI with monolithic HTML based sites with lots of animation and poor UI.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on May 7, 2010


Satoru Iwata, the Nintendo president, is understood to have told his senior executives recently to regard the battle with Sony as a victory already won and to treat Apple, and its iPhone and iPad devices, as the “enemy of the future” .
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on May 7, 2010


They better get crackin'. The iPhone already has better resolution than the Wii; and it's going to double in a month.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:17 AM on May 7, 2010


Of all the companies that are making smartbook/tablet/content-consumption/whatever devices, Nintendo is probably the only one that could do something original and non-derivative of Apple's products. I'd look forward to their take on this stuff.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on May 7, 2010


On the other hand theirs Ninetndos unfortunate habit of doing something original and non-derivative and actually very good which bombs like a motherfucker regardless.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on May 7, 2010


The Wii is pretty stable, never had any troubles. Granted, I don't play it as much as I used to, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is out at the end of the month, so maybe I'll find out then.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:36 AM on May 7, 2010


10 Reasons Why Steve Jobs and Apple Won't Support Adobe Flash.

In Flash.

I thought they were trying to be ironic and funny, but apparently they regularly present information this way. Oy!
posted by mazola at 11:46 AM on May 7, 2010


entropicamericana: "They better get crackin'. The iPhone already has better resolution than the Wii; and it's going to double in a month."

I don't see how having a higher display resolution would protect them from a patent suit onslaught, if Nintendo wanted to go there. Something tells me Nintendo has a deeper patent portfolio in the game business than Apple.
posted by mullingitover at 11:50 AM on May 7, 2010


Nintendo's problem is that it's a lot easier to convince people to buy games for their phone than to convince people to start carrying around a second device. Also, iPhone games are a fraction of the cost of DS games.

So as smart phone games get better, and younger people start getting phones, Nintendo's job selling portable game devices gets a lot harder.
posted by Gary at 12:56 PM on May 7, 2010


I had forgotten that Nintendo's next portable is the 3DS. So it addresses none of the core problems (as I see them) and continues a proud legacy.

(I'm sure I'll buy it when the first Mario platformer comes out and let Nintendo fanboy cognitive dissonance rationalize the purchase for me)
posted by Gary at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I need to correct what I now believe to be a misconception which I introduced upthread. Contrary to my comment here (and reiteration here), C++'s precursor "C with Classes" was probably not actually originally implemented with the C preprocessor. I went digging for the source containing the presumed C->"C with Classes" preprocessor directives, and have asked around a few places and from what I've been told, it wasn't in fact much like cpp #defines, but instead, it was a custom preprocessor that Stroustrup wrote from scratch in C. He didn't use the term compiler because he was essentially only doing token translation. Though I still think it's pretty interesting (and relevant to discussion of the new 3.3.1 restrictions) that he bootstrapped a language that didn't have the semantics of classes embedded into one that did with only token translation.
posted by weston at 1:40 PM on May 7, 2010


App Store scammers - clearly the new terms will help prevent this kind of thing.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nintendo's problem is that it's a lot easier to convince people to buy games for their phone than to convince people to start carrying around a second device.

You'd think, being from Japan, they would have been dealing with this problem for a long time.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw: I don't think even the most ardent Apple fanboy would claim the App Store is without flaws; I know I have my criticisms of it. Most would probably say that Adobe doesn't have a right to tell Apple how to run its store.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:04 PM on May 7, 2010


Hell, even Gruber criticizes the App Store.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:05 PM on May 7, 2010


And the App store will remain broken, because lets face it - though they are happy to use the quality of Apps in their store as a playing chip in their silly wars with other companies, they have no will whatsoever to deal with actual real problems in a way that makes sense.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or, another way of putting it, having hundreds of fart apps was not a problem until the possibility of someone writing it in flash mysteriously made it so.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


IE and the CANVAS tag
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on May 7, 2010


How to make your own iPad stylus
posted by Artw at 5:01 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


App Store scammers - clearly the new terms will help prevent this kind of thing.

Clearly the old terms did a lot to prevent this kind of thing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:35 PM on May 7, 2010


/does Appstore search, gets result matching articles screengrab.

Apparently not.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on May 7, 2010


My mind hurts.
posted by mazola at 6:44 PM on May 7, 2010


I have a pain in my diodes all down my left side.
posted by bonehead at 7:47 PM on May 7, 2010


Or, another way of putting it, having hundreds of fart apps was not a problem until the possibility of someone writing it in flash mysteriously made it so.

This discussion would go a lot better if quality (as a relative term of judgement on an application's merits) wasn't continually conflated with quality (as a measurable term of technical merits).

You can make apps (ie fart apps) that are poor under the first meaning in any old software. But to really drop the ball on the second meaning takes Flash. A Fart app written as Apple wants software written takes up a few hundred K and runs efficient as hell. A Fart app written in Flash and compiled for the phone with CS5 hits 8MB in size and runs far less efficiently.

Apple itself muddies the waters a bit -- and obviously wants to encourage upmarket+well designed apps -- but ultimately it's about technical quality, because crashes/battery killers/huge apps will reflect badly on them, not the chods who "followed Adobe's instructions to the letter".
posted by bonaldi at 7:19 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple developing Flash alternative named Gianduia - though technically I'd say that's actually a JavaScript framework.
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2010


Hope they change that name. Not sure how to pronounce it and I keep reading it as "Glandula".
posted by Grangousier at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2010


Apparently it's Cocoa-like but isn't Cappuccino? (Fans of the argument over what is and isn't a language will love Objective J)
posted by Artw at 8:44 AM on May 8, 2010



5 Things Apple Must Do to Look Less Evil

posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on May 8, 2010


Apple developing Flash alternative named Gianduia

That's interesting. I wonder how Gianduia is different than SproutCore, which is also (I'm told) Cocoa-like, even though it doesn't take the "objective" syntax tack.

- though technically I'd say that's actually a JavaScript framework.

Yeah, I think there's a broad problem here when people invoke the term "Flash Replacement" -- a lot of them seem to think of Flash as solving one or two specific problems (most commonly, I'd say, cross-browser video and RIAs), and seem to assume that those niches are the entirety of its reason for existence. I'm sure that progress with HTML does mean an eroding need for Flash in those niches (if not an end to Flash's serviceability), but a "Flash Replacement" has to do a lot more than shore up those gaps in the open web.

Fans of the argument over what is and isn't a language will love Objective J

I do love it. Objective J seems a little weird to me -- adding the same capabilities to C seems like a big leap in capability, but JavaScript by itself is already most of the way there in terms of a robust and dynamic model for objects, introspection, communication, etc, so I'm intrigued with the reasoning behind its creation. And I also think it's interesting that Apple chose to apparently bless SproutCore route rather than adopting this embrace of one of their core technologies.
posted by weston at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2010


And I also think it's interesting that Apple chose to apparently bless SproutCore route rather than adopting this embrace of one of their core technologies.
Well, it's partly just that SproutCore came first! But also, aside from Obj-C, Cappuccino isn't really very Apple-y at all. Its goal -- and especially the Atlas IDE -- seems to be about making cargo-cult OS X apps run in a browser -- but the results are neither the web nor really anything like desktop apps, and I fear it's going to be consigned to a backwater.

Sproutcore *is* similar, but it's much more amenable to doing Apple-style things , so for instance you can have a Core Data-ish back-end with a more webby front-end.

Gianduia is, I think, just the parts of the company that use WebObjects getting their own framework. It seems like you're not a real dev group in Apple if you don't have your own framework. Their internal approach to web things reminds me of the pre-Jobs days, and shows just how undervalued the web still is in there. If the Eye of Jobs was on the web there wouldn't be this chaos.

Actually, that might be great: WebObjects Obj-C could get resurrected and you could write code that worked on Mac, iPhone, iPad and the Web, with only the views needing changed. Ho, if he knew what he had.
posted by bonaldi at 11:51 AM on May 8, 2010


On the Android Flash demo at Flashcamp Seattle

Then, [Ryan Stewart, a Flash Platform evangelist at Adobe] pulled up the same thing on his Nexus One. The site’s progress bar filled in and the 3D world appeared for a few seconds before the browser crashed. Ryan said (paraphrasing), “Whoops! Well, it’s beta, and this is an intense example — let’s try it again.” He tried it again and got the same result. So he said to the audience, “Well, this one isn’t going to work, but does anyone have a Flash site they’d like to see running?” Someone shouted out “Hulu.” Ryan said, “Hulu doesn’t work,” and then wrapped up his demo, telling people if they wanted to try more sites they could find him later and he’d let them play with his Nexus One.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gianduia is, I think, just the parts of the company that use WebObjects getting their own framework. It seems like you're not a real dev group in Apple if you don't have your own framework. Their internal approach to web things reminds me of the pre-Jobs days

A pre-Jobs WebObjects team? I'm a little fuzzy on this idea; I thought WebObjects came to Apple with NeXT. And I'm surprised that anybody left working with WebObjects wouldn't also be eating the dogfood and working on Apple's online stuff...
posted by weston at 12:37 PM on May 9, 2010


I'm impressed that they'd try eco zoo TBH, that ones definatly ambitious. Hulu thing sounds like it's more down to browser detect and blocking.
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on May 9, 2010


A pre-Jobs WebObjects team?
No, I mean the approach to the web reminds me of Apple before Jobs came back: lots of different teams working on different and incompatible goals, from OpenDoc to Copland, with no adult supervision or direction.

The people in there who are working on WebObjects are mostly doing seriously heavy lifting -- they're powering the iTunes and App stores, the Apple Store systems (online and off) and so on. But there are lots of other parts of the company doing web-facing stuff, including the devtools team (new framework for the iPad version of the doc readers), the documentations team (new framework for the online iPhone manual), etc, etc, etc. It's all very Apple.
posted by bonaldi at 1:08 PM on May 9, 2010


You'd think they try for something a little less ambitious just so they can say "Look, it's working ok? FU Apple." Crashing and burning like that doesn't look good.

Unless you're Steve Jobs and demoing the iPad for the first and gleefully showing off that Flash doesn't work on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on May 9, 2010


[flash lite beta crashes at demo, o noes]

Cool post. You forgot to include the part where he went on to say:
Personally, I hope Adobe gets Flash working well on Android soon. Flash is still one of the greatest tools we as web developers have, and the idea that HTML5 can do everything that Flash can do and thus renders Flash irrelevant is completely inaccurate — patently absurd, in fact.
posted by mullingitover at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


What's Flash Lite? He was demoing Flash 10.1 supposedly and it crashed spectacularly. On the one hand, "hey, it's a beta, AMIRITE?!" but on the other "could you just show the fucking thing working so it looks like you're doing something, AMIRITE?!"

Hell, just start some a demo of less intensive site, then work you way up to the big stuff. At least then you can say "Hey, we got it running pretty well, still a few bugs to iron on though."

Interesting departure from Apple demos, where things are done by the management staff and things just work. It's a very controlled environment sure, but it beats having crashing demos when you're trying to prove the technology works.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:34 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do Children's E-Books Ruin Reading?
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on May 9, 2010


Interesting departure from Apple demos, where things are done by the management staff and things just work. It's a very controlled environment sure, but it beats having crashing demos when you're trying to prove the technology works.

At worst, this latest debacle shows how utterly correct, if cold, Steve Jobs is in his letter about Adobe and Flash on mobile devices. How much more apologia we will have to endure yet remains to be seen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 PM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Free FreeHand: Adobe accused of software monopoly.
posted by mazola at 9:00 AM on May 10, 2010


Oh yeah, I'm surprised Adobe wasn't forced to sell off Freehand by the Justice Department.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:26 AM on May 10, 2010


Heh. Will nobody think of the Adobe GoLive users?
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on May 10, 2010


PageMill forever!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:49 AM on May 10, 2010


Fuck you for taking Homesite from us, Macro-dobe!
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on May 10, 2010


Whoa, you gotta have SOME standards Artw.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:59 AM on May 10, 2010


Best HTML editing enviroment I ever used. The crap they gave us in it's place was an abomination.

Disrespecting it to my face would probably be a stabbin' offence.
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on May 10, 2010


Heh.

We know FreeHand is working fine in Windows Vista and 7, but we all had our moments of doubt while installing it on Mac OS X 10.6: Will FreeHand still work? There were rumors that it wouldn't. We were relieved to find that it does work in Snow Leopard (after first installing Rosetta, and maybe following Adobes workaround). But the experience reminds us that we hang on the edge — maybe next time it won't work.

Macland sounds fun.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on May 10, 2010


Corporations that buy and bury the products of others, just because they are unable to produce a better product, do harm to our society. Not only do they act unethically, they also obstruct progress in this country!

Speak truth to power!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on May 10, 2010


I'm kind of amazed they found 5000 people to be upset about it and actually give them money. I'm not sure I actually know of an enthusiastic Freehand users - it was always something people used because they got it in a bundle while actually wanting Illustrator. Can they not go follow Corel around or something?
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on May 10, 2010


The State of HTML5 Local Data Storage
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on May 10, 2010


Android market share surpasses iPhone's, NPD says - Motorola Droid gives platform a boost; BlackBerry still market leader in U.S.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on May 10, 2010


Jobs: iPad Printing "Will Come"
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on May 10, 2010


Freehand always had its diehard fans, probably because it was more of an all around tool, as opposed to Illustrator's focus on drawing. It always annoyed the crap out of me though.

Of course printing and other things will come to the iPad. Like the iPhone, it shipped with noticeable deficiencies, but it's good enough to get a toe hold.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:39 AM on May 10, 2010


Oh and it's cool that Android is doing well, competition is good. I suspect the numbers will be a bit difference once the next iPhone comes out though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Socialist overthrower of all that is good and right in America disses iPad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:09 PM on May 10, 2010


Now he;s going to have to backtrack, like Ellen!
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on May 10, 2010


Surely this... !
posted by mazola at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2010


When's he going to start demanding Hypercard, or something like that, for the kids? And proper Radioshack like the old days, dammit.
posted by Artw at 12:20 PM on May 10, 2010


Change I can believe in: Flash working properly on a mobile device.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:21 PM on May 10, 2010


Obama can't work an iPad?

Are there health issues we should know about?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:33 PM on May 10, 2010


Hmm....

So why might this be good news for Apple? Both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are considering an anti-trust suit against Apple over banning non-Apple tools for developing for the iPhone. But if the iPhone is only number 3 in smartphone sales, Apple might argue that the suit should be thrown out because it is not dominant in the market. By losing, Apple may come out a winner.

Really not sure it works that way.
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on May 10, 2010


If only we had elected Sarah Palin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:10 PM on May 10, 2010


Android market share surpasses iPhone's, NPD says - Motorola Droid gives platform a boost; BlackBerry still market leader in U.S.

Methodology: The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile device sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month. Surveys are based on a nationally balanced and demographically-representative sample, and results are projected to represent the entire population of U.S. consumers. Note: Sales figures do not include corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:52 PM on May 10, 2010


Yeah, I'm not surprised that iPhone sales are down right before the widely discussed new model is released. Let's talk sales for third quarter 2010 when it's over, okay?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:08 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Canonical shows off 'Unity' desktop
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on May 10, 2010


MacBook Air Refresh Rumored For This Week - Is this thing supposed to be a netbook or what? it's always seemed kind of a clumsy attempt to enter that market to me, at way too high a cost, in which case I'm not sure why they'd want a new one now they have the iPad.
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on May 10, 2010


Steam on Mac preview roundup: all but identical to PC - Jobs is gonna be pissed!
posted by Artw at 4:46 PM on May 10, 2010


Top Flash Misperceptions : Flash is a CPU Hog
posted by Artw at 8:54 PM on May 10, 2010


Oh, having my CPU pegged at 100%, the fans cranked, and my laptop roasting my lap is just a misperception. For what Flash is doing (which is usually what some ad is doing in the background), I should be thrilled at its efficiency, yes?

Also:

Now, there is currently one potential exception to this, and that is video playback. Looking at the video performance numbers posted at Streaming Learning Center, you can see that in some configurations, Flash video can require more CPU resources than H.264 video played back directly in the browser. Specifically, on Safari on Mac, H.264 video played back via the browser, uses significantly less CPU than video played back via the Flash Player.
posted by mazola at 9:06 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Top Flash Misperceptions : Flash is a CPU Hog

Flash is just being nice, turning your fan on for you at full blast! It's a feature, not a bug.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, yes. That does seem to be the reported behaviour with Flash video on the Mac, as reiterated again and again throughout the thread, and acknowleged within that article, and it would seem like the predictable result of handling video without hardware - but to address the articles point, outside of Video are there any particular benchmarks that show Flash as lacking?
posted by Artw at 9:32 PM on May 10, 2010


iPad as a reading medium
posted by Artw at 11:11 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, yes. That does seem to be the reported behaviour with Flash video on the Mac, as reiterated again and again throughout the thread, and acknowleged within that article, and it would seem like the predictable result of handling video without hardware - but to address the articles point, outside of Video are there any particular benchmarks that show Flash as lacking?


Well, it's hard to say anything that hasn't been said repeatedly in this thread already, but here goes...

I do concede that there are many things Flash does well and it currently bests HTML5 in any rendering benchmark you can throw at it.

The trouble is: a) Flash is often misused/overused (that's not the fault of Flash); b) it can be buggy (whose fault is that? Apple or Adobe?); c) there are increasing numbers of viable alternatives to deliver content that chip away at what were previously strengths for Flash.

I've recently installed ClickToFlash and have come to better realize: 1) where I actively use Flash; 2) where Flash content is irrelevant but sucking up cycles nonetheless; 3) where Flash is actively problematic. Unsurprisingly most of Flash falls under 2). Where Flash continues to excel is complex interactive content.

So to answer your question, no, I can't show you benchmarks. It's the overall experience. Perhaps Flash doesn't need to die, but it really needs to get knocked back a bit.

And while the line that 'Flash doesn't use much CPU compared to what it does' might have truth for desktops, it totally sidesteps the relevant discussion here of Flash's performance and demands on less-capable mobile devices. Do they have cycles to spare? Does ubiquitous use of Flash on the web hurt the actual user experience more than it adds? Does a web littered with Flash-based web-ads simply drain resources from the device without adding any real value to the user?
posted by mazola at 11:29 PM on May 10, 2010


outside of Video are there any particular benchmarks that show Flash as lacking?

I don't have a spreadsheet of numbers, but I'll just assert out of general knowledge that Flash ads make web sites load and operate more slowly and drain the battery life out of mobile devices faster than they should, given their functionality (fucking ads, for crying out loud). Flash is a nuisance outside of very specific contexts: ad-free video and ad-free games. Everything else is a CPU suck pretty much everywhere Flash runs, and that makes Flash a really poor engineering decision for media on mobile devices, makes it a really poor decision for mobile manufacturers to support if they want to give the impression their hardware is quality, and makes it a really poor user experience for end users who already have come to expect engineering miracles from portable devices, thanks to the likes of (yes, sorry) iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads. Basically, the article is wrong from the start. H.264 hardware doesn't come with Windows machines, so relying on H.264 hardware to argue why Flash is slow in doing video is false. Flash runs slowly because of software engineering and marketing decisions made by Adobe, and that's no one else's fault or responsibility to fix. Ultimately, in a free market, no one should feel obligated to prop up or protect Adobe's revenue streams by forcing other companies to support Flash.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:35 AM on May 11, 2010


Steve Jobs declared 'fully operational'.


The experience prompted Jobs, who doesn’t even have license plates on his car, to talk publicly about his transplant. (!)
posted by mazola at 6:15 AM on May 11, 2010


BP: "I don't have a spreadsheet of numbers, but I'll just assert out of general knowledge that Flash ads make web sites load and operate more slowly and drain the battery life out of mobile devices faster than they should, given their functionality (fucking ads, for crying out loud). "

Coming soon: html5 canvas elements making web sites load and operate more slowing while draining battery life, all to display ads you can't block! Progress.
posted by mullingitover at 9:12 AM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Holy fuck. Eco Zoo actually running. Now I am super impressed.

It's a ballsy choice, and clearly pushed things too far for that one demo, but dfamn is it impressive when it actually works.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on May 11, 2010


What's the battery life like?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2010


Playing 3D games (the equivalent of what ecodazoo is doing) drains the battery out of my iPhone 3GS pretty fast. I'd say 3 or 4 hours roughly.
posted by Gary at 1:26 PM on May 11, 2010


That said, I completely agree with "Oh and real artists ship.". If adobe wants to win this, they need to get a few must-have games or sites or whatever running on the Nexus One.

If they had a few top ten apps in the store before the new Apple rules came into effect, there would have been a much bigger outcry.
posted by Gary at 1:35 PM on May 11, 2010


Hee, they should be demoing the ability to run Farmville within their Facebook App.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:50 PM on May 11, 2010


A second iPhone 4G has been leaked (!) and yes, it's got an A4 processor in it.
posted by koeselitz at 7:28 AM on May 12, 2010


Video of latest leaked iPhone 4G [in Vietnamese]
posted by koeselitz at 7:31 AM on May 12, 2010


A second iPhone 4G has been leaked (!) and yes, it's got an A4 processor in it.

Seems logical.

It's the iPad mini!
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on May 12, 2010


Wow, Grant really gets around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 AM on May 12, 2010


It should probably pointed out that there's all kinds of weird knockoffs and fakes floating around Asia, so Apple might not want to invade Vietnam just yet.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on May 12, 2010


Fair point, ArtW, although the fakers went to a hell of a lot of trouble to put an Apple logo on the chips inside, lay out the internals the same as the previously-floated 4G, but somehow failing to make it an operable phone.
posted by adamrice at 8:08 AM on May 12, 2010


From the comments:
All this coming out on the same day as the news of another Foxconn employee “suicide”… ( http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/12/content_9840667.htm ). Yes, TC, this is all getting quite “silly” indeed.
And the backstory?
There seems to be little new information posted, though the individual who submitted the link to us stated a Vietnamese businessman had bought it in the U.S. together with an iPad.
WTF?
posted by mazola at 8:27 AM on May 12, 2010


What, you don't have your iPhone HD yet? Where have you been?

*videocalls his friends and laughs at mazola*
posted by entropicamericana at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2010


HTC's complaint against Apple examined
posted by Artw at 5:45 PM on May 12, 2010


HTML5 Readiness Infographic created using HTML5.

Neat.
posted by mazola at 8:42 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wiping faeces on your iPhone more popular than Spotify
posted by homunculus at 9:15 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since it just happened in the background in another window as I was checking my recent activity, this is what now looks like when Flash Crashes under 10.6.3 v1.1 / Safari 4.0.5.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:15 PM on May 12, 2010


"No company -- no matter how big or how creative -- should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web"

Adobe co-founders respond to Steve Jobs

Adobe takes case against Apple to 'Net with ad, open letter
posted by mrgrimm at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2010


Archos 7 Home Tablet review - You get what you pay for...
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on May 13, 2010


The latest Sunnyside comics> podcast has a pretty in depth look at comics on the iPad from PJ Holden (on the subject previously), though you'll need to get past a little waffle (and N. Ireland accents) first. 
posted by Artw at 8:26 AM on May 13, 2010


No Adobe, Apple isn't so much against open standards, just Flash as a Standard.

I swear, both sides are just talking to their own reality distortion field.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:29 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man I would I like to be going on about comics on the thing rather than that bollocks... sigh...
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on May 13, 2010


Adobe isn't doing themselves any favors on the stability argument front. The new plugin that they installed with CS5 is killing Safari on my Mac at least a dozen times a day.

I also posted my (not too impressive) iPad results (I know, I needed it for work) to the GUIMark 2 page Artw linked to a few hundred comments back.
posted by ecurtz at 9:02 AM on May 13, 2010


I just caught up with Ellis's Freak Angels over the weekend, the complete series. Damn good stuff.

How are the Droid Apps for reading comics? I got the Marvel one and the Comics X for the iPhone and those are really nice. Feels good to be excited about comics again, love the idea of having entire comic boxes of material in my pocket.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:04 AM on May 13, 2010


Well, the one that really matters is comixology, and I’m not aware of an Android version of that. The Android ones that are out there tend to be straight CBR readers, and lack the store interface or the metadata that makes panel-to-panel views possible.

It's worth giving the podcast a bit of a listen - PJ's pretty knowledgeable when it comes to the various readers.
posted by Artw at 9:13 AM on May 13, 2010


Oh, and Comixology on Windows Phone 7 got demoed at MIX, so presumably that’s going to be ready from the get go.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2010


mazola - ouch. Some very nasty things happen to the layout on that infographic page under iPhome.
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on May 13, 2010


Of that I have no doubt. Still, it's kind of neat.
posted by mazola at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2010


Yup.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on May 13, 2010


When did Apple become uncool?
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on May 13, 2010


When did Apple become uncool?

I'll grant that their iPhone->iPad creep has been worrisome. But The cachet of whipping out your iPhone at a restaurant is all but gone now; you're more likely to witness rolled eyes while the real oohs and aahs are directed at the guy with the latest Android handset. just makes me laugh. I literally talked to a guy thirty minutes ago who was hot to get an iPad for the 'chick factor.' Never had that conversation where Android was mentioned.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:55 AM on May 13, 2010


"No company -- no matter how big or how creative -- should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web"

Wow. Adobe has crashed and burned if they are reduced to passive-aggressive, fact-free snipes like this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hulu says HTML5 'doesn't yet meet all of our customers' needs'

(read: DRM)
posted by Artw at 11:12 AM on May 13, 2010


When I used to think of Adobe, I would think "crashy software that makes my Macbook's fans roar." Now I think "butthurt developers that make crashy software that I avoid whenever possible."
posted by entropicamericana at 11:17 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gruber expands to Macworld and writes about Apple Rolls.

Meanwhile, back on his website, he slags an Android tablet or two.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2010


Wow. Adobe has crashed and burned if they are reduced to passive-aggressive, fact-free snipes like this.

Fact free? Whether or not you think it's a good thing (and Adobe isn't being particularly shy about their position that they don't think it is), I'd say it's an inarguable fact that Apple (a) interposes itself between developers and users (b) dictates to developers how they'll create their apps and (c) doesn't allow plugins for its web browser on their mobile platform. And that's pretty much what Adobe said.
posted by weston at 11:43 AM on May 13, 2010


I literally talked to a guy thirty minutes ago who was hot to get an iPad for the 'chick factor.' Never had that conversation where Android was mentioned.

Maybe Android users just aren't hopelessly delusional?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:04 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


MeFi
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2010


Oh god, it's just never fucking going to end, is it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:00 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just gonna not comment in that thread at all if I can help it. To that end, if everybody can avoid getting up to a leaving-an-admin-note level of hijinks, I'll buy you a coke.
posted by cortex at 1:01 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Make it a bottle of a real cane sugar Coke and you might have a deal.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:19 PM on May 13, 2010


cortex is in the pocket of HFCS.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2010


Hulu: HTML5 isn't ready for prime time (or maybe not, they've pulled the blog posting). Interesting. their concerns are exactly the same as grumblebee's points above. Streaming security just isn't there yet.
posted by bonehead at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2010


Adobe's new Flash DRM comes with selective output control.
posted by mazola at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2010


Analysis gives first look inside Apple's A4 processor - single-core ARM A8 made by Samsung.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw, that's sad. I was hoping it was something Apple made from that semiconductor company they bought. This is like finding out your special spoon was hand carved, from a bigger spoon.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:52 PM on May 13, 2010


Maybe Android users just aren't hopelessly delusional?

That, or Android users have just given up on getting laid...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:02 PM on May 13, 2010


Do Androids dream of getting laid?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:58 PM on May 13, 2010


With electric sheep?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:29 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Word For Word: The Apple & Adobe Letters.

Well that clears things up.
posted by mazola at 8:39 AM on May 14, 2010


ChurchHatesTucker: “I literally talked to a guy thirty minutes ago who was hot to get an iPad for the 'chick factor.' Never had that conversation where Android was mentioned.”

Sys Rq: “Maybe Android users just aren't hopelessly delusional?”

ChurchHatesTucker: “That, or Android users have just given up on getting laid...”

There might have been a time when it made sense to rely on shiny gadgets to impress people enough that they might want to sleep with you – maybe – but I imagine that time ended with the advent of the internet. If you want someone to sleep with, you are now free to find someone who wants to sleep with you. The internet has many features, and this is one of them: there's no reason for the horny people of the world to be sleazy and manipulative any longer.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on May 14, 2010


Curated computing: what's next for devices in a post-iPad world
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2010


"There might have been a time when it made sense to rely on shiny gadgets to impress people enough that they might want to sleep with you – maybe – but I imagine that time ended with the advent of the internet."

AHAHAHAHAHAH!

Sorry, that was rude.

*ahem*

No, youngling, that hasn't ended in the last twenty years (which is a generous approximation of when "the internet" "advented", at least in popular consciousness.) I'll dare to say it won't end in the next couple decades, either.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:00 AM on May 14, 2010


Just so everyone knows: Carrying an iPad around on a scooter like in that advert will not get you laid, it will just make everyone think you;re an idiot who willlikely break their expensive gadget soon.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe the "if they like your gadget they will sleep with you" thing does make sense in some quarters, ChurchHatesTucker – though it still stinks of trying too hard – but if it did, why would you base your assumption that it does on the breathless declarations of the hopeless and yet apparently unlaid? You said a dude talked to you for half an hour about "the chick factor" of an iPad. It may be possible that the fellow you spoke to wasn't precisely an authority on the subject.

And if you think I'm old, how old are you exactly? I mean, I was born in the 70s. I don't how much of a "youngling" I am any more.
posted by koeselitz at 11:20 AM on May 14, 2010


You said a dude talked to you for half an hour about "the chick factor" of an iPad. It may be possible that the fellow you spoke to wasn't precisely an authority on the subject.

Of what? iPads? Certainly not, hence the conversation. Of 'chick factor?' Yeah, I'll have to give him the benefit of the doubt there. (You'll just have to trust me on that one.)

The larger point is that I've had these conversations about a variety of Apple products, but the only Android conversations I've had is "does this work? Am I doing this right?"

And no, do not lord your seventies birthdate, youngling. I'm sure that works for you more often than not, but this is not one of those times. :)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:30 AM on May 14, 2010


The internet has many features, and this is one of them: there's no reason for the horny people of the world to be sleazy and manipulative any longer.

The Internet has spawned millions of new ways in which the horny people of the world can be sleazy and manipulative.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2010


I guess my mistake was that I implicitly distrust and dislike people who use phrases like "chick factor."
posted by koeselitz at 11:37 AM on May 14, 2010


youngling

There has to be an equivalent to Godwin's law for raising Star Wars / George Lucas references in an internet conversation. "Greedo's Law" or something.
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on May 14, 2010


...especially in astrophysics forums....

"The Kessel Run Coulda Happened, Man! Less than twelve parsecs, man!"
posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on May 14, 2010


I guess my mistake was that I implicitly distrust and dislike people who use phrases like "chick factor."

Yeah, don't distrust people based on the language they use. Try to understand what they're actually *saying.*
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:43 AM on May 14, 2010


I thought we were talking about Pennsylvanian lager.
posted by cortex at 11:48 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought we were talking about Pennsylvanian lager.

OK, my google-fu fails me. Is there a lager called 'chick factor?' Because I would totally buy it if there was.

And I'm totally going to brew if if not.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:19 PM on May 14, 2010


I believe he means this Pennsylvania lager.
posted by koeselitz at 7:40 PM on May 14, 2010


Oh, groan.

Seriously, "Chick Factor Lager!" Look for it soon!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:51 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chick magnet
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:00 AM on May 15, 2010


Steve Jobs Offers World 'Freedom From Porn'
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on May 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thought #1: How in the world does the CEO of a $250 Billion company find the time to read and answer unsolicited email from the hoi polloi?

Thought #2: I guess you can get a lot done in a world without porn...
posted by mazola at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another good iPad-centric Sunnyside comics episode. There's some interesting non-obvious stuff about print versus screen - also a moneyt quote about portrait being the format the web was supposed to be seen in, which really if you think about it, it is.
posted by Artw at 5:37 PM on May 16, 2010


Android vs. iPhone Development: Navigation Differences
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on May 16, 2010


... also a moneyt quote about portrait being the format the web was supposed to be seen in, which really if you think about it, it is.

Quick, Artw, what are the dimensions of this window in your browser?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:33 AM on May 17, 2010


Steve Jobs Offers World 'Freedom From Porn'

"By the way, what have you done that's so great?"
posted by mrgrimm at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2010


ChurchHatesTucker - a very potraity 320x450 minus the odd bit of chrome - why do you ask?
posted by Artw at 12:12 PM on May 17, 2010


"In response to a question in a recent Apple shareholder’s meeting, Jobs said that a HyperCard-like product for the iPad would be a good idea “though someone would have to build it”. Many blog posts suggested that Apple's intention with this change was to ban cross-compilers and ensure high quality, fully native iPhone apps. Jobs all but confirmed the analysis on John Gruber's site. The Mac platform in particular has a long legacy surrounding HyperCard and as virtually the last man standing in this space. We believed we were in a position to offer Apple something they wanted."
posted by weston at 6:20 PM on May 17, 2010


iPad meets the ugliest keyboard in the world, gets on fine
posted by Artw at 7:40 PM on May 17, 2010


Apple iPad:And the 2 per customer rules out 'stash', too.
posted by mazola at 9:03 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amazon staffs up to 'create iPad killer'

Poor old Kindle. It's the best there is at what it does, but what it does ain't sexy.
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on May 18, 2010


Stupid Retro Tricks: iPad as Apple //e tape drive

Stupid Retro Tricks, part //: Windows 3.11 on a Google Nexus

both via Engadget
posted by bonehead at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I went to the bookstore to buy a book on iPad development. The only book they had was the "For Dummies" one, which wouldn't have been my first choice, but I went ahead and bought it.

It contains tips to help keep your app from getting rejected. Most of them are what you'd expect (make sure the app's icon looks professional, etc.) But towards the bottom of the tips is this:

"Don't mention Steve. Apple will reject any app that mentions Steve Jobs in any context, even as a clue in a puzzle -- it does not matter how trivial the reference; Just the name is enough."

WTF?

The only thing I can think is that they're worried someone will create a Shoot Steve Jobs app, and rather than spend time looking through everything, they just search for "Steve Jobs" and auto-reject any app that shows up in the results. Weird.
posted by grumblebee at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2010


Well, there goes my idea for a "Steve Jobs Bobble-Head Magic 8 Ball" app.

(Answers would have included "Insanely great", "You are already naked", "Be a yardstick of quality", "Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?", and of course, "What have you done that's so great?")
posted by weston at 11:15 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am trying to imagine how that rule got created. I'm guessing it wasn't there initially. It's more likely a response.

To what?!?

What did someone(s) try to do?

And I'm trying to imagine the day Steve Jobs walked into the Approval office and says, "If the app mentions me, axe it."

Jesus! What must it be like to work for that company?
posted by grumblebee at 11:27 AM on May 18, 2010


Poor old Kindle. It's the best there is at what it does

It's this fact that makes me most interested in Amazon's apparent intentions. The Kindle has the problem of being a purpose-targeted device with an unfortunately limited audience (since there's a lot more people who choose video/audio entertainment than there are enthusiastic readers), but it does indeed seem to be quite good at what it does. If Amazon can take that ability to make a good focused product and translate that into a general tablet, then combined with their own content empire, I'd say they have a pretty good chance of being a competitor.
posted by weston at 11:31 AM on May 18, 2010


Apple iPad:

* Flash
* Cash


Ugh.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:42 AM on May 18, 2010


Don't mention Steve. Apple will reject any app that mentions Steve Jobs in any context, even as a clue in a puzzle -- it does not matter how trivial the reference; Just the name is enough.

This is why I only refer to him as "The Colonel"
posted by burnmp3s at 11:50 AM on May 18, 2010


Then be careful what you submit so you don't get one of those Colonel panics.
posted by mazola at 12:17 PM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kindle for Android due this summer
posted by Artw at 12:44 PM on May 18, 2010


Android to allow apps to run off SD cards
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on May 18, 2010


The iPad Is Such A Great Travel Computer I'm Selling My Laptop
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on May 18, 2010


Kindle for Android due this summer

That is excellent news. I've been using Aldiko a lot lately, and while I'm loving the ability to just whip out my phone and read something while sitting in waiting rooms, the legitimate selection leaves something to be desired. Access to the Kindle marketplace would be fantastic.

Now NetFlix just needs to get their ass in gear.
posted by kafziel at 1:01 PM on May 18, 2010


Facing Fonts in HTML - This is the first of a three-part series on the technology behind Scribd’s HTML viewing experience. Part 2, “The Perils of Stacking,” and part 3, “What’s in a Font?” are coming soon.

Some of this is fairly straight forwards. Some of it I consider a little weird.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on May 18, 2010


Really interesting, Artw! Thanks.

Text-display is a HUGE area where browsers/HTML need to kick themselves in the ass to stay ahead of Flash. I really don't want Flash to become the go-to standard for complex text layout on the web. Even in a world where Flash continues to be used (and useful) along-side HTML, I want HTML to be used for text display.

However, though most people don't seem aware of this, Flash CS5 (Flash Player 10) has an incredibly advanced text-layout engine built in. It can do things that, as far as I know, HTML can't approach, such as ligatures and flow from one text-box to another.
posted by grumblebee at 1:34 PM on May 18, 2010


I just remembered the reason why I won't be buying an iPad, but will be buying an Android slate computer. It is a small event, but instructive.

My employer supplies me with an iPhone, I do support the majority of the people I support use iPhones, therefore I needed one.

A few hours after I got mine, I activated the notes application and was stunned by the ugly, distracting, faux yellow legal pad background, and the nearly unreadable ugly font. I immediately looked around for the option to change the vile font and background to something more palatable, which is when I found that I was not permitted to do something as simple as choosing a font. Apple had decreed the proper font for note taking, I was not permitted to question Apple's infinite wisdom on the topic of fonts. I'd take the font they gave me and like it.

Which is when I decided I wouldn't be buying an iThing for myself.

The fact that the iPhone makes you buy third party apps for the simple and basic function of file storage was just the icing on the cake.
posted by sotonohito at 1:54 PM on May 18, 2010


Plenty of free notes apps.

TBH I don't mind notes, though the physical metaphor is a little silly other that it's basically as simple and stripped down as possible and the bells and whistles that other apps add only lessen them.

Looking at the equivalent app on the iPad it appears they've gone a little bonkers with the whole metaphor thing, you probably wouldn't like that. But are people really going to get the pad and not get Apple's Office app to go with it?
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on May 18, 2010


Artw, yes I'm aware of the availability of other notes apps. But the point is that it rubbed my nose in the fact that there is the Sacred Apple Way of Things, and that as a mere customer I was prohibited from changing even the most minor and inconsequential of the Sacred Apple Way of Things.

The iThings are designed to be exactly and precisely what Steve Jobs wants, and if what you want is what Steve Jobs wants then you're in luck. But if you would like to change even one tiny little thing from the way Steve likes it, you're SOL.

I'd rather have a bit more freedom in my devices.
posted by sotonohito at 5:19 PM on May 18, 2010


I actually quite like this piece by Gruber on the design of Notes.
posted by Artw at 5:26 PM on May 18, 2010


(Now I'm wondering if there is an iPadness to match the concept of iPhoneness... overuses of physical metaphor as predicated by the design guidelines and some of Apples own stuff shouldn't be it.)
posted by Artw at 5:41 PM on May 18, 2010


ChurchHatesTucker - a very potraity 320x450 minus the odd bit of chrome - why do you ask?

Really? HxV?

Damn, dude. You walk the walk, I'll give you that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:12 PM on May 18, 2010


"I figure as soon as it runs Emacs, that will be the sign to buy."
posted by koeselitz at 12:23 AM on May 19, 2010


From the 'as soon as it runs Emacs' link:
Stallman's vision for the future of computing is very open, and Apple's vision for the future of computing is very closed.
Actually, I'd argue that Apple's vision for its future (not computing in general) is very 'we will absolutely control our platform and not be reliant on 3rd parties to advance it'. Calling Apple very closed when it supports HTML5, an open standard, is short sighted.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:02 AM on May 19, 2010


Two interesting posts from Mike Chambers. The first is about whether the browser video tag is a threat to Flash. The second is about whether or not Flash is a CPU hog.

Chambers works for Adobe, so you should take that into account when you read his posts.

I am not a CPU expert, so I can't speak to the accuracy of his thoughts on that subject. However, everything he says about video is true. Regardless of what side you're on (or even if you're on no side, like me), you will probably find the video article informative.

I wish that, before people debated this stuff, they were at least armed with the info in the article. It's fine if they disagree with it or think some of the facts are wrong (and can explain why), but SO many people are debating from a point of ignorance. They don't know the difference between a codec and a playback engine; they don't know the actual state of HTML5 video (as it is playing out now, in real browsers used by real people), and they don't know the difference between streaming and progressive video.

In other (very quiet, not much publicized) news, Flash will soon be giving developers byte-by-byte control over video content. Which means that as videos play, you will be able to grab the video data and manipulate it however you want -- in real time. (The down side? This will surely lead to even MORE cpu hoggery. The upside? Although it's really cool, not many people have the expertise to play on the byte level. So don't worry about the cpu thing too much. You won't see it everywhere.)
posted by grumblebee at 7:31 AM on May 19, 2010


The second is about whether or not Flash is a CPU hog.

Yeah, really don't care about what a blog post says when my Intel Macbook keeps choking on Flash usage, particularly with game play.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, you should care (if you really want to know why your Macbook is choking). The article claims that if that same game was being delivered via Javascript/HTML5, your Macbook would choke just as much.

Are you 100% sure that's not true.

I have no idea whether it's true or not. But if I cared, I would run some tests. I don't care enough to do that, so I won't run the tests. But since I'm not going to do that, I'm also not going to mouth off with an opinion.

It's like saying, "All I know is that uncle Joe was alive until he started taking those pills." Yeah, but Uncle Joe also did a lot of other things on the day he died. It MIGHT be the pills. It might not.
posted by grumblebee at 8:24 AM on May 19, 2010


Calling Apple very closed when it supports HTML5, an open standard, is short sighted.

Yeah, I don't see Apple's desire to lock down the platform while keeping the network open to be at all hypocritical. (Problematic, possibly...)

Well, you should care (if you really want to know why your Macbook is choking). The article claims that if that same game was being delivered via Javascript/HTML5, your Macbook would choke just as much.

So the advantage of Flash is... ?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:59 AM on May 19, 2010


So the advantage of Flash is... ?

Cross browser compatibility?
posted by Tenuki at 9:06 AM on May 19, 2010


Oh, are we going to go over the benchmarks again?

Flash just flat out does some things better, and does a number of things that HTML does not do at all.

Plus for video it works in IE6-8 and Firefox, which Apple's suggested Video tag/H264 solution does not.
posted by Artw at 9:10 AM on May 19, 2010


Cross browser compatibility?

As opposed to a standard like HTML5, etc.?

Flash just flat out does some things better, and does a number of things that HTML does not do at all.

This is true, for the time being, and is probably why there's an app store at all.

Plus for video it works in IE6-8 and Firefox, which Apple's suggested Video tag/H264 solution does not.

I've no sympathy for IE, but the Firefox thing does point out a problem with the web standards. I don't see how Flash is a solution for that, though.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:31 AM on May 19, 2010


I think the distinction to be made (or at least that Jobs would want to make) is the performance between a Flash 'app' (lets say games) and a native iPhone/iPod app, not between Flash and HTML5. Here I'd like to see benchmark comparisons between Flash and native apps.

Now there's a lot of other Flash on the web that are not 'apps' in that sense. A lot of this is comparatively simple stuff that HTML5 could conceivably do (and probably should, but that's just my opinion). Some of this stuff is distinctly 'Flash' and best treated as such.

A win here for Apple isn't to entire crush Flash, or even keep it off the iPhone/iPad platform forever. A win is guide some development towards native apps, some development towards HTML5, and then, when a new development landscape is safely entrenched, Apple can relent and make Flash available where it has a more limited relevance and scope.
posted by mazola at 9:42 AM on May 19, 2010


HTML5 is not, as yet, a standard. Getting there, but not quite one yet.

Also TBH I think the difference between a proprietry plugin that plays a video and a proprietry codec that plays a video is rather a fine one from the point of view of who gets to shout "open" more.

As for cross-browser compatibility, it's pretty clear at this point that the plug-in has the lead there, being essentially the same across most platforms with some variances in performance and a couple of notable exceptions (the iPhone, iPad) which remain secondary devices and a small percentage of the market. Right now with the browser market we have it's still the choice that makes the most sense for video, with the video tage/H264 creeping up from behind as it's probable future replacement.

This is true, for the time being, and is probably why there's an app store at all.

I think the distinction to be made (or at least that Jobs would want to make) is the performance between a Flash 'app' (lets say games) and a native iPhone/iPod app, not between Flash and HTML5. Here I'd like to see benchmark comparisons between Flash and native apps.

Well, yes. When Jobs says "use HTML5" and leaves out the fact that HTML5 isn't really going to work for most of what Flahs does, what he's really saying is build an App. Not very open at all.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on May 19, 2010


I have no idea whether it's true or not. But if I cared, I would run some tests. I don't care enough to do that, so I won't run the tests. But since I'm not going to do that, I'm also not going to mouth off with an opinion.


On my particular machine, a 2.2 GHz core 2 duo MPB, complex HTML5 content tops out at 50% cpu usage in Firefox and Safari. Complex Flash CPU usage averages 85% and tops out at 90%, which is high enough to reliably kill the user interaction in my copy of Firefox.

Just because Mike Chambers can't burn up his 8 core 3GHz cpu on Flash content doesn't mean it isn't a pig.
posted by ecurtz at 9:55 AM on May 19, 2010


Also TBH I think the difference between a proprietry plugin that plays a video and a proprietry codec that plays a video is rather a fine one from the point of view of who gets to shout "open" more.

The fact that open-source, free, functional non-Adobe compilers and players exist for Flash swings it pretty far in one direction, I'd say. You don't ever have to touch Adobe to work in Flash.

As for cross-browser compatibility, it's pretty clear at this point that the plug-in has the lead there, being essentially the same across most platforms with some variances in performance and a couple of notable exceptions (the iPhone, iPad) which remain secondary devices and a small percentage of the market. Right now with the browser market we have it's still the choice that makes the most sense for video, with the video tage/H264 creeping up from behind as it's probable future replacement.

The problem with the video tag using h264 is that Firefox won't support it, on account of the inevitable licensing nightmare that comes with a closed, proprietary codec. So if the standards committee decides on h264, are sites that use the video tag to push h264 video just going to be nonfunctional on the majority of browsers, including the only one with functional adblocking? Is it going to be possible to write a plugin for Firefox that interprets the video tag for h264?
posted by kafziel at 10:04 AM on May 19, 2010


Is it going to be possible to write a plugin for Firefox that interprets the video tag for h264?

Yes

I really think the whole H.264 thing is a red herring, do you honestly remember what video codec you were using 6 years ago?
posted by ecurtz at 10:16 AM on May 19, 2010


6 years ago RealPlayer and in-browser QT still stalked the earth. Flash became the defacto standard as a reaction to that.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google launches open WebM web video format based on VP8
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on May 19, 2010


Google unveils Chrome web store, Sports Illustrated app impresses - this is all from the Google I/O keynote, steaming here.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on May 19, 2010


Microsoft to support VP8 video codec with Internet Explorer 9, after all?
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on May 19, 2010


Adobe hastens release of HTML5 developer tool.
posted by mazola at 11:50 AM on May 19, 2010


All this coming out on the same day as the news of another Foxconn employee “suicide”…

More on Foxconn: Undercover Report From Foxconn's Hell Factory
posted by homunculus at 12:34 PM on May 19, 2010


Cross browser compatibility?

As opposed to a standard like HTML5, etc.?

I've no sympathy for IE, but the...

ChurchHatesTucker, what do you do for a living? I build web apps for corporate clients. They demand that the apps work in ALL heavily used browsers. All of my clients demand this, and I don't have unusual clients. I can't name them here, but they're companies you've heard of. And they want the apps to work in all browsers, because THEIR clients demand this.

So (granted I am stuck in my particular mindset and workflow, though I think it's a pretty common one), I don't get your position. How am I supposed to make an HTML5 app that works in IE6? I am not given time to code multiple versions. I am not given the right to say, "Fuck you if you don't use a modern browser." That is the real, banal world that I (and many others) live in.

(Also, how am I supposed to provide STREAMING video -- not progressive, like what YouTube uses, even though people keep WRONGLY insisting that they use streaming video -- to my clients? 90% of them DEMAND streaming video. Note: streaming video does not mean "it plays before it's completely loaded." Both progressive and streaming video do that.)

I worry that I come across as a Flash apologist. I'm not. I enjoy coding Actionscript, but I would rather see a standards-based web than a web full of proprietary technology. From a philosophical perspective, I'm right there with you, brother. If Flash dies, I'll say, "It was nice knowing you," but I won't shed any tears.

But I love on planet Earth. I live in 2010, not 2015.

I wish people posting opinions about what technology we "should" be using would define "should." Do you mean what technology would should be using in an ideal world or what technology we should be using to stay in business pleasing TODAY'S clients?
posted by grumblebee at 1:30 PM on May 19, 2010


Well, you should care (if you really want to know why your Macbook is choking). The article claims that if that same game was being delivered via Javascript/HTML5, your Macbook would choke just as much.

Are you 100% sure that's not true.


What I know is what's happening today and that is Flash choking up my reasonably powerful Macbook. I'm not going to run tests or investigate it a lot further, because, as a user, I've seen the frustration of using Flash and I really don't care what Mike Chambers of Adobe says.

If I have to run tests to "prove" something about your technology, then the makers of that technology have screwed up somewhere. I've got stuff to do, you know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, BB, I guess it depends what who you need to get done. You see, I have people asking me to make apps for them. I don't want those apps to crash people's browsers. So maybe you have the luxury of being able to spout off with an opinion without doing any research. I don't.

And all these people who DO endless, endless, endless political volleying and team-loyalty shit make it really hard for some of us to get work done, because I can't trust anything anyone says.

I can't trust what you say, because you refuse to even consider all sorts of possibilities. I can't trust Chambers, because he works for Adobe. I can't trust Jobs, because he works for Apple.

Almost every opinionated person seems to either have a stake in one company or the other, be a fanboy for one company or the the other, or be an ill-informed person (who may not care which company "wins" but who hasn't actually, fully tried the various technologies or who doesn't understand them).

Yes, Flash causes problems when it's doing all sorts of multimedia work in the browser. Okay, then I shouldn't use Flash. What SHOULD I use? Do you see my problem? Maybe you don't have that problem because (I assume) you're just some guy playing a game, your browser crashes, you see that Flash was the technology used to make the game, so you say "Flash did it!" Fine. WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PLEASE YOU?

Let's assume "you" are someone who wants to play this intense multimedia game in a browser. You don't want me to use Flash to make that game. What should I use? (It needs to be something that will work in all heavily-used browsers, including IE6.)
posted by grumblebee at 2:01 PM on May 19, 2010


If I have to run tests to "prove" something about your technology, then the makers of that technology have screwed up somewhere.

Also, that's an absurd statement.

You're driving a car and you hear a weird noise. You tell the manufacturer, "Your car is making a weird noise." You describe what it sounds like.

He says, "I really doubt that's our car. Is it possible you have something in the back seat or the trunk that's making the noise? Can you look?"

You say, "Hey, all I know is I hear the noise when I'm driving YOUR car. I am a busy guy. I don't have time to run tests. If I have to run tests to 'prove' the noise isn't coming from your car, then there's something wrong with your car."
posted by grumblebee at 2:08 PM on May 19, 2010


Here's what I think the problem is with Flash...

Well, it's certainly possible that the problem is that Flash is just poorly made. Even if it's generally well made, I'm sure it has its bugs and shortcomings, as all complex apps do. In fact, as someone who works with it every day, I KNOW it has it's problems and shortcomings. I wrestle with them.

... but the real problem is that Flash has given us unrealistic expectations of what it's reasonable to do in a web browser.

I suspect that if you do any heavy-duty multimedia, you're going to have problems. Maybe not for all users, but for a sizable number of them. Some people have new computers; some people have old computers. Some people don't open up multiple tabs; others play video or games with ten other tabs open.

What we do know is this. IF the web was mostly images and text, pretty much everyone would be on a level playing field. Even really old, slow, crippled computers can display static text and images.

The problem is that Flash came along -- and it came along years ago, when the average computer was even slower than it is now -- and gave developers the ability to so all this cool, CPU-taxing, RAM-taxing stuff. And so they did it.

From what I can tell (and I may be wrong -- and if I am, please explain), doing that sort of stuff using ANY sort of browser technology is going to cause problems. If you are making dozens of pixels change color 24 times per second, playing sounds and doing complex (game) math, you're going to overly tax many people's machines, especially if they are running many other apps while they're playing your game. (Which is the norm: e.g. I keep gmail and Facebook running all day, in addition to whatever non-browser apps I'm running. And, of course, there's the browser itself!) I think there are going to be problems even if we bypass Flash and do it all with canvas.

So maybe the real truth is that if we want to make a general-audience web app, it should be mostly static text and images. But the problem is that people expect more. And we have Flash to blame for that.

I think that's true.

But it's also where we are nowadays. That cat is already out of the bag.
posted by grumblebee at 2:20 PM on May 19, 2010


Ok, I'm not an Apple fanboy here. But the arguments against Flash are roughly the same ones we saw with Java and ActiveX: performance, failure to deliver HCI-compatibility, security issues, and another company having a big stake in the system. We're not seeing big arguments made about Silverlight, largely because it's late to the party and the proprietary strings there are obvious and undeniable. I think Jobs' "think about the user" rhetoric is half concern regarding user experience, and half wanting to keep control of the platform.

What should you use? Personally, I think you should use whatever makes sense for your project. Sun, and now Adobe both tried to sell the "write once and run anywhere" concept, and for various reasons, that's proven to be hype. Most of the traditional games market didn't even bother with the idea of "runs anywhere," and will say what systems you need on the box, caveat emptor. Google uses javascript that fails to function in Opera and Microsoft uses ActiveX that fails to run outside of IE.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:44 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's what I see as an inherent shortcoming for Flash in the whole interactive-content domain (games, etc).

I understand that Flash may have a better development environment. I understand that Flash is more widely usable than HTML5 (Canvas) and JS.

The problem I see is that Flash is all the work of one company. I read that there's an open-source Flash interpreter that has a partial implementation of an old version of Flash. I'm going to say that's not really relevant unless your initials are RMS.

There are several different organizations with lots of smart people actively working on Javascript, some open-sourcing their work, and they've taken it from the point where it was abominably slow to pretty snappy over the years. The sheer force of competition between different JS interpreters will condemn Flash to riding on a slower escalator than JS.

Grumblebee
How am I supposed to make an HTML5 app that works in IE6?
[snip]
But I l[i]ve on planet Earth. I live in 2010, not 2015.
If "being able to forget IE6" is the measure of living in 2015, when do you think you'll be living in 2015? Google is already there. I ask this with full respect for the difficulty of what you're dealing with.
posted by adamrice at 2:47 PM on May 19, 2010


Or to put it another way, why is anyone buying Adobe's claim that programming interactivity in Flash makes it accessible everywhere on every device?

While control of the app store certainly makes Apple a monopolistic gatekeeper. Adobe is largely attempting the same thing by having control of the universal plug-in. I'm not convinced that Adobe has any better moral prerogative to do so than Sun or Microsoft.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:56 PM on May 19, 2010


Adobe is largely attempting the same thing by having control of the universal plug-in.

Adobe has no controll over what you create in Flash or what you create with it whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 3:05 PM on May 19, 2010


True, I was largely thinking on a technology level rather than a content level. With Apple there's the added badness of content-level censorship.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:38 PM on May 19, 2010


I don't get your position. How am I supposed to make an HTML5 app that works in IE6?

I'm saying that Apple is right to reject Flash support in their mobile devices. You are in the unenviable (or enviable, in this economy) position of deciding what to do about that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:27 PM on May 19, 2010


ChurchHatesTucker, we're having (at least) two conversations here. One of them is more or less an ethical one, about whether Adobe and/or Apple has done anything wrong or unfair. We're also -- I think -- having a practical one, about problems and possibilities of the technologies. These two conversations connect with each other at times. At other times they don't.

Meanwhile, I'm in the trenches, and I'm listening with very little bias. Of course, everyone thinks he has no bias, so perhaps I'm not seeing myself clearly. My business card says Senior Flash Developer, but that's because I get work by labeling myself that way. I don't consider myself to be a Flash developer. I consider myself a programmer who just happens to be programming Flash apps at the moment.

I am totally cool with Flash dying. It won't bother me a bit, because I know other technologies and I can pick up ones I don't. In fact, I'm spending my nights and weekends learning Objective-C, which is a blast, because I want to do iPad development.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, I don't have any emotional connection to Flash or Adobe (or Apple) technology. I think that being emotional about some company is odd.

I am listening to what everyone is saying here, and I am ready to switch to something else if someone explains to me why and HOW I can.

But I feel kind of like I'm at a town planning meeting asking how we're going to pay teacher salaries without raising taxes, and everyone around me is saying, "You know what's stupid? capitalism! We should become a communist state." I say, "But we can't. We'd have to secede from the US, and they're more powerful than we are. We'd lose. Meanwhile, how do we pay teacher salaries?" And everyone says, "If that's what you care about, you figure it out. Meanwhile, we want to talk about how good communism is and how much capitalism sucks..."

Maybe I'm in the wrong thread. Maybe the point of this thread is placing blame, being enthusiastic about technology we like, being visionary and being political. If so, somebody tell me, and I'll go elsewhere.

But if that's not true (or not all true), I find it weird that you're saying I should be "deciding what to do about that." Because given what I know, I'm can't see any decision except going with Flash for most of my work. Not because I want to or because I think Flash is great or because I'm pro Adobe and anti Apple. Because I don't know how else to get my work done! If you think I can get my work done using something else, EXPLAIN IT TO ME. I'm all ears!

I need cross-browser compatibility going back to IE6; I need streaming media.

ARE people here saying that you can do most of the multimedia work that's BEING DEMANDED TODAY with HTML5, and that it will work just as well (even if that means just as poorly) and just as cross-browser as Flash?

Are people saying, "Whatever. We don't care about that"?

Are people saying, "We're talking about 2015"?

I'm really confused about what this means for me, doing real in-the-trenches-work over the next three years. The next three years are all I can care about. The web world moves too quickly to worry about anything coming after that -- at least if you're in the trenches. I don't know what technology I'll be using four or five years from now. I assume it won't be what I'm using now.
posted by grumblebee at 4:54 PM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I need cross-browser compatibility going back to IE6...

Do you need iP* support? That's really the only question you have to answer.

I hear what you're saying, and believe me I sympathize, but that's not where Apple's concern is, I'm sorry to say.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:10 PM on May 19, 2010


It's only beginning to happen, but I think in a year, many clients will start to say, "We want the app to run in exactly the say way in all browsers (going back to IE6) AND in the iPhone/iPad." At which point I'll just have to make two versions -- a Flash one and an Obj-C one. And I'll charge the client double. Oh well.
posted by grumblebee at 5:20 PM on May 19, 2010


A lot of clients also don't understand what an app is, yet. I'll make them a custom video player -- e.g. a Flash video player branded with their company logo. Then they want a version of it that they can sell (or give away) in the app store. No way Apple's going to approve a video player that's just like the built-in one, except it has Pepsi (or whatever) art all over it.
posted by grumblebee at 5:23 PM on May 19, 2010


Well, BB, I guess it depends what who you need to get done.

Pretty much. I don't need Flash to be happy with my web viewing experience. I have no idea how many other people are like me.

BB: If I have to run tests to "prove" something about your technology, then the makers of that technology have screwed up somewhere.

Grumblebee: Also, that's an absurd statement.


Whatever man. I'm running a modern Macbook and the computer slows to a crawl with extended use of Flash. I can use the computer fine for hours with the CS suite, even though things can get slow with lots of Photoshop and Indesign use after a while. That's fine, I'm working, I'll deal with in those instances.

Flash is entertainment. Don't slow me down when I want to be entertained. Just fix it ok?

Yes, I'm speaking as an asshole user, that sucks for you the developer. We all have crosses to bear.

I'm not going to be running a single damn test to prove something else is just bad as Flash. Adobe (or Apple) should just fix the damn problem, ok so I can get on with my life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:00 AM on May 20, 2010


Well, fine, but if you're going to remain deliberatly ignorant could you refrain from making statemenst as if you know anything about anything? Cheers.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on May 20, 2010


"Calling Apple very closed when it supports HTML5, an open standard, is short sighted."

No, BB, its realistic. When I can't load an app to my iThing without Apple granting me permission, that's kind of the definition of "very closed".

Support for HTML5 is nice. But its a closed system in that you can't do anything with it absent Apple's grudging, and capricious, permission.

I think it's going to kill Apple, honestly. This is exactly the same mistake they made with the early Mac.

Cast your mind back to the halcyon days of 1984. People, especially programmers, hated IBM with a burning passion. IBM was the big bad guy, they were the monolithic, closed, people who kept you from doing nifty stuff. Apple was much beloved by the geek community because, in complete contrast to the iron wall of secrecy and control that IBM maintained, Apple was open. Really open, not Steve Jobs newspeak "open".

The Apple II series was dominant over its competitors because, in large part, the geek community supported it. And the geeks supported it because it was open. Want to build an add on card for the Apple II? Go for it! Wanna program for the Apple II? Sure thing! Open it up, play with it, make it work, build nifty stuff, Apple was happy and successful because to use any of the third party nifty stuff people still had to buy their product. The result was all the nifty software was for Apple II's, all the cool addons were for Apple II's, and the IBM PC line languished.

The IBM PC line was not especially well liked when it was introduced in 1981, in large part because of lingering animosity towards IBM from its control freak days. Real geeks used Apples, IBM was a cuss word, and that's the way it would always be.

Until 1984, and the introduction of the first Mac.

From the very beginning it seemed as if Apple's plan (after driving out the Woz) was to drive away the very geeks who made Apple the success it was. Opening a the case on a Mac took a special, $400, piece of hardware. You were utterly forbidden from making third party hardware addons without the consent of Apple. Want to program on a Mac? Good luck.

IBM, meanwhile, changed its tune and kept their PC platform open, which ultimately killed IBM's share in the PC market, but made the platform dominant.

To my historian's eyes it looks like Apple still hasn't learned the lesson of the failure of the Mac, and they're doing it again. "This iThing is not yours," says Apple, "its ours! We deign to let you use it, but only at our sufferance. If you want to develop for it, fuck you. If you want to make it yours, put your stuff on it, or otherwise sully it with your nasty user wants and desires, fuck you! Its OUR iThing, we're only letting you play with it!"

That, BB, is why people like RMS say, quite correctly, that the iThings are "very closed". Support for HTML5 does not an open device make.
posted by sotonohito at 7:18 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, fine, but if you're going to remain deliberatly ignorant could you refrain from making statemenst as if you know anything about anything? Cheers.

Sorry, didn't realize non-developers weren't allowed to speak!

Support for HTML5 is nice. But its a closed system in that you can't do anything with it absent Apple's grudging, and capricious, permission.

Yeah, I hate how Apple has completely closed access to the web and how you need to get their approval for every website.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:31 AM on May 20, 2010


I don't need Flash to be happy with my web viewing experience.

I'm not sure I could live in a Web without Robot Unicorn Attack, Sushi Cat, or Miami Shark. Curveball?!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:04 AM on May 20, 2010


Sorry, didn't realize non-developers weren't allowed to speak!

Of course non-developers can speak.

But in a conversation, if speaker A is going to make statements that are detached from logic, speaker B is very limited on how he can reply.

He can try to point out A's logical flaw, but A -- in this case you -- just responds to that by saying, "Whatever, dude." (That's a show-stopper in pretty much any conversation. If you're interested in actually listening and responding to other people, you don't ever say "whatever, dude." You take what they say seriously and agree with it or disagree with it. And you state your reasons.)

Or he can get emotional and give up logic. A says "is not." Be can say, "is SO!" I'm not going to do that, because playground debates are boring to me.

He can ignore A, in which case he's being rude. I'm not going to do that, because I was brought up to not do it.

I'll try the first option one more time: when you run a Flash app, two things happen. (1) multimedia content displays; (2) The Flash app (the container & projector) of the multimedia content runs.

You get a crash.

Is the crash caused by the container? If so, then the problem is Flash.

If the crash caused by the multimedia content, then the problem is not Flash -- except in the sense that I brought up, above: Flash has brought us to expect mulimedia content in the browser. Maybe it shouldn't have gotten us to expect that.

In other words, if you got together the best team of programmers in the world together and said, "Write the most crash-proof" multimedia program ever. You can write it any way you want, but you can't change the formats of the objects it displays (e.g. you can't change jpegs to something else), and your app must run inside the browser," would they be able to come up with something that crashes less-often then Flash?

(Non-browser apps, like Photoshop, have no place in this discussion. Comparing Flash to Photoshop is apples and oranges. Photoshop doesn't run inside a browser.)

I don't know. But it's a pretty key question. It's a key question because if it's Flash's fault, Adobe can fix it. If it's an inherent problem with displaying complex multimedia in the browser, then Adobe can't fix it. But the problem still exists. So what should we do about it?

You can say, "Whatever, dude? I just don't want my computer to crash," but if so, you're not really discussing this thread's topic. It's like if we're having an intense discussion about dieting, and you come in and say, "Whatever. As long as fat people don't sit next to me on an airplane, I don't care." If you don't care, don't discuss.

Chambers made a really interesting claim. He may be full of shit. But "whatever dude" is a weird response from someone who seemingly cares about the issues being discussed in this thread.

What confuses me is that you only seem to take the "whatever, dude" attitude when someone challenges you. I am trying to read that in a non-negative light. I don't like assuming bad faith or sneaking rhetoric changes. So I'm going to assume I'm wrong -- that you're not trying to change the subject when you have no response. But it's hard for me to do that.
posted by grumblebee at 9:15 AM on May 20, 2010


In my view, there's a big philosophical difference between Apple and Adobe. It's not a technological issue at all, but it's an issue on which -- in my view -- Apple is right and Adobe is wrong. Or at least on in which, if we went with Apple's philosophy 100%, we'd have far fewer crashes.

It's very easy to write apps that crash -- in any language. It's much easier to write apps that crash than apps that don't crash. My Flash apps rarely crash, because I've been developing for that platform for a long time. Last night, I spent two hours trying to get an Objective-C app to stop crashing. (The problem was my fault, not Obj-C's fault.) I am new to Objective-C. Even though I'm new and not-ready-for-primetime, if Apple as Adobe, they'd be saying, "Don't be shy! Put your buggy, crashy app in our store!"

Adobe has marketed Actionscript (Flash's language) as a tool for non-programmers -- as if it's a safe, toy language. It's not. It's also not an "easy" language, good for beginners. In fact, there's no such thing. Once a language is Turing Complete, it's hard. Programming is hard -- in any language. There are few shortcuts. You can't "be a designer who dabbles in programming" and write programs that don't crash.

(Note: it's awesome to dabble in programming. I am not saying people shouldn't do that. I'm saying that when you get to the pro level, you have to be an ... um ... pro. If you're not, you'll write programs that crash. In order to write programs that don't crash -- or that don't crash often -- you have to really understand all that hard, under-the-hood stuff, like memory management.)

Adobe has gone back and forth about admitting this simple -- if unfortunate -- truth. Sometimes they make it clear that design and development involve different skill sets. But then, presumably, they see dollar signs (there are many designers who want to write "simple" programs without really learning how to program) and they start, once-again, enticing designers to become hacky coders. They even have an app to help them do this. It's called Flash Catalyst. I hate it with a passion. It allows designers to drag things around and it auto-generates code based on what they do.

That code is EXACTLY the sort of code that Apple is dis-allowing: auto-generated code. Adobe not only allows it. They encourage it.

Now, I'm a professional Actionscript developer. When my apps crash (which they sometimes do), 99% of the time, it's my fault. Not Adobe's. Same as with my Objective-C apps. My fault, not Apple's. But at least I have the training to figure out why they are crashing and come up with strategies to stop them from crashing.

While Adobe is sending out the popular message of "Hey, ANYONE can be a developer!" Apple is saying, "No, they can't. Not in our house. In our house, you can only be a developer if you learn how to use pro-level programming tools and, even then, we'll look at your apps really closely to ensure they don't cause crashes."

Because it's SO easy to make crashy programs (in any language, on any platform), Adobe compounds the problem by (a) encouraging anyone to make apps without spending serious hours learning how to develop in a robust way, and (b) by not overseeing what gets posted online.

I'm not saying that Adobe should do these things. Can you imagine the outcry if Adobe started vetoing web apps? I'm saying there are ramifications to the fact that they don't do these things. Just as there are ramifications to the fact that Apple IS doing them (e.g. people get pissed off at Apple for being an "app-store Nazi.")

I posit that 99% of the time you get crashes, it's because a "developer" has not done his job well. It's not Flash; it's not HTML5; it's the developer.

Is that Adobe's fault? Yes, partly. Due to the way they market and manage their product. Is the the fault of their TECHNOLOGY? Personally, I'd doubt it. At least, I doubt that's the main cause of the crashes. And even if Flash does have some flaws, those are fixable. But even if Adobe gets every bug out of Flash, you're still going to get crashes as long as Adobe keeps saying, "Hey, kids! Here are some power tools! Go ahead! Use them! Naw, you don't need safety goggles."

Re BB's comparison between Photoshop and Flash apps that crash. Case in point: Photoshop is written by professional developers. Flash apps are written by ... anyone.

I think we need to discuss this more often. Because it transcends out little debate. It's a larger issue. It has to do with what sorts of problems and tradeoffs occur when you create a free web -- a web where anyone, regardless of talent and training, can post anything. And where things that get posted have real effects on my computer. I am not advocating closed vs. open. I am saying that there are plusses and minuses to everything. And I prefer living in an eyes-wide-open world in which we honestly discuss these plusses and minuses to a "whatever, dude" world.
posted by grumblebee at 9:57 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


What confuses me is that you only seem to take the "whatever, dude" attitude when someone challenges you.

Grumblebee, what are you looking for here?

You seem to be willing to ignore my experiences, hell my own eyes (hence my "whatever dude) and want me to buy Chambers' assertion that JavaScript and HTML5 would present the same problems.

Frankly, it's a poor workman who argues "hey, all the tools are shitty" rather than trying to find a solution, hence my dismissal of Chambers', especially because he works for Adobe, a company known for giving shitty performance on the Mac and not caring too much about it.

If it were a test I could run and then there would be a specific patch which would help the software, great. But no, it's just a test to show "Our product really doesn't suck, honest!". It does nothing to fix my problem, helps Adobe feel better about it and therefore I see it as a waste of time.

(Non-browser apps, like Photoshop, have no place in this discussion. Comparing Flash to Photoshop is apples and oranges. Photoshop doesn't run inside a browser.)

I disagree. I can run powerful games that don't crash on my computer, games with all the bells and whistles. If Flash is supposed to be a gaming platform, why can't I do the same there? I get that there are plenty of technical reasons, but as a user I don't care and don't see any reason why I should. A game is a game is a game, as far as I'm concerned. Make it run well or don't waste my time. If you feel that's ignorant or whatever, that's your choice.

So what are you looking for here?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2010


June 17
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the crash caused by the multimedia content, then the problem is not Flash
grumblebee

I strongly disagree with this.

The Flash plugin is a sandbox, at worst it should be able to grind your browser to a halt (I don't even think it should be able to do that.) If it is possible to write valid actionscript that kills both its own environment (the Flash plugin) AND the meta environment (the browser) then something is wrong. As mentioned above the newest Flash plugin was crashing my browser multiple times a day. The specific content may be a contributing factor, but that content isn't walking all over somebody else's memory, the Flash plugin is doing that, or allowing it to happen.
posted by ecurtz at 10:45 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


and want me to buy Chambers' assertion that JavaScript and HTML5 would present the same problems.

Have you read any of the DOZEN statements I've made where I've said I think he may be full of shit?

Do you just see the world as a place where you're either pro Adobe or against it? Can you not imagine being someone who sees a FACTUAL CLAIM made by someone (in this case by Chambers) and doesn't -- without evidence -- push everyone to accept or reject the claim?

You seem to be willing to ignore my experiences, hell my own eyes

You have said that when you run Flash apps, you get crashes. Have you seen me deny that ONCE? I don't deny it. It happens to me, too.

What I am doing is QUESTIONING -- NOT DENYING -- your interpretation of why those crashes are happening. Do you understand that questioning does not mean "agreeing with Adobe"?

Grumblebee, what are you looking for here?


Rational discussion. (About something that is deeply important to my day-to-day work.) If someone makes a claim, I am looking for you to agree with it and say why, disagree with it and say why or ignore it because you're not interested in discussing it. If that last case is where you're at, you don't need to post "whatever, dude," which is dismissive of other people's concerns. Just don't comment at all on stuff that doesn't interest you.

I am just stunned by the fact that you said this: "[you] want me to buy Chambers' assertion." I feel like I just said, "I think a problem with Obama is X," and you come back with, "Oh, so you're saying you would rather have McCane as a president?"

Do you see how the one thing doesn't follow the other? Unless you live in a world in which everyone is on a side. I am not on a side. I have ZERO love for Adobe. I am probably going to switch from being a Flash Developer to being an Apple (iPad) developer. I have no interest in Flash being on the iPad or iPhone. And I am in favor of the Objective-C-only development path for Apple devices. (I don't know if you can understand this, but I'm also not on Apple's "side.")

But Mike Chambers has made a factual claim. Show some evidence about how he's right or wrong or, if you don't care, stay out of the discussion. How is "whatever, dude" adding anything?

I get that end-users don't care about who's problem things are. I get that they just want the problem to be fixed. But that doesn't add anything to the discussion, because regardless of what end-users care about, some actual person or people have to fix the problem if it's going to be fixed. And before they can do that, they need to figure out what the problem is.

I can run powerful games that don't crash on my computer, games with all the bells and whistles. If Flash is supposed to be a gaming platform, why can't I do the same there?

THAT is the question. You are asking it, so you DO care? Or is your question just rhetoric that means, "Fix it, Adobe!"

Because if it's a real question, then we have some possibilities:

1) You can't do it (play games without crashing) because Flash is seriously flawed. And so the way to deal with that problem is to boycott Adobe or lobby them to fix it.

2) You can't do it because it's impossible. Because it's impossible to play games IN THE BROWSER due to flaws in the browser. In which case it's worthless to boycott, bad-mouth or lobby Adobe, because they don't control browsers.

Now, are you going to read this, focus on my second point (which is Chamber's assertion) and say, "See! You agree with Chambers"? Can you understand that I think point one -- it's Flash's fault -- is also possible? If you proved to me that it was Adobe's fault, do you think I'd be surprised. I wouldn't. I fully acknowledge that possibility.

What if someone proved to you that it wasn't Adobe's fault and there's no way they possible fix it. Would you still say, "Whatever, dude. Just fix it, Adobe!"? I can't imagine that you would, because you're too smart to tell someone to fix something you know they can't fix. So I'm assuming that, without any tests or evidence, you're disagreeing with Chambers. You're saying, "No. It's definitely Flash's fault."

You do understand that Chambers is NOT denying that browsers crash when Flash is running? Is that the confusion? Are you framing this as if it's a debate over whether or not browsers are crashing while Flash is running? Because that's not the debate. Everyone agrees that they are. If you think that's the debate, you haven't been reading what I've been writing -- let alone what Chambers wrote.

Can you see that if both points (above) might be true, then we can't say, "Whatever, Adobe. Just fix it?" Because if point 2 is true, Adobe CAN'T fix it?

It's fine if you reject 2 as a possibility, but, if so, WHY? What's your evidence?
posted by grumblebee at 11:10 AM on May 20, 2010


Have you read any of the DOZEN statements I've made where I've said I think he may be full of shit?

Sure, but you still seem to be placing him on a pedestal and demanding that I somehow prove him wrong.

My point is that it doesn't matter if he's right, there's still the problem of the Flash experience on the Mac sucking.

Do you just see the world as a place where you're either pro Adobe or against it?

No, I live and die by use of the CS Suite. To me a computer almost isn't a useful computer unless I can install some version of the Suite on it, I use it so much for professional and personal reasons.

Do you understand that questioning does not mean "agreeing with Adobe"?

Do you see how the one thing doesn't follow the other?


I'm perceiving your tone as dismissive e and arrogant at times, hence my strong urge to say "whatever dude" and not answering you question for question.

If someone makes a claim, I am looking for you to agree with it and say why, disagree with it and say why or ignore it because you're not interested in discussing it.

I'm specifically disregarding and not caring about Chambers claim because he works for the company causing the problem, his job is dependent on Flash being perceived as good and mostly importantly in my book, his claim doesn't propose any solutions in his claims.

I suspect we may be talking at cross purposes though. Chambers is talking about whether Flash is a CPU hog. It may or may not be. But even if it isn't, my experience of using it on the Macintosh platform is mostly negative, to the point where I inwardly groan anytime I come across a site using it. I sort of clench up, expecting a general slowness and eventual locking up Safari, forcing me to quit and restart it. There's nothing in Chambers post Adobe is trying to fix that problem.

You are asking it, so you DO care?

I care in the sense of "Somebody else needs to figure this out and fix it." Chambers post doesn't seem to be adding much to the idea of a solution, merely shrugging his and Adobe's shoulders and saying "Hey, this just gonna a problem, don't blame Flash." I would have preferred to have seen something along the lines of "This is a problem , we're working our asses off to figure it and here's a few idea we have." The more I think about and the more I reread the post, I'm shocked at how utterly tone deaf he is. He's trying to prove Flash doesn't use a lot of CPU cycles compared to other multi media content? Dude whatever, just make the damn thing work well. Use a lot of CPU cycles if you have to, but for christ's sake make the experience worthwhile!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on May 20, 2010


Yeah, I think we're talking at cross-purposes and with different "aesthetics" about argumentation.

you still seem to be placing him on a pedestal and demanding that I somehow prove him wrong.

No. I don't give a shit about him. By which I mean I neither like him nor hate him. Me means nothing to me. But he made a claim. I don't care whether the person who made that claim works for Apple, Adobe, or neither company. I just care about the claim.

I care about it, because it's within the realm of possibility.

It's similar to this:

Fred, a smoker, gets cancer. He blames the the cigarette company. An executive from that company claims, "Many things cause cancer. Before you decide it was my company's fault, we should see if you are doing any other risk-of-cancer things."

Now, I don't know how you feel about cigarette-company executives, but I hate them. I am not neutral about them the way I am about Chambers. I think they are evil people.

But the execs claim is a valid claim. (Not correct, necessarily, but valid -- meaning it's testable and falsifiable.) What he's saying IS possible. As a (when I'm at my best) rational person, I realize it makes sense to evaluate that claim.

And this claim is not just important to the cigarette company. It is (or it should be) important to Fred, too. Suppose his cancer gets cured and he quits smoking. He rightly thinks the cigarette exec made the claim for self-serving reasons, so he ignores it. But, it just so happens, the exec is right. Because Fred doesn't bother investigating the REASONABLE claim (reasonable because many things DO cause cancer), he doesn't find the true cause. And so he gets cancer again.

You are like somebody saying, "Look, I don't care what the cause is. The cigarette company needs to fix it." So even if the cause turns out to be power lines near Fred's house, you still expect the cigarette company to fix it? Because "Hey, all I know is that Fred smoked and he got cancer."

The rational response to "I don't buy this claim" is not, "because I don't trust the person who's making it." It's "because it's wrong and here's why."

If you don't agree with that, then we are of mindsets that are so different, they can't possibly be reconciled.

You are dismissing a claim because you don't trust the person who made it. To me, that's a huge error in logic. Factual claims are independent of the people who make them or their motives. The REASONS for their claims aren't. And I think we know why Chambers is making the claim. He's making it because he's a company yes-man, and so he's going to say anything that makes his company look good, whether it's true or false.

But his actual claim is important to test, because there's nothing in it that screams out "FALSE!" (If you think there is, please explain.)

I too tend to blame Flash when the computer crashes while I'm playing a Flash game. I see why that's natural to do. But Chambers made me think, "Huh? Have I even tried replicating the exact same experience without Flash? In other words, have I ever tried to play the exact same game but made with Silverlight or HTML5? Don't change the game; don't change the fact that it's in the browser; just remove Flash."

No, I haven't done that. I would like to do it, and I would like lots of people to do it (because I can't gather enough statistics by myself to make results relevant), because TONS of good could come from doing it.

If we did this test, here's what I hope would NOT happen: Chambers turns out to be right. I hope he isn't. That would suck.

Here's what I hope would happen: he would turn out to be wrong. We could make the same game using HTML5 and it wouldn't crash -- at least not as often. That would be AWESOME for several reasons. (1) I could use that FACT to ween my clients away from Flash, which I would love to do. They won't listen to my opinions, but they may listen to facts. (2) It would force Adobe to admit that the crashes are their fault, and they would then have to work hard and fix the problem.

That would be the best possible outcome in my opinion.

However, if Chambers is right, then he can't come up with a solution. Then the problem IS with the power lines and, alas, his company makes cigarettes. I hear that you are only interested in what he has to say if he can solve the problem, but if he's right, then that's impossible. But what he's saying is STEP ONE in solving the problem. That's not why he's saying it. He has no interest in solving it, you're right. You care about him (in a negative way). I don't. He, as a person, bores me. STEP ONE interests me, even if it comes from Mr. Boring, Mr. Evil or Mr. Asshole.

Luckily, since he's a company man, we have all sorts of reasons for suspecting he's wrong. But that does not invalidate his claim as a testable, falsifiable claim.
posted by grumblebee at 12:33 PM on May 20, 2010


While Adobe is sending out the popular message of "Hey, ANYONE can be a developer!" Apple is saying, "No, they can't. Not in our house. In our house, you can only be a developer if you learn how to use pro-level programming tools and, even then, we'll look at your apps really closely to ensure they don't cause crashes."

It's not that Adobe invented the "ANYONE can be a developer" thing though, that has been at the core of every personal computer since they were invented. The best (and probably only) way to learn how to be a good programmer is to be a bad programmer for a while. How are beginners supposed to learn how to be a developer in the first place if only pros can actually write apps that will run on a device?

I have no problem with any company controlling the content of an app distribution system like the App Store, that's like Apple controlling what music can be sold on iTunes. But controlling the content on the device itself is like controlling what kinds of music I can play on my iPod. If Apple was promoting the idea that only songs they approve of could be played on their devices no one would accept it, so why is it different for musicians than it is for developers? If I want to know if content is good or not before I download or buy it, whether that content is music, movies, books, or apps, I'll find reviews and recommendations. I don't need a company to actively prevent me from using content that might not be up to their arbitrary quality standards.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2010


No. I don't give a shit about him.

Fair enough. To be clearer, you seem to be placing his claim on a pedestal, something I'm distinctly not doing and refuse to do, because for me, as a user, it's not an important issue.

I've been goofing off for the past five minutes, seeing what some Javascript animations do CPU wise on a Windows machine running XP. They can certainly get up there in usage, sure, reaching 75% at times.

It doesn't matter, IMO, because the experience is smooth and enjoyable to me as user in these specific instances. In your cigarette/cancer example, to me it doesn't matter so much what the cause is or rather that isn't the only issue. To me, Chambers is like the cigarette company saying "Hey, cigars cause cancer too!" as opposed "Ok, our product causes cancer, we're going to try and fix that."

The rational response to "I don't buy this claim" is not, "because I don't trust the person who's making it." It's "because it's wrong and here's why."

My response to Chambers' claim is you're doing nothing to highlight what the problem is and propose a solution. Your companies response to Apple's changes have been a mix of hysterical and manipulative and as an employee of said company, I'm finding your post to be less than satisfactory.

I'll leave it to you do decide whether you think that's rational.

In other words, have I ever tried to play the exact same game but made with Silverlight or HTML5? Don't change the game; don't change the fact that it's in the browser; just remove Flash." No, I haven't done that. I would like to do it, and I would like lots of people to do it (because I can't gather enough statistics by myself to make results relevant), because TONS of good could come from doing it.

Ok, that's sounds interesting. Are there any one to one examples like that, a game or animation that is exactly the same but made with different technologies?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on May 20, 2010


Looks like someone has done the work for us!

1. Flash version.
2. HTML + JS version.
3. Canvas version.

This is a good start. We can't trust it, because I think the guy who made it is trying to prove that Flash isn't the problem. So, since he has a bias, be may have consciously or unconsciously crippled the non-Flash versions. But this is one data point.

Also, Apple Insider did some tests of Flash Video vs. HTML video, and they concluded that ... it's complicated. Basically, Flash sucks in Safari but is okay in other browsers.

I give zero credence to Chambers' tests. His methodology is either purposefully terrible or he's a sloppy thinker. If the Flash test and the HTML test are of two wildly different apps, the test is useless. There are too many variables. We learn nothing. A particle effect has way different CPU needs than, say, a first-person shooter. This is why I like the above tests better. But I'm still skeptical.

(Of course, I still maintain that his methodology and bias say nothing about the the validity of his claim. But we need to make sure that he's not the person testing his claim.)
posted by grumblebee at 1:54 PM on May 20, 2010


Using those three files (above), here are the results I got (which you should take as just one data point).

SAFARI
- Flash 35% CPU usage
- HTML 51% CPU usage
- Canvas 40% CPU usage

FIREFOX
- Flash 40% CPU usage
- HTML 50% CPU usage
- Canvas 36% CPU usage

RAM usage was pretty much the same in all cases.

My system: 2.66 GHz Intel Core Duo Mac, 4GB RAM, OS X (Snow Leopard). Up-to-date browsers, Flash 10.0

When I ran the tests, I shut down everything except for the browser and the activity monitor.

One thing to note, 40% is a lot of CPU. Imagine that was a banner add. So it's not all that's running on the page. So say the page -- not counting the add -- is already really heavy. Then some little stupid ad eats up 40% of your CPU. (Continually.) And you're probably also running email software and other stuff. That 40% is going be a real pain in the ass!

But if me -- again, tiny data point -- mean anything, it seems to suggest that if we're running multimedia content IN A BROWSER, whether it's an ad we never asked for or a game we chose to play, our computer is going to be pretty busy.
posted by grumblebee at 2:12 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


And here we run into the "Flash on Mac" problem. On a Windows system - Intel Core i7 860, 4GB RAM, Flash 10.0, I get the following numbers:

FIREFOX
- Flash 15% CPU usage, 119.99 FPS (i get the feeling that's where the display caps, because it's not jittering at all).
- HTML 18% CPU usage, 14.2 FPS
- Canvas 13% CPU usage, 32 FPS

IE8
- Flash 14% CPU usage, 119.99 FPS
- HTML 12% CPU usage, 30 FPS
- Canvas 13% CPU usage, 2.66 FPS

Now, this is just one datapoint, but the conclusions I'd be inclined to draw is that there is something horribly wrong with Canvas on IE8, and that in all cases Flash uses roughly the same resources for between 4 and 8 times the performance - and you really have to look at what's being produced with that CPU usage, not just what the CPU usage is.

Do you have Boot Camp on your Mac? Try loading up Windows and seeing how things benchmark. 'cause what I'm seeing is an OS or version problem, not a problem inherent to Flash.
posted by kafziel at 2:31 PM on May 20, 2010


I have no problem with any company controlling the content of an app distribution system like the App Store, that's like Apple controlling what music can be sold on iTunes. But controlling the content on the device itself is like controlling what kinds of music I can play on my iPod.

burnmp3s, can you explain which of the following you're saying (or whether it's something else entirely)?

1) I object in principle to the idea of a computing device upon which the manufacturer controls what can run on it and what can't?

2) I don't object to the existence of such devices, but I personally wouldn't want one, because I want the freedom to do whatever I want on my machines.

The distinction is important, because #2, which I agree with, is a personal preference, whereas #1, which I disagree with, is a moral judgment of Apple.

Personally, though I'm not in favor of it in for my machines, I see no problem with a company saying, "We're going to make a machine that is going to be tightly controlled. If you don't like that, buy some other machine."

I don't really get why people think Apple is wrong to do that or wrong to insist that developers use Objective C. To me, it's their house; their rules. If I don't like them, I can move to a different house. (I get why people don't like the rules. I just don't get the judging Apple part, because I don't see what they've done wrong.)

I think there's only one thing that Apple did wrong. It doesn't affect me, but I do think it was very, very immoral, and I'd like them to publicly address it (if they have, can someone provide a link)? It was their eleventh-hour addition of 3.3.1. I don't think there's anything morally wrong with 3.3.1. But I think their timing was evil.

If they'd said to Adobe (and other companies), "Look, develop what you want, but we have really strong opinions about how things should developed, and we may pull the rug out from under you. You've been warned!" -- that would be one thing.

But they didn't do this (to the best of my knowledge). And they KNEW what Adobe was planning, because Adobe was public about this for months.

So what they did was basically like if I said to you, "I'm having a costume party. You're invited." And you said, "Awesome, I LOVE costume parties. I'm going to buy a $300 dollar costume!" And all the while, I know I'm going to make it a non-costume party. But I let you spend the $300 anyway, and then, when you show up, I say, "Sorry, you can't get into my party wearing that."

That is a major, major dick move. It is unfair and unethical.

But I don't really care about the fact that Apple did it to Adobe, because I don't know anyone at Adobe. I don't really know how it affects them, and I can't care too much that it may of hurt them in some abstract way I don't understand. (My guess is that they'll survive as a company.)

What I DO care about is the fact that Apple did something like that. That they are the kind of company that would do something like that. That makes me very leery of them. Are they going to say, "Your app will be accepted as long as you do this, that and the other," and then, when I follow those rules, say, "Ha! Ha! We changed our minds. You lose!"?

(I say that I'm offended by this, and yet I own two Macs, an iPhone (plus another I bought for my wife), and an iPad -- and I say it as someone who is looking to become an iPad developer. My geeky fascination seems to be trumping my ethics.)
posted by grumblebee at 2:32 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


in chrome on my macbook, i'm getting 90% cpu on all 3 of them.
posted by empath at 2:32 PM on May 20, 2010


oh, and 30fps on all 3
posted by empath at 2:33 PM on May 20, 2010


And here we run into the "Flash on Mac" problem.

If we take just your example and mine, it's a more serious problem than that! It's a Flash, HTML, Canvas problem on the Mac.
posted by grumblebee at 2:33 PM on May 20, 2010


I don't really get why people think Apple is wrong to do that or wrong to insist that developers use Objective C. To me, it's their house; their rules. If I don't like them, I can move to a different house. (I get why people don't like the rules. I just don't get the judging Apple part, because I don't see what they've done wrong.)

The disagreement here is that you see the platform as a whole as "their house", while others see Apple's App Store as the only thing they could possibly include as "their house". If I buy an iPhone or iPad or whatever, it's mine, and I should be able to put whatever the hell software on it that the hardware and OS can support. Apple can limit its stamp of approval to apps made by their arbitrary standards, but requiring the stamp of approval before you can install anything interferes with my ownership of the device.
posted by kafziel at 2:38 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we take just your example and mine, it's a more serious problem than that! It's a Flash, HTML, Canvas problem on the Mac.

Well, what were your FPS numbers? My computer's a hell of a lot more powerful than yours, so the objective numbers aren't very meaningful. The relative numbers - Flash putting out 4 times the FPS with the same processor usage - are what matter.
posted by kafziel at 2:40 PM on May 20, 2010


the conclusions I'd be inclined to draw is that there is something horribly wrong with Canvas on IE8

No such thing on IE8... I'd say that if it's doing anything it's using a library like ExCanvas to approximate flash - which gives okay results on static stuff like rendering charts but dies horribly if you try doing animation.

I really, l really hope that MS supports CANVAS with IE9, but so far they've given no positive signs of it. Not sure being kickass at SVG really makes up for that.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on May 20, 2010


So what they did was basically like if I said to you, "I'm having a costume party. You're invited." And you said, "Awesome, I LOVE costume parties. I'm going to buy a $300 dollar costume!" And all the while, I know I'm going to make it a non-costume party. But I let you spend the $300 anyway, and then, when you show up, I say, "Sorry, you can't get into my party wearing that."

That was pretty much my initial reaction (although your metaphor is better). I read a lot of speculation about that whole contretemps, so I can't pin down where I read this, but ISTR someone who had been in the business (but not privy to this situation) wrote that when Adobe released its flash-to-iphone compiler, they may have had a pretty good idea that Apple would invalidate it, but wanted to force Apple's hand—force them to either capitulate or make the dick move. There may have been behind-the-scenes discussions between Apple and Adobe before this, and Adobe forged ahead anyhow.
posted by adamrice at 4:35 PM on May 20, 2010


Apple is not really super communicative with it's partners, big and small. That may even extend to Adobe.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on May 20, 2010


There may have been behind-the-scenes discussions between Apple and Adobe before this, and Adobe forged ahead anyhow.

That doesn't exonerate Apple, even it it's true. There were many other companies affected, besides Adobe.

The disagreement here is that you see the platform as a whole as "their house", while others see Apple's App Store as the only thing they could possibly include as "their house". If I buy an iPhone or iPad or whatever, it's mine, and I should be able to put whatever the hell software on it that the hardware and OS can support.

It IS yours. You can do anything you want with it. You can open it up, break it apart, etc. And Apple has no say in the matter after they sell it to you.

People are already jailbreaking it, and if the technology lasts, history tells us that, most likely, developers will make alternate OSes for it. (Like Rockbox for the iPod.)

So basically, all Apple will be saying is, "You can't load any App on it via iTunes." Since iTunes is their program, that seems reasonable to me. I don't see why they have a responsibility to make it EASY For me to load software on it that they don't like.

TVs are similar. Before VCRs came along, you couldn't put your own content on them. But they were still your TVs. If you wanted to try to rig something together to show your own home movies on it, it's not like RCA would send cops to your door.

If you want to put your own, unapproved software on the iPhone. Just jailbreak it and do so. Nothing bad will happen to you.
posted by grumblebee at 5:16 PM on May 20, 2010


Just tested on my home machine:

Macbook Pro, 2.93 GHz Intel Core Duo, 4 GB, OS X (Leopard)

CHROME

Flash - 55% - 35 fps
HTML - 63% - 55 fps
Canvas 57% - 33 fps

SAFARI

Flash - 50% - 50 fps
HTML - 51% - 52 fps
Canvas 43% - 42 fps

FIREFOX

Flash - 49% - 55 fps
HTML - 50% - 18 fps
Canvas - 38% - 23 fps

(Fuck, Firefox! What's the deal with your HTML and Canvas frame rates?)
posted by grumblebee at 5:31 PM on May 20, 2010


Yeah, Firefox really, really does not like HTML and canvas. It's even worse on Linux:

[HP G20 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo, 3 GM, Ubuntu Gnu/Linux 10.04]

Chrome 5.0.375.38 beta
56% - 58 fps
62% - 42 fps
73% - 41 fps

Chromium 6.0.404.0 (47231) (daily build)
55% - 58 fps
64% - 48 fps
75% - 36 fps

Firefox 3.6.3
67% - 72 fps
58% - 5.3 fps
61% - 7.8 fps

Opera 10.53
55% - 38 fps
62% - 35 fps
56% - 59 fps

Firefox seems pretty good at Flash - but little else. I've moved away from it lately, and the daily builds of Chromium have been pretty good recently, so I like that a lot. Opera is predictably speedy at rendering <canvas> – they were probably one of the first browsers to think about doing so, considering that their CEO is a major HTML5 dude. I wonder if maybe they were the first to implement it. Either way, Opera's speed at running <canvas> elements rivals Flash on the other browsers. I wonder if this is the case on non-Linux machines. But Flash on Linux obviously isn't as good as it is elsewhere. It's not hideous or terrible, but where Mac users might be able to debate whether Flash is crippled for them, for us Linux users, well... let's just say it's not really seen as a big market by Adobe (or any of the majors) quite yet.
posted by koeselitz at 6:43 PM on May 20, 2010


grumblebee wrote The distinction is important, because #2, which I agree with, is a personal preference, whereas #1, which I disagree with, is a moral judgment of Apple.

I fall into the camp of #1 quite strongly. I do think it is morally wrong for Apple to do what they're doing. I don't think it should be illegal, but I do think its wrong.

In addition I worry about a slippery slope to greater penetration of Trusted Computing in general. The more accepted it is for a company to lock down its products the more tempting it will be for all companies to lock down their products. As a person who enjoys freedom, I don't like that prospect at all.
posted by sotonohito at 7:38 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Above, I claimed that you DO own your iPhone, becasue, if you want complete control over it, you can just jailbreak it. Apple is now -- unambiguously -- claiming that you DON'T own it. They are claiming that jailbreaking it is illegal.

My response is (a) no it's not and (b) even if it is, I don't care. I DO own it. And I'll do what I want with it.

But I recognize that if you think of "own" as "own according to the law," which IS a totally reasonable way to think about it, then you have cause to be pissed -- even if Apple's claim is thrown out of court. They are now claiming that you DON'T own something you paid for.


I fall into the camp of #1 quite strongly.


I would like to examine this further. For reference:


1) I object in principle to the idea of a computing device upon which the manufacturer controls what can run on it and what can't?


Do you feel this way about ALL devices or just about computing devices?

For instance, what if I wanted to create The Snobbish Coffee Maker. I'm totally upfront with people about it. What I say is this: "My Coffee Maker only accepts expensive, high-quality beans. If you try to put el-cheapo beans in it, it will reject them. I think there world should be full of all kind of coffee makers, but 'all kinds' includes mine. Mine is for elitists. Elitists don't want to accidentally put cheap beans in their machines. And they don't even want to think about their machines being used -- by someone else -- to grind cheap beans. We, and our clients, want The Snobbish Coffee Maker to be associated, in everyone's mind, with snobbish beans. If you want to brew cheap coffee, buy another coffee maker."

You may (or may not) find this distasteful. But is it immoral?

To me, it's not. However, this is:

Sam buys a Snobbish Coffee Maker. He likes to tinker with things, so he unscrews the top and pulls out the Bean Evaluation Module. He now has a Sobbish Coffee Maker that can brew coffee made with any beans. I, as the manufacturer, get pissed off at Sam and sue him for jailbreaking the coffee maker.

THAT is immoral.

Let's pretend Apple takes back what they say about jailbreaking. So their stance becomes, "Hey, do what you want with your iPhone, but we're not going to HELP you put unapproved apps on it. If you want to do that, you're on your own. And we won't fix anything that goes wrong, either." Is that still immoral to you?

If so, is a calculator-manufacturer being immoral by not providing a simple interface for you to program the calculator and put a different program on it? (I'm talking about non-programmable calculators.) I mean, you CAN put another program on any calculator. But you have to really work hard to do it. You have to open it up and mess with its hardware. But there no legal impediment. It's YOUR calculator.

Is that not good enough? Is the calculator company morally obligated to make it easy for you to program its calculators?

If not, then when does it become obligated? What if it decides to sell a chip that you can plug into the calculator to make it play tetris. So it can now crunch number or play tetris. But that's all it can do easily. Since they have now made it, in a very limited way, programmable, do they have the obligation?

What if they create a way to download additional programs. They offer five of them, but no UI for making your own. Are they NOW on shaky moral ground?

I am not trying to catch you out. I am honestly a little confused about the ethics here.
posted by grumblebee at 8:16 AM on May 21, 2010


I am not trying to catch you out. I am honestly a little confused about the ethics here.

So are Apple and Adobe -- har!
posted by mazola at 8:24 AM on May 21, 2010


Are they confused or do they just not care? Read the Gervais Principal. If it's true, most businesses are run by sociopaths.
posted by grumblebee at 8:30 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


grumblebee No, I don't think I limit my judgment of immoral to computing devices, though I think its most apparent there as they are, by nature, programmable and user modifiable while many other devices aren't.

I'm really not quite sure on the logic behind my position yet, sorry. I'm working on it and I'll see if I can come up with something other than "it feels immoral" in a bit.

I don't think that people are under any particular obligation to make it easy to modify or program for their devices, but I do think they are under a moral obligation not to deliberately impede such efforts, and that I think is where Apple crosses the line of morality.

If, as in your hypothetical, Apple said "yeah, jailbreak your phone we don't care", I'd still not want to buy their device, but at that point it would be a matter of taste not a moral judgment. When they actively attempt to thwart the efforts of people to go beyond the limits they built into the device then I think it crosses the line into immoral behavior.
posted by sotonohito at 6:58 AM on May 23, 2010


Steve and Bill.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has Google leapfrogeed Apple? "Not a chance"
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on May 24, 2010


Lightspark - An alternative Flash Player for Linux
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


How to get Hulu running on Android 2.2, for now
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on May 24, 2010


Artw: "Has Google leapfrogeed Apple? "Not a chance""

It's hard to tell if El Jobso is answering the question "Have you read this Gizmodo article" or "Do you believe Google is surpassing you guys" and given Apple's state of affairs with Giz, I suspect it's the former. Even SJ must admit that Google is clearly ahead now that they have flash.

*ducks* hey I meant camera flash!
posted by mullingitover at 10:59 AM on May 24, 2010


Adobe Flash Player 10.1 on Android: Slow but Pretty.
posted by mazola at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2010


Waiting a Decade for This
Until now, nearly all the folks who have expressed an opinion about the weighty matter of Apple's refusal to allow Adobe's Flash onto the iPhone (including me) have had one thing in common: They've never used Flash on any smartphone...

The beta is, indeed a beta, and the EVO hasn't even shipped yet. But I started this experiment wanting to like Flash on Android...and as of right now, my hands-on experience with it has left me profoundly disappointed.
posted by mazola at 5:21 PM on May 24, 2010


It might take Adobe awhile to get the kinks out (if that's possible), but even if they manage to do it eventually, if this sort of report keeps coming in, they are going to have MAJOR mud on their faces.
posted by grumblebee at 6:55 PM on May 24, 2010


Flash kills browsing in Android 2.2 Froyo.
posted by mazola at 9:16 PM on May 24, 2010


I think the most interesting part of that part of the video is how close Flash games running on a good processer are to standard, natively written games.

So fine, you say, things look great. Why not run Flash?

Well, hit about 4:30 and you’ll see how choppy Flash looks on a real page. So clearly we’re dealing with two issues here: Flash is good, on aggregate, for some applications while Flash in the “wild,” i.e. Flash appearing on your average web page, is terrible.


Turning on Click To Load sounds like a good option here.
posted by Artw at 9:57 PM on May 24, 2010


mazola: “Flash kills browsing in Android 2.2 Froyo.”

Well, yeah – of course it does right now. Flash for Linux is woefully under-developed. Give it six months, and they'll have it speedy as hell, I'll bet.
posted by koeselitz at 10:41 PM on May 24, 2010


Walmart cuts price of 16gb iPhone 3Gs to $97.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:32 AM on May 25, 2010


requiring the stamp of approval before you can install anything interferes with my ownership of the device

So don't buy one.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on May 25, 2010


But they want one, that's the problem.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 AM on May 25, 2010


That ol' double standard - comics and Apple censorship (and homophobia) on the iPad.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


But they want one, that's the problem.

To be more precise, some of us want what the iMobiles almost are -- a really good mobile convergence / general computing device. But then you start adding up the drawbacks and it's frustrating because they're this close.
posted by weston at 1:41 PM on May 25, 2010


Give it six months, and they'll have it speedy as hell, I'll bet.

To be fair to critics, Adobe had three years to get it right.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:31 PM on May 25, 2010


That ol' double standard - comics and Apple censorship (and homophobia) on the iPad.</em.

I'm like THIS close to saying fuck it and buying an iPad, a 1.0 product, but shit like that pisses me off. But it's a bit unclear from the article. Was the comic released as an App? If so, would releasing it as web comic, available to Apps that read comics work?

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:47 PM on May 25, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: “To be fair to critics, Adobe had three years to get it right.”

Yeah, I guess what I meant is: if anybody is the catalyst for Flash working nicely on any new platform at this point, it's not going to be Adobe. I think Google could make it work; they're good at collaborations, and I can see them making it work. If nothing else, they'll get it working as well as it does on 32-bit Linux – which, to be fair, is a lot better than it is on my 64-bit system.

It's not really a criticism of Android, is what I mean. It's a criticism of Adobe, and unfortunately they can't be counted on; but Google has every reason to get Flash working on the Android, and probably will.
posted by koeselitz at 5:57 PM on May 25, 2010


DOJ investigating Apple for iTunes related antitrust issues
posted by Artw at 6:16 AM on May 26, 2010


Adobe and Google revealed to be parents of Satan, Flash their evil tool used to kick puppies. Apple found to be a combination of Superman, Wonderwoman and Spiderman, who's mere presence produces ice cream and sunshine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:34 AM on May 26, 2010


Apple censors Republican Congressional candidate
"I don't have a Constitutional right to an iPhone application, but they don't have a right to keep me from talking."

Legalities aside, I asked David if he thinks it's right for Apple to filter political apps. He said, "The way I look at it, iPhone applications are becoming somewhat of a de facto standard. Similar to the way Hare Krishnas are allowed to give out flowers and literature at the airport, even if the airport is privately run in partnership with the public, with the iPhone becoming the standard for mobile applications, it is wrong for them to stifle expression of certain ideas with the world through the portal."
posted by mazola at 6:50 AM on May 26, 2010


Breaking: Rumors circulate that Apple is a sleeper agent, people warned to be careful of ice cream and sunshine.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:32 AM on May 26, 2010


Flash Enthusiast Sends a Hidden Message: Steve Jobs Hates You.
posted by mazola at 10:30 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's going to go over real well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on May 26, 2010


Apple Is Now Worth More Than Microsoft
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on May 26, 2010


It's time for a hostile takeover!
posted by mazola at 11:04 AM on May 26, 2010


Microsoft feels so old. Haven't really noticed them as being on the cutting edge of anything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on May 26, 2010


Flash Enthusiast Sends a Hidden Message: Steve Jobs Hates You.

Not the greatest implementation, but a good idea ... sort of like noscript or "this site won't work on IE6; get a real browser" messages.

"This site will not work on iPhone OS" would have been a better tagline than "Steve Jobs Hates You" imo.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:08 AM on May 26, 2010


Microsoft feels so old. Haven't really noticed them as being on the cutting edge of anything.

I'm not sure if they invented it, but I like Snap (yeah, right, big deal). Also, Silverlight seems to be becoming a standard for live video streams. But yeah, no, MS certainly doesn't project a cutting-edge image.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:11 AM on May 26, 2010


Flash Enthusiast Sends a Hidden Message: Steve Jobs Hates You.

Wow, that would make me leave and never, ever, ever come back to your site.
posted by sveskemus at 11:16 AM on May 26, 2010


Microsoft feels so old. Haven't really noticed them as being on the cutting edge of anything.

Oh I don't know, they cut Courier, they cut 5000 employees, they cut Robbie Bach and J Allard ...
posted by mazola at 11:28 AM on May 26, 2010


Silverlight seems to be becoming a standard for live video streams.

It looked like that for a while, but it's not true any more. This is my industry, and my company almost never gets asked to make Silverlight players. Everyone wants Flash and/or HTML5.

Some of the networks toyed with Silverlight, but now ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX all use Flash.
posted by grumblebee at 12:02 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Silverlight on the web is kind of a disaster - it's basically doing more or less the same thing as Flash, which already has a massive install base, and requires that users install yet another thing on their browser, which they absolutely don't want to do, so of course it's going to fail. On the desktop and on phones it;s far more interesting (and as a .net developer I'd way sooner go through the relatively straightforwards business of making a Windows Phone 7 Phone app than all the messing about with Obj-C and the horrible interface builder), but everyone knows it as the failed Flash replacement now.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2010


I wouldn't really count that courier vapourware thing as a big MS faliure though - from the start it was obviously a proof of concept inteneded to throw out some ideas with nothing solid behind it. The various companies dropping out of making multuitouch Windows 7 tablets may be more significant.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on May 26, 2010


everyone knows it as the failed Flash replacement now

Really? I figured that most everyone who knows it knows it from Netflix Online.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:57 PM on May 26, 2010


Microsoft shareholders should have fired Ballmer's ass out of Redmond after the Yahoo! debacle. I can't believe he still has a job after all these years of mismanagement, and I say that as someone who is hoping Microsoft turns itself around, because they could be doing some interesting things if they weren't so busy imitating everyone else with substandard knock-offs of successful companies' technologies.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on May 26, 2010


Hey, Microsoft has a long illustrious history of imitating everyone else with substandard knock-offs of successful companies' technologies; why would they stop now?

I, too, am surprised Ballmer is still in charge. Microsoft used to be the Big Bad--now they're just irrelevant.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:21 PM on May 26, 2010


Actually, Flash is on the iPhone, sort of.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 PM on May 26, 2010


Oh crap.
posted by mazola at 9:03 PM on May 26, 2010


Well that would be interesting.
posted by Artw at 9:49 PM on May 26, 2010


After all that noise about controlling their destiny by controlling the dev platform, they'd make a deal with Microsoft to let Visual Studio target the iMobiles?

If that happens, I pretty much am going to believe Apple's stance is all about a personal grudge against Adobe.
posted by weston at 12:33 AM on May 27, 2010


I'll believe when I see it. Analysts have been very wrong about Apple before.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:39 AM on May 27, 2010


During summer 2010, watch for new publishing technology on Adobe Labs that helps publishers to transform InDesign CS5 layouts into compelling applications like the WIRED Reader.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 AM on May 27, 2010


After all that noise about controlling their destiny by controlling the dev platform, they'd make a deal with Microsoft to let Visual Studio target the iMobiles?

My skepticism volume is at 11.
posted by grumblebee at 6:19 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:52 AM on May 27, 2010


After trying to think of other reasons why Ballmer might be there (assuming that the analyst isn't totally 100% wrong, which I think is a strong possibility), I've got:

* search partnership
* MS Apps for the iMobiles
* songsmith for OS X
* zombie Red Box / OpenStep for Windows

in rough order of likelihood.
posted by weston at 8:24 AM on May 27, 2010


* warm up the crowd before Jobs takes stage
posted by mazola at 8:29 AM on May 27, 2010


* Apple buying MSFT, shutting it down and giving the money back to the shareholders.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:34 AM on May 27, 2010


* Silverlight for Safari Mobile
posted by ecurtz at 9:46 AM on May 27, 2010


Well, jumping back a tangent, the initial news regarding Flash/Flex to iPhone suggested that it offered at thin wrapper around the Flash interpreter. Blocking it would be consistent with Apple's policy against language interpreters other than webkit, which blocked Opera Mobile due to the use of embedded Java.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:40 AM on May 27, 2010


Official Microsoft Twitter feed: Steve Ballmer not speaking at Apple Dev Conf. Nor appearing on Dancing with the Stars. Nor riding in the Belmont. Just FYI.

At least they have a sense of humor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:05 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is This Really The Future of Magazines or Why Didn’t They Just Use HTML 5?
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2010


Artw, the Wired thing would make an interesting Front-Page Post.

From the article:

"And that’s about the extent of the interactivity. Which makes me wonder if that should be the extent of it or should we be wanting more? I don’t have an answer to that, though my gut feeling is that there is a massive opportunity to reinvent the concept of a magazine"

Here's how to reinvent the magazine (but I warn you, it's going to be difficult and EXPENSIVE, because you won't be able to rely on a framework or template).

You invent each issue from scratch. In other words, you don't settle on a format that's "like a print publication but with embedded videos" or one that is "like a slide show but with accompanying articles." You start with NO preconceived notions.

You have an editorial meeting about next month's edition. Slowly, as ideas get accepted and rejected, a general theme forms. At this point, you say, "How should we present this theme? Should it be as a straight-forward book? A book with pictures? A book with videos? As a movie? As a comic book? As a comic book with a soundtrack? ..."

You don't ever try to innovate for the sake of innovation. You make sure that, instead, you tailor your format to your message.

The iPad (or something like it) is cool for this sort of thing, because it has the capability of playing various kinds of media. But, in my fantasy world, I would love to see something even more ambitious. Here's what I'd like to see:

You pay $20 a month, or whatever, for your subscripts to "Wired: The Experience," and the requirements are that you own an iPad, a CD player and and a DVD player. Then, Wired starts surprising you. One month, you get an app delivered to you. Another month, you get a traditional print magazine. Maybe the next month, you get an mp3, because the "magazine" is just sound that month...
posted by grumblebee at 1:41 PM on May 27, 2010


Here's how to reinvent the magazine (but I warn you, it's going to be difficult and EXPENSIVE, because you won't be able to rely on a framework or template).

Pretty much every magazine and newspaper uses a framework and templates to cut down on production cost and time. I strongly suspect most would be loathe to throw out that formula and most readers wouldn't want a completely new pub every month or week.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on May 27, 2010


Feel free to put something together if you want to.

I thought the comparison to 90s CD-ROMs was apt - Way back when they had the first video of WIRED developing the (then flash based) App they showed that spinny car thing, and it took me back to the first magazine CD ROM I ever checked out, which had a spinny-car thing exactly like that (and yes, I'd guess it was made up of individual images.)
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on May 27, 2010


Calling all authors: How to sell your books in the iBook store
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on May 27, 2010


What happens if one of your characters is named Steve?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:01 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I strongly suspect most would be loathe to throw out that formula and most readers wouldn't want a completely new pub every month or week.

Of course, but the question was how to REINVENT the magazine. You can't reinvent something without throwing out old formulas.

Whether we NEED magazines to be reinvented is another issue entirely.
posted by grumblebee at 2:08 PM on May 27, 2010


Oh, and big minus points to the author of the WIRED peice for saying "HTML5" when HTML would have done the trick. Bloody buzzwords...
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on May 27, 2010


You can't reinvent something without throwing out old formulas.

The question becomes whether you throw out old formulas or the idea of having formulas. I'm betting publishing companies for the former, not the latter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:12 PM on May 27, 2010


Of course they won't do the latter. What on Earth would be in the incentive? They really don't have an incentive to reinvent magazines -- unless we're going to use the word "reinvent" in a way that robs it of all its power. They have an incentive to tweak their current format so that it's interesting and workable when delivered on a new platform.
posted by grumblebee at 4:24 PM on May 27, 2010


Charles Stross on the iPad
posted by Artw at 10:58 PM on May 28, 2010


'Had it crashed? Or was it being sarcastic?' Charlie Brooker on the iPad
posted by Artw at 6:58 AM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've Changed My Mind About The iPad
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 AM on May 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


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