Apple's Steve Jobs is spreading FUD on Flash


Apr 29, 2010 GMT
Oliver Frommel

Starting with the presentation of the iPad there was a flamewar going on between Flash lovers and haters in thousands of comments on various blog sites. Haters welcomed Apple's decision to not allow the Adobe Flash player on the iPad and saw the future of the multimedia web in HTML5. Flash proponents, on the other hand, said that HTML5 is just not ready and even if it was some things just aren't possible. Both were speculating on the Apples motivation to disallow Flash content on their iDevices, culminating in a recent change of their SDK license that was obviously targeted against the recently released Adobe Flash CS5 program that allowed developers to compile Flash content into native code.

Now Apple CEO Steve Jobs reacted with a rare open letter where he recounts the reasons for Apple's move. he starts with

"they say we want to protect our App Store ... Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true."

Now whether Flash is a closed or an open system is a matter we will delve into in just a second. How Jobs can claim that any of his systems are open is totally beyond me: App store, iPhone, iPad are all closed systems, as recently proven by their own moves. Apple takes the freedom to remove applications from the store as they please. I am aware of the fact that great parts of the Mac OS X are Open Source and I have found myself on several occasions to point Apple haters to that fact. Core parts of the OS like Cocoa aren't open though, so how much is there for an open system?

Jobs continues to claim:

"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."

Now the Apple CEO is either misinformed or flat-out lying. Adobe Flash is "open" in several respects. First there are the Flash specifications, namely SWF and FLV video. Both are open and a while ago Adobe has lifted the ban on open implementations of any Flash software. Compare that to the Apple license mentioned above. Adobe has donated the Tamarin Actionscript compiler to the Mozilla foundation quite a while ago. Actionscript 3 is in itself an open standard based on the ECMAScript spec. Finally Adobe has released the Flex compiler as an open source project, that covers the whole Flash development process.

Closed products Adobe still has are the Flash Media Server and last not least the Flash Player browser plugin, that Adobe delivers free of charge. It is true that this makes Flash a platform that is not 100% open. But claiming the opposite is just not true. In my opinion Adobe should just do us all a favour and release the source code for the Flash player so discussions like this have an end.


  • I reckon they will come round

    I reckon they will come round to it later, just like what they did for the print function on iPad2. They just make allow Flash content on iPad3.

  • Apple and Microsoft

    Well, it's been all out in the open for about a month now. Microsoft and Apple have been in the same bed from the beginning of this whole thing, sinister days indeed. It had nothing to do with who's open or not, it has to do with money, how the licensing for the H.264 codex for the html5 Video works and who owns the patents. Which, just happens to be both Apple and Mircosoft. Both of which are just looking to restrict your choices. Wake up.
  • Flash forat stinks

    flash is a example of buggy propetary software. The real importat thing is the flash pluging player, but is not open. I really hate flash since is slow and inneficient. I do hate java too
  • Adobe, Apple and Microsoft

    The dispute between Adobe, Apple and Microsoft is really a matter of "who has the greater capability to fleece the public".

    I watch these discussions with great fascination as I consider starting my own blog titled "He Man Adobe Haters Club". My club would be a sister club (existing or not) to the "He Man Apple Haters Club", and the "He Man Microsoft Haters Club".

    I have read every book I can find concerning Apple/Jobs, and Microsoft/Gates, and have determined in my mind, that Adobe is merely a "Jobs/Gates wanna be, with no class".

    All three will discover sometime in the not to distant future that they will need to do what all purveyors of goods and services must eventually do, and that is provide value for the money they expunge from the public.

    To use "He Man..." terms (cleaned up a bit) they all have us by the testicles right now. But being "big" no longer works today. A company must produce a product or service that functions and performs as promised, or they will be squeezed out... did someone say "US Auto Industry"?

    I guess I am getting old for I seem to have my eyes and mind "In the Clouds" right now, with considerable hope. Of course somewhere down the line there will most probably be a "He Man Cloud Haters Club" as well
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