If you want to read Apple and Adobe’s opinions directly: Steve Jobs posted his thoughts on Flash, and Adobe shared their thoughts as well.

I find it very interesting to note what both sides claim is the core issue: Openness.

JH at LIE addresses the question.

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    May 15, 2010

    At least Apple products usually have quality. Adobe’s products are over-priced, buggy as hell, over-complicated for usage and when they no longer wish to support them, they just drop them.

  2. #2 Colin
    May 15, 2010

    Apple: without a doubt.

    If it’s an issue of Flash being closed then why are Java, .NET, and any language interpreters not allowed? Java spec is open and .NET’s CLR is open. To develop iPhone apps you can only use objective-C. JavaScript, C, C++, C#, python, ruby, PHP, etc. are open yet they are not allowed.

    Apple has to approve of your application to be sold in their store. And you have to pay to develop for it.

    As Jobs said: “They are only available from Apple, and Apple has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc.”

    Oh wait, that’s not what Jobs said. He said: “They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc.”

    Funny how it works the same way when you substitute Apple for Adobe.

    Oh, but Jobs is only talking about the web? That’s why Apple is, without a doubt, being more sanctimonious. Everything *but* WWW can be closed, and Apple fully locks that down, yet they “burn” Adobe for being all proprietary and closed.

    When I can “legally” get onto an iPhone or iPad and do with it as I please then I will buy one. However, this will happen at a quarter-till-never.

    I put a lot of blame on the W3C for taking 11 years between HTML 4.0 (’97) and HTML 5 *draft* (’08). That was the failing point that necessitated Flash because of the huge gap in the lack of functionality of HTML 4 and the apps/ads people wanted to create. And the number of new features to HTML 5 over 4 is nice but about 8 years too late.

  3. #3 Comrade PhysioProf
    May 15, 2010

    They’re both lying sacks of fucking shit, because neither Apple nor Adobe are even remotely in the neighborhood of “open” under any reasonable definition of the term. Fortunately, I do not need to deal with fucking Apple, but I have no choice but to use some Adobe software, because there is absofuckinglutely nothing available that is even close to providing the functionality of Adobe drawing, image manipulation, and page layout software. Yeah, it’s buggy, but man that Creative Suite shit is fucking amazing.

  4. #4 MadScientist
    May 15, 2010

    I didn’t know there was a measure for sanctimony.

    Adobe just wants to sell its products. Products such as PS and PDF have had accessible specifications for a long time (there was a lot of pressure on Adobe to publish the PS specification). So – anyone can implement PS or PDF (and there are several independent implementations of the generators and the interpreters). I don’t believe the Flash specification has been published yet (or perhaps I should say ‘again’ since parts of the spec for earlier versions was originally released) so I agree with S. Jobs: Flash is evil. I don’t think “Open” is an issue at all and I don’t know why Jobs even mentions it.

    Apple on the other hand bought out CUPS a few years ago but as far as I know, CUPS is still open. So – Apple has *some* open software (like CUPS) just as Adobe have *some* publicly available electronic format specifications. I love PS and PDF, and loathe Flash (and all those incompetent web designers who don’t know how to make a web page without making it 100% dependent on the flash player). I love CUPS, and as for OSX I’ve always believed Apple should make more documentation available to allow people to build drivers and make OSX available on run-of-the-mill x86 hardware even if only as a small-scale experiment. I really don’t know why Apple doesn’t do it, unless they see themselves primarily as a hardware vendor and don’t want their software product being made available on generic hardware and thus possibly eat into their hardware sales.

  5. #5 Jean-Denis
    May 15, 2010

    The main difference between the two is:

    – Adobe claims to be open
    – Apple doesn’t claim to be open

    In fact, Apple is quite forthcoming that they don’t want any technology they don’t control to stand in the way of their platform’s evolution.

  6. #6 Ken
    May 15, 2010

    I’ll admit to bias on this one. Adobe managed to annoy me the most in the past. It started when they were pushing for all websites to be a set of interlinked Flash pages instead of using HTML. And they managed to get WAY too many so called website designers to go for it. We ended up with sites that were slow, buggy, and unable to index.

    I really hope that the popularity of the iPhone and iPad will kill off the use of Flash all over the place in favor of something better for video like HTML 5. I’m not an Apple fanboy but if they could really kill Flash I might consider becoming one.

    Apple used to annoy me by renaming things like “Primary DNS Server” to “The Happy Network Connection Director Setting” in their OS’s in an effort to not intimidate users. They have gotten MUCH better about using industry standard terms over the years. It annoys me, however, that they still try to hide things like the file system from me.

  7. #7 MadScientist
    May 16, 2010

    @Ken: hehehe – that reminds me about trying to set up some scientific software on the boss’ Mac a few years ago. I’m looking around going “this *looks* like UNIX, but why do things have weird names and things aren’t where they’re usually found?” At least most tools are there – somewhere. If you have MS you pay extra for all those tools which everyone has for free on UNIX systems. Not to mention I still don’t get why an operating system should boot up with hundreds of servers running and doing only Microsoft-knows-what.

    I’d still like to see a free video codec or two in HTML5. It would be nice if the owners of H.264 would say something like “license and royalty free for GPLv3 software”, but I won’t hold my breath.

    The world had gone gaga over Flash though; there will be no competition until someone gets a suite of software together to master those scripted multimedia files.

  8. #8 peter
    May 16, 2010

    fwiw colin, C, C++ and Javascript are indeed allowed.

    also, darwin (the foundation of osx,) and webkit, (the foundation of safari, chrome, konqueror) are also open. there are more.

    gnash is an open spec for for making flash players, but I don’t know off hand how much code adobe publishes to assist in making a gnash player that is equivalent to the shipping flash code. the gnash project however is likely to spend eternity a few versions back of the commercial shipping product. historically with public file formats adobe has been very quick to write products that write files that do not conform to their own spec, and then updating the spec to match their newer products. see postcript transparency issues when illustrator and freehand attempted that. in the end, freehand wrote better postscript than illustrator. pdf is similar, how much stuff has been crammed into the file format .pdf that can only be opened by the adobe pdf reader? (fwiw, pixar does something similar with the renderman spec vs. the renderman product) interestingly the adobe reader was unable to correctly render pdfs rendered to spec by ghostscript for a couple of years there. all the ligatures would vanish.

    apple makes a piece of hardware that they support under certain limitations. if you choose to go outside those limitations, you can certainly do so. you just don’t get the support of apple to do it. in my not terribly humble opinion, it seems that most people who complain about apple’s way of doing things are trying really hard to convince themselves that they don’t really want the apple device. there are other device manufacturers with fewer rules. just get one of them. apple is far from the only game in town.

    as a side note, the one thing to remember is that all of the current crop of apple devices were not designed as standalone objects. they are all extensions of iTunes. even the original ipod was simply a way of taking itunes with you. if you remember that little design conceit, much of the rest of the engineering makes more sense.

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