[kwlug-disc] peoples' thoughts on apple, adobe and flash?

Andrew Kohlsmith (mailing lists account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Fri Apr 30 20:08:22 EDT 2010

On Friday 30 April 2010 12:39:11 pm unsolicited wrote:
> To say "Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript" then say "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" seems ...

I am loathe to admit it, but he's right about this.

Whenever you are targeting a variety of platforms you are forced to work with 
the lowest common denominator. Android has the exact same problem. Yes, you 
can make all kinds of exceptions and create special cases for more 
advanced/featureful hardware, but you quickly run into the "this app works 
only on $foo platforms" type apps. This fragments the environment and drives 
down usability.

Now having said all of that, I really do believe that this is far more of a 
business decision than a technical decision, and that if they do allow flash 
apps, they lose control over the walled garden that they have with the App 

> "Flash is a cross platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to
> help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps.", of course
> not, 'cause if they achieved that goal, they might get more customers
> and make more money! Across more platforms even. What apple is really
> saying here, as well, is we don't care about cross-platform
> compatibility and open standards.

And again -- he doesn't care about cross platform compatibility and open 
standards when it comes to applications, and as the owner of the 
iPhone/iPod/iPad embedded realm, it's certainly in his best interest to ensure 
that things run as well as they can on his platforms. Any generic development 
language/platform is NOT a way to achieve that.

I'm the biggest open source advocate and user you're likely to find without a 
huge beard and flute, but I feel I also have a good understanding of where 
people like Steve Jobs did things right. One of those areas is in user 
interface: you don't make a seamless and revolutionary user interface by 
giving people all kinds of choice on how to make your device work. Another is 
in API: you don't encourage a huge software universe by letting programmers 
develop higgeldy-piggeldy; you create and control a good set of APIs and grow 
them naturally and in a controlled fashion so that all applications look and 
operate the same way.

Both of these facets of design require very careful balance and an eye toward 
a singular goal or set of goals. I do not believe that "pure OSS" is viable 
way to achieve these goals simply because you need a dictator or a design 
board who keeps these goals in mind and vetos what would not be in line with 
these goals.

Note that I said "pure OSS" -- Linux has a benevolent dictator. Apache has the 
Apache foundation. If you don't like their decision, you're free to fork, but 
that certainly doesn't lead to a single cohesive environment. :-)


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