Archive for April, 2010

I am not with Adobe

It seems everybody has weighed it in with this controversy about the new Section 3.3.1 of iPhone SDK agreement. This change effectively bans the use of “applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer”, which nullifies Adobe’s upcoming Flash-to-iPhone conversion tool.First, Adobe was angry, really angry. In its official Flash blog, concerned that their sentiment would not be loud and clear enough, it said out loud, “Go screw yourself Apple“. It is not a surprise to see Apple bans Flash on iPhone OS, and everybody hates Flash – at least everybody on non-Windows platform does – and would typically show no sympathy when Adobe cries about it. And, gee, not a single one has built any iPhone application with this yet-to-release feature to convert Flash content to an iPhone app, and who but Adobe cares about that this change of SDK agreement would ban this feature. However, it was tacky that Adobe by pointing out this would affect not only Adobe but also Unity3D – it might not be true, since Unity3D works as a precompiler – was able to unite a big force of outraged developers. Over 2,000 has joined the facebook group named “I’m with Adobe” in support of Adobe. Considering this group also said Apple’s next move was “banning bands from iTunes who used PCs to mix their albums”, I would not believe anything they would say. Unfortunately, Adobe was surely committed enough to steer online discussion and to generate a huge wave of sentiment against Apple and App Store across the blogsphere. Protesters with the revenge-kind or adandonism tones are everywhere, and it is extremely difficult to find anyone with any insight. But I believe this is not like it appears from seeing the blogs and comments.

As always, slashdot community has better discussions worth reading. One slashdotter pointed this interesting point about history:

Although I strongly condemn Apple’s bullying tactics, I can only say that Adobe had this coming for a long time.

Back in the 80s, at the dawn of desktop publishing, Apple held a kind of symbiotic relationship with Adobe, Aldus, and Macromedia, the once-competing companies that eventually merged into today’s Adobe. But somewhere in the late 90s Adobe started to drop the ball on Apple as they saw greener pastures in Windows Land. They started to invest much more in the development of the Windows versions of many of their products and Mac versions started to become second-class products.

Adobe even used Premiere as leverage against Apple, threatening to stop its development for the Mac, something that would have essentially kicked Apple out of the video editing market. That’s why Apple bought and started heavy development of Final Cut (1999?). Adobe in fact pulled the plug from Premiere (2003?) until they realized that this has backfired on them making them loose a lot of the video market (2007?).

But perhaps the epitome of Adobe’s contempt for Apple is Flash. if you think Flash for windows is crappy, you haven’t seen the Mac version (or for that matter the Linux one). Macromedia Flash was equally good for Mac and Windows, but while the performance of the Windows version was kept almost acceptable, the Mac version became even more sluggish, processor intensive, and buggy.

Furthermore, Flash became probably the biggest security hole in Mac OS X. in the security update for January, 12 vulnerabilities were plugged. But seven of them were not really in the operating system but in the flash pluggin!

If I was Apple, I would also be very concerned that Adobe, with its Army of Flash developers and its crappy implementation of Flash platform, would soon flood the App Store with apps, which arguably would be alien-ware and sub-standard. I believe the original iPhone developer community would be a minority by then. iPhone SDK would soon be irrelevant. Adobe would effective take control of the platform. The cross-platform nature of the flash platform would mean Apple would be at Adobe’s mercy to remain in the smartphone business. And if history is any indication, Adobe would not play nice by then. And it has already turned its back on Apple, as one pointed out

Many of us who do have noticed a distinct shift in [Adobe’s] design philosophy away from making a Mac program for graphic designers towards making a PC program for graphic designers which happens to run on the Mac. The examples are small yet numerous and it paints a clear picture, to anyone who actually thinks about it for a second, that Adobe was the first to turn their backs on the Mac community. I believe there’s been a cold war brewing behind closed doors for years now and, while Apple may have been the most obvious about bringing it into the light, Adobe was the first to act on it with their shift in design philosophy with CS3.

That reminded me the time when Microsoft had to hijack the Java development on Windows with its own JVM and Visual J++. It’s either Java destroying Windows or Microsoft destroying Java on Windows. It looked evil, but at least Java was something nice and worth looking at especially in those years. But with Flash, Apple could easily ban it without losing much, as one pointed out

If Adobe want to play, they need to bring something that excites the user-base, and that Apple can’t refute. So far they’ve *not* done that, and childish rants aren’t going to persuade me that they can, in fact, do that. I do love the “comments are disabled because someone might disagree with me” as well [grin] – that just smacks of someone firmly convinced they’re in the right…

And after reading the following comment, I really think it is time to forget about this whole discussion and move on.

You know, everyone keeps complaining about all this “control” apple has on the iphone. And now, to read how they are worse than Microsoft.

First, Flash sucks for me as a user so I am thrilled it’s going to die. Sorry if a few developers love it, but that’s not my problem nor do I care if they have to learn new things. Thank you Apple.

Second, as an iPhone user there is nothing I miss on a daily basis being able to do with the iPhone. Do I wish that there was more flexibility with some apps? Yes. Do I think it’s this huge deal, no. Fact is the control Apple is doing has benefits and negatives. For most people the benefits of a closed community, screened apps that haven’t had viruses or malware, and a wonderful intuitive GUI (IMHO, Android is getting closer but is still not consistent nor as intuitive as iphone or Palm WebOs) and easy upgrades that actually are released to the phones (as opposed to the fragmentation that’s Android) is worthwhile. Fact is Android Droid are STILL waiting for Verizon to let them get 2.1 of Android. How’s that for control? If you want control, get yourself an out of contract pay as you go GSM type phone (like the Nokia or somethiing). But for the rest of us people who just need a smartphone and not a portable computer, the iphone is a great device.

Oh, for the record, I am not with Adobe, solely because their applications do not live to my standard.


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