Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steve Jobs' Open Letter About Flash

Steve Jobs has written an open letter on the Apple Website regarding Adobe's Flash web technology:

Steve Jobs: Thought On Flash


The basic topics of the letter cover:

It's not open.

The "full web.

Reliability, security and performance.

Battery life.

Touch.

One of the web's greatest hidden evils: rollovers. Rollover flash ads don't fit with the Touch interface.

Basically, Flash is built around the idea of mouse input, and would need to be "rewritten" to work well on touch devices.

Development.

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."

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I'd like to add my own two cents about the PC side concerning Adobe Flash:

While I have worked for many PC shops over the years to do their Mac work ... occasionally I'm asked to assist with the influx of PCs that need to be virus cleaned. The main culprits for loading viruses on PCs are Flash and infected Adobe PDFs.

And then the Mac side of things:

Since I sell my own networking device for Macs - one common question I get is how to speed up the internet. My first suggestion is always to try to avoid sites with Flash ... but if you must visit them ... download a program called Click To Flash.

From The Click To Flash description:

The advantages of ClickToFlash are numerous. Since Flash isn't loaded until you specifically ask for it, your CPU usage will stay at normal levels when browsing the web. This has tons of benefits: web browsing stays speedy, your Mac laptop won't get as hot, and your Mac's fan won't come on as often. In fact, we guarantee* that ClickToFlash will quintuple your battery life and that it will protect those precious parts of your body on which you rest your laptop!

Best of all, ClickToFlash even supports viewing all those ADORABLE meowing cat videos, annoying dog videos, and hilarious rickrolls from YouTube without using Flash at all! That's because YouTube also offers H.264 videos, which are used when viewing YouTube on the iPhone. With ClickToFlash, you get access to those same, higher quality videos.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The main culprits for loading viruses on PCs are Flash and infected Adobe PDFs." Can you back up this statement? Provide links to studies, statistics, etc?

It's widely known that most Windows PCs become infected because of how IE handled ActiveX. Even Microsoft admits this (I've emailed a friend asking for a link to the source for this statement.)

I did a quick search for malware containing flash or pdf at mcafee (even with their recent problems, their database is one of the best.) The results were 326 and 203 respectively. So a bit over 500 known malware related to flash and pdf, compared with how many hundred thousands..?

Incidentally, Flash is fairly secure on Windows. Adobe puts a great deal more time and effort into the Windows version of Flash than the Mac version.

Anonymous said...

BTW, my comment shouldn't be construed to mean I like Flash. I wish it a fast, but horribly painful death. It is a curse on the internet -- but it's not a significant, or even measurable, source of viruses for Windows.

fixyourthinking said...

Experience - I know of two trusted websites RIGHT NOW that are distributing affected PDFs.

Windows had a HUGE issue with Reader 7 & 8.

Since Google indexes PDFs too many people think that anything they can click on in a Google search is valid.

Furthermore, you found a lot of instances - all it takes is one to be popular right?

What I mean by a flash "related" virus is when i visit somewebsites, a message will pop up (that's in Flash) that says my computer is infected and asked me to click on it to resolve the problem. Since Flash has access to install in the registry - any Flash click could be installing malicious software.