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Six Reasons Why Flash Isn't Going Away 483

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the flash-in-the-pan dept.
CWmike writes "While Steve Jobs is betting his mobile platform on it, predicting Flash's demise is short-sighted, say industry analysts. 'There are many people who despise Flash, but I'm not sure they'd love the alternative right out of the gate. The open-source world has not blown everyone out of the water with their video work thus far,' Michael Cote, an analyst at RedMon, told Howard Wen. 'Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, and I'd wager it'd take some time to get HTML 5 video as awesome.' Here are six factors that give Flash a strong position over HTML 5 and other alternative Web media technologies in the foreseeable future. For starters, While Android has made Flash a wedge issue, Flash is just beginning to show up on multiple mobile device platforms, Wen writes. Ross Rubin, an analyst at NPD Group, reminds us how Flash ushered in video on Web pages, but Craig Barberich, vice president of marketing and business development at Coincident TV, highlights the pervasiveness of Flash on the Web as we know it: 'Everybody is talking about video, but what doesn't necessarily get talked about is a lot of the interactive elements.'"
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Six Reasons Why Flash Isn't Going Away

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  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @02:56PM (#33279258) Homepage Journal

    He wanted to drive a competitor out of the marketplace, which is easy, when you control the marketplace.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      How does jobs control the market space. There are a bunch of People happy with Android phones, I am an iPhone user myself but really I don't see too much major differences somethings Android does better some things the iPhone does better. Android has been getting more market share faster then the iPhone. In general Apple isn't controlling the market at best it is Leading the market as its products are innovative enough to get competitors to imitate and improve on their designs.

      Now if Adobe can get Androi

      • How does jobs control the market space.

        What's the Android counterpart to the third-generation iPod Touch, an iOS device that has no cellular radio and therefore isn't sold bundled with a 1,500 USD* smartphone service plan? There's the Archos 5, but that's stuck on Android 1.6. If you can't find one, then I'd claim that Mr. Jobs does control the U.S. market space for personal media players that can run smartphone apps.

        * Estimated $62.50 per month for 24 months.

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:08PM (#33279418)

      While Steve Jobs is betting his mobile platform on it, predicting Flash's demise is short-sighted

      The lack of Flash on iOS isn't going to kill off Flash or iOS ... it only prevents Flash from spreading to another platform. Though they are rather popular, iDevices aren't the be-all and end-all of computing. These redonkulous claims only distract from the fact that Jobs/Apple is giving Adobe payback for treating them like a second class platform for the past decade. Payback's a bitch, so suck it up Adobe. You have Flash, Apple has iOS ... you're both going to make big profits for the foreseeable future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by farble1670 (803356)

        Jobs/Apple is giving Adobe payback for treating them like a second class platform for the past decade

        wasn't adobe one of very few platforms that kept producing their software suites for apple through their lean years?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          wasn't adobe one of very few platforms that kept producing their software suites for apple through their lean years?

          Sure ... with with smaller feature sets and sometimes years behind the Windows versions. Apple put Adobe on the map and Adobe turned their back on Apple when they were down. Good business decision by Adobe? Probably. Does Steve Jobs have a memory like an angry vindictive elephant? Probably.

          • by pspahn (1175617) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:46PM (#33280784)

            Photoshop/Illustrator/etc were often the only reasons people would even consider purchasing a Mac. Is it Adobe's fault that Apple made a bunch of super niche computers at a time when diversity and adaptability were the strong selling points of Windows machines?

            Really, look at the pre-iPod years. How many people did you know that used Macs for anything other than graphic design type work? They were THE platform at the time (though I personally never really understood why). Sure, there were people that preferred them over alternatives, but speaking from experience as someone who grew up in Silicon Valley during the 80's and 90's, I would estimate Macs to have maintained roughly a 5% market share among the people I knew.

            Apple made their own bed. Not my chair, not my problem, that's what I always say.

    • by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:18PM (#33279580)

      Some of jobs reasoning was good and some was in substantial. Clearly he had some motivation to see it the way he did but that does not make the issies he raised vanish.

      One of the most substantial is who gets to set the common denominator. If you innovate a new feature in your device, say haptic response, and flash does not support it, you are sort of at the mercy of adobe.

      Conversely, of course is the embrace and extend effect we all know and hate. Internet Explorer defined the web non-standards and held things back. People wrote to the IE specific features and things borke on standards based browsers. Flash currently lets you do more than open standards do particularly in the area of DRM, advertising, paid content and feedback to the server. As a result people who need that will write for it. People for whom it is the easiest way to implement something, say bank security, will use it. It will be has hard to get rid of as IE.

      Meanwhile as I said, while extending in some ways it will homogenize the device capabilities an limit innovation in that realm.

      Since Apple has a history of bringing new features to devices early and depricating old ones early, they are right to see flash as harmful to them.

      But from the point of view of taming a lot of different phone manufactured tweaked versions of Android or Symbian or windows 7, or simply writing cross platform flash is going to win unless the standards catch up soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DJRumpy (1345787)

      He wanted to drive a competitor out of the marketplace, which is easy, when you control the marketplace.

      Apple doesn't control either the mobile, or the media market. They aren't #1 in any particular market except for possibly iPod's, which aren't really a market for flash anyway. They don't have a proprietary 'product' that competes with Flash/Adobe either. Too many people try to make it out as some sort of personel vendetta from Steve to Adobe, but given Adobe's horrible track record when it comes to secu

      • by bdenton42 (1313735) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:00PM (#33280148)

        A potential flaw like the recent Apple bug that allowed jailbreaking on the iPhone is an excellent example. Apple patched their own within a few weeks. They would be completely at the mercy of Adobe if such a bug existed in Flash. Would you put yourself willingly in that position?

        In that particular case it was a major security flaw in iOS itself that Apple needed to fix, regardless of the source. Flash would be no different... if a Flash game was able to jailbreak the iPhone it would point to a flaw in iOS, not in Flash.

        Apple really needs to get a clue about security in iOS rather than relying upon the application gatekeeping process to do it for them.

    • Mp The iPad doesn't have the cpu guts to render HD video - it downscales it to 1024x576 - not even the 1366x768 of the crappy HDTVs, and way below 1920x1080.

      Funny how even the cheapest netbooks can do it, and laptops at the $400 price point are now doing 1600x900 native.

      Want to develop a cross-platform game? Forget HTML5 - flash is the way to go - it works NOW on PCs, laptops, even game consoles (go to http://alphagfx.com/ [alphagfx.com] and try one of the 9x9, 12x12, or 17x17 games on a Wii - the 9x9 are native resolution, but the others downscale just fine).

      The only other option even close is Java - and Java sucks for game development (and how many people want to run your java app anyway?) So you have a choice - develop once for everyone except Apple iStuff, and do it a second time for His Jobsiness, or spend the same amount of time developing twice as much for +90% of the market. The math is simple - Flash beats Apple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        Funny how even the cheapest netbooks can do it, and laptops at the $400 price point are now doing 1600x900 native.

        There's a problem with picking one aspect and using it to claim technical superiority... while ignoring form-factor, battery life, integration, that big-arsed touch-enabled screen, etc.

        Mind you, I don't have an iPad. I have an HP Mini 2200 (originally came with 'doze, but now running Ubuntu Netbook Remix - a slight improvement, IMHO).
        Here's the deal (on either OS for this thing):

        • while the battery life is okay (ab't 5-6 hours of constant use), I have the extended battery pack option - and it still doesn't co
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tomhudson (43916)

          Flash isn't "slow and attrocious" on an iPad or iPhone - it's non-existent. So anything is better :-)

          Flash is fast even on my Wii, and a Wii is majorly under-specced - 256meg of ram on a sub-gigahertz display. And yet it has no problem with flash downscaling a 1366x756 HD game to 720 (the Wii's native display size). Give it a try - http://alphagfx.com/ [alphagfx.com] pick 17x17 (heck, it even loaded, downscaled and played one of the 1600x900 20-tile games).

          If the Wii can do it (and let's face it, Wiis weren't made to

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @02:58PM (#33279280)

    Flash was nice when it came out.

    but today it's just heavy to load, and compared to what you can do with HTML5 and CSS3 it's only advances is that it's a plug-in so people with old browsers (or browsers that do not mean that there is a point in supporting HTML5/CSS3) can see advance web grafic, and play online browser games

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:06PM (#33279386) Journal

      You missed the biggest problem with flash: it is a huge security hole.

      Anything that replaces flash, that can be comfortably run outside of a dedicated VM (as is best with flash on ANY platform), has a nice advantage.

    • by snooo53 (663796) * on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:07PM (#33279402) Journal
      How true. Even Silverlight runs circles around flash for streaming video performance. I can watch Netflix movies stutter free on my netbook, but Flash videos on Hulu peg the processor and are almost unwatchable because of it.
    • by cgenman (325138)

      While I would love a flash alternative, at what point can we assume our web users will have HTML 5 and CSS3? It took nearly ten years for it to be safe to assume your users had PNG transparency compatibility. Considering the number of users still on XP, HTML5 might only be compatible to some people through a Firefox simulator plug-in in Internet Explorer.

      • Good question... from personal experience with the company webpage I manage (which is not at all techy oriented), according to google analytics 5% of the visitors to the to our site are still using IE6. The single largest browser version is IE8 -- 33% of our visitors. Ie6+7+8 is 52% of all visitors.

        Firefox is 28% of our visits (almost all running 3.6, but some still on versions as far back as 3.0), Safari 12%, Chrome 6%. iOS is 1%.

        So yeah, it's going to be a long time...

      • Google Chrome Frame (Score:4, Informative)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:34PM (#33279816) Homepage Journal

        at what point can we assume our web users will have HTML 5 and CSS3?

        This point arrived roughly eleven months ago, at least to the extent that we can assume that our web users who use IE on Windows also have an account with administrator privileges. An admin can install Google Chrome Frame [wikipedia.org], a browser helper object for IE that embeds Google Chrome in an IE window and uses it on sites that request Chrome in a <meta> element.

        • by kabloom (755503) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:06PM (#33280258) Homepage

          Forget what's available to users. The question was about what's actually installed on users' desktops. I assure you that almost nobody's going to try a hack like Google Chrome Frame or a Firefox simulator plug-in. (Well some people may, but they're the people who are already using HTML-5 compliant browsers.)

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:05PM (#33280240)

      The basic problem is that while it's easy to criticise Flash, the available alternatives simply aren't up to the job yet, nor are they going to be any time soon.

      If you're a fan of open, portable standards and advocate HTML5 and CSS over Flash, please remember how much of HTML5 and CSS3 isn't actually standardised yet. Most of these clever demo pages are based on non-portable, browser-specific CSS, which looks similar to what might one day go in CSS3 but often varies subtly between rendering engines, so the CSS files are full of almost the same styling written in three not-quite-identical ways. How is this any better than the old IE vs. Netscape problems?

      For serving video, obviously one of the most important applications of Flash today, please investigate which AV formats are actually supported by which HTML5-capable browsers, including Apple's iWhatever platforms. Bonus points are awarded for identifying the universally supported formats that are not encumbered by any kind of IP issues. (Hint: There aren't any.)

      This whole Flash vs. HTML5 video debate reminds me a lot of people who criticise table-based layouts on web pages. There are many genuine advantages of CSS and many genuine problems with table-based layout. However, the anti-table crowd still look pretty stupid when you're talking about some trivial page layout and they are advocating 50-line CSS solutions that work on most browsers from the past three years in preference to 5-line table-based solutions that work reliably on every browser since forever. They look even more stupid when they "justify" their position based on usability and accessibility concerns that most of them have never experienced, with implications they don't even understand.

      These things are all tools. We should use the best tool for each job. Hopefully, in time, new technologies and standards will leave behind less useful tools, and Flash will either evolve to keep up or it will die. For now, if you're going to bash Flash, please make sure you have a demonstrably better alternative to suggest first. Otherwise you're just a guy ranting on a forum.

  • by leromarinvit (1462031) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:00PM (#33279308)

    a San Francisco-based company that sells what it calls a "platform-agnostic" framework that allows its clients to create video with interactive elements that can be experienced on either the iOS-based devices or devices that run Flash.

    So it works on iOS too. Which means it works without Flash. Chances are it's HTML 5, so it will work in every other modern browser too. Problem solved.

    • I read the article with increasing amazement the farther into it I got. Among the six reasons why OMG we'll all die if we can't keep flash:

      • #2: Flash is used for more than just video delivery. Then goes on to say, in effect: yeah, we also need it for flash-based web sites! Well, OK then. Pardon me if I stick with the Jobsian version of the internet.
      • #4: Flash: contains 87% more DRM than icky HTML 5.The snark just writes itself here!
      • #5: But but but... Flash advertisements.That's funny. I could have sworn t
  • oh yes it is. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Not only is flash going away, but also django, rails, lift.. and all the other web frameworks. Google Native Client already works in chromium and firefox. And in two years, all of that technology will be sucked into a sandboxed binary, running at native speed. What language? any language that has an LLVM backend. "These are exciting times, better get to it"
    • Re:oh yes it is. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:02PM (#33280210)

      Really. Is that going to happen on the year of Linux on the desktop, or the year that Duke Nukem Forever comes out?

      Maybe web technology as we know it really will go away someday -- but considering I've heard someone predict that it was about to every year for the last 15 or so, I'm not holding my breath.

  • by Green Salad (705185) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:02PM (#33279330) Homepage

    Two words. "Browser Games" I play Deepolis, a very responsive and media-rich game. Can't imagine it implemented in anything other than Flash. It's the same reason many linux people have dual-boot. Games.

    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:08PM (#33279428)
      Um, Quake II in HTML5 [google.com]. I could be mistaken but I believe some very smart people are imagining how to implement media-rich games in HTML5. Flash's days are numbered. It might take several years, but it is a technology on the way out.
      • by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:18PM (#33279574)

        It's not HTML5, it uses WebGL which is not supported by IE, for example.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The problem here is....?

      • by Ziekheid (1427027)

        Reason 5: Adobe provides strong tools and support for designers and developers.

        The game you are talking about is a port of a port of a port. It was not designed in HTML5 and JS, just ported from a JAVA port with the GWT toolkit.

      • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:37PM (#33279848) Homepage Journal

        Quake II in HTML5

        For one thing, that game was profitable as a native PC application years before it was ported to WebGL. For another, neither Firefox nor Mobile Safari supports WebGL.

      • by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:10PM (#33280324)

        Am I the only one who thinks it's hilarious that the page you link to has an embedded flash video?

      • by Kitkoan (1719118) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:17PM (#33280410)
        Did you see the video of that Quake 2? It has major frame rate drops (and I doubt it was running on specs from 5 years ago) and took many elements beyond html5 to do that (in their words "we use WebGL, the Canvas API, HTML 5 elements, the local storage API, and WebSockets"). So many extras means more problems to support on different OS's. They also stated that they needed to create a new WebGL based renderer, not the standard one. Now go try Quake Live which is running Flash. Its recommended (not minimum) specs are: 2 GHz Intel Processor or better, 1680x1050 or higher screen size (can be as low as 1024x600), NVIDIA GeForce 7 Series or better, ATI Radeon X1800 series or better. These specs would run on a computer from 5 years ago without the frame rate drops and all the extras (including a custom built WebGL renderer). And the graphic load is more for Quake Live then Quake 2. Now are you really trying to tell me that the choppy, customized Quake 2 that most likely took quite modern hardware to run at even that level of "smoothness" is somehow proof that the Flash version of Quake Live (Quake 3) that runs smooth, without customized extras on hardware that is 5 years old is the proof that Flash is dying and ready to be replaced by the standard HTML5?
      • Not this again (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrwolf007 (1116997)
        Ever looked at the sources?
        Its mainly the Jake2 code [bytonic.de]. And switching from Java to HTML5 caused like what? A 90% performance drop?
  • Barberich (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dracos (107777) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:05PM (#33279362)

    Everybody is talking about video, but what doesn't necessarily get talked about is a lot of the interactive elements.

    Sounds like this guy understands that video is not the highest form of content in an interactive medium. I'm not defending flash, but let's face it, the web got big when HTML forms were introduced and information was able to flow both ways. By itself, video is still a one way street.

    • The flash plugin on everyone's browser allows the user to publish an rtmp stream back to the server, providing both audio and video. It could be a two way street -- er, with chatroulette sites popping up everywhere, arguably video already is a bidirectional model.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by by (1706743) (1706744)

      By itself, video is still a one way street.

      Sort of -- a few years ago I played around with ustream [ustream.tv], and on my old Linux laptop (Slackware), Flash had no trouble at all streaming my webcam (two-way street). Despite the fact that Flash on Linux, uh, sucks, the fact that the V4L integration actually worked boggled my mind.

      I did find it rather amusing that Flash would let me stream video from my laptop, but my machine was still too slow to play youtube videos (this was before youtube started supporting HTML5).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      By itself, video is still a one way street.

      Obviously you've never used Chatroulette [wikipedia.org] ... which is basically 'crotch shot roulette' ;-)

    • I know 10 guys will point me to some proposed standards after saying it but this just happened yesterday, on IE. A security company needed to make absolutely sure that I am really `me` as I order a critical service. I asked if we can hurry, they asked if I have webcam. I thought they wanted me tol take pic of my ID. Nope. They pointed me to a page featuring Flash plugin, Flash asked whether I want site to access my webcam, I said `yes`, guy saw me and said `it is OK now, thanks for your time`.

      Now, this has

  • quick 6 (Score:5, Informative)

    by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:05PM (#33279370) Journal

    1. The iPhone and iPad notwithstanding, Flash is beginning to show up on other mobile device platforms.

    2. Flash is used for more than just video delivery on the Web.

    3. Adobe provides strong tools and support for designers and developers.

    4. Flash's content protection/DRM appeals to content producers.

    5. Flash remains popular with online advertisers.

    6. HTML 5 still has video codec patent issues to work out.

    • #5 is the SOLE REASON I uninstall flash from my important systems.

      #5 is the main reason why I block all banner ads and install flashblock on FF.

    • Homestarrunner.com [homestarrunner.com] is still running on flash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by digitalsushi (137809)

      Related to number 6, h.264 is INCREDIBLY intense for a CPU to encode. It takes a disgusting length of time to transcode video streams into this format. When you factor in mplayer/mencoder not even encoding them right, you have quite a mess coming down the pipeline. (They mess up the b-frames. Other tools can at least do this correctly).

  • You want a reason for installing flash blocking plugins.

  • Persistance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:07PM (#33279410)
    I think Flash will stick around for at least a few more years. Actionscript has turned into a fairly nice language, and I think it will be a while yet before HTML5+Javascript match its performance and capabilities... at least for substantial web applications and games. Where HTML5 will take over, I hope, is in small 'widgets'... drop down menus, loading bars, all the tiny little flash applications that drive us crazy.

    I also think that even once everything Flash does can be recreated in HTML, the more locked-down nature of Flash (at least against casual probing) may make it more tempting to companies streaming video, music, and other such products.

    The biggest way to hurt Flash, I think, would be to create a nice opensource development IDE for HTML5, comparable to what Adobe gives us for Flash. If you can get kids and artists to feel comfortable creating simple drag-n-drop animations and games, you'll be legitimate competition.
  • head-spin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:08PM (#33279424) Journal

    The open-source world has not blown everyone out of the water with their video work thus far,'

    I've never been impressed by a single thing I've seen come out of Adobe.

    PDF? Bloated, fragile, and buggy.

    Acrobat? Bloated, underfeatured, and clunky.

    PhotoShop? Bloated, cumbersome, and twitchy.

    Flash? Bloated, fuzzy, and restrictive.

    Something as distinctive and ripe for improvement as video delivery is the ideal place for open-source development. Bugs and misfeatures won't survive, while improvements will be implemented continuously. And if the people in charge of the code base won't keep up with user needs, someone will fork it and move on.

    • photoshop is THE image editing tool.

      as a photographer (part time) I live in pshop after I do a shoot.

      cs2 is the last version I will probably use, though. after that, it got to be too much hassle to install and support and the 'benefits' of cs3 forward were dubious to us 2d shooters (3d is nothing I ever plan to care about, I shoot photos, not trendy movies!)

      adobe sucks. but sometimes, even in spite of themselves, they release something truly important. pshop is that, to us photogs.

      the rest of adobe sw s

    • by nomadic (141991)
      Acrobat actually doesn't suck as much as it used to.
    • by unix1 (1667411)

      The open-source world has not blown everyone out of the water with their video work thus far,'

      ...

      Something as distinctive and ripe for improvement as video delivery is the ideal place for open-source development.

      Both you and the author of TFA seem to have omitted software patents from the equation in that claim (see x264).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kimvette (919543)

      Something as distinctive and ripe for improvement as video delivery is the ideal place for open-source development. Bugs and misfeatures won't survive, while improvements will be implemented continuously.

      Really?

      See: gimp GUI. The continued dumbing down of Gnome. Firefox becoming more and more of a CPU+RAM hog. OpenOffice is a mass of spaghetti code that takes 1,000 times longer than Excel does to open a moderate-size .xls with a lot of formatted fields. The stagnation of Inkscape. The lack of good admin to

  • by Spyder (15137) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:09PM (#33279442)

    I knew Flash had a certain air of suck about it because of some of the security issues. Then I went to FX's talk at BlackHat US 2010. He released a tool (Blitzableiter http://blitzableiter.recurity.com/ [recurity.com]), that essentially does all the file validation for SWF files that Adobe's Flash player Completely Fails at. I think that maybe I would feel a lot better about Adobe's position if they didn't still have, after just about 10 years, a giant kludge job that they expect us all to freely install in our browsers.

  • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:10PM (#33279456)

    In just the last few months, I have noticed a large number of mainstream news sites ditching flash, as well as automobile companies.

    I think flash will live on for a long time, on life support. However its days in the sun are over.

  • Balderdash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stumbles (602007) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:12PM (#33279490)

    ....Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, ....

    Adobe has had years to "optimize Flash" and it is still a resource pig. I'd say given the hugely short amount of time HTML5 has been here it is already way better than Flash was for the same time frame. The bottom line; flash has always sucked and still does.

  • Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:12PM (#33279496) Journal

    Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, and I'd wager it'd take some time to get HTML 5 video as awesome

    So, is this why exactly the same video uses 50+% of my CPU playing in Flash, 20% playing with VLC (ffmpeg), or 20-30% with QuickTime? I hope no one with this guy's definition of optimizing goes near any code that I use. Flash video performance is absolutely terrible, flash vector image drawing is poor, flash compositing is an embarrassment. Flash ActionScript performance is reasonable, but the Tamarin engine found in Flash is also in Mozilla, and it's been a while since FireFox won any JavaScript performance competitions...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dwedit (232252)

      Mozilla never actually implemented the Tamarin engine. Instead they made TraceMonkey.

    • Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, and I'd wager it'd take some time to get HTML 5 video as awesome

      So, is this why exactly the same video uses 50+% of my CPU playing in Flash, 20% playing with VLC (ffmpeg), or 20-30% with QuickTime? I hope no one with this guy's definition of optimizing goes near any code that I use. Flash video performance is absolutely terrible, flash vector image drawing is poor, flash compositing is an embarrassment. Flash ActionScript performance is reasonable, but the Tamarin engine found in Flash is also in Mozilla, and it's been a while since FireFox won any JavaScript performance competitions...

      He's an analyst. His job is to know absolutely nothing but use words like "awesome."

  • Android + Flash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WilyCoder (736280) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:18PM (#33279584)

    A lot of people on the internet were fired up about Froyo bringing Flash 10.1 support.

    Well I have Froyo now and Flash TOTALLY KILLS performance on pages that use it. Stupid ads.

  • "'Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, and I'd wager it'd take some time to get HTML 5 video as awesome."

    As if every browser team is going to write a set of codecs from scratch. Everyone's going to use either the platform-native media layer or ffmpeg, all of which beat the Flash decoders into a bloody pulp.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    if you run 64 bit Linux.

  • Yes, I don't like flash for it being a huge resource hog and buggy and I am always for open source, but blocking flash right now is like start demolishing the bridge while you are still crossing it. HTML5 is just not ready for prime time yet.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:25PM (#33279656)

    Flash is the savior of the universe. Sending it away would be ungrateful. Flash aaah aaah ahh.

  • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:27PM (#33279698)

    Keeping flash off my iPhone was a great decision by Jobs.

  • they had a blog post a few weeks ago that while html5 is nice for free youtube videos, to control DRM on paid videos you need Flash or a small number of other technologies to deliver them.

    i like my iPhone but even i think Steve Jobs is a liar or doing it for business reasons. he has a control fetish and it's the reason why Flash sucks on OS X while performing very nicely on Windows.

  • by neo-mkrey (948389)
    "Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, and I'd wager it'd take some time to get HTML 5 video as awesome."

    I'll take that wager -- how much do you want to bet?
  • Counter argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:32PM (#33279792) Homepage

    There are a couple of easily debunked arguments :

    The iPhone and iPad notwithstanding, Flash is beginning to show up on other mobile device platforms.

    Exactly 1 single other platform : Android.
    All the rest are only promises for some time in the future.

    Meanwhile, HTML5 is an open standard meaning that everyone is free to implement it, including opensource implementations like Webkit and Gecko, and closed source like Opera's Presto and... huh... well... maybe IE's engine. Some day. Eventually.

    But it's already available today on a huge number of platform and could be implemented on any new platform withouth needing to wait for Adobe to agree to port it.

    Flash is used for more than just video delivery on the Web.

    You know what ? So are HTML5 / CSS / JavaScript.

    Flash's content protection/DRM appeals to content producers.

    And is a total joke. RTMPE doesn't even use a secret to encrypt the streams, only some publicly available data and scrambling. Read about it in the Analysis [lkcl.net] section of RTMPdump [lkcl.net]'s docs.

    Even a HTTPS server serving the data stream for the VIDEO HTML5 tag could provide better protection, simply because at least non logged-in users can't get the content.

    Flash remains popular with online advertisers.

    Sorry ? And that's a good argument how ?

    So the only good arguments in favor of Flash are :
    - Video codec patents problems (and that's about to change as the "as much close to H264 as possible but with the patented bit left out" WebM format has been introduced by On2 and Google)
    - Good tool suite to develop (and that's a really good argument, but could one day change if better tool for HTML5/CSS/Javascript are developed)
    That's probably the single only good argument in favour of flash. If developer and artist are given nice tools they will produce content. Flash has the nicest tools, so for now, Flash is preferred by the people who create the content and thus more Flash content is created.

  • The real truth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arkham (10779) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:38PM (#33279872)

    I have an iPad (along with computers running Linux, MacOS X, and Windows). Honestly, the only thing on the web I care about that Flash provides is video. None of the "tools" or "interactivity" matter to consumers. What matters is "someone sent me this video of a dancing cat, and I can't see it". If that problem gets solved, Flash goes away. Only the items dealing with DRM and codecs are really of interest here, and to be honest, the HTML5 codec issue is not much of an issue when Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome all solved it. That one comes down to Firefox and free software that unfortunately relegates it into an unenviable position in the marketplace.

    The thing about Flash that proponents don't seem to consider is that adding it to touch devices doesn't make interactivity work. I've tried Flash on my N900, which has a crappy touchscreen and Flash support, and most interactivity doesn't work on a touchscreen. There are no mouse-enter, mouse-exit, or mouse-down events in a touch environment.

  • Flash Cookies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sporkinum (655143) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:39PM (#33279886)

    I would think the use of persistent Flash cookies is another major reason Flash isn't going away. The advertisers love being able to to track in a stealthy way.

  • Flash is installed on too many devices, doing too many things to truly die. Will it lose popularity and become a quiet, background thing? Yes. In this day and age of computing, nothing ever really dies. OS/2 and AmigaOS live on, because nothing has to die anymore. COBOL, hated by millions of programmers, lives on, despite reportedly better languages for the task of data processing. The computer world has plenty of examples in the realm of hardware. The RS232 serial port will not die! Die, I tell you

  • I have Frash on my iPad now, and it makes one thing clear: Flash assumes you have a keyboard and mouse. Lots of Flash runs under Frash, but I get hung up on things like "press spacebar to continue".

    Flash may be here to stay, but the keyboard/mouse assumptions will be a problem moving forward.

  • by pslam (97660) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:55PM (#33280080) Homepage Journal

    Ross Rubin, an analyst at NPD Group, reminds us how Flash ushered in video on Web pages

    No, I would have to remind him that he probably wasn't around when there were plenty of other ways to get video on Web pages. There was the QuickTime plugin for starters. There were plenty of rtsp players, of which RealPlayer was most prominent (but crappy). Flash was not first, not by a long way. If he meant interactive, sure. If he meant with lots of embedded controls, sure. But that's pretty selective, and in the era we're talking about, embedded controls weren't a killer feature.

    To be fair, most of the other solutions were pretty lame. Not that Flash isn't lame either - it's just somewhat less lame an attempt. That's its legacy: it's not as shit as RealPlayer.

  • by Ossifer (703813) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:03PM (#33280220)
    • I can browse ANY restaurant website from my iPhone and not just see one blue lego
    • All Flash games, site navigation, business apps, etc. have been ported to something better supported
    • People stop trying to convince me that HTML 5's video tag is a total replacement
    • Whatever replaces it is universally and freely (beer) available on all platforms flash currently is
  • by Layth (1090489) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:19PM (#33280438)

    To the best of my understanding, this is why flash takes so much CPU processing power to play a video.
    Hopefully they will be addressing this now that they're going mobile, and working on a lot of optimizations..

    Check out this NetSteam class, which is used to stream videos from the internet or your hard drive:
    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FlashPlatform/reference/actionscript/3/flash/net/NetStream.html?allClasses=1 [adobe.com]

    In particular, the bufferLength property reads:
    "If any [thing] causes bufferLength to increase more than 600 seconds or the value of bufferTime * 2, whichever is higher, Flash Player flushes the buffer and resets bufferLength to 0"

    Translation?
    If flash player loads a video to the point that fills it's buffer size, it immediately flushes it's buffer and reloads the video into the buffer, and then it will flush it's buffer and reload the video into it's buffer, and then it will flush it's buffer.. etc

    You can see where I am going with this. It's absurd.. but this is what appears to be going on to me.
    The alternative is to set a really high buffer time, and make it so the entire video gets loaded into the buffer so the bufferLength is rarely greater than bufferTime*2. but then it will take much longer to begin playing so I doubt you have ever come across any code on the internet that actually does that..

    I became aware of this when I was using flash to load a video on my local hard drive and received hundreds of buffer flush events.. one after another, after another, after another.
    Having said all that, I think Flash has a lot of things going for it.. It just needs a little work still..

    Adobe is obviously trying, but I think the talent is spread too thin. Some of their flash classes are written really well and some are written really poorly.

  • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:20PM (#33280458) Homepage

    Otherwise, Flashblock will stop working and all those ads and banners and devil-may-care craziness will be UNSTOPPABLE.

    Seriously, how can I strip out HTML5 content that I hate? What plugin can tell what should stay and what should go? Flash is the best thing ever for people who want to enjoy the web, because the Flash elements are easy to detect and discard before rendering.

  • by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:39PM (#33280682) Journal

    It's not that Flash isn't still used or won't go away, it's that there is no end of things to do on my iPhone as it is. Every once in a while I run across a web site that requires flash. What do I do? I don't use it. Their loss much more so then mine. I'm not saying there aren't things out there I wish I could use on my iPhone, only that other things weigh more heavily for me, and in any case it just hasn't been a big deal. If it's some site I really want to access I'll send them a message and request that they make their site compatible with iOS and non-Flash. Sometimes they do that. Sometimes they don't. I'll live.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @04:51PM (#33280848)

    It seems to me to be pretty awesome as it means my Mac doesn't sit here and boil on my laptop because Flash is chewing away CPU as fast as it can with no apparent reason.

    Every other video app on my mac does fine without eating CPU, its just the awesomeness of flash that makes my laptop get hot.

    I've yet to come across a reason to use flash over html5 video.

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @05:01PM (#33280984) Journal

    Nokia (yeah, remember Nokia?) is working on QTQuick and QML: a Qt/Javascript/CSS fusion language. [trolltech.com] (Formerly called Kinetic, now called QtQuick, and QML (the JS/CSS language)

    It does everything that Flash does and is completely open source. What's more is it is not byte-code interpreted. The QML file is loaded into the QtDeclarativeEngine and evaluates and runs in native code. (Aside from Javascript, but Apple isn't arguing about JavaScript use)

    *FULLY* open source, not interpreted (beyond JS), And damn easy to use... It will be a part of Qt 4.7 (next month?)

  • by avatar139 (918375) * on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @05:29PM (#33281374)

    ...Let's try to get it off Laptops/Desktops as well!

    The reason I really dislike is that it kills performance on the Mac side by causing massive overuse of the CPU as others have mentioned. The bitter irony here is that despite what reason #3 may state, the reason that Flash is such a CPU resource hog on the Mac is because Adobe has yet to rewrite it so that it uses the Mac's Core frameworks that are specifically setup to allow developers to use GPU hardware acceleration rather than continually tying up the CPU (which makes it especially ironic that Adobe has yet to grasp this given the history of the development of Quartz)!

    As for reason #1, regarding Android use of Flash, that's great, I mean it's not like the platform wasn't fragmented enough, now we get to add yet another potential division between OS versions depending on whether or not the phone hardware supports Flash!

    As if the rest of the article wasn't idiotic enough, I love how the writer thinks that Silverlight could still potentially dominate the market, given how many major companies have bailed from using it for the past year!

    The sooner HTML5 is finalized as a standard the better as far as I'm concerned....

  • It's dead Jim.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KliX (164895) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @05:44PM (#33281580)

    But not for the obvious reasons. Flash is going the same way as all of Adobe's other software, this is a trend I first noticed about the time of Photoshop 8 (ooh, history brush, I'll pay for that). Adobe has no good programmers left. I don't know if they fired them all just before that time, or they bailed, but ever since then all we've seen out of them is mediocre point upgrades. They're still living off the reputation they built in the mid 90s.

    Their shit just plain doesn't work, or is old codebases patched into oblivion, and they either don't want to, or can't hire people talented enough to fix and improve it.

  • by cas2000 (148703) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @07:46PM (#33282834)

    two reason why flash *should* die:

    1. spyware
    2. malware

    i really don't care if flash has better optimised code right now, and can play videos faster. even ignoring the fact that my CPU and GPU are more than capable of playing any kind of video without breaking a sweat, it's far more important to me that my computer NOT run arbitrary, untrusted code from any web site i visit that either spies on me or tries to install malware like keystroke-loggers or spambots (fortunately, i'm fairly safe from the latter as i run only linux - it's more offensive than dangerous).

    i know that i'm taking a stupid risk every time i allow noscript and flashblock to play a flash video, so i try to avoid it...and will keep doing so until HTML5 videos are the standard. data is (mostly) safe[1]. arbitrary executable code is not.

    (i really don't think i'm missing much - youtube and the like are, after all, subject to Sturgeon's Law like everything else)

    i still think the most appropriate analogy to describe web users running arbitary code from web sites they visit is to say it's like jabbing yourself with every needle on the ground as you walk by a junkie squat - you might enjoy some kind of a high, but you'll certainly get infected. it's why i use NoScript and only allow sites i trust to execute javascript....and give up immediately on sites that don't work at all without js....web sites should degrade gracefully and still work in basic form without scripting, even if it is a more primitive "experience" than what you get if you allow scripts to run.

    [1] maliciously created data files could cause a buffer overflow or something in the player - but the code for that is under MY control, not the web sites'. it can be fixed ONCE and protect my computer from all future attempts to exploit the same bug.

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