Adobe CEO: Mac Flash Crashes are Apple’s Fault

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Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen
Adobe CEO
Shantanu Narayen

If Flash is the number one cause of crashes on the Mac platform, as Apple has asserted, it’s not Adobe’s fault, according to Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal said that such crashes have something, “to do with the Apple operating system.”

The comments from Mr. Narayen came on the heels of an open letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that attacked Flash as a closed, proprietary solution that isn’t suitable for mobile devices.

“Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice,” Mr. Jobs wrote in his letter. “Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Much of the interview addressed the charges in Mr. Jobs’s lengthy letter, And Mr. Narayen emphasized that the Flash platform benefits developers by allowing them to have one development tree for multiple platforms, and that consumers then benefitted by having maximum choice.

He also said denied Mr. Jobs’s claim that having Flash active on a mobile device drains battery life, calling the claim “patently false.” He called other technology charges leveled by Mr. Jobs “a smokescreen,” adding, “When you resort to licensing language [to restrict this sort of development, it has] nothing to do with technology.”

The rhetorical war of words (and licensing agreements) has been heating up for months, with Steve Jobs and other Apple execs attacking Flash for its shortcomings that’s not fit for mobile devices and Shantanu Narayen and Adobe employees defending the Flash platform as an open solution that offers flexibility to developers and great content to consumers.

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Comments

Khaled

“oh no he di’ent” :p

Substance

Before I get all negative on Adobe here, I will note that one reason why Flash might account for the most OS X crashes is because practically all OS X users have Flash installed and Flash is used a lot of Web sites.  So it would make some sense that Flash accounts for a lot of crashes because it is probably one of the most frequently used OS X applications.

That said, I’ve had Flash crash many a Web sites on me, even on PCs.

Mr. Narayen emphasized that the Flash platform benefits developers by allowing them to have one development tree for multiple platforms, and that consumers then benefitted by having maximum choice.

Or you could have a developement tree focusing on open standards, still reach all the devices with Flash installed, reach iPhones and iPads, and perform decently well on other mobile devices - something Flash can’t do on any mobile device.

If Adobe wants choice, how about they support HTML 5 in their developement tools so that their content will work everywhere?

Scroll to Myth #5

He also said denied Mr. Jobs?s claim that having Flash active on a mobile device drains battery life, calling the claim ?patently false.?

I can’t speak for mobile devices since none of mine support Flash, but I have plenty of first-hand experience with Flash draining the battery (and pegging the processor) of my MacBook Air.  Sorry Mr. Narayan, but I call BS on this one.

Lee Dronick

Jon Stewart should host a debate between Shantanu Narayen and Steve Jobs

toke

?Flash was created during the PC era ? for PCs and mice,?

Looks like Apple thinks that Macs are something that belongs to the past “PC era”.
No real feature uprades in Macs for 5 years and missing feature list is growing all the time IT is advancing…

ppartekim

Sounds like another bad excuse… “not my programmer’s problem it’s the OS and hardware that my programs crappy.”

izune

Sorry Adobe, But how about using a common “development tree” with html5. Adobe better get developing the tools needed. The train is leaving soon. 150 million iphone OS devices in use by end of 2011

Whoo Whoo (train sound)

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I’m going to bookmark this page. I have seen a couple instances recently where the crash dialog blamed Flash but the null pointer dereference came deep within some Unicode processing in Apple’s code. Null pointer dereference should never, ever, ever happen.

Boston Funny

Apples Fault? That’s the best he could do? And what timing! Today I installed the new Beta Flash plugin for my Pro Mac Tower. And Today, for the first time in 6 months, SAFARI does not crash when I visit a website with Flash Content while I have Adobe programs running in the background. I was sending 10 Safari crash reports PER DAY. I loved Steve’s letter, the facts are great when they are true. I am a web developer and owner of every incarnation of the iPhone and now the iPad. Steve Jobs just told the public why iPhones and iPads will not include Flash. For those who still have silly hopes and dreams (me), the letter also told Adobe EXACTLY what is required for Apple to support Flash on the iPhones and iPads! Was Steve Jobs letter a public wish list? Hey Adobe, you were just given a recipe on what it would take to get your Flash on Apple portables. iPhone just took 3/4 of the smart phone market in Japan! I am convinced, if Adobe were to get off their A#@ and deliver the Steve Jobs wish list, it would be supported the next day. Adobe, get in the kitchen and make it happen! If not, could you give me an HTML5 Playlist for H264 videos I produce for my clients who are using Apple products?

xmattingly

I can?t speak for mobile devices since none of mine support Flash, but I have plenty of first-hand experience with Flash draining the battery (and pegging the processor) of my MacBook Air.? Sorry Mr. Narayan, but I call BS on this one.

I have to agree with that. Flash consistently eats up the most processing power and RAM on my Mac, even when it’s in a “restive” state. I honestly don’t have too many crashes with Safari, but it’s certainly logical that the most resource-hungry ‘wares would be the most crash-prone.

John

Somebody asked me today about my iPad and what I did when there was a website that needed flash. I told him that I went to a different website.

Really

Uh, I pretty much cringe anytime I have to use an Adobe memory SUCKING product.  Flash, without a doubt PDF files too.  I generally do not accept or open PDF files as they basically crash my machine IF it recovers from the massive taxing on the memory subsystem.  Face it Adobe, you DESTROYED Macromedia’s great products and your other products SUCK.  Deal with it.

Ref Librarian

Is he crazy? Flash is the #1 reason our public PCs crash and we have a boat load of them. Our IT people hate flash, we all do, including the public because when they ask us why their pc crashed, we tell them it was Flash. Mr. Narayen should spend a day restarting crashed machines and he’d start getting the picture.

alberteinstein

my experience with Apples Aperture and Adobes Lightroom indicates that there is clearly one instance at least where Adobe cleans Apples coding clock.

xmattingly

my experience with Apples Aperture and Adobes Lightroom indicates that there is clearly one instance at least where Adobe cleans Apples coding clock.

This thread could easily be turned into a tit for tat argument. Adobe does have some very strong points in their products - no question about it. So here is a counter-instance. smile

Apple’s Preview is far better at producing lean PDF’s than Adobe’s own Acrobat. For example, the other day I put together a PDF and used all of Acrobat’s tricks that I could to reduce the file size of a bloated 1.5mb document. At best - aside from rendering its images unviewable, I only knocked off a couple hundred K. Preview on the other hand - with its simple “reduce file size” PDF option - took the document from 1.5mb to around 300k.

geoduck

A) Flash crashes on everything. It’s bad code not the platform. Like Ref Librarian above I do computer support and problems caused by Flash on Macs, and various Windows version are epidemic.
B) Assuming Flash were to crash more on Macs than other platforms it STILL would be Adobe’s fault. They are the ones who said it was a Mac Application. Do we blame Apple if a Microsoft product causes problems on a Mac? Would we blame Parallels? Mozilla? UbiSoft? Graphisoft? Of course not. You make a program and sell it as “For OS-X” then it bloody well should work on OS-X. If, hypothetically, Apple isn’t giving Adobe what they need to make software that doesn’t crash, then don’t sell it as Mac software. They surely shouldn’t put out a product that functions poorly and then blame the platform for their lousy code. (Note I am not saying any of these companies produce software that DOES cause cause problems. This is for example only.)

BurmaYank

?Flash was created during the PC era ? for PCs and mice,?

toke said: “Looks like Apple thinks that Macs are something that belongs to the past ‘“PC era”’.
No real feature uprades in Macs for 5 years and missing feature list is growing all the time IT is advancing?”

@ toke - It looks to me that you’ve missed SJ’s point by misunderstanding what he apparently meant IMO by “PC” in the “PC era”; namely, ALL desktop/laptop/netbook computers INCLUDING all Macs (versus the current/new era of personal computing’s tablet computers).

cb50dc

“Jobs attacked Flash as a closed, proprietary solution…”

Coming from a company that keeps its innards locked up more tightly than a medieval daughter in a cast-iron chastity belt, this sounds a tad, er, ironic.  :p

Lee Dronick

Coming from a company that keeps its innards locked up more tightly than a medieval daughter in a cast-iron chastity belt, this sounds a tad, er, ironic.

Ironic it may be, but that doesn’t make Steve’s statement about Flash any less true:

“Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript ? all open standards. Apple?s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards. HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.”

stevesong

I agree that Jobs’ statement regarding supposed obsolescence of PCs in favor of handheld devices seems short sighted. All these hand held devices depend on banks of servers to do anything. Moreover there are many tasks that require the kind of computing power that no handheld device now has or is likely to have at any time in the near future. It is a shame that it seems to be taking longer and longer for Apple to update its expensive Mac Pro line - - as expensive as it is, I would likely purchase a new model if it were available. AS for Flash, as far as I can tell, it has never caused my MacBook Pro or G5 desktop to crash. However, generally speaking, I find Firefox more reliable than the most recent iterations of Safari. 

All in all, the absolutism of Apple’s behavior here is reminiscent of what happened with Carbon and Cocoa. AS reported in the Ars Technica article of 6/13/2007, at the 2006 WWDC, Steve Jobs had announced that Leopard would support 64-bit computing across the board: not only on the Unix command line as in Tiger, but also in Carbon and Cocoa. But, in the 2007 WWDC keynote, Jobs mentioned that only Cocoa would get the 64-bit treatment.. This shift of position caused great consternation among many developers. For example, the 64bit version of some of the software I use every day was delayed by more than 18 months because the developers had believed Apple’s original assurances about offering a 64bit version of Carbon.

Adobe and Apple may sling insults back and forth but that seems a puerile activity that doesn’t help developers or end users.

Nemo

Two former Adobe employees who were the lead engineers for Flash corroborate much of what Jobs said in his thoughts on Flash.

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/04/adobe-flash-jobs

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Two former Adobe employees who were the lead engineers for Flash corroborate much of what Jobs said in his thoughts on Flash.

OK, one of the technical points in the article is that Packager apps wouldn’t work well on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Nemo, do me a favor… Go to the App Store ASAP and buy “Fruit Smash Organic”. It’s $0.99 and made with the Packager. If you don’t like it (Nemo only), PM me your email address and I’ll PayPal you what you paid for it.

Just play it for an evening and then tell me if you think it doesn’t work well on the iPhone. That’s all I wanna know.

cintra

Personally I have had a huge number of iTunes hangs, and as far as I can remember, no Flash crashes..

Lee Dronick

Personally I have had a huge number of iTunes hangs, and as far as I can remember, no Flash crashes..

iTunes under Windows?

cintra

iTunes under Windows?

Snow Leopard

Lee Dronick

@cintra

Possibly a corrupted music file, that happened to me once. Check the forums at Apple.com you can usually get a lot of good help there.

cintra

Possibly a corrupted music file, that happened to me once. Check the forums at Apple.com you can usually get a lot of good help there.

The iTunes hangs vanished after one of the recent OSX Software Updates.

The corrupted file idea would be a nice let out for Apple, but I was not alone with iTunes problems on the Discussions pages.

Harrison

@stevesong:

Jobs isn’t saying anything about the “obsolesence” of the desktop; he’s talking about the viability of desktop technolgies (Flash in particular) on mobile platforms.

Lee Dronick

The corrupted file idea would be a nice let out for Apple, but I was not alone with iTunes problems on the Discussions pages.

Nothing is perfect.

JulesLt

I don’t think Jobs is saying PCs are obsolete, but that the fundamental design decisions behind Flash were made in the PC era - i.e. under the idea that CPUs would keep getting faster, memory larger, single core, and power consumption wasn’t a design consideration, and the idea of people wirelessly browsing the web from battery powered laptops was a madman’s dream.

(Actually, this isn’t quite true - the origins of Flash were ironically in the mobile space, but a lot of the subsequent decision making was desktop based).

It’s pretty difficult to take a code base created under one set of presumptions and shift it over to something else - and what you end up with will almost certainly not be what you would have created if you had started with the same requirements and a blank sheet of paper. (I know because I’ve just spent the last 4 years doing it).

On the other hand, I think he is right that touch/mobile are ‘the future’ in the way that PCs are not. It’s easy to imagine a world where tablets/pads are the primary way we interact with consuming the internet. Once cheap enough, I can imagine using one alongside my PC at work, rather than switching windows.

He’s also right that HTML5 removes a lot of the necessity for Flash (we use Flash at work because it adds missing functionality to IE. In the mobile space, Nokia’s N95 implementation of WebKit is pretty much the bottom line you need to deal with).

Where he’s lying is in not giving Adobe credit for the huge improvements they have made with Flash - a lot of his criticisms are answered by 10.1 - which is the big rewrite, reflecting the reality of where the world is going.

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