By now you have heard about the recent open letter from Steve Jobs called "Thoughts on Flash." Mr. Jobs goes on for about 1,700 words to explain why Flash is bad in general, and for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch specifically. Is he being reasonable, or just protecting his revenue stream and control over the mobile platforms Apple offers?Mr. Jobs lists several reasons, but the theme of the letter seems to be about openness. Flash is closed and proprietary, and this is a bad thing. Apple is, of course, uhm, closed and proprietary. The irony here is Apple is using their closed policies to keep Flash off of mobile devices.
At this point the comedy of this position keeps me from doing any serious commentary on the rest of the letter. Instead, I'll point to some comedy about the letter. A blog called Hoopty Rides decided to see what would happen if you copied the text of the letter into your word processor and replaced the word "Adobe" with "Apple" and "Flash" with "closed." The results are pretty funny.
One of the best paragraphs to do this to is in the section that specifically addresses Adobe's closed system. Here it is before the search and replace shenanigans:
Adobe's Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.
Apple's closed products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Apple, and Apple has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Apple's closed products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Apple and available only from Apple. By almost any definition, closed is a closed system.
You can agree with Mr. Jobs, or you can disagree with him. You can appreciate the irony of some of his arguments or argue that the situation is totally different and Steve is directly on point. The only thing you cannot do is get Flash on your iPhone.