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Pot, meet kettle: a response to Steve Jobs' letter on Flash

May 03, 2010, 16:34 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Sullivan)

"Watching two proprietary software companies deeply opposed to computer user freedom lob accusations back and forth about who is more opposed to freedom has been surreal, to say the least. But what's been crystal clear is that the freedom these companies are arguing about is their own, not that of their users. And what they are calling freedom isn't freedom at all—it is the ability to control those users. Adobe is mad at Apple for not letting Adobe control iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users via Flash, and Apple is mad at Adobe for suggesting that Apple is arbitrarily abusing its control over Application Store users.

"Steve Jobs's "Thoughts on Flash" is the latest volley in this bout between pot and kettle, and while it makes many dead-on criticisms of Adobe and Flash, it does not change the fundamental character of this disagreement, nor does it solve any concerns about Apple's broader intentions.

"What's strangely absent from "Thoughts on Flash" is any explanation for why proprietary technology on the Web is bad, or why free standards are good. Noting this omission helps us understand why, though we agree with his assessment of the problems with Flash and the importance of free Web standards, Jobs is led to a solution that is bizarre and unacceptable."

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