Mythbusting “HTML 5 Did Not Kill Flash”

So, i was thinking.. the Flash Player version number in the “HTML 5 Did Not Kill Flash” comic strip (258.1) … PLAUSIBLE?

It is obvious that we deal with Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the Starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, which places the scene in the Star Trek TNG series. According to Wikipedia, Star Trek TNG is set in the 24th century from the year 2364 through 2370.

Today: 1285956121684 (Fri Oct 1 15:02:01 GMT-0300 2010)
Star Trek TNG start: 12433402800000 (Wed Jan 1 00:00:00 GMT-0300 2364)
Star Trek TNG end: 12654327600000 (Fri Jan 1 00:00:00 GMT-0300 2371)
Assumed 18 months release cycle, in ms: 47304000000
Release cycles until Star Trek start:
   12433402800000 - 1285956121684 = 11147446678316
   11147446678316 / 47304000000 = 236
   236 + 10 = 246
Release cycles until Star Trek end:
   12654327600000 - 1285956121684 = 11368371478316
   11368371478316 / 47304000000 = 240
   240 + 10 = 250

So assuming a strict 18 month release cycle, this places version 258.1 just about a decade or so after Star Trek TNG (versions 246-250) ends. If we further assume that new technologies will emerge in the coming 350 years that speed up release cycles a bit, i think we can safely say that Flash Player version 258.1 is indeed plausible.

Hypothetically speaking…

“Flash is as open as HTML5” – No, it isn’t.

Lately, Adobe representatives and Flash fan boys alike became more vocal than usual about the alleged openness of Flash. This is probably spurred by the proposed feature set of HTML5, as well as the decisions of a certain vendor to ban Flash from some of their products, both potentially being threats to Adobe and the Flash Platform.

I originally posted the following article as comment to an article by Serge Jespers, “Flash is as open as HTML5“. Serge is an Adobe Platform Evangelist. I thought this comment deserves its own post, so here we go.

No, it isn’t.

And it is beyond me why so many independent Flash Platform developers fail to see it. I completely understand of course why Adobe evangelists downplay it.

It is irrelevant for the so called “open web” whether the Flash Player is going to get open sourced or not. That’s not the point. Microsoft won’t open source their browser, Opera won’t open source their browser, etc.

Relevant is who decides about the development of the data format that a runtime consumes, and the APIs a runtime provides to access that data. In the Flash world that’s SWF and the Flash Player APIs, both controlled by a single vendor: Adobe. In the HTML world that’s HTML and DOM, controlled by many vendors, including you and me, via standards bodies.

Adobe neither provides formal means for other companies and individuals to participate in the development of SWF and Flash Player APIs, nor does it provide detailed work-in-progress specs to the general public for discussion. This effectively rules out the possibility for third parties to provide alternative runtimes. The runtime and its specs are released to the public at the same time.

This is the exact opposite of “open”.

To make matters worse, the specs released by Adobe are incomplete and buggy (e.g. the SWF spec fails to explain how exactly shapes are supposed to be rendered and leaves out information on codecs, the ABC spec is plain wrong on some things) and generally infested with patented technologies.

Of course i understand why it is how it is (and likely always will be). If Adobe were to become truly open and put the development of SWF etc in the hands of standards bodies, the 1.5 year release cycle would become a 10+ years release cycle. Innovation would slow down significantly. I as a Flash Platform developer wouldn’t want that to happen.

However, sorry to say that, but to tout “Flash is as open as HTML5″ is pure FUD.