Unless you've been is somewhat of a vacuum of late, you already know Apple CEO Steve Jobs refuses to allow Adobe Flash (Player) on the iPhone OS, hence all "iDevices" will not and cannot play anything that requires the Flash Player.

There have been just-short-of-expletives lobbed at each other between Apple and Adobe, primarily between Apple CEO and Adobe Engineers. My personal opinion is that the Adobe side of the argument is outright laughable. They proclaim developers don't have a choice (by not being allowed to develop the Flash platform on iPhone OS) and that users of said iDevices don't have a choice to choose whether to use Flash Player or not.

I beg to differ.

The fact is, developers do have a choice: develop for the iPhone OS or not. If they choose to do so, then they must follow the rules as it is Apple's house. The same with the end-users: they have chosen to use the iDevice, even though it doesn't have the ability to use the Flash Player. This is because there is nothing developed on the Flash platform compelling enough they are willing to forego the device for.

I personally have yet to see anything developed in Flash that I simply must see or use. Nothing at all. It's not Adobe's fault. It's the developers of Flash' fault as they create crap.

The big news yesterday is the open letter Steve Jobs has written regarding "thoughts on Flash"1 ; and Adobe's response2 (via the heretofor silent Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen) going at it in a far more public fashion.

Do I have a problem with the Flash Platform? Actually, no.

My problem is with the Flash Player. And frankly I think Apple made a slam-dunk in their arguments against it and Adobe's response was adolescent at best.

My problems with the Flash Player are pretty simple:

  • It bogs down and uses far too many recources on my OS-X computer (my personal platform of choice) - but not on my Windows system. Adobe proclaims it is the OS-X system that is the problem, yet nothing else causes these issues. Only the Flash Player. Go figure.
  • Flash Player is buggy. It causes crashes. Not very often, but practically every browser crash points to the Flash Player.
  • The Flash Player is riddled with security holes. And every new incarnation or update brings feature-bloat. It is a fat pig, both on hard disk drive and in RAM requirements not to even mention system resources and processing cycles. An ugly beast.
  • Finally, the developers who develop on the Flash Platform have yet to develop anything compelling enough to make keeping the Flash Player around at all.

Most people who have and use the Flash Player do so because it's already installed on their system and likely don't even realize they can turn it off and even remove it completely. So they tolerate the utter garbage that invades their Web Browser windows day in and day out. (Among the top Firefox Extensions download is "Stop Flash" - a Flash blocker and on the OS-X platform is Click2Flash, also a Flash blocker).

The fact of the matter is that since I have removed the Flash Player plugin from all my systems (Windows and OS-X) - web sites load much faster and my system is considerably more stable.

So how does Linden Lab and Second Life users fit into this diatribe of mine?

Simple: it's about the company's target customer.

Adobe is going for the middle-man. Creating the tools for developers and designers to create stuff. Then, let those creators go out and sell to the end consumer. Therefor, Adobe wants their tools on every platform possible. It's more money for them. However, the developers want to go where those buying end-consumers are so they can sell more. It's a simple economy.

Apple is going directly for the end consumer. They know that if they get enough end consumers to buy into their product, the developers will follow. And as an aside, Apple provides those developers with tools to cater to Apples end consumers.

It's a simple paradigm difference; two different means to the same end.

In Second Life, anyone who creates anything could be considered a "developer" - looking to sell to an end consumer. Xstreet SL is like the Apple App Store. The in-world grid is like the Internet Web in general.

At first, Linden Lab was like Adobe:

Hey, all you developers! Come to me, use my tools, make money!

However, there is a paradigm shift going on.

Linden Lab wants (needs) more main-stream end consumers in order to grow and remain relevant, not just to be a geeky playground. They must convert their current Adobe paradigm into the Apple paradigm and appeal directly to the end consumer: the average grid-surfer. This means simplifying the viewer to appeal to those average people who don't want complicated things. (I have been an I.T. professional since 1987 - and I love the iPad for it's basic simplicity. I just don't have to even think about anything in order to use it.)

This means they must create a compelling product - like Apple does - that will draw the masses at large. Simplify and beautify. It's really that simple. The developers must come secondarily. And they will come. They will flock to the grid to cater to those end consumers. It is a simple mechanical shift in how the economy works.

The idea is to influence choice.

Linden Lab, rightfully so, wants end consumers to choose to use Second Life and the Second Life grid. There are many "developers" to support those end consumers, so they do not carry quite as high a priority as the end consumer proper (for lack of a better term.)

The fact is the developer also has a choice: to develop for the platform or not. In doing so: follow the platform rules. So, all you creators and "business" people of Second Life who twitch every time Linden Lab sneezes: you can cry, whine, bitch and otherwise stomp your feet. It doesn't matter because Linden Lab must act less like Adobe and more like Apple in order to remain relevant and grow their business.

Linden Lab (like Apple and Adobe) are in business for themselves. They must do what they feel best in order to maintain not only sustainability, but growth.

Certainly you can proclaim that Linden Lab "doesn't care" - actually, they do. If they really didn't care, the virtual continent of Zindra wouldn't exist and neither would all the deviant poseballs that salt-and-pepper the grid among so many other things. They care about their core business: the grid and it's accessibility to the masses. Just because you prefer deviant kink doesn't mean you are in the majority and have priority over anyone else.

I can't even count how many times I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's (Linden Lab's and Apple's) house. You (Flash and Second Life) developers are a guest. Follow the rules or get the hell out and quitcherbitchin because it only makes you look the foolish, whiney-assed crybaby whose diapers are overdo for a serious changing.

Second Life Whiners and Adobe Flash Developers: you stink.

  1. Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Flash: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/
  2. Shantanu Narayen via Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/29/adobes-ceo-jobs-flash-letter-is-a-smokescreen-for-cumberso/