When Steve Jobs badmouthed Adobe Flash to The Wall Street Journal, he said it was buggy, littered with security holes, and a "CPU hog". It's hard to argue with the first two, but a new study claims the Apple cult leader was wrong about the hog bit. According to tests from the Streaming Learning Center - an online media …
But maybe not in Firefox
There is a possibility that the flash add-ons for Firefox cause 100% cpu use at intervals of a few minutes.
For once, I'd give Saint Steve the benefit of the doubt and go with this interpretation of it... Flash in Firefox suddenly turning the CPU into a 100% utilised, toasty hot l'il thing is an hourly occurrence. Guess that might come under the "buggy" heading, though.
As much as the desire not to let any new development platforms on iDevices that might have non-Jobsian revenue models attached to them irks the hell out of me, I'll happily support the torture and killing of Flash.
HTML5 ads would be worse.
The ad arguments against Flash are pretty moronic.
If Flash somehow magically disappeared, do you think advertisers would stop advertising?
I've said it before and I'll say it again - 2010 is The Year Of The Flasher:
Join or get left behind.
"If Flash somehow magically disappeared, do you think advertisers would stop advertising?"
Quite frankly, Joel, I'd never notice the difference ...
"Join or get left behind."
Why? What is in it for me?
Keep Flash Alive, So I Can Kill It
You're correct. It is nice knowing that I can simply block Flash by default and keep my browser from raping my CPU; enabling it only for those sites/pages having content I actually want.
For all of HTML5's vaunted new content-organization tags (article, header, aside, etc.) , notice that there isn't one for advertisements. Imagine a tag, let's call it "advert" with the following available attributes:
I would not use Adblock if I could simply filter out those adverts which annoy. Of course, the "open" HTML5 standards process would never do anything to impede commerce, especially for such non-interested parties as Google.
Flash is not all evil
The "rest of the Flash" is not just adverts. Online games and educational material are a legitimate use of Flash. See www.poissonrouge.com for a very positive example, it is a site for children with Flash-based small games, "toys" and even some education (see the castle).
Few and far between
I'm sure the site your cite is very good (I didn't look), but such "useful" use of flash is very very rare. 99% of the flash that isn't used for video is used for adverts. And the web sites that are heavily flash-based to try and make them look whizzy and cool are almost always useless because they are slow or because they are unusable or simply lack content (looking cool wins over actually being useful and informative).
I rather like Flash (ooh, heresy). We use it a lot for software simulations (Adobe Captivate). It makes my life that bit easier and provides pretty decent cross-platform performance. Admittedly the same job can be done using DHTML tools but then you used to come up against browser compatibility problems, so Flash more or less won out. Just because a tool can be misused doesn't make it evil.
"The ad arguments against Flash are pretty moronic."
"Moronic" as in "justified"?
My web browser has crashed a handful of times, each time except one, I know it was flash. The other time, I'm not sure but suspect it was flash.
It's buggy, bloated and full of security holes. Are those arguments moronic enough for you, moron?
If flash disappeared or was sidelined, advertisers would just switch to doing ads in HTML5. Someone will (if they haven't already) make an authoring tool which can spit out a functionally identical swf or js from the same design. It's even feasible that someone could even convert actionscript and Flash APIs into the equivalent js in much the same way like Google does with Java class files.
At least Flash can spin off on its own thread so that on modern PCs it doesn't impact on the rest of the page's performance. If everything is running as JS + HTML in a single thread (since JS has no concept of multithreading and limited concept of asynchronous execution) performance would definitely be worse.
Non-video is even worse
I have been having all kinds of fun with Mathletics.co.uk and a few other non-video flash sites for junior lately and it is the same issue actually at least on Linux. I would not be surprised if Winhoze is the same here.
Flash renders everything in software. I have not seen it to use DRI (something which even editors use nowdays). It does not use XV either. It renders everything in software as bitmaps and slaps them sequentially onto the rectangle on the screen. Not surprisingly, this produces horrible performance on any architecture. As a result a machine that can happily run first person shooters or racing games at 10% load is barely able to cope with elementary flash stuff.
"The Year Of The Flasher"
Joel Fisher: "I've said it before and I'll say it again - 2010 is The Year Of The Flasher"
LOL! Flash's time came and went some time ago. Sure it's prevelent on the net now, but that's due to development-release lag. Flash is an animation program with scripting poorly tacked on. Silverlight is now the way forward and will be used to create all the grown-up enterprise RIA, whilst Flash will be reduced to just doing annoying banner ads.
@Joel - It's called NoScript
Join or get left behind.
Oh and if anyone likes flash games, head on over to Chrome experiments - I'm fairly sure there's no flash involved anywhere, and I particularly enjoy the Trapdoor themed platformer.
Most of the flash bile seems to be since the iPhone and now the pad can't do flash.. Not don't.. CAN'T..
So the iFanboys whine the party line.
Flash is processor heavy.. Agreed. But if I can watch Youtube and BBC iPlayer video full screen on my sluggish old Thinkpad, It isn't that bad. It's not as if I have to constantly max out a quad core gaming rig just to load an SD video.
Flash for video.. Great. And as Youtube is one of the most visited sites, it seems quite popular.
Flash for games.. Great. And cross platform too.
Flash for adverts.. Great, thanks to ad block, so I can selectively block the damn things.
In all honesty, if I couldn't use Flash, I would be less likely to have switched to Linux. Seems that Flash on iProducts is a less than perfect. But such is life. Get over it.
You want to pay a subscription fee to every website you visit then?
Personally I've nothing against Flash adverts (apart from the problems with Flash); so long as marketing bods are throwing enough pennies at the sites I use to keep them running that's fine - and at least Flash ads are easy to block.
Ideally I'd like to see Adobe spend some development dollars on sorting out the niggles with Flash (hardware acceleration is not a bad start) - optimising and securing it for instance.
If the HTML5 <video> Element and SVG standard get sorted and rolled into browsers we may have reasonable Flash equivalents for all your banner-ad joy ... however, if SVG is widely adopted it'll probably be used for all sorts of normal web functionality - like the navigation system, buttons, whatever. In which case blocking SVG, and therefore SVG-based banner ads, could be a non-option.
You can work around it using various JS wrappers but tbh, I can see your point and I agree, Flash itself isn't evil but I suspect that many of the developers left when Adobe bought Macromedia and it's left the poor little program in need of some lovin'
Multithreading is a red herring
"If everything is running as JS + HTML in a single thread (since JS has no concept of multithreading and limited concept of asynchronous execution) performance would definitely be worse."
For the vast majority of Flash objects out there, multithreading doesn't happen anyway. For the vast majority of dynamic behavior desired, it's not even necessary.
Performance of a systems depends primarily on what you're using it for vs what it's designed for. I recently wrote a little animated quiz app in JS+HTML. It runs faster than many similar apps in Flash, and doesn't suffer from the inevitable disk churn you get when you load the Flash engine into memory. Most of the non-video Flash applications, including ads, I see on the web could easily be rewritten to use JS+HTML and be MORE efficient.
Why? Flash vs JS+HTML is like dump truck vs scooter. Sure, if you need to carry a load of sh*t, you want the dump truck, but for everyday stuff, the scooter is faster, easier to handle, and willl save a lot of energy.
Exactly. If I play youtube videos at standard size, it's choppy, and CPU shoots to 100%.
With mplayer, using XV I can play full screen with only 5% CPU usage..
How in any way can flash be considered efficient?
"They'd just switch technololgies..."
Well, hell... I've been using NoScript and AdBlock Plus pretty much since they came out; coupled with Little Snitch, I was able to crush out pretty much all Flash ads before I even got my hands on FlashBlock.
@AC, 03.12.10, 11:09gmt:
I'm totally down with you on this one, but, still... am I the only one that things there should be some variation of the Godwin Rule dealing with the use of the word "moron"? It's been going on ever since I was first on Usenet -- in fact, I dare say that if a ban were placed on the use of the word "moron", the entire Internet would grind to a halt.
out of the frying pan, into the Silverlight
"Silverlight is now the way forward and will be used to create all the grown-up enterprise RIA..."
I've been using Macs since '85...
...and wouldn't use anything else after that, and the death of Flash couldn't come soon enough for me. So, please knock off the "fanboy" crap. Oh, and learn to spell, already: it's F-A-N-B-O-Y. That shit's not cute anymore. Get off my lawn.
My ID my ID my kingdom for a title
I suppose Jobs thinks he's the new Al Gore?
WTF? Well, WTF?
WTF are you talking about?
But how good is the codec?
I assume this is the same codec itunes uses to display videos too. iTunes regularly takes 10-20% CPU utilization on videos that VLC plays with 0-1% utilization. Do Apple need to optimize this maybe? Or is the VLC one lower quality. If they used the VLC codec in Safari they might have far better performance.
RE: But how good is the codec?
"What you talkin about Willis?" The standard hasn't been decided on yet!
It's unlikely that it's going to be the codec used to play videos in iTunes since those codecs are, for the most part all 3rd party (on my machine at least)...
That original Streaming Learning Center article is getting way too much online attention. The author did a limited test and posted simplistic results. Comparing Flash to HTML5 in a performance benchmark test at this time is pointless. Of course Flash will do better in selected platforms with hardware acceleration support, Flash has had years of well funded development to mature, HTML5 has not. Once there is more adoption of HTML5 and its developers get similar time and financing, THEN do the kind of tests Streaming Learning posted.
The most obvious omission in that article is it focuses solely on statistics, but leaves out the Big Picture. (...and anyone who has any familiarity with statistical analysis knows how easy it is to manipulate results simply through omission.) HTML5 will certainly catch up performance wise, but the real issue is the massive software patent problems we in the U.S. have crippled the Internet with. Blind acceptance of Flash simply because it's the dominant web video technology won't solve the problem, it just hampers progressive development overall.
you obviously do not understand how the market place works...
when choosing any product for any function you choose the best their is at that time. Why would you pick an inferior product just because its new and may or may not get better?
When a new product comes to market it MUST have something to offer in the way of an improvement to the current products. It doesnt have to be better in every respect but it has to offer somthing.
only a company with money to burn will bring a product to market and keep it there because they have the money to waste if it is inferior to current products, knowing it will be improved on in later releases (original xbox anybody).
title goes here
Maybe we read different articles, but the one i read says that blind assertions were being made with *no data* to back them up. And these assertions were to the effect that flash was a CPU hog when compared th HTML5 *AS IT IS NOW* years of development (or bloat and cross platform incompatibility as it is more correctly known) do not enter into the picture.
steve 'mad as 2 balloons' jobs said flash was a resource hog. he was wrong, get over it. HTML5 uses less cpu resource as it is able to shift the load to the GPU - Duhh!.
Also the article does point out in it's opening and closing sections that it is a purely statistical approach, it's hard to take a non stats based approach beyong pointing out that jobs has clearly lost the plot, and everything he says needs to be taken with a gargantuan pinch of salt.
This big picture you speak of, is it anything to do with your consumption of apple flavour koolaid perchance (i-koolaid)?
Apparently you don't understand either
"when choosing any product for any function you choose the best their is at that time. Why would you pick an inferior product just because its new and may or may not get better?"
Because "best" is often subjective and people don't have unlimited budgets. Why would you drive a Fiat when a Ferrari is "better"?
And if you have a Fiat would you also buy a Renault or a Ford just because they were slightly better at a given task, or would you continue to use the Fiat?
The problem with "the market" is that if one player gets too big with a product that's incompatible with all the others then people start buying it simply because it is the biggest and all of the other players get pushed out - look at where MS was in the 90s or IBM in the 70s/80s.
Also, I've noticed...
...that the site in question -- Streaming Learning Center -- seems to have a lot invested in seminars and training for streaming video based on Flash. They even have a banner ad on their home page advertising seminars in Flash-based video streaming, so I'm taking the whole experiment -- which, surprise surprise, concludes that Flash isn't all that bad -- with a very large grain of salt, if not the entire mine.
Flash should be killed
just because of the use of flash adverts - everyone hates them...
and under linux, it uses more CPU than controlling the LHC
They use Linux to control the LHC? So that explains it.
..the buggy bit...
the security bit...and, most important of ALL - the entirely owned by ADOBE bit, whom have shown themselves incapable of reliably porting Flash to 64-bit browsers natively....on little, minor-market players, like, say IE...
RE: ..the buggy bit...
You'd think the developers would be able to:
1, remove the bloody bugs that keep crashing it
2, port it to 64 bit browsers
Of course, it could be that they've either lost the source code or lost the only programmer they had who understood the source code. Whatever the reason, it's just another nail in flash's coffin - the sooner it dies a miserable lonely death, the better.
Adobe & 64 bit
It's not just flash. Premier Elements & Photoshop Elements - the most current versions are not supported on any Windows 64 bit plaftorm.
I don't think they have the capability - they may have taken over Macromedia and then lost all the talented staff. Or, as Jobs says, they might just be lazy.
Note - where is Silverlight in all of this - has it died ? Aside from access to Microsoft and Bill Gate's sites (including the upcoming iPlayer competitor), I can't see a compelling reason to install it (don't know if a 64 bit version is available)..
They probably don't see the commercial advantage
PS CS4 does support 64 bit, so it's not as if they can't do it. Elements is a lower end product, so therefore less likely to need to support more than 4GB memory. The lack of 64bit support could also be a sales tactic to encourage more CS4 sales..
Not a fan, but ...
I'm not a Flash fan, but I feel compelled to point out that Flash, itself, is not a bad technology, any more than C# is a bad technology. Both can be used to create crappy, system-crashing work when in the wrong hands. Similarly, both could be used to create awesome, deliciously-high-performance work when in the right hands.
So unless Flash has been crashing your browser even when all the file contains is a blank canvas, which would point to Flash itself as the culprit, please try to remember that it is the DEVELOPER who programs the crap ... it's not the tool they use to do it with.
Competition is good
The biggest problem is the only Adobe bit, because they are the only ones who can make improvements and they have proved very slow that it in the past.
here's a theory
Jobs is blocking flash for iPhones and iPads because it'd open security holes on those devices. Its not necessarily flash he's worried about, but opening a well-documented, well-used exploitable hole in an OS that historically exploiters dont really go balls-deep for.
The biggest problem with homogenisation in computing is the same for nature : eventually a virus comes along and eats all your stuff. Diversity, virtually guaranteed on the motley frankenOS of a windows machine, is verboten on apple devices. homogenisation is king, which essentially leaves them with a time bomb waiting to go off.
So when you put flash on an iphone, everyone who uses flash to sploit goes "hand me that SDK book, it cant be that hard to branch out". Apple does just fine with security when everything is developed at their end and approved by them, sticking some foreign code on their beloved little devices gives them the fear because when apple is faced with lolznewsploit, it takes them _forever_ to fix it.
Re: here's a theory
I'm not entirely sure how you can be arguing that the wonderful diversity of windows is what makes it so virus proof...
Mine's the asbestos jacket that I'll be wearing while the army of Windows and Mac fanbois shout about who's got the worst security.
Your theory is rubbish
"Diversity, virtually guaranteed on the motley frankenOS of a windows machine, is verboten on apple devices. homogenisation is king, which essentially leaves them with a time bomb waiting to go off."
Umm, hardware is more diverse on a windows machine, I can agree with that. The rest of your post seems to imply that you think hardware diversity somehow equates with OS diversity. It doesn't - windows users all still use windows, regardless of hardware. (Hardware diversity does nothing to close up all the horrible security holes in windows either but that's another story...(
The reason Steve Jobs doesn't like flash is simple - it's a stinking turd that won't flush away. It has the potential to crash your browser (if it doesn't just lock it up) and it seems to be used mostly for annoying ads. It's blocked on my home computer and apart from iPlayer, I haven't activated any flash for over a year. I haven't missed it one bit!
"Apple does just fine with security when everything is developed at their end and approved by them, sticking some foreign code on their beloved little devices gives them the fear because when apple is faced with lolznewsploit, it takes them _forever_ to fix it."
That's right - Apple don't let anyone develop for the iPhone or for OSX. They've never let anyone develop any software for any of their platforms ever because they don't want a "lolnewsploit"
(If only there was an icon for "you really don't f***ing understand what you're talking about"!)
Jobs is blocking flash on the iPhone and iPad because it means people can access rich interactive content without paying Apple for the privilege. If there is "an app for that", chances are there was already a functionally equivalent Flash app somewhere that did it for free. Except iPhone users will never be able to use them.
"Jobs is blocking flash for iPhones and iPads because it'd open security holes on those devices."
Its not because it would kill the app store, not one bit, no, that's nothing to do with it. Flash is just a platform for delivering annoying adverts and everyone knows that isn't going to be possible in HTML5.
Diversity = different platforms
I'm bemused by your claim that running Windows ensures diversity. If someone exploits a hole in Windows (or software running on Windows), it will be a problem common to everyone using that OS or software irrespective of the peripherals attached, or the software they run, or the specific configuration of their machine (RAM, HD capacity, etc).
Diversity means multiple, independent operating systems (and software) in active use. If 85% of the market is running the same platform, it will naturally be the target for parasitic behaviour because there is a much higher chance the infection will spread. The huge number of viruses in the wild (and under development) targeting Windows is a symptom of an unhealthy marketplace. But diversity is only possible if (non-proprietary) standards are adhered to, particularly where the Internet is concerned, and this is chiefly where Flash becomes problematic. Here we have a single implementation of a proprietary standard across all platforms - a very tempting target for criminal activity.
Can we have a strawman icon...
for the utterly pointless and boring bollocks that DrXym has posted please...
Go one enlighten us...
Free apps? Of course there aren't any free apps in the App store, are there? What about all those free web apps? Y'know, like was originally (and still) available for the platform? Or the fact that the app store "operates just over break-even"? Of course those FACT doesn't help your harebrained "reasoning", do they? Nice try, now fuck off back under your bridge.
amen to that, pal...
It took me forever to learn Flash, and I'd been attempting repeatedly ever since it was a thing called VideoWorks running on my old 512K Mac -- with pretty much the same clunky interface that Flash has now.
I can still remember around '95 or '96ish, when Flash first emerged on the Web -- it was called "Shockwave", I think -- and at the first demo for our design staff, one of the marketing drones at the meeting wouldn't shut the hell up about the potential for "rich interactive content", which totally set my bullshit alarm to clanging. This was also about the same time that banner ads first began polluting the Web in a serious way, and as I watched the Shockwave/Flash demo run, my first thought was "oh, sweet fucking Jayzus, here come the banner ads from Hell."
Sadly, I was right.
I hope Flash dies in a fire.
Here's another theory...
Windows is, from all accounts, set to "hack me, bot me, trojan me, zombify me, pwn me" straight out of the box.
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