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back to article Can't find a smartbook to buy? Blame Adobe

Adobe's failure to release a version of Flash optimised for ARM CPUs, not the hardware itself, is what is holding back the release of netbooks based on the chip platform. That's the clear conclusion to be drawn from comments made by ARM marketing chief Ian Drew in an interview with ZDNet UK this week. "We thought they would be …

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FAIL

TWNHHIWHTSC

File under "TWNHHIWHTSC". As in, "This Would Never Have Happened If We Had The Source Code".

Someone desperately, urgently needs to sponsor the development of an Open Source alternative to Adobe Flash player. Hey, why don't Apple bite that bullet?

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Eh?

SWF is an open file format, freely available and documented.

There are teenaged kids on Gamedev.Net writing entire *3D game engines* in their free time. What's stopping you?

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FAIL

Not exactly open...

SWF isn't a fully open format, or it would almost certainly have been implemented natively into most browsers by now...

Although the spec is available, you are only allowed to use the spec to write programs which create flash content (and there are plenty of open source tools to do this, openoffice can export to flash for instance)... It is against the terms of the agreement to write a flash player.

Having a single player is a good reason to migrate away from flash, no diversity combined with ubiquity makes it a huge hacker target, not to mention being dependent on a single supplier...

Adobe should open source their flash player, and fully open the spec.

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Well...

There is Gnash. However, it's slow and buggy. Anybody who claims that they'd work on an open-source Flash player if only such a project existed do have the opportunity to make Gnash suck less.

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FAIL

Well...

First you say this would never have happened if we had the source code, then you say that someone needs to sponsor the dev process in open source.

So, er, it could have happened if we had the source code, actually, if no sponsor was available? So really we're back to business case for the dev and testing effort needed. How is that different to the decision Adobe have to make?

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Don't you just use a "cross-compiler"? Whatever that is.

Since we're being told that nobody likes Flash anyway, it seems inconsistent to say that smartbook computers aren't being made because you can't get Flash for them.

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Boffin

Not even needed

If these devices are running Linux, they'll already have a compiler on them. The same Source Code will build equally well on an x86 desktop, x86_64 desktop or an ARM smartbook.

Now, the really cunning bit is this. You put the Source Code in the package, use the package management system to deal with the various libfoo-dev dependencies (which themselves depend on libfoo) and run ./configure && make & make install from the post-installation script. By the time it gets to this stage, all the required dependencies are already in place; so the build process will just breeze through.

This gives you a source package which is no harder for the user to install than a binary package (all the hard work having already been done by the distro), yet is completely architecture-agnostic.

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Umm

What "failure to release a version of Flash optimised for ARM CPU" ? My N900 has a charming Cortex ARM, and it's Flash player rocks, tyvm.

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Agreed

And my Windows Mobile 6 device has Opera 10 which has Flash support as well. It runs on a humble 400MHz Samsung ARM chip.

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FAIL

Delicate Code

Obviously FLASH is poorly coded, poorly designed, and delicate to be so difficult to make a reasonable port to another platform. Then again we knew that already based on its finicky behavior and crashes on regular computers.

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Bit Weak Excuse

So Flash is delaying Arm Netbooks? Cobblers! Sounds like a cheap excuse to me. Wonder what the real reason is.

Millions surf daily on Iphones with no bother.

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QFT

And some of us don't ever run flash anyways, iphone or not.

What gives?

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Jobs Halo

Eh?

"Difficulties encountered in persuading Adobe to create a Flash implementation for the iPhone's OS and hardware combination - or maybe just the cost - is almost certainly why the Apple device has always lacked the capability"

So Adobe were never really serious about flash on the iphone and the only reason Steve told them they couldn't have it on his system was that they weren't developing it anyway???

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Anonymous Coward

Weird comment given...

http://www.arm.com/community/software-enablement/adobe.php

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Paris Hilton

Blame Adobe indeed

Would this be the same Adobe which to date has still not released a 64bit version of Flash for Windows, and which only released a 64bit version for Linux at the end of 2008? I think it might...

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/000/6b3af6c9.html

Someone can probably correct me here, but I heard the main reason they had so much trouble was because nobody understood their Javascript JIT and only after open sourcing it as part of the Mozilla project* did it get the attention of sufficiently clever people to make it compile and work under a 64bit compiler. I could be totally wrong though - I can't claim to be in the loop.

If the above is true, then I think well-performing ARM might be a tall order for 'em. Now Intel's going to be releasing low-power x86 CPUs for mobiles, I think we can forget about ARM for as long as flash is the web's killer app (yeah, it makes me sick too.).

Then again I'm still holding out for the utopian future without NAT, where everyone is authenticated using some kind of web of trust federation akin to a bastard child of kerberos and gnupg, where IPv4 is in the minority and HTTP is no longer used as a universal tunnel protocol.

Paris, 'cos she's got about as much chance as Adobe of producing a cross-platform version of flash that doesn't suck.

* http://www.mozilla.org/projects/tamarin/

"The immediate goals for Tamarin is to support a broader ranger of hardware platforms, including ARM and X64"

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Release The swARM!!!

We need it! Some people don't really need flash in mobile computing. As long as it has some basic functionalities like a word processor like Abiword, a media player - mp3, mp4, etc... Whether or not Adobe comes up with a version for ARM should not be the deciding factor in releasing the coming swARM!

ARM based laptop manufacturers should consider releasing this very competetive platform to the market now. IF this is what the people really want, large market sales will pressure Adobe to release an ARM version of its flash player. Then if Adobe will come up with an ARM version late 2010, ARM based laptop manufacturers should just provide a downloadable update in that time. HTML 5 is also coming and Google has some promising code and video to back it up: http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/01/google-html5-quake/. In the future Youtube will be running on HTML 5 and Adobe flash will be kaput.

So LETS NOT WAIT. Price will be a driving factor for ARM based laptops to compete in the market. Price also is its biggest advantage. A LOT of PEOPLE want it cheap and afordable, this should be what ARM based platforms capitalize on. We will buy it because it's cheaper vs Intels Atom based laptops.

Computing should be cheap and afordable so that everyone in the world can enjoy its benefits. OLPC for countries like Africa would benefit most from this platform. Give the world a chance to know the real potential of what the ARM platform can do. Release the swARM!

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It seems to me . . .

. . . that Adobe has missed its chance. The hoped-for Flash monopoly has just slipped from their grasp, and they are beside themselves with anger and grief. The grand plan that started with the Macromedia acquisition has been derailed.

They should have had proper Flash on ARM a year ago, and Apple would then have had much more difficulty saying no. Now their stop-gap iPhone solution is blocked, their entire mobile strategy is stalled, and the Flash developers may be gone before they can fix it. And clicktoFlash has revealed what a joy the web is without unwanted Flash content.

They are saying ARM-optimised Flash will be on Android devices later this year, and their partners may even believe it. But their squeals of protest and absurd request for government intervention on iPhone warn that, like all software projects, it's going to be much later - probably an extra year - before it's really ready, and the iPhone cross-development feature of CS5 was Adobe management's crutch for developers until the promised mobile Flash really ships. But now Apple's kicked away the crutch. Frankly, Adobe deserved that, after what they've imposed on users in the interests of greed.

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So nothing to do with the

you sell these and it the cost of licences for an OS (that wont run on ARM cos we are as shit at programming as Adobe is) will rise and make you bankrupt then?

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Did you not get the memo?

Honestly, El Reg - "to be fair to Adobe"??? No wonder Apple hates you. Fairness to Adobe has been banned for all media organisations. It is Official Apple Policy to bash Flash on all possible occasions, and anyone failing to comply will be set upon by legions of slobbering fanbois. Get with it!

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