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One day Apple came up with the iPhone, and from that came a demand for apps that could run in their portable platform. The Apple Store was the answer for that, and as usual with Apple, what apps are allowed was not a democratic decision. Developers have to register, and pay a yearly fee to be eligible to create apps for the Apple Store. Nothing new on that side, since Apple has always been a control freak from the very beginning.
The reason why Apple is so concerned about what runs in their devices is simple - they want to make sure the apps will run properly in their closed platform, as means to give users the best experience. In contrast, Windows PCs are an open platform, and there is no control over what software is compatible with whatever hardware people may be using. Each PC is a mix and match of a wide variety of makes and models, so there is an infinite number of possible combinations, which can lead to all sorts of incompatibility issues.
Apple make their own computers using specific hardware that has been previously tested for compatibility, so in theory, users should have a more stable and reliable platform to work with. By now we already know that most people have opted for the open [but messy] platform, where we can choose whatever software and hardware we want to put in it at any time. Both ways have their pros and cons. The closed platform should be more stable and reliable, while the open one offers complete freedom for how it's built and what we can run on it.
But there was one thing Apple didn't think of - there was a tool that can create apps that run natively in any platform, to include their mobile one. This bypasses their control, and therefore threatens their store. People who use this tool can publish any kinds of apps that people could play without the Apple Store, without paying Apple's developer fees, or their submission scrutiny. Apple just had no control over this tool and what it could do - and what's worse for them, most of such apps were free.
Another serious issue was that Apple wanted to impose a new programming language to create iOS apps that was not as friendly as existing ones. The learning curve was rather steep since Objective C was a cumbersome language that didn't follow international ECMA standards, making it difficult to use. Conversely, the programming language used in the Adobe tool was easy to learn and ECMA script compliant, not to mention it was already hugely popular in the industry. To make things more aggravating for Apple, Adobe released a new version of the tool that allowed developers to create native iOS apps with it.
Not surprisingly, Apple forbid developers from using any tools created by Adobe to develop iOS apps. That made a lot of people angry, since the final result was native in iOS, so that put Apple in a situation that was very difficult to defend. Their excuse was that apps created with the Adobe tool could also be released for Android and many other platforms. They came up with a corporate slogan that claimed "if it was not created for iOS, it shouldn't run in iOS". That argument was rather silly and didn't last for very long. So much that nowadays iOS apps created with Adobe tools are also accepted in the Apple Store.
Not to mention this Adobe tool has one programming language that can deploy your apps anywhere on the web. Conversely, if you are tied up to the Apple Store, they will ask you to learn Apple's Objective C programming language. Google Play store will ask you to learn Java programming language. Microsoft Store asks you to learn their own C# programming language. I prefer the single tool that deploys anywhere with a single programming language, which now can also deploy your apps on Android and iOS.
But there was a caveat to this tool - it needs a runtime player to work, just like Java does. Apple could block it by simply banning the installation of this runtime player. The only problem was that this tool was made by their sister company - Adobe, which has been in the market for as long as Apple, and had many partnerships from the beginning. They would have to come up with some pretty good reasons for blocking their contents, and of course, they couldn't just tell the simple truth because it would sound bad for them. Not only they would need good reasons, but also a respectable person to present them to the public.
By now you might have guessed the tool I am talking about here is Adobe Flash. Apple used their most iconic personality to deliver their reasons to forbid the installation of Flash player in the iPhone, assuming people would take his word as the law. Steve Jobs came with a list of reasons why Flash was such a terrible thing, where most were technical nonsense they thought most people would accept as the truth since it was Jobs who said it. For the most part, that's how it went.
The problem was that expert developers could not be fooled by such excuses, because they actually use the tool professionally and know the allegations were just marketing gimmick. For everybody else, they just took Jobs word as the truth because they didn't know any better.
Other companies looked at this with indifference, since Apple was the only one with an app store, and most people had predicted that Apple has no previous history with cellphones, and therefore their iPhone would never succeed. But the truth is that it did succeed, and they did manage to forbid Flash from being installed in all devices running iOS, even when claiming nonsensical reasons for doing it. It has shown the rest of the world that truth is a relative thing that can be manipulated when said by the right person. No matter what Jobs said, people will believe him because he was an iconic persona.
Soon enough Google has followed Apple's steps and created their own Android mobile platform, which of course, required an app store. A major difference from iOS was that Android was an open platform, which made its app store even more vulnerable to Flash free apps that dominated the web. Not surprisingly, Google took advantage of the anti-Flash hype created by Apple, and slowly banned it from their platform over time. Later on Adobe decided to drop support for Android, since it was obviously not welcome there. Soon after, Flash support for Linux was also dropped, even if for different reasons (Flash player is not open source).
Both Apple and Google use the app store approach to limit what people can install in their respective devices. This makes it relatively easy to simply forbid Flash player from being installed. When Microsoft finally entered the mobile market, they also came up with an app store, but they could not block Flash because, as opposed to iOS and Android, Windows is still an open platform. Microsoft initially tried to create their own version of Adobe Flash player called Silverlight, which didn't catch and silently died later on. Most people may have never even know it has existed.
Microsoft then announced that Flash player would no longer come pre-installed with their OS when Windows 8 was first released. Nonetheless, people could still download and install it if they wanted to. More recently Microsoft has given up on that and now we have Flash player coming pre-installed with the recently released Windows 10. It's an open platform, so they cannot keep people from using it.
Unfortunately, we see a lot of artists following the corporate herd and blindly joining the Flash-bashing hype. Adobe Flash has always been the most artist-friendly tool that can publish apps anywhere on the web or the desktop. If it were as bad as they claim, it would have died on its own failure many years ago, like it happened with Microsoft Silverlight and many other technologies that didn't work out. If what they say were true and Flash was that bad, it would had naturally died on its own long ago. Instead, people have found a way to bring it back in Android 4.4 "KitKat" without having to jail-break their devices, which demonstrates what people actually want in the real world.
For example, I can create and post my own apps anywhere for free using Flash. I don't have to submit my creations to a corporate-driven app store to get permission to post it, or pay them to be able to create them in the first place. I use FlashDevelp and the Adobe Flex Framework, where both are 100% free and open source. Without Flash, I would have to pay Apple or Google $100 a year just to be allowed to create my own apps, and be subjected to their scrutiny to decide if I can have them posted. I don't know how much it costs to develop for Mozilla or Microsoft apps stores, but you get the idea.
Artists who flame Flash are shooting themselves on the foot, while being used by corporations to impose their money-making agendas over us. You would just give them absolute control over contents, while removing your own freedom to create what you want and post it anywhere you want for free. Finally, if Flash were as bad as they claim, why is it still the most used tool for creating web contents in the world for decades? It is also the most used tool to create iOS and Android games in the world. Oh, the irony!
Flash has dominated the web for decades, and those corporations have no control over it. When they cannot control something, the general rule has always been to either buy it or break it. They cannot buy it, so they are trying to break it with lies and deception. For as long as you follow the corporate herd, they are winning. You are giving away your freedom to choose. It's democracy going down with applause.
Don't believe in corporate lies and deception? Let's see a case-study: Google and their Chrome web browser. While working for a commercial educational Flash gaming house, we were receiving reports from clients who used Chrome as their default web browser companywide. They claimed the course modules were malfunctioning - they couldn't get them to display properly. No matter how much we tested the contents, they would always present unpredictable glitches in Google Chrome.
We lost weeks trying to figure out what was going on, until we noticed that right-clicking the course was not showing the context menu we had designed for it. This was a red flag that our programming was not being executed as it was meant to. After further investigation, we found out Google Chrome has a hidden Flash player called "Pepper Player" that was actually built into the browser and could not be uninstalled. In other words, it was not an extension, but actually part of the browser.
We have consulted Adobe on the issue, and they do not support or endorse Pepper player. It was created by Google, so Adobe takes no responsibility for it. Instead, we were told to ask Google for tech support. Under close inspection, we've noticed Pepper not only is well hidden deep into Google Chrome, but it also secretly and silently hijacks Flash files, keeping them from being played by the actual Adobe Flash player. This means it is possible to install Adobe Flash player in Google Chrome, but all Flash contents are actually hijacked and taken over by Pepper, all this without our knowledge or consent. It's not an option - it does it on its own by default.
As a result, some Flash contents may mysteriously malfunction, and you will think it's because there is either something wrong with Adobe Flash player, or with the Flash content itself. In other words, Google has created their own version of Adobe Flash player that is not 100% compatible with Flash, and can cause it to malfunction. Even if you have the real Flash player installed, Pepper will never let it be used to play your Flash contents, because it will secretly sneak in and take over every time.
Once we have found the secret fake player that was causing the problem, the next step was to go ahead and uninstall it. Searching the web has returned many ways to have Pepper removed, where probably the most reliable is from the Adobe web site. The problem is that Pepper is hidden deep inside Google Chrome, and was never meant to be removed. You can only disabled its capability of hijacking Flash contents, and that should resolve the problem, by allowing the real Flash player to do its job.
Disabling Pepper means going deep into Google Chrome settings, way deeper than regular users should go. Changing the wrong setting can damage Chrome, so I don't recommend this for everybody. Once this was done, all Flash malfunctions were gone and the client was happy. Our development team has wasted weeks trying to fix what was not broken, and all this because Google has created a well-hidden fake player that hijacks Flash contents and can cause them to malfunction. This is done silently and sneakily behind our backs, so it naturally leads Chrome users to believe Flash tends to malfunction - and therefore confirm Google's claims that Flash is evil.
Why would a company that openly flames Flash create their own hidden version of the player? On one hand we have Google actively flaming Flash and "demanding" Adobe for its immediate removal from the market. On the other we have Google creating their own (hidden) version of Flash player that tends to malfunction and indirectly making people believe it was Adobe's fault. Why is Pepper player hidden deep into Chrome and cannot be removed? Why does it override the real Flash player and hijacks its contents? Even if you find the hidden player, why did Google go such a long way to make sure it's difficult, and even risky to disable it?
I will not speculate for the answers, but it's enough to say that there was foul play involved when Google decided to create a hidden mechanism inside their web browser that secretly hijacks Flash contents without our permission or knowledge, and consider we have only discovered it because it was causing Flash to fail. As a commercial company, even we believed the malfunctions were our fault, while we could never fix them or even figure out why they were happening. We obviously thought there was something wrong with Flash, when in reality the real Flash player was never being used in Google Chrome. In the end, it was Google Chrome that was built to sabotage Flash by default.
If people already believe Google's Flash-bashing campaign, this little extra push would help them to confirm their fears that Flash is bad and evil. If Google wanted to prove a point, they should do it fair and square, instead of using sneak attacks and sabotage to mislead people to believe their claims. In the same way, Apple has used their iconic Steve Jobs to spread lies about Flash, and not surprisingly people took his words as unquestionable truth. And consider Jobs was fired from Apple twice for not being such a nice person.
Generally speaking, the likes of Apple, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft have more power than regular companies, and their agenda to bring Flash down sounds great for their corporate profits, but not so great for us as artists and individuals. All I ask is for you to think twice before following their herd and actively help them reach their corporate agendas. Helping them doesn't mean it's good for you, since all they want is profit and more control over the web content market. The more control they have over web contents, the less is left for us artists.