Common Sense Approach to Apple Rhetoric

All to often marketing rhetoric is mistaken for technical reality. One one hand we hear Steve Jobs tell the world that Flash does not work well on their devices and with the other hand he is making sure that it does not by denying Flash access to the ability that they retain for only their applications and technology. It is becoming more and more difficult to make these claims as the Open Screen Project is beginning to have an effect. We are starting to see the results of this effort in devices such as the up coming HP Slate. In addition there are a few people that have taken up the gauntlet and did a little research to better understand the issue. I hope you take a look but if you do not an article by Dan Rayburn summarizes the results very well:

“When it comes to efficient video playback, the ability to access hardware acceleration is the single most important factor in the overall CPU load. On Windows, where Flash can access hardware acceleration, the CPU requirements drop to negligible levels.

Overall, it’s inaccurate to conclude that Flash is inherently inefficient. Rather, Flash is efficient on platforms where it can access hardware acceleration and less efficient where it can’t. With Flash Player 10.1, Flash has the opportunity for a true leap in video playback performance on all platforms that enable hardware acceleration.

Apple complaining about Flash being a CPU Hog while not exposing “the appropriate hooks” to enable Adobe to access hardware acceleration seems disingenuous at best.”

Thanks to Dan Rayburn for the lucid approach to this political topic!

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I work for Adobe as an SE in focusing on the Flash Media Server family of products.

2 thoughts on “Common Sense Approach to Apple Rhetoric”

  1. This story seems to go around in circle without an apparent solution/truth:
    whenever somebody point out the fact that a lot of video players on the Mac platforms are able to decode and play full screen full HD content using minimum CPU, somebody else on the Adobe camp replies that video is only one aspect of Flash and it is not fare to compare it to a video-displaying only applications. It is very evident then that Flash is not a CPU hog only when display video, but also when display normal animations or a combination of both; if video decoding hardware access would somehow improve situation (but leaves open the question on how the other player can do it without consuming 80% of CPU), for animation rendering, which is still handled all in software, what would be the solution? Still an Apple problem?

    1. That is a good point and worth some attention. First let me say that Flash is an execution environment. In other words it executes applications written by developers. Since it has been a round for a while it is very robust. A developer can use it to draw content (e.g. charts, graphs, primitives), connect to servers, play video, do math, layout text, etc…My point is that it will run just about anything that a developer with any chops throws at it. With that said not all developers are looking to make the most efficient use of the cpu. I recently created an example application that used a significant amount of cpu resources but it was necessary for the application. To complete this discussion, the application allows the viewer to do key word searches of video. You can imagine that requiring a lot of cpu resources depending on the length of the video. Now when you consider video in Flash it is important to note that Flash includes its own codecs and these codecs can take advantage of hardware acceleration (i.e. gpu). It is also possible to use hardware acceleration for other functionality in Flash through the use of OpenGL. My point is this, that Flash is dependent on the platform that it runs on and in this case we are talking about Apple. If you want to confirm that Apple does not open up all the functionality that developers want check out this article, it is just one example.

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