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Is Flash Really On 99% of Net Devices?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the self-proclaimed-ubiquity dept.

Graphics 383

Barence writes "Adobe claims that its Flash platform reaches '99% of internet viewers,' but a closer look at those statistics suggests it's not exactly all-encompassing. Adobe puts Flash player penetration at 947 million users out of a total 956 million internet-connected devices, but the total number of PCs is based on a forecast made two years ago. What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people — around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total. Is it really possible that 99% penetration could have been reached? Including Linux users? Including users at work? Including brand-new systems?"

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Ask Google/Yahoo/Baidu (3, Interesting)

cypherwise (650128) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948839)

If these sites had tiny embedded flash objects whose sole purpose was to test for successful loading or not you would be able to get a ton more stats that any survey. How much do you think they could charge for data like this?

My problem with Flash (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948869)

Is that, as I child of the 70s, it brings to mind the act of exposing yourself. In the 70s the image of this was a pervert wearing a trenchcoat.

Mod parent up! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948935)

I get it! So FU|\||\|Y!!! LoL!!

Re:My problem with Flash (3, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949263)

Is that, as I child of the 70s, it brings to mind the act of exposing yourself. In the 70s the image of this was a pervert wearing a trenchcoat.

they should make the slashdot flash icon a trenchcoat

Re:Ask Google/Yahoo/Baidu (5, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949251)

plus the survey was conducted using a flash pop-up

Re:Ask Google/Yahoo/Baidu (5, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949279)

Googles Analytics does check for flash player. I'm sure they know. ;)

And let's see...956-947 million for a difference of 9 million users? Let's ignore linux users for a moment... we have no idea how many linux users have flash. OTOH, I'm pretty sure I read that Apple has sold well over 10 million iPhones. We all know iPhones don't have flash. So I'm pretty sure we already know that number is absolute bullshit.

Nice work Adobe.

Re:Ask Google/Yahoo/Baidu (3, Informative)

nitro-57 (656185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949521)

With noscript I block Google Analytics and flash. This would put a bit of skew in the data.

Re:Ask Google/Yahoo/Baidu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949549)

With noscript I block Google Analytics and flash. This would put a bit of skew in the data.

I don't care even if you have over 9000 computers that ain't making much of a dent in the overall figures

Re:Ask Google/Yahoo/Baidu (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949553)

And on top of that you can add the 10 million+ iPod touch. Given that there's no contract attached to the iPod touch and that it's available everywhere (no need for a carrier), I'm pretty sure it's also at least 10 million.

Does it matter? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948847)

The fact is the vast majority of people that are targeted do have Flash (especially compared to those with Silverlight) and that's all most people decided whether or not to flash will care about.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949013)

To make things like YouTube and pr0n sites work you have to have Flash. The day YouTube et al changes to something else is the day that Silverlight will become significant.

VHS all over again!

But then there is the use of AdBlock etc. that kills flash ads, so using a flash item to analyze the use and spread of flash may be grossly misleading.

Of course - in some cases devices actually lacks Flash for one reason or another, but this is more on specialized devices and mobile devices where performance and bandwidth is at a premium and Flash will bog down the device into oblivion if the performance-hogging flash ad was to be presented.

Just got out of the shower (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949073)

Had to scrub my nuts clean and wash the gnats out of my nasty unix beard. You dweebs should try it some time. Also, Get the facts [getthefacts.com] , people.

Marketing statistics = bs (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948849)

"Is it really possible that 99% penetration could have been reached? Including Linux users? Including users at work? Including brand-new systems?"

No.

- Ramanujam

Of course not! (1)

micksam7 (1026240) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948855)

Of course not! It's more like 98.5%

Including Linux users? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948865)

Yes, they asked all 4600 of them.

Count me... (5, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948867)

I'm proud to be in the 1% of people who haven't been penetrated by Flash.

Flash was originally crafted with the best of intentions, I'm sure, but due to gross misuse by virtually everyone who's ever touched it, Flash has become a blight on the face of the Tubes. Whether it's noisy and annoying ads, embedded-but-not-linked video, site navigation without a plain HTML version, or malware-pushing securityless redirects, Flash has earned its rightful place in /dev/null.

Re:Count me... (5, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948911)

Well, i hate flash as website menu and eyecandy.
But some flash games are really nice.
If you never played ANY flash game, you miss something.
There are so many different games, one might be good for you.

Re:Count me... (1)

cypherwise (650128) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948967)

Agreed. I would suggest the GP get penetrated by Flash as soon as possible. Desktop Tower Defense is appropriate for most situations! :)

Re:Count me... (1)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948917)

Flashblock! (Addon for Firefox)

Re:Count me... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948995)

Does Flashblock offer any compelling advantage over NoScript to make me want to install it? I've found that NoScript does a decent job of blocking flash by default -- if I allow the scripts it also allows Flash but I don't allow scripts on untrusted websites so I've never bothered with Flashblock. Should I?

Re:Count me... (2, Informative)

JesseL (107722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949039)

If you've already got (and like) NoScript you wouldn't want flashblock.

For people that don't have NoScript and don't want to deal with constantly managing what is and isn't blocked, flashblock is a nice choice. It doesn't mess with any non-flash page rendering and it's easy to see what you're missing or allow permanently if you like.

Re:Count me... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949101)

NoScript involves managing everything. It's more work than I personally care to do regarding the Interbutt. I'd rather just block Flash and allow what I want.

Re:Count me... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949157)

I've never found it to be that hard. Most of the websites that I frequent are whitelisted. A handful of things (doubleclick, google-analytics, etc) are blacklisted. When I venture onto a new site if it doesn't render properly I just temporally allow it.

I've never bothered with adblock either -- noscript seems to do a good job of blocking 99% of them.

Re:Count me... (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949271)

I don't really "frequent" many websites. I go to a lot of them, though. I'd rather block-on-request (and flashblock does the rest).

And I don't block Google Analytics. I consider it rude. I use it on my sites to figure out the demographics of my sites' visitors so I can best provide content they'll want--blocking it on other people would be rude.

Re:Count me... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949273)

When you venture off into the scarier parts of the net, adblock is mandatory. Even it doesn't get all the pornspam. (I like my porn to be high-res, not in banner ads etc.) The only reason to use flashblock is if noscript is too complicated for you.

Re:Count me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949029)

Indeed. I have flash, but in more than 3/4 of instances when it wants to load, I don't let it.

Re:Count me... (2, Interesting)

shogun (657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949087)

I run flashblock and it works great most of the time. If there is some flash I want to see I can just click on it and let it run.

However there are a percentage of sites that appear to have some script running to check if I can run flash and wont show the flash properly at all even if I have flash allowed for the entire site.

Re:Count me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949405)

if you have flashbock installed, it still tells the website that you have flash installed. so you still get counted for adobe's statistics.

Re:Count me... (2, Insightful)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949257)

There is not a single technology on the web that has not been abused in the same way flash has. Javascript is mostly used for popup ads and page hit tracking cookies, CSS by designers who creates pixel perfect sites on their system but breaks down on any other browser and creates a nightmare for accessability. And don't forget HTML, it is a mess of marque tags, ugly framesets and unclosed P tags. Oh and don't forget images, they are just for porn, animated gif ads and for 1x1 alignment images because the designer couldn't be bothered to read up about css classes. Let's just do away with http completely, telnet, smtp and gopher works fine.

Re:Count me... (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949427)

WTF is a marque tag? Please point me to the HTML spec that describes brands. If you meant marquee, it was never part of a W3C spec.

Re:Count me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949471)

>1x1 alignment images because the designer couldn't be bothered to read up about css classes

Yes, those CSS classes that are different in every browser anyway. Nice one.
I love my CSS, but there are some times where i give the F up and just plant an image there instead.
And don't even dare bring up the BR element, it fails too. (and if you don't know why, then you probably only develop on one browser)

Also, P shouldn't have even existed.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, HTML is the biggest pile of crap there is.
Whoever has been "in charge" of updating it through the years should be shot for screwing it up so badly, every damn one of them.
And screw OBJECT, don't even get me started on that horrible thing.

Re:Count me... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949503)

I don't know if it was crafted with the best of intentions. It is was it would have had the ability to turned off by default, just like image loading. The reason so many people use it is because it couldn't be turened off by default. So it became the preferred option to animated gifs. As of now, I have it turned off on the browser I notrmally use, and move to another browser when I have to use a flash intensive site.

This is why I am perfectly having having a phone that does not run flash. I can see myself not buying net devices that are flash dependent.

Not on my BlackBerry (5, Insightful)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948893)

I do browse the Internet with my BlackBerry Pearl, and no, I cannot get Flash video on it. Was the definition of "Internet viewer" tailored to purpose, by any chance?

Re:Not on my BlackBerry (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949045)

I don't have flash on my iPhone -- and I like it that way!

Re:Not on my BlackBerry (2, Informative)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949323)

As I mentioned earlier, if I've read it right, Adobe claims 9 million devices that don't run flash. Apple has sold over 10 million iphones.

Sounds like "Myth Busted" to me.

Re:Not on my BlackBerry (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949155)

I do browse the Internet with my BlackBerry Pearl, and no, I cannot get Flash video on it. Was the definition of "Internet viewer" tailored to purpose, by any chance?

TFA quotes Adobe's fine print (some of it anyway) in which Adobe specifically states "desktop computers".

Hey I use Flashblock on my Mac - I wonder how I'd be counted?

"desktop computers" ? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949297)

TFA quotes Adobe's fine print (some of it anyway) in which Adobe specifically states "desktop computers".

Un huh. That says a lot, considering most of the people I know no longer use desktop computers to access the Internet.

Re:Not on my BlackBerry (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949285)

No Commodore 64s have Flash installed. That doesn't mean that no Commodore 64 users have access to flash content.

Blockers? (5, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948895)

It would be more interesting to conduct a survey to find what percentage of net users find Flash as annoying as I do.

Maybe some download stats for Flashblock? I would have to agree that Flash is now more or less inescapable, especially if you like YouTube, but if a site is built on Flash it's usually a surefire sign that the content won't be worth the bandwidth.

Re:Blockers? (1)

StormySees (1481403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949177)

FireFox's two main Flash blockers, Flash Killer and Flash Block, are currently reporting getting 3,957 and 56,132 weekly downloads, respectively. I don't know what that adds up to overall, but it's certainly a solid number.

I personally have Flash Block enabled.

Re:Blockers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949511)

[...]if a site is built on Flash it's usually a surefire sign that the content won't be worth the bandwidth.

If only that were true. I have found many sites with excellent content (artists / photographers in particular) that are hobbled by Flash navigation.

This renders it impossible to bookmark a particular part of the site, or send someone a link - you have to send a link to the main site and then write some detailed instructions on how to get to a bit of it. Argh!

Learn statistics (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948903)

Please, this "how can just 4600 people represent so many" comment is something any college-educated person should know better than to say. Provided the sample was drawn randomly from a representative pool of users, 4600 people is more than adequate, giving a sampling error of about 2%.

Re:Learn statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949215)

But it's not, so it isn't.

Re:Learn statistics (3, Informative)

Guido von Guido (548827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949217)

Please, this "how can just 4600 people represent so many" comment is something any college-educated person should know better than to say. Provided the sample was drawn randomly from a representative pool of users, 4600 people is more than adequate, giving a sampling error of about 2%.

Agreed--but the methodology could well be iffy. From Adobe's methodology page [adobe.com] , "Panelists are recruited from multiple sources such as RDD, in-person interviews, Web partners, as well as banner ads." The "Web partners" and banner ad commponents seem particularly troubling to me.

Re:Learn statistics (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949307)

Agreed, it is troubling enough to disregard the results entirely. But I guess we already did that as the study is based on two years old data, practically excluding all mobile devices.

But to question the validity due to a sample size of 4600 is as mentioned not very educated. 1000 respondents will provide a satisfactory result no matter how large the population.

Re:Learn statistics (1)

eyecorporations (1401035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949505)

99% of the random sample that managed to catch the monkey on a flash ad were found to have flash.

Science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26948907)

Based on an iron clad study, 99% of people that visit adobe.com have flash.

You just can't argue statistics like that, man.

Web Survey (1, Insightful)

51M02 (165179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948915)

According to the latest "Market Share" survey [hitslink.com] Windows, Mac and Linux users combined represent more than 99% of the web users. Flash is available on all those platforms and more.

But considering that on some platform, users may be dumb enough not to be able to install Flash, that some users may not want to install Flash for its close-sourceness this number could very well just above 98%. I mean that's a shame Adobe are lying with those numbers and should apologize to everyone for making up numbers so easily.

You are right on the money to have discover such an evil plot.

bad statistical reasoning in summary (5, Insightful)

FalseModesty (166253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948929)

The fact that the sample is a very small fraction of the total population does not make it meaningless.

It may be meaningless for OTHER reasons of course...

Even if true it'll drop thanks to Netbooks, HTML5 (1)

savethenetbooks (1481739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948947)

Even if true now that number will trend downward rapidly from now on. Flash support on Linux has always been ordinary, especially on anything other than x86 processors. Given the next wave of netbooks are likely to be ARM devices (especially the really cheap ones) they're going to have a really hard time keeping up unless they do something drastic like open source the player itself. Flash constantly crashes WebKit nightlies on OS X and the same is true of every experience with Flash I've had outside of the mainstream browsers.

Definitely good to see some critical analysis done though... I much prefer native web applications [circleid.com] and with HTML 5's video tag and application features Flash will really become quite optional.

I would go so far as to say that Flash penetration could drop below 50% in the coming years given these two new kids on the block alone.

Sam

Re:Even if true it'll drop thanks to Netbooks, HTM (1)

sk999 (846068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949041)

My Nokia N810 is an ARM device, and it has Flash. Not the latest version and not powerful enough to run high-def videos, but it's there. Silverlight? Hah!

Re:Even if true it'll drop thanks to Netbooks, HTM (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949115)

Moonlight will compile on ARM, IIRC. (May be wrong, but I heard something about that.)

Re:Even if true it'll drop thanks to Netbooks, HTM (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949337)

I'll bet the binary codecs from Microsoft run GREAT on ARM.

LOL

Re:Even if true it'll drop thanks to Netbooks, HTM (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949407)

All of the planned ARM netbooks I know about use the i.MX515 chip from Freescale. One of the selling points in the brochure about this chip discusses its performance running Flash. I think it's fair to assume that these machines will all support Flash.

Bad forecast (1)

cei (107343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948949)

A forecast from 2 years ago might have assumed Flash Lite getting onto more mobile platforms than it has. The iPhone & iPod Touch, for example, certainly take a decent chunk of the mobile market at the moment, and neither can run Flash.

The only reason : (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948961)

The survey was made in flash

Re:The only reason : (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949541)

The survey was made in flash

This idea was conceived by Shampoo.

Measuring the Wrong Thing (5, Insightful)

Chysn (898420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948969)

Saying that Flash can be viewed by "99% of internet viewers" is not saying that Flash is on "99% of internet devices." My Centro doesn't have Flash, but my work laptop does, so I'd say "yes" if polled about whether I have access to Flash content. My ratio of internet devices to Flash-capable devices (5:2) doesn't interest Abobe.

Their claim is probably about right.

Re:Measuring the Wrong Thing (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949481)

Their claim is probably about right.

I'd be highly surprised if it's right. Getting 99% of any population to adopt ANYTHING is pretty near impossible.

For one thing, iPhones couldn't handle youtube, last time I checked. They have some fake version of youtube by default, but if you cancel that and go to the real youtube site, it won't work.

Test YOUR Users (4, Informative)

md17 (68506) | more than 5 years ago | (#26948985)

[I also posted a portion of this on the original site but thought it might also be useful here.]

Being a Technical Evangelist for Adobe I frequently get questioned about our published statistics. My response is that you should always test YOUR user base before you make a decision about building on any technology. And in most cases when companies do their own testing the results are within one percent of our published numbers. This is true for enterprise's, SMBs, media companies, etc. But occasionally I hear about some demographic where the numbers are totally off. For instance, if your user base is still working on green screens then you will find lower Flash Player penetration numbers there.

I think Slashdot should publish their stats about their users. It would be interesting to see what the Flash Player penetration is like with this demographic - especially considering I sometimes see Flash banner ads on Slashdot.

-James (Adobe)

Re:Test YOUR Users (1, Interesting)

christurkel (520220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949107)

You just posted a lot but said nothing. How did Adobe come up with it's stats from such a small sample?

Re:Test YOUR Users (2, Informative)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949189)

(I'm assuming you're not just trolling...)

Actually, he said a lot. The overall demographics for "the whole world" just isn't useful. What people care about is demographics for their own portion or something similar.

The GP (who apparently has inside info at Adobe) says that many companies report flash installation base of within 1% of the number the article gave.

That means (comfortably speaking), greater than 95% of internet users are using a browsing system that can render flash. Making it a de facto standard (but we already know that).

Re:Test YOUR Users (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949397)

The sample is not small but more than sufficient for the conclusion presented in the summary. The problem here seems to be that the data is old and that the sampling is probably not perfectly random. But as far as size is concerned, this is a large sample.

Re:Test YOUR Users (1)

Vladus2000 (1363929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949127)

It would be interesting to see what the Flash Player penetration is like with this demographic - especially considering I sometimes see Flash banner ads on Slashdot.

You don't use firefox with noscript/flashblock? I don't see shit. Pulling numbers out of my ass like adobe did, I would say over 50% of people reading this have some form of adblock in place. Their statistic is as real as mine, granted they might have some data they twisted to get that number, I have my gut feel!

Re:Test YOUR Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949173)

and make sure to require flash to participate in the survey.

Re:Test YOUR Users (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949305)

I think Slashdot should publish their stats about their users. It would be interesting to see what the Flash Player penetration is like with this demographic - especially considering I sometimes see Flash banner ads on Slashdot.

I never see them ..... you should learn how to block ads.

Re:Test YOUR Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949339)

I hate to lambast you, but unless you take a critical look at your survey methods, your confidence intervals (http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/methodology/) are next to worthless.

For example, if I take a survey on the best office software comprised wholly of novice PC users not employed in the IT industry who use nothing but MS Word day-in and day-out to write nothing but letters and simple essays, can I expect to make accurate predictions for the entire IT market?

No, I didn't think so. While I used an extremely obvious example, your survey methodology is honestly not much better. Your analysts need to check out a few books from the local University library on the Bernoulli distribution.

Of course, maybe they have. Maybe you've hired experienced statisticians who would rather get fired than be known for conducting a biased, poorly-planned survey. (Don't forget, whomever can't be bribed can always be replaced.) It actually doesn't matter how you go about things, as any publicity is almost always good publicity. By the time someone pays attention to the critics, business leaders will have already made heavy investments into information based significantly on persuasion, and no criticism will make any difference.

(While I'm on that subject, does anyone else see "The speed of business" and automatically translate that to "The effect of thinking only in the short-term and of doing no research outside of official PR"?)

Installed vs. used? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949001)

I make every effor to avoid installing Flash on any system I use, and once I do install it, I make sure it won't run automatically (FF+noscript) to avoid all the annoyances as reduce security problems.

So, even if they do manage to get a high penetration, you need to also look at how many system will flash actually run on!

No flash on iPhone (1)

xee (128376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949021)

There's no flash on the iPhone.

Re:No flash on iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949031)

who cares? the iphone sucks anyway

Re:No flash on iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949225)

i do most of my internet browsing on mobile devices, if a site is flash dependent an alternative should be offered by the developers, or at least a mobile version of the page should be provided.

Not sure... (1)

NXprime (573188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949063)

I don't think one can expect all business PC's to connect to the internet at all, so those wouldn't count as web 'enabled'. Lots of firewalls and site blockers out there that could mess with the stats. However, I do think once someone uses the internet for 5 minute they'll eventually be asked to install flash to show a webpage properly. Youtube, Hulu... ect. Very important part of the web browser to have that installed.

HTML reaches 100% of all web users (5, Insightful)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949077)

You could just go the HTML route...

w3c claims that its HTML platform reaches '100% of interweb viewers,' but a closer look at those statistics suggests it's not exactly all-encompassing. w3c puts HTML-capable web browser penetration at 956 million users out of a total 956 million internet-connected devices, but the total number of PCs is based on a forecast made two years ago. What's more, the number of HTML users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people - around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total. Is it really possible that 100% penetration could have been reached? Including Linux users? Including users at work? Including brand-new systems?

Re:HTML reaches 100% of all web users (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949139)

HTML reaches 100% of all web users

Well, if you're including those web users on Windows-based mobile phones... you'll have to broaden the definition of "HTML" for this to be true.

I kid, I kid... okay I'm not completely kidding.

Unfortunately... (2, Interesting)

Strake (982081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949079)

99% seems an ambitious estimate. 64-bit Flash, for example, is still in testing, and many distributions still do not include it. What about the myriad CPU architectures used in embedded devices? Different browsers? Different operating systems?

Perhaps if it were an open standard, it could be more widely supported, instead of supported only on those platforms selected by Adobe.

Re:Unfortunately... (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949429)

99% seems an ambitious estimate. 64-bit Flash, for example, is still in testing, and many distributions still do not include it. What about the myriad CPU architectures used in embedded devices? Different browsers? Different operating systems?

Perhaps if it were an open standard, it could be more widely supported, instead of supported only on those platforms selected by Adobe.

Not really. 64 bit Windows can run 32 bit browsers. Flash comes in both 32 and 64 bit forms for Linux.

If you look here

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8 [hitslink.com]

Windows 88.26%
Mac 9.93%
Linux 0.83%

Add them up and you get just over 99%

Anyhow it is open swfdec and Gnash exist. And Adobe offers Flashlite for embedded platforms.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949487)

And 64bit Windows comes with both a 64bit IE and a 32bit IE.

The 32bit variant is the default.

Youtube and major sites using flash for video... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949095)

... my guess is that flash penetration has to be at least significant, since youtube uses flash practically exclusively before you can view any videos. I'd like to see numbers from major video streaming sites and other flash using sites as well.

I know that I sometimes get peeved when I am asked to download a file like quicktime or some other format now instead of just stream it via flash.

Let's bigin lobbying Adobe (3, Funny)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949111)

I love flash and I think it's time to start lobbying Adobe to make Flash Open Source Software. I know its specs are open but we don't know what tool Microsoft might be planning now with its Silverlight platform.

If we succeeded with Sun's Java, we surely can succeed with Adobe's Flash. This will mean that these wonderful pieces of software can be bundled with Linux by default --- Sweet!

One thing I still miss are picture controls on all those video sites including Youtube. You sometimes need to put a little light, hue and contrast into those pictures.

Re:Let's bigin lobbying Adobe (2, Interesting)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949291)

A better lobbying effort would be: Make Adobe less of a CPU resource hog.

A have a 4 or 5 gen old dual-core w/ 2 GB RAM and at times my system almost comes to a halt with a Flash page. I feel sorry for people with lesser systems. Don't they realize this is one reason why Flash Block exists? If they are concerned with PR (the reason for this survey) then they should be more concerned that more and more people are blocking flash.

1%er (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949117)

After a lifetime of riding motorcycle... computers make me a 1%er. Flash sux!

No Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949153)

Call me an old fogey but I don't see the need for multimedia content in browsers when I have perfectly good programs to do that on my desktop. Youtube? I use youtube-dl and play the file with mplayer. So I miss out on a few crappy Flash games. Big deal.

An embarrassing disgrace for a tech site (5, Insightful)

jonnyj (1011131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949171)

I'd expect tech readers to have a modicum of statistical sense, but the arguments presented in the summary display an embarrasing ignorance of established statistical techniques. The central limit theorem - one of the first things taught on any stats course - suggests that the sample size is more than adequate, and the researchers have made a serious attempt to take a representative sample across coutries, age groups and genders.

The flaws in the research are more subtle but aren't picked up in the summary. First, beware of any vendor-funded survey - you can guarantee that the although the underlying facts are probably accurate, the interpretation will spun to the point of incredulity. Also, there's probably good reason to believe that people who take part in email surveys aren't representative of the wider population.

But the real problem is that the survey muddles up devices and people: the research discovered that 99% of people can read see Flash animations, but that doesn't remotely mean that 99% of internet-connected devices have Flash. My phone is connected to the innternet, but it certainly can't read Flash files, for example, but I generally read emails on my PC not my phone

Having said that, the results smell about right. Almost all PCs have Flash because it's so easy to install these days - even on Linux./P

64bit (1)

1ini (629558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949175)

They claim 99% penetration, but there is still no 64bit version of their player for my Windows or Linux OS?

Re:64bit (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949539)

There is a 64 bit version for Linux.

Another question would be: What kind of Flash (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949199)

The Wii browser for example uses an rampantly outdated version of the Flash player and is incompatible with oh so many sites. I bet this is true for many other platforms as well.

Where is adobe's PPC support? (1)

JoshDmetro (1478197) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949223)

There claims are full of shit what about all the people the use the ps3 online in both XMB and Linux flavor. All adobe have ever offered is buggy software that sucks. And don't even get me started on acrobat.

Survey shenanigans (3, Interesting)

unts (754160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949227)

What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people

It didn't help that the survey was done using a flash app. Some might say that skewed the results somewhat.

Thank you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949229)

Way to transport our message. We like the way you created authenticity by questioning our numbers without actually refuting them. Your check is in the mail.

Yours sincerely,

Adobe

Did all of /. flunk basic statistics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949253)

or just Barence?

4600 people is a pretty big sample size for pretty much any population size. This will give 99% confidence of a +/-0.38% margin of error (assuming you're expecting a result in the high nineties). If the survey is questionable, it's not because of the numbers - you'd be looking for selection bias (and similar factors).

Barence also seems unable to understand the difference between internet *users* and internet *devices*. If you have a desktop PC that can do Flash, it doesn't matter whether your iPhone can or not.

Accessibility (4, Insightful)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949261)

How do they survey the people they can't reach or only speak something like Vietnamese?

4,600 is Way More Than Enough (3, Informative)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949265)

/. should not be a forum for perpetrating common ignorance, such as the comment,

"What's more, the number of Flash users is based on a questionable internet survey of just 4,600 people â" around 0.0005% of the suggested 956,000,000 total. Is it really possible that 99% penetration could have been reached?"

They really needed to survey just 1,000 people to get a statistically meaningful survey.

It does not pass the smell test because it leaves out a number of important devices we know to exist on the Internet (for example, the iPhone).

The problem is almost certainly sample bias. 1,000 data points is significantly relevant if your sample is truly random and not skewed towards a particular subgroup. Sample bias means that your mechanism for picking who you sampled would be more likely to pull data points from a specific subgroup. For example, a methodology that discouraged responses from people on mobile devices.

Re:4,600 is Way More Than Enough (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26949381)

How many iPhone users don't have computers?

That's what I thought. Devices =/= viewers. Adobe is claiming VIEWERS. 99% of VIEWERS have flash.

This is the worst Slashdot story in recent memory.

From Adobe's site... (3, Informative)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949371)

Here's the quote from Adobe's site...

Adobe ® Flash ® Player is the world's most pervasive software platform, used by over 2 million professionals and reaching 99.0% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets as well as a wide range of devices

It's interesting that Adobe defines Flash as a "software platform". A javascript-enabled browser could also be defined as such- which would make Adobe's claims of "most pervasive" false, since there are many sites which use javascript but not flash.

Mature Markets include US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan.

Hm, seems like they left out a few ...

Of course, they just want to make people to feel comfortable paying top dollar for their products. (And as someone faced with buying a copy of Flash or Adobe CS4 soon, Holy Cow it's expensive!)

But it must be the truth, (1)

Revenger75 (1246176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949375)

Statistics never lie.

Faulty understanding of statistical sampling (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949391)

The use of two year-old data for projecting the current Internet population may or may not be questionable, but there's nothing at all wrong with extrapolating from sample of 4600 to a population of one billion -- or any size.

It's a curious result of probability theory that, assuming your sample is truly random (which is HARD to achieve!), the sample size you need is independent of the size of the population you're examining. It doesn't matter whether there are a million, hundred million or hundred trillion Internet-connected computers, a random sample of 4600 is equally good.

Yes, this is counterintuitive, like so much else in probability theory.

When choosing an appropriate sample size what matters is the rarity of the trait you're searching for, the margin of error you want to allow, and the degree of confidence you want to have in your result. It's an interesting circularity that you need to know how common computers without Flash are in order to determine how large a sample you need to determine how common computers without Flash are. In practice it isn't a big deal, though. You guess at your answer, compute the required sample size, perform your sampling operation, then see what answer the sample provided. If it's not close to your assumed answer, then you use the sample as the basis of a new assumption and compute a required sample size for your desired level of confidence. If needed, you sample some more. Usually, though, you can make a good enough initial guess that one round is sufficient.

This is why pollsters can give 3% error margins and 95% confidence intervals for voter preferences even though there are many millions of voters and they only ask a thousand or so. The fact that getting good random samples is so hard explains why pollsters nevertheless do get it wrong from time to time. But asking more people wouldn't help, since the additional samples would likely have the same unknown bias as the first thousand -- or perhaps if they were chosen a different way they'd have a different unknown bias.

Including mobiles phones? (1)

nereid666 (533498) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949433)

Last generation low budgets Mobiles phones have internet access and could be considered net devices....

Omniture says... (1)

oblivious (453096) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949435)

I happen to have access to an Omniture account, so I checked their numbers. Omniture says that 100% of the people going to my company's website have Flash installed, and Omniture also says that the internet average is 87.4%. While Adobe's sample size may be large enough to be statistically valid, I think Omniture's sample size is much larger, and therefore, much more accurate.

Statistical sampling (4, Informative)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949489)

I wish people would understand sample size before claiming it as a weak point.

A sample is by definition a small slice of a population.

Sample size is not a weak or strong aspect of the analysis based on what its ratio is to the entire population, it is weak or strong based on the confidence level you end up with.

Example: If you have a sample size of 4300 people and your resultant confidence level is 99%, then even if you have a total population of 6 billion people, your sample size is perfectly fine. If, however, your confidence level is 95%, the statistical results should be questioned as to their accuracy wrt the entire population.

I don't know what the confidence level of Adobe's survey was, but the summary should not be throwing its results into question based on the sample size to total population ratio, it makes the person sound stupid.

O RLY? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26949513)

> Is Flash Really On 99% of Net Devices?

I don't think I'm going to install Flash on my ethernet repeater and neither are you.

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