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As HTML5 Gets 2014 Final Date, Flash Floods Mobile

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-it's-ok-take-your-time dept.

The Internet 221

CWmike writes "Those curious about the final release date for the hotly debated HTML5 need wonder no more: the W3C plans to finalize the standard by July 2014, the consortium said on Monday. 'This is the first time we've been able to answer people's questions of when it will be done,' said W3C's Ian Jacobs. 'More and more people from more and more industries are asking when it will be done. They require stability in the standard and very high levels of interoperability.' Meanwhile, as Apple dismisses the value of the Flash Player in favor of HTML5 for its smartphones and tablets, Adobe said on Monday that it predicts 600% growth in the number of smartphones having the Flash 10.1 Player installed in 2011, reaching 132 million smartphones and more than 50 tablet models with either the player installed or available for download. For the six months following the launch of Flash 10.1, more than 20 million smartphones were shipped or upgraded with it."

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Shame about flash (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208514)

Shame about flash - whereas I don't like Apple's draconian banning of the whole technology it leads to a lot of real, heavyweight web pages, and really preentation should be dealt with via the browser and not a plugin (via HTML5)

Re:Shame about flash (1, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208600)

>>>preentation should be dealt with via the browser and not a plugin (via HTML5)

Plugins have existed since the earliest days of browsers (like quicktime plugin to view embedded movies)(or wav plugin to deal with sounds). Why do you think that is an inferior method?

Personally I'd rather have the lightweight browser and then add features (like video) only as I need them.

Re:Shame about flash (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208634)

Even better, how about a lightweight browser that doesn't require plugins to view videos?

Re:Shame about flash (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208720)

A browser with built-in support for the thousands of different codecs AND lightweight (less than 100 MB)? Impossible.

Re:Shame about flash (2)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208750)

A browser that relies on the OS for support for thousands of different codecs AND lightweight (less than 100 MB)? Easy.
Even if not though - VLC for Windows is only a 20MB download.

Re:Shame about flash (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208798)

I was talking about the size *when running*. For example I have Firefox open right now and it's using 500Meg, versus Non-google Chromium which hovers around 40Meg (but also does not have built-in video support - it launches external apps or plugins).

>>>relies on the OS for support for thousands of different codecs

That's just great (not). My Windows XP doesn't have the newer codecs built in. Neither does Ubuntu or Puppy Linux. Or Commodore Amiga OS.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208870)

For example I have Firefox open right now and it's using 500Meg, versus Non-google Chromium which hovers around 40Meg (but also does not have built-in video support - it launches external apps or plugins).

I find it hard to believe that Chromium is so much more RAM-efficient than Chrome - because the latter uses about 20-40MB per tab on my machines...

When the OS lacks a codec (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208804)

A browser that relies on the OS for support for thousands of different codecs

Such a browser could not run correctly on a free operating system because most popular audio and video codecs used on the Internet are covered by one or more patents licensed incompatibly with free software. Case in point: In Ubuntu, Software Center and Synaptic put up a big scary warning of potential patent infringement when the user tries to install anything related to FFmpeg.

Re:When the OS lacks a codec (2)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210724)

A browser that relies on the OS for support for thousands of different codecs

Such a browser could not run correctly on a free operating system because most popular audio and video codecs used on the Internet are covered by one or more patents licensed incompatibly with free software. Case in point: In Ubuntu, Software Center and Synaptic put up a big scary warning of potential patent infringement when the user tries to install anything related to FFmpeg.

So? If you need the codec, it has to come from somewhere, not the magical codec fairy in the sky. Either its in the OS (once), in each app (a few times), or provided as software as part of your stream (every video), but its coming from somewhere either way.

Do you expect every application to come with its own set of printer drivers, too?

Re:When the OS lacks a codec (1)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210996)

Such a browser could not run correctly on a free operating system...

Forget the "Free Operating System" for a sec. 99% of people use a non-free operating system. Should we forget streamlining for those people because a few FOSS people don't like the idea?

The advantage of this is that it would allow FREE browsers, like Firefox, to support needed codecs without having to besmirch themselves with non-free (icky!) code.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208728)

Probably because then you would need to upgrade your browser all the time to add codecs? Whereas with plugins you don't have to update the whole browser. Think of how it is right now with google chrome and flash. Every time flash does a security update you get a whole new chrome browser (which is damn stupid if you think about it).

Re:Shame about flash (3, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209110)

Ah, I see, so the browser couldn't use some scheme whereby it would support whatever video codecs are supported natively by your OS, allowing you to simply update a playback library when/if a codec changes, or install a new library to support a new codec?

What is it with people having some sort of fetish for putting EVERYTHING into the frigging browser?

Re:Shame about flash (2)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210770)

What is it with people having some sort of fetish for putting EVERYTHING into the frigging browser?

This is what happens when people try to replace emacs.

Re:Shame about flash (2)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210164)

Well that is the hope in HTML5... one of its most pivotal features is the Video tag. Although there's no guarantee that browser makers will want to scale things down resource-wise after HTML5 becomes ubiquitous (especially the IE/Safari bunch, for obvious reasons).

Re:Shame about flash (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208770)

How about a plugin that requires direct hardware access in order to function?

forget an OS, or browser needing hardware access a friggin plugin requires it.

That is flash. it is also why it is not very portable. it is also why the arm versions don't implement the full flash feature set even though adobe says it does. There are many flash websites that simply don't work with 10.1 mobile flash.

Only root can install plug-ins (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208814)

Plugins have existed since the earliest days of browsers (like quicktime plugin to view embedded movies)(or wav plugin to deal with sounds). Why do you think that is an inferior method?

Because only root can install plug-ins, and root might either A. disapprove of a plug-in, or B. not be around when you visit a site that needs a plug-in.

Re:Only root can install plug-ins (2)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208910)

Plugins have existed since the earliest days of browsers (like quicktime plugin to view embedded movies)(or wav plugin to deal with sounds). Why do you think that is an inferior method?

Because only root can install plug-ins,

Bullshit.

Re:Only root can install plug-ins (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209896)

Plugins have existed since the earliest days of browsers (like quicktime plugin to view embedded movies)(or wav plugin to deal with sounds). Why do you think that is an inferior method?

Because only root can install plug-ins,

Bullshit.

OK, only anyone with permission to write to an executable folder can install plug-ins. I assume that you're referring to installation of plug-ins to a single user's account by that user, but in a tightly secured system (/home mounted noexec under UNIX or Software Restriction Policies under Windows), this is root (under UNIX) or a member of the Administrators group (under Windows). On some devices, even the owner of the machine might not have permission to install executable files that the device's manufacturer has not approved.

Re:Shame about flash (3, Insightful)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210222)

> Plugins have existed since the earliest days of browsers (like quicktime plugin to
> view embedded movies)(or wav plugin to deal with sounds). Why do you think
> that is an inferior method?

Because the Web is hardware and platform independent, and plugins are not. Because there is a way now to give the browser the audio or video via HTML and the browser renders it, cutting out the middleman. Because today's Web user is a consumer who doesn't know what a plugin is and doesn't want to manually update it or install a collection of them or be told they don't have the right one. Because there is an almost 10 year old ISO/IEC video standard that is available in the hardware of every PC and mobile, so that they can play the same video that FlashPlayer and QuickTime player play but without having to have the software players. Because hardware playback takes much less battery power and less expensive hardware than software playback. Because little plugin makers like Adobe become tin pot dictators and they to play gatekeeper with Web content that should be universally accessible. Because plugins are an accessibility nightmare compared to HTML. Because plugins are a security nightmare compared to HTML. Because plugins limit hardware innovation, for example, the "smartbook" ARM notebook was rejected by PC makers because it did not have a FlashPlayer, furthering Intel's hegemony. driving up hardware prices and reducing battery life.

That is just off the top of my head. I'm sure I missed some.

> Personally I'd rather have the lightweight browser and then add features (like video)
> only as I need them.

Video is a feature of your operating system and hardware. Your lightweight browser just passes the HTML video to the OS. HTML5 just standardizes how to do this. It's more lightweight than plugins.

Re:Shame about flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208626)

I don't have the Flash (or any other) plugin installed, and I can assure you that Flash is not necessary to create heavyweight, dysfunctional web pages. Extensive use of JavaScript/AJAX creates some of the worst clusterfucks already. Just look at the new /. design.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208758)

>>>JavaScript/AJAX creates some of the worst clusterfucks already. Just look at the new /. design.

As I discovered with my Dialup connection. I imagine a sub-1000k Cellphone connection would be just as bad. Scripts supposedly speed things up, but I find plain-text pages (i.e. slashdot classic) load much much faster than the new script-based monstrosity. Probably because dialup uses compression, and text pages get squeezed to 5% their original size (images also get compressed - about 20% original size).

Re:Shame about flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35209084)

I had to update a module for a remote start the other day in the field. My phone was only getting Edge on the local tower, and it was the slowest version of Edge I've ever seen. I had my phone wifi tethered to my laptop, and because of the Ajax and flash.. and the Edge connection only running at 1.3K/sec the front page took about 5 minutes to load. Then, worse yet, the "plug-in" to flash their modules is written in ActiveX, so I have to use IE instead of the browser of my choice. Needless to say, with the flash animation on the home page plus the Ajax use for the drop down menus for the year/make/model selection, it took about 25 minutes to flash the module that would normally have taken less than 1
(www.idatalink.com is the website if you care to visit. While their products are top notch and the troubleshooting/support/guides are years beyond the competition, their site is in no way setup for someone to really do the installs in the field and update the modules unless you hav 3G and a good signal at that. I had to do it in the field because the 07 F250 I was working on shouldn't have a chip-in-the-key, but it was setup like a 08 that DOES have the chip-in-the-key).

Re:Shame about flash (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209104)

To be fair, the old /. design was an even bigger Javascript / AJAX mess. At least they bugfixed this one before launching it.

Re:Shame about flash (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208700)

It's not so much "banning" as "your implementation is piss poor, even on Windows, try again later". If Adobe actually grave a crap about flash performance they would work on it and they have made some inroads with 10.1 - it's a world better on OS X, for example, compared to Flash 10.0, but it's still nowhere near good enough for a mobile device that doesn't have a ton of extra CPU to throw at it to make performance acceptable. If there was actually a properly decent flash player for mobiles that could run on iOS then Apple may reconsider - as it does often when it is apparent that it made a choice that didn't work out (3rd party multitasking, cut and paste), but I think even then they have already committed to HTML5 and see no reason to change.

If the XBMC guys (and by extension the people who write code in the projects they use) can make a better flash player than Adobe can, something is wrong with the picture. Not that open source coders contributing code as a hobby would be any less skilled than Adobe, per se, just that it's one of Adobe's core products and you think they'd throw a ton of resources at it to make it better, and it *can* be better than it is - a lot better. It just isn't.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208862)

The root problem is commerical software vendors sell their software on new features.

That is fine for a field with little exposure to security threats but for basic infrastructure it leads to features that seemed like a good idea at the time but cause big problems down the road. For example putting scripting in pdf opened up massive cans of worms. Besides the plain and simple exploits it opened the possibility for fraud through the authoring of PDFs that displayed different content on different systems.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210158)

Also remember, Apple doesn't play nice and doesn't let Adobe have access to all the resources for Flash to utilize in order to perform nicely.

Re:Shame about flash (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208932)

Yes. This move truly shows the advantage of technologies from the future over tech that has been live and working for about ten years now.

Flash is bulky. And it should never be used for cases where base HTML would do. But it revolutionized both casual games and independent animation. And, unlike HTML 5, it actually exists.

Re:Shame about flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208950)

Yes, because pages using tons of HTML 5 features are the pinnacle of lightweight web pages... oh wait. If you are looking for a lightweight web then it's not HTML 5 you want.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209118)

While I agree with that in principle I have a LOT more problems with Flash (probably poor job of the browser handling it) than I do with any native HTML/javascript. I've never had an HTML heavy site hang or crash.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210180)

Well, I've had tons of AJAX coded sites fail to work. From Netflix to Slashdot to Facebook (the worse).

I find it extremely common for it not to just work right.

Re:Shame about flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35210336)

Then you must be lucky. Slashdot crashes almost any browsers I've tried at least on a daily basis if not more often.

Re:Shame about flash (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210108)

You do realize that the earliest HTML formats did not support a lot of features.

How about this alternative, making Adobe's Flash part of the HTML spec. Hmm...no more plugin. But then, we'd have the problem where every browser rendered things differently.

3 MORE Years? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208522)

At least it's got a version number. I'd much rather wait than have a numberless living HTML zombie to support.

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208540)

Just wait for the after-HTML5. They willl drop version numbers.

**woosh** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208776)

WOOSH

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208786)


I hope they pick up an Ubuntu-like naming scheme after HTML5.

Nothing says Professional like "HTML Fistable Foal" or whatever.

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209532)

As compared to some Windows codenames: Whistler, Chicago, Memphis, Janus, Mantis, Diamond, Lonestar, Bobcat, Longhorn, Q, Cougar, Blackcomb.

Re:3 MORE Years? (2)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208934)

Hate to break it to you, but we have a numberless HTML zombie right now. Are Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Apple waiting patiently for the specification to be complete? No, HTML 5 is here today. Officially it's HTML 4 + stuff in HTML 5 that's already been agreed on. The vendors know where they want to go with the markup and with the exception of Microsoft, they all produce several releases a year. All of the engines have undergone complete revisions in the last few years to better position themselves for extensibility. Adding new markup is the easy part. The hard part is stuff not covered by the HTML spec: codecs, platform integration, hardware support, etc. I can't wait for the rolling spec. It will mean more functionality sooner.

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209822)

HTML 4 + stuff in HTML 5 that's already been agreed on.

The problem is that it's not a finalized standard and as we've seen in the tag, there is anything but a consensus about what it should support. If each vendor goes their own way, then we'll be back to the IE6 glory days where sites either had conditionals for IE or they didn't support any other browser.

Maybe you're comfortable supporting a non-standard, but I'm not. I'm currently aiming for xhtml 1.0 strict compliance and if it doesn't validate, it doesn't get published. The reason is simple. I want the page to be compatible with all modern browsers, not just the browser du jour. The problem with a rolling spec is that you're aiming at a moving target.

The only way to manage that situation is to choose the lowest common denominator of features that the majority of browsers support...and probably a bit lower than that so you don't exclude too many.

I've had this argument before, and it's pointless...HTML will become like the meaningless term "Web 2.0"... With no standard, it will become a buzzword open to interpretation and won't actually mean anything. Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple are going to fuck this up thoroughly in hope that a clear winner of the new browser war emerges.

The battle ground is the web and casualties will be our websites.

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210306)

I've had this argument before, and it's pointless...HTML will become like the meaningless term "Web 2.0"... With no standard, it will become a buzzword open to interpretation and won't actually mean anything. Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple are going to fuck this up thoroughly in hope that a clear winner of the new browser war emerges.

The battle ground is the web and casualties will be our websites.

It isn't like any vendor is going to retract rendering support for an older version of (X)HTML. If this "browser war" fud-analogy is correct, it would mean certain failure for the first browser to stop supporting HTML in any of its old forms.

So yeah, moving forward with a non-standard may not be best, like, on paper, but bickering and fighting over new markup/codecs/resource allocation moving forward won't take away from the power us web developers have in using a slightly older but universally-supported version just for the sake of sidestepping the mess.

All of the websites up now, and undoubtedly all of them under construction today and well into the future... they will be fine. The only sites at-risk will be those super-early-adopters and those which were made without a basic understanding of which standard they are writing in.

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210732)

i've started seeing chrome do the same thing ie used to do. a glaring example is the new mail desktop notifications in gmail. it works only in gmail and only on chrome(ium). this is not a part of any standard whatsoever. google is just exploiting its influence (gmail and chrome) to create de facto standards. if this trend continues, we'll see ie6 all over again.
ie6 did the same thing, it created lots and lots of great new features that were not part of any standard. and it was a better browser than the competition at that time. chrome will be the new ie6.

Re:3 MORE Years? (1)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210760)

HTML has never been the problem. It's trivial to make a page that is HTML compliant. The problem has always been (and will always be) CSS, DOM, and scripting, which are not covered by HTML and have already been defined and standardized well beyond the capabilities of current browsers. And as long as there are patents and royalties involved , things like embedded video will never be settled on, largely due to the intractability of the open source community on such topics.

Besides, it's not like there won't be a standard. It will just have a minor version, or will include modules of functionality. So your page may require a browser that supports HTML 5.1, or HTML 5 plus HTML canvasing 1.1 or some such. It's already being done with XML (XML, XML schema definitions, XSL, XPath, XSL:FO, etc. are all separate standards) with huge success.

... and Statistics (3, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208560)

... with either the player installed or available for download.

Gee, I wish that I could announce my application usage statistics using that metric and get press coverage.

streaming live media (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208568)

Do the video tags adequately support live streaming media yet? I've read, and probably experienced unknowingly, that the video tags do a good job of streaming normal media, but some of the stuff I've been reading suggests that live streaming for sporting events and such is fubar?

Re:streaming live media (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208790)

That's DRM for you.

if you can stream a tv show but not a live sporting event that is Digital restrictions working againist you.

Re:streaming live media (2)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208882)

No, it's not related to DRM at all

From http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/blog/11887/html5-video-not-quite-there-yet [longtailvideo.com]

HTML5 does not specify a streaming mechanism yet. While this is being worked on (W3C: Fragments, Media Multitrack API), it means that live, DVR and long-form video content cannot be played using a video tag. Most browsers do provide an alternative, such as utilizing the range request header to do pseudo-streaming, but this is no long-term solution.

Re:streaming live media (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208828)

The tag doesn't actually define much, most browser implementations are choosing to concentrating on HTTP streaming of h.264 or WebM, as such are still fairly limited. I think Safari streams MPEG TS files rather well, but given the is still no video support at all in Internet Explorer, the lowest common denominator is a problem.

Re:streaming live media (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208936)

It'll kind of suck though if the HTML5 video tag is useful for only youtube-esque sites, it would be nice if it was thought out enough to also work with live streams, as other wise we're still going to need all manner of plugins and things, and might as well just stick to flash and not bother with it?

Re:streaming live media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35210580)

This is exactly what is happening in the industry - why should anyone bother with html5 when it offers less functionality than Flash and if it ever actually got anywhere, would take us back to the days of "this website is best viewed with [xxxxxxxxx] browser."

It's a shame, but Html5 is several years away, and always will be.

Internet Time (1, Insightful)

tarsi210 (70325) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208574)

Oh, right, because everything on the Internet takes about 5 years to come out. Everyone will wait for you, W3C. We've got Livejournals to keep us amused till then.

Seriously, though -- wouldn't we be that much better off if they would release the standard right now as, "final pending revisions for bugs", or similar, so the world can move on and not fall into 14 different camps of what is official and what isn't?

(I realize in a lot of ways this is all about terminology, but terminology matters, too. )

Re:Internet Time (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208636)

Most likely companies will do with HTML5 the same as they did with 28k and later 56k modems. Release the new technology 1-2 years ahead, and then make it reprogrammable to match the final standard.

Re:Internet Time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208644)

Most likely companies will do with HTML5 the same as they did with 28k and later 56k modems. Release the new technology 1-2 years ahead, and then make it reprogrammable to match the final standard.

I still do not have a patch for my k56flex!

Licensing (5, Interesting)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208590)

Don't forget that Flash on mobiles is basically a scam: Flash is only free of charge for "computers" (RTFEULA for definition). Adobe is charging a license fee to mobile device manufacturers who want to include Flash player. AFAIK, that even includes updates, meaning that Flash updates stop for devices that are no longer supported by a manufacturer, like the N900. Of course, Adobe can hold people to ransom over paid updates by making sure that content created with their newest authoring tools won't play on old versions...

Re:Licensing (3, Funny)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208648)

No no no. Doesn't matter. Flash is open. H.264 and HTML5 are closed, and require onerous patent licensing terms of pennies per unit, with a hard cap.

It's much better to trust a single company, Adobe, to play nicely, rather than publish a standard and allow all manufacturers to implement it if they wish.

In other news, up is also down, and black is also white.

How is HTML5 closed and patented? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208842)

Doesn't matter. Flash is open.

Your post was intended as sarcasm, but in fact, SWF has been open for about two years since the Open Screen Project changed the licensing terms for the SWF spec.

H.264 and HTML5 are closed, and require onerous patent licensing terms of pennies per unit, with a hard cap.

What royalty-bearing technology is included in HTML5 and WebM? If you're referring to the patent on the 2D canvas, Apple has agreed to license that without royalty, as has Google with respect to its VP8 patents.

Re:How is HTML5 closed and patented? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209058)

What royalty-bearing technology is included in HTML5 and WebM?

Nice straw man, I never mentioned WebM, champ. But, since you brought it up:

With the exception of Youtube, which will convert because Google owns them, no content producer of any size will re-encode their entire library and double their disk space allocation simply to support WebM, *especially* because they will not freeze out the entire existing ecosystem of H.264-in-hardware-capable devices - there's no appreciable benefit to shifting formats - aside from some vague fuzzy feeling for "supporting openness," whatever that means - and there are significant costs to shifting away from H.264 and moving to WebM as well.

So, people who have browsers and devices that don't support native H.264 video via HTML video tags will simply receive the H.264 video wrapped in a Flash player. WebM support will be "that thing Youtube uses," and if it's not done well, it'll be "that thing Youtube used to use before we all started using other sites like Vimeo."

You know this, I know this, let's stop pretending that WebM is somehow going to change a fucking thing until and unless Flash is dead. And since Google - who is also pushing WebM - is the one propping Flash up in the interests of "openness," WebM is effectively dead on arrival.

Re:How is HTML5 closed and patented? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209728)

no content producer of any size will re-encode their entire library

This can be done gradually, as YouTube did when it reencoded all its videos after the iPhone came out to add AVC alongside its existing FLV.

and double their disk space allocation

Disk space is cheap.

*especially* because they will not freeze out the entire existing ecosystem

Sites already licensed to encode and serve AVC will continue to use AVC, even if they adopt WebM alongside it. New sites not needing to target iDevices or devices with old versions of Android OS may use WebM exclusively.

of H.264-in-hardware-capable devices

VP8 is so similar to AVC (see article 377 [google.com] ) that any programmable DSP capable of AVC can likely be reprogrammed for VP8.

Re:How is HTML5 closed and patented? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210174)

Sites already licensed to encode and serve AVC will continue to use AVC, even if they adopt WebM alongside it. New sites not needing to target iDevices or devices with old versions of Android OS may use WebM exclusively.

They won't adopt WebM along side it. They can serve Flash-wrapped AVC, after all that's one of the big selling points of Android - "It runs flash!"

New sites that don't take iDevices into account? Only if they don't want to make money. Why, when a single alternative format exists, would you encode in such a way that deliberately cuts out 10's of millions of people who have enough money to buy an iOS device, and who are, in all likelihood, more willing to spend to purchase online than other mobile device users? (See: success of Itunes store, paid-app sales, and iOS in-app purchases). You could, instead, encode to H.264 / AVC, and serve that up natively to the devices that support it, and then wrap that same H.264 content in Flash for devices that need Flash to play H.264.

Otherwise, you're encoding in AVC for iDevices, WebM for others, and perhaps Flash-wrapped AVC or WebM for a third (and perhaps fourth!) category of devices. It just makes no sense, when there is no compelling benefit to switch to WebM for any online/streaming use - it's already royalty free for them, and consumers pay a few pennies per unit for the built-in H.264 hardware support, and that situation will remain constant until 2016.

The final patent on H.264 expires in 2028; in the 11-year window between 2017 (when the current royalty terms are up for review) and 2028, which means that there are 2.2 license review periods between now and the expiration. MPEG-LA has specifically built into their agreement that the royalty cost will not increase more than 10% in a given renewal period. So you're looking at a possible ~20% increase in the fees until the patents expire on the current set of technologies.

This makes licensing fees very simple, and pretty easy to forecast and budget for, versus the unknowns of WebM/VP8. Until WebM has stood up to a patent challenge or two or three, I wouldn't expect anybody beyond Google to seriously consider adopting it - Google's assurances that there aren't any infringing parts won't do anything to help a small company avoid getting slapped with "pay royalties or desist" court orders, for that you need a court ruling. As you noted yourself, "VP8 is so similar to AVC that any programmable DSP capable of AVC can likely be reprogrammed for VP8." Which very possibly means that, despite google's best intentions, there ARE parts of VP8 that may infringe.

1 GB video on 2 GB/mo data plan (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210532)

Why, when a single alternative format exists, would you encode in such a way that deliberately cuts out 10's of millions of people who have enough money to buy an iOS device

Because iPhone users aren't going to want to stream your 1 GB feature-length video on a 2 GB/mo data plan, and users on Wi-Fi likely have a substantially bigger PC monitor in the same room. Or are you talking about a rental that doesn't doesn't expire, in which one downloads a video on Wi-Fi and watches later?

You could, instead, encode to H.264 / AVC, and serve that up natively to the devices that support it, and then wrap that same H.264 content in Flash for devices that need Flash to play H.264.

Then what do you do for devices that report no AVC support and Gnash instead of Flash Player?

It just makes no sense, when there is no compelling benefit to switch to WebM for any online/streaming use - it's already royalty free for them

This is true, as I understand it, if your videos are ad-supported or otherwise free as in beer. But if you're charging for an AVC stream or download, you have to pay MPEG-LA a cut of your related revenue, and I'd guess revenue from WebM is probably not "related".

Until WebM has stood up to a patent challenge or two or three, I wouldn't expect anybody beyond Google to seriously consider adopting it

Fraunhofer/Thomson's posturing about MP3 technology that might be in Vorbis hasn't stopped PC video game developers from adopting Vorbis in droves.

Re:How is HTML5 closed and patented? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35210838)

Well here's the bottom line, as soon as people realized that html5 would have taken us back to the days of "this website is best viewed with browser" it was dead in the water.

Anyone with any technical knowledge of the web would've seen that one coming.

Adobe have finally done the right thing with recent versions of the flash player e.g. properly unifying it across platforms, and the new gpu accelerated features are incredible.

Now you can crap on about ios devices and fact that they don't seem to be powerful enough to run flash, but the rest of the world doesn't care - they'll just carry on using it.

It seems to be axiomatic of apple fans that they forget they don't represent every computer user out there; it's pretty clear that steve jobs has discovered this also with the flash on the iphone debacle.

Re:How is HTML5 closed and patented? (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209188)

H.264 and HTML5 are closed, and require onerous patent licensing terms of pennies per unit, with a hard cap.

What royalty-bearing technology is included in HTML5 and WebM? If you're referring to the patent on the 2D canvas, Apple has agreed to license that without royalty, as has Google with respect to its VP8 patents.

Looks like Apple learned their lesson from the Firewire licensing fiasco, which lit a fire under the USB2 standard and pushed the decidedly superior technology into irrelevance.

Re:Licensing (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209116)

For what it's worth, Flash is open. I wrote a few simple apps in raw flex, and some much more complex ones with Open Laszlo [openlaszlo.org] . True, Adobe opened it up in a desperate (and largely successful) bid to survive Silverlight. The openness of Flash made it possible for me to write this [mozilla.org] , so all and all I can't complain. Not as a developer anyway.

Re:Licensing (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208734)

The other issue, aside from Adobe squeezing the sector for all it is worth, is that a fair amount of the Flash out there was really built with the performance of fairly beefy wintels in mind. Aside from Atoms, basically the cheapest and nastiest computer you can find on the shelf these days is running an A64 derivative in the 2GHz range, backed by a couple gigs of RAM, and an embedded video chip that probably has the same die area as your phone's entire ARM SoC.

Having flash is useful in certain legacy cases(if you must have StrongBad on the go, that was running fine on 600MHz P3s, a decade ago...) or just plain maldesigned websites(Hey! instead of providing an HTML link on our useless flash-splash page, let's embed the link in the flash!), or use cases that just dump a video stream right to the hardware decoder(though using flash to do this is comparatively pointless).

For things like games, though, (or even just ghastly banner ads), your battery life and system responsiveness will quickly inform you that most Flash out there was really designed for a much more powerful system.

Oh, You're exaggerating (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209474)

StrongBad runs just fine on a Compy 386. Well, I guess it does run better in color on an $800 Compé.

It's even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35210570)

I find that some Flash games already slow down noticeably when the bullets start flying, even on a 2GHz Core Duo with an nVidia card.

Re:Licensing (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208742)

Actually it is even more stupid. They no longer charge a license fee, but only 'trust' vendors to release working players. http://www.openscreenproject.org/partners/apply.html [openscreenproject.org] Given the quality and length of support any hardware vendor gives compared to the community this is just spiteful.

Re:Licensing (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208778)

Is every company which licenses IP to manufacturers also engaging in a scam? Because..and you might want to sit down first.. there are many, many items on the average phone/pc which have been licensed.

Re:Licensing (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209038)

In the context of the mobile phone market, where the end user is rather limited control over the firmware(without resorting to quite-unencouraged hackery), the scamminess is arguably much greater, in practical impact.

On a PC, say, it is quite likely that many, likely most, of the hardware components have a mess of patents and licenced code baked into their firmware. The same thing would apply to a phone's cellular baseband components. While the "free hardware" hard line might find that philosophically problematic(and the OSS guys practically so, if they have to build drivers that talk to the thicket 'o secrets inside); It is also likely, outside of a FOSS purist's system, that much of the software is licensed.

However, on a PC, it is typically the case that drivers are available at least until the next significant revision of windows(except in the case of the chintziest printers and scanners and such rubbish) and any software can, either for free or for money, be upgraded as needed, until the hardware is just too antique to bother.

On the phone side, however, something like Flash is a licenced component; but it is not exactly a retail product. Unless your phone vendor wishes to pay adobe for X units and provide a firmware update, you are SOL. More generally, because of the challenges of embedded development, (and the explicit cryptographic hurdles placed in the way of 3rd parties who would try) phones are far harder for the end user to support for themselves. An x86 you can just keep updating until it isn't worth it. A phone? vendor firmware or hacking...

The "scam" isn't so much in the fact that adobe wishes to be paid; but in the fact that(because of the perversities of the ecosystem), Flash is a product that must be purchased to be updated; but simply isn't for sale to anybody except OEMs, Hooray for unnecessary obsolescence...

Re:Licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35209114)

I hear this for the first time to be honest. As far as I know participants of Open Screen Project can distribute Flash Player on their devices for free. Participation does not seem to have a fee. Nor does licensing agreement.

As for no Flash 10.1 on Maemo. Who supports it? Seems like platform owner Nokia abandoned not only it but its successor too now. If Nokia is not bothering why Adobe should?

Re:Licensing (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210382)

Do you want to continue supporting old hardware. Cell phones have a 2 yr life cycle. By that point, they're obsolescent. Sure, people are still using them. But does ANYONE really expect them to get, and run the latest updates.

Sorry, that's a very weak argument....

As for the cost of mobile device makers using Flash. I think this is going to come down to platform. If you are running an ARM processor with a standard graphic. There will be little cost involved in porting Flash to your device. Some QA testing, etc.

But if you've got an in-house processor, or are doing something radically different. Expect there to be some costs involved porting Flash to your device. You can't really expect Adobe to make Flash player free for every phone out there. Not without the phone manufacturers picking up some slack.

Basically, it'll eventually boil down to Adobe giving some specs on the standard platforms, and saying "Hey, if you're developing an Android OS phone on ARM with x, y, and z specs. We charge a nominal compatibility testing fee.

It'll be obsolete by then... (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208608)

3 years is an eternity in web time. By 2014, the web will have evolved once again into something nobody can foresee today.

It's a BAD thing when standards bodies cannot keep up with the technology they're attempting to regulate. Fortunately, the only outcome is that the standards body becomes irrelevant, which is what should happen to most of them.

Re:It'll be obsolete by then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35209160)

3 years is an eternity in web time. By 2014, the web will have evolved once again into something nobody can foresee today.

It's a BAD thing when standards bodies cannot keep up with the technology they're attempting to regulate. Fortunately, the only outcome is that the standards body becomes irrelevant, which is what should happen to most of them.

Do you promote vendor locking on all fronts?

Re:It'll be obsolete by then... (1)

archen (447353) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209344)

Looking at how long it's taken to get browsers even approaching standards compliance, I dread the spec not being finalized for another 3 years. But I tend to look at the bright side. That's another 3 years that HTML 4 will be the defacto standard and will allow pretty much every thing that can read html to standardize on. Hell even IE might support it correctly 3 years from now. A moving target is very hard to implement, and while HTML4 has been out forever, only recently has MS gotten on board with making the effort to support it. Whatever happens to HTML after this point, at least we'll always be able to make pages against the HTML4 standard and know they will render correctly in just about everything.

Re:It'll be obsolete by then... (2)

foom (29095) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210040)

Nope. You've never been able to write pages against the HTML4 standard, and you certainly can't now. No browser "properly" implements HTML4, and to the best of my knowledge, never has, and never will. Just you try writing a document that looks like the below, and see if you can find a browser that renders it properly. Of course, if you do find such a browser, it probably can't render actual webpages properly...

This *is* valid HTML4 syntax:
<html<head<title/Foo/</><body<p<a href="foo"/link text/, hooray!</>

Re:It'll be obsolete by then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35210734)

> 3 years is an eternity in web time

really the web it doesn't look really *that* much different from the late 90's - altavista, cu-seeme, newsgroups, geocites....sure there have been improvements but nothing really revolutionary other than the larger userbase.

Flash floods in 2014 OH MY GAWD!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208610)

I was worried about the end of the world in 2012, but now I see we will have Flash Floods in 2014 too?!?!?!
panic!

Flash: The iceberg melting (1)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208678)

I don't think the smile on the Adobe's face lasts too much. They better reinvent themselves, because Photoshop & Co aside they don't have too many things to support their position (not that they're not good products, but it's just not enough to stand the way Adobe does now).

Re:Flash: The iceberg melting (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209234)

Adobe has:

Industry Essentials / can't live without - Photoshop, Illustrator, PDF, InDesign, Dreamweaver (arguable)
Not dominant, but competitive - After Effects, Premiere Pro

I'm sure they're always looking for a new acquisition. But I can't imagine any creative industry avoiding Adobe products entirely, no matter how hard they tried.

Re:Flash: The iceberg melting (1)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210294)

PDF? It's an ISO standard, and according to Wikipedia "Adobe holds patents to PDF, but licenses them for royalty-free use in developing software complying with its PDF specification". I don't know how that can make a competitive advantage for Adobe. Like I said in the first post Photoshop and the design suite are their "only" valuable asset (note the quotes). Without Flash they won't be game changers anymore.

HTML5 vs HTML and W3C vs WHATWG (3, Interesting)

no known priors (1948918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208686)

So, just to clarify for all you people who haven't realized yet, there are two different groups working on HTML at the moment.

  • The W3C HTML Working Group, which is putting together the final HTML 5 spec. (Which will consist of various things that have at least two independent implementations.)
  • The Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group is working on various new HTML stuff, and is getting new stuff into browsers as soon as possible. Experimenting with new tags and so on.

For all you professional corporate/big org types, I strongly suggest continuing to work with HTML 4.01 Strict (and/or XHTML 1.1 as appropriate). OK, you could go with HTML 5 if you really want to, but the difference is, that it isn't stable yet. And is it really sensible/professional to create corporate/big org pages that might not get touched for five years if the "standard" you are basing the pages on, isn't even standard?

For your personal website, use whatever you want. But if you aren't using features of the new HTML5, I suggest you don't use it. (Personally, I think the new form stuff is awesome, but haven't noticed much else that I would use as yet.)

Pipe dream. (2)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208708)

The people that create these flash, create flash slow enough to eat the 60% of the CPU of a Double Core 2 GHz.
How much horsepower is the 60% of a Double Core 2 GHz: more than the horsepower than a mobile decide have. So that flash with almost stop the mobile device.

The only way so flash is usable in mobile devices, is if the people that make these flash test then in slow mobile devices, and decide to remove some effect, be conservative. Good luck with that, has the same problem hit PC's, and these people don't learn.

Adobe could, somehow, help here creating a special mode for the flash player called "Emulate slow device", so people could experience how shitty is his flash creation in a mobile device, but Adobe itself is lazy and will not provide that.

Re:Pipe dream. (0)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208954)

Plz 2 be going back 2 4chan.

Where is the -1 Unreadable when you need it?

Re:Pipe dream. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35209422)

Where is the -1 Unreadable when you need it?

It will be there once you realise that not every slashdot poster is a native english speaker.

Re:Pipe dream. (2)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209908)

You're fairly new here, so I thought I'd explain.

Tei mentions that Flash takes a lot of processor power even in a dual-core system, and believes that this amount of usage would overly tax less capable mobile devices. His (her?) idea is to have a mobile emulation mode available to allow developers to model Flash on those devices, and in the process perhaps streamline some of the extra effects to improve mobile device performance. (That's a pretty damn good idea, BTW.)

In this community, there exist many people who don't speak English as a first language. I'm not talking about leetspeak. I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny, but you come across as another angsty teenager spewing hatred, and we have plenty of that on the web already.

Re:Pipe dream. (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210904)

Just because your native language isn't English doesn't mean your post isn't unreadable, and I can't see why pointing that out would make the GP an "angsty teenager spewing hatred".

And if you care, my native language is Spanish and I'm certainly neither 'angsty' nor a 'teenager'.

No bias here (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208830)

So Adobe says flash is really going to take off in the mobile sector eh? Surely I can take their word for that completely, knowing that they are completely free from bias in the matter.

Disclaimer: I don't know what Nokia uses, but I do know what they're using going forward.
Most of the (new wave of) mobile devices out there are using webkit for a rendering engine. Regardless of the HTML5 spec being finalized, most mobile browsers work exactly the same simply because they're using the same guts. IE9 doesn't use webkit but it does render things quite brilliantly if you don't go too crazy on proprietary tags.

When you're doing HTML5 stuff for mobile it falls into two catagories; either you are (1) building an app of some sort for a platform, or (2) building a media-rich website.

for #1 you can use whatever special tags you want knowing that it's a fairly straightforward matter to customize it for other platforms (ie. IE9 vs. webkit). Chances are you're making a different app for each platform anyways to keep consistent with the look and feel.

for #2 you shouldn't be using any crazy proprietary tags for your web presence and all new mobile browsers support enough of the HTML5 spec to create a lovely page. The only possible issue here is that Google is trying to wage war against a perfectly good video format, but that's Google acting like a 5 year old, not a problem with HTML5.

Bottom line: Flash is already dead in the mobile space, and it's only going to get more dead going forward. Adobe might be saying their product will do really well because, say, they make it.

Re:No bias here (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210908)

I don't know what Nokia uses, but I do know what they're using going forward.

nokia was perhaps the first one to have a webkit browser in their phones. hasn't stopped the browsers from sucking, though.

Stay off my device! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35208866)

Flash will never be installed on my droid! Bloated piece of shit.

Frankly (1)

shish (588640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208872)

Who cares what the W3C says? WHATWG [whatwg.org] are the people who are actually getting stuff done -- and they're getting it done with real world implementations too.

Flash is at 10.2 not 10.1 (1)

colfer (619105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208884)

Flash went to version 10.2 about a week ago on all the desktop platforms. Is it different on mobiles? Are they even updated? They aren't listed here:
http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/ [adobe.com]

Re:Flash is at 10.2 not 10.1 (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 3 years ago | (#35208930)

it's still 10.1 you can see the update history at the end of the page http://www.appbrain.com/app/flash-player-10-1/com.adobe.flashplayer [appbrain.com]

Re:Flash is at 10.2 not 10.1 (1)

colfer (619105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209054)

The 10.2 update was a security fix for "all platforms". I don't know if that included Android. Do these mobile systems have better sandboxxing than desktops? http://www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb11-02.html [adobe.com]
Then again, "all platforms" apparently does not include Mac OSX on PPC, which I read elsewhere is no longer supported AND not affected by the security problems.

bring back web database! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35209024)

I really hope that somehow http://www.w3.org/TR/webdatabase/ gets resurrected / browsers don't drop support.

It's a really cool way to do offline apps.

Yes I know there are some other APIs being worked on but they are missing a lot of features you get for free and with good performance with sqlite. Not to mention the possibility of using SQL on both the front end and back end (yes, I know nosql is all the rage these days, but it is still the fastest development time choice in a lot of uses cases still today)

Good, Riddance, Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35209102)

Adobe has had their chance to fix Flash, and now on the verge of becoming irrelevant, they are in a panic to do something about it. There's finally an open standard to replace flash so I say please move out of the way.

HTML5 Is Not a Flash Replacement (2)

organgtool (966989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209326)

Alright, I know it's popular to bash Flash on Slashdot and as much as I love open standards, it pains me to say that HTML5 by itself is NOT a Flash replacement. In order to get all of the features of Flash, you have to cobble together HTML5 + CSS + SVG + ECMAScript + Javascript + Canvas. To make matters worse, I have not seen a WYSIWYG tool for any of these technologies that comes even close to the development environment of Flash. Until this changes, I can't fault any developers for choosing to use Flash over HTML5 for their feature-rich content. That's why God invented ClickToFlash.

Youtube will not drop Flash, it's (2)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209388)

Flash isn't going anywhere as YouTube will not drop it due to limitations with the HTML5 video tag. Such as as no caching, no data protection, the difficulty in embedding the videos into other websites, no full-screen display, and a heap of other things that Google mentioned. [youtube.com]

Hey Adobe, enough trolling! (1)

macslas'hole (1173441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35209806)

Dear Adobe Marketing, enough with the trolling.

Please stop. It's incredibly transparent. It just makes you look stupid.
Bring it or be gone. Ship it or shut up.

#WP7 not a smartphone or somethin'?! (1)

ClippyHater (638515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35210854)

How 'bout some flash lovin' for Windows Phone 7. It's like I bought an iOS device or something!!

Adobe Says.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35211024)

"Adobe said on Monday that it predicts 600% growth in the number of smartphones having the Flash 10.1 Player"

It must be true if adobe says it..

Oh wait -- whos the owner of flash again?

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