Tag Archives: proprietary

Apple and Adobe: Where is the Common Ground?

There is no middle-of-the-road when it comes to Steve Jobs and public opinion: you either love him or hate him. The same can be said about Apple products. You are either someone who rushes to buy everything the company rolls out of production or you shudder in disgust and swear you’ll never cave in. Any time Steve has something to say, his words are rehashed a few hundred times on pages all across the blogosphere. Steve Jobs is, without a doubt, a man one cannot ignore. Even if you are on the side of the road that doesn’t much care for the man, you have to respect what goes on inside his head. Take, for instance, his post today regarding Adobe Flash.

I have written in the past about my reasons for hating Flash. However, Steve-o today said it better than I could have ever hoped to do. He eloquently lists several reasons why you won’t ever find Flash enabled on his mobile devices, including the fact that it hogs resources and isn’t the most secure offering on the block. However, the part that captured my attention the most was his discussion of being open vs being closed.

Jobs states that “While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.” HELLO! It’s about time someone pointed that out loud and clear for the folks at Adobe to read. He goes on to point out how “Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards.”

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We finally have all of our cards out on the table. Steve fully admits that Apple’s products are closed systems. What’s wrong with that? No one has ever tried to pretend otherwise. However… the important factor is that they adopt open standards. Apple’s mobile devices make it simple for you to consume media of every type on widely-used and accepted platforms… all of which are open.

Our lives are open. Our Web is open. We have fought for years to get to this beautiful place in time. Why the hell would we want to take a giant step backwards and embrace the closed and stagnant environment of Adobe Flash?

The Future of Software is Open Source

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You are an absolute fool to believe that the future of software is anything but open. Are we there now? Obviously not… but in good time, proprietary software will become a thing of the past. That’s a pretty bold statement, yes. But, watch the trends. Watch what’s happening now. Watch what’s been happening. Some of the more powerful efforts to be spearheaded by like-minded individuals have happened because of the open ethos.

Do you care much whether software is open-source or proprietary? Sometimes it may boil down to a matter of cost for you. Keep in mind that just because something is free, doesn’t mean it’s ‘open’. There’s a huge reason why open is better than just free. If I create a proprietary (closed) piece of software, and refuse to share the code with others, that goes away when I die. When you share code because it’s an open collaboration, there is always room for someone to step in and take over. If one developer knows of a way to make a piece of the software work better, they can add to it when it’s open-source. An open-source program can be enhanced upon until the end of time, basically.

The more you tie yourself into a proprietary system, the more difficult it becomes to remove yourself from it, because of the momentum inside. Closed systems are scary, at least to me. Think about it. Who’s able to check and re-check the software that is running in the world? Yes, you can trust one firm or another. But, what if the software is dealing with extremely sensitive data? Wouldn’t you rather see the community as a whole… those of us who care the most about software… are the ones able to check that the software works the best way it can, instead of some corporation?

I bet you have open-source software on your computer right now, and you may not even know it. Do you run the FireFox browser? There you have open-source. With a proprietary software, once a company decides they no longer want to make it, it’s dead. They don’t care if you still like using it, they will just stop making it.

There are alternatives to traditional ways of thinking… even when it comes to software. So many people still believe that the only good software available is that which is found on a shelf in a store. That is such a lie. The best software doesn’t come in a box! It’s just out there. Everything you do in one way, shape, or form is being influenced by open mechanisms. One day soon, as far as software is concerned, it will be open. Cut. Print. Period.

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What is Proprietary?


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Proprietary is defined as “something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker”.

Let’s use the iPod as an example. Apple has made the iPod proprietary. It is a closed system! You cannot get “into” it. That is why there are iPod connections specifically made for you car. Apple owns all rights to the iPod, and any other connector or cord simply will not work.

The idea behind something being proprietary is to make the owner have a competitive advantage on the market. This is a very good thing in theory. But in reality….consumers hate it. We want ONE cable! ONE connector! NO MORE MESS OF CABLES!!! ok, ok. Calm, cool and collected again.

One of our dedicated chatters said it best: “OPEN – FTW” You bet. Open for the win. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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