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What if Flash were an open standard?
By Dave Winer on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 10:50 AM.

A picture named wrong.gifInteresting collaborative post betw Gruber and Scoble. I'd like to get into the mix with a 90-degree turn -- in the form of a question. permalink

1. Okay, Apple seems to be forcing a question. Can they force web site producers to kill Flash?  permalink

2. It's kind of hard to defend Flash because it's a company-owned thing, not an open standard.  permalink

3. Now the question. What if Apple were trying to erase something that's not company-owned? Either a formal or defacto standard?  permalink

4. Further, what if their alternative were something that was locked-down and owned by a company? Further, what if the company was Apple? permalink

This may be kind of a toe-dip. Apple tries this. If it works, they try sticking their whole foot in. The end result may well be a networking environment owned by one company. Or two or more incompatible networking environments.  permalink

Users and website developers are practical people. We don't care about Adobe, says Gruber, and that's probably right (I don't have a single Flash document on But I very much care about an open Internet.  permalink

A picture named doNot.gifYes, that opens me to ridicule from users with little experience with the other kind of networking, one that has huge Do Not Enter signs everywhere. Their naivete is no excuse for throwing out the engine that's been driving innovation. The question of where and how we draw the line should be part of the public discussion.  permalink

BTW, how lovely are open standards? I'm writing this post from an American Airlines flight from NY to SF. Do you have any idea how many open standards were necessary to make this work? Makes the mind spin. And it all works exactly the same if I fly Virgin America or Air Egypt. In an Apple-designed world how much of this would work? Imho, not very much.  permalink

PS: Adobe might want to consider, right now, very quickly, giving Flash to the public domain. Disclaim all patents, open source all code, etc etc. That would throw the ball squarely back into Apple's court and would frame the question right now in its most stark terms. permalink

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