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Apple relaxes iOS SDK to allow Lua but block Flash

post #1 of 29
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Apple's iOS SDK rules for iPhone developers have relaxed the restriction of section 3.3.2 pertaining to interpreted code, enabling Apple to forbid Flash and other middleware platforms while still enabling popular game engines and libraries.

When the 3.3.2 rules were first published, the restriction stated that iOS apps must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++ or JavaScript, and that "no interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apples Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."

Apple's goal seemed to be limited to stopping third parties from shifting iPhone developers from using Apple's own Xcode development tools and instead making them dependent upon their own middleware meta-platforms.

The most obvious example of this was Adobe's efforts to turn its Flash Professional CS5 application into a product that could export iPhone apps, facilitating cross platform development centered on Flash as a platform rather than Apple's own Cocoa Touch.

Apple's 3.3.2 restriction made it clear the company would refuse to sell such apps in its iTunes Store, an insistence the company's chief executive Steve Jobs later explained as an effort to avoid third party middleware from coming between Apple and its developers and slowing down the pace of the iPhone platform's ongoing development.

What about Lua?

However, the wording of the restriction appeared to also target any iOS apps that might include any interpreted code, including a large number of games that make use of general purpose, reusable code engines or libraries to expedite development.

Adobe latched onto this idea to spread fears that any iOS restrictions on development with its Flash tools would also halt the use of popular game engines or libraries such as Unity 3D and Lua. Such a situation would imperil many popular iPhone games that Apple has already approved (and often singled out for targeted promotion), including Tap Tap Revenge and Rolando.

The latest modifications to the 3.3.2 section indicate Apple won't be forced to dump popular, existing titles just to block middleware meta-platforms as a threat to iOS development. The most recent wording of the iOS SDK, published by Matt Drance of Apple Outsider, articulates an additional option Apple can invoke when choosing to approve apps:

"Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apples prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application."

Drance notes, "these new terms seem to acknowledge that theres a difference between an app that happens to have non-compiled code, and a meta-platform."
post #2 of 29
Apple has balls.

But the DOJ has a machete.
post #3 of 29
Since the Javascript Engine uses Lua I hardly thought they'd ban Lua.

This is just a natural extension.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

Apple has balls.

But the DOJ has a machete.

I'll be surprised if this one resolves against Apple.
But I imagine constant investigations won't trend positive.
Apple does indeed have balls, and loves to walk the line.
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post #5 of 29
After looking at Flash 10.1 I understand what Jobs has been saying all along about Adobe developers. There's many missing features as compared to Windows. Feature parity (including hardware acceleration) should have been the priority. Keep them out until they understand their responsibilites I say.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

Apple has balls.

But the DOJ has a machete.

Maybe the DOJ should use that machete on others. BP comes to mind!
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

Apple has balls.

But the DOJ has a machete.

Let's hope they ( the DOJ ) know when to use it because this isn't one of those times.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

After looking at Flash 10.1 I understand what Jobs has been saying all along about Adobe developers. There's many missing features as compared to Windows. Feature parity (including hardware acceleration) should have been the priority. Keep them out until they understand their responsibilites I say.

Keep in mind the reason for that is because Microsoft has openly worked with Adobe to get Flash to run correctly in Windows. It's not that flash just magically runs better in Windows for no reason. My guess is Apple doesn't want to give Adobe access to the innards of OSX the same way MS did with Windows.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Keep in mind the reason for that is because Microsoft has openly worked with Adobe to get Flash to run correctly in Windows. It's not that flash just magically runs better in Windows for no reason. My guess is Apple doesn't want to give Adobe access to the innards of OSX the same way MS did with Windows.

There's no need to guess. The recent API addition for H.264 encoding is something Adobe has said they have wanted for awhile, but previously they didn't just ask for an API to effect those changes, they wanted direct kernel access, which Apple has refused to provide for good reason. Mac Flash is an extremely poor pile of code compared to the Windows version.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Keep in mind the reason for that is because Microsoft has openly worked with Adobe to get Flash to run correctly in Windows. It's not that flash just magically runs better in Windows for no reason. My guess is Apple doesn't want to give Adobe access to the innards of OSX the same way MS did with Windows.

So because no one at Linux work closely with Adobe, and Adobe doesn't have access to the innards of Linux that's why their Linux port is borderline crap?
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Keep in mind the reason for that is because Microsoft has openly worked with Adobe to get Flash to run correctly in Windows. It's not that flash just magically runs better in Windows for no reason. My guess is Apple doesn't want to give Adobe access to the innards of OSX the same way MS did with Windows.

Hogwash, Windows is roughly 90% and MacOS is 10% of the desktop market. So 90% of Adobe's efforts goes into spear heading the Windows version of Flash and 10% of their effort goes into a delayed MacOS version of Flash. Now with the sudden growth of the Apple dominated smartphone/slate mobile market, Adobe finds itself with 90% of their head up Microsoft's sunless cavern. In Adobe's defense though, John Sculley's putrid mutilation of Apple in the 90's left Adobe with no choice but to cater to Microsoft. But I digress.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by connector View Post

Hogwash, Windows is roughly 90% and MacOS is 10% of the desktop market. So 90% of Adobe's efforts goes into spear heading the Windows version of Flash and 10% of their effort goes into a delayed MacOS version of Flash.

Yep and they haven't hidden that Flash for Mac is just the windows version in a Mac 'coat'. just like they were trying to do with the iOS apps

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post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Yep and they haven't hidden that Flash for Mac is just the windows version in a Mac 'coat'. just like they were trying to do with the iOS apps

Pretty poor commitment to Apples platforms. A look at the facts leaves no room for doubt of why Apple is done with Adobe, flash in particular.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

So because no one at Linux work closely with Adobe, and Adobe doesn't have access to the innards of Linux that's why their Linux port is borderline crap?

Excellent point. If it's just about having access to the kernel then Flash for Linux should be stellar.
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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Excellent point. If it's just about having access to the kernel then Flash for Linux should be stellar.

I don't think anything can be distilled to that level. I'm sure Adobe cares more about DirectFB on Linux then X Windows.

I like this clarification from Apple. I've always thought that is the way things should be. It is good that they are putting their foot down as far as the applications primary runtime goes. If they didn't do this there may be compatibility problems in the future. Probably something similar to what Apple currently faces with their two runtimes: Carbon and Objective-C. Not to mention that I doubt Adobe cares about things like battery life. Running a different runtime will just slow down app startup that much more too. Running multi-platform UI code is ghetto anyway.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

I don't think anything can be distilled to that level. I'm sure Adobe cares more about DirectFB on Linux then X Windows.

I like this clarification from Apple. I've always thought that is the way things should be. It is good that they are putting their foot down as far as the applications primary runtime goes. If they didn't do this there may be compatibility problems in the future. Probably something similar to what Apple currently faces with their two runtimes: Carbon and Objective-C. Not to mention that I doubt Adobe cares about things like battery life. Running a different runtime will just slow down app startup that much more too.

No they would not care about DirectFB on Linux. That's old tech. X is moving far beyond that already.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

No they would not care about DirectFB on Linux. That's old tech. X is moving far beyond that already.

DirectFB was never meant to be advanced. I mentioned DirectFB because I know some other smartphones like Nokia use it. I don't think any smartphones run on X Windows because they don't need much of a window server, but I may be wrong.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

DirectFB was never meant to be advanced. I mentioned DirectFB because I know some other smartphones like Nokia use it. I don't think any smartphones run on X Windows because they don't need much of a window server, but I may be wrong.

http://wiki.maemo.org/Qt4_Hildon

http://qt.nokia.com/products/platform/maemo
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

So because no one at Linux work closely with Adobe, and Adobe doesn't have access to the innards of Linux that's why their Linux port is borderline crap?

Borderline?
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

There's no need to guess. The recent API addition for H.264 encoding is something Adobe has said they have wanted for awhile, but previously they didn't just ask for an API to effect those changes, they wanted direct kernel access, which Apple has refused to provide for good reason. Mac Flash is an extremely poor pile of code compared to the Windows version.

Sounds like you are the one guessing. I'm pretty sure they didn't ask for kernel access. All Adobe was asking for was the same capability as the Quicktime internet plugin, which has hardware accelerated decoding.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamiend View Post

Sounds like you are the one guessing. I'm pretty sure they didn't ask for kernel access. All Adobe was asking for was the same capability as the Quicktime internet plugin, which has hardware accelerated decoding.

Adobe was asking for direct access to the hardware - which Apple doesn't allow for anyone else.

No one else seems to have any trouble using the Core functions Apple provides. Why is Adobe the only one too incompetent to program decent apps?
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamiend View Post

Sounds like you are the one guessing. I'm pretty sure they didn't ask for kernel access. All Adobe was asking for was the same capability as the Quicktime internet plugin, which has hardware accelerated decoding.

..it wasn't - Adobe was asking for the same full access to the kernel it has with the Windows implementation. Apple wasn't satisfied that Adobe code was up to the task of correctly handling that access and refused - told them to clean up the code and Adobe just shelved active development for the Mac. No guesses, the facts Jack!
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

There's no need to guess. The recent API addition for H.264 encoding is something Adobe has said they have wanted for awhile, but previously they didn't just ask for an API to effect those changes, they wanted direct kernel access, which Apple has refused to provide for good reason. Mac Flash is an extremely poor pile of code compared to the Windows version.

While this might be true, instead of whining about how they didn't get their hw video decoding on a silver platter from Apple, Adobe could also have invested in a generic gpu video decoding engine. For example based on GLSL or OpenCL. They didn't even have to develop one themselves, licensing one of the already available GLSL decoders was also an option. As an added bonus, this would bring GPU decoding to Linux as well...

Linux has had vdpau for nvidia for quite some time too by the way, and integrating it into Flash player should be trivial for adobe. I know XBMC had a full gpu decoding preview release within a week after vdpau beta's where released.

This all shows that Adobe isn't really that concerned with how well Flash runs on os x or Linux, if the development effort to make it right is higher than trivial, they make up some kind of excuse to put the blame anywhere else but their own incompetency. They stuck with carbon too long, they didn't transition to 64 bit on time, and they sat on their hands waiting for someone else to do their job to get hw video decoding in Flash player for Linux. It took them 4 years or something like that to get Flash 10 out, and still it is not feature complete on every platform, and there still is no 64-bit browser plugin. It really is a big pile of fail if you ask me.

What's going to be extremely interesting and entertaining is to see how Adobe will handle all the 100s of different hw combinations for their mobile player. Efficient use of every bit of hardware is even more important on mobile than on the desktop, and the effort to make it work right across every supported device is a lot higher. I can only imagine Adobe will fail even harder which will result in a terrible user experience on many devices, hopefully leading to the demise of flash on mobile. One thing I still don't understand why they even care, and if they're still so happy to have bought Macromedia in the first place. The development burden to keep Flash working will appears to be too much for Adobe, and I can hardly imaginer sales of their Flash dev tools make up for it.

What adobe should do is forget about Flash on mobile altogether and create a really,really good set of html5 dev tools instead. I think that would benefit everyone. Flash on the desktop they can keep around until html5 or whatever other technology is mature enough to replace it there as well.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

I'll be surprised if this one resolves against Apple.
But I imagine constant investigations won't trend positive.
Apple does indeed have balls, and loves to walk the line.

The problem for the FCC and DoJ, is that they have already demonstrated with Microsoft how far you can go pushing anti-competitive laws. Apple is merely just scratching the surface in that regard.

Even if the DoJ sued Apple, it would be held up in the courts for 5 years, and Flash will be gone by then.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apples prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application."

sorry, but the article kinda brushes over what seems to be the most important part. i am no lawyer, and thus i ask - "with Apple's prior written consent" - WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?

um, so, if i want to use unity after signing this agreement to develop on iOS 4, i have to email or write apple, and get a return document signed by someone at apple that says it is okay to use LUA or say javascript in the case of appcelerator maybe? seriously, what does this mean, "written consent"?

i mean, if it is what it sounds like, then the title of this article is totally off base. it shouldn't be, "apple to allow lua," it should be "apple might consider other things, on an individual case by case basis that will probably be less clear and more secretive than the process already is." no? i would like to be wrong here.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Since the Javascript Engine uses Lua I hardly thought they'd ban Lua.

This is just a natural extension.

That isn't true at all. There's no sense in which Webkit's JavaScript engine uses Lua. If you're basing that off this then read it more carefully. One of the Lua designers worked on Apple's JS engine, and they share some optimisation techniques, but that's all.
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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpsx View Post

sorry, but the article kinda brushes over what seems to be the most important part. i am no lawyer, and thus i ask - "with Apple's prior written consent" - WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?

It is weasel-worded crap, designed to make it seem as if Apple has no intent to target Adobe.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie View Post

Apple has balls.

But the DOJ has a machete.

But Apple "knows the score" and "gets the women"
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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Borderline?

Yes. To say the least.
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