Open Source vs. Open Standard - What are Apple and Adobe really fighting over?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by appleseed76, May 17, 2010.

  1. appleseed76 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2010
    Here are 2 definitions of what Open Source and Open Standard mean. Remember both companies use proprietary systems.

    Apple's is both hardware and software driven (Apple computers, mobile devices, and operating systems, like Mac OSX and the iPhone OS), utilizing open standards in a closed environment. Adobe's is software driven (Flash, Photoshop, etc.), utilizing open source software that benefits the consumer, but also Adobe as well, as it is proprietary software.

    What do you guys think?

    Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code.
    The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:
    1. Free Redistribution
    The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.
    2. Source Code
    The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.
    3. Derived Works
    The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
    4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
    The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
    5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
    6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
    7. Distribution of License
    The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
    8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
    The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.
    9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
    The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.
    10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
    No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

    "Open Standards" are standards made available to the general public and are developed (or approved) and maintained via a collaborative and consensus driven process. "Open Standards" facilitate interoperability and data exchange among different products or services and are intended for widespread adoption.
    Other elements of "Open Standards" include, but are not limited to:
    Collaborative process – voluntary and market driven development (or approval) following a transparent consensus driven process that is reasonably open to all interested parties.
    Reasonably balanced – ensures that the process is not dominated by any one interest group.
    Due process - includes consideration of and response to comments by interested parties.
    Intellectual property rights (IPRs) – IPRs essential to implement the standard to be licensed to all applicants on a worldwide, non-discriminatory basis, either (1) for free and under other reasonable terms and conditions or (2) on reasonable terms and conditions (which may include monetary compensation). Negotiations are left to the parties concerned and are performed outside the SDO.
    Quality and level of detail – sufficient to permit the development of a variety of competing implementations of interoperable products or services. Standardized interfaces are not hidden, or controlled other than by the SDO promulgating the standard.
    Publicly available – easily available for implementation and use, at a reasonable price. Publication of the text of a standard by others is permitted only with the prior approval of the SDO.
    On-going support – maintained and supported over a long period of time.
  2. johnhw macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2009
    Both of them - Apple is with the Open Source with HTML5 as in developed by everyone and being "End-User Developed" by obviously, the end-user. HTML5 is also an open standard in Apple terms.

    On the other hand, Adobe Flash is just Open Standard due to Adobe Crap is developed by Adobe itself but again, End User developed (AKA Dynamics websites).
  3. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Despite the HTML5 and flash containers having the ability to transport video, this question is better suited for another category in the forums
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    I presume that you are talking about Flash. It is not open. In Microsoft parlance, Flash is a de facto standard.
  5. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    Adobe is fighting with Apple because they stand to lose lots of revenue if they can't move their flash middleware to mobile devices and make it just as ubiquitous as it is on the desktop. Pity for Adobe that their (full) flash efforts for the mobile amount to little more than a few demos.

    Apple is annoyed with Adobe because they are negatively affecting their brand thanks to their stupid PR campaign which muddies what were quite clear waters.
  6. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    Adobe's stuff is not open source. Open source means you have access to the source code. Adobe does not publish any of their source code.

    Flash has had its spec published, although from what I read the other day, via DaringFireball I think, the DRM might not be published. That would make it a limited published spec.

    I didn't read much of your other stuff, but your open source points are more in line with with FSF or GPL. Businesses who sell software and allow access to the source to their customers would likely disagree with several of the points.
  7. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Apr 6, 2005
    Apple is not fighting with adobe over anything. They just decided not to embrace mediocre technology on their platform. Everyone (including Adobe) went bananas, so jobs wrote a letter clarifying why Apple decided what they decided.
  8. UTclassof89 macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2008
    From your signature, it appears that you are merely trolling vs. posing a serious question.

    For my part, I don't see the benefit of "open source". Open source is what makes today's internet a hodge-podge if differently implemented technologies. It's why websites don't look or act the same in various browsers. It's why I.E. couldn't display transparent PNGs as CSS backgrounds (both open-source standards).
    Flash on the other hand, is controlled by one entity (not the committee that waters down open source standards). They add a feature, and you get it as soon as you download the new plug-in; you don't have to wait for your favorite browser to be updated (years later).
  9. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I doubt it’s done much damage. The majority of consumers don’t have a clue Flash is missing on the iPhone, iPhone touch or iPad. They don’t know what Flash even is.

    I did find it sort of hilarious that my boss had last week’s WSJ out during our daily meeting and mentioned “Even Adobe is now promoting Apple products.” after glancing at the “We Love Apple” ad.


    He didn’t get it.

    I think you don’t have a firm grasp of what either definition means. Both Apple and Adobe have created open standards and open source projects when it benefited the company.

    However, there’s nothing open source about Adobe’s main technologies. Adobe’s biggest open standards are PDF and PostScript, but contrary to their marketing campaign Flash is still proprietary.

    They also have several open-source projects including Flex. You can find a list of them here,

    Apple and Adobe also both use a ton of open standards in their products including H.264, GIF, JPEG, MP3, AAC, etc.

    As for Apple, OS X’s foundation, Darwin, is open source along with WebKit (Safari’s layout engine), QuickTime Streaming Server, CUPS (OS X/Unix’s Printing Engine), etc. There are others listed at and

    And Apple uses tons of open source packages in OS X (for a list visit The GUI and most of the shell and applications within OS X are all proprietary.

    Then there’s the pseudo-standards like Bonjour that sort of fall between proprietary and open-source. They’re basically free to use, but haven’t been submitted to a standards body and don’t come with a GNU license.
  10. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    First, I think you are confusing open source to open standards. HTML, CSS, PNGs are open standards. There may also be source code available for them, like a reference source code to encode and decode PNGs.

    The reason browsers may display web pages differently is sometimes caused by human error of understanding the specs, and sometimes by ambiguity in the specs. Unless there is an ambiguity regarding the I.E. display problem you mention, Microsoft is at fault if it can't do as you say. Blaming open standards is not fair unless you know otherwise.

    While I see your point regarding quickly receiving new benefits with new Flash upgrades, the cost is too high to rely only on Flash. Often pages that are fully (or mostly) Flash based take much longer to download to the browser, can be CPU hogs, can be confusing when custom UIs are implemented, and more often than not don't give me as the receiver any extra benefit that I'm looking for.

    My biggest personal pet peeve regarding Flash is the abusive use of animated ads on Web pages. I recognize pages are supported by advertising, but I don't accept these types are needed. In fact I was so distracted by them, sometimes several to a page, that I installed Click to Flash to turn Flash off. Now I can concentrate on the content again. Well, until we have to find work arounds for HTML5 animated ads.

    My second pet peeve of Flash is the problems it causes with browsers. Both Apple and Microsoft have said Flash is often to blame for crashing their browsers. Rather than just admit it and say that they keep trying to make Flash player more reliable, Adobe wants to blame the browser implementers.

    The hodge-podge of technologies you mention is what brings us a mostly good Web experience on more than just Microsoft Windows. These open standards and open source projects allows Apple, and others, to be competitive. When you do a HTTPS connection to login into your bank via Safari, you are benefiting from open standards and open source. When you want to write a Terminal script, you are benefiting from open source. When someone e-mails you a PNG, you are benefiting from an open standard that has decent compression, is lossless, and has a high color range.

    The benefits of open web standards will improve over time. As companies like Microsoft are essentially forced to start implementing them in their web browser, and web page authors are forced to follow standards first and implement I.E. exceptions second, your experience will become more pleasurable.
  11. GFBurke macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2010
  12. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Neither PostScript nor PDF are open source. PostScript is a proprietary dialect of the FORTH programming language. GhostScript is an opensource clone of PostScript. GhostScript is at the heart of the CUPS printer management system. There are also proprietary PostScript clones used by such printer manufacturers as HP and Brother. Use of genuine PostScript requires paying a license fee to Adobe.

    The bottomline is that GhostScript is not PostScript and PostScript is not open.

    PDF is a somewhat more complicated animal. PDF is an ASCII-based proper subset of PostScript. Adobe distinguishes between PDF graphics and the PDF language. PDF graphics is an open standard. Apple incorporated PDF graphics into MacOS X. The PDF language is not open. Apple did not integrate the PDF language into MacOS X.

    I infer from your link that Adobe Flex is opensource. Everything else on the site deals with interfacing proprietary Adobe technologies to opensource projects. PostScript is not even mentioned.
  13. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    Note that jaw04005 didn't say that those were open source. He said open standard, because apparently they have been sent and accepted to some open standards body.
  14. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004

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