Adobe tilts at windmills with image apps for iPad
Indie dev con killed over Jobsian code ban
Adobe has asked Photoshop product manager John Nack to help build a new breed of Adobe imaging applications for tablet computers. And yes, that includes the Apple iPad.
Nack will do so knowing that the Jobsian software police may not allow his applications into its App Store - even though the dead-simple Adobe Ideas "digital sketchbook" has already earned that honor.
"In many ways, the iPad is the computer I've been waiting for my whole life," Nack says in a blog post. "I want to build the most amazing iPad imaging apps the world has ever seen.
"But will I be allowed to do so? And who decides?"
It would appear that Nack and crew are developing an iPad version of Lightroom, Adobe's photography workflow app. Nack fears App Store rejection not only because Steve Jobs carries some sort for pathological animosity for Adobe Flash, but also because there's precedent with Lightroom. Apple doesn't carry Lightroom in its brick and mortar stores, selling only the Apple-built workflow app, Aperture.
"That's okay; Lightroom is doing just fine against Aperture, thank you. But what if the Apple store were the only store? How would Apple customers get the benefits of competition?" Nack asks.
"Would Apple let Lightroom for iPad ship? It's almost impossible to know."
As Nack points out, the Apple police have been known to approve apps, then bar them for duplicating tools that come with the iPhone - such as apps that relied on the banned Google Voice. But the police aren't exactly consistent. Sometimes, they approve apps that compete with Apple services, such as NetFlix and Amazon's Kindle app. Other times, he says, they approve something like the Playboy app, while barring apps that seem quite similar. "Maybe they'd let Lightroom ship for a while, but if it started pulling too far ahead of Aperture - well, lights out."
He also wonders whether Apple will frown on apps that experiment with new types of multi-touch. In his infamous open letter on Flash, Jobs said he had barred the technology from the iPhone and the iPad in part because it wasn't suited to multi-touch - or at least Apple's idea of multi-touch - and Nack fears the man in the turtleneck will go even farther.
"We have some really interesting ideas for multitouch user interfaces - things you've almost certainly never seen previously. Of course, 'groundbreaking' almost inherently means 'inconsistent with what's come before' and Apple can reject an app if, say, it uses two-finger inputs in a new way," Nack writes. "They do this to preserve consistency - until, of course, it's time for them to
deviate innovate. (Think Different, as long as you're Apple.)"
Nack's post begins by pointing readers to Adobe's new ad campaign, where it tells the world that it loves Apple, but doesn't love Apple's recent efforts to so tightly restrict what can and cannot be done on its devices. But for Nack, the epic standoff between the two companies isn't about Flash alone. It's about something much larger.
"Apple's decision to deny customers the choice of whether to use Flash on iPads/iPhones is just one part of a bigger, more interesting question: What maximizes innovation & ultimate benefit to customers?" he writes. "You shouldn't care about this stuff because you love or hate Adobe. You should care because these issues affect your choices as a customer & a creative person."
To show that Jobs' actions have affected more souls than just the folks at Adobe, he points to Apple developer Jonathan "Wolf" Rentzsch, the man who outed the existence of Apple's Gianduia, a Flash alternative based on open standards. This week, Wolf canceled an independent Mac developer conference known as C4, saying that the iPhone SDK change that bars translated Flash from the iPhone had "broken my spirit."
The new Section 3.3.1 of the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK forbids applications that have been translated from languages Steve Jobs doesn't approve of. It says that native applications must be "originally written" in Objective C, C, or C++, forbidding developers from accessing Apple's APIs using any sort of "translation or compatibility layer."
Wolf canceled the conference not just because of this SDK change, but also because he's fed up with the capricious and draconian ways of the App Store police. "By itself Section 3.3.1 wasn’t enough to cause me to quit C4. I’ve weathered Apple lying to me and their never-ending series of autocratic App Store shenanigans," he says.
But it's the SDK change that took him over the edge. And his ultimate point jibes with the message delivered by John Nack. The SDK change ensures that developers are "wholly reliant on Apple for software engineering innovation," and that, Wolf says, isn't a good thing.
"Apple is crazy-innovative in terms of hardware and software design, but I can count the total number of software engineering advances they’ve made on one hand." ®
Apple = bad for all developers
Most people will not like agreeing with an adobe spokesperson, but he's right.
I'm surprised he even acknowledges the dislike people have for adobe.
"You shouldn't care about this stuff because you love or hate Adobe. You should care because these issues affect your choices as a customer & a creative person."
That's spot on.
Apple's notorious policies have one thing in common: they're designed to put apple, and only apple, in the driver's seat. Crippling developers and power users just seems to be a side effect.
No, it's not.
Listen, I abhor adobe. Acrobat and Photoshop's terrible design has required users run as administrator on my windows systems. It has means that using Photoshop under multiple users can cause profile corruption, and it stores gigabytes of temp files in places that get replicated off to the server when using roaming profiles. IF for no other reasons than these, Adobe can die screaming.
THAT SAID...Adobe have some exceptionally good and very valid points. Apple is up-and-coming; they’re Unix based, which means a real command line with some honest-to-god power behind it. (Seriously, powershell? DIAF.) With the advent of Steam For Mac, you can begin to actually game on a Mac! Since Macs started to pick up in popularity in the US, developers are starting to code for it…there’s a chance it may one day pass from being a Fisher-Price computer that runs a bunch of pretty (but ultimately useless) pre-loaded apps into a real computer platform that can run any of millions of applications for any conceivable purpose.
The problem is that to pass from the realm of Fisher-Price computing into the grow-up world the platform needs to be “open.” (Seriously, we need a better word than “open.”) I’ll define open: open is anyone being able to write anything for that “platform” using any language they know how, attaching any hardware they can code drivers for FOR ANY PURPOSE. Anything else is an attempt to impose your own moral judgements on others, and is nothing more than an expensive but restricted child’s toy.
In this failing, Apple aren’t remotely alone. I’ll gladly take the piss out of almost anyone on this. Apple act as “moral police” and “experience purity” police whilst trying desperately to use their success in one area to cement dominance in another. (If they had 75%+ of the market, this would be consider monopolistic behaviour, no questions asked. As it is it’s simply irritating and disqualifies them as a serious consideration for business computing. It also disqualifies them from my personal consideration for home computing.)
Microsoft and Oracle have ridiculous policies of “you can only use our software in combination with our other software.” You’ll never get an official licence from MS to run office on Linux, despite the fact that everything except Outlook runs great under wine. You aren’t allowed to use Office Floaty Cloud Edition from a browser in Linux, and for that matter you technically aren’t legally allowed to RDP into a windows computer from a Linux system.
If you want an example of the mainframe childishness, just watch IBM get their panties in a bunch when someone tries to run their O/S on hardware they didn’t lock you in to. If HP had an ounce of caring about the good of their customers, they’d have ported htier O/Ses off of the Itanic ages ago, and be helping their customers access a range of new hardware options that aren’t technological dead ends.
Linux distributions (and most Linux nerds) are perhaps the worst of the lot. They recognise all of the above, and so back an open source set of alternatives on one hand, while running holy jihads against the use of anything “closed” on their precious OS on the other. The irony is completely lost on them. The important part isn’t if the source is open or not, but what you can DO with the computer that is in front of you. What control do you have over you own software or hardware? If I write a closed-source driver for my New Widget, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s not as good as if I open sourced that driver, but without some form of driver you can’t use the New Widget, so I have at least opened up some form of Choice to you. As the provider of the New Widget, I may have my reasons for not open sourcing my code, but so long as I don’t unfairly restrict what my New Widget can interact with, there’s nothing to get uppity about. If Adobe finally wrote Photoshop For Linux, yet did it as a closed source application, again this WOULDN’T BE A BAD THING. I wouldn’t be AS GOOD as if it were released open source, but the mere fact that this existed for this platform has increased the choices available. There are a stupendous number in the Linux community completely unable to think like that, and they seem to spend the majority of their time fighting holy Jihads against those that do. Thus Linux stagnates and for every three steps forward it takes, it takes two steps back.
So where does this really leave me, as a business user or as an Individual? Anything running on Apple is only allowed to run at the whims of a megalomaniac, whims which are subject to change if he sees a competitive or PR advantage to be had. Microsoft/Oracle and similar will spend eternity sucking you into their “ecosystem.” Once there you learn that everything you own must be made by them or, while it may technically function, they hang the threat of litigation of the heads of everyone. The Mainframe world is similar, with the additional bonus that you are hardware locked as well as software locked. Oh, and FLOP per FLOP, it’s significantly more expensive than just about any other options, barring perhaps trying to build a super out of iPhones. Linux? A bunch of infighting children who can’t play nice amongst themselves, let alone the rest of the world.
The closest I have been able to find tolerable amongst the lot of them is Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It’s still Linux, so there’s still a lot of cursing, things not working, and running up against ridiculous moral Puritanism when trying to do just about anything…but at least I can code whatever I want for it, and Red Hat does long-term maintenance on the distro. (As opposed to the spasmodic offerings of Ubuntu or Fedora, where you are flat out better off nuking and re-installing, and then learning how /everything/ works all over again with each new revision.)
It’s ALL pants. All of it. Apple isn’t in the right, Adobe isn’t in the right, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, even Linux....PANTS, ALL OF IT.
So I level at the entirety of the software industry the very same comment I level at ISPs:
SHUT UP AND BE DUMB PIPES ALREADY.
You’re getting in my way of doing cool stuff with technology.
Thank you all, and good day.
are you referring to the Apple Human Interface Guidelines? If so, what OS/GUI doesn't have one? Microsoft certainly does: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511258.aspx . So does Gnome: http://library.gnome.org/devel/hig-book/stable/ . I'm guessing KDE project hasn't got round to one yet judging by the last time I saw it ;-)
There is no compulsion to follow these guidelines. I can (and do) run run a huge amount of GUI and shell applications that are not native to OSX. I also run applications developed for OSX which have some pretty 'funky' interfaces, both free and commercial.
Either I've misunderstood what you were getting at or you are talking complete nonsense.