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Adobe CTO fires back at Flash battery life claims

by Pete Mason on 9 November 2010, 11:33

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE)

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In an unsurprising turn of events, Adobe's CTO had a few words to say about recent reports demonstrating that the company's Flash plug-in greatly reduced the battery life of the latest MacBook Air.

During an interview with Fast Company, Kevin Lynch shot back at the criticisms, saying that "it's a false argument to make, of the power usage. When you're displaying content, any technology will use more power to display, versus not displaying content. If you used HTML5, for example, to display advertisements, that would use as much or more processing power than what Flash uses".

The CTO even pointed to independent studies showing that Flash was, at least in Windows, more efficient than HTML5 when it came to video-playback.

The matter could have ended there, but Lynch couldn't resist having a dig at Apple, blaming the company for spurring the negative feelings that many have towards the plug-in. He continued "I just think there's this negative campaigning going on, and, for whatever reason, Apple is really choosing to incite it, and condone it".

He then returned to toeing the company line by condemning Apple's closed approach that limits user's access to Flash content. "We don't think it's good for the web to have aspects closed off--a blockade of certain types of expression," he continued, adding that, "there's a decade of content out there that you just can't view on Apple's device, and I think that's not only hurtful to Adobe, but hurtful to everyone that created that content. That's what upsets me the most".

This spat clearly won't be ending anytime soon, but Lynch remained upbeat over Adobe's chances even as the industry support increasingly starts to shift towards HTML5. He concluded by saying that "it's a great opportunity for us. Flash and HTML have co-existed, and they're going to continue to co-exist."

With so few web adverts currently built around HTML5, there's no real way to test Lynch's claims with regards to every day usage to any degree of certainty. The only thing that we can say is that it looks like Apple and Adobe will keep firing shots across each other's bows for the foreseeable future.

HEXUS Forums :: 21 Comments

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He can be unhappy all he wants. The claim is still true. Flash on Linux/OS X is a giant steaming pile of bloat and waste.

The CTO even brought out independent studies showing that Flash was, in fact, more efficient than HTML5 when it came to video-playback.
Which studies? Which methodologies did they use? Saying crap like this is misleading at best, blatently lying at worst.

The fact remains that using the flash plugin to playback video and ads results in 100% core usage on Linux and OS X. I don't recall HTML5 playback consuming anything close to that.
In depth:

But basically flash uses less CPU than HTML5 when running on windows.

Under linux or OS X, the situation is different, due to lack of direct access API features,
but (sorry have to say it) those are minority OSes with less than 15%


Hilariously, though, both of those show that - as you point out - Flash is pretty awful under OSX and Linux. He's not wrong in saying that it's more efficient under Windows, but the whole spat is about OSX…so he kinda shoots himself in the foot there.
yes and no, its terrible under OSX because OSX is terribly hard to get hardware acceleration accomplished on. I mean if Apple had put Safari hardware acceleration on OSX before Windows Apple might have a chance, but the fact its not even production code yet on OSX and has been for a few months on Windows….

Obvious solution? Run a more developer friendly OS?
Under linux or OS X, the situation is different, due to lack of direct access API features
Oh? Even if VA-API didn't exist, it doesn't mean flash has to consume that much CPU time. Other software playback mechanisms don't use nearly as much CPU time.