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Longhorn's Flash Killer? 784

SunSaw writes "Erin Joyce reports on that "Top developers at Microsoft are working on a new graphics and animation toolset for Longhorn (the next generation of Windows) that could spell trouble for Macromedia's popular Flash MX and Director MX animation tools". Flash's yet-to-be-released competition from M$ is code named "Sparkle" but it wasn't demonstrated during Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles last week. Is this the beginning of the end for Macromedia?"
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Longhorn's Flash Killer?

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:17PM (#7410374) Homepage Journal

    Meet Sparkle's new mascot. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:19PM (#7410391) "For lucky best web experience, use MS Sparkle"?
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:20PM (#7410403)

    Lets see- Flash killer, by company that will never port it to Linux or OS X...

    [stands up and cheers MS on]

    • Actually, if you can stomach the oxymoron, they ported Windows Media Player [] for OS X. They'll probably do the same for sparkle.

      But I think my linux boxen will be left out in the cold my ms.
    • Back in the day (1994/1995 my memory is hazy) when the WWW was just starting to become popular, and Netscape was taking off (and over from NCSA Mosaic), a certain company called Microsoft bought some rights or something to Mosaic and it became Internet Explorer.

      Now, please hang on to your hat, sit down and drink a large wisky.

      There was a Solaris (SPARC) port.

      • by Drathos ( 1092 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:06PM (#7411068)
        ...a certain company called Microsoft bought some rights or something to Mosaic and it became Internet Explorer.
        Um.. MS licensed the tech from Spyglass for IE for a percentage of the sales, then proceeded to give away IE.

        Guess what?

        That means they paid nothing to Spyglass for Mosaic.

        True, there was a version of IE for Solaris, but it was extremely slow and buggy. IIRC, it never got past version 4.0, either.
        • by dspeyer ( 531333 ) <dspeyer@wam.u[ ]edu ['md.' in gap]> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:28PM (#7411309) Homepage Journal
          It's still around. Many Solaris workstations (and, therefore, their AFS servers) have iexplore on them, which claims to be version 5.

          The bizarre thing is that X forwarding allows it to run on my GNU/Linux desktop. It stands out like a sore thumb -- the hideousness hand-drawn icons clashing with gtk, qt and xul.

          It doesn't use many libraries. I wonder if it would be possible to machine-translate it into x86-elf, and if it would then run on Linux. If the threading APIs match, I can't see why not....

          • [IE for Solaris] doesn't use many libraries. I wonder if it would be possible to machine-translate it into x86-elf, and if it would then run on Linux. If the threading APIs match, I can't see why not....

            Translating between CPU architectures results in code much less efficient than the original. You have more registers on the RISC, and no way to know exactly which of them are meaningful at most points of the code, so you have to treat them all as if they all are. Plus, flag semantics are slightly diffe

    • by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) <> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:41PM (#7410750) Homepage
      feels weird to say this, but

      if it doesn't work on a mac it's not going anywhere.
    • by muyuubyou ( 621373 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:03PM (#7411028)
      They will port it to OS X just like Office, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer... and leave linux / freeBSD / other Open Source OS's aside as usual.

      Then eventually they will cut support to Mac or make it substandard compared to the Windows version.

      Business as usual.
      And worse of it all - most people will probably swallow this as well. So sad people don't stand for anything anymore.
    • by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @10:21PM (#7413713)
      Flash: the prefered language for annoying advertisments and lay-overs...

      I for one welcome our new Sparkle overlords.

  • by Cranx ( 456394 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:20PM (#7410410), no.
    • Huh? Every MP3 player (except iPod) supports Windows Media.
      Almost every DVD Player supports Windows Media.
      Windows Media is (together with Real Media) the most common format for streaming., yes.
  • Good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CaptBubba ( 696284 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:20PM (#7410412)
    This could be a good thing. Maybe there won't be any linux compatibility so I won't be attacked by "Sparkle" ads when I browse the internet.

    Whatever ad designer got the great idea to use flash should be beaten with a clue bat. Thank goodness for the flash click to play plugin for firebird.

  • It's going to be as annoying as Flash, but my boss won't be able to make me install it on my Linux dev box. (Even if there is an OS X version, there will be a penguin skating in hell before they release a runtime for Linux.)

    With a bit of luck this could cut down my exposure to annoying and pointless flash animations by as much as 50%. It might even cut out 50% of dynamic adverts too, without me needing to feel guilty about being a net parasite (it won't be my fault after all).
    • Re:Thank god (Score:2, Insightful)

      but my boss won't be able to make me install it on my Linux dev box.

      He'll not need to. If Mozilla et al do not support this new technology, then an increasing amount of content will become incompatable with non-IE browsers. You can bet that rival browser makers will try to copy the technology.

      If you doubt this, ask yourself when the last time was you saw a useful animated GIF. Then bear in mind that, unlike animated GIFs, there's quite a bit of content out there in Flash/Shockwave form that people go o

  • Microsoft should fire the person responsible for the "Sparkle" name ($10 says it's the same who came out with "Clippy") and hire somebody who would give it a more impressive name, such as "Lighting".
    • Microsoft should fire the person responsible for the "Sparkle" name ($10 says it's the same who came out with "Clippy") and hire somebody who would give it a more impressive name, such as "Lighting".

      And likely they, too, will have to pay millions of dollars to the creative genius behind H&R Block's [] new logo.
  • ...with its product activation gibberish as described in this tale of woe [].
  • Open Flash source (Score:5, Interesting)

    by raddan ( 519638 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:22PM (#7410439)
    Perhaps this would be a good time for Macromedia to get as many flash players on as many platforms as possible. They should open the source.
  • isn't this essentially building a vector graphics system into the OS? Gee wiz, what an amazing innovation from Microsoft that's due in TWO years or more. NOT!

  • have an astonishingly buggy piece of software tied intrinsically to their newly released incredibly buggy operating system that will have about 10% of the functionality that Macromedia Flash has now? One that only by the 3rd or 4th version (in another 3 years) might be adequate? Damn, I'm selling my Macromedia stock right now!
    • The problem is that people might bail out of Flash on just the press release alone. Some years back, AMD came out with a very good competitor to Intel. It failed not because nobody wanted it, but because Intel made an add campaign saying, "Wait until you see what we're about to do" or something to that effect. People held off on AMD. This is serious. Bye-bye Flash.
  • I guess that puts Free Software advocates, the FSF. Linux and *BSD geeks, IBM and Macromedia all in the same boat crying foul on Microsoft.

    Anyway, goes to show that the the Antitrust Trial meant nothing to Microsoft, they just went back to the good old "Embrace, Extend and Alienate" strategy (i.e. "Business As Usual".
  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superdan2k ( 135614 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:24PM (#7410483) Homepage Journal
    "Is this the beginning of the end for Macromedia?"

    No, it's another nail in the anti-trust coffin for Microsoft.
    • by kylef ( 196302 )

      Let me ask you this: does that mean any new feature added in Windows is now an anti-trust violation? Doesn't that seem a little harsh?

      Or perhaps you are just objecting to the fact that Macromedia already has similar capabilities. The problem is, just about any feature you add to an OS today has been done by someone before. Does that mean that the OS must be stagnant?

      It's not as though Macromedia has the patent on vector-based graphics...

  • If (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnonymousCowheart ( 646429 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:24PM (#7410485) Homepage
    If it were to be the beginning of the end for flash/macromedia, they would HAVE to make sparkle compatible with previous versions of IE. Since most people STILL are using windows 98, they won't have the cutting edge IE, and there is less of a chance that they would upgrade to a new IE. thus, sparkle would have to work w/older versions of IE. ofcourse, in the end its up to the web developer, and since everyone caters to the masses (IE) it seems like it may be some time before this actually does 'kill' flash.
    • Take a virtual +1 insightful from me. Yes, dammit, everytime I think of some new move MS makes, I forget the inertia of their users.
      I always have it in my mind when I ask me "why the hell are all these people still using outlook (express) and IE", but this is a typical case of your best ally being your worst enemy at the same time.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Please folks try convince Macromedia that their only salvation from the Microsoft borg is to fully open source their Flash specs.
    Please make an open source , multi platform, components based player like Real is doing with Helix.
    I think that way they can survive, otherwise Microsoft will swallow them like other unwanted competitors.

    What do you think folks ?
    Any prediction of the Flash-future ?
  • by jlrobins_uncc ( 136569 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:25PM (#7410499)
    I'll bet that it will not require a plugin for IE, making web animation display on windows+IE avoid the plugin patent.

    Not good at all for Flash.
  • Whenever I see "is this the beginning of the end" I know the submitter is full of it. First it was that Java DB, Prevaylor or something. Now it's this, next it'll be that. Face it people, it's not the beginning of the end. It's not even the end to the beginning. Chances are, Macromedia and MS will fight it out, MS will win (hopefully. It's a pain to tell computer incompetent people to go download the Flash plugin. They go "doh, what's a plugin"), or MS might buy out Macromedia (they do make that Dreamweave
  • Not sure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:25PM (#7410504) Journal
    Those graphic designers are hard to get to switch to something new. Many know flash and Action Script so well, I can't see them switching. I'm guessing M$ will somehow disable Flash support in their browser.

    Sparkle? Couldn't they come up with a better name? The blatant rip-off of not only ideas, but names, is insane.
  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:26PM (#7410522) Journal
    Saw a presentation yesterday by an MS techie wherein he explained that SQL-server, .Net, and IE are all being "integrated" into the OS (Oh, and the registry is going away. Former registry content will now be distributed across directories into a new file type). Now a Flash-a-like product as well.

    Nice to know that MS is paying strict attention to the anti-trust settlement conditions.
    • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:39PM (#7410713)
      All things considered I think the killing off of the Registry is a far bigger story than a competitor of flash. This has been arguably overdue for many years, and long one of Microsofts OS weak points. Have you got a link for the registry story by chance?
      • I've read some things about the registry, and I think I would consider it a good idea to have it distributed in multiple files. However, the statement says it will be distributed across the filesystem in multiple directories, not neccesarily in files (given their new "our filesystem is a database" idea).

        It wouldn't surprise me if this would mostly be meant to prevent copying it, so it will be very hard to copy your system to a new hard drive.

        But on the other hand, surely they will still be compatible w

    • Well, IE is already integrated into the OS - wasn't that the whole point of the (US) anti-trust case?

      As for .net, it's seemed to me for a long time now that Windows Forms has been indtended to replace MFC, so "integrating" .net into the OS makes sense. I see the day when the OS is *written* in .NET, and it wouldn't entirely surprise me if Longhorn, or its successor perhaps, is it.

      Finally, as for SQL Server's integration, as I understand it that's not for general database use, but represents an extension t
  • Can we ask W3C to rename SVG Animation [] to "Brilliance" or "Twinkle" or "Somesuch"?
  • Flash might be annoying, heave used for the wrong reasons but it is cross platform including Linux, FreeBSD, MAC and IRIX. I would expect solaris as well. Basically it has support for alomst 100% of computers out there. Can we ever see MS support all those OS's? I dont think so.

  • I don't know why everyone is so excited about MS killing Flash.

    If they do it, its because they have replaced Flash with their own version of it!!!! So, not only will you still have annoying Flash-type things, but the parent company will be one that is notorious for crappy software.

    Flash is annoying when used improperly, but that doesn't mean it should go away. Especially when it is replaced by something from Microsoft. Just wait until you see Clippy popping up in those dynamic ads, saying "It seems you
  • by Tokerat ( 150341 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:31PM (#7410590) Journal

    Is this the beginning of the end for Macromedia?
    Yes, just like .NET killed Java. Oh, wait...
  • Is this the beginning of the end? It's statements like this make me question my commiment to not maim strangers.

    We are talking about an OS that is still, for most intents and purposes, vapor ware ( yes, I know there are demos out. Those resemble the final product about as much as prototype cars resembing their final counter parts ). And it's a FEATURE on top of this vapor, which is itself vapor.

    If this begins the downfall of any company, I would argue that company was already headed to the courts to fil
  • Given how many people are stilling running Windows 9x/ME plus all the people who will not upgrade to Longhorn from XP, not to mention those using *gasp* other operating systems it seems to me that focusing on the fancy new graphics features of Longhorn as a selling point is, well, missing the point.

    Flash, as annoying as it is, just has such a huge cross platform installed base. I doubt ad agencies are going to jump and use something just because it is from Microsoft if they risk losing a huge number of po
  • by forii ( 49445 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:33PM (#7410631)
    Is this the beginning of the end for Macromedia?

    God, I hope so. Flash is the absolute worst thing to hit the web since the blink tag. And no, stupid little animations don't make it better.

    My browsing experience improved considerably the day I uninstalled (thanks for making it so non-easy, macromedia!) flash.

    Now if only web designers around the world would realize that I go to their website for information, not to see their cute little flash animation intro. I know you're a frustrated movie/art student. Deal with it and let me get the info I need.

    My only problem with this is that if Microsoft's integrated toolset takes off, then they'll make it completely impossible to remove.
    • by AT ( 21754 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:52PM (#7410889)
      I wholeheartedly agree. I recommend this solution for mozilla users though:

      It shows a place holder in each flash frame until you click on it to play the flash. This gives you the best of both worlds: flash is blocked by default, but where you actually want to see it, it is only a mouse click away.
    • by j3110 ( 193209 ) <> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:14PM (#7411159) Homepage
      It's not the web-designers, it's demanding ignorant clients that think it somehow helps their site for people to see stupid animations before they can actually get to the actual content they are looking for. I should know, I get cornered into making Flash and I just about refuse every time, but they don't give up, even after explaination of why it's not good for their site.

      The problem is that clients don't use the internet enough to imagine what it would be like if Google had a flash intro. The only popular sites with flash intros that are still popular are all-flash sites.
    • by ip_vjl ( 410654 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:22PM (#7411248) Homepage
      Every time something about Flash comes up, there is the same (invariably highly modded) complaint that it is useless and the web is so bad because of it.

      I will agree that a lot of crappy stuff has been done in Flash. There's also a lot of crappy books/webpages/slashdot posts that have been written, but I'm not about to propose getting rid of the alphabet so that it doesn't happen again.

      There are some things for which the interactive, vector-based, flash delivered materials are best. Something like technial illustrations on a website would be a perfect example, ones that can be cross linked and are zoomable. (if you did it in static files, you'd need to render a bunch of different resolutions. if you did it as PDF, you don't get the same interactivity)

      And whether you like it or not, a LOT of people learn better by smaller, bite sized bits of information, rather than by large text blocks that they need to plow through.

      There is also this idea that presentation is totally useless. For many things it isn't the foremost important thing, but if you totally dislike having content delivered to you with somebody else's presentation applied, you'd better:
      • stop listening to music - read it in sheet music form instead
      • turn the color down on your TV - don't let *them* force their colors on you
      • have somebody cut up your magazines into long strips of single words - *they* might be trying to influence you by the way the elements are positioned and juxtaposed on the page

      I don't care if it is flash or svg or whatever. The reason it popped up is because there are people who legitimately can use this technology. If you aren't one of them, fine. But don't assume that because you don't find it useful, then nobody should.
  • Security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ragingmime ( 636249 ) <> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:34PM (#7410645) Homepage
    But the tool goes beyond Flash in delivering a .NET application that has access to all the APIs in Longhorn,

    Wow, that sounds like a security hole just waiting to be exploited. I'm sure Microsoft will make some attempt to cover their butts, but they haven't had the greatest track record so far. Look at ActiveX - some unwitting user clicks a "yes" button on a popup, and suddenly a program can do whatever it wants to the machine. I know Microsoft has time to make it secure, and maybe they'll surprise me and do that, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • I wonder if this "attack" by Microsoft on Macromedia may lead to closer ties with Apple? After basically getting their start on Macs most Macromedia software on Macs haven't exactly been that great. Definite second fiddle situations, although others may disagree. (I recognize that Dreamweaver is better than GoLive, but it is also slower and in many cases flakier)

    Anyway since Macromedia has little to fear from the iApps I wonder if they shouldn't focus more on Macs. i.e. use unique features of OSX. Ot

  • Probably half of professional Flash MX developers are using Macs anyway. There are half a BILLION installed Flash 5 players. Flash MX works very well with Fireworks and Dreamweaver as well. Will Sparkle work with FrontPage? What are they going to replace Freehand and Fireworks with? What about Coldfusion?

    Not as simple as it sounds.
  • Just another POS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by adler187 ( 448837 )
    So what if MS packs in another free application that is supposed to "kill the competition" with Longhorn. Look at other such programs: Frontpage Express, Wordpad, and the ever so popular video editing program Movie Maker. Sure they are great programs to play with, but no real professional is going to make a webpage in FP or write a document in wordpad, or edit movies in Movie Maker. "Sparkle" will only be another MS "innovation" flop.
  • whom make a software running on MS OS are a target for the Neext MS OS !
  • by salimfadhley ( 565599 ) <ip@[ ] ['sto' in gap]> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:39PM (#7410715) Homepage Journal
    As the only developer in my company who knows enough about our content management system I end up having to do the macromedia integration work. Last week I wrote a whole bunch of ActionScript 2 (ECMAscript between you and me) classes that allow all various types of flash applications to talk with our server by XML.

    My impression of working with Flash is that it is a product desperate to dis-associate it'self from the version 1-4 days, when it was a product only suitable for designers. The MX2004 product whilst lacking in stability provides a more robust (semi-strongly typed) scripting language.

    The addition of scriptable components for managing text, media and sound makes it an almost credible application prototyping environment.

    In order to get my work done I had to find myself a spare computer in the office that has Windows on it because Macromedia refuse to support anything other than Windows and Mac (badly). The fact that most web developers are running LAMP (Linux, Apache, PHP, MySQL) seems to have evaded the Flash development team.

    I suspect that this competition from microsoft is exactly what they need to encourage them to produce a Linux port of their flagship application. Previously Macromedia claimed that the Linux market was insignificant, however they will soon find that their windows market will shrink when the MS developers decide they prefer to script .Net Sparkle applets instead of Flash.

    A Linux port would be fresh grounds for Macromedia, and a welcome addition to the range of commercial software available for Linux. It would also be a good way for Macromedia to get some revenge on Microsoft who seem to be about to pull the carpet from beneath Macromedia's feet.
  • Rich Media Anger (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:39PM (#7410720) Homepage Journal
    It never fails, mention Flash here and you get a couple hundred posts bashing Flash as nothing more than an annoyance.

    What gives?

    Flash, believe it or not, provides a very good alternative to Java Applets for browser based GUI's. I've used it to create multi-user services and many a data-driven application.
    IMHO, it provides much better graphics support than Java and allows me to tie it into non-Java based services very handily.

    I got into web development because of Flash.
    Having worked for companies such as Atari and then a smattering of CD-ROM game companies in the early/mid 90's Flash allowed me to produce my work and even develop games without having to worry about physical distribution channels and allowed for all the interactivity I required.

    So for alll you who think flash is only used for annoying ads, well, why don't you switch to text based browsers instead? Because ads are still made as .gif and .jeg as well.

  • Oh please please PLEEEEAAASE let something kill Flash. I would be ecstatic if all these idiotic corporate splash pages were done in a format that MS will never ever port to Linux.

    Saying it's the end of Macromedia is pretty dumb, though; Dreamweaver has withstood the suckitude of all its sibling products (think Fireworks), I'm sure it can live through Flash's death also.

  • label a product that won't be released for THREE YEARS a "[competing product]-killer"?

    Plus, now that Microsoft has essentially shown their cards, Macromedia will be motivated to improve Flash in the intervening time so as not to lose customers to Microsoft's product when it finally appears.

  • Microsoft abusing its monopoly on operating systems in order to conquer another field of software?

    Say it ain't so.

    This is a good opportunity to watch them do what they love from beginning to end.
  • The constant stream of "will this kill ...." everytime MS releases a new product/service/annoyance should wake people up to the dangers of a single homogenous platform for virtually all computers. Of course viruses didn't.

    I am shocked that all of these companies (Macromedia, Adobe, Symantec, etc..) aren't trying to expand to other platforms rather than being content to be sharecroppers on microsoft's platform. The day comes for every minor (and some not so minor) developer on the MS platform where MS rep
  • by Chicane-UK ( 455253 ) <> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:47PM (#7410821) Homepage
    So.. talking about a product that could possibly be released with Longhorn IF it debuts in 2006, and talking about it like Macromedia have just been read their last rights.

    3 years in the computing industry is an eternity. Thinking back to the year 2000, I was still using Windows 98, and had not long upgraded to a Slot-A Athlon 600MHz or something similar, and had just bought a brand spanking new Radeon 64MB DDR VIVO card.. most of that stuff is now obsolete, ESPECIALLY Windows 98!!

    Nothing like jumping the gun a little eh? And as ever with any Microsoft product, I won't hold my breath.
  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:50PM (#7410853) Homepage
    Point your browser to and read the fine print.

    I _really_ hope this doesn't mean that Expression will die a second death...

  • Flash? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:54PM (#7410913) Homepage
    Macromedia makes some decent tools, but....

    Can someone here point us towards a site currently using Flash where the end result is dazzingly worthwhile? Flash programmers are finally getting to the point of occassionally delivering a stylish advertising graphic - but I usually set my system not to show me those, because it's extremely rare that the content I'm after uses Flash at all.

    Could it be that

    - the functional concept of Flash is a bad one, so it doesn't matter if MS introduces something else with as little real worth as Flash?


    - the concept is right, and the lack of results is because Flash doesn't implement it well enough, so there's actually room for someone else (even MS) to produce a truly useful tool in this space?


    - we'd all be in a Flash Web now, except we're held back by those Luddites in cyberspace who still miss the original default gray NCSA page background?

    But really, a demonstration of Flash being useful - I still haven't seen it. It's concept is promising enough, but the results ... bleh!
    • Re:Flash? (Score:3, Informative)

      by krmt ( 91422 )
      Homestar Runner [] is one of the best sites on the net. XiaoXiaoMovie [] is awesome as well. I can't think of any other sites like these off the top of my head, but I'm sure others can add to the list.
  • by roca ( 43122 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @04:58PM (#7410959) Homepage
    XAML is Microsoft's new do-it-all markup language that includes vector graphics and animation a la SVG (they even call the graphics subset "WVG"). You can read all about it in the Longhorn alpha developer docs. I suspect Sparkle is just the authoring toolset for the graphics.

    What's interesting is that XAML also includes markup for user interface elements (similar in intent to XUL), and general documents (similar to HTML). It also has a feature set called "fixed format" documents which seems clearly designed to supplant PDF.

    It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Microsoft ultimately plans to bury the W3C and make Web formats their proprietary property. They may as well just call it Bluebird 2006.
  • by jas79 ( 196511 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:01PM (#7411008)
    I noticed this [] page in the longhorn sdk api
    It looked like a flash replacement and I guess I was right.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:04PM (#7411042) Homepage Journal
    I'm as annoyed by annoying Flash stuff as the next guy, but think for a minute what this means to the non-geek world -- yeah, you know, the people who we keep saying we want to see using Linux on the desktop.

    There's lots of Flash, and Linux runs it flawlessly. What happens if Sparkle starts to displace Flash as the weapon-of-choice for webmasters who think they can't get it all done with ordinary HTML? There are sites out there that require Flash. Yes, it's annoying, and yes, we'd prefer to see it done right. But will that ever-popular dude, Joe Sixpack, care? All he'll know is that his favorite website requires Sparkle, and there's no Sparkle for Linux or Mac, so he'll stick with Windows.

    Flash may be used in annoying ways but its availability on Linux is one of Linux's strengths as a desktop operating system.
    • by M$ Mole ( 158889 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:37PM (#7411416)
      Ugh, not all flash is stupid little animations!! Good lord. There are places where a Flash INTERFACE is far superior to an HTML/JavaScript/CSS interface.

      Flash is not just skipintros, and if you disagree, you've obviously had it turned off for far too long. Macromedia's current push is into the same space that Sun tried to get into with Java applets...except flash has a smaller footprint, and runs 1000 times faster than Java did in the browser...and the market is much more primed for such apps.

      Microsoft will not be able to kill Macromedia with this because Macromedia has been busying itself with aligning with companies like Sun and IBM to ingratiate itself with Java developers looking to deploy more robust interfaces for their applications over the web, but wanting something lighter than Java applets.

      This is a case of Microsoft being WAY behind the curve. Longhorn is 2 years out minimum...Flash is in version 7 (MX 2004), has the ability to connect to various application server frameworks (via Flash Remoting to .NET, J2EE, CF, and there are open source solutions for PHP), supports streaming media and data-push's a mature platform that has great potential.
  • by temojen ( 678985 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:23PM (#7411257) Journal
    Incorporate SVG into the Mozilla trunk and add SMIL with support for mp3 and/or ogg vorbis. That'll be a real Flash killer.
  • by Ogerman ( 136333 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:36PM (#7411394)
    Once again, MS is trying to push aside real industry standards by creating their own proprietary ones.

    There is *already* a W3C replacement for the proprietary Flash format: Javascript + DOM + SVG

    The Mozilla and KHTML developers and others would be wise to put heavy emphasis on getting SVG support fully working ASAP.
  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:42PM (#7411472) Journal
    Is this the beginning of the end for Macromedia?
    LOL! I Can see it now. Imagine all those M$ drones drooling over this 'new' product and saying "Oh look! You can have scaleable vector graphics, a scripting language, an XML parser and unbelievably well compressed video on the Internet these days! Aren't Microsoft clever?"

    I seem to remember a big hoo-ha about SVG being the open standard that would kill Macromedia. Since Flash has been extended to do much more than just animations and banner ads, that idea has gone by the wayside. This is no different. Once again M$ are at the cow's tail of the internet.

    Moreover, the culture at M$ is just not conducive to making any headway in this market. I was at Macromedia's HQ in San Francisco the other night at a user group meeting, and the guy that was giving the presentation of Flash Professional 2004 summed it up beautifully. He said that the really cool things happen when artists and engineers collaborate properly. And that is what happens at Macromedia. "When was the last time anybody seriously used a Micro$oft image editing tool?" He asked. Everyone laughed, because M$ are crap at that sort of thing, although their technical stuff at the back end is supposedly okay (although I would dispute that.)

    Go to Adobe and you'll find great tools for the artist, but when it comes to technical stuff for the web then they're a bit challenged.

    Macromedia is a unique company that is full of renaissance people, people who are left brained and right brained. It has a good mix of engineers and artists, and that explains why their products are both slick and easy to use as well as being technical masterpieces.

    Personally, whilst I have my doubts about the future uptake of certain products like Central, I think it's safe to say that with excellent products like Flash, DreamWeaver, Fireworks and Contribute, Macromedia are going to be around for quite some time to come.

  • by CrackedButter ( 646746 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:43PM (#7411488) Homepage Journal
    Hasn't a Japanese company got a trademark on this name?
  • hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GreenKiwi ( 221281 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @05:55PM (#7411644)
    How long before M$ breaks Macromedia Flash?

    "I'm sorry, the plug-in you tried to install is not compatible with this operating system's beleif that all programs must be made by Microsoft. Please try Sparkle instead."

    On a serios note, how is this not anti-competitive? I guess Macromedia can look for a nice payout once this has been implemented.
  • by perbu ( 624267 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @06:11PM (#7411789)
    Top developers at Microsoft are working on a new graphics and animation toolset for Longhorn

    Ahh. This explains the BSODs. They use second grade developers for the kernel and such.

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @06:23PM (#7411891) Journal
    This is another one of my long winded theoretical pieces so grab some popcorn and beer and sttle down for a read;)

    Firstly, the question must be asked of many things that MS is planning on including in Longhorn: Why are they doing this? Why are they adding in a Flash killing, Windows only Technology, and why are they adding an Office/Mail "security" feature that only works on Windows? The answer should be as obvious as the sky is blue: They want to kill off the competition. This should really, after all these years of bone crushing MS failures and successes in killing off alternatives, be blindingly obvious.

    The next question is whether it will succede. That is anyone's guess. I tend to look at the last few times MS has attempted to intoduce MS only technologies in the browser, such as VBScript (instead of the ECMAScript compatible JScript), ActiveX (which only ended up with providing plug-in developers extra work into porting to Mac and Mozilla) and others. There is a very good chance that Sparkle will just fall flat on it's face as the millions of Flash developers will not suddenly switch over to something that will only work in one browser, especially after those same developers spent fucking years getting all their html stuff to work in all browsers.

    On the other hand, Macromedia has a historical record of making catastrophically bad user interfaces for their products and has a knack of having good luck shots along with a host of bad decisions. They neglected Freehand for ages, for instance, only to have to rush like mad in a catch up game with Illustrator a couple of years down the road. Their latest product activation spree has irritated more than one developer.

    There is a final line to this: With both Adobe and Macromedia kissing Microsoft's backside and concentrating most of their efforts on Windows at the expense of the Macintosh, they might have done something that they will highly regret in the future when Microsoft tries to kill both of them off. They might then realise that never ending price rises and neglecting their original markets was a costly mistake.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.