This week there was a story about Mozilla allocating $100,000 to codec development, and another about the majority of consumer computers supporting Player 10′s functionality within eight weeks of its release. I’ve kept reading the comments, following the conversations.
I saw two types of Flash-negative articles. One type bothered me, but the other doesn’t.
One style of essay went “Is Adobe hyping AIR? Are people really using it? How can we get more numbers? What are the most popular applications? Isn’t it just hitching a ride on Reader?”
Another type of article went “Web browsers are better than they were five years ago. But they still need common extensions for video. Adobe has proprietary lock-in, dangerous, evil! Endusers must not be at the mercy of corporations! Don’t hurt the web, use open standards!”
Both types of articles are reflexively negative about what everyone is accomplishing with Flash video. Not the most inspiring type of theme to invest time in reading….
But I’m far more comfortable with that first set of articles than the second. I like question marks, I like demands for proof, I like skepticism about what we’re told… even though the questioning goes in a negative direction, at least it’s questioning. There’s a possibility to converse, to learn something new together, to reach agreement.
The second type of article… well, you can see it right there, more exclamation points than question marks. Little skepticism, much dogmatism. The first paragraph may start by asserting things as “open web standards” and “proprietary lock-in”, and then build upon that structure, and heaven help you if you’re not on the bus by that point. It instructs you what to think, using social pressure rather than reason.
If you wonder why a doe-eyed graphic urging “Please don’t hurt the Web, use open standards!” is saved as license-laden JPEG rather than the more appropriate PNG, you will not receive a reply.
The most consistent thing about “open web” commentary is how it yearns to close things down.
If someone asks a tough question about the technology Adobe develops, then it may be difficult for me to find a good answer (a la iPhone), but I appreciate the interest, and the chance to work together.
I’m not particularly keen to being preached at though, where any question is regarded as an affront. There’s enough of that in the world already, and it usually ends up increasing misery rather than reducing it. No thanks.
I prefer a more open style. More question marks. Fewer exclamation points. Sound good to you too…?