Opera CEO quotes on Flash

Yesterday there was a newspaper article titled “Opera: Web standards could eclipse Flash”. This prompted a big debate on Slashdot — about CSS vs TABLEs and such. ;-)

I stayed out of it because I didn’t know what Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner actually said. Turns out there’s a transcript, and it shows that the headline was picked out from a part at the end of the interview. After a long section on widgets, then on browser competition and HTML5, this came up, before being closed out by app stores and Palm Pre:

(Q) In your presentation earlier, you were talking about what HTML 5 can do as a replacement for Flash.

(A) I think you can do most things with the web standards today. In some ways, you may say you don’t need Flash. On the other hand, I like Adobe — they’re a nice company. I hope they flourish and do well, so this is not about killing Flash. I think Flash will be around for a very, very long time, but I think it’s natural that web standards also evolve to be richer. You can then choose whether you’d like to do it through web standards or whether you’d like to use Flash. What we definitely don’t need is more proprietary technology — that’s the main thing. We have Flash. It’s there — fine. Let’s not get anything more.

(Q) Are you talking about Flash becoming more niche?

(A) It’s more of a choice of what you like doing.

(Q) Where’s the line between what web standards can do and what Flash can do?

(A) You can do everything, I believe, through web standards — you don’t need to use something else. But there might be something where you believe Flash is better; then you choose to use Flash.

He seems mistaken to me — comparing a proposed spec with an existing worldly ability, comparing something minority browsers may make practical in the future with specific features Flash innovated in the past, all while ignoring further capabilities Flash already provides in the world’s browsers, and the rate of innovation it promises to continue fostering in the future — but Flash definitely wasn’t the main point of his interview.

I’m sure the reporter made much better ad revenue with this choice of title, though. ;-)

(Browser vendors have an interesting perspective. They focus on what they themselves can code. They tend not to focus on the real issues of how realworld developers can deliver to realworld audiences. Adobe tries to bridge those silos, removing barriers to creators publishing their work. Different priorities.)

Anyway, no big deal here… much of yesterday’s debate seemed to be more about online drama than about what the Opera CEO actually said. Time will correct many of yesterday’s arguments…. ;-)