back to article Fanboi king hails Apple 'love affair with open web'

When Google yanked the royalty-encumbered H.264 video codec from its Chrome browser, saying its goal was to "enable open innovation", John Gruber promptly convinced an army of tech pundits that Mountain View was guilty of an epic hypocrisy. "Chrome not only supports Flash, it ships with its own embedded copy of Flash. I don’t …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    I hope this guy is being paid by Apple

    because if he's doing it for free that will be entertainingly idiotic.

  2. AdamWill

    Started WebKit? Erm.

    "Gruber went on to point out that Apple started the open source WebKit project"

    Erm. Well, if by 'started' you mean 'cloned the KHTML repository', then yeah, I guess. (I know, I know, but Wikipedia happens to be right in this instance): "WebKit was originally created as a fork of KHTML as the layout engine for Apple's Safari"

    1. OSC

      what's more...

      They refused to share their developments with the original project. When finally shamed into sharing they dropped the whole lot on to the original project in one huge undigestible lump.

      They're just not very nice people.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Jeez ...

    Worra clown.

  4. nick 30

    AppleOL is Back!!

    So Apple is recreating AOL? They're trying to build the awful walled-garden internet of the 1990s.

    I'm betting any patent-type restrictions on the AOL business model must have expired by now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't matter

      Personally, I'm all for it, let Apple rape their fanbois incessantly, let them corral them into a walled garden of Apple goodness, it'll keep them out of our hair.

      If any AOL patents are still extant Apple has more than enough lawyers and rabid fanbois to snow any attempt at defending them who'll make enough noise claiming they invented it first that any meaningful argument will disappear under the babble of millions of fashion victims.

      Remember, it's the United States of Hypocrisy where freedom to live your life as you see fit and say what you want is dependant on the size of your bank balance.

  5. Simon Buttress
    Jobs Horns

    Shill or tonguing douchebag?

    Undecided. can i have both?

  6. unitron

    Misunderstand set theory and Venn diagrams much?

    ...unless, of course, Gruber thinks that the intarwebs are a wholly contained subset of iOS.*

    Of course, since all this involves Apple, and an Apple-centric viewpoint, maybe he does.

    *(in which case the question is whether the time machine involved belongs to DARPA, Tim, or Steve)

  7. Timo

    yes they have benefited from the Web

    Apple has benefited from the Web, in that people can buy Apple equipment and still manage to attach to the same internet and conduct their "work" - which could be:

    1. buying stuff on Amazon

    2. burning cycles on FecesBook

    3. twittering about something

    4. googling stuff

    5. blogging their life history, which nobody will read

    6. commenting in web forums

    Note that this list is basically what 95% of people do with any brand or type of computer (PC/Mac/Linux/Sun/Etc).

    In the past, with a lot of stuff tied to Microsoft's programs (everything's a Word doc, or Excel, etc emailed around) that was an additional barrier to acceptance of Apple products. Sure Apple can build a walled garden for their products, and life will go on for the majority of the population that doesn't own Apple stuff. It is more beneficial to Apple that the majority of the people let them tag along.

  8. Matt Piechota

    Web Company!

    By that definition, Redhat is also a web company. 99% of my interaction with them is via HTTP! There's a little SMTP and maybe FTP making up the other 1%.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Levente Szileszky
    Paris Hilton

    Yeah, a giant douchebag Apple shill talks laughable nonsense... who cares?

    Seriously: you're just giving more credibility and clicks to these bottom-feeders in Apple's lukewarm pee-pool - why feeding these scumbags? Live them alone, nobody cares about them anyway.

    Paris because it's her level.

  11. jai

    how does the app store threaten the web?

    i thought the app store just supplies applications?

    there's more than just apps on the web isn't there?

    or will you be releasing an El Reg app in the near future??


      Where's the outside stuff?

      These Venn diagrams are missing an option that captures the fact that there are some parts of the web that are closed to PhoneOS devices because of the use of technologies banned on the iPad and iPhone. Furthermore, there are websites that don't work well inside of a mobile browser. The experience is much like trying to use a text mode browser like Lynx.

      There's plenty of stuff outside of Apple's walled garden and only a small subset of PhoneOS is shared with the web.

      The Venn diagrams are nonsense.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Umm fail?

    If you are not in iOS then you are not in the web?

    The web is not a subset of apples toy OS

  13. J. Cook Silver badge

    He's got his venn diagrams mis-labeled.

    The labels IOS and Web should be reversed- the web, sadly, does not revolved the giant fruit company.

    Mines the one with the W3C and Internet RFC references in the pockets.

  14. Walt French

    Register's Straw Man

    Well, quite the tempest over Google's move, and a pundit's response to it. Whatever else you think of Gruber, he is NOT responsible for policy at Apple, so he's kind of a straw man for a very different debate.

    Today, h.264 is the overwhelming choice of every distributor of video, both on the web and elsewhere. Digital TV standards around the world. Blu-Ray. Videocams, inside mobiles or elsewhere. On the web, however, somewhere around half of that video is put into a Flash container. It's still h.264, but Flash supplies other features such as DRM and interactivity. Flash does support other formats besides h.264, but the technical superiority of h.264, as well as the simplicity of workflow, means almost all is h.264.

    Google announces they will no longer support it, citing their credo. But not really: h.264 will continue to be the dominant way that their browser users, in fact all browser users, get almost all their video for many months, perhaps years, to come. Google is merely requiring its users to invoke the Flash software.

    Yes, WebM is theoretically an alternative. Today, that is virtually impossible, as virtually no production or distribution or widely-used players exist. Also, Ogg. While some very vocal developers value the open licenses of these, the entire commercial web, as well as most non-commercial websites, use h.264.

    No mention of Apple, yet, which, to my knowledge, has made no comment. The most recent news from Apple that's even remotely relevant is that Apple has collaborated more closely with Adobe, and Adobe has released new plug-ins (including some test versions, IIRC) for Macs, that Adobe says work much better than before.

    Apple iPhones continue to have exactly the same Flash support as every BlackBerry. Every Nokia. Every Windows Phone. Every Palm (remember them?) And even, the many Android phones being sold today running version 2.1. Surely, John Gruber has not convinced all these Apple competitors to avoid Flash?

    Perhaps author Metz has a theory explaining why Fanboi Gruber is the focus of an article when it's Google claiming ideological purity by making empty claims of saving the world from a superb, near-universal format, when in fact it is not even doing any such thing. Google is merely, and transparently discouraging website developers from dropping the Flash wrapper from their videos.

    This article has utterly missed the story, attacking a straw man position. Trolling, so typical.

    1. Smokey Joe


      >"Whatever else you think of Gruber, he is NOT responsible for policy at Apple,"

      He is however "on message". Apple need to just GTFO and be done with it. Their fanbois are welcome to THAT garden.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      If you don't want Google to save you, fine!

      Just allow them to save the rest of us, OK?

      That superb near-universal format happens to come with (nasty) strings attached so it is understandable in my opinion to aim for settling on a slightly imperfect one allowing an equal access to web content now and more important, in the future.

      Google is not claiming ideological purity, it is just attempting to get there. Oh, and with the risk of upsetting you, I must say that the quest for freedom is nothing but ideological. A few centuries ago the North-American colonies decided to stop paying taxes to the British crown not because they could not afford it or because they were cheap, it was because they wanted to be free.

    3. David Simpson 1


      Do you have your head in the sand ? WebOS 2.0 came with Flash and although it's been delayed Flash is coming to WP7, Symbian, MeeGo and Blackberry.

      The new Blackberry Playbook was shown off running Flash and RIM have stated that Flash will be bundled with all future devices.

      Few Android phones are running Flash ? Apart from the 10 million Galaxy S phones Samsung sold last year, and every HTC phone has come with Flash Lite before Android 2.2 launched.

      Anyone would think you have no clue what you're talking about.

      1. nation of stupid

        @David Simpson 1

        Unfortunately that link you posted confirmed that all those phones listed still don't have Flash right now, so you have unintentionally proved Walt Frenchs point regarding flash support on phones.

        They might all support Flash in the future, in the same way we might all have Windows phones.

    4. Anonymous Coward


      "Google is merely, and transparently discouraging website developers from dropping the Flash wrapper from their videos."

      To what purpose? Google do not explicitly back Flash nor are they in-bed with Adobe. Their biggest video portal is dropping the wrapper themselves.

      While what you've said are mostly well-known facts. I think you got Google's motives completely wrong. Google's inclusion of Flash player in their browser was so that they can push updates transparently to the users of their browser. Not to spread Flash to every computer - as it's mostly already does ship with it, with the exception of Macs.

      1. Walt French

        Motives? Please Identify where I claimed motives.

        “While what you've said are mostly well-known facts. I think you got Google's motives completely wrong.”

        Thanks for the confirmation of my understanding. And apologies for writing descriptions in a way that you read as motives. I didn't intend to cite any as I'm frankly utterly confused what advantages Google will gain that are commensurate with the risks they have taken.

        There are many who applaud Google's moves, so I won't discuss the advantages. However, Google seemingly wants near-universal access to the web through the browser, and those websites who have been moving towards video without Flash are certain to be perplexed by this move. Google risks having users of the Chrome browser being unable to see sites that use h.264 video. And most of all, by weakening their customers' browsers' ability to use the lowest-cost (!) video codec, they will encourage organizations to develop apps instead of using the <video> tag; apps clearly being contrary to Android's "the browser is paramount" goal and a competitive disadvantage for them vis-à-vis Apple.

        * I say the lowest-cost codec because while the fee for an h.264 end-user license can go as high as $0.10, most pay much less. Any mobile video user whose time is halfway valuable will resent the time and possibly higher data cost to get equivalent picture quality on their mobile. The general SWAG is that h.264 is about 10% more efficient than contenders, because those patented features actually perform valuable compression, so like quality needs about 10% more data and is 10% slower under WebM. Whose time isn't worth a dime?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      i think you missed a spot

      right there where it says "As Google seeks to build WebM into a standard royalty-free video codec, it's certainly worth pointing out that the company's claims of "openness" don't exactly jibe with its desire to keep Flash on YouTube. But Google is hardly the only one applying whatever meaning it likes to the word "open". These days, the word is good for nothing more than high comedy."

      and not so subtly implies that google is just as hypocritical and guilty of spewing crap whenever it opens its corporate orifice on the subject of openess.

      also "every nokia" it hit up youtube on my N900 whenever i want and it does just fine.

      maybe you'd be able to think more clearly if it weren't for the incessant throbbing of gruber's member in your mouth.

      paris because 'web 2.0' seems to make you as dumb as her.

  15. asdf


    Funny how the $$$ converts hacks into fanbois. Back in the mid 90s seems like analysts instead of licking Apples butt were trying to figure out when Chapter 11 was coming. In 15 years probably after Jobs is gone who knows. Remember in the mid 80s nobody would believe Digital or even Wang would disappear either.

  16. Tony.Davenport


    "Though Gruber mentioned H.264 during his prepared talk, he didn't mention that it carries royalty fees."

    It doesn't on the web - which is supposedly what you are writing about.

    Here's a report about it from a tech website whose pundits used to do their homework.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It does have royalties

      It has royalties on the web. You have to pay if you run a subscription based website. You also have to pay if you build a browser, operating system or device that decodes web served videos, or pay if your website (re)encodes videos.

      I could also mention that they only committed (irreversibly?) to dropping potential future royalties for free or ad-supported web content in response to competition from WebM, but that's a bit more subjective as I can't prove motive. You are however factually wrong on the royalties question in general.

      1. Walt French

        Further Free Scenarios

        I have seen others claim — I haven't plowed thru the paperwork — that videos of less than 12 minutes in length do not need to pay royalties to MPEG-LA, regardless of whether they lurk behind paywalls.

        A source specifically cited the Wall Street Journal news articles, usually ~ 5–10 minutes, as royalty-free.

        I like free as much as the next person, but I DON'T like "free" when it means I get something quite inferior for de minimus savings. The area of greatest interest is specifically mobile phones. ALL of 'em have h.264 built into hardware; across the many millions of handsets the costs get capped and are essentially irrelevant — somewhere around 0.02% of the cost of the phone itself; more like 0.005% of the cost of a two-year service contract at typical US rates. This is the cost that Google wants to rescue us from by proffering WebM.

  17. Kleptco

    Darling furball

    The open thing doesn't quite connect with the fanboi and his disciples but choice does and the way they see it - you get to make 1 choice and that's Apple. After that, all your remaining choices are made automatically for you. It's magical!

  18. kode

    Embarrassment for the cult

    Gruber is an embarrassment for the whole mac cult, and one of the reasons I couldn't use Apple's products anymore. He's practically a terrorist in a holy war against anyone who's against Apple. He doesn't use physical violence, of course, but the same kind of belittling of the enemies as his saviour Jobs does. Of course he spreads all the Apple's propaganda, spending his days explaining how everything Apple does is right.

    He's like a Jobs' little lapdog who has to bark and growl with a little voice, and quite frankly he's quite pathetic. Even if he's not paid by Apple they still invite him to their little press junkets and probably wait for his "tough" questions. Well, of course Gruber, to my knowledge, gets his income from being an Apple apologist 24/7 so he possibly adds some drama to his words to make it more sellable. In any case he's such a clown.

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