The real reason why Apple doesn’t like Flash

Ever experienced instances where your workstation starts to chug along very slowly?  Or more specifically, have your web browser ever become unresponsive, or crash without any warning?  Well, this has happened to me more times than I care to count.  If you were browsing the Internet, chances are that the problem can be traced to Flash running amok – 9 out of 10 times.

Below is a screenshots of Flash misbehaving.  Note the memory and CPU utilization.

This screenshot shows the updated situation after I killed off the offending Shockwave Flash process.  Notice the clear dip in processor utilization.

This issue outlined here is particularly disruptive if you’re working at a cafe without any accessible power outlet.  If not detected and rectified immediately, the laptop’s runtime can get dramatically reduced by the excessive processor utilization, cutting short your stay there.

Now, can you imagine your iPhone (or iPad) running Flash?  Essentially, the juice in your device or smartphone could well be drained within a few hours.  No wonder Apple wasn’t keen to support Flash on the iPhone. Having said that, I’m not sure how this would work out for tablet devices like the JooJoo, which supports Flash.  When I interviewed him, founder and CEO Chandra did tell me that the Internet tablet gives “5 hours of continuous operation.”  I’ll report back on that once I get the final production unit for review.

Ironically, having Flash crash my browser one time too many was the factor that made me switch from Firefox to Chrome.  The Chrome browser offers superior process management (every tab runs as a separate process), which allows me to selectively shut-down errant tabs.  The overhead is slightly higher, but I think its a fair price for grater browser stability.  Unlike Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, a misbehaving instance (or tab) won’t be able to bring down the entire browser.

By | 2010-02-11T14:27:34+00:00 February 11th, 2010|Categories: Blog, Software|2 Comments

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2 Comments

  1. Atul Mehta March 17, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Chrome is faster than IE but it’s a stupid memory hog for no good reason and will eventually make you reboot (_in less than a week_). Flash is generally well-behaved but IMHO it had some multi-tasking issues resulting in the behavior you’ve observed. A flash player update will fix those issues. As for Apple to take out Flash, it’s a dumb move and surely an ipad killer if anything. A mindful Stevie’s job is to at least wait it out until HTML 5 before pulling the plug on Flash. Not that some featureless joojoo (for a ridiculous price) is going to make waves here. Android and Chrome tablets can and will steal the show this time if marketing folks can put together winning executions. Sorry, but of all google looks the dumbest for asking $79.99/month (courtesy of T-Mobile) for a tryin to catch up late with its Google Nexus One, and when even Apple can do $29.99 for a useless iPad. The Google marketing guys ought to be fired.

  2. Nostradoofus April 23, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Good observation. I had noticed Flash causes the vast majority of app instability on my Mac, and that Flash’s standard mode of failure is to send CPU usage to 100%. But I had not considered how that would impact battery life. This rings true.

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