The Adobe – Apple War by Jonathan W. Seybold
There's been a big furor the last two weeks about Apple's insistence that cross-platform development tools, and in particular Adobe's Flash, cannot be used to develop iPhone applications. Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon opining about why Apple would do something so developer-unfriendly, and maybe even, customer-unfriendly.
There are many who feel that this Adobe/Apple feud is based on some deep-rooted enmity between Adobe and Apple. I turned to my brother to ask the question: Why is Steve Jobs doing this? Jonathan was the consultant and evangelist who brought Steve Jobs, John Warnock and Paul Brainerd together to create the desktop publishing revolution and to provide the Macintosh with the killer app it needed.
Jon read various other accounts of the Apple/Adobe relationship and decided he could contribute the most by providing this earlier history that no one else has covered as well as his own take on what Apple's move means for innovation on mobile devices.
PART 1: SOME HISTORY
Jonathan Seybold: PARC
Like so much about modern-day computing, it all starts with Xerox PARC. Somebody should start assembling a history of PARC.
But, that is a much bigger topic for a later time.
We are going to follow just one of the threads that spun out of PARC:
1979: The Famous Visit to PARC by Steve Jobs and Some of the Lisa Development Team
Apple was already working on Lisa development. Xerox knew this. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons why Xerox invested in Apple. Part of the deal was that Steve and his team would get a full run-down on everything from the object-oriented programming languages to the Alto workstation, the Bravo WYSIWYG word processing software and the Alto GUI.
But, one of the essential functions of the office system for “knowledge workers” that Xerox had set out to build had to be the ability to send the pages created on the Alto workstations to a variety of laser printers. Xerox had discovered that this meant that it needed another piece of the puzzle: a standard resolution-independent way of describing the rich pages of text and graphics.
Xerox had been using a data format called “Press” for this purpose since the mid-70’s. But it found that this was not flexible enough.
John Warnock had previously developed what amounted to programming languages that described graphic pages first for Evans and Southerland, and later for PARC. By 1979, he and Chuck Geschke were developing a much more ambitious “page description language” (InterPress) at PARC.