June 19, 2010, 2:31 PM — There are days I look at a headline and wonder: "What part of that story goes with that headline?" It's a problem in any form of publishing, as the whole purpose of the headline is to get your attention and make you read the story, but the tech industry seems to have the worst issues with it. For example, this story from Computerworld. It's a breathless headline, isn't it? "Adobe knocks Apple for serving up outdated Flash Player". Oh, you can almost hear the knives being sharpened on all sides as you read it.
But then you read the story, and more importantly, the pertinent quotes:
10.6.4 update for Mac OS X includes Flash Player, but not the latest version. Please make sure your FP is updated
Which is a tweet from Brad Arkin of Adobe, with a link to this post on the Adobe Product Security Incident Response Team blog.
Now, I'm never one to let yet another Adobe PR hoofenmouth demo go unnoticed, and $DEITY knows, they give me plenty of material, but this? This isn't knocking. This is pointing out. Brad, and the Adobe PSIRT team are pointing out that there is a more recent version of Flash with more security fixes than the one Apple shipped in Mac OS X 10.6.4. The language used is not inflammatory. No one is casting blame. They're pointing out a fact, and a useful one. I mean, this is so non-controversial that Brad Arkin later tweets:
10.6.4 doesn't appear to downgrade users that had previously updated to Flash Player 10.1.53.64, so users don't have to reapply the update.
Look, I get that the Adobe/Apple Flash-troversy is fun, and there's a lot of verbage, most of it rather whiny, on both sides to fill a year's worth of web sites. But this kind of headline does nothing of use for anyone. Adobe wasn't knocking anything, they were pointing out, in a non-confrontational manner, a simple, verifiable fact. Given how tempting it is to actually knock Apple, or at least try to for this, I'm actually quite pleased that Brad et al took the high road, and just gave us the facts.
In addition to the headline, I think some blame has to be assigned to the overall article. Contrary to what Gregg Keizer wrote, this was not "...another example of the tension between the two companies...". Nothing Adobe said or did was even close to how the article makes it out to be.
Don't pump stuff up just because you can. It makes the Internet suck even more.