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Developer Week in Review

Charlie Sheen-free since 2010, this is your Developer Week in Review.

Caught carrying an unlicensed app?

For a long time, embedded devices like set-top boxes have been the sore point for open source license compliance. But a new report this week paints mobile applications with the same brush. Around 10% of the Android and iPhone applications examined by OpenLogic were found to contain GPL or Apache software being used outside of the license terms.

Since the major issue with most of the violations is failure to provide a copy of the license, it leads to the natural question of how mobile applications could reasonably do this. Probably the simplest answer would be to have a button on the splash screen that brought up the license(s) in a window. I'd love to see someone put some metrics on a button like that, so we could once and for all see that no one reads the open source licenses, even when they are included and available.

Has Adobe seen the writing on the wall?

One of the epic battles of the last few years has been the great Adobe vs Apple Flash War. It can be summed up thusly:

Adobe: iOS is lame, it won't run Flash.

Apple: Oh yeah, well Flash is lame, it runs slowly and eats up battery life.

And so on ...

Well, in this post-PC iPad-crazy world, Adobe appears to be bowing to the inevitable and starting to work on ways to deliver Adobe-authored content on devices that don't handle Flash. This week, they announced Wallaby, a tool to turn Flash (mainly Flash banner ads) into HTML5 content that WebKit-based browsers (Safari and Chrome, notably) can handle.

In recent history, Flash has been the common denominator for RIA on the desktop (Silverlight is still an obscure also-ran), but Adobe seems to be signaling that in the long run, HTML5 is more likely to provide a common base for rich applications. iPhone owners, Flash games may still be an option, someday ...

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It's an honor just to be nominated

This year's winner of the Turing Award has just been announced, and in a shocker, it's gone to Leslie Valiant of Harvard, even though the smart money had been on "The King's Speech" to take the prize. Valiant works in the field of machine learning, so we can partially blame him for humanity losing its supremacy in Jeopardy.

For most of us in the trenches, the work done by Turing Award winners may seem a esoteric or abstract, but the second or third order derivatives of this kind of research end up trickling down into the day to day miracles of technology we take for granted now.

Got news?

Unless we're asked to take over as the lead on "Two and a Half Men," we'll be here next week with more tiger-blood-fueled developer news. If you have non-Sheen related news, please send tips or leads here.


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