adobe flash crash

Remember when Steve Jobs published an open letter calling for Adobe to kill off Flash and minced no words, saying Flash was “the number one reason Macs crash”? Five years later, the prospect for Adobe’s proprietary multimedia plugin is looking increasingly grim as opposition is mounting against Flash.

Early in the year, Google stopped using Flash on YouTube after rolling out an HTML5 video player. Last week, Facebook’s chief security officer slammed Flash on Twitter and now the non-profit organization Mozilla has added every version of Flash to Firefox browser’s default blocklist.

“All versions of Adobe’s Flash Player plugin are deactivated by default, until Adobe releases an updated version to address known critical issues,” reads Mozilla’s support document.

Facebook’s new chief security officer, Alex Stamos, wrote last week on Twitter that “It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.”

Here we have an interesting proposition coming from a company which commands the second largest share of web video, after YouTube. Facebook uses HTTP streaming to deliver video to mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Its web interface uses both Flash and HTML5, depending on browser preferences.

Should Adobe decide to kill off Flash by the end of next year, it should announce the move in advance in order to “disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem at once,” Stamos added.

Security expert Graham Cluley agrees with Stamos.

“The truth is that the company would probably gain a lot more respect from the internet community if it worked towards this ultimate fix for the Flash problem, rather than clinging on to the belief that it might be able to one day make Flash secure,” he wrote.

These latest developments follow what could only be described as a pretty rough last month for Adobe. The Flash Player, infamous for having one of the worst security records, was discovered as having a slew of more than two dozen critical security flaws, of which at least 20 were discovered in the last week alone.

As if it weren’t enough, some of the security weaknesses have been exploited. In response, Adobe released as many as four emergency updates. One of the bugs allowed hackers to take over your computer remotely.

Adobe Flash Player Uninstaller Mac screenshot 001

When the former Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg challenged Jobs on the iPad’s lack of Flash, as evidenced by black rectangles in place of Flash content on webpages in Safari, Jobs quipped that “those holes are getting plugged real fast”.

He underscored Apple chooses which technological horses to ride very carefully and said Flash was on its descendancy. Just a few short weeks later, major online outlets started implementing support for web video delivery via the then new HTML5 video tag.

“By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system,” Jobs wrote in his 2010 essay on Flash, titled “Thoughts on Flash.”

Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript which are supported across iOS devices with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards.

“HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plugins (like Flash),” wrote Jobs.

“We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash,” he said. “We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash.”


“Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice,” Jobs wrote.

“Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Shortly after Jobs essay went viral, Apple stopped pre-installing the Flash Player on Macs and later ditched support for older versions of Flash completely.

Here’s former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch defending Flash in a cringeworthy video.

Since May of 2013, Lynch has been leading watchOS development for the Apple Watch as Apple’s Vice President of Technology.

By all accounts, the beginning of the descendancy of Flash has in fact started when Jobs publicly opposed the platform five years ago, a stance for which he was unjustly chastised by disillusioned journalists and pro-Adobe bloggers.

And if browser makers like Google, Microsoft and Apple opt not to allow the Flash plugin, just like Mozilla has done now, Flash could indeed die soon.

Is Flash Player installed on your computer?

And what are your thoughts on Flash?

Source: Mozilla, Alex Stamos

  • John Wickham

    Please let this be the end of Flash!

  • Ali

    in 2010 it was “Flash is dead in a couple of years” .. yet here we are in 2015 and still talking the same thing. flash is a powerful technology that even without adobe doing anything to defend it it’s still here. yes it has problems like any other technology.

    In his infamous “Thoughts on Flash”, Jobs said that Flash is the 2nd tech with most security vulnerability according to a Semantic report .. he was right, but he didn’t tell what tech was the 1st ?! .. it was the QuickTime plugin!, the technology that Apple is still uses until today instead of converting to HTML5 video .. at least Flash does much much more than just displaying video.

    Adobe was lazy fixing some Flash issues for sure, but the war on Flash is not about tech or the future .. Flash proved itself on ios disguised in Adobe Air apps.

    lots of games that even Apple has featured and awarded are actually created with flash but in the form of an app.

    • Shadowelite123

      Do you even have proof of your claims?

    • Rowan09

      Flash was allowed and not sure if it still is on IOS it’s just not allowed through the browser.

    • Antzboogie

      I respect your comment agreed with most parts is QuickTime really that insecure because if it is wow. I’m about to Google it and check that out.

  • WiseBlasian

    Steve Jobs had so much influence. At that time I was one of the people that refused to believe flash was gonna die and hated the fact that Safari didn’t support it.

  • Alberto Espinal

    And android users bragging on flash!!

    • AMB_07

      What? They killed off the Android version like a year after the Steve Jobs blog post! What android user is bragging about flash? None -__-

      • Giovanni Cardona

        Yes, indeed, they’re still Android users that brags about Flash, yes, in 2015. I know a lot of them. They’re in insane denial.

  • James G

    As long as the internet of advertisements use flash, flash is going nowhere.

    I do hope all the major browsers will remove flash, though and force the hands of advertisers and site developers to move away from flash.

    • Aman kapoor

      What will be the fate of all those websites that are flossed with all those flash games. (I’m looking at you miniclip)

      • James G

        Death to them.

    • Giovanni Cardona

      The problem is that people still hire graphic artists and programmers that only knows Flash. There is a need to target the right audience about this Flash issue, and is not us.

      • James G

        Yup. It’s very common at ad agencies for creative devs to need flash skills. Google has put forth a good effort on HTML 5 ads but it’s a completely different way to develop ads and agencies are lazy.

  • Is Flash Player installed on your computer?

    Absolutely not! Even before the Hacking Team leak I knew Adobe Flash was painfully insecure! Security aside it’s not good for performance with flash often causing the CPU to work overtime meaning the fan whirs loudly as result and causing battery drain compared to HTML 5 alternatives. If for some reason a website needs flash I usually use Google Chrome since this provides access to flash content while at the same time being developed by Google so does not have the same security implications as Adobe Flash (although it is still a resource hog). Even when you ignore performance and battery life Adobe Flash is also used to track users across the Internet!

  • LocalH

    All the articles on this topic are inaccurate. Mozilla’s own list of blocked addons shows that the most recent version of Flash that is blocked is I have version installed and in Firefox Nightly (version 42), my Flash plugin is not blocked. On Windows here.

  • johnsm

    Adobe is crap.. Survived by PS

  • John

    Flash has been shit since macromedia invented it way before Adobe bought it.

  • Eric

    I took it off my Mac. It is not missed.

  • If you open your browser’s dev console and go to network you will be able to grab the video stream URL and play it using HTML5 Video

  • if there were any way to stream .flv files with html5 i can forget about using adobe flash. But there istn’t, is it?

  • Mark S

    I hate flash. I only use it out of necessity once in a while. I get really tired of my fans running.

  • Barcelonian

    Yes, I use flash everyday on my laptop, and flash is really slow, but i’m fine with it since it is essential for the things I do.

    • Antzboogie

      Exactly. Puffin Web Browser all day!

  • Ali

    Steve jobs Letter was talking about the 2009 report.

    I posted the link above to that specific report from Symantec’s website.

  • Valinor

    Steve Jobs said that without knowing how much the iphone/ipad safari browser would suck these days.
    Crashes, reloads, videos restarting again.

  • Giovanni Cardona

    Flash is still alive because of Flash programmers that doesn’t know better and keep the platform alive to avoid learning modern ways to create websites and games. If you hire someone to build you a website or game, tell them you don’t want Flash.

  • i thought about programming aspect. How to stream mp4 instead of flv, how to convert it on the fly with ex. ffmpegg? But it has big disadvantage – uses lot of bandwidth ;/

  • FarmerBobThe1st

    Flash was great when Macromedia, who created it, had it before Adobe procured it with Dreamweaver, Freehand and the full collection and trashed it.

  • Jerwyn Feria

    Haha our school uses flash and for some reason, Safari on my iPhone can load it…. Hmm I noticed this ever since iPhone 4s.