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You don't have to be a villain to say Flash must die

Glenn Fleishman | July 16, 2015
I won't pretend to be Steve Jobs--I don't even own a mock turtleneck--but I have to repeat his words from April 2010: "Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content." Flash is a constantly exploited, superannuated bit of technology that useful in the early days of multimedia in web browsers, and now deserves to die.

Apple stopped including Flash with OS X beginning with Macs released in 2010. Google engineered a more secure way to run Flash within Chrome. iOS has never supported Flash, and some Android makers flirted with it only between about 2010 and 2012. It's had hundreds of vulnerabilities discovered, and an endless supply appear to remain. It's a vector for criminals and governments to invade our privacy and compromise our stuff.

Firefox and Chrome disabled older versions of Flash this week uniformly--and remotely, I might add, through their process of checking for vulnerability updates in plug-ins--in newer versions of their browsers. We already live in a nearly post-Flash world, with no mobile users and ever fewer desktop users trusting Flash. There will be some disruption as software makers and website developers who have delayed the inevitable are faced with a reckoning--but they had a glimpse of that already this week.

Adobe has moved away from Flash in recent years, ending a misguided path that didn't serve its customers or web users well when they couldn't demonstrate that Flash could work on mobile. The company needs to take the next step and put a time clock on Flash of no more than several months. No one will mourn Flash. It's already dead.


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