There was a time when Adobe Flash was a key tool for providing multimedia content on the internet. If you wanted to watch videos, listen to music, play games, or view interactive content you needed to install Adobe’s browser add-on.
But these days there are other technologies including HTML5 which support many of the same features without the need for a browser plugin. You don’t need Flash to watch YouTube videos, play many games, or perform many other activities on the internet without worrying that a pop-up window is going to tell you that Flash has crashed.
There are still some sites that rely on Flash, which is probably why Adobe continues to release new versions of the tool (even though the company killed Flash for mobile devices ages ago). But that hasn’t stopped Mozilla from blocking the Adobe Flash Player add-on for its Firefox web browser… at least for now.
Mozilla’s Mark Schmidt announced the move in response to several new vulnerabilities discovered in Flash which could allow malware to infect a PC running the plugin. Users can still enable support for Flash on their own if they want to take the risk.
Firefox will stop blocking Flash once Adobe releases an update to patch those security holes.
Meanwhile the head of security for Facebook wants Adobe to just put Flash out of its misery already. The idea is that right now some people still need Flash, because some some websites continue to rely on it. But if Adobe announced that it’d be killing the product in a year, or 18 months or some other time frame, it’d give web developers time to find alternatives.
Of course, if Adobe does stop supporting Flash in a few years, any websites that haven’t switched to newer technologies may cease to work… or even worse, they may continue to work for folks using older versions of the plugin… but they may be vulnerable to security threats.
What do you think? Is it time for Adobe Flash to die? Or are you worried about what would happen if Adobe does kill it?