Adobe Flash is dead. Good riddance

Support for memory-hogging, notoriously hacker-vulnerable Adobe Flash will officially expire at the end of 2020. Steve Jobs smiles somewhere up in the cosmos. Java next?

Adobe Flash Updater screen. Looks like we won't be seeing this one much longer. (Screen Capture, via Adobe website)

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2017 – It’s the end of an era. Adobe, the creator of Flash, has announced a timetable for its official demise. In a July 25, 2017 online news flash – no pun intended – the company presents its reason for sunsetting this once highly popular video imaging technology:

“Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

“Several industries and businesses have been built around Flash technology – including gaming, education and video – and we remain committed to supporting Flash through 2020, as customers and partners put their migration plans into place. Adobe will continue to support Flash on a number of major OSs and browsers that currently support Flash content through the planned EOL. This will include issuing regular security patches, maintaining OS and browser compatibility and adding features and capabilities as needed. We remain fully committed to working with partners, including AppleFacebookGoogle, Microsoft and Mozilla to maintain the security and compatibility of Flash content. [To see each partner’s announcement on this news, click on the links inside each partner name.] In addition, we plan to move more aggressively to EOL Flash in certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed.”

Not only is Flash technology seriously outdated, despite seemingly weekly updates lately. It’s long been a security headache for IT types and individual users as well, due to its notorious vulnerability as a wide-open portal for hackers, as the late, great Steve Jobs duly noted in his once highly-controversial 2010 piece entitled “Thoughts on Flash.

After acknowledging Apple’s long and fruitful partnership with Adobe, almost from the very beginning of the company’s Macintosh computer line, Jobs clearly argued that memory and power hungry Flash was an increasing burden, particularly on portable, battery-powered computing devices as the Internet evolved to keep pace with the mobile world. An even worse problem was Flash technology’s notorious security issues.

For those reasons and others, Jobs announced that Apple would increasingly evolve to encourage and support open-source technologies to power apps, particularly in its portable devices, gradually eliminating its support for Flash even in Apple’s desktop devices.

At the time, many denounced Jobs’ announcement as arrogant and ridiculous. But ten years after the fact, Adobe itself has finally acknowledged the truth of Jobs’ once-controversial assessment.

The demise of Flash may also mean that Sun’s – and now Oracle’s – Java technology is next on the chopping block in the wonderful world of ubiquitous, nomadic computing. While it’s more sophisticated and versatile than Flash in many ways, Java is proving to be an equal if not greater security threat than Flash, leading to frequent updates to address its latest security holes.


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