ADOBE FLASH IS ENJOYING WHAT THE BRITISH PEOPLE WOULD call 'bargepole status', and is increasingly being perceived as something that should not be seen or touched.
This is because the software is increasingly being found in the centre of a circle of pointing fingers and pointed statements about the web and security in general. Adobe and the web, so we are regularly led to believe, are like the bull and the china shop scenario that we have all heard about.
No one, other than a lonely farmer, would take a bull into a china shop, but a lot of people have taken Adobe onto the internet over the years. The internet, and its users, have a love/hate relationship with Flash at the moment, but this is leaning towards the latter. The industry and the internet may be writing the longest, most drawn out, Dear John letter ever.
Let's look at some of the evidence. Kicking off is a real doozy from a real person. This chap, a reader of The INQUIRER's sister publication V3 took time out of his day to tell people that actually it is very easy to live without Flash, and that he has managed in the Adobe darkness for some time. Anyone who is worried about a Flash-less environment could take some comfort from his experience.
"I deleted Flash some time ago and have yet to come across a site that has something in Flash I really need to see," wrote Andy Miller, who explained that some Adobe stuff is handy, just not this stuff.
"If I was in charge of IT security for any business I would get rid of this major security risk for all users immediately," he added.
That's a man on the street. The life blood of the UK. He's probably eating chips and complaining about the weather too. We can relate to him. Harder to relate to are technology firms but, hey, they are just like Andy.
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.— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) July 12, 2015
Facebook, which may know more about people than people do, can imagine a world without Flash, and has suggested that the industry sets its sights on end of life and pulls those plans into focus.
"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," said Alex Stamos, the social network's CSO.
"Even if 18 months from now, one set date is the only way to disentangle the dependencies and upgrade the whole ecosystem at once."
Software company Mozilla has already made a stride in that direction, and said in July that Flash is unwelcome on its doorstep until Adobe can make a version that is not open to public vulnerabilities. This could take some time, and all the while support and reliance on the software is dropping off.
Facebook, for example, can use HTML5 to show video content, as can Google's YouTube, while browsers from Internet Explorer through to Safari don't have a dang thing to do with Flash.
This has been a bad year for Adobe's grist to the net. It has had a number of problems thrown at it, and a large whack of controversy has come its way. If this was a boxing match you might say that Flash is on the ropes. If this was a bathroom, you could say that it is in the toilet. You get the idea.
Figures in the McAfee Labs Threats Report in May showed a 300 percent increase in Flash-based malware in just three months. If Flash was your leg, you might consider having it amputated so you could get back to walking around.
Internet software and user security needs a hero. Flash, for all its pops, bangs and whistles, is perhaps more of a zero and, while it once might have been a dominator in the market, it is now just one of many options.
Parting is usually such sweet sorrow, but this could be the end of a particularly bad relationship. µ
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