Adobe announced today that it will support its controversial Flash technology through 2020. That should be enough time for those companies that still rely on this soul-sucking product to transition to superior web standards.
“As open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web,” the Adobe announcement notes. “Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.”
Given this change, Adobe says it is ready to kill Flash, though it will take its time doing so, and will distribute, update, and support the Flash Player through the end of 2020. The reason? Some important customers still use it.
Support for Flash includes issuing security updates, an alarmingly frequent need, and maintaining OS and browser compatibility as those products evolve.
“We remain fully committed to working with partners, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla to maintain the security and compatibility of Flash content,” the Adobe announcement continues. “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.”
As you may recall, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs infamously penned a public letter about Flash way back in 2010. It’s called Thoughts About Flash, and is humorously still available on Apple’s website.
“We do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods, and iPads,” Mr. Jobs wrote. “Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality, it is based on technology issues … [including] reliability, security, and performance.”
But that was a lie: The real reason Jobs banned Flash from i-devices is that Adobe had earlier been slow porting Photoshop to Mac OS X, and was, at that time, supporting Windows better instead. This always bothered Jobs, since Adobe and Apple had always been close partners in the past, the former CEO admitted in his official biography.
Well, good news, Mr. Jobs, if perhaps too late to benefit you: Adobe, finally, is killing Flash. And good riddance, I say. Because while I may have disagreed with Steve Jobs on a number of topics, this is one he got right.