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Firefox exec: browsers will escape Adobe's 'plug-in prison'

updated 01:45 pm EDT, Mon March 14, 2011

Mozilla expects Flash to go away in long run

Web browsers will eventually and need to stop using Flash, Mozilla vice president Jay Sullivan said in an interview Friday. He likened Adobe's technology to a "plug-in prison" and expected that browsers like Firefox would eventually transition over to HTML5 to avoid dependence on one company's app. The executive told Fast Company Flash was burdensome, primarily on mobile devices where the resources to use Flash weren't necessarily worth the effort.

"Developers will switch over to HTML5, especially in mobile, where you can't have Flash popping up on every page just to do some little animation," Sullivan said. "The idea that you'd have to embed an entire instance of the Flash player just to play a 30 second audio clip? It's crazy."

He further acknowledged common knowledge that Flash was the most common source of crashes in Firefox and that HTML5 was the "longer-term answer" to a more stable browser. Firefox 4 has built-in plugin protection that's known mostly as a safeguard to prevent Flash from taking down the entire browser when it crashes. Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome already have sandboxing meant with Flash in mind, even though Google currently has a partnership with Adobe that preinstalls Flash.

Although coming from a company with a different philosophy for software, the remarks are shared with those from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who explained the lack of Flash on iOS. He like Sullivan argued for real standards, better stability and increased performance. Much of the early HTML5 support on major websites is tailored to iPad and iPhone users.

Adobe has usually argued that Flash's prevalence on the web made it the de facto standard and has persuaded many Android device makers to try and use it as a selling point, where users could see the 'full web.' It has nonetheless hit numerous production snags and will only get it to Android 3.0 in beta form three weeks after Flash's halo tablet device, the Motorola Xoom, will have shipped.

by MacNN Staff



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  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Two things

    Web browsers will eventually and need to stop using Flash, Mozilla vice president Jay Sullivan said in an interview Friday. He likened Adobe's technology to a "plug-in prison" and expected that browsers like Firefox would eventually transition over to HTML5 to avoid dependence on one company's app.

    One, web browsers don't "use" Flash. Web pages do. Firefox is also not 'dependent' on Flash. As such, you can transition to HTML5 (I thought you were already there, Firefox), but that doesn't stop sites from using it, and forcing you to support it.

    Two, are they whining just about Flash, or do they want to ban all plug-ins? No, can't do that, because then what would people do for H.264 video, for example.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Adobe is tap dancing

    They meant a "defacto standard for causing problems."

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Simple Solution

    Flash blockers are worth the hassle to have to click once for 1-in-12+ pages to load some flash content you actually want see. With a blocker extension, flash really isn't an issue.

  1. Blairmc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Thanks goodness that this is starting to gain momentum

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969



    With ClickToFlash and AdBlocker installed browsing is faster and largely irritant-free.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good to hear that there are others that

    are in favor of moving to HTML5 standards instead of just Apple. I don't think consumers care how web pages, videos, etc. are viewed just so long as they get their content. I simply do not understand why the entire mobile computing industry has to rely on one sloppy company standing between mobile users and content. Keep Flash if that's what developers want but offer an HTML5 alternative. I hope that Apple is able to sell 30 to 40 million iPad 2s this year and consumers start pushing for quicker development of HTML5 standards. I'm very curious to see Adobe's next iteration of Flash and how well it performs. The one drawback will that it will likely only run on high-end mobile devices using the latest OS. I'm only hoping that HTML5 uses less processor and memory overhead than Flash does. If it doesn't, well then maybe there isn't any point in moving to HTML5 either except for open standards.

  1. t_c

    Joined: Dec 1969



    H.264 is not dependent on Flash as HTML 5 supports MP4 containers which support the codec.

    I just implemented a solution that uses the JWPlayer in flash which degrades to HTML5 if flash isn't available ...and in the future I'll probabably change it to do it in reverse.

    I still have to see where Flash is a must have. The one flash project I support is a map interface with rollovers, etc. that just doesn't have an experience on a touch-screen interface.

    I'm not a flash 'hater', i just haven't got a need for it ... and they can easily develop ads in even HTML4 that are as functional as flash!

  1. Foxypaco

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Flash is only mandatory

    for watching p0rno.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011


    comment title

    You should remove it now FireFox. There is NO reason to have Flash, period. I haven't had it on my computers in months. and guess what, they run so much better. No thousands of annoying ads loading every five seconds, no crashing, etc. It's wonderful. YouTube is available in HTML 5 via a plugin called YouTube5 for the Mac, which makes all YouTube videos load in HTML5 on the Mac (HD too).

  1. 001

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is awesome. I'm gonna start quoting this interview to Apple haters, Adobe fanbois, and smug Droids when they either moan about Flashless iOS or angle for superiority.

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