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February 23, 2012 7:03 AM   Subscribe

Adobe has partnered with Google to develop PPAPI, codename "Pepper", a modern API for browser plugins. New versions of Adobe Flash will be released only as part of Google Chrome for the Linux platform. The last version of the Flash plugin for mobile browsers will be 11.1, according to the newest Flash roadmap, released today.
posted by helicomatic (49 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been hearing good things about Lightspark for a few years and the project seems active.

Pissing off the people who know the most about computers hasn't paid off well for proprietary companies in the past.
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google is really trying to make me not like them, aren't they?
posted by symbioid at 7:19 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, having fully supported Flash on Linux would be nice.

On the other, having it exclusive to one particular browser is a dick move.
posted by sotonohito at 7:31 AM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Basically, Larry Page has decided that "don't be evil" is a lame strategy and that Mark Zuckerberg is awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 7:32 AM on February 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I blame going public, vic gundotra and bradley horowitz.
posted by symbioid at 7:35 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, never thought I'd live to see this: New versions of Adobe Flash will be released only [...] for the Linux platform.

It sounds like they'll still be releasing versions for other browsers without using the new API, but still...flash player on Linux used to lag so far behind in development. My only hope is that the new implementation will not end up exposing large numbers of security holes, which is a pretty tall order for a company that accounts for nearly 50% of the attack vectors for Windows malware.
posted by nTeleKy at 7:38 AM on February 23, 2012


nTeleKy, The article isn't saying that flash plugin won't be available on Windows or Mac OS, it's saying that the *only* Linux version will only be available when downloaded with Google's browser, and won't work with any other current Linux browser.
posted by jepler at 7:45 AM on February 23, 2012


Well that sure opens the field for the open implementations of flash.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:47 AM on February 23, 2012


nTeleKy: “It sounds like they'll still be releasing versions for other browsers without using the new API...”

No, this is flatly incorrect. There will be no new versions of Flash for any other browsers, with or without PPAPI. The old versions will still be around, but that's it. No updates. And in the Flash world, that basically means it'll be broken in a year or two.

“... but still...flash player on Linux used to lag so far behind in development.”

Yeah, I remember that. "Lagging behind in development" is better than "stopping all development entirely." This is complete bullshit, and Google and Adobe should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by koeselitz at 7:49 AM on February 23, 2012


Who even cares anymore? Flash is dead. Adobe is working on making their development stuff target HTML5/JS anyway.
On the one hand, having fully supported Flash on Linux would be nice.
What do you even still need it for?
Yeah, I remember that. "Lagging behind in development" is better than "stopping all development entirely." This is complete bullshit, and Google and Adobe should be ashamed of themselves.
Yeah, but why? What's wrong with stopping development entirely? Technologically, it's a dead end. It's largely superfluous at this point. If there's not going to be new versions of flash for firefox, safari, and MSIE then people aren't going to use it. Which is pretty much a good thing, as far as I can tell.

People who develop in flash should be able to export their projects to pure HTML/CSS/Javascript/whatever (svg? Who knows) Google has a tool that will let you do it, although I have no idea how good it is.

I did some development with flash once, back when it was using Actionscript 2.0 and it was ridiculously awful.
posted by delmoi at 7:56 AM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Koeslitz: No, this is flatly incorrect. There will be no new versions of Flash for any other browsers, with or without PPAPI.

You're talking Linux, right? 'Cos Adobe says: Flash Player will continue to support browsers using non-”Pepper” plugin APIs on platforms other than Linux.

Flash is still being developed for all browsers on other platforms.
posted by zsazsa at 7:58 AM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The fact that Adobe has killed Flash development on all mobile platforms tells me all I need to know.
posted by dbiedny at 8:07 AM on February 23, 2012


zsazsa: “You're talking Linux, right?”

Yes. Why wouldn't I be? This thread is about Linux. Sorry if I got confused somewhere, but nobody has mentioned Flash development stopping on other platforms. nTeleKy said that Flash development would apparently continue on other browsers (I presume on the same platform) and I wanted to correct that impression.
posted by koeselitz at 8:12 AM on February 23, 2012


Until HTML5 can guarantee cross-browser support, to the point where people don't have to juggle multiple browsers in order to play stuff, I really can't get into it. I'd like to, but right now I'm unimpressed with the framerates that I see. In the meantime, I can make a .SWF game and know it'll run on any desktop browser at 60fps. Plus, no one's paying me anything, so it's not like I gotta be bleeding edge.
posted by hellojed at 8:12 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but why? What's wrong with stopping development entirely?

But without Flash, what would people use to design shitty, unusable hotel and portfolio web sites?
posted by usonian at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


Wow, never thought I'd live to see this: New versions of Adobe Flash will be released only [...] for the Linux platform.

IOW, Adobe thinks Flash is dead.
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:13 AM on February 23, 2012


Flash Player will continue to support browsers using non-”Pepper” plugin APIs on platforms other than Linux.


Reading that again, I think they're just talking about deprecating non pepper flash for linux, not globally.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:18 AM on February 23, 2012


I'm wondering if retaining Flash functionality for the Linux-based Chrome OS is somehow at the root of this agreement...
posted by jim in austin at 8:21 AM on February 23, 2012


But without Flash, what would people use to design shitty, unusable hotel and portfolio web sites?

HTML5
posted by kmz at 8:23 AM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


usonian: "But without Flash, what would people use to design shitty, unusable hotel and portfolio web sites?"

Don't worry, I'm sure that you can design shitty, unusable websites with HTML5 too.
posted by octothorpe at 8:35 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Adobe will lose interest in this six months down the line.
posted by narcoleptic at 8:40 AM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know that for those with iOS devices, which cannot run Flash and are thus broken for a significant number of web pages, the whole "who cares, Flash is dead and useless anyway" is a sensible rationalization. But since I don't own any iOS devices, and all of my mobile junk runs Flash, this is an annoyance. I bought what I bought in part because it has Flash, and I wasn't interested in Steve's precious little vendetta.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:10 AM on February 23, 2012


1adam12,

I'm not sure Steve Ballmer is actually conducting a vendetta by not having flash in Metro-fied IE 10, perhaps he decided he didn't want his browser to be the slowest, crashiest one out there.
posted by Mad_Carew at 9:15 AM on February 23, 2012


since I don't own any iOS devices, and all of my mobile junk runs Flash, this is an annoyanceM

Yes, 1adam12, but Adobe announced quite a while ago they're not going to develop Flash for mobile devices at all anymore. So once you upgrade your phone or its software, you'll be Flash-less as well.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:27 AM on February 23, 2012


"The fact that Adobe has killed Flash development on all mobile platforms..."

"...they're not going to develop Flash for mobile devices at all anymore..."

I keep hearing this, over and over. And all it does is betray a lack of understanding regarding Flash development. Adobe has done no such thing.

What they have done, is to cease development on the Flash Player plugin for mobile devices. That is not the same thing. Since the discrete app model has become the default for mobile devices, having plugin-based web apps makes little sense. They are actively encouraging development of Flash content...to be deployed using the AIR runtime rather than the Flash Player plugin.

It makes sense, and is a good move, in my opinion.
posted by kaseijin at 9:53 AM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm wondering if retaining Flash functionality for the Linux-based Chrome OS is somehow at the root of this agreement...

This. Adobe also allowed RIM to keep on porting, it's just that companies have to fund the work on the port themselves. I would strongly imagine that the Chrome/ChromeOS team is paying, and so of course they're going to be using their own port.
posted by jaduncan at 10:05 AM on February 23, 2012


Google, Microsoft, and Netflix are also pushing a new DRMed video standard, to the objection of, well, basically just Mozilla.
posted by Artw at 10:12 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah - I just opened an email at lavabit - gonna be shutting down my gmail hopefully in the next week as well as any other account w/google. sick of this shit.
posted by symbioid at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2012


Please. Adobe isn't limiting Flash development on Linux because Google asked them to. They're continuing Flash development on Linux because Google asked them to.

I'm sure the conversation went something like this:

Adobe: we want to drop this platform that gains nothing for us.
Google: we have a browser on that platform (hands money over).
Adobe: okay, since you asked so nicely. But only for you.
posted by sbutler at 10:19 AM on February 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


It also sounds like Mozilla can have the plug in on Linux anytime they decide to adopt the new API, which they are not because, well, they are Mozilla.

Also: If mobile browsers, like, say, the ones Google has on it;s Linux based phone platform. support that API does that not mean that mobile flash is in effect continued?
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on February 23, 2012


Also: If mobile browsers, like, say, the ones Google has on it;s Linux based phone platform. support that API does that not mean that mobile flash is in effect continued?

Most mobile platforms are ARM and the Linux flash plugin is x86. So no, unless theres a big change in the architecture of mobile platforms (unlikely: people there love ARM).
posted by sbutler at 10:30 AM on February 23, 2012


This is complete bullshit, and Google and Adobe should be ashamed of themselves.

I don't get this. Why should Google be ashamed? It's not like they were pushing Adobe to stop doing so much FP Linux development. They just want to keep FP around since they actually rely on it for some Google Apps stuff (email notification windows, some chat functionality).

I don't know if Adobe should be ashamed or not. They basically gambled on mobile and Apple handed them their asses, and they lost.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:45 AM on February 23, 2012


Unless there's some other press release people early in this thread (and the original poster) have read, it's said that Adobe will only do Flash-on-Linux with Google Chrome, and that Flash-on-other-OSes will continue as normal.
posted by zippy at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of the horrible Flash sites stem from IE. You build a site to be standards-compliant, and then (of course) discover that it works incorrectly or not at all in IE. So, you can either basically double your work (if IE, use this code; if real browser, use this other code), or you can slap a whole site together in Flash and basically "fix" the problem. It's stupid and it's lazy, but it happens. I just wish Flash would go away entirely. It's a resource hog, it's buggy, and it's terrible with accessibility. And if MS would stop digging in their heels and being dicks, we wouldn't even have this problem. It's like a friend said, "I hate it when I have to choose between being right and being effective."

Being a Linux geek and an iOS geek, the thing about Flash is that I've discovered a whole bunch of websites that I guess I don't need to use after all, and a whole bunch of (often better) alternatives.
posted by xedrik at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2012


It's that "only for you" bit that's frustrating, ESPECIALLY because it's Linux. If it were Windows or any other platform that wasn't about openness it might not be so bad, but it looks like they'll still be making it available for Mozilla on other platforms just not Linux. That is what makes it so ridiculous.

If it were only about PPAPI not being available, then why aren't they discontinuing support for ALL non-PPAPI browsers in ALL platforms? That's what's so skeevy about this.
posted by symbioid at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2012


I think a lot of the horrible Flash sites stem from IE. You build a site to be standards-compliant, and then (of course) discover that it works incorrectly or not at all in IE. So, you can either basically double your work (if IE, use this code; if real browser, use this other code), or you can slap a whole site together in Flash and basically "fix" the problem.

I think you've got things a bit muddled there.

The Flash Only website was a monstrosity that stalked the web in the late 90s up until the mid to late 2000s, and was more a product of flash having capabilities that browsers, IE and others, simply lacked , more than compatibility issues. Thankfully thesee have mostly died-off, and the designers responsible for them, have largely gone off to do awful overdesigned "HTML5" sites instead.

When Flash solved a major compatibility issue was in video, where it meant people could stop worrying about a confusing mess of video formats and players, WMP and Quicktime and the like, and watch their Youtube video of kittens in peace. That's a use of flash that remains till this very day, though a lot of big players in video have also adopted HTML5 based solutions. The big holdout browsers that require Flash are all versions of IE, but are not the current one.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on February 23, 2012


Artw: "That's a use of flash that remains till this very day, though a lot of big players in video have also adopted HTML5 based solutions."

I've tried Youtube's HTML5 solution, and I agree with this guy.
posted by mullingitover at 11:29 AM on February 23, 2012


zippy: I suppose I could have worded the post better, but I was trying to make that clear by saying "...on the Linux platform."
posted by helicomatic at 11:36 AM on February 23, 2012


Yeah, HTML5 video is way less of a universal solution than it is often pitched as. For a start in order to use it you're going to need some browser detection and fallbacks that probably include the same content in Flash, which means it's often a horrendous cludge.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why would you need browser detection to do HTML5 video? Yes, to support older clients you will need fallback. But that's called 'graceful transition period' and in my opinion is a feature.

I moved our video encoding service to HTML5 in November. Now content gets encoded in MPEG4 (download, and segmented for HTTP Live Streaming) and WebM, plus the old razamataz we used to use. The HTML template just changed from an "embed" to a "video" + "source" + "source" + "source" + "embed". The clients seem pretty pleased.

Granted, we aren't doing anything fancy. And I'm fine with the look of the provided HTML5 players in the browsers so I didn't have to do any scripting to get controls.
posted by sbutler at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2012


"Why would you need browser detection to do HTML5 video?"

It sounds as though you have never made an HTML5 video player that was expected to play consistently across all devices and platforms. There is substantial enough difference between browsers regarding which tags are acceptable versus which tags will cause your application to break, and regarding which video formats (webm, ogv, etc) are accepted by which devices and browsers...that code switching is absolutely necessary.

In other words, this: "Yeah, HTML5 video is way less of a universal solution than it is often pitched as. For a start in order to use it you're going to need some browser detection and fallbacks that probably include the same content in Flash, which means it's often a horrendous cludge."


Further... this is flat-out wrong: "...and it's terrible with accessibility."

One of the platforms that I regularly have to develop in is Flash, and one of the clients I develop for has incredibly strict accessibility requirements -- more stringent, in fact, than Section 508. While I readily admit that Flash has its issues, and has been abused a good deal, it can can be written to be very accessible, fairly easily. Content can be tabbed through, selected, read by a screen reader, keyboard controlled, back-buttons utilized, you name it. Flash actually has a good deal more accessibility support at present than HTML5 does, so far as I have seen.

One of the things that routinely annoys me with the "anti-Flash grar" crowd is that they almost invariably blame bad or sloppy design on the platform in a way that they seem perfectly content to let slide with other platforms. Folks can save the grousing about how much worse Flash is for accessibility until such time as your average HTML site is 508 compliant.

Same goes for the "omg, Flash started my CPU fan spinning!" set. If folks build their Flash without memory leaks, then it runs a lot more smoothly.

I do think Flash is at a point where it needs to evolve. I do see it abused an awful lot. But I am also sick to damned death of this two-minutes-hate that turned into two years. It's a useful tool; the problem as I see it is that it was apparently the only hammer a lot of folks had in their box.
posted by kaseijin at 12:26 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree with you, kaseljin. Perhaps some Flash-only sites can be written to be accessibility friendly, but I've yet to find one. The main problems I've seen have been lack of screen-reader support and keyboard controls, two of which you point out as examples. They may be out there, but again, I've yet to see positive examples.

And sure, a lot of the problem is bad design, but IMO, Flash seems to enable bad design, as the problem seems much more prevalent on Flash sites vs non-Flash sites.
posted by xedrik at 12:51 PM on February 23, 2012


It would be great if you could just do <video src="blah"/>, like the hype says, and be done with it, but I pretty much never see that in the wild.
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Perhaps some Flash-only sites can be written to be accessibility friendly, but I've yet to find one. "

The point still stands that Flash can do accessibility, though, regardless of whether or not the bulk of developers choose to. I recognize that invoking an NDA sounds like a dodge, but I really do wish that I were at liberty to disclose my clients -- I could show you several. =/ I've personally spent a significant chunk of the past four years refining accessibility best practices in Flash. You do have to take a very few extra steps to set your project up to be accessible, but once you learn the steps it's very, very easy.

Something that I do routinely run into where accessibility is concerned are creatives who bitch that they are being unreasonably constrained when they have to design their layouts and site flow with accessibility in mind. "What do you mean I can't have the video autoplay? What do you mean, I can't have this light font on that gradient? We can't possibly meet these requirements -- that will kill all rich media!" I hear that crap all the time, and it just amounts to lazy designers.

I'll agree that you're onto something regarding enabling bad design, but I think that statement misses the mark, ever so slightly. I would say instead that part of the danger of Flash is that it enables print designers, art directors, and various other folks who have likely never touched a snippet of code, and likely have no clue as to web standards and usability concerns, to create a complete site that they feel is all "wiz bang".

Depending on your perspective, that could be a good OR a bad thing. Me? I don't rightly know where I stand on that, being a former art director who many years ago turned developer.
posted by kaseijin at 1:22 PM on February 23, 2012


And, of course, it's totally possible to fuck over accessibility entirely with plain old HTML and Javascript (or, for modern horrors, the canvas tag).
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Artw: We've ended up just using Video.js for most of our HTML5 video needs on websites. It's pretty easy to use, and handles all the sniffing. It's still a total kludge, though, complete with a fallback SWF.
posted by kaseijin at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2012


We pretty much abdicate responsibilty to jplayer.
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on February 23, 2012


I was going to suggest donating to the GNU Gnash Project, but their donation link is broken. I've informed them so that they can hopefully fix that.

It's unfortunate that Adobe has decided to do this. However, instead of "grar Adobe grar Google", shouldn't us neckbeards look for an OSS solution to a proprietary software problem? I know that Gnash isn't the greatest solution right now but donating some money or our talents could make it suck a lot less. We already have open source PDF readers that are better than Acrobat, why can't we do the same thing with flash?
posted by double block and bleed at 7:28 AM on February 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by CharlesV42 at 12:33 PM on February 24, 2012


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