We could probably rename Flash to Kim Kardashian, because what happened last week is what “break the Internet” really stands for. No matter what your take on Flash is, the humane side of you felt sorry for it, at least a bit. I mean, it was like watching 90-year-old Rambo fight a battalion of schoolkids.
Now that the dust from gazillion keyboards writing gazillion articles on the topic has settled and the recent Flash-is-dead hype is gone, let’s examine just what the hell is going on and write an article about Flash, once again.
First, we need to distinguish 2 important things, one being Flash player and the other…ummm…well, everything else made in Flash. Call it Flash content. The problem that caused all that recent fuss was about a group of hackers backed by few governments which got hacked by another group of hackers who released almost everything they had. That leak included 3 major exploits that allowed anyone (yes, anyone, even I have downloaded that exploit and used it in metasploit) to gain full access to victims computer trough Flash player exploit. Everybody got freaked up, from an angry mob, holding torches and pitchforks, signing the petition to kill Flash, all the way to turtleneck-wearing fanboys quoting Steve Jobs. There were even some designers writing articles how Flash makes your computer freeze and die. It was a ridiculous week and everybody from the industry acted like it was the end of the world. The only things missing were beheaded bodies and we would be talking about the greatest revolution since the French one.
Now, seriously, the thing I just can’t understand is how come no one freaked out about other published exploits? There were exploits targeting windows AND linux. Windows actually forced me 3 times to install updates in the last week alone. But hey, man, who cares, right? Nobody is using Windows. Let’s talk trash about Flash, let’s poke it with a stick.
Also, let’s consider the larger picture and consider what happens when Flash finally gives up and dies. I can already hear hackers saying “well, now that Flash is gone there is no sense in searching for exploits anymore”. Of course that won’t happen, something else will take it’s place. Imagine how funny would it be if Firefox received that honor. Deep down inside, I can’t help but wait for the day when a major security breach happens to one of those guys who jumped on the Flash hate train and the same angry mob turns on them for the same reason.
Even today, Flash will work better than HTML5 if you count all the desktop devices, browsers etc. Of course, with time, that advantage will go away. It’s quite obvious that Flash will eventually die, but that won’t happen on demand of few people from Firefox or Facebook, not even from the angry mob’s petition. Flash has been dying slowly for the last 5-6 years and it will probably continue to decay for the next 3-5 years, until everybody eventually transitions to HTML5 or something else. To be clear, the main cause for that transition being slow is not the awesomeness of Flash, it’s the suckyness of HTML5/js development.
Now, I’m not talking about things Flash is most popular for, like video players or banners that lead to Flash hate train being constructe in the first place. It might surprise someone, but there was something much more interesting in the whole “Flash world”. Games, funny cartoons and animations, for example. Flash was simple and easy to learn, for what ever purpose you wanted. There was a vibrant scene for Flash animators, called Newgrounds, Armor Games for Flash games, and, finally, there was FGL for. And people are probably still joking about it today. Here’s one for example:
“Flash is dead” – S. Jobs – 2010.
“S. Jobs is dead” – A. Flash – 2011.
Finally, let’s discuss how Flash makes your computer slow and maxes out memory. That’s also not the problem specific to Flash. That’s what happens when developers don’t clean up their code. In most cases it’s the poor handling of listeners, causing memory leaks. If you think that won’t happen once you disable Flash plugin in a sign of protest or what ever the hype was about last week, you’re in for a surprise, because guess what – memory leaks happen everywhere. While you’re reading this article, your OS is probably leaking memory somewhere. Same thing goes for your browser. Just wait untill the angry mob starts playing html5 games. I bet they’ll be aiming their catapults at Firefox and Chrome headquarters. When that day comes I’ll have a big smile on my face, thinking about karma, whistling in Flash’s honor:
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