Slowly but surely antique technologies are making their way to death row awaiting an unceremonious execution. Microsoft is putting to death a number of ancient technologies with Windows and Internet Explorer.
It’s official. Oracle, the owner of Java, has announced an end-of-life program, a death row, if you will, of the much maligned Java browser plugin. Good riddance and long live Java. Has there every been a plugin that caused more trouble for Mac users? Yes. And it’s still around.
The reason why the database giant even owns Java is thanks to the purchase of Sun Microsystems a few years ago. Java came along for the ride because many lawyers thought Oracle could sue Google for misappropriation of intellectual property. Funny thing. True story. Oracle sued Google.
The jury is still out on that lawsuit but the verdict is in on the Java Plugin for browsers. It’s on death row and awaiting execution. Browsers have been using a thing called the Netscape Plugin API for years. That’s the problem. Plugins. And plugins are the way of choice for many unscrupulous malware makers who target browsers that visit nefarious websites.
Sound familiar? A browser plugin with security problems?
How about Adobe’s Flash? Flash is such a resource hog and security risk that Apple no longer puts Flash pre-installed on new Macs. Flash still works on Safari. For now. But the days are numbered. All we’re waiting for is the final verdict, a walk to death row, and eventual execution.
Here’s what Steve Jobs had to say about Flash before he died.
Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?
Do you have Flash running on your smartphone or notebook? What motivated Jobs way back when?
Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform.
Jobs did not devote much time to Flash’s infinite security issues, but his missive back in early 2010 set the stage for the beginning of the end.
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
Flash was tried and convicted by Jobs back in 2010, and the fact that Flash remains, albeit with less prominence, shows just how long it takes to execute dead technology in the 21st century.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
What Adobe did was exactly what Jobs recommended. The company stopped criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind, and started creating better HTML5 tools for modern devices, including tablets and smartphones.
Unfortunately, Adobe, while recognizing Flash is representative of the past, has yet to push the button to eliminate Flash from the future. Flash is a zombie app living on death row. Jobs knew Flash needed to die almost six years ago. What’s preventing Adobe from pulling the trigger and executing a zombie living on death row?