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.