Does Adobe Flash Need to Die? [MakeUseOf Poll]

Dave Parrack 19-07-2015

Adobe Flash has been in the news again of late, and, as usual, it isn’t good news. Researchers discovered some fresh vulnerabilities in Flash, and these inherent flaws were serious enough to prompt Mozilla to block Flash by default for a period of time. Adobe has now updated Flash to eliminate the problem, but the calls to kill Flash off for good are growing louder by the day.


We want to know what you think about Adobe Flash, and, in particular, whether you think Flash needs to die. Welcome to this week’s MakeUseOf Poll.


To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “>Which Search Engine Do You Use?

Out of a total of 1,299 votes, 34% chose DuckDuckGo, 32.5% chose Google, 31.6% chose Bing, 0.4% chose Yahoo, 0.2% chose Wolfram Alpha, 0% chose Baidu, 0% chose Ask, 0% chose Yandex, 1.3% chose Other, and 0.1% chose I Never Use Search Engines.

So, DuckDuckGo won out, but only just, with just 32 votes separating DuckDuckGo, Google, and Bing. This result comes as something of a surprise, because Google is by far the most popular search engine amongst the general population.

However, it seems MakeUseOf readers play by their own set of rules, and a slight majority of them prefer the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo 6 Cool DuckDuckGo Features You Won't Find on Google In a world ruled by Google, at least where search is concerned, it’s sometimes hard to imagine a worthy alternative. DuckDuckGo is one website that is trying to offer such an alternative. If you’ve been... Read More over the mainstream offerings from Google and Microsoft. Yahoo earned a measly five votes, which is another big surprise.



Comment of the Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Stephen Hazelwood, Rob Hindle, and Hildyblog. Comment Of The Week goes to Peter Fitzsimmons, who earns our admiration and affection for this comment:

I am almost fully immersed in the Google system, having a Nexus 6, Nexus 9 AND my new Chromebook. Using Google is easy and fuss free (for the most part).

I know Google has its haters and they are more than entitled to use what ever systems they chose, but for me Google does what I need and does it well.

Utilising things like Google Now on my phone or tablet is great and saves a lot of messing around, whereas on the Chromebook, I can use the same bookmarks as I do on the phones so that I get the same experience as I do on the tablet etc.

It’s far from perfect, but I do like the updates and “new” things that Google introduces to make life a bit easier. It doesn’t always work, but when it does – it’s brilliant.

We chose this comment because it explains why some people use a particular operating system by default. If you use a number of Google products and services Save Your Time With 10 Underused Google Features Google's tools and services do everything for us. But there are a lot of features that go underused. Save a few seconds and get more done with the Google tools you use every day. Read More then it’s a no-brainer to use Google’s search engine. The same goes for people heavily ensconced in the Microsoft ecosystem Windows on Every Device - This Is How Microsoft Is Realizing Its New Ecosystem Windows was never gone, but it's about to make a comeback nevertheless. You can currently observe how Microsoft is getting its flagship up to speed. Last week on Microsoft... Read More , who will choose Bing over and above the competition.

A Flash of Inspiration

Adobe Flash, a proprietary multimedia platform for graphics, games, and videos, has split opinion for a long time. Those who like it think it still has a place on the Web, and argue that it’s no worse than the alternatives. Those who hate it think it’s an insecure resource hog that belongs to a bygone era.


Steve Jobs made the headlines in 2010 when he passionately argued against using Adobe Flash, and vowed it would never be welcome on Apple’s mobile devices. Many others have echoed these sentiments since, and this past week saw Alex Stamos, Facebook’s new Chief Security Officer, calling for Flash to be killed off without mercy Adobe Flash Must Die, Apple Suffers From Staingate, & More... [Tech News Digest] Facebook bashes Flash, Apple scrubs those stains, Walmart launches Black Friday 2, Nintendo suffers a real loss, Spotify maps the world, and R5-D4 ends it all. Read More .

So, where do you stand on this issue? Does Adobe Flash need to die? Or does it still have a right to exist as long as people are using it? Please vote in the poll below, before scrolling down to the comments section to add some reasoning to your selection.

Once you have voted in the poll above, please explain in the comments section below why you voted that way. We want to know your true thoughts on Adobe Flash How to Install Flash On Your Android Jelly Bean Tablet or Phone For the past few years, Adobe Flash has proved quite controversial. Ever since Apple opted to block support for it on iOS – thereby forcing anyone who wanted to use the iPhone or iPad to... Read More . Do you love it? Hate it? Have no particular feelings either way? Have you already uninstalled Flash? If so, what was the final straw?

The more information you can provide with your comment, the more accurate our conclusions can be based on the results. The best comment of the week will win our everlasting admiration and affection. At least until we all meet back here again this time next week with a new question.


Image Credits: Xathis via Flickr

Related topics: Adobe Flash, Google, Microsoft Bing, Wolfram Alpha, Yahoo.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 18, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    I personaly think that Flash Player has come to a point where you can get viruses more frequently than you can watch a video. In any program ever existing there will be a hole. That hole can be abused, then used against users. I think Flash Player needs to go/ be replaced with something else, something bigger and better, while slim and easy to use on any amount of ram, doesn't kill yo ram/be free from holes

  2. Anonymous
    July 21, 2015 at 2:26 am

    If you ask me the same question 2 weeks ago, I will say I don't care. However, the vulnerability in Adobe Flash has caused some serious problems for me. True, I didn't update my Adobe Flash regularly (I am quite certain I am not the only one that switch off the auto update function of Adobe), however when my PC was struck by a nasty ransomware, I was shocked as I didn't 1) execute any suspicious files
    2) insert removable media (I even switched off autorun)
    3) browse any suspicious websites
    Soon after a little research, I found out that the problem lies with the Adobe Flash. Turns out that there was a serious vulnerability in Flash that was being exploited. All my files are not recoverable anymore (I have tried a lot of methods, I have some backups of the original files but still failed to decrypt them.) and in the end I gave up and reinstalled my OS.
    These are just my opinions, but..
    When I don't update my Mozilla Firefox, I don't have any problem.
    When I don't update my Windows, I don't have any problem.
    So why when I don't update my Flash, it will cause such a big trouble to me?
    If that is the case, it will be better if we give up Flash altogether.

    Forgive my grammar/spelling as I am not a native English user.

  3. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I come with some Flash programming background. To me it seems people are rediscovering a wheel. Today people are building cool stuff with HTML5+canvas what I did 8 years ago. So, yes, both technologies are quiet equivalent at this point. However, to be fair, flash has been attributed many bad things, such as running slow on mobile. Apple blocked flash because it dried battery on their devices too fast. But the same will happen if you animate particles in HTML5 Canvas. It will dry your battery and run like crap on mobile. People fail to understand that by killing Flash they are not solving a problem. Flash has nice programming language behind it called ActionScript 3.0. I say, flash should remain available until JS is strongly typed and more programmer friendly. Interfaces, public private, protected attribues, classes, inheritance, all that without a hack, then we would be getting somewhere. When new JS revision is rolled out by ECMA gods, flash can die. There is no point investing resources on to alternative solutions.

    • Anonymous
      July 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I agree with most of what you are saying, however it is hard to take you seriously when you use terms like 'it will dry your battery'. I have never heard anyone reference a drained battery as being dry. That is just plain weird man, where are you from?

  4. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    One thing that's gone unmentioned is that there's a large base of creatives who use flash to create Animations. Happy Tree Friends, among them. When Flash began to "sour" was when too much programming aimed at website designers was just haphazardly (to me) added. I have a set of add-ons that allow for all kinds of nice animation things (larger library thumbnails, tweening assists, squash and stretch and even mouth shape managers)

    I would say that Flash as we know it now should have a stake driven in it's interactive heart and then brought back to life as a strictly Animation tool. Apps like ToonBoom Harmony, Anime Studio and TVPaint has shown there is not only a market for such tools, but they are used by animation studios. Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea used Anime Studio and TVPaint in its production. The Simpson's movie and TV series used ToonBoom animation software. And Archer still uses Flash.

    Before Flash was bought by Macromedia, it was a basic vector animation app that could be used via a plug-in to bring small, compact animation to headers and such for websites. Of course that was way, way back in the days of 56K modems.

    So if Adobe really wants to make tools for creatives, rework Flash to be the premier Animation software, have it export movies in various formats, MOV, MP4s, for HTML 5. Drop the hooks to outside databases, just make it all self contained. Make Flash work for animators and storytellers. Sandbox the programming so it can only make games.

    Black-hat Hackers will find a way to make anything a vulnerability to security. By taking the onus of web-site connectivity and control away from Flash will finally allow it to become the creative tool it should have evolved into, rather than the patched up assembly of hacks and workarounds it is today.

    Robert A. Heinlein said that "specialization is for insects" -- if he was alive today, he would add "and software" to that statement. I like using Action Script (or whatever branding Adobe is calling Flash programming now, I'm still using an old version) to control animation, backgrounds and such. But since Flash has been abandoned by Adobe, I've explored other apps that actually are in real development and are being constantly improved.

    So far I've replaced Illustrator with Affinity Designer, Phoshop with Affinity Photo, and now Flash is collecting digital dust as I learn Anime Studio and Sketchbook Pro application to animation. So aside from InDesign (which will be getting some new competition later this year) I really have no use for Adobe products and their money-grubbing and easy to get, hard to leave, extortion -- I mean -- Subscription program. So I feel the issues with Flash indicate a growing rot on the tree of Adobe.

    • Anonymous
      July 20, 2015 at 10:53 pm


      You have hit the nail on the head. It's like you are in my head!

  5. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I love and hate Flash at the same time, it would be a long time before all the browser gas get remade in something else, and there is a lot of expertise already invested in the platform.

    I hate Flash banners though.

    Can HTML5+JS really step up to the mark?

  6. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    As an IT guy, the amount of fully justifiable violence I would like to visit upon Adobe and its employees and investors can probably only be qualified in megatons of TNT. Between crappy updaters, insecure applications and bullshit hoops for both licensing and support, I spend an outsized portion of my time dealing with problems Adobe causes. I have nothing positive to say about it. Were it to vanish from the Earth, our planet would only be a better place for it.

  7. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Face the facts, it's been in its death throes for years. Working in web design what it seemed to offer me nearly 20 years ago looked good in the context of HTML standards of the time (no css and only rudimentary javascript) but too resource hungry for the internet speeds of the time. We got faster connections but then the problem was that it was difficult for search engines to index Flash sites. They went some way to resolving that but other web technologies were also evolving fast. In the end the only real use I got from it was for when I needed to host videos on my server before YouTube provided a better alternative.

    It's 5 years since Apple decided it was a dead duck and they'd not be supporting it going forward. Adobe is no longer developing the Flash for Linux.

    And now it keeps getting security issues. I guess that from Adobe's perspective it must be costing a lot to keep going with the need for urgent security releases and I guess it may not earn them much from flashbuilder sales (esp as there are cheaper/free alternatives).

    I find it quite mystifying that after so long there are still websites dependent on Flash but I guess that indicates no budget for a replacement so they too are headed for oblivion.

    And let's not forget the Flash security settings defaulting to what most would regard as "intrusive".

    Who would choose to create a new website using a technology that's no longer supported on some reasonably widely used platforms? OK there's legacy code & games out there so maybe there's something to be said for running it standalone with no internet access.

  8. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I don't think Adobe should die. But, I think Flash should, since it is full of security issues. It is already a legacy software in which people don't need anymore. We can all move on to a better HTML5 and maybe HTML6 soon.

  9. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    In a world where beautiful animations, video playback and all the many other functionality baked into Flash can be accomplished with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other interpreted languages that run in the browser, Flash is a dinosaur. It is a closed source, de facto standard that hurts compatibility with operating systems that Adobe deems unworthy.

    Flash exposes users to unnecessary attack vectors and can seriously compromise a machine if a user is not extremely careful. That isn't to say that the technologies that would replace Flash are foolproof, it just seems that open standards help to increase interoperability and allow for many people to contribute to securing them against attack. Flash and its users are solely at the mercy of Adobe.

  10. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I am neutral in terms of this software, but I'm sorry, but all this "Adobe should die" is just business propaganda bs that aims to eliminate competition. If they truly cared for customer security or quality, they would root for fixing such a widespread and admittedly difficult to replace piece of software.

  11. Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I have always disliked Flash. It takes up resources, it's a huge target for attack, it supports the most annoying and dangerous advisements, and it hasn't ever improved on any of these things. But it shouldn't be killed off just yet, saying so is short-sighted.

    Firstly, the fact that so many vulnerabilities are found in Flash is due to nothing other than the fact that it has such a large install-base. It's the same reason why you get so many viruses targeted at Windows. It's not, as Apple falsely advertised for so many years, that it's impossible to get a virus on a Mac. It's because targeting billions of devices is a better option than targeting the small corner of the market that Apple holds. The technology that replaces it, such as HTML5, Silverlight, or Unity Web Player, will inevitably have issues found in them after the Flash install-base diminishes. So that's one of my complaints nullified.

    The adverts I can live with. They are easily dealt with by using the handy Firefox feature of "ask to activate", and Adobe can hardly be blamed for people using it to desperately shill a product.

    So on to my other two issues with it. It takes up a huge amount of resources, sure. But so does pretty much anything that tries to do what Flash is doing, I can't really complain about it in that sense. And sure, it hasn't really improved all that much over the years, but it doesn't really need to.

    I could hate on Flash, I could call for all browsers to kill it on a specific date, but the arguments would be hollow. And here's why it should stay around for a little bit longer.

    It powers the web. There are still large websites that distribute Flash content, content that would be impossible to re-write to another platform en-masse. Do you want for all of these websites to die off? What about the smaller websites, run by companies that paid someone to build them shiny file uploaders, and widgets, and other interactive doodads. Should they just accept that they now have to pay a large amount of money to have those things replaced, just because the tide is turning against Flash?

    Then there's the games, I know that a few big games on Steam use Flash, like the original Binding of Isaac. Are you calling for those to just stop working, for the people who bought those games to have their entertainment taken away and the money wasted?

    This is to say nothing of the fact that HTML5 isn't a viable alternative just yet. The specifications for it are still evolving, and a large number of people are running browsers that don't fully (or even partially) support it. These people would be left out in the cold if Flash died.

    TL:DR - Flash is still in use. Over the years, it will be used less and less. Eventually it will only be used by a handful of holdouts and Adobe will stop updating it, but that won't matter, because it will already be pretty much dead at that point. But it should never be killed, it should happen naturally, because anything else will cause more problems than it would solve.

  12. Anonymous
    July 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    HTML 5 is a worthy replacement for Flash

  13. Anonymous
    July 19, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    So long as there are sites like the classical music treasure that require it the point is moot to me because I need it to experience the web I want.

  14. Anonymous
    July 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I don't think Flash will die something of equivalent functionality replaces it. Apple tried to kill of Flash by "defamation" not because they thought anything was intrinsically with it (imo). Whatever technology that may eventually replace Flash is still mostly unsupported and therefore won't gain any true ground until IE8 dies out. Apple hasn't come up with anything better either, at least not yet. HTML5 is still w/o a standard video format too...

    Still many people "hate" on Flash and yes it is a nuisance sometimes with the all too frequent crashes it causes, the incessant updates it demands, the fact that it requires you to install a plugin to run it, but hey, MicroSoft bugs me with their incessant updates too...

    • Anonymous
      July 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      I missed 2 vital words in my original should have read...

      I don't think Flash will die UNTIL something of equivalent functionality replaces it. Apple tried to kill of Flash by "defamation" not because they thought anything was intrinsically WRONG with it (imo).

  15. Anonymous
    July 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    As a Linux user and the fact that Adobe no longer support Flash for Linux it's a no brainer that I would vote to see it snuffed out. In reality I know of way to many flaws in the security of flash and all the deserate updates to try to patch these up. Just kill it.

  16. Anonymous
    July 19, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    While i do feel like Flash still has a place in this day and age, I still feel like it's bloated and showing its age. While I'll admit I have bias since I was forced to take a course on Flash and absolutely hated every second of it. Adobe Edge is still far from polished enough to be a commercial replacement for Flash. I know Flash animation is still a huge thing on websites like Newgrounds and other Flash Game websites. Though as HTML5 grows the less I feel the internet needs Flash anymore. All I know is there are some very powerful forces out there trying to see an end to it.

  17. Anonymous
    July 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    I don't mind seeing it go, but at the moment a number of webapps and websites I frequent still require it, Pixlr for example, and my bank. But if everyone would simply stop using it and switch to something else like html5 I wouldn't care if it disappeared. Maybe if Adobe announced and end of life date, all websites would abandon it.