Author: Michael Evans
Steve Jobs' view of Adobe Flash is by now well known: He doesn't like it on the iPhone and iPad and even has reservations about using it on Macs. This week he posted an open letter explaining more about his objections to Flash, citing reliability, security, performance, battery life and the lack of touch implementation as the reason Apple have so far refused to allow Flash on the iPhone OS platform. Separately, he is quoted as saying that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. He concludes by maintaining that "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice." You can read a full summary of his views on Engadget here.
Now Microsoft seems to have waded into the fray. Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer, confirms Jobs' view that HTML5 is the future of the web and forecasts a move away from plug-ins such as Adobe Flash. He also underscores the Jobsian view of the bag of hurt that is Flash: "Reliability, security and performance" are not as good as Microsoft would wish. However, he acknowledges that it is difficult for the typical consumer to access Flash-free content, so he is not planning to take the sort of banning action pioneered by Apple. Read the full article on Edgadget here.
My own observations show that Flash leads to intensive processor use and overheating, especially on my old MacBook Air which isn't the coolest kid on the block. Since I have been managing without the plug-in I find one or two news sites where I cannot watch video, but on the whole my computers run cooler, faster and suffer less frequent crashes. As I've said before, I leave Flash enabled in a second browser (in my case Firefox) and simply load this if I must watch a Flash video.
I've covered the simple way of killing flash in Safari – by disabling the "Enable Plug-ins" box in Safari Preferences, but readers might like to try a software solution that provides more flexibility and the ability to switch on the fly. David Sparks of MacSparky covered this in some detail on April 15 and if you find Flash is bothering you or your Mac, you can read his conclusions here.