Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash

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Adobe Flash is a multimedia
Multimedia
Multimedia is media and content that uses a combination of different content forms. The term can be used as a noun or as an adjective describing a medium as having multiple content forms. The term is used in contrast to media which use only rudimentary computer display such as text-only, or...

 platform
Platform (computing)
A computing platform includes some sort of hardware architecture and a software framework , where the combination allows software, particularly application software, to run...

 used to add animation
Animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

, video, and interactivity
Interactivity
In the fields of information science, communication, and industrial design, there is debate over the meaning of interactivity. In the "contingency view" of interactivity, there are three levels:...

 to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements, games and flash animations for broadcast. More recently, it has been positioned as a tool for "Rich Internet Application
Rich Internet application
A Rich Internet Application is a Web application that has many of the characteristics of desktop application software, typically delivered either by way of a site-specific browser, via a browser plug-in, independent sandboxes, extensive use of JavaScript, or virtual machines...

s" ("RIAs").

Flash manipulates vector
Vector graphics
Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon, which are all based on mathematical expressions, to represent images in computer graphics...

 and raster graphics
Raster graphics
In computer graphics, a raster graphics image, or bitmap, is a data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color, viewable via a monitor, paper, or other display medium...

 to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. It supports bidirectional streaming
Streaming media
Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a streaming provider.The term "presented" is used in this article in a general sense that includes audio or video playback. The name refers to the delivery method of the medium rather...

 of audio and video, and it can capture user input via mouse, keyboard, microphone, and camera. Flash contains an object-oriented language called ActionScript
ActionScript
ActionScript is an object-oriented language originally developed by Macromedia Inc. . It is a dialect of ECMAScript , and is used primarily for the development of websites and software targeting the Adobe Flash Player platform, used on Web pages in the form of...

 and supports automation via the Javascript Flash language (JSFL).

Flash content may be displayed on various computer systems and devices
Information appliance
In general terms, an information appliance or information device is any machine or device that is usable for the purposes of computing, telecommunicating, reproducing, and presenting encoded information in myriad forms and applications....

, using Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player
The Adobe Flash Player is software for viewing multimedia, Rich Internet Applications and streaming video and audio, on a computer web browser or on supported mobile devices. Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by the Adobe Flash authoring tool, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other...

, which is available free of charge for common web browser
Web browser
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content...

s, some mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

s and a few other electronic devices (using Flash Lite
Flash Lite
Adobe Flash Lite is a lightweight version of Adobe Flash Player, a software application published by Adobe Systems. This version is intended for mobile phones and other portable electronic devices like Chumby and iRiver, and allows users of these devices to view multimedia content and applications...

).

Some users feel that Flash enriches their web experience, while others find the extensive use of Flash animation, particularly in advertising, intrusive and annoying, giving rise to a cottage industry that specializes in blocking Flash content. Flash has also been criticized for adversely affecting the usability of web pages.

History


Flash originated with the application SmartSketch, developed by Jonathan Gay
Jonathan Gay
Jonathan Gay is a computer programmer and software entrepreneur based in Northern California. Gay was a co-founder of FutureWave Software in 1993. For a decade, he was the main programmer and visionary of Flash, an animation editor for web pages...

. It was published by FutureWave Software
FutureWave Software
FutureWave Software was a software developer and publisher based in San Diego, California. The company was founded by Charlie Jackson and Jonathan Gay in early 1993. VP of Marketing was Michelle Welsh who also came from Silicon Beach Software, then Aldus....

, which was founded by Gay and Charlie Jackson
Charlie Jackson (software)
Charlie Jackson is a computer software entrepreneur who founded Silicon Beach Software in 1984 and co-founded FutureWave Software in 1993. FutureWave created the first version of what is now Adobe Flash. He was an early investor in Wired magazine, Outpost.com, Streamload and Angelic...

. SmartSketch was a drawing application for pen computers running the PenPoint OS
PenPoint OS
The PenPoint OS was a product of GO Corporation and was one of the earliest operating systems written specifically for graphical tablets and personal digital assistants...

. When PenPoint failed in the marketplace, SmartSketch was ported to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. As the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 became more popular, FutureWave added cell animation editing to the vector drawing capabilities of SmartSketch and released FutureSplash Animator
FutureSplash Animator
FutureSplash Animator was a vector-based animation editor written by Jonathan Gay for this company FutureWave Software. The company and the product were later bought by Macromedia then Adobe Systems, and became Adobe Flash ....

 on multiple platforms. FutureWave approached Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American computer software company founded in 1982 and headquartered in San Jose, California, United States...

 with an offer to sell them FutureSplash in 1995, but Adobe turned them down at that time. FutureSplash was used by Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 in its early work with the Internet (MSN
MSN
MSN is a collection of Internet sites and services provided by Microsoft. The Microsoft Network debuted as an online service and Internet service provider on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of the Windows 95 operating system.The range of services offered by MSN has changed since its...

), and also by Disney Online for their subscription-based service, Disney's Daily Blast. In 1996, FutureSplash was acquired by Macromedia and released as Flash, contracting "Future" and "Splash". Flash is currently developed and distributed by Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American computer software company founded in 1982 and headquartered in San Jose, California, United States...

, as the result of their 2005 purchase of Macromedia.

Rich Internet Applications


Adobe Labs (previously called Macromedia Labs) is a source for news and pre-release versions of emerging products and technologies from Adobe. Most innovations, such as Flash 10, Flex 3, and ActionScript
ActionScript
ActionScript is an object-oriented language originally developed by Macromedia Inc. . It is a dialect of ECMAScript , and is used primarily for the development of websites and software targeting the Adobe Flash Player platform, used on Web pages in the form of...

 3.0 have all been discussed and/or trialled on the site.

One area Adobe is focusing on (as of February 2009) is the deployment of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). To this end, they released Adobe Integrated Runtime
Adobe Integrated Runtime
Adobe Integrated Runtime, also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform runtime environment developed by Adobe Systems for building Rich Internet Applications using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML, and Ajax, that can be run as desktop applications or on mobile devices...

 (AIR), a cross-platform
Cross-platform
In computing, cross-platform, or multi-platform, is an attribute conferred to computer software or computing methods and concepts that are implemented and inter-operate on multiple computer platforms...

 runtime environment that builds rich internet applications in Adobe Flash. The output can be deployed as desktop applications
Application software
Application software, also known as an application or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with...

. It surpassed 100 million installations worldwide in February 2009. Flash can be installed independently from Adobe's website (adobe.com) and is installed silently when Adobe Reader is installed.

Two additional components designed for large-scale implementation have been proposed by Adobe for future releases of Flash: first, the option to require an ad to be played in full before the main video piece is played; and second, the integration of digital rights management
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

 (DRM) capabilities. This way Adobe can give companies the option to link an advertisement with content and make sure that both are played and remain unchanged.

Open Screen Project


On May 1, 2008, Adobe announced the Open Screen Project, which hopes to provide a consistent application interface across devices such as personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, mobile devices, and consumer electronics
Consumer electronics
Consumer electronics are electronic equipment intended for everyday use, most often in entertainment, communications and office productivity. Radio broadcasting in the early 20th century brought the first major consumer product, the broadcast receiver...

. When the project was announced, several goals were outlined: the abolition of licensing fees for Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Integrated Runtime
Adobe Integrated Runtime
Adobe Integrated Runtime, also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform runtime environment developed by Adobe Systems for building Rich Internet Applications using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML, and Ajax, that can be run as desktop applications or on mobile devices...

, the removal of restrictions on the use of the Shockwave Flash (SWF) and Flash Video (FLV) file format
File format
A file format is a particular way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file.Since a disk drive, or indeed any computer storage, can store only bits, the computer must have some way of converting information to 0s and 1s and vice-versa. There are different kinds of formats for...

s, the publishing of application programming interfaces
Application programming interface
An application programming interface is a source code based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other...

 for porting Flash to new devices, and the publishing of The Flash Cast protocol and Action Message Format (AMF), which let Flash applications receive information from remote databases.

, the specifications removing the restrictions on the use of SWF and FLV/F4V specs have been published. The Flash Cast protocol—now known as the Mobile Content Delivery Protocol—and AMF protocols have also been made available, with AMF available as an open source implementation, BlazeDS
BlazeDS
BlazeDS is a server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that allows you to connect to back-end distributed data and push data to Adobe Flex and Adobe Integrated Runtime Rich Internet applications...

. Work on the device porting layers is in the early stages. Adobe intends to remove the licensing fees for Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices at their release for the Open Screen Project.

The list of mobile device providers who have joined the project includes Palm
Palm, Inc.
Palm, Inc., was a smartphone manufacturer headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, that was responsible for products such as the Pre and Pixi as well as the Treo and Centro smartphones. Previous product lines include the PalmPilot, Palm III, Palm V, Palm VII, Zire and Tungsten. While their older...

, Motorola, and Nokia, who, together with Adobe, have announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund.

Flash for mobile platforms


Flash Player for smart phones was made available to handset manufacturers at the end of 2009..

Decline


In November
November
November is the 11th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with the length of 30 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar...

 2011 there were a number of announcements that demonstrated a decline in demand for rich internet application
Rich Internet application
A Rich Internet Application is a Web application that has many of the characteristics of desktop application software, typically delivered either by way of a site-specific browser, via a browser plug-in, independent sandboxes, extensive use of JavaScript, or virtual machines...

 architectures, and Flash in particular.

However, in November 2011 Adobe announced the end of Flash for mobile platforms or TV, instead focusing on HTML5 for browser content and Adobe AIR for the various mobile AppStores . Pundits questioned its continued relevance even on the desktop and described it as "the beginning of the end". RIM announced that it would continue to develop Flash for the PlayBook.

Format



Flash files are in the SWF format, traditionally called "ShockWave Flash" movies, "Flash movies," or "Flash applications", usually have a .swf file extension, and may be used in the form of a web page plug-in, strictly "played" in a standalone Flash Player, or incorporated into a self-executing Projector movie (with the .exe extension in Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

). Flash Video filesFLV and F4V Video File Format Specification Version 9
F4V is based on ISO base media file format
ISO base media file format
ISO base media file format defines a general structure for time-based multimedia files such as video and audio. It is used as the basis for other media file formats...

 standard:freely available ISO standards , and also available via subscription http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=41828
have a .flv file extension and are either used from within .swf
SWF
SWF is an Adobe Flash file format used for multimedia, vector graphics and ActionScript. Originating with FutureWave Software, then transferred to Macromedia, and then coming under the control of Adobe, SWF files can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function.,...

 files or played through a flv-aware player, such as VLC
VLC media player
VLC media player is a free and open source media player and multimedia framework written by the VideoLAN project.VLC is a portable multimedia player, encoder, and streamer supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It is able to...

, or QuickTime
QuickTime
QuickTime is an extensible proprietary multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc., capable of handling various formats of digital video, picture, sound, panoramic images, and interactivity. The classic version of QuickTime is available for Windows XP and later, as well as Mac OS X Leopard and...

 and Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices...

 with external codec
Codec
A codec is a device or computer program capable of encoding or decoding a digital data stream or signal. The word codec is a portmanteau of "compressor-decompressor" or, more commonly, "coder-decoder"...

s added.

The use of vector graphics combined with program code allows Flash files to be smaller — and thus for streams to use less bandwidth
Bandwidth (computing)
In computer networking and computer science, bandwidth, network bandwidth, data bandwidth, or digital bandwidth is a measure of available or consumed data communication resources expressed in bits/second or multiples of it .Note that in textbooks on wireless communications, modem data transmission,...

 — than the corresponding bitmaps or video clips. For content in a single format (such as just text, video, or audio), other alternatives may provide better performance and consume less CPU
Central processing unit
The central processing unit is the portion of a computer system that carries out the instructions of a computer program, to perform the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. The CPU plays a role somewhat analogous to the brain in the computer. The term has been in...

 power than the corresponding Flash movie, for example when using transparency or making large screen updates such as photographic or text fades.

In addition to a vector-rendering engine, the Flash Player includes a virtual machine called the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM) for scripting interactivity at run-time, support for video, MP3-based audio, and bitmap graphics. As of Flash Player 8, it offers two video codecs: On2 Technologies
On2 Technologies
On2 Technologies , formerly known as The Duck Corporation, was a small publicly-traded company , headquartered in Clifton Park, New York, that designs video codec technology. They created a series of video codecs called TrueMotion...

 VP6
VP6
On2 TrueMotion VP6 is a proprietary lossy video compression format and video codec. It is an incarnation of the TrueMotion video codec, a series of video codecs developed by On2 Technologies. This codec is commonly used by Adobe Flash, Flash Video, and JavaFX media files.- Overview :The VP6 codec...

 and Sorenson Spark
Sorenson codec
Sorenson codec may refer to either of three proprietary video codecs: Sorenson Video, Sorenson Video 3 or Sorenson Spark. Sorenson Video is also known as Sorenson Video Codec, Sorenson Video Quantizer or SVQ...

, and run-time support for JPEG
JPEG
In computing, JPEG . The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality....

, Progressive JPEG, PNG, and GIF. In the next version, Flash is slated to use a just-in-time
Just-in-time compilation
In computing, just-in-time compilation , also known as dynamic translation, is a method to improve the runtime performance of computer programs. Historically, computer programs had two modes of runtime operation, either interpreted or static compilation...

 compiler for the ActionScript engine.

Flash Player is a browser plugin, and cannot run within a usual e-mail client, such as Outlook
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available both as a separate application as well as a part of the Microsoft Office suite...

. Instead, a link must open a browser window. A Gmail
Gmail
Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service provided by Google. Users may access Gmail as secure webmail, as well via POP3 or IMAP protocols. Gmail was launched as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004 and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007, though...

 labs feature allows playback of YouTube videos linked in emails.

Flash Video



Virtually all browser plugins for video are free of charge and cross-platform, including Adobe's offering of Flash Video, which was first introduced with Flash version 6. Flash Video has been a popular choice for websites due to the large installed user base and programmability of Flash. In 2010, Apple publicly criticized Adobe Flash, including its implementation of video playback for not taking advantage of hardware acceleration, one reason Flash is not to be found on Apple's mobile devices. Soon after Apple's criticism, Adobe demoed and released a beta version of Flash 10.1, which takes advantage of GPU hardware acceleration even on a Mac. Flash 10.2 beta, released December 2010, adds hardware acceleration for the whole video rendering pipeline.

Flash Audio


Flash Audio is most commonly encoded in MP3
MP3
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...

 or AAC (Advanced Audio Coding
Advanced Audio Coding
Advanced Audio Coding is a standardized, lossy compression and encoding scheme for digital audio. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at similar bit rates....

) however it does also support ADPCM, Nellymoser (Nellymoser Asao Codec
Nellymoser Asao Codec
Asao is a proprietary single-channel codec and compression format optimized for low-bitrate transmission of audio, developed by Nellymoser Inc....

) and Speex
Speex
Speex is a patent-free audio compression format designed for speech and also a free software speech codec that may be used on VoIP applications and podcasts. It is based on the CELP speech coding algorithm. Speex claims to be free of any patent restrictions and is licensed under the revised BSD...

 audio codecs. Flash allows sample rates of 11, 22 and 44.1 kHz. It does not support 48 kHz audio sample rate, which is the standard TV and DVD sample rate.

On August 20, 2007, Adobe announced on its blog that with Update 3 of Flash Player 9, Flash Video will also support some parts of the MPEG-4
MPEG-4
MPEG-4 is a method of defining compression of audio and visual digital data. It was introduced in late 1998 and designated a standard for a group of audio and video coding formats and related technology agreed upon by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group under the formal standard ISO/IEC...

 international standards. Specifically, Flash Player will have support for video compressed in H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10), audio compressed using AAC
Advanced Audio Coding
Advanced Audio Coding is a standardized, lossy compression and encoding scheme for digital audio. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves better sound quality than MP3 at similar bit rates....

 (MPEG-4 Part 3), the F4V, MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14), M4V, M4A, 3GP
3GP
3GP is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones....

 and MOV multimedia container formats, 3GPP
3GPP
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations, known as the Organizational Partners...

 Timed Text
Timed Text
Timed Text refers to the presentation of text media in synchrony with other media, such as audio and video.Typical applications of timed text are the real time subtitling of foreign-language movies on the Web, captioning for people lacking audio devices or having hearing impairments, karaoke,...

 specification (MPEG-4 Part 17), which is a standardized subtitle format and partial parsing support for the 'ilst' atom, which is the ID3
ID3
ID3 is a metadata container most often used in conjunction with the MP3 audio file format. It allows information such as the title, artist, album, track number, and other information about the file to be stored in the file itself....

 equivalent iTunes
ITunes
iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

 uses to store metadata
Metadata
The term metadata is an ambiguous term which is used for two fundamentally different concepts . Although the expression "data about data" is often used, it does not apply to both in the same way. Structural metadata, the design and specification of data structures, cannot be about data, because at...

. MPEG-4 Part 2
MPEG-4 Part 2
MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-4 Visual is a video compression technology developed by MPEG. It belongs to the MPEG-4 ISO/IEC standards. It is a discrete cosine transform compression standard, similar to previous standards such as MPEG-1 and MPEG-2...

 and H.263
H.263
H.263 is a video compression standard originally designed as a low-bitrate compressed format for videoconferencing. It was developed by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group in a project ending in 1995/1996 as one member of the H.26x family of video coding standards in the domain of the ITU-T.H.263...

 will not be supported in F4V file format. Adobe also announced that it will be gradually moving away from the FLV format to the standard ISO base media file format (MPEG-4 Part 12) owing to functional limits with the FLV structure when streaming H.264. The final release of the Flash Player supporting some parts of MPEG-4 standards had become available in Fall 2007.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 does not support acoustic echo cancellation, unlike the VoIP offerings of Skype and Google Voice, making this and earlier versions of Flash less suitable for group calling or meetings. Flash Player 10.3 Beta incorporates acoustic echo cancellation.

Adobe previously announced that version 11 of Adobe Flash Player would support the new royalty-free container, WebM, but for yet unclarified reasons there is no WebM support in Adobe Flash Player 11.See announcement

Vendor dependence


The reliance on Adobe for decoding Flash is seen as a concern by advocates of open standard
Open standard
An open standard is a standard that is publicly available and has various rights to use associated with it, and may also have various properties of how it was designed . There is no single definition and interpretations vary with usage....

s and free software
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

. Proponents of open standards generally favor formats for which specifications are openly available and complete enough to make independent implementation straightforward. One advantage is that data stored in the format will be future proof
Future proof
The phrase future proofing describes the exclusive process of trying to anticipate future developments, so that action can be taken to minimize possible negative consequences, and to seize opportunities. For more on the process and practitioners, see Futures studies.-Data storage:Electronically...

 in the presence of such specifications. Another possible advantage, as desired by proponents of free software, is having a usable implementation in free software.

Adobe's restrictions on the use of the SWF/FLV specifications have been lifted as of February 2009 (see Adobe's Open Screen Project). However, despite efforts of projects like Gnash
Gnash
Gnash is a media player for playing SWF files. Gnash is available both as a standalone player for desktop computers and embedded device, as well as a plugin for several browsers. It is part of the GNU Project and is a Free and open-source alternative to Adobe Flash Player...

, Swfdec
Swfdec
Swfdec is a free/open source replacement of Adobe Flash Player. It is currently compatible with GNU/Linux and FreeBSD and is distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License ....

 and Lightspark
Lightspark
Lightspark is a free and open source SWF player released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3. It supports OpenGL-based rendering and LLVM-based ActionScript execution. It supports most of ActionScript 3.0 and has a Mozilla-compatible plug-in. It uses OpenGL shaders ....

, a complete free software Flash player is yet to be seen, as of September 2011. For example, Gnash has no support for SWF v10 yet. Notably, Gnash has been a long standing high priority project of the Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software...

, first noted by this article in December 2007 and ranked number one in September 2011.

Historically, notable representants of free software
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

, open standards and the World Wide Web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

 have warned against use of Flash for the above reasons:

Founder of Mozilla Europe
Mozilla Europe
Mozilla Europe is a non-profit organisation that promotes and deploys Mozilla products, like Firefox and Thunderbird, in Europe. It was founded on 17 February 2004 by contributors to Mozilla and other free software projects, and is an independent affiliate of the Mozilla Foundation with...

, Tristan Nitot
Tristan Nitot
Tristan Nitot is the president of Mozilla Europe.-Studies:Tristan Nitot is a graduate of the École Supérieure d’Informatique de Paris in Paris, also known as ESI...

, problematized in 2008:

Companies building websites should beware of proprietary rich-media technologies like Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight. (…) You're producing content for your users and there's someone in the middle deciding whether users should see your content.


Representing open standards, inventor of CSS
Cascading Style Sheets
Cascading Style Sheets is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation semantics of a document written in a markup language...

 and co-author of HTML5, Håkon Wium Lie
Håkon Wium Lie
Håkon Wium Lie is a web pioneer, a standards activist, and, , the Chief Technology Officer of Opera Software.He is best known for proposing the concept of Cascading Style Sheets while working with Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN in 1994. As an employee at W3C, he developed CSS into a...

 explained in a Google tech talk of 2007, entitled "the <video> element", the proposal of Theora
Theora
Theora is a free lossy video compression format. It is developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation and distributed without licensing fees alongside their other free and open media projects, including the Vorbis audio format and the Ogg container....

 as the format for HTML5 video
HTML5 video
HTML5 video is an element introduced in the HTML5 draft specification for the purpose of playing videos or movies, partially replacing the object element...

:
I believe very strongly, that we need to agree on some kind of baseline video format if [the video element] is going to succeed. Flash is today the baseline format on the web. The problem with Flash is that it's not an open standard.


Presenting the free software movement
Free software movement
The free software movement is a social and political movement with the goal of ensuring software users' four basic freedoms: the freedom to run their software, to study and change their software, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. The alternative terms "software libre", "open...

, Richard Stallman
Richard Stallman
Richard Matthew Stallman , often shortened to rms,"'Richard Stallman' is just my mundane name; you can call me 'rms'"|last= Stallman|first= Richard|date= N.D.|work=Richard Stallman's homepage...

 stated in a speech in 2004 that:
The use of Flash in websites is a major problem for our community.

Disclosure


In October 1998, Macromedia disclosed the Flash Version 3 Specification to the world on its website. It did this in response to many new and often semi-open formats competing with SWF, such as Xara's Flare
Xara Flare
Xara Flare Open Vector File Format is a format that was introduced in 1997 by XARA to compete with the Macromedia Flash format. The format was open and developers could export from their products to this format, royalty free and without the need of any permission. The key characteristic and...

 and Sharp's Extended Vector Animation
Extended Vector Animation
Extended Vector Animation is a web-based vector graphic file format developed by Sharp Corporation in 1996. The EVA format differs from other vector formats because only the changes in vectors over time is recorded instead of information per frame...

 formats. Several developers quickly created a C
C (programming language)
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....

 library for producing SWF. In February 1999, the company introduced MorphInk 99, the first third-party program to create SWF files. Macromedia also hired Middlesoft to create a freely available developers' kit for the SWF file format versions 3 to 5.

Macromedia made the Flash Files specifications for versions 6 and later available only under a non-disclosure agreement
Non-disclosure agreement
A non-disclosure agreement , also known as a confidentiality agreement , confidential disclosure agreement , proprietary information agreement , or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties...

, but they are widely available from various sites.

In April 2006, the Flash SWF file format specification was released with details on the then newest version format (Flash 8). Although still lacking specific information on the incorporated video compression formats (On2, Sorenson Spark, etc.), this new documentation covered all the new features offered in Flash v8 including new ActionScript commands, expressive filter controls, and so on. The file format specification document is offered only to developers who agree to a license agreement that permits them to use the specifications only to develop programs that can export to the Flash file format. The license forbids the use of the specifications to create programs that can be used for playback of Flash files. The Flash 9 specification was made available under similar restrictions.

In June 2009, Adobe launched the Open Screen Project (Adobe link), which made the SWF specification available without restrictions. Previously, developers could not use the specification for making SWF-compatible players, but only for making SWF-exporting authoring software. The specification still omits information on codecs such as Sorenson Spark
Sorenson codec
Sorenson codec may refer to either of three proprietary video codecs: Sorenson Video, Sorenson Video 3 or Sorenson Spark. Sorenson Video is also known as Sorenson Video Codec, Sorenson Video Quantizer or SVQ...

, however.

Adobe Flash Professional


The Adobe Flash Professional multimedia authoring program is used to create content for the Adobe Engagement Platform
Adobe Engagement Platform
At Adobe MAX 2008, Adobe announced the new Flash Platform concept, and this has replaced the branding formerly known as Adobe Engagement Platform.In 2005, Adobe Systems bought Macromedia. The Adobe Engagement Platform was the announced name of the product line resulting from the merger of...

, such as web applications, games and movies, and content for mobile phones and other embedded devices.

Third-party tools


Open Source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 projects like Ajax Animator and the (now defunct) UIRA aim to create a Flash development environment, complete with a graphical user environment. Alternatively, programs such as Vectorian Giotto
Vectorian Giotto
Vectorian Giotto is the free Flash animation software. It is used to create interactive Flash animations. It is developed and distributed under the free licence, for both personal and commercial usage. Vectorian Giotto outputs to the .swf format, while projects are saved in internal .vgd format.-...

, swfmill
Swfmill
swfmill is a free software command line tool that generates SWF files.It is an XML-to-SWF and SWF-to-XML processor. It uses SWFML, an XML dialect closely modeled after the SWF format. It comes with XSLT capabilities, and a more accessible dialect of SWFML to generate SWF files.swfmill may be used...

, SWFTools
SWFTools
SWFTools is an Open Source software tool suite for creating and manipulating SWF files. Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, it may be compiled from C source, to run under Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Apple Mac OSX...

, and MTASC
MTASC
MTASC is an ActionScript 2.0 compiler written in the Objective Caml programming language by the company Motion-Twin. It is free software and can be used alone or with other tools like swfmill to produce SWF files, which contain interactive multimedia content playable with the Flash Player...

 provide tools to create SWF files, but do so by compiling text, actionscript or XML files into Flash animations. It is also possible to create SWF files programmatically using the Ming library
Ming library
Ming is a C library for creating Adobe Flash files. It is often packaged as a PHP module that allows for the dynamic generation of Flash animations...

, which has interfaces for C
C (programming language)
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....

, PHP
PHP
PHP is a general-purpose server-side scripting language originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages. For this purpose, PHP code is embedded into the HTML source document and interpreted by a web server with a PHP processor module, which generates the web page document...

, C++
C++
C++ is a statically typed, free-form, multi-paradigm, compiled, general-purpose programming language. It is regarded as an intermediate-level language, as it comprises a combination of both high-level and low-level language features. It was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in 1979 at Bell...

, Perl
Perl
Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language. Perl was originally developed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions and become widely popular...

, Python
Python (programming language)
Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language whose design philosophy emphasizes code readability. Python claims to "[combine] remarkable power with very clear syntax", and its standard library is large and comprehensive...

, and Ruby
Ruby (programming language)
Ruby is a dynamic, reflective, general-purpose object-oriented programming language that combines syntax inspired by Perl with Smalltalk-like features. Ruby originated in Japan during the mid-1990s and was first developed and designed by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto...

. haXe
HaXe
haXe is a versatile open-source high-level multiplatform programming language described on its website as a "universal language".It can produce:* Flash applications and games* Multi-platform client-side web applications* Apache CGI web applications...

 is an open source, high-level object-oriented programming language geared towards web-content creation that can compile Flash files.

Many shareware
Shareware
The term shareware is a proprietary software that is provided to users without payment on a trial basis and is often limited by any combination of functionality, availability, or convenience. Shareware is often offered as a download from an Internet website or as a compact disc included with a...

 developers produced Flash creation tools and sold them for under US$50 between 2000 and 2002. In 2003 competition and the emergence of free Flash creation tools had driven many third-party Flash-creation tool-makers out of the market, allowing the remaining developers to raise their prices, although many of the products still cost less than US$100 and support ActionScript. As for open source tools, KToon
KToon
KTooN is a software application for the design and creation of 2D animation. This tool, inspired by and for animators, is being developed by an open community...

 can edit vectors and generate SWF, but its interface is very different from Macromedia's. Another, more recent example of a Flash creation tool is SWiSH Max
SWiSH Max
SWiSH Max is a flash creation tool that is commonly used to create interactive and cross-platform movies, animations, and presentations. It is developed and distributed by Swishzone.com Pty Ltd, based in Sydney, Australia...

 made by an ex-employee of Macromedia. Toon Boom Technologies also sells a traditional animation tool, based on Flash.

In addition, several programs create .swf-compliant files as output from their programs. Among the most famous of these are Screencast
Screencast
A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration. The term screencast compares with the related term screenshot; whereas screenshot is a picture of a computer screen, a screencast is essentially a movie of the...

 tools, which leverage the ability to do lossless compression and playback of captured screen content to produce demos, tutorials, or software simulations of programs. These programs are typically designed for use by non-programmers, and create Flash content quickly and easily, but cannot actually edit the underlying Flash code (i.e. the tweening and transforms, etc.) Screencam
Screencam
ScreenCam is a Screencast tool for Microsoft Windows that is used to author software demonstrations, software simulations, branched scenarios, and tutorials in .swf format...

 is perhaps the oldest screencasting authoring tool to adopt Flash as the preferred output format, having been developed since the mid-90s. The fact that screencasting programs have adopted Flash as the preferred output is testament to Flash's presence as a ubiquitous cross-platform animation file format.

Other tools focus on creating specific types of Flash content. Anime Studio
Anime Studio
Anime Studio is a proprietary vector-based 2D animation software for animators originally distributed by LostMarble, later by e frontier. Since November 2007, Smith Micro Software has distributed Anime Studio...

 is a 2D animation software package specialized for character animation that creates SWF files. Express Animator
Express Animator
Awesome Animator is a software program for making animations, primarily Flash animations for websites. It is similar to Adobe's Flash MX software but has additional features such as skeletal animation and exporting to Silverlight and Canvas HTML5 for the iPad. The latest version supports...

 is similarly aimed specifically at animators. Question Writer
Question Writer
Question Writer is a quiz authoring tool for Microsoft Windows. It is used for authoring questions and compiling them into quizzes in the Flash file format. The software is published by Central Question.- User interface :...

 publishes its quizzes to Flash file format.

Users who are not programmers or web designers will also find on-line tools that allow them to build full Flash-based websites. One of the oldest services available (1998) is FlashToGo. Such companies provide a wide variety of pre-built models (templates) associated to a Content Management System that empowers users to easily build, edit and publish their websites. Other sites, that allows for greater customization and design flexibility are Wix.com
Wix.com
Wix.com is a free online platform that allows users to create Flash websites, Apple-compatible mobile sites and customized Facebook pages through the use of professionally designed templates and simple drag & drop tools...

 and CirclePad.

Adobe wrote a software package called Adobe LiveMotion
Adobe LiveMotion
Adobe LiveMotion was a product created by Adobe Systems released in 2000 and perceived as a direct competitor to Macromedia Flash. It replaced the discontinued Adobe ImageStyler program, which Adobe had sold from 1998 to 2000....

, designed to create interactive animation content and export it to a variety of formats, including SWF. LiveMotion went through two major releases, but failed to gain any notable user base.

In February 2003, Macromedia purchased Presedia, which had developed a Flash authoring tool that automatically converted PowerPoint files into Flash. Macromedia subsequently released the new product as Breeze, which included many new enhancements. In addition, (as of version 2) Apple's Keynote presentation software also allows users to create interactive presentations and export to SWF.

Availability on operating systems


Desktop operating systems

Adobe Flash Player (software) exists for a variety of desktop operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS 9
Mac OS 9
Mac OS 9 is the final major release of Apple's Mac OS before the launch of Mac OS X. Introduced on October 23, 1999, Apple positioned it as "The Best Internet Operating System Ever," highlighting Sherlock 2's Internet search capabilities, integration with Apple's free online services known as...

/X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

, Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

, Solaris, HP-UX
HP-UX
HP-UX is Hewlett-Packard's proprietary implementation of the Unix operating system, based on UNIX System V and first released in 1984...

, OS/2
OS/2
OS/2 is a computer operating system, initially created by Microsoft and IBM, then later developed by IBM exclusively. The name stands for "Operating System/2," because it was introduced as part of the same generation change release as IBM's "Personal System/2 " line of second-generation personal...

, QNX
QNX
QNX is a commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market. The product was originally developed by Canadian company, QNX Software Systems, which was later acquired by Canadian BlackBerry-producer Research In Motion.-Description:As a microkernel-based...

, BeOS
BeOS
BeOS is an operating system for personal computers which began development by Be Inc. in 1991. It was first written to run on BeBox hardware. BeOS was optimized for digital media work and was written to take advantage of modern hardware facilities such as symmetric multiprocessing by utilizing...

, and IRIX
IRIX
IRIX is a computer operating system developed by Silicon Graphics, Inc. to run natively on their 32- and 64-bit MIPS architecture workstations and servers. It was based on UNIX System V with BSD extensions. IRIX was the first operating system to include the XFS file system.The last major version...

.

Flash as a format has become widespread on the desktop market; one estimate is that 95% of PCs have it, while Adobe claims that 98 percent of U.S. web users and 99.3 percent of all Internet desktop users have installed the Flash Player, with 92 to 95% (depending on region) having the latest version. Numbers vary depending on the detection scheme and research demographics.

Mobile operating systems

Adobe Flash Player exists for a variety of mobile operating systems, including Android (since version 2.2), Pocket PC
Pocket PC
A Pocket PC is also known by Microsoft as a 'Windows Mobile Classic device'. It is a hardware specification for a handheld-sized computer, personal digital assistant , that runs the Microsoft 'Windows Mobile Classic' operating system...

/Windows CE
Windows CE
Microsoft Windows CE is an operating system developed by Microsoft for embedded systems. Windows CE is a distinct operating system and kernel, rather than a trimmed-down version of desktop Windows...

, QNX
QNX
QNX is a commercial Unix-like real-time operating system, aimed primarily at the embedded systems market. The product was originally developed by Canadian company, QNX Software Systems, which was later acquired by Canadian BlackBerry-producer Research In Motion.-Description:As a microkernel-based...

 (e.g. on BlackBerry PlayBook
BlackBerry PlayBook
The BlackBerry PlayBook is a tablet computer by Research In Motion , best known for the BlackBerry smartphone. It competes against Apple's iPad and a slew of Android-powered tablets....

), Symbian
Symbian
Symbian is a mobile operating system and computing platform designed for smartphones and currently maintained by Accenture. The Symbian platform is the successor to Symbian OS and Nokia Series 60; unlike Symbian OS, which needed an additional user interface system, Symbian includes a user...

, Palm OS
Palm OS
Palm OS is a mobile operating system initially developed by Palm, Inc., for personal digital assistants in 1996. Palm OS is designed for ease of use with a touchscreen-based graphical user interface. It is provided with a suite of basic applications for personal information management...

, and webOS (since version 2.0).

There is no Adobe Flash Player for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). The iPhone accounts for more than 60% of global smartphone web traffic and the iPod touch makes up more than 95% of "mobile Internet device" traffic. This hurts Adobe's ability to market Flash as a ubiquitous mobile platform. However, Flash content can be made to run on iOS devices in a variety of ways:
  • Flash content can be bundled inside an Adobe AIR app, which will then run on iOS devices. (Apple didn't allow this for a while, but they relaxed those restrictions in September 2010.)
  • On March 8, 2011, Techradar reported that Adobe provides an experimental server side tool (Wallaby) to convert Flash programs (as far as possible) to HTML5 code, thus allowing iOS devices to display the content.
  • If the content is Flash video being served by Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5, the server will translate and send the video as HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HTTP Live Streaming, both of which can be played by iOS devices.


The mobile version of Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 8
Windows Internet Explorer 8 is a web browser developed by Microsoft in the Internet Explorer browser series. The browser was released on March 19, 2009 for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7. Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are available...

 for Windows Phone
Windows Phone
Windows Phone is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft, and is the successor to its Windows Mobile platform, although incompatible with it. Unlike its predecessor, it is primarily aimed at the consumer market rather than the enterprise market...

 does not support Flash. The IE9 web browser on Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 ('Mango') does not support Flash either.

On November 9, 2011, Adobe announced that it will no longer develop Flash for Mobile Platforms and is planning on developing new products with more open technologies and standards like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3.

Other operating systems

Adobe Flash Lite is a lightweight version of Adobe Flash Player intended for mobile phones and other portable electronic devices like Chumby
Chumby
The Chumby is a consumer electronics product made by Chumby Industries, Inc.. It is an embedded computer which provides Internet and LAN access via a Wi-Fi connection. Through this connection, the Chumby runs various software widgets....

 and iRiver
Iriver
iriver is a consumer electronics company headquartered in South Korea and widely known for its digital audio players and other portable media devices....

.

Availability in countries under U.S. economic sanctions


Downloading Flash is blocked in countries that are under U.S. economic sanctions (such as Syria & Sudan). Users in these countries are blocked (by Adobe) from downloading Flash plug-ins for both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.

Accessibility


Using Flash tends to break conventions associated with normal HTML pages. Selecting text, scrolling, form control and right-clicking act differently than with a regular HTML webpage. Many such interface unexpectancies are fixable by the designer. Usability expert Jakob Nielsen
Jakob Nielsen (usability consultant)
Jakob Nielsen is a leading web usability consultant. He holds a Ph.D. in human–computer interaction from the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen.-Early life and background:...

 published an Alertbox in 2000 entitled, Flash: 99% Bad, which listed issues like these. Some problems have been at least partially fixed since Nielsen's complaints:
  • Text size can be controlled using full page zoom, found in many modern browsers.
  • It has been possible for authors to include alternative text in Flash since Flash Player 6. This accessibility feature is compatible only with certain screen readers and only under Windows.

Performance

  • Any Flash player must be able to animate on top of video renderings, which makes hardware accelerated
    Hardware acceleration
    In computing, Hardware acceleration is the use of computer hardware to perform some function faster than is possible in software running on the general-purpose CPU...

     video rendering at least not as straightforward as with a purpose-built multimedia player. Therefore, even when only displaying video, Flash players are more resource-intensive than dedicated video player software.
  • Comparisons have shown Adobe Flash Player to perform better on Windows than Mac OS X
    Mac OS X
    Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

     and Linux
    Linux
    Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

     with the same hardware. However, the 10.1 update significantly improved performance for Mac OS X.

Flash blocking in web browsers


Flash content is usually embedded using the object or embed HTML element
HTML element
An HTML element is an individual component of an HTML document. HTML documents are composed of a tree of HTML elements and other nodes, such as text nodes. Each element can have attributes specified. Elements can also have content, including other elements and text. HTML elements represent...

 Software that does not support either of these elements, and users who cannot or will not install a plugin, will see the replacement text if this is supplied by the web page.

Some web browsers default to not play Flash content before the user clicks on it, e.g. Konqueror
Konqueror
Not to be confused with the Conqueror web browser.Konqueror is a web browser and file manager that provides file-viewer functionality for file systems such as local files, files on a remote ftp server and files in a disk image. It is a core part of the KDE desktop environment...

, K-Meleon
K-Meleon
K-Meleon is a web browser for the Microsoft Windows platform. Based on the same Gecko layout engine as Mozilla Firefox, K-Meleon uses native Windows application programming interface to create the user interface, instead of using Mozilla's cross-platform XML User Interface Language layer, and as...

. Equivalent "Flash blocker" extensions also exist for many popular browsers: Firefox has Flashblock
Flashblock
Flashblock is a content-filtering extension for the Mozilla Firefox- and Mozilla Application Suite-based web browsers. Flashblock allows users to prevent page elements, such as HTML object tag Browser plug-ins and advertisements, from being displayed...

 and NoScript
NoScript
NoScript is a free and open-source extension for Mozilla Firefox, SeaMonkey, and other Mozilla-based web browsers, created and actively maintained by Giorgio Maone, an Italian software developer and member of the Mozilla Security Group...

, and Opera versions since 10.5 feature native Flash blocking. Opera Turbo requires the user to click to play Flash content. Internet Explorer has Foxie, which contains a number of features, one of them also named Flashblock. WebKit-based browsers under Mac OS X, such as Apple's Safari, have ClickToFlash.

Flash client security


Flash's security record has caused several security experts to recommend to either not install Flash or to block it. The US-CERT
United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team is part of the National Cyber Security Division of the United States' Department of Homeland Security....

 recommends to block Flash using NoScript
NoScript
NoScript is a free and open-source extension for Mozilla Firefox, SeaMonkey, and other Mozilla-based web browsers, created and actively maintained by Giorgio Maone, an Italian software developer and member of the Mozilla Security Group...

. Charlie Miller
Charlie Miller (security researcher)
Charles Miller is a computer security researcher with the consulting firm Accuvant LABS.Prior to his current employment, he spent five years working for the National Security Agency. Miller demonstrated his hacks publicly on products manufactured by Apple...

 recommended "not to install Flash" at the computer security conference
Computer security conference
A computer security conference is a term that describes a convention for individuals involved in computer security. They generally serve as a meeting place for system and network administrators, hackers, and computer security experts....

 CanSecWest. As of October 31, 2010, The Flash Player has over 100 CVE
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures
The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures or CVE system provides a reference-method for publicly-known information-security vulnerabilities and exposures. MITRE Corporation maintains the system, with funding from the National Cyber Security Division of the United States Department of Homeland...

 entries, 65 of which have been ranked with a high severity (leading to arbitrary code execution), and 40 ranked medium. In February 2010, Adobe officially apologized for not fixing a known vulnerability for over 1 year. In June 2010 Adobe announced a "critical vulnerability" in recent versions, saying there are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild against both Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Later, in October 2010, Adobe announced another critical vulnerability, this time also affecting Android-based mobile devices. Android users have been recommended to disable Flash or make it only on demand.

Symantec
Symantec
Symantec Corporation is the largest maker of security software for computers. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and is a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500 stock market index.-History:...

's Internet Security Threat Report states that a remote code execution in Adobe Reader and Flash Player was the second most attacked vulnerability in 2009. The same report also recommends to employ browser add-ons wherever possible to disable Adobe Flash Player when visiting untrusted sites. McAfee
McAfee
McAfee, Inc. is a computer security company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA. It markets software and services to home users, businesses and the public sector. On August 19, 2010, electronics company Intel agreed to purchase McAfee for $7.68 billion...

 predicted that Adobe software, especially Reader and Flash, would be primary target for attacks in 2010. Adobe applications had become, at least at some point, the most popular client-software targets for attackers during the last quarter of 2009.

Local Shared Objects (“Flash cookies”)



Like the HTTP cookie
HTTP cookie
A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is used for an origin website to send state information to a user's browser and for the browser to return the state information to the origin site...

, a flash cookie (also known as a “Local Shared Object
Local Shared Object
Local Shared Objects , commonly called flash cookies are pieces of data that websites which use Adobe Flash may store on a user's computer...

”) can be used to save application data. Flash cookies are not shared across domains
Domain name
A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System ....

. An August 2009 study by the Social Science Research Network
Social Science Research Network
The Social Science Research Network is a website devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities. SSRN is viewed as particularly strong in the fields of economics, finance, accounting, management, and law. SSRN was founded in 1994 by Michael Jensen ...

 found that 50% of websites using Flash were also employing flash cookies, yet privacy policies rarely disclosed them, and user controls for privacy preferences were lacking. Most browsers' cache and history suppress or delete functions do not affect Flash Player's writing Local Shared Objects to its own cache, and the user community is much less aware of the existence and function of Flash cookies than HTTP cookies. Thus, users having deleted HTTP cookies and purged browser history files and caches may believe that they have purged all tracking data from their computers when in fact Flash browsing history remains. Adobe's own Flash Website Storage Settings panel, a submenu of Adobe's Flash Settings Manager web application, and other editors and toolkits can manage settings for and delete Flash Local Shared Objects.

64-bit support


64-bit support of Adobe Flash Player was reintroduced in version 11, released October 4, 2011. 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

, Mac and Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 are released in sync. Other prominent features of the release include hardware acceleration through the Stage3D API.

The first experimental release of 64-bit builds of Adobe Flash Player was for the Linux platform, on November 11, 2008.
The project was closed temporarily on June 15, 2010, while Adobe was preparing for the preview release on September 15, 2010.

The official 32-bit player is still distributed in some 64-bit Linux distributions e.g. openSUSE
OpenSUSE
openSUSE is a general purpose operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported openSUSE Project and sponsored by SUSE...

, older versions of Ubuntu
Ubuntu (operating system)
Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu...

 etc., of which some users have reported problems with the 32-bit player on some websites. Affected users can install the 64-bit player manually or through a special repository.

Alternatives


See also


Adobe Flash
  • SWF
    SWF
    SWF is an Adobe Flash file format used for multimedia, vector graphics and ActionScript. Originating with FutureWave Software, then transferred to Macromedia, and then coming under the control of Adobe, SWF files can contain animations or applets of varying degrees of interactivity and function.,...

     file format, the files generated by the Flash application and played by Flash Player.
  • ActionScript
    ActionScript
    ActionScript is an object-oriented language originally developed by Macromedia Inc. . It is a dialect of ECMAScript , and is used primarily for the development of websites and software targeting the Adobe Flash Player platform, used on Web pages in the form of...

  • ActionScript code protection
    ActionScript code protection
    ActionScript code protection. ActionScript is the main language for developing flash products.Code obfuscation is the process of transforming code into a form that is unintelligible to human...

  • Adobe Flash Player
    Adobe Flash Player
    The Adobe Flash Player is software for viewing multimedia, Rich Internet Applications and streaming video and audio, on a computer web browser or on supported mobile devices. Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by the Adobe Flash authoring tool, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other...

    , the runtime that executes and plays back Flash movies.
  • Adobe Flash Lite, a lightweight version of Flash Player for devices that lack the resources to run regular Flash movies such as mobile phones, some laptop computers and other portable devices.
  • List of 2D animation software
  • Flash Video
  • Flash emulator
    Flash emulator
    Four known emulators have been created in Flash :* Chip8* Commodore 64* ZX Spectrum* Nintendo Entertainment System...

  • Saffron Type System
    Saffron Type System
    The Saffron Type System is a system for rendering high-quality scalable type on digital displays. Developed by Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories , Saffron is built on a core of adaptively-sampled distance field technology...

    , the anti-aliased
    Anti-aliasing
    In digital signal processing, spatial anti-aliasing is the technique of minimizing the distortion artifacts known as aliasing when representing a high-resolution image at a lower resolution...

     text-rendering engine used in version 8 onwards.
  • Local Shared Object
    Local Shared Object
    Local Shared Objects , commonly called flash cookies are pieces of data that websites which use Adobe Flash may store on a user's computer...

  • SWFObject
    SWFObject
    SWFObject is an open-source JavaScript library used to embed Adobe Flash content onto Web pages, which is supplied as one small JavaScript file...

    , a JavaScript library used to embed Flash content into webpages.
  • Flash CMS
    Flash CMS
    A Flash Content Management System is a Content Management System specifically designed to create and manage Adobe Flash Content. The main purpose of a Flash CMS is to generate Flash content within a browser environment. To qualify as a Flash CMS an application must be able to manage text, images,...

    , content management for Flash content.

Other
  • Gnash
    Gnash
    Gnash is a media player for playing SWF files. Gnash is available both as a standalone player for desktop computers and embedded device, as well as a plugin for several browsers. It is part of the GNU Project and is a Free and open-source alternative to Adobe Flash Player...

  • HTML5 video
    HTML5 video
    HTML5 video is an element introduced in the HTML5 draft specification for the purpose of playing videos or movies, partially replacing the object element...

  • Microsoft Silverlight
    Microsoft Silverlight
    Microsoft Silverlight is an application framework for writing and running rich Internet applications, with features and purposes similar to those of Adobe Flash. The run-time environment for Silverlight is available as a plug-in for web browsers running under Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X...

  • JavaFX
    JavaFX
    JavaFX is a software platform for creating and delivering rich Internet applications that can run across a wide variety of connected devices....

  • OpenLaszlo
    OpenLaszlo
    OpenLaszlo is an open source platform for the development and delivery of rich Internet applications. It is released under the Open Source Initiative-certified Common Public License ....

  • Synfig
    Synfig
    Synfig Studio is a free and open source 2D vector graphics and timeline-based computer animation program created by Robert Quattlebaum with additional contributions by Adrian Bentley....

  • Lightspark
    Lightspark
    Lightspark is a free and open source SWF player released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3. It supports OpenGL-based rendering and LLVM-based ActionScript execution. It supports most of ActionScript 3.0 and has a Mozilla-compatible plug-in. It uses OpenGL shaders ....


External links


Communities: