Amid calls to accelerate the death of Adobe Flash Player, at least once PC vendor is taking matters into its own hands.
System76, a Denver-based vendor of Ubuntu Linux laptops and desktops, has stopped pre-loading Flash on its machines. The company is also strongly recommending that current customers purge Flash from their systems as well.
Unsurprisingly, System76 cited security as one of the main reasons for ditching Flash. While Flash’s security issues are hardly new, the plug-in has gone through a particularly rough patch over the last week, following the breach of Hacking Team. The surveillance software firm had been relying on several unpatched exploits, one of which could even work around the sandboxing in Google’s Chrome browser. Malicious groups immediately started tapping those exploits, sending Adobe into a mad scramble to secure its software.
Besides, System76 also noted that Flash is hardly necessary to enjoy the modern web anymore. Many video sites, including YouTube and Netflix, either use HTML5 by default or as a fallback when Flash isn’t installed. And for sites that still rely on Flash (such as Spotify’s web player), there are usually alternatives (such as Rdio). In addition to being more secure, Flash-free PCs are likely to be more power-efficient as well.
System76 encourages users to at least experiment with ditching Flash. “You’ll probably be surprised by how little your web experience changes,” the company wrote. Windows users can check out our guide to ridding Flash from the operating system and disabling it in Chrome.
Why this matters: The decision by System76 won’t move mountains in the way Apple did when it refused to allow Flash in iOS and stopped bundling it with OS X. But the company joins a chorus of calls to oust Flash Player from the modern web. One noteworthy plea came from Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, and there’s even an “Occupy Flash” website aimed at spreading the word. If this keeps up, expect Flash’s usefulness to plummet rather quickly.