The Adobe Flash Player used to be an indispensable but controversial extension for many web contents for Internet browsers, some of which are still on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. The plug-in from Adobe Systems, the creators of the famous Creative Cloud, adds multimedia features to browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome so they can play Flash-based websites and videos.
Player for Flash animations, videos and more
The web browser plug-in for Adobe Flash Player is required by many websites to display Flash animations or play browser games. In addition, Adobe Flash Player lets you play a variety of videos, including MPEG-4 AVC video (H.264) and high-efficiency AAC audio (HE-AAC) files. The freeware also comes with the programming language Actionscript. This allows you to create your own interactive content and browser-based applications.
In addition, the Flash Player has many other features. For example, the tool improves video streams from webcam transmissions using GPU hardware acceleration. Livestreams and interactive real-time videos are also played back thanks to multithreaded video decoding with improved playback performance. Additional features include accelerated rendering of Stage3D objects, native support for 64-bit operating systems, and encrypted, dynamic HTTP streaming. For more features and detailed information about the various developer features, see the feature list on the Adobe website.
Configuration and Updates
By default, Adobe Flash Player is set to automatically download and install updates from the web as they are released. Especially in view of the security gaps that occur regularly, it can be advantageous to prohibit the freeware from being updated automatically. When a new update is released, Adobe Flash Player notifies the user who can authorize or cancel the update.
Alternatively, the plug-in can be manually downloaded from the Adobe manufacturer’s site, for Windows, macOS and Linux, whereby a choice of the required or preferred version is possible. Also available is the Adobe Shockwave Player, which can be viewed as the “big brother” of the Adobe Flash Player with an extended range of functions.
Flash and (Un)Security
The Adobe Flash Player regularly has security vulnerabilities that allow malicious software to access the user’s computer, so the plug-in should generally be used with caution. These leaks are usually closed by appropriate security updates – if detected. A residual risk remains when using the plug-in. For security and vulnerabilities, users can use the Adobe support platform.
Flash: Once star now Schnuppe
The constant security holes in Adobe Flash Player have meanwhile led to Flash being blocked by standard browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome. Flash is no longer necessary for videos anyway, since the video codec H.264 can also be used free of charge for free streaming offers, so that videos no longer need to be offered in a Flash version. Anyone who watches videos on YouTube has not had to install a Flash version for a long time and the ZDF website will no longer require a Flash version after its relaunch in 2016.
Over a decade ago, things were quite different. Flash was taught at colleges and universities and was considered future-oriented. Because Flash can be used to build or program dynamic websites with interactive buttons, menus and videos. But that’s the problem with Flash. Because Flash is a programming language with ActionScript and not a pure video format.
In short: Flash is dead and should be removed from the computer. Under Microsoft Windows this can be done in the settings for the programs and under Linux in the Software Center of the respective distribution. With Linux, the Flash plug-in comes into the system by installing the multimedia codecs. If these have been installed, the Flash plug-in must be removed individually in the Software Center afterwards. On the command line this can be done alternatively with Ubuntu with the command
sudo apt purge flashplugin-installer if you have administrator rights.
If you still have to use and activate Flash for websites with this technology, you should make sure that it is deactivated for other sites. For example FlashBlock and NoScript can help. Alternatively, the Flash plug-in can be deactivated directly in the browser settings.