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Windows 8 Won't Support Plug-Ins; the End of Flash? 661

An anonymous reader writes "The Microsoft Windows Engineering Team has announced that the Metro interface web browser in Windows 8 will not support plug-ins — Adobe Flash included. Users will still be able to open a traditional browser interface to make use of legacy sites that rely upon plug-ins. This news follows a recent blog post by the Internet Explorer 10 team pushing the use of HTML5 video as a replacement to Flash video. With Google, Apple, Mozilla, Opera and other major players already backing HTML5 — is Adobe Flash finally dead?"
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Windows 8 Won't Support Plug-Ins; the End of Flash?

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  • Microsoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ge7 ( 2194648 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:35AM (#37408740)
    And people are still saying Microsoft is evil? They just made HTML5 video reality. It wouldn't have happened without this.
    • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:37AM (#37408762)

      Using patented shit formats. So yes, they are.

      • Re:Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ge7 ( 2194648 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:39AM (#37408776)
        As opposed to what? All the formats are patented.

        H.264 is technically better format too. That's why it should be picked, not based on some religious free software views.
        • by qxcv ( 2422318 )

          As opposed to what? All the formats are patented.

          Yes, but the primary patent on VP8 is released under an "irrevocable free patent license". From Wikipedia:

          On May 19, 2010 Google released VP8 codec software under a BSD-like license and the VP8 bitstream format specification under an irrevocable free patent license...

          OTOH H.264 is covered by a range of patents, and payment for the use of the codec is mandatory in all countries which recognise software patents. Whilst there may be some submarine patents still lurking on parts of VP8, it sounds like a far safer bet in the long run. I suspect that the only reason Apple and Microsoft want H.264 is because it raises the cost bar for potential competitors in the browser m

          • by ge7 ( 2194648 )

            It's difficult to create a free browser when you have to cough up for codec licensing to some patent troll.

            But you don't have to. Both Windows and Mac OSX include H.264 support in the system, and Linux has their own counterparts too. Your browser can just use what the OS offers.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Both Windows and Mac OSX include H.264 support in the system

              Windows XP does not. Nor do Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Business, or Windows 7 Starter.

              and Linux has their own counterparts too.

              These counterparts aren't included with Ubuntu or Fedora due to patent issues in the world's biggest industrialized anglophone market. Which counterparts are you thinking of?

          • by smash ( 1351 )
            Yeah, but vp8 is shit.
            • by smash ( 1351 )
              And besides, the ground vp8 is standing on is fairly shaky, legally. It hasn't been to court yet, but google are refusing to indemnify anyone against patent litigation because they aren't confident in the codebase being patent free.
        • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sinthetek ( 678498 ) <sinthetek.deviance@us> on Thursday September 15, 2011 @10:01AM (#37409018) Homepage

          H.264 is technically better format too. That's why it should be picked, not based on some religious free software views.

          Not all concerns about the Freedom to use a technology are matters of obsessive fanboyism or faith. There are plenty of pragmatic concerns associated with IP that only the most reckless would choose to ignore. A technology can be 1000x better than anything else that exists but still be effectively useless or a huge risk to end-users or business management. As an end user, I don't want my choices limited by how many technologies a prospective vendor can afford to employ. As a developer, I want to be able to create or fix technologies I encounter without much bureaucracy, being hindered by secrecy or risking having all of my hard work phased out through planned obsolescence strategies. As a business owner, I don't want the items purchased by my business to be hindered by cumbersome, nuanced, legal agreements. In my view, the diversity and innovation facilitated by Free software is almost always better even in cases where proprietary counterparts have a few more features or slightly better performance. Essentially, the freedom to do what you want has its own innate value that, while hard to quantify, should be thoroughly considered before making *any* important decisions, both technology-related and otherwise. It's not always easy to predict when and how those restrictions might hinder your opportunities in the future.

      • by Goaway ( 82658 )

        h.264 is patented, but it is by no means "shit".

      • by bonch ( 38532 )

        MP3 is just as patented as H.264. Do you listen to MP3s?

    • While Microsoft's use of HTML5 video will certainly broaden its support, HTML5 video would have happened without it. It's already well on its way. Your claim that it wouldn't have happened without it is baseless. This really has nothing to do with Microsoft being perceived as evil.
      • by ge7 ( 2194648 )

        ... HTML5 video would have happened without it. It's already well on its way.

        That's almost like the usual "2012 will be the year of desktop!". We've been talking about HTML5 video for years and it has gone nowhere, except for a few special cases from Google (which have required you to install Chrome to view them, by the way). Even Google doesn't use HTML5 video on YouTube, and their old experimental test player is broken as hell and lacking a lot of things that the Flash player has.

        • I consume HTML5 video almost daily. Support for HTML5 video in recent browsers is solid. I work for an organization that produces several national and international publications and we publish HTML5 video content daily. Numerous news sites are publishing HTML 5 video. If you want to serve video to iOS devices (and most of us do), you're going to use HTML5. It's here. Really the one problem that I don't see resolved with HTML5 is DRM. Arguably that isn't a problem. But I have a hard time imagining Hulu or N
        • We've been talking about HTML5 video for years and it has gone nowhere, except for a few special cases from Google (which have required you to install Chrome to view them, by the way). Even Google doesn't use HTML5 video on YouTube, and their old experimental test player is broken as hell and lacking a lot of things that the Flash player has.

          My iPad gets video via Mobile Safari all the time. Are you sure that's not HTML 5 video? There's quite a number of iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches out there seeing video. Even people hesitant to just embrace HTML 5 video because of DRM needs/desires seem to be acknowledging Flash isn't a necessity, look at the various apps like the Android and iOS Netflix app.

          Also, my latest notebook (MacBook Air) didn't ship with Flash. I have a copy of Chrome with Flash installed "just in case", but Safari seems to play

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            The answer is - iPhone/Mac/Safari uses the h.264 interface on YouTube ... regardless of HTML5

            Apple do not seem to like Flash - for good reasons - and so have persuaded Google to allow it's software to use the native codecs regardless of HTML 5 support

            the iPhone has a specific chip to decode h.264

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 )

      so microsoft has magically changed because they are pushing HTML5? Wow man, I'd better forget all of those antitrust cases and anti-google marketing and anti-apple marketing, plus patent trolling and patent litigation.

      Leopards don't change their spots.

      • by ge7 ( 2194648 )
        No, the recent years have shown that Microsoft has truly changed. Microsoft's antitrust cases are from the 90's, you know. Google is currently being investigated for a lot of shit in various countries, not Microsoft.

        And care to link some of those anti-google and anti-apple marketing or patent trolling Microsoft is doing? Because they are not. Microsoft has never patent trolled anyone, they have only used their patents when someone has attacked them or when there has been a good case. Patent trolling is co
        • Google is currently being investigated for a lot of shit in various countries, not Microsoft.

          Really that's your argument? A bunch of people don't like their photos taken in public and complain when someone records their open wifi connections and you compare it to the largest anti-trust case the world has ever witnessed?

          Welcome to planet earth stranger, we hope you enjoy your visit.

          • by ge7 ( 2194648 )
            It's a lot more than that - it's the use of analytics all over the web, the unfair marketing of their own services over others in search results, the sharing of European citizen data to US government and a lot more than that.
        • this is the funniest thing I have ever seen.

          Remind me who is collecting royalties on android right now?

          Remind me who is using patents to defend themselves against microsoft right now?

          I know you might think microsoft is magical, or be employed by them, or generally think they might be ethical, but changes of that kind take 50-100 years, not the timespan it takes you to write up something purporting a change that has not occurred.

          Where's microsoft contributing open source voluntarily, and REAL open source (an

        • by jthill ( 303417 )

          I don't think so. What Microsoft did to get OOXML passed is utterly corrupt, and to me at least it carries the same stench of thuggery. Microsoft's management hires good people the way some combatants surround themselves with schoolchildren.

          GP's probably got Facebook's campaigns misattributed to Microsoft, but I think he misused the term patent trolling only somewhat: Microsoft has been claiming patent infringement (~we have here a list of 235 patent infringements in Linux~) without ever specifying what pa

      • Microsoft has changed but only because their competition changed. Going from other competitors selling OS'es (Amiga, BeOS, Commodore) with similar business models to Linux and open source (can't undercut free), Google (mostly untouchable through search and internet applications) and Apple stuck to defining their own thing which nobody has the patience to emulate.
        This means MS don't have the same grip on the industry anymore, they use to say MS WAS the industry in the 90's. Now they have to actually do some

    • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr_eX9 ( 800448 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:45AM (#37408856) Homepage

      And the story has the DRM/Straitjacket icon? Seriously, WTF? The reporting on this story is just terrible, even by Slashdot standards.

      Headline: "Windows 8 Won't Support Plug-Ins ..."
      Reality: "... Metro interface web browser in Windows 8 will not support plug-ins ..."

      This announcement sounds perfectly reasonable to me--not having plugins in the Metro browser closes a lot of security holes and eliminates crap like Flash that's proprietary, hurts performance, etc. It's a competitive move that raises the bar for other browsers to become more secure and stop supporting things that people don't want.

      Microsoft is not the evil company that this site thinks it still is. Time to find a new whipping boy, Slashdot.

    • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:56AM (#37408958) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft is only going to support the codecs they want to support, so this is just another way of leveraging what's left of their monopoly position — it's just more evil. The real goal is to murder Flash which competes with Microsoft's own technologies, like the supposedly-soon-to-be-abandoned Silverlight. Silverlight is pure canned shit compared to Flash. You can't even sync video to vtrace on XP. Microsoft literally traded a seat on their board for Netflix using Silverlight instead of Flash. As a result, there is no Linux support.

      Fuck Microsoft, and fuck the horse that rode in on them.

      • by ge7 ( 2194648 )
        Actually Silverlight is technically a lot better than Flash. Both technically, and from NetFlix's perspective as it allows better DRM than Flash.

        Besides, you can develop Silverlight with .NET and make complete applications and games with it. Flash doesn't have the same kind of support and development tools (Visual Studio) like Silverlight does. Try it even once - you might be surprised how great it actually is.
    • They just made HTML5 video reality.

      Not really.

      My mom: "YouTube doesn't work on my new laptop."
      Me: "Install Firefox or Chrome or Opera or Safari or Netscape Navigator 4.1"

    • They are - we've barely had decent Flash acceleration for a year and they're already killing it. I wonder if HTML5 video will be fully hardware accelerated on graphics cards that support H264 hardware acceleration...

  • Remember all those rumors of Microsoft wanting to buy Adobe?

    This is payback for saying "No" to Uncle Stevie. You can be sure that if the deal had gone through, flash would not only have been supported, but integrated into the next release of IE.

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:40AM (#37408784) Journal

      Maybe, or maybe, the IE team, like the Firefox team, is awfully tired of their software being used as a vector for Flash's seemingly infinite supply of vulnerabilities.

      • Yeah, as if anybody listens to what the devs think. It's corporate politics.
      • Maybe, or maybe, the IE team, like the Firefox team, is awfully tired of their software being used as a vector for Flash's seemingly infinite supply of vulnerabilities.

        Or maybe, just maybe, Microsoft is tired of anything being a vector for software they don't own. Here goes the anti-trust lawsuits again, especially if they use any form of Silverlight... and you can bet your ass Adobe will sue then (and win or settle for a large sum).

    • by ge7 ( 2194648 )
      Adobe doesn't really care about Flash, as long as there's other alternative. They care about selling designing software for those technologies, and that can be either Flash, Silverlight or HTML5. Sadly, HTML5 isn't really there yet, and it's missing a lot of stuff that Flash and Silverlight have.
      • by smash ( 1351 )
        In fact, killing flash would be a win for adobe. They can then force-upgrade all those flash using developers out there to the latest version of the adobe suite that generates HTML5 output.
    • The people who run Slashdot obviously noticed, because they sure as hell aren't saying no to these ads MS is putting in the queue.

      • What else exactly is going on in the tech world? You have tons of new information about the next version of the most popular operating system in the world coming from a developers conference of all places. It's literally the definition of both news for nerds and stuff that matters. Not everyone who reads /. is a linux zealot. We have jobs developing for windows, and this news is crucial.

      • by Amouth ( 879122 )

        ok i agree that slash advertisements are bad.. but to be fair.. Most of the desktop world runs Windows which is MS. and any news of an actual difference between current and expected version is actual news when it can effect ~2-4 billion people.

  • by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:37AM (#37408758)

    So it won't be possible to play NewGrounds games with that browser?


  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:37AM (#37408764)

    The lack of Adobe Flash support shouldn't be the issue here. The real thing that should concern us is that it won't support *ANY* plug-in. It seems like everything is becoming a walled garden these days. For a long time, the trend for browsers was MORE "modability" and freedom, not less. Now we're going backwards.

    I just hope Mozilla doesn't get any ideas. Firefox is still the best browser out there for add-ons.

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      all the ifans say you can do everything in HTML5 so no plug in needed

      • by Nadir ( 805 )
        Then why do they have a bazillion iapps ?
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        If HTML5 could deliver on even half the abilities its devotees seem to think it can, it would also come with free unicorns and pixie dust.

    • by Twinbee ( 767046 )

      I think people here are blinded by their hatred for flash. But it's not flash that's the problem, but rather the misuse of it all over the web, and the way it can hog the CPU rather than giving it only x percent, or the way one can't isolate which tab has the flash app running.

      Okay, things could be better in the flash world, but to restrict it, and *all other plugins* is restricting freedom in exactly the kind of way that Slashdotters would usually despise. I think MS are just trying to copy Apple, and that

    • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @10:21AM (#37409282)

      there is a big difference between add-ons & gadgets & plugins.

      if you look at FF & Chrome their extensions/add-ons work in a predefined and hopefully secure environment. IE"s "plug-ins" work at raw executable code level at the users permission level and there for can not easily be contained by the browser, hence how easy it is to use a hole in flash to infect the system.

      MS would be stupid not to allow extensions/add-ons in the same manner that FF and Chrome and i believe Opera does. But killing "plug-ins" is by far a great decision for security and overall long-term usage.

    • When did slashdot turn into the "please let me run proprietary binaries from a third party in my browser perfectly supporting HTML and Javascript so I can make ads and the 9913th Flash movie player" support forum?

    • IMHO, proprietary OSes and devices like those produced by M$ and Apple keep shifting towards being pure entertainment platforms. Just look at the iPad: there gotta be like thousands of games for it already, while the interface and the form factor effectively prevent the user from doing any serious work. At the same time, free and open-source software already emerged as the leader when it comes to science, and is poised to do the same for productivity. If the new Windoze is a glorified blend of TV and game
  • I won't ever use Windows! If it can't show me the WHOLE web then it's just a crippled toy!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      sent from my iPod

  • by Elbart ( 1233584 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:41AM (#37408800)
    "the Metro style browser in Windows 8" METRO! Not the desktop-IE. Reading, guys, reading...
    • If I had mod-points today you'd get them all. There's a button in the metro-style IE to switch to the desktop-IE which does support plugins. This is about battery consumption and providing a consistent touch-interface in metro. Plug-ins (especially Java and Flash) are terrible for pegging the CPU at 100% to display some ads, which sucks down battery like it's going out of style.

      The desktop IE still supports plugins and trusted activeX and everything else that IE9 has.

  • Nope (Score:5, Informative)

    by russlar ( 1122455 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:42AM (#37408814)

    In Windows 8, IE 10 is available as a Metro style app and as a desktop app. The desktop app continues to fully support all plug-ins and extensions.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Yes, basically it's just saying Microsoft is making it's tablets/phones like the iPhone in not supporting Flash, whilst all normal desktop browsers and Android phones will continue to support it - and most importantly - other plugins too.

      • Close- basically it's just saying Microsoft is making its mobile shell like the iPhone in not supporting Flash, whilst every system that has Windows 8 will be able to click/tap a button and switch to a full browser with a less mobile-friendly battery usage and user interface.
        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          Are you sure? I was under the impression Metro was only optional on the desktop, but mandatory on phones, and possibly tablets?

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Holly crap. Well what could possibly go wrong. Good heavens what a mess if you use IE this one on this machine it supports x if you use it that way on the same machine it doesn't freaking great consistent experience.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Flash is the single buggiest, leakiest, most insecure and least reliable piece of software on your average PC.

    Adobe keeps it out of scrutiny despite its many problems. Using it means relying on a company with a history of buying promising products, only to let them fester through a lack of updates. Writing code for Flash is like throwing it into a failed tributary of history.

    Let's move away from these weird closed standards.

  • Let's step this more of a problem for Adobe Flash or Windows? If I'm a normal person with the choice of buying an Android or Windows tablet, am I going to buy the one that plays Flash or the one that doesn't?

    I don't think Microsoft really has that much clout anymore. There are consumer choices now, and they can just arbitrarily decide to drop support for something without repercussions.
  • Flash isn't dead until Netcraft confirms it! :-P

  • Stupid Title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:45AM (#37408864)

    Once again, this is a stupid title for an article.

    Here's the truth: Windows 8 supports everything Windows 7 supports. In Windows 8, there will be TWO IE browsers, though. The "regular", desktop browser which acts the same as IE9 does today (i.e. it will support plugins) and a "Metro-style" browser, which is more geared towards touch and tablet use. THIS is what won't support plugins. That's it!
    If you need to use a plugin, you can push a button and be taken to the desktop version of IE. Or, you know, use a different web browser.

  • I can think of a dozen other categories under which to put this article; DRM would never have occurred to me.
  • Metro IE is plug-in free ... Click a button in it to view it in the "other IE" or launch IE from the "Desktop" and you get good old IE 10 complete with chrome and plug-ins and all the blinky Flash ads you can handle!

    • launch IE from the "Desktop" and you get good old IE 10

      Thank you, traveler, for this post from the future. I am reassured that "good old IE 10" will have been running Flash. What's IE 11 going to have been like?

      Hope I got my time-travel grammar right there. ;^)

      (Otherwise, spot on, as many have pointed out.)

    • Metro IE is plug-in free ... Click a button in it to view it in the "other IE"

      But how easy will it be for users to find the "Use Desktop View" button that the article mentions?

  • Makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by llZENll ( 545605 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @09:52AM (#37408924)

    Microsoft said the Metro interface will be loaded with a minimal Windows 8 back end (DLLs, drivers, etc), to make loading it quick and use less memory, if they supported plugins that would put an unknown amount of time on loading and memory usage and rely on 3rd parties for a fast browsing experience, especially on slower tablet devices.

  • That spells the end of a lot (not all) of Java's usefulness too.
    • by macshit ( 157376 )

      That spells the end of a lot (not all) of Java's usefulness too.

      Er, but nobody ever actually uses Java for web applets or whatever, they use it as a normal programming language to write traditional apps.

  • We can only hope.
  • by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @10:05AM (#37409070)

    Adobe Flash: I'm not dead.
    The Internet: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
    Google: Yes he is.
    Flash: I'm not.
    The Internet: He isn't.
    Opera Software: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
    Flash: I'm getting better.
    Mozilla: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
    The Internet: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
    Flash: I don't want to go on the cart.
    Apple: Oh, don't be such a baby.
    The Internet: I can't take him.
    Flash: I feel fine.
    W3C: Oh, do us a favor.
    The Internet: I can't.
    Google: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
    The Internet: I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
    Apple: Well, when's your next round?
    The Internet: Thursday.
    Flash: I think I'll go for a walk.
    Mozilla: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
    Flash: I feel happy. I feel happy.
    [Microsoft glances up and down the street furtively, then silences Flash with his a whack of his club]
    W3C: Ah, thank you very much.
    The Internet: See you on Thursday.

  • Sadly, Flash is used for more than just video clips and silly games.

    Some major products use Flash websites. The latest version of BMC's monitoring tool, for example (ProactiveNet), has a Flash frontend. For reasons best known to BMC, they migrated from a relatively normal, albeit JavaScript heavy, web frontend to Flash. I'm sure there are other examples.

    At work, at least, any browser I use has to support Flash. It would be really handy to have remote access to the monitoring site from a tablet device, but t

  • Thank you, Microsoft.

    Plug-ins are a hack to get around an issue that doesn't exist anymore.

  • MicroSoft has been down this road several times before,trying to close their system. You'd think they would have learned by now.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead