It wasn’t enough for Adobe to put the kibosh on the mobile version of its Flash media plugin—a group riffing on the Occupy Wall Street movement wants to see Flash buried six feet under.
Occupy Flash describes itself as “the movement to rid the world of the Flash Player plugin.” Its site certainly looks the part, an art deco-style fist thrust high in the air above a banner framing Adobe’s Flash logo beneath a “no” symbol. The site’s goal: “To get the world to uninstall the Flash Player plugin from their desktop browsers.”
“Flash Player is dead,” argue the site’s operators in a manifesto. “Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology.”
Adobe Flash, if you’re just joining us, is basically a micro-platform for delivering multimedia bells and whistles to browsers that, at Flash’s inception years ago, were incapable of doing so by themselves. But to run Flash, you have to download and install the Flash Player from Adobe, and since Flash is proprietary, unlike HTML (the standard, nonproprietary language for designing web pages), there’s long been grumbling about its bugs, performance troubles and hypothetical privacy issues.
“Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for [a] fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser,” continues the OF manifesto. “It introduces some scary security and privacy issues by way of Flash cookies. Flash makes the web less accessible. At this point, it’s holding back the web.”
But for all theirbl bluster, OF isn’t really an occupy movement: Where OWS supporters have been camping for weeks (and in cases, months) in places like Manhattan, Oakland, Chicago and London, OF occupies nothing to speak of, save a quiet slice of paid-for web real estate.
OF’s explanation: “We understand we are fairly shamelessly co-opting populist terminology. And for that matter, we’re not really occupying anything. More like evicting. Or banishing.”
Why go after Flash now, when Adobe’s stopped work on the mobile version and it’s star appears to be setting? “[As] we’ve seen with other outdated web technologies (most notably the much-lamented Internet Explorer 6), as long as software is installed on machines, there will be a contingent of decision makers who mandate its use,” argues OF, adding that continued support for Flash will cause “the plugin [to] live on, and folks will continue to develop for it.”
How do you support the movement? By uninstalling Flash from your devices, says OF, offering a how-to at the bottom of the page and calling for like-minded users to spread the word.
But wait, what if you’re a Flash fan? What if you—gasp!—actually like Flash? You can always try down the road, at Occupy HTML, an OF parody site that’s just launched, sponsored by Flash proponents who describe themselves as “the movement to rid the world of HTML purism.”