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Portables (Apple) Portables Software Apple

Want Flash Player On a MacBook Air? Download It Yourself 353

Posted by timothy
from the how-can-I-download-a-computer dept.
AmiMoJo writes "MacBook Airs are no longer shipping with Flash. Apple spokesperson Bill Evans said: 'We're happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac, and the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version is to download it directly from Adobe.'"
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Want Flash Player On a MacBook Air? Download It Yourself

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  • Lies. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:46AM (#34003862)

    It has nothing to do with the latest version -- Flash has an auto-updater. If they ship with it, it'll just auto-update when the machine is first connected to the internet.

    No, you're not happy to support it, considering that your company has some sort of vendetta against Flash.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:49AM (#34003892) Homepage Journal

    Either Apple gets a bad rep because Flash crashes or is too slow on Mac OS X (but it's not even made by Apple), because they supplied an older version (which could have been more stable, but not up-to-date) or because they stop supplying it and pointing the users to Adobe's website (which is the normal thing to do, and people will rightly associate Flash problems with Adobe, not Apple).

    No matter what they do, people will complain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:52AM (#34003910)

    Rumor has it that the new Mac OS App Store forbids relying on optionally-installed frameworks. If Java and now Flash are no longer distributed as a part of the OS then they are no longer eligible to be used for apps. How long until Mac OS users find themselves in that same "walled garden"?

  • Re:Lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy (13680) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:52AM (#34003912) Journal
    Yep. It's more to do with not shipping with crap-ware that they then have to support / maintain because it "came with my Mac". Been running with flash-block for a few years now and the 'net is a much nicer place...

    Simon
  • Re:Lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @10:59AM (#34003954) Journal

    How is this any different the Ubuntu Linux?
    It doesn't come with flash either.
    You have to download it directly.

  • by Americano (920576) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:11AM (#34004044)

    Care to identify a source for this rumor, or are you just making shit up as you go?

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:12AM (#34004060) Homepage Journal

    One good reason would be that once everyone uses Apple's tools to write software for the Mac, they won't need to support a specific processor type. It would enable them to switch CPU architectures once again and do the jump to ARM, perhaps. Remember, that's why they "told" people to use XCode a few months before they switched to Intel. XCode has a simple "Universal Binary" checkbox which produces a PowerPC+x86 application. The next one could produce x86+ARM code before dropping x86 support altogether.

    The computing-power-to-watt ratio of ARM is much better than x86, Apple already has their own custom A4 CPU (I imagine 16-cores+ ARM CPUs for laptops and desktops), I guess their own custom ARM CPUs cost less than what Intel is charging them (per computing power units) and it would make it much simpler to write software that works on all Apple hardware in one step if the desktops and laptops switched to ARM too.

    As for the "Mac of the future", I see the general public using that model of computing while coders will still get their usual environment (you choose when first setting up the Mac). Otherwise how could we code for all the hardware?

  • Re:Lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PrimeWaveZ (513534) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:12AM (#34004066)

    Actually, Flash for the Mac does not have an auto update mechanism. Many people rely on Apple to supply Flash updates by way of OS updates. It's been that way for years. The latest spate of security issues with Flash has changed the landscape a bit.

    When Apple qualified a version of Flash to ship with an OS update, but that version is a revision behind what Adobe has publicly posted, Apple is given shit for not having the latest update in their distribution. When Apple decides to let Adobe do the legwork in getting the newest version into peoples' hands, Apple is given more shit.

    I don't see this being much different from the position on Java: third-party crap that they don't want to be responsible for anymore.

    If Adobe wants to have Flash be up to date on the Mac, they can do it themselves.

    As an aside, but as a still peripherally-related statement, about the only third party software I'm in favor of Apple supplying themselves is printer drivers. That stuff is constantly changing, and though I rarely print, I think that it's more important to support those vendors and get the latest print software out there than to get the newest versions of slow, antiquated runtimes onto machines.

  • Re:Direct download (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:15AM (#34004098)
    I didn't realize the MacBook Air is part of the iPhone line. Thanks for clearing that up.
  • Re:Lies. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pckl300 (1525891) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:26AM (#34004188)

    How is this any different the Ubuntu Linux? It doesn't come with flash either. You have to download it directly.

    Because Apple's philosophy is to take the burden off the user. Here, they're increasing the burden on the user. That's what makes this noteworthy.

  • Re:Lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Americano (920576) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:38AM (#34004294)

    No, when Ubuntu does it, it's a victory for openness and user choice.

    Sort of like when android gets completely locked down by a carrier, you end up "rooting" the device to install custom software and enjoy the benefits of your completely free and open software ecosystem, but when apple does it, you have to throw off the chains of tyranny by jailbreaking your locked down piece of crap that nobody would ever want to buy anyway, if it weren't for the power of apple's marketing team and the weak-mindedness of sheeple.

  • Re:What's new? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:46AM (#34004362)

    This has been my thought during all of these discussions, but there is a difference. Apple is a hardware company. They sell computers that are supposed to have everything that *most* users need out of the box (they even claim this). Most users need flash. Windows is not a piece of hardware. It is a single piece of software (with many included pieces of software, but you wouldn't exactly complain if they unbundled some of them). Hardware companies who sell computers with Windows on them almost always include Flash. Apple is getting away from their model of "it just works" to "ok, casual users, you are now required to install certain things after you buy your mac. We know that 99% of you will need/want flash at some point, but we are going to make Steve a prophet (and profit) by making sure that Flash is too difficult to install so it will eventually die."

  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:56AM (#34004432) Homepage

    No matter what they do, people will complain.

    Yes, but also, no matter what they do, some people will defend them...

  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @12:03PM (#34004464) Homepage

    - an inefficient way to play videos

    Please, die flash, die.

    Which it won't. There are people touting HTML5 like it's some all conquering replacement. There's a bunch of things you can't do with HTML video, including intelligent bandwidth use (ie dropping to a lower bandwidth if you haven't got enough) and unskippable advertising (which some places will wish to serve, to, you know, pay for the content).

    Flash won't die until it can be replaced.

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @12:11PM (#34004506)

    Apple is beginning to worry me.

    I've been recommending Macs to techno-impaired types for a while now because they did in fact pretty much "work out of the box" and required minimal training to operate, particularly in the area of security and updates. But this is now becoming a highly questionable proposition.

    Like it or not, many, many websites the average user goes to are full of Flash contents that the users want to see and some of them just plainly refuse to work without. All conversations about standards and HTML5 are likely to be met by these users with an uncomprehending expression and stubborn "but I just want it to play my video and it won't!" response. Ejecting Flash out of the basic OS update mechanism now means that the users will have to first install the stuff themselves (hopefully not from the top Google search result hosted on "fakemacupdates.cn" or some such) and then respond to any and all "update" requests from now two (and with Steve's attitude likely more to come soon) places with different interfaces and what not, thus conditioning them to click on "continue" on every such pop up they see. Up to now I taught them not to install anything at all themselves and to respond to "update" requests only from the Apple update app, which simplified things immensely.

    This strategy is now no longer feasible.

    Combined with the horrible iTunes 10 networked drive fiasco (and don't even get me started on the "Ping" "social network" thing) Apple is really starting to reduce their advantages to a clueless Joe User, whose herd instincts already nag at him to be "like everyone else in the office" and just get a cheap Windows 7 laptop.

  • Re:Lies. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jason.sweet (1272826) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @12:18PM (#34004566)
    I think you're onto something.
    My Macbook Pro does get warmer when Flash is running.
  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Sunday October 24, 2010 @12:53PM (#34004768)

    Yes, ive seen the guidelines

    Huh? If you had seen the guidelines then why did you accuse the Anonymous Coward of "making shit up" about the optionally-installed frameworks?

    Nothing says you can't include your own interpreters in your app bundle

    Impractical for Java, but possible for Flash. It does dissuade developers from going down that path though. And Apple have a history of changing the rules for their app stores. I wouldn't put it past them to put a blanket ban on any Flash application in the future.

    Does anybody actually use the flash browser plugin to build desktop applications?

    I have seen it used for games and installers for some Windows software. I don't do gaming on the Mac, so I don't know if it gets used there. I have done it on Windows and not realised a game was written using Flash at the beginning. They don't have to sit in browser windows.

    Nothing precludes you from installing java, flash, and your own app via means other than the app store. If you want to work outside the guidelines, then you lose a distribution channel, and that is all.

    That is correct for now. Who knows how much more the OS will get locked down. Also, look at the iPhone. How popular are the apps that aren't available in the app store?

  • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @12:58PM (#34004796)
    Don't forget fanboi-ism. It's not any fun blindly bashing Apple with anyone blindly defending them.
  • Re:Lies. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Teckla (630646) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @01:11PM (#34004876)

    It has nothing to do with the latest version -- Flash has an auto-updater. If they ship with it, it'll just auto-update when the machine is first connected to the internet.

    Are you sure about that?

    I bet one of the first things owners of new Macs do is setup networking and immediately get on the Internet and browse around.

    That scenario leaves users vulnerable to Flash exploits if the version of Flash that shipped with the OS was out-of-date (which is likely). Apple could add special code that doesn't allow Flash applets to run until Flash checks for updates, but why should that burden be placed on Apple?

    In addition, given all the recent Flash exploits, I think Apple is making the right choice. Apple can't guarantee that even the latest version of Flash is free from exploits (especially because Flash is closed source), so it makes sense to have the user make the decision whether or not to install Flash, and thus take the responsibility for any repercussions.

  • Re:What's new? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 @ g m a i l.com> on Sunday October 24, 2010 @01:34PM (#34005050)

    So, "one rule for me, another rule for everyone else" is what that boils down to.

    If MS or various Linux distros are not expected to roll their own Flash package and keep it up to date, why should Apple be expected to?

  • Re:Lies. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @01:56PM (#34005172)
    One day, possibly. The next OSX version is going to include an app store, functioning like the iOS store - if apps want to get in they'll have to be approved by Apple, and subject to whatever restrictions Apple deems fit - be they for reasons of performance (No flash, it sucks up CPU time) or economics (No flash - we couldn't sell $1.49 games if people could just put 'free flash games' into google and find hundreds of good ones there). It's a very long way from an app store to requiring apps be approved, but it is the first step in that direction: First make the app store, then set it up so that app store apps have such a huge commercial advantage that any non-apple approved app will be doomed to obscurity, and finally just require all apps come via the store.

    I imagine they'd leave the Mac Pro unrestricted, because those are used for heavy number-crunching in content creation and scientific processing, where applications are often very niche things and updated frequently. But for the portables? I can just imagine how Steve and fellow executives may already be pondering how the macbook air could be turned into an iPad with a keyboard some day, thus bringing not just the initial sale profits but a stream of revenue from the app store and advertising too.
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @02:03PM (#34005214) Homepage Journal

    Apple can't ship an up-to-date version of Flash. Adobe hasn't made an auto-update tool, and Apple has their computers ready to run out of the box. Once it leaves the factory, no matter what, at one point the installed Flash version is going to become outdated before the computer is even sold. Why should Apple have to carry the burden of having to install and update software from other companies?

    When users have to go to Adobe's website to install Flash, they will associate Flash with Adobe instead of Apple. So if they have Flash problems they will stop pointing at Apple as if it's their fault that Flash sucks.

    It will also help lower the supposed "Flash installed base" percentage. I don't know how they test this because I'm personally tired of hearing that "99.9% of users have Flash" when Flash sucks so bad on Mac OS X and Linux and when so many people disable or even delete Flash from their system. I even know someone who deleted Flash from his Windows 7 computer because it kept crashing his system.

    Another point is that when security lists are made for all operating systems they include software from the regular installation. If Apple drops Java and Flash they'll cut a huge percentage of security holes from their list which, frankly, is in Apple's best interest.

    As for power over the mobile Web, this isn't 1995 anymore. The mobile Web is the regular Web, if you see any difference then you're not coding using Web standards. Flash will disappear just like Shockwave disappeared. It's just a question of time.

  • Re:Lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @02:31PM (#34005396)

    Flash for the Mac is so terrible that an Adobe evangelist actually recommended using a Flash blocker in response to people's complaints about its instability. I'm not sure if Slashdotters criticizing Apple for antagonizing Adobe are aware of how slow and buggy the non-Windows version of the plugin is. Apple is eager to replace its functionality with open web standards. Adobe is so deluded that it accused Apple of being closed and of Flash being open simply because it's a commonly-installed plugin.

    Here's a John Gruber article [daringfireball.net] explaining the situation between Apple and Flash better.

  • Re:What's new? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @02:57PM (#34005560) Journal

    I'm not sure how hardware comes into play here.

    Windows and Linux desktop distros are both intended to be fairly complete software packages for the desktop, and Flash is software, not hardware.

    BUT... I'm not saying this in defense of Apple. I'm saying it in defense of Microsoft, Apple, and Linux. I'm saying it because it doesn't make sense to ship Flash versions with known security vulnerabilities on DVD-ROM's that have to be patched as soon as they're installed.

    Nah, then it's better to not ship anything at all, and let the user download it from the sole company with responsibility for Flash -- Adobe.

    MS, and now also Apple, has apparently realized this.

  • Re:Lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @03:06PM (#34005606)

    I don't know if you're aware of the Flash experience on the Mac. Flash blockers on the Mac are very common because of how slow and buggy the non-Windows version of the Flash plugin is. When Safari was released to support external process plugins, it was mentioned that the #1 cause of crashes in OS X according to their crash reporter was plugins. They didn't mention it by name, but everyone knew they were talking about Flash. It's notorious for being a piece of shit.

    Adobe has long been slow to update their core Mac applications, first for OS X and then for Cocoa. Only after Apple deprecated Carbon and cancelled the 64-bit version of it did Adobe finally update Photoshop to use Cocoa, almost a decade after OS X was first released. When a Snow Leopard update shipped with an older version of Flash than what was available because a newer version came out during their update cycle, people shit on Apple. Apple was doing Adobe a favor by shipping Flash with every Mac, but now that they're trying to push open standards like HTML5, and security issues have become a problem in Flash, why should they when a user who wants Flash can get the latest version directly from Adobe like they already do on Windows?

  • Re:Lies. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @03:11PM (#34005624)

    Linux users yesterday: "I hate websites that use Flash. They're slow and awful. Let's hear it for open web standards!"

    Linux users today: "Apple is evil for not pre-installing Flash, a third-party, proprietary web plugin. How dare they encourage the use of open web standards. I'm going to mention Steve Jobs by name and rant about how I'm able to do apt-get on the command-line to install Flash, which is somehow the same as having it pre-installed. That's proof that Apple is evil. Wake up, sheep!"

  • by feranick (858651) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @04:54PM (#34006422)
    FUD. You can easily install flash and reader (and keep them updated) through the official "partner" repositories. sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer No needs to go on Adobe website.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 24, 2010 @05:13PM (#34006520)

    Those jerks at Apple never include free software like these either:

    Flip4Mac, Perian, Silverlight, TextWrangler, Colloquy, Cyberduck, Dropbox, Firefox, Chrome, Google Earth, Handbrake, VLC, OpenOffice.org, Notational Velocity, etc.

    Of course, they also never include "free" software to TRY (then pay for) like all of the Windows machines I've used. Stuff like:

    Terrible media players by Sony, Quicken, Quickbooks, TurboTax, Microsoft Office trial, An oldie but a goodie — MS Works, 18 GB of shovelware by the OEM, Stickers!!, Two or three anti-virus trials (which conflict with each other and make the machine crawl), etc.

    Maybe Apple expects the user to take the nice, clean Mac and install only the software the USER WANTS!

  • by macshit (157376) <miles@@@gnu...org> on Sunday October 24, 2010 @05:49PM (#34006686) Homepage

    I dunno what you've been smoking, but an increase anti-apple opinion on Slashdot is absolutely consistent with the generally individualist, "pro freedom" bent the people here have always had. People here generally gave apple some credit in the past for at least being a technically excellent and otherwise inoffensive alternative to MS domination, but its recent moves are scary for anybody that cares about an open computing culture. [We all knew Jobs was an insane control-freak but previously that had only really manifested in the area of product and GUI design, where control-freakiness at least generally has a positive effect for the end-user.]

    I think you're mistaken about the level of anti-apple rhetoric here -- there are certainly people lambasting apple's recent actions, but there's also a ready supply of apple apologists to defend them -- and you don't need to invent "astroturfing" stories to explain the former.

    Instead, just look squarely at Steve Job's attempts to move computing culture in a direction most of us really would rather it not move in.

  • Not the case (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @07:02PM (#34007086)

    For one, there's a big difference between performance per watt and watts of power draw period. Mobile phones need a low power draw, regardless of performance. So suppose we have a general Benchmark X that is the be-all, end-all of performance metering. I know it doesn't exist, just as an example. Now suppose a 0.5watt ARM chip does 100 BX units. Suppose then that a 90 watt Core i7 does 40,000 BX units. The Core i7 is actually more than twice as efficient per watt at the BX test. However you still wouldn't use it in a phone. Why? Because it is 90 watts, that's why. Doesn't matter if it is more efficient, matters that it is too big over all. It isn't like a Core i7 can just be "cut down" either. Even if you only take one core and rework it to have a single execution unit and so on it'll still be quite large. It cannot be "cut down" to embedded levels, a new design would be needed.

    However the other thing is, as I noted, there is no "BX," no "One benchmark to rule them all." ARM is efficient at some things, and those things are what is important to an embedded device. Doesn't mean it is efficient at all things, doesn't mean it is efficient at what matters to a desktop. It does not logically follow that ARM is good for the desktop because it is good for embedded.

    As I said, you discover that the big thing in terms of desktop performance is heavy hitting vector FP math. This is particularly used in media (audio/video) stuff which is a market Apple pushes heavily in. Remember the big deal about AltiVec? I've never seen ARM benchmarks on that kind of stuff so I cannot say how it does, but I'll wager it isn't so hot. Then there are other things, like say 64-bit support. All the ARM CPUs I'm aware of are 32-bit. No problem, you aren't going to rock more than 4GB of RAM in an embedded device any time soon however for desktops, it is an issue. More than 4GB is common, 64-bit is needed. Guess what? That adds complexity, adds circuits. There are also things like the virtualization extensions I mentioned. VT-d and so on, the ability to run VMs are close to native speed. I know ARM has nothing like that, which again adds complexity.

    I suspect you'd discover that when you scaled ARM up to desktop levels of performance and features, well it'd use desktop levels of power too. There's just not really a way around it. Seems some people on Slashdot have this idea that there are amazing ways to get tons more performance out of chips if only evil Intel wasn't controlling things. However actual evidence doesn't support that.

  • by No. 24601 (657888) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:02PM (#34007436)

    Astroturfing? maybe. But I think the explanation is much more simple.

    As someone who enjoys Apple products (both hardware and software), but has used, and at times appreciated, Windows, Linux and other OSs, I'd have to say that recent decisions and moves by Apple are becoming more and more difficult to justify or support. Unless of course, one were to have some vested interest in it, such as to work for Apple or one of its close partners. Otherwise, as a user, I'd say there's a lot of slashdot users who still love and use Apple products, but are no longer willing to put their neck out for Apple the way you might see say a Bush, Republican or Tea Party supporter do these days (for those causes).

  • by indiechild (541156) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:16PM (#34007508)

    I considered the possibility of astroturfing too, but I think what's going on here is just old-fashioned human nature and prejudice. The Apple haters accuse people who use Apple products of being trendy fashion-conscious sheeple and religious zealots, but it's actually the haters who are the irrational nutters. Apple is the (surprising) intersection of technology and the liberal arts, and that is deeply offending to insecure geeks, to whom technology needs to be complicated, obtuse, highly technical and impenetrable. To them, making something usable is a travesty.

    Apple is a disruptive force, turning their world upside down. So the haters lash out. They keep claiming it's ironic that Apple came up with the original 1984 ad, and that the tables have turned, etc. But the irony is that Apple is still the odd one out, the innovator in an otherwise stale tech world. Notice that Apple does pretty much the opposite of just about every other tech company out there? Apple is the crazy one, the daring one, and the haters want to punish it for daring to step outside the square.

    BTW, I used to belong to the group of mainstream Apple haters -- even though I'd hardly used Macs and I didn't know what I was talking about. Back in 2002 and earlier, it was the norm to hate on Apple. Slowly, I realised that lots of smart people were starting to use Macs, and I figured there must be something to that. I bought my first iBook G3 with Mac OS X Jaguar, and haven't looked back since.

    We're entering an interesting time in the history of computing. Computing is rapidly becoming more and more accessible to the masses. Devices like iPad are making computing palatable for people who might otherwise shun desktop or laptop computers. This is deeply offensive to mainstream geeks, who are the real "elitists".

  • Re:Lies. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2010 @07:46AM (#34010484)

    rm -rf /Applications/iTunes.app/

    That's rather incomplete and missing 28 more steps that are required to Completely Remove iTunes from Mac OS [apple.com]. And even that is a lie, since the system updater wants to reinstall iTunes on my mac on every damn Thursday .

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