Firefox to Warn Users of Outdated Flash

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As a general rule, Firefox tends to be quite good about informing users when extensions are in need of an update, but far less capable when users are running an outdated version of Flash. That’s something Mozilla intends to sort out with the release of Firefox 3.5.3 and 3.0.14.

FlashWarning

According to a post on the Mozilla blog, from Firefox 3.5.3 and 3.0.14 the browser will notify users that their version of Adobe’s Flash Player plugin is in need of an update and provide them with a message that gets that point across with the requisite sense of immediacy. In Mozilla’s own words,

“Our intent is to get the user’s attention, and direct them to the Adobe web site where they can download the most up to date version.”

According to Mozilla’s own stats, the Adobe Flash Player’s practical ubiquity has led to it being one of those applications that just plain tends not to be up to date on users’ machines. Indeed, Mozilla quotes a study showing that as high as 80% of its users could be running with a vulnerable, out of date version of Adobe’s player.

Of course, the most widespread issue with keeping Flash up to date isn’t necessarily that users aren’t aware that updates exist, but that Flash Player updates require a tedious and often confusing (for less savvy users at least) series of instructions to be carried out. Still, this certainly seems like a step in the right direction; it’s hard not to respect Mozilla for making the move, but it seems likely that it may just be labelled nagware and ignored by many users.

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2 Responses to “Firefox to Warn Users of Outdated Flash”

  1. Dave P Says:

    Is the root of the problem here that Flash plugin is updated way too frequently.

    “80% of its users could be running with a vulnerable, out of date version of Adobe’s player.”
    And today’s update is tomorrow’s vulnerable out of date version – it’s just less vulnerable than the old version I have.

    Personally I hope there’a an option in Firefox to disable this warning, so I can update only when I hit a site that needs the update.

  2. Clintonio Says:

    Flash should auto update.

    Simple really :\

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