Flash 11 Without Snow Leopard

For the first time in a while, I was finally able to get two posts in one week. This year, one of my family members was having an issue with a site that required the latest version of Flash. Today, I will be discussing how the issue was resolved.

My home mainly consists of Apple computers, most of which are mine. However, not all of them run Snow Leopard or higher. One family member has Leopard on their Mac. Because of this, she could only get up to Flash 10 without using a virtual machine or upgrading the operating system. While she could have probably upgraded to Snow Leopard, there would be hurdles to get through, unless she ditched one of her programs. After all, Leopard is the last version of the Mac OS to support any software out-of-the-box. At the same time, the workarounds for Snow Leopard, namely Rosetta, which must be installed manually, does not exist for Lion or later, so she would have no choice but to ditch the program and move to one of the major players from the Linux world, none of which requires X11, since her needs are not specialized enough to need X11 apps. It is important to take the needs of the client into account.

One day, the family member tried to get into a site for a class she needed. However, it kept prompting her to get the latest version of Flash. That is when we discovered, as I stated earlier, she could only get Flash 10 for her operating, thus she could only get Flash 11 in her Windows virtual machine. Some of you may be thinking that this is fine, but nothing beats having it natively on the actual computer, as opposed to a virtualized one. From our situation, there were only two options, which was:

  • Upgrade to Snow Leopard (last version of Mac OS to include Flash and provide Rosetta) or Higher
  • Get Google Chrome

While many would take the easy way out and upgrade the Operating system, this is not the most ideal solution. After all, my first Mac at home, which I no longer use, ran Tiger and things started to become unstable when I upgraded it to Leopard, which eventually made me install a customized version of Ubuntu, in order to regain stability. It later turned out to be hardware issues. My issue is only just one possible outcome though. The other issue would be incompatible software, which would certainly be the case if I upgraded the family member’s Mac to Lion instead of Snow Leopard. However, the most troubling thing about upgrading the operating system is the price. Now, $30 is not a bad price, do not get me wrong, but in my line of studies, it is best to keep the costs down for both the client and the tech. Either of those would be out $30 just to get a new Operating system, as well as the costs of making sure that the apps work after the upgrade (which may mean going out and spending more money for the latest versions of the applications). Either party will also be out if they decide to get a new computer as well, even if the computer was build from scratch, which would be more than upgrading just the operating system (if the software did not need to be repurchased). Upgrading the Operating System may cost more than either party may want to spend, in addition to the $30 or so. Because of this fact, it is usually one of the last resorts.

If upgrading the Operating the operating system can cause so many issues, or add so much cost, then what about the other option? The other option is just a web browser that anybody can freely download. There are many who do not like it, but it is also the only safe way to get Flash for Lion or Later, outside of Adobe, and, pretty soon, the only official way on Linux. Unlike most browsers, which rely on Flash being installed in the Operating System (e.g. Firefox, Safari, etc.), Google Chrome comes with Flash, except it loads the Mozilla plugin in Linux (e.g. Debian and Ubuntu, at least), if one wants 64-bit Flash, in the download and is automatically updated to the latest possible. The downside to this is that since Chrome has Flash built in, Chrome will be the only one with that particular version of Flash, which means the user is required to use Chrome for versions later than what their system currently has. There are also the downsides that obviously come from switching browsers, supposing one switches to using Chrome exclusively, but other than those, I do not see very much else. After all, searches on the Internet reveal that many browsers are most likely switching the unified bar present in Chrome. The major upside though is that it takes away the worries of needing to repurchase software or deal with other troubles that can result from upgrading an Operating System. Getting a new browser is the least troublesome, especially if it includes Flash.

Which of those options worked for you? Well, I decided to have the client get Chrome, though I did not know if it would give her Flash 11 like it does on my Laptop. As that was the least troublesome, it was worth it to see if it gave Leopard users Flash 11. Surprisingly, when we fired up Chrome and took it to the test page Adobe has that tells the user their Flash version, Adobe said that it had Flash 11, which meant that the version of Flash in Chrome was independent of what the Operating system was allowed to have, according to Adobe. Chrome updates its build of Flash to the latest possible, even if the Operating System itself does not support the same version.

When users need the latest version of Flash, they are left with the following options:

  • Upgrade Operating System
  • Get Google Chrome

Upgrading the Operating system can cause headaches, in both compatibility and cost, so it is best to be reserved as a last resort, but will allow the latest version of Flash possible in any web browser. Getting Chrome will allow the latest possible version of Flash, regardless of what the Operating System supports, but the user will be required to use Chrome when the latest version of Flash is needed.

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Copyright © 2012 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.