Photo by Andrew. I totally need to see this episode (S18E07). Hmm, someone want to send some Simpsons box sets for my birthday? No?

The typical user likely has no idea that Flash is even supported in QuickTime. But VJ apps like ArKaos VJ and other applications (like Max/MSP/Jitter patches that use this support) rely on QuickTime to support Flash. Unfortunately, as of Leopard — or any Mac updated to QuickTime 7.3.1 — that support is gone, and will most likely never return.

What’s the reason? Security:

Multiple vulnerabilities exist in QuickTime’s Flash media handler, the most serious of which may lead to arbitrary code execution. With this update, the Flash media handler in QuickTime is disabled except for a limited number of existing QuickTime movies that are known to be safe. Credit to Tom Ferris of Adobe Secure Software Engineering Team (ASSET), Mike Price of McAfee Avert Labs, and security researchers Lionel d’Hauenens & Brian Mariani of Syseclabs for reporting this issue.

About the security content of QuickTime 7.3.1 (thanks to n0s10pm for the tip!)

In case this isn’t clear, this impacts only embedded Flash files within QuickTime, not Flash itself. But because some apps use QuickTime as a way of hooking in support for Flash animations, that’s a big deal — at least for someone. Windows users are impacted, too; this covers both platforms, though at least Windows users have the option of using Flash integration features available only on that OS.

Now, admittedly, the small niche pushing the limits of QuickTime and digital visuals is dwarfed by the potentially-enormous crowd who could be impacted by this vulnerability. But there’s clearly a philosophical problem here we’ve seen before: instead of fixing the vulnerability and providing a replacement, the entire idea is axed. Necessary? Perhaps, but I would love to see Adobe address ways of more easily integrating Flash technology with other applications. As the Flash/Flex platform grows, the potential here could be wide enough to justify the effort, especially as applications (not just VJ apps) add rich client features.

And in the meantime, if you use a tool that uses this support, you may want to hunt down an old installer or hold off upgrading. (Reverting to older versions is, unfortunately, really hard — you have to completely uninstall QuickTime, and you’ll only have luck if you’re on Tiger or earlier as far as I know.)

  • http://jim1000tongues.net sbn..

    That is bad news. On Tiger, I dabbled with running generative swfs inside Quartz Composer. Flash 5 only, but it gave access to at least some form of generative code, since QC can't instantiate objects from javascript inside itself without having to drag wires.

    On the other hand, QC has a new API for extending it with plugins (see kineme.net), and my dream has long been for someone to do an "Image with Processing sketch" plugin, maybe I should add to that a wish for an "Image with swf", using the browser plugin (or webkit). These QC plugins can be distributed, and QC itself can be wrapped in Quicktime movies. It would only play back on machines with the plugins installed, but that's enough for me.

    I'd write those plugins myself if I was a bit more clever. Maybe we could set up donations to commission the Kineme guys?

  • Woz – Birkenhead

    Yes this is typical rubbish conduct by Apple & Adobe. I contacted Apple and was advised I would have to reinstall my whole system to be able to run Quicktime 7.2 which is apparently ok with flash. I've been messing around with this problem all afternoon and am seriously pxxxxd off! This is 2008 not 1908!!!!

  • Josh

    Horrible timing… Have been working with flash to make dynamic overlays of QT movies. What the hell are they thinking? They still have all their developer docs and tutorials on the apple developer connection talking about how great it is you can add flash tracks to quicktime movies. BULLS***!
    Thanks for wasting my time Apple.

  • J Kevin Lambert

    Yes and all in the name of generic creativity,

    I thought I learned my lesson when the hastily released up dates for iTunes and quick time to accommodate the ridiculous iPhone left me unable to use any of my iTunes music and authorizing my computer over and over again or months last summer, but now I aint downloading any of these updates that are two weeks apart APPLE SLOW DOWN ,

  • yoann

    Hi, I though this might be useful :
    http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx

    with this soft you can downgrade from qt 7.4 to qt 7.3 ; which i did for some other problems with 7.4
    I don't know if 10.5 can run only 7.3 but…

  • J Kevin Lambert

    I dont think you can un install Quicktime, I tried on my G4 powerbook and kept receiving a notification that a newer version was installed, feeling bold I searched in spotlight for all quicktime files, and started to delete them, when i emptied the trash, at one point My finder, desktop, ability to open the trash, my ability to access my apps folder and, and most of the apps in the dock.

    I can use Safari and Mail, and if I go to add an attachment I can browse all my files and , most websites give a notification that flash shockwave cant be found, I down loaded it but could not install it because it said it had been moved since being down loaded. I tried to down load and install flash from one computer to the other and I get a notification that it was a success, but when I look for it , its not there

    Some of the files I deleted are still in the trash but I cant access them, luckily I am able to use target disk mode to move any thing I want onto my iMac G5, my iTunes library, and Documents , Movies and some applications, and photos , my font book and more in anticipation of having to reinstall from the original C.D.

    I am considering an erase and install at this point and could use some advise about how best to save every thing, so that I can reintroduce them to the new system after the install, and have them still function

  • m

    do not revert back to older versions of QT.. It'll kill your OS. Yup, it happened to me.. I make animation using flash track but now it's gone forever.