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Adobe Announces that in 2020, Flash Player Will Reach Its 'End-of-Life' in Light of Newer Technologies (webkit.org) 154

Adobe said on Tuesday it will stop distributing and updating Flash Player at the end of 2020 and is encouraging web developers to migrate any existing Flash content to open standards. Apple is working with Adobe, industry partners, and developers to complete this transition. From a blog post: Apple users have been experiencing the web without Flash for some time. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch never supported Flash. For the Mac, the transition from Flash began in 2010 when Flash was no longer pre-installed. Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default. Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.
In a blog post, the company wrote: "Adobe has long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content -- from video, to games and more -- on the web. Where we've seen a need to push content and interactivity forward, we've innovated to meet those needs. Where a format didn't exist, we invented one -- such as with Flash and Shockwave. And over time, as the web evolved, these new formats were adopted by the community, in some cases formed the basis for open standards, and became an essential part of the web. But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web. Over time, we've seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins. Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners -- including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla -- Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats."
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Adobe Announces that in 2020, Flash Player Will Reach Its 'End-of-Life' in Light of Newer Technologies

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  • OMG! (Score:5, Funny)

    by intellitech ( 1912116 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:17AM (#54875191)

    Hallelujah!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:48AM (#54875419)

      This is a Pyrrhic victory at best. The alternatives often aren't any better, and in many ways are worse.

      At least with Flash we had the ability to just not install the plugin, or to remove it or disable it if it were installed, and then we wouldn't be forced to endure it.

      But that's not always the case with these built-in technologies. It's even worse with some of the JavaScript-based ones. It can become much harder, if not impossible, to separate "good" JavaScript from "unwanted" JavaScript for any given page. At least when Flash was used we could just block that part of a web page, without necessarily breaking the entire site. Having to dick around with an extension like NoScript to partially block scripts often doesn't work, especially when a site combines useful and unwanted JavaScript code into a single script.

      WebAssembly [wikipedia.org] is particularly insidious. While minified or obfuscated JavaScript can be difficult enough to decipher, WASM's binary encoding makes it even harder to figure out what remotely-served code executing in the browser will actually try to do. It's like Java applets all over again.

      It's much the same for the embedded audio and video capabilities of modern browsers. They can be useful when they're wanted, but this also leaves them open to abuse (such as when used for advertising purposes).

      We've gone from getting screwed in one way to getting screwed in a slightly different way, and neither of these screwings feels good.

    • Actually this is a VERY sad day because what do we have to replace it that is actually BETTER than Flash......anyone? Beuller?

      HTML V5 is WORSE in every measure, it sucks more resources, uses more CPU cycles, uses a codec that is a minefield of patents, and has everyone forgotten the fact that DRM is now gonna be baked into browsers just to support HTML V5? I'm all for replacing Flash but with something BETTER than Flash, what we are gonna be getting? Is worse for everyone but big corps and big media who can

      • Is worse for everyone but big corps and big media who can use it to make sure video only plays on approved OSes on approved devices.

        When the alternative is not being offered digital video at all, I don't really care. HTML5 mostly supports the same codecs as Flash. And Flash is much more of a black box than HTML/JS is currently even with DRM.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        HTML V5 is WORSE in every measure, it sucks more resources, uses more CPU cycles, uses a codec that is a minefield of patents

        Major web browser engines other than Apple WebKit can play VP8, Vorbis, VP9, and Opus. How are these "a minefield of patents"? SWF can only use Sorenson Spark (similar to ye olde DivX) and MPEG-4 AVC, which is still patented.

        has everyone forgotten the fact that DRM is now gonna be baked into browsers just to support HTML V5? I

        SWF's strength was vector animations. HTML5 EME affects video, not vector animations.

      • uses a codec that is a minefield of patents

        Which codec would that be? The same H.264 that Flash used?

        HTML5 video also offers the option of VP9 [wikipedia.org] video. VP9 is royalty-free [webmproject.org] for all use cases and outperforms H.264 [medium.com].

        So just use VP9 and be happy.

  • by FrankHaynes ( 467244 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:21AM (#54875219)

    Maybe by 2040 or so Major League Baseball Advanced Media will finally ditch Flash Player for HTML5 to show baseball games. Believe it or not an outfit that is positively drowning in cash just can't be bothered to update their web players. Seriously!

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Because it works spectacularly, and the video quality is superb. I'd go so far as to say it is the gold standard by which all other internet video experiences are measured. Whatever they do from here will be a step backward, I assure you. Why fix it when it ain't broke.
      • Because it works spectacularly, and the video quality is superb.

        MLBAM's iOS apps also "work spectacularly, and the video quality is superb" - without Flash. They obviously know how to accomplish this without using out-of-date, malware-prone technologies... they just need to invest a small amount of that pile of cash they've been collecting from subscribers like me.

    • Since when do you need flash to watch MLB TV? I just installed the apps on my apple tv and xbox and phones and ipads and it plays the games. never had to install flash

      • I've subscribed to the NHL's streaming service over the past few years and they use the MLB's streaming service, MLB Advanced Media. Sadly it still requires flash on PC, which most browsers don't want you to use anymore. "Oh you want to watch in this browser, you must install flash for it. You installed it for that other browser last time, silly."

        It is long past due to kill it with fire, nuke it from orbit, double tap it, etc.
      • Since when do you need flash to watch MLB TV?

        You need it for PC. I am blacked out of Red Sox games because they're playing Seattle and I live in Portland. I wanted to see if a VPN would bypass that restriction and it did, but I had to allow Flash to run in Chrome first.

        Also, while it bypassed the restriction I couldn't get video to play. Not sure if Linux,Chrome or MLB on that.

    • Thanks to the integration of DRM in the HTML5 spec, now MLB actually *CAN* drop Adobe Flash...
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      No one should be using flash anymore. It is criminal. It was criminal in 2000, except for certain targeted applications. I remember when Google has a brief affair with it for the stock charts. I thought that was a creative use. Otherwise it was primarily for encapsulating p0rn, which even the p0rn industry left long ago.

      There are some non profits who have created some good actual applications using flash. Unfortunately, many of these do not have the funding to rewrite in a modern frameworks.

  • Didn't Adobe rename Flash to something else to avoid carrying the Flash baggage?
  • Why would they even do this? Has the security situation gotten to the point where their hand is being forced or do they simply want to abandon their technical debt in the same manner that any industrial operation wishes to abandon their industrial waste, into the commons?

    • Their production tool already supports HTML5/JS. Hardware acceleration and security are both a huge cross-platform headache that browser vendors have already taken on. And they still haven't been allowed on the iPhone with Flash.

      They're only dragging their feet because of complaints of content producers.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Because nobody uses Flash anymore. There is no designer in the world that can get work these days just on Flash. Flash has been dead, only there for legacy. There is also a huge amount of work to keep it maintained, the code goes back to the 90s at least and wasn't well written to begin with.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Because Apple point blank refused to allow flash on the iPhone.

      As a result, Adobe sticking to their guns on flash and content creation for flash caused web developers to look elsewhere.

      Adobe decided the way forward was to refresh their content creation tools (where they actually make money) to help developers with non-flash content.

      With that in theory done, the flash platform represents a cost, and their whole marketing message is now that you don't need flash, so they are paying for something that, per the

  • At long last! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:30AM (#54875263)

    Now, if the many sites that still assume it's present and default to it over HTML5 could finally start working properly when Flash isn't available, the Internet will be a much better place. I'm looking at you [crappy TV news channel websites of your choice goes here].

    • Personally I'm irritated at how many of the crappy TV news channel websites have switched to HTML5. Blocking flash is easy, blocking their autoplaying HTML 5 videos reliably is hard. I just have to turn off javascript entirely, which isn't good because sometimes there's a slideshow I'd like to use.

    • For Chrome there's the Disable HTML5 Autoplay [google.com] extension.
  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:33AM (#54875293) Homepage Journal

    Most of what we need the internet for is being replaced and overshadowed by graphic-heavy bells & whistles. We could use the internet safely if we applied a more minimalist approach to design and if we standardized video or dynamic UI for the internet better than we are now.

    Ethics watchdogs need to step up and start really trying hard to break the current push for more javascript.

    The web browser should display a page that can be interacted with effectively and efficiently, without all the added bells & whistles, because those bells & whistles are often introduced to create security vectors for black hatters.

    Most people using the internet have limited safety understanding. Flash is one of those platforms that can seriously harm a computer if the Flash object is designed as malware [zdnet.com]. Couple this with the loose security in users still using IE that often utilizes ActiveX [howtogeek.com] and the results are predictably negative.

    MSFT can try as much as they want but I'll never trust them very much and everything they release has to be combed through by teams of 3rd party security experts in order to protect their clients.

    Again, using Firefox & Noscript, coupled with a given user's paranoia, will prevent most malware type issues.

    • standardized video or dynamic UI for the internet better than we are now.

      Ethics watchdogs need to step up and start really trying hard to break the current push for more javascript.

      Dynamic UI = JavaScript. Anything else is static. You talk about flashy graphics, but on web applications, the real bandwidth hog would be reloading the entire web page every time the UI needs to update.

      • You talk about flashy graphics, but on web applications, the real bandwidth hog would be reloading the entire web page every time the UI needs to update.

        Google AJAX and Single Page Applications.

      • Dynamic UI = JavaScript. Anything else is static.

        The last time we discussed the pros and cons of JavaScript and WebAssembly [slashdot.org], the consensus in the comments appeared to be that people want web pages ought to be static apart from form submission and CSS checkbox hack menus. For dynamic UI, make a native application that users can download, install, and use.

        • comments appeared to be that people want

          Define people. Slashdot users are not typical users and installing an application is above many of their skill levels (as is typing a web address into the address bar).

          • by mfh ( 56 )

            I get a call from family members like the people you're describing and I always have to come up with an excuse as to why I can't fix their computer. Usually I just try to help them but only if they answer some questions quickly.

            I find that I can usually solve the problem by step 2, but I always send the questions to them via email so they can work it out.

            I find this helps even noob computer users to learn to fish.

            1. Can you summarize the problem in under ten words?
            2. Call me back when you can summarize the

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Would the following be an ideal reply?

              Can you summarize the problem in under ten words?

              Router on, cables connected, but websites give "server not found".

              What did you do now?

              Restarted PC, router, and modem.

              Why did you do that?

              ISP phone rep told me last time to do that, saying it'd snap the circuits out of a stuck state.

              What did you find when you googled the summarized ten word problem?

              "Server not found" on both Google and Bing.

        • by mfh ( 56 )

          This would appear to solve so much trouble caused by JS.

          More info for those interested:
          http://webassembly.org/docs/se... [webassembly.org]

          Each WebAssembly module executes within a sandboxed environment separated from the host runtime using fault isolation techniques. This implies:

          1. Applications execute independently, and canâ(TM)t escape the sandbox without going through appropriate APIs.
          2. Applications generally execute deterministically with limited exceptions.

          Aaaaaand:

          The design of WebAssembly promotes safe program

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Actually, you can have dynamic UI often with nothing more than CSS trickery. If your application happens to fall in that category and you implement it in that way, the browser will behave much more smoothly and in fact there's less to micromanage.

        Of course there are things that plain CSS cannot do, but it can do far more than a lot of people do not realize.

        In short, guess my message is don't go too crazy doing something visual with javascript without seeing if CSS has a way of doing it first.

        • Dynamic doesn't mean animated in this context. It means updating with external data based on the inputs.

  • I dread Jan 1, 2021 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Train0987 ( 1059246 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:34AM (#54875305)
    The day they end support for Flash there will be millions of vulnerable PC's with Flash installed that will never be patched. We're still going to be dealing with Flash problems for years to come, there just won't be any more security patches. It'll be open season with all the 0-days.
    • So, the same as the last decade or two then? That DOES seem like something about which we should be concerned. Has anybody alerted the media??!!
    • by Ramze ( 640788 )

      Will there really, though? By then, just about every Windows OS except Windows 10 will be End of Life, and the majority of people browse the web with Chrome which has flash built-in. By then, I suspect Firefox will mostly be gone and most will be on either Chrome or Edge -- both with built-in flash... which they'll simply disable permanently. Neither Android nor iOS support flash directly, and most browsers already have warnings for it and have content disabled by default -- with plans to remove the fun

    • The browsers will just disable the plug-in by default. Problem solved.
    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

      The day they end support for Flash there will be millions of vulnerable PC's with Flash installed that will never be patched.

      Most vulnerabilities stop being an issue if browser+plugin developers don't allow automatic blind execution. This is a lesson that should have been learned since the MS-DOS virus days. Since flash no longer auto-executes, there's much less concern for 0-days.

      If anything, it's a flaw with web browsers themselves. Web browsers tended to have vulnerabilities for much longer than what w

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Most vulnerabilities stop being an issue if browser+plugin developers don't allow automatic blind execution.

        Let me know when browsers "don't allow automatic blind execution" of proprietary JavaScript by default either.

        • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

          Done [browser.org].

          Netscape 2.0 also counts, as it's miles ahead in stopping blind execution compared to stock modern browsers. It also had bandwidth saving features too, allows manually loading images. Modern browser developers must think those two features would never have any use.

          • Done: Lynx

            You are technically correct. Pardon my moving the goalposts, but I had browsers in wide interactive use among English speakers in mind. Wikipedia's article about that browser [wikipedia.org] gives no indication of usage share, and most sources found through Google lynx browser usage share lump it into "Other", which isn't helpful.

            Netscape 2.0 also counts

            Pardon my moving the goalposts, but I had browsers that still receive security updates in mind. The 2.0 series no longer receives security updates. When Netscape Navigator as a whole ended support

  • This can't happen soon enough. Might see about getting placed in a medically induced coma until then.
  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:53AM (#54875455) Journal

    I was a Flash aficionado back in the early 2000s. Back then it was a good way to get something moving on your page or to provide a bit of interactivity. HTML 5 was some way off, iFrames were clunky, and JavaScript libraries like jQuery weren't very mature yet. Plus the player had a small footprint and was pretty widely installed on the browsers of the time. For a time it was a great way to deliver video.

    As a technology it was a decent stopgap measure IMHO but it was on borrowed time as open standards caught up. Not many slashdotters had anything positive to say about it because it was a closed standard, but I have fond memories of seeing what the future of the web looked like, even if it was implemented in a doomed technology.

  • Why so long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @11:54AM (#54875461)
    Flash should be discontinued next year. OK, this year. :)
    • It'll take sites to transition away from Flash. Including business sites. Yes, some businesses have built business-critical sites on Flash. Hell, ESXi's vCenter Appliance used Flash for its UI until recently. The fact that there will still be sites using Flash means that people will still need to install the plugin. That means that Adobe will still need to support it. The announcement today is a clear signal to those sites to start moving away from Flash.
  • 2020 is a long time from now...
  • Once I can find a suitable website that has a free flash-based countdown tool.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:07PM (#54875569)

    Update your damn websites.

    Both of you have iOS and Android apps which don't use Flash... so you apparently have (or know where to find) at least one or two people whose skill sets are less than a decade out of date.

    It's not a particularly hard problem... so what's the holdup?

    Sincerely,
    A Paying Customer

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Both [MLB and Pandora] have iOS and Android apps which don't use Flash

      Would you prefer that use of MLB or Pandora on a PC require installing a Windows app or a macOS app, with GNU/Linux and FreeBSD users left out?

  • by TFlan91 ( 2615727 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:15PM (#54875619)

    On Jan 1, 2021, they should send out an update that completely uninstalls and removes Flash, period.

    Nothing short of that matters, millions of computers will remain infected, millions of websites will continue to be exploited.

    • On Jan 1, 2021, they should send out an update that completely uninstalls and removes Flash, period.

      Yeah, shame on people actually being able to make choices. It's not like they could just disable it by default if it's already installed and not install it on new machines.

      It's easy to beat up on Flash, but I'm very disturbed by the accelerating trend of killing and deleting things on a schedule, rather than letting the market decide. That's especially true when 3rd parties, like Mozilla and Google, can decide when someone else's technology needs to die for the good of the people.

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @12:40PM (#54875853)

    Thoughts on Flash [apple.com]

    • I remember that announcement. I also remember then Android came out with flash support and without half the internet broken and then ate Apple's lunch in the smartphone market. That announcement was full of self justifications at a time when they simply weren't true, e.g. Youtube's pitiful library on the iPhone compared to a PC.

      They were premature.

  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @01:11PM (#54876091)

    I hope VMWare gets it act together and comes up with some better technology for vCenter soon enough.

    I couldn't ever figure out why change the lean, relatively fast and responsive vSphere client to the flash-based mess. At least you can still do most things via vSphere but some need the web interface (e.g. vMotion where you move both the VM and the data in case the VM is stored on local drives).

    At least Cisco has gotten rid of it for their IMC modules (for some servers, not all).

  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @01:14PM (#54876103) Journal

    I'm gonna miss the casual browser games with the sweet stylized graphics you only find in Flash games. What is the replacement easy to use programming and creation environment for artists?

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @02:14PM (#54876509) Homepage

      What is the replacement easy to use programming and creation environment for artists?

      Open up the .fla file in Adobe Animate, go to the Command menu and choose "Convert to HTML5 Canvas from AS3 document formats"

      Debug a bit. Done.

      • Open up the .fla file in Adobe Animate

        The difference is that like Macromedia Flash before it, Adobe Flash allows resale of a used copy, whereas Adobe Animate does not because it's offered exclusively through the Creative Cloud rental service. Someone who bought a used copy of Adobe Flash may not feel it worth it to continue to pony up for Creative Cloud every month for the rest of his life.

        • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2017 @02:39PM (#54876689) Homepage

          Are these games in active development or something? Sign up for a 30-day trial, open / convert / save / done. Never touch it again.

          For new games, you can learn HTML/JS directly, and it's an open standard.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Sign up for a 30-day trial, open / convert / save / done. Never touch it again.

            I thought trial-exported projects had conspicuous watermarks.

            • Before CC, the Adobe trials wouldn't even let you use the save feature - I think the only watermarks were in video renders. I ran the current CC trial last year for 30 days and I was able to save with no problem and no visible watermarks in Photoshop and Illustrator. This is because you have to activate the trial with an Adobe account and the software won't function in trial mode until you do.

        • Also, some of that functionality exists in CS6, I think. I don't know, I don't use Flash and the rest of my CS suite is at 5.5 because I'm not a subscriber.

      • And... if I don't have the source code?

        Will there continue to be a standalone player that will let me play all the SWF files I've downloaded over the years?

        • Lots of discontinued programs have been preserved by end users to continue running pretty much forever (by emulation or virtualization). Flash already has an .exe player for SWF files included with the flash installer. Get an old offline installer for Flash Player and you're good to go - you don't want an insecure older version of Flash in your browser, though.

          • Adobe has been famous for trying to keep standalone versions of the Flash player exclusive to developers. At one point, they wouldn't let you download it unless you registered an account with Adobe, and today you have to do stupid tricks such as adding "&standalone=1" to the end of download URLs. Those tricks are of course not documented and tend to work and not work at random. What else do you expect from a company where the installer will instantly delete itself when you run it, BEFORE it has actua

            • All it takes is one person to keep a copy of the standalone installer to preserve the old stuff. It has no business being used on the web anymore, and that's the rallying cry here.

              • The problem is that there's serious social pressure not to do so. I keep having to turn to pirate networks to get archives of free software, let alone old commercial software.

                Stuff like Windows Live Mail 2009, which I needed as an intermediate upgrade. Microsoft killed 2009 and tore every trace of it from the web since it was "insecure", but a direct upgrade from Outlook Express to Live Mail 2012 doesn't work, so I had to upgrade from OE to 2009 to 2012. I never intended to use 2009 for production use, b

  • I thought Adobe already had an announcement to kill its Flash years ago.

  • Maybe now some of the holdouts that I encounter that still use Flash (ABC Australia iView catch-up TV for one) will finally stop using Flash and start using HTML5.

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