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Adobe bids farewell to Flash Player in its final update!

A few short weeks before we finally bid Flash adieu, Adobe has rolled out one final Flash Player update. Rather than the detailed feature changes that we typically read about in patch notes, Adobe used the opportunity to give the software a fond sendoff.

Adobe will no longer support Flash Player after December 31 2020, and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12 2021; Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems. Adobe Flash Player played a crucial role in evolving web content across animation, interactivity, audio, and video.

“Today marks the final scheduled release of Flash Player for all regions outside of Mainland China,” Adobe wrote. “We want to take a moment to thank all of our customers and developers who have used and created amazing Flash Player content over the last two decades. We are proud that Flash had a crucial role in evolving web content across animation, interactivity, audio, and video. We are excited to help lead the next era of digital experiences.”

The software has been a cornerstone of the web for decades. Usage has declined over the years and alternative open standards such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly are more secure. Sure, Flash was buggy (as Steve Jobs famously wrote), but it was a conduit for some of the web's more weird and wonderful experiences. Thankfully, the Internet Archive has thousands of animations, games and other Flash apps that you can run with an emulator.

There were good reasons to disable Flash, including frequent and numerous security holes. But it threatened the survival of countless old games and animations — a problem for web preservationists and anyone who fondly remembers platforms like Newgrounds.

Fortunately, we’ve seen numerous efforts to keep Flash media alive. An open-source emulator called Ruffle will enable old Flash files through a desktop app or web browser. The Internet Archive is using Ruffle to preserve over 1,000 games and animations on its site.


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