Adobe has released the final scheduled update to its Flash Player plugin, weeks before Flash’s official retirement. As noted on Adobe’s site, yesterday marked the last update for Flash outside mainland China, which has a separate version of the software. Adobe will stop supporting Flash on December 31st, 2020, and it will block Flash content from running on January 12th, 2021.
Adobe offered a brief farewell in its release notes. “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,” the note says. “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.”
Flash has been on the chopping block since 2017 when Adobe announced it would finally end support. Flash was already being phased out in major web browsers, and Adobe had urged developers in 2015 to switch to newer standards like HTML5.
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. And Flash mega-portal Kongregate partnered with a museum to preserve its library of projects. But Adobe is about to finally say goodbye for good.
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