Flash is dead. No, really. Really now. No joke

No time right now?

A message that has haunted the media for years now seems to have come true. The end of Adobe Flash Player is finally sealed. The chronicle of a creeping downfall.

The year is 2013, the world is recovering from the aftershocks of the Arab Spring, the NSA affair resulting from the revelations of Edward Snowden leads to worldwide protests and the German Joseph Ratzinger resigns as Pope. In addition to all these globally relevant events, the imminent death of the Flash Player was predicted for the first time. Modern web technologies like HTML5 would shake the throne of the undisputed ruler of web animation, it was said at the time. But Flash resisted. Til today.

Two years later, the then Facebook security chief Alex Stamos, among others, called for the Flash Player to be stopped as soon as possible, as massive security gaps had repeatedly occurred. At Mozilla, Flash was even put on the blocklist for Firefox. Adobe itself responded and announced that it would bury the Flash Player. However, an exact date has not been disclosed.

Two years later the time had come. Security hole followed security hole and Adobe saw that Flash Player would no longer have a future, since most of what Flash had to offer could now also be implemented with HTML5. The company announced that it should be over at the end of 2020. So the popular plugin had three years left.

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Companies give up prematurely

Three years, which for some companies was too long. In January 2019, Mozilla announced that it would deactivate the Flash plug-in in the Firefox browser. For its part, Google announced in November of the same year that the search engine would no longer index content based on Flash technology. More and more long-term companions turned their backs on the former model student.

The imminent end of Flash Player was repeatedly exploited by hackers. One of the most widespread Mac Trojans posed as a fake Flash Player update. Every tenth Mac user fell victim to this scam. A series of attacks that did not necessarily improve the reputation of Flash Player shortly before its demise, even if Adobe, of course, could not help the attacks. Again and again it was pointed out that the Flash Player should only be downloaded from the official website, with the addition that one should clarify whether one still needs it at all.

In May 2020, Mozilla announced the final end of Flash for Firefox 84. Until then, the player had somehow been able to hold up and remained a relic of a long-forgotten era. In October, Microsoft also followed suit and announced that the Adobe Flash Player would be completely removed from the system and that reinstallation would be blocked.

End of Farmville due to Flash Player

There was always a smug undertone in the reporting about the end of Flash Player. Terms like “funeral” and “death” were used more often than punctuation marks, as if the world was just waiting for the end to end. But there was also a community that looked wistfully towards the end. We’re talking about Farmville. The farming simulator integrated in Facebook relied on Flash Player until the end and said goodbye to business on December 31, 2020. Farmville had more than 80 million monthly users at its peak.

The Flash player accompanied many users through their childhood and adolescence and it was precisely these people who did not want content to simply disappear with the end of Flash. A collection with the most popular Flash content was therefore specially created in the Internet Archive, in which users can relive animations and games that are decades old using an integrated emulator.

In conclusion, it only remains to be said that that was the end of it with Flash. Adobe has officially discontinued support. A seven year long descent has come to an end, the lights have been turned off. Most will say that this is a good thing after all the security gaps and simply outdated applications. A bit of nostalgia will always resonate with the thought of the Flash Player.

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