Adobe has finally heard what the world has been screaming at it for years: Flash needs to die.
Adobe today announced plans to cease all development and distribution of its once-ubiquitous but perennially unloved browser plugin by the end of 2020.
Yup, you read that right: Flash is finally being killed off.
Adobe, for their part, has been fairly proactive at trying to wean web developers off of their Flash fixation and on to more modern technologies like HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly.
The company reiterates this in its ‘Flash & the future of interactive content‘ press release, stating that it wants to “encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.”
Good news for open standards
‘Forget 2020, who even uses Flash today, in 2017?’
And this is super good news for fans of open standards.
Flash is a legacy, proprietary tech. Platforms have to ask nicely to be gifted a plugin that will prise open your browser, dine on your CPU, gobble down your RAM, and leaves things ajar for bugs and other vulnerabilities to creep in.
Forget 2020, who even needs Flash today, here in 2017?
Open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly are more accessible than Flash, more secure than Flash, and work a heck of a lot better than Flash.
These technologies allows browsers (on pretty much every platform and chipset, no less) to natively display videos, games and interactive content without the hard requirement of a plugin. Netflix, YouTube, Facebook Video, Amazon Prime, Hulu — all work without Flash on Linux.
And, in response to today’s news, Facebook plans to migrate Facebooks Games from Flash to open standards.
Who Cares, Right?
Adobe Flash support for Linux has been patchy at best. Even I can’t keep track of whether Flash officially supports Linux or doesn’t.
But if someone, somewhere, out there, reading this post does currently rely on Flash: don’t panic yet. Adobe plans it to maintain and support Flash until 2020 — i.e. with bug fix bandaids and security patches — but cautions that it will “move more aggressively” to end Flash distribution in the coming years.
Just do me a favour Adobe: make sure it stays dead!