So what to do about Flash (2015 edition)?

Firefox Temporarily Blocks Adobe Flash Because Of Security Concerns:

I’ve blocked it on my machine, and mostly relying on HTML5 but that is not as smooth as it could be just yet, so what is the smart persons way forward here, until Flash is truly dead and a thing of the past?

Is it just Chrome (or Chromium for Linux folk like myself)?

We’re going to be blocking it at the firewall level and whitelisting work-required sites.

I’ve always by default blocked plugins that I don’t need/like. Unblock the ones you need active. I never had problems with Flash or attributable to Flash so I’m not on the Flash is evil bandwagon.

On a related note, I’ve seen discussion that Flash shouldn’t be eliminated until some way to preserve access to all the work done in Flash(like games) has been developed. I disagree with that mentality, that anything created by humans is ‘art’ and thus has some value. Back when Van Gogh was painting, so were thousands, if not tens of thousands, of other people. Yet I can’t see anything all those people painted, but I can see a Van Gogh. Have I lost anything? No. There are people painting crappy paintings now, I can look at those if that’s what I want to see.

I can’t comment on Flash games per se, but it’s not just about “art.” It’s about retaining a historical, documentary record of stuff we do and what was important to us at the time. I’m a historian by training; one of the issues we face is the digitization of documents and records that will become primary sources for future historians. With paper records, you chucked them in a box and a hundred years later someone could still read them (though a lot of stuff got dumped or burned anyhow). With digital stuff, it’s nowhere near that simple, and there’s a ton of stuff historians are going to want to access in the future that is in danger of disappearing.

Admittedly, neither you nor I might be able to, right off the bat, think of much in Flash that would be of vital interest to future generations, but that’s kind of the point–we can’t think of stuff, but many other people might, particularly in the next few decades. It does not seem unreasonable to me to be concerned about being able to access stuff.

Homestar Runner.

“It’s dot com!”

Disable flash in your primary browser and keep a secondary browser (firefox or chrome, whichever one you don’t use as primary) around just for flash.

Flash runs in windows on x86 and there’s no particular reason to think that platform won’t be easily virtualized in the future. Flash content will still be playable. Of course the other question is if anyone is preserving that content, but that isn’t a compatibility issue.

I use Firefox - I’m going to try that FlashBlock plugin and whitelist sites that need Flash for some reason. Assuming that plugin still works.

Hasn’t really impacted me much since I’ve had NoScript blocking all scripts including Flash unless I explicitly allow them for years now. It does affect those few areas I’ve whitelisted since Fx now has a pop-up indicating that Flash is blocked and requesting me to allow it. Multiple layers, a bit of redundancy, but it’s not going to be too much of a problem.

12 hard, long years of my life’s work gone in an instant.
I do believe that the SWF format has run it’s course, but I’d like to see the ability to “emulate” Flash games in safe sandbox so the millions of games and billions of man-hours of work put into them can be saved in a historical context.

No, it has not run it is course. In technical capability, HTML5 is nowhere near being able to take over from Flash. Something as basic as a general solution for synching animation with an audio stream is beyond current HTML5. And font rendering? Ugh… even using canvas it’s slightly different on every browser. Can’t even count on word wrapping being the same.

I get what you’re saying, if it’s “We can’t throw out all our crap since we don’t know if any of that stuff will be of interest to future generations”. So we pass down the big box of stuff to our kids. They pass it down to their kids. Somewhere along the way someone puttering around in the attic finds a thing that turns out to be of interest in that time and place.

The difference is this is digital stuff. Possibly millions, if not more, of Flash ‘things’, ethereal things. It does represent time and hours of labor, but the thing is the clock was ticking on all that stuff from the moment it was created. A statue may last hundreds of years and still be admired and studied well into the future, but some teenager’s Flash animation? I’m skeptical to say the least, especially when many other teens and adults made tons of similar animations and games. I think at some point you realize you can’t expect to pass down everything to the next generation, and the first things on the chopping block are the things that were so common.

I think when Twitch gets HTML5 working for them, that’s when we’ll see Flash start to die out.

…and there are dozens of other examples too. I know both technologies fairly well. Flash also kicks some major butt on Unity when it comes to some of the same issues. I’m just trying to face reality.

It really is just the near constant security issues that concern me (as an end user), Flash as a thing i never had much of a problem with (other than constant updates - more frequent than my OS!), it worked and made the internet more interesting, but it seems it is fundamentally insecure, so we should all probably have something more secure that does the same type of thing?

The issue in Firefox seems to be the non-sandboxing of Flash, as Chrome does that, so why can’t Firefox do it too?

Start to? You can argue about when to finally declare it dead, but it started dying out with the iPhone.

HTML5 being able to take over from Flash isn’t reality, it’s fantasy. Playing along with the FUD doesn’t help anything.

Don’t even get me started on how iOS Safari intentionally breaks autoplay on the audio and video tags. “No Flash for you! But no standards-compliant HTML5 either! I guess what we’re trying to say is, fuck all y’all!” Thanks Apple. Thanks a lot.

Again, I agree, but the fight has left me on this (at least for the web). Maybe because I’m working on mostly embedded systems these days. However, this week I started a project that uses Flash Lite. 4.0 on an embedded processor, and I was able to get back into Flash for a bit. I have to say, it was fun fun fun. I miss it greatly. Adobe Air still has a chance, but with most SDK and API vendors focusing on iOS, Android and Unity it means the Flash community must pick-up the slack.

How would you know? (not being snarky – how would you know what’s lost?)

Seconded; that’s exactly what I do. Chrome is the the guinea pig because of the integrated Flash update that comes along with the browser.

It doesn’t really matter if Flash still has a functionality edge over alternatives. HTML5 is “good enough” to bridge the gap to native apps, and Flash isn’t better enough to outweigh the tremendous liabilities (and I’m not sure there is a better-enough to make up for those).

Flash has a tech was a problem has much the people making Flash movies.

  • For a movie compatible with 4, 5,6,7,8,9, 10 and 11, generating the swf for version 11. I remember the frustration trying to teach flash authors why thats dumb.
  • I have to load 1MB of data with this modem before I can watch this full flash website. I am sure you have a cool loading animation.
  • Caching? what is that? Modularity? why care about that?, lets make things with 1 single SWF file.
  • Not caring about people with older hardware.
  • Not caring about people with smaller screens.
  • Not caring about people that use different input devices (like keyboard fans)

Using SWF movies with low bandwidth, on a underpowered machine, with a small screen and a unstandard device was hell, because these authors never had a idea what the Internet is really about. In the mind of flash designers this was somebody in a office in Hungaria with a piraty copy Windows 95, a 640x480 monitor and a broken mouse. The reality was Steve Jobs in Standford with a prototype of the iPhone in his hands.

The Flash tech was un-internet in many levels, but the culture of flash designers was also culprit of the demise of Flash, has they failed to grasp the ideas of concepts that made the internet great.