The end of life for Adobe's Flash software nears, but don't expect a swift death

adobe flash logo
On Tuesday, Adobe provided a roadmap for terminating its Flash software for good.  The death will not be swift and quick like it was on Android, as the company does not plan to cease updating and distributing Flash Player until the end of 2020. This will provide enough time for content creators to migrate their existing Flash-based content to newer, more secure platforms like HTML5.

“Several industries and businesses have been built around Flash technology — including gaming, education, and video — and we remain committed to supporting Flash through 2020, as customers and partners put their migration plans into place,” the company said.

Adobe’s Flash software transformed the internet from flat, boring pages with static images and animated GIFs to interactive experiences. For some websites, Flash was even the primary interface, requiring lengthy page loads. But as the spotlight on Flash increased, so did its use by hackers as they studied and exploited every flaw in the code to attack unsuspecting web surfers.

Flash on the internet has essentially become obsolete.

Part of the problem stems from the use of browser plugins, which are separate pieces of software that plug into a web browser. They disrupt the secure environment created by the parent browser, cause browser instability issues, and are highly susceptible to hacking.

To solve this ongoing problem, utilities, services, and content are now pushed into the web code itself as seen with HTML5. Graphics rendering can be handled by WebGL while YouTube playback is enabled using simple web-based code, not a stand-alone player. However, if utilities and services are not served up in web-based “apps,” then they’re likely integrated into the actual browser, eliminating the need for plugins.

That said, HTML5’s maturity has seemingly pushed Adobe into a corner. Flash on the internet has essentially become obsolete. It is a huge, consistent attack vector and the only means of viewing Flash content is through the Flash Player plugin. Browser vendors are moving away from plugins, halting Flash content playback automatically and will eventually block Flash content altogether. With Adobe Flash now pushed into the corner, the only answer is to leave the dance altogether.

Until the end of 2020, Adobe will remain committed to its Flash software. That means dishing out security patches and maintaining its compatibility with web browsers and operating systems. Adobe also plans to add capabilities and features “when needed.” More importantly, Adobe will work to terminate Flash early in “certain geographies” that distribute an unlicensed, outdated version of Flash Player.

“Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement,” the company said. “This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group.”

Adobe is still in the web-based content creation business despite pulling the plug on Flash. Animate CC is a tool for interactive animations that can be published on multiple platforms including HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, and more. Premier Pro CC is a tool for editing videos that can be played on websites that support the HTML5 standard.

Computing

We want every laptop to be as thin as an iPhone. But is it practical?

The Acer Swift 7 is the thinnest notebook you can buy, and it feels like the notebook of the future. But it makes too many compromises along the way, and some weird design choices hold it back.
Computing

Intel's discrete graphics will be called 'Xe,' IGP gets Adapative Sync next year

Intel has officially dubbed its discrete graphics product Intel Xe, and the company also provided details about its Gen11 IGP. The latter will include adaptive sync support and will arrive in 2019.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Outdoors

Lime’s dockless electric bikes land in London, but its scooters aren’t allowed

Lime has landed in London with its dockless bikesharing service. The pedal-assisted electric bikes are unlocked via Lime's app and can reach speeds of 15 mph. It plans to have 1,000 bikes on the streets before the end of the year.
Gaming

Get caught up on all things 'Fallout 76,' including recent controversies

Bethesda's Fallout 76 takes the open world series in a new direction. With an emphasis on co-op, survival, and rebuilding a broken world, Fallout 76 is a far different game than its predecessors.
Computing

Supermicro investigation: no spy chips found on our motherboards

Supermicro announced the results of an investigation into the controversy surrounding its motherboards. The investigation was launched in response to reports that alleged the motherboards were compromised with malicious hardware.
Photography

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Computing

Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out

Windows 10 Privacy settings may not be enough to stop PCs from releasing user activity data to Microsoft. Users discovered that opting out of having their data sent to Microsoft does little to prevent it from being released.
Computing

Intel answers Qualcomm's new PC processors by pairing Core and Atom in 'Foveros'

Intel has announced a new packaging technology called 'Foveros' that makes it easier for the company to place multiple chips together on one package. That includes chips based on different Intel architectures, like Core and Atom.
Computing

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.