Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
“Adobe Flash is no longer supported in Safari” (developer.apple.com)
198 points by CharlesW 17 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 164 comments

We are working to solve the Flash problem "the right way" with a WebAssembly based virtualization solution, for more info:



Feel free to drop me questions: https://twitter.com/alexpignotti

Just to be clear, who are "we" in this case? :-)

Leaning Technologies (www.leaningtech.com), we make compilers that target WebAssembly and JavaScript.

I am CTO of the company.

Ah, it had appeared maybe you represented Apple or the Safari team in some way with your top-level announcement.

If Apple was going to bother with backwards compatibility, they would have it done before shutting down the old version.

Ah, I see. Thanks! Cool technology you guys have.

You guys really should maintain a newsletter of some sort so you can push out notices on your progress with CheerpX.

Follow us on Twitter, all we post and release is published there as well:


I already saw your Twitter link.

Email is a push-oriented medium—notices comes to the (potential) customer.

Twitter, OTOH, is a pull-oriented medium—the (potential) customer has to remember to check the notices from your account (and you post regularly, so it is not clear which tweets the customer should really pay attention to).

It goes without saying that email is far more effective since you already have the customer’s attention, also you can do long form writing in a way that doesn’t involve extra clicks & URL shortener redirects—avoidable friction—as you would with Twitter as your delivery method.

Of course this doesn't solve other problems for email vs Twitter but you can turn on notifications for tweets from a particular user.

I’m rooting for you, but what will you do after Adobe stops distributing the Flash plugin installer?

Plus, the Flash plugin will have a time bomb that will refuse to load Flash content after the EOL date.

Adobe says at https://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/end-of-life.html:

> Adobe will be removing Flash Player download pages from its site and Flash-based content will be blocked from running in Adobe Flash Player after the EOL Date.

https://www.newgrounds.com/ has been around for a long long time and has a wealth of old content built in flash.

Luckily they are creating https://ruffle.rs which is a flash emulator written in rust. All of this fantastic media should be preserved!

Is there any place you can play Desktop Tower Defense without flash?


Seconded, I missed that time-sink game so much, haven't been able to find a replacement.

For some reason all the newer tower defense games use a fixed playing field whereas the original DTD allowed you to build your own defensive walls.

Edit: We really need a Flash Archive

Building your own walls was very exploitable, so I can understand removing the ability.

There are some fantastic TDs that allow you to build your own walls in an open field, they just need to be explicitly balanced around that.

Besides Desktop TD, the other main classic of that subgenre is Bubble Tanks TD: https://armorgames.com/play/4962/bubble-tanks-tower-defense

I haven't tried this, but you could try the Ruffle browser extension. I think it's designed as a drop in replacement for the flash player.


They've also been rendering animations to video for preservation.

Thanks, I was wondering why Mozilla stopped developing Shumway few years ago.

I used to spend hours playing browser games on Miniclip. Heli Attack 1/2/3, 3 Foot Ninja, Hockey Showdown, Dancing Bush, Dino Run... Now I play God of War, Jedi Fallen Order, The Last of Us, Ace Combat, Alien Isolation. How times have changed.

I'm sure there are probably copyright or patent reasons that Adobe can't easily release Flash's source code, but I really wish they would.

It's great that there are community projects to help recreate Flash, but it would make those projects a lot simpler and less error-prone if Adobe would simply provide the reference implementations.

>I’m sure there are probably copyright or patent reasons that Adobe can’t easily release flash’s source code, but I really wish they would.

Time to reread what Steve Jobs wrote about it a decade ago! https://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Getting "Page not found"...wonder if that's coincidence:


Wow!! Thanks for posting it. The page was on just few weeks ago!! This is a legacy..Steve work and writings should be accessible and archived.

Yeah, I remember it being up just a week ago. Really disappointed it’s gone…

Is he really whining about something being closed and proprietary? Can't fucking believe it.

Why not? Apple's whole history has been governed by anti-golden-rule. Treat others as we want to, they should treat us as we want. They've epitomized rejection of the idea of "treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves".

>Is he really whining about something being closed and proprietary? Can't fucking believe it.

"whining?" Steve Jobs didn't whine...He built the greatest products in our digital era.

He answered Mossberg and Swisher here at 2:00 on why he wrote Thoughts on Flash. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5f8bqYYwps&t=4177s

">Mossberg: you published thoughts on flash, is it fair to be abrupt?

Steve: Apple is a company that doesn’t have the most resources of everybody in the world and the way we’ve succeeded is by choosing what horses to ride carefully technically. We try to look for these technical vectors that have a future and that are headed up and you technology..different pieces of technology go in cycles. They have their Springs and summers and autumns and then they you know go to the graveyard of technology. So we try to pick things that are in there Springs and if you choose wisely you can save yourself an enormous amount of work versus trying to do everything and you can really put energy into making those new emerging technologies be great on your platform rather than just okay because you’re spreading yourself too thin. So we have a history of doing that that. As an example, we went from the 5 inch floppy disk the 3.5 inch floppy disk with the Mac.

>Mossberg: before other people right?

Steve: We were the first to do that we made the 3.5 floppy disk this popular, Sony invented it and we put it in the first products, and there some good reasons we did that, we got rid of the floppy disk altogether in 1998, with the first iMac. We also got rid of these things called serial and parallel ports and we were the first to adopt USB, even though Intel had invented it. You first saw it en mass on iMac. And so we have gotten rid of things, we were one of the first to get rid of optical drives with a MacBook Air, I think things are moving in that direction as well. And sometimes when we get rid of things like the floppy disk drive on the original iMac people call us crazy.

>Mossberg interrupts: or at least premature maybe.

Steve: No! they call us crazy. But sometimes you just have to pick the things that look like they’re gonna be the right horses to ride going forward and flash looks like a technology that had its day but is really on is waning and HTML5 looks like the technology that’s really on the ascendancy right now and to incorporate flash into systems is a lot of work there’s not smartphone shipping with flash on it now as you know.

>Mossberg: but you know that there will be right?

Steve: Well, you know there’s going to have been for the last two or three years and every six months it gets updated, so I’m sure that eventually they will and there is a lot of issues with that in terms of battery life and you know security and other things, but more importantly, HTML5 is starting to emerge. You know there’s been an avalanche of people that have said we’re doing HTML5 video and the video looks better and it works better and you don’t need a plug-in to run it, and so while 75% of the video in the web may be in flash, you know 25% going to 50% very shortly is also available in HTML5.

>Kara: so do you say that to consumers, I mean besides the technologies?

Steve: I think consumers outside of the valley and our industry aren’t having this issue…

>Mossberg interrupts: Except when they hold up their iPad and they go to a web page and there’s like a hole there, where a video would be.

Steve: there are holes in some websites but those holes are getting plugged real fast. The holes that exist now are our ads, and that’s the problem for some people.

>Mossberg: Not entirely.

Steve: but that’s the number one holes that are there

>Mossberg: and what about the other community that I think is impacted by this and that’s developers, because what I think a lot of the coverage of this flash issue has overlooked is that yes, flash is a video container and there are other video containers actually have a very rising share each to h.264 and the native HTML5 but it’s also a development environment and there are entire some of them quite beautiful written on a flash?

Steve: an even more popular development environment was hypercard and we were okay to axe that!

>Mossberg: it wasn’t more popular than flash, was?!

Steve: in its day, sure it was.

>Mossberg: on your platform right?

Steve: no no no no. Hypercard was huge in its day because it was accessible to anybody. You could be a hypercard developer. We have over 200,000 apps on the App Store. So something must be going right in terms of attracting developers to our platform!!

>Kara: so your goal your your ultimate goal is to get rid of flash or just to how..

Steve: well, see our goal is really easy we didn’t start off to have a war with flash or anything else we just made a technical decision that we weren’t gonna put the energy into getting flash on our platform, we told Adobe if you ever have this thing running fast come back and show us, which they never did and/but we think we’re not gonna use it, and that was it. And we shipped the iPhone and it doesn’t use flash and it wasn’t until we shipped the iPad and it didn’t use flash that Adobe started to raise a stink about it. We didn’t raise a stink about it, we never mentioned the word Adobe or flash or anything else. We like Adobe we have a lot of common customers with CS you know their Creative Suite software and things like that, so we weren’t trying to have a fight. We just decided not to use one of their products in our platform and so you know they started to say a lot of bad things about us in the press and this and that and it went on for months and that’s why I wrote Thoughts on Flash, because we were trying to be real professional about this and weren’t talking to the press about it, we didn’t think it was a matter for the press and we finally just said enough is enough! We’re tired of these guys trashing us in the press over this and so we wrote down the reasons why technically we didn’t use flash, and they are just as true today as they were when we wrote it as they were six months or a year before that.

>Mossberg: What if people say you know the iPad is crippled in this respect.

Steve: This is America. Things are packages of emphasis, some things are emphasize in a products , some things are not done as well in a product, somethings are chosen not to be done at all in a product and so different people make different choices and if the market tells us we’re making the wrong choices we listen to the market! We’re just people running this company we’re trying to make great products for people and so we have at least the courage of our conventions to say we don’t think this is part of what makes a great product, we are gonna leave it out, some people are gonna not like that, they’re gonna call us names it’s not going to be in certain companies vested interests that we do that but we’re gonna take the heat because we want to make the best product in the world for customers. We’re gonna instead focus our energy on these technologies, which we think are in their ascendency and we think are gonna be the right technologies for customers and you know what?! they are paying us to make those choices . That’s what a lot of customers pay us to do, is to try to make the best products we can and if we succeed they’ll buy them, and if we don’t they won’t! And it’ll all work itself out. So far I’d have to say that people seem to be liking iPads. We’ve sold one every three seconds since we launched it."

He wrote that post, and spoke for 10 minutes explaining all the reasons, and you called him whining.. I will end with a quote from Steve Jobs email to a journalist

"By the way, what have you done that's so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?"

what have you done that's so great to say that Steve Jobs was whining when he put valid reasons for not going with flash?

Well that's a nice try but I don't have to create anything to see through the BS. I just have to use some products this guy of yours created.

HTML5 was nowhere near the capability for interactive apps for a long time. And flash was, just look at those flash game websites, 1000s of them there. His attempt to make the whole argument about videos and not about preserving his walled garden that is app store is as dishonest as the rest of their typical marketing bullshit.

> He built the greatest products in our digital era.

Well maybe that's the problem right there. They were great from a business standpoint (aka getting fat asses fatter), never from user standpoint. Those products enslaved their users because they are closed down annoying i-know-what-you-need-and-dont-need-better-than-you pieces of trash.

It's also ironic that you use this quote:

> Do you create anything

Did he? Or someone else did for him to sell with his holier-than-thou marketing?

“Holier than thou”:

Original iPhone supported offline HTML5 apps, with home screen icons and full app saved to home screen ... and iOS still supports that. Yes, you can still distribute purely open apps that work offline to iOS devices outside the app store with zero approvals from Apple or anyone.

Developers preferred the app store even for “apps” that are nothing but a web window, not just about APIs etc.

So Jobs is onto something with the “a product is a package of emphasis” and the market decides.

Sounds like you don’t like the market, which as Jobs noted in that quote, is everything outside the valley bubble.

This was the most important line, all the rest is bla bla. "Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc"



How was he protecting a walled garden by insisting on open W3C standards rather than partnering with a company to ship a proprietary VM in the browser?

Apple can be shitty, but effecting change is harder when we try to give them shit for the things they actually do right.

Except that he was 100% correct on his reasons and Adobe showed that they couldn't optimize it on any platform.

Kids these days don’t remember Steve Jobs and his Reality Distortion Field...

This "7th reason" is indeed correct. Flash player enabled browsers with many features (mesh networking, hardware 3D, easy file system, tunable font antialiasing) which were subsequently stripped from browsers and forced into the paywalled garden.

I'm not familiar with Flash's "mesh networking" (do you mean RTFMP, which hardly anyone used?), but "hardware 3D", "easy file system" and "tunable font antialiasing" are all available in HTML -- via WebGL, the File API, and the "font-smooth" and "text-rendering" CSS properties, respectively.

Yes openRTMFP and other p2p variants. And yes, you are correct, but we were talking 2006. Browsers relied on plugins for many of those capabilities.

Ah yes, I would love to recompile and run that through libFuzzer and collect all the hidden bugs that were never discovered when it was a blackbox.

It seems to me a low resource virtual machine running flash whether in chrome or by itself would work well enough similar to blue stacks. I mean flash still runs on Linux.

I ran Flash with binfmt_misc years ago, so this is possible.

I haven't had the Adobe Flash plugin installed for several years now. I can't even remember the last time I needed to use Chrome for Flash support.

My kids are in college and I don't think they've needed Flash even for the variety of archaic sites they have to deal with.

The online digital textbooks and homework, Cengage’s MindTap, requires flash for their statistics portion. Flash is also used for their digital textbook.

I’ll assume this carries over for any type of assignment page that requires input from the user.

WebAssign dropped Flash (at least for Chemistry) last year, including the fancy organic molecule input system. I haven’t seen Flash in any of the online courses I’ve taken since 2016 or so (and some of those sites are pretty archaic).

I can't even remember the last time I needed touse Chrome for Flash support.

My company's spam filter service requires Flash if you're on desktop. There's a mobile version that's non-Flash, but it's feature limited.

The web site of one of the larger pre-FAANG online advertising companies is all Flash. You can't even change your password without it.

What’s a “spam filter service” and why does it need flash to function?

A thing that holds incoming emails it thinks are spam and provides a web UI (usually) allowing you to review and release messages to your actual inbox.

Isn't that typically handled in the same interface as your regular inbox? Or is this some enterprisey service that forces you to go to their website to review it?

Its an enterprisey service that forces you to go to their website to review it.

I wonder what that company's strategy is for not being left behind.

Generally in large old companies? 'blindfolds' then 'anger' and 'lets buy something off the shelf'

My company forked Firefox and man in the middled an entire fleet of edge kiosks so they could run Flash apps over TLS 1.0 on Firefox 17 in 2018. True story

It’s uncanny how closely enterprise attitudes to software upgrades mimic the Kübler-Ross five stage model of grief.

Literally the only thing I've had to use it for in the past 3 years is the webcam stream for the kennel I board my dog at. And I'm pretty sure they threw their website together in Dreamweaver and have barely touched it since before Obama was President.

There are bunch of older enterprise devices that require flash, from SAN’s to switches

I tend to run into it with weird places where you might also see the java web start stuff. Like banks and credit card companies.

Yeah, Citi's web app for managing virtual credit card numbers still uses Flash. That's the only reason I still need Flash. I haven't seen any indication that they're working on a replacement

That's the exact one I was thinking of. Citi Double Cash?

Adobe "will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after December 31, 2020" https://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/end-of-life.html

So for a browser version that will be released this fall as a non-preview, it makes sense.

Not only will Adobe stop distributing it, it will stop working.

> Flash-based content will be blocked from running in Adobe Flash Player after the EOL Date.

Wow. Good catch. So if this wasn't anticipated or disclosed to their authoring tool customers, would it be considered breach of service and qualify for a refund?

A large thread about this from 11 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23528182

This makes me a little sad. I started my professional career as an AS3 dev building apps in Adobe AIR with occasional work in Flash. I realize AIR is still kinda supported, but the writing is on the wall. I've obviously moved on, but it does feel like losing an old friend.

Same here, although I started my career with Perl 20 years ago and then switched to AS3 and Air building a complete interactive museum with it, still open and functioning. Probably some people want to kill me now for this combo. :D My life was fun with those languages.

I had no idea Flash was still supported.

Same here. Must have been five years or more since I last used a Flash applet.

I honestly didn't realize there was a way you could use Flash in Safari for the past few years. I just opened Chrome the last time (~2 years ago) I encountered some Flash content.

You could install it as it was specifically whitelisted. But now you can’t.

More excited about improved WebAuthn support. Time to finally add this as login option.

Steve Jobs killed it just as I had learned all about AS3, so that was a bit of a bummer. But in the end it was the right thing to do.

The company I worked for at the time excelled in creating awful 20mb non-indexable monstrosities, complete with auto playing music and all kinds of other sins. We mutilated the most basic design patterns when the client or bosses thought it would look interesting and even cut a shady deal with a popular meme site to "make it go viral" at one point in time, which it obviously didn't.

Shame about all the brilliant Newgrounds stuff though. I'm not talking about the actual content, I just mean I've never seen such a concentrated outpoor of interactive creativity since then. It felt like there was something amazingly smart, creative or funny to discover every day back then.

Nah, Adobe killed it.

Nonsense. Adobe may have been the one to pull the plug, but the Flash era would have been stretched by at least a couple of years if Steve Jobs hadn't pitted the weight of the entire iPhone community against it.

Serious question - are they're any popular (define that how you like) sites that prominently use / require Flash?

Ikea has a closet planner[0] that is actually quite good. It lets you visualize closet frames in 3D by placing them within a virtual bedroom, then add shelves, drawers and other accessories inside of them. Then once you're done, it can put all of your items into your cart or generate a shopping list.

It's probably ~10 years old at this point, so it would seem they've had long enough to see the writing on the wall and port it to a newer technology. OTOH I'm not sure that, even today, the stability or penetration of WebGL is comparable to where Flash was at its height (to say nothing of the available talent pool.)

I've taken a screenshot[1] so anyone who doesn't have Flash can take a look.

[0] https://www.ikea.com/us/en/planner/pax-planner/

[1] https://imgur.com/a/WW1lDCB

13 years ago I was working on a project for IKEA, a room planner. We used Flash and it was a seriously ambitious project. The level of interactivity that was possible when using Flash was unrivalled for a long time. It appears that most of these type of “sites” has been replaced by native apps, even though the web platform has most of the required capabilities now. Flash was fun to develop with, as everything was well integrated and just worked, and pioneered many of the technologies we now see as part of the web platform APIs. A lot of the criticisms of Flash is due to shitty timeline-based banners which used up the CPU. You could definitively make efficient, fast performing apps/sites using Flash/AS3 if you knew what you were doing. Of course I moved on to JS/TS development, but it isn’t as fun.

The larger issue than stability is that WebGL is an entirely different framework, serving entirely different ends.

For the abstractions Flash supported (objects with behaviors, scenes, timelines), WebGL is way, way too low-level. WebGL is more the kind of thing someone would write Flash on top of.

I think it’s OK to say that work is ongoing in this area.

Xfinity Stream, the web viewer for Xfinity cable TV subscriptions, required flash as of a few months ago (haven't used it recently)

Just checked, seems to use HTML5 video now. Works for me and I don't have Flash.

If I remember correctly, Xfinity Stream used Flash as a fallback when Widevine was unavailable. I just use the iPad app now.

Kongregate. Flash games are still out there, like elementsthegame.com

A good chunk of educational tools. I've had to fight with Chrome quite a few times since schooling from home started.

My company contracts with a security training site. All the videos requires Flash.


I hope this training is about physical security, not IT security.

LOL! You fail the moment you login in with Flash!

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Maybe it was a pentesting lab and you get credit for the number of Flash instances you pwn.

Are there any plans to move the content to a non-Flash solution?

The only thing I use on a semi regular basis that requires Flash is flight school lessons from King Schools. It's probably the only time I use Chrome.

I'd imagine businesses and organizations where software and tech isn't their primary investment would take some time to move away from Flash, especially if they have a business that depends on Flash still working. It's probably similar to the scenario where there's some vital app that requires computers to stay on Mac OS X Snow Leopard / Mojave / Windows 32-bit.

A large amount of the crap that was sold to U.K. schools is still random bits of rancid flash. The same schools also bought crates of iPads galore on which none of the software works. It’s a mess.

The Citi credit card has a feature to generate "virtual card numbers" for one-time use but unfortunately, it's not purely web-based and requires the Flash runtime.

Discover card used to have that feature. It was also a web-based flash app. I was hoping they'd rewrite it to not use Flash and keep it but they just killed the feature off.

I don’t think any popular websites still use flash. Corporate internal systems though...

Homestar Runner has been youtubing its old Flash content, but something is lost because the content was interactive. Hope they work something out with Ruffle or similar to archive the old site as is. The kids of today deserve to play Bronco Trolleys, Stinkoman, and Trogdor.

Only reason I've used flash in the last few years was to file PTO.

Finland's government-owned railway company, VR, has a notoriously bad train ticket reservation system that still uses Flash. They've only recently started to roll out more modern versions of the app (that are actually surprisingly ok quality from what I've seen). At some point (like years ago) when browsers started dropping support for Flash, we got some nice hacky solutions [1] from tired consumers because VR themselves weren't stepping up their game. At some point I even saw VR promoting that project on their Twitter as a solution when someone complained that they couldn't book tickets. They should've paid the author and just put it on their site.

[1]: https://github.com/tuomassalo/vr-no-flash

A lot of banks unfortunately.

I wouldn't say popular, but many of my internal network or SAN management items are flash based. Many are EOL'd, and can't be upgraded.

The only option is throw out working hardware just because we can no longer manage it...

Or another example, older VMware setups that may not be fully upgraded yet (again perhaps with older hardware preventing upgrades). All flash managed.

Can't you just run old browser versions with Flash in a VM somewhere? (Or a dedicated system.)

I was a contractor for a large insurance company (Fortune top 10). One of the main applications they used internally for managing mailings to people was a flash app. When I was hired my first question was when are we rewriting it and was told "It's being planned". I left in December and they still didn't have a plan.

Adobe Connect (Zoom equivalent) still uses Flash in the browser. Had to use it for some uni courses.

I had to use Adobe Connect recently and they also had the option to install Adobe Connect as a desktop app that seemed awful lot like it was just Chrome/Electron with Flash preinstalled... Also no Linux support, which was fun to notice just before the meeting.

Haha, I actually had the exact same flow. Guess I'll have to keep the dual-booted Windows for a little while longer.

Things like the web interfaces for UPSes, network storage, and blade server chassis of a certain age seem to be pretty evenly split between Flash and Java Applets, which is even worse.

livestream.com (owned by Vimeo) still requires Flash when I access it with Firefox. I occasionally used it to find obscure/minor motorsports livestreams from random parts of the world (before lockdown put an end to most of that).

I can imagine Steve Jobs is looking down smiling today.

What makes you think he’s looking down?

Does feel like the ending to a long chapter.

This concerns me a little. I won’t miss flash, but I still need it to access vSphere on an old vmware installation the customer refuse to update.

They've got until December for support in any browser, Chrome and even Adobe are dropping it then.

Would you be interested in a solution that allows your access to the old VMware stack to continue?

If yes, how much would you pay for such a product?

Hmm, interesting. Ideally I would like to just have vSphere upgraded, but that’s also not my money.

Let’s assume that it’s in the middle of the night in January 2021 and I really need the access and I can’t be sure my employeer will pay and the solution is available via Apple AppStore and works using SSH jump hosts. In that case I would likely pay €100 - €150 without thinking twice about it.

How can one access a flash site after this? I pretty much only use Safari now when I have to use flash and chrome won’t let me. The French patent INPI website uses it for zoomifying their old Scanned in patents.

Perhaps a VM of an OS with an old copy of Flash, virtualbox.org might help. I wonder if any of the Microsoft legacy VMs for web testing come with Flash preinstalled: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/v...

See also the big demise-of-Flash thread from 11 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23528182.

WebAuthn support is the real worthy upgrade

Totally naive question: Would Unity + WASM cover the game space Flash used to well?

There's certainly already Unity projects on the web in the space Flash used to occupy.

Also, HTML5's CANVAS tag, and modern web platform tools like WebGL, mean that you can do most of what Flash games did directly in HTML5 and JS. There's a growing number of 2D and 3D game libraries written entirely in JS or TS.

The biggest missing piece that made Flash so ubiquitous for early web games is the authoring experience. Unity is a lot more complicated than the Flash designer was. I've seen several game editors for HTML+JS libraries, but also nothing quite similar to how easy Flash was for early web designers. The codebase that inherits and succeeds the original Flash IDE lives on in a new name (Adobe Animate) and can directly target HTML+JS instead of Flash, but is a part of Adobe Creative Cloud and so too expensive for many of the hobbyist designers that made early web games what they were back when the DRM for the Flash IDE was a lot easier to crack than a cloud subscription.

Yes. WebGL, WASM and Canvas can handle anything that Flash is able to do. Unity is just an engine which compiles to WASM.

Having the games, etc., really isn't the issue at all, it's making them.

Steve Jobs is (or at least would have been) jumping up and down with happiness. Or more likely bitching about how long this took!

Yeah, I'm actually surprised that this is only just now happening. Guess I'd assumed he'd managed to bump it off on all Apple platforms before he died.

Because it was not about going after Adobe or Flash. It was about the performance of the iPhone. He detailed this in his public letter to Adobe after he gave them 2 years to get it working and they failed. The letter was public because Adobe was crying about being shutout and making shit up. The fact is that Adobe never got Flash "working right" even on the Android platform which they had full access to every part of the hardware. "Working Right" means not draining the battery after a 30 minute video.

Probably not a good call to do this now while kids are still schooling from home.

Why? Flash is dead. Any "school" using Flash does not have anything worth teaching since Adobe has been announcing it's death for years and this year is it [https://www.wired.com/story/adobe-finally-kills-flash-dead/]

"Dead" only meaning new apps generally don't use Flash. Old content is still not accessible without a Flash player.

It's only been 10 years since its downfall was obvious to everyone. If any one offers it as part of their service to you then just realize how little of a crap they care about you.

You never read a book published more than 10 years before? Just because something is old doesn't mean I never want to access it again. And 10 years isn't even that old.

Yes I have read an old book for historical purposes which is why I still have my K&R C book. This is like complaining that you can't get a VHS Player anymore to teach the kids MS Works with The Video Professor.

Set up a VM with flash installed.

Done that, with a Linux VM. Works surprisingly badly. Flash becomes very slow.

Perhaps a Windows VM works better? Although Windows VMs tend to be pretty big, hard to manage with less than 5 GB. Oh, and the licensing...

> Flash becomes very slow.

No surprise there. Flash was never good on Linux (IME).

If the cost of the windows license is a barrier, then maybe the content isn't worth that much to you? I truly don't mean that in a condescending way. I just find that a lot of people like to data hoard without a real need for what they are hoarding.

"Flash was never good on Linux (IME)." It was never good on anything! You can half a laptop's battery by watching videos during a 30 minute break.

A lot of schools in many paces are quite short on funding and probably thought there were larger priorities for budget so long as Flash continued to operate for them.

it still was?

Got a question for any front end devs who were experts in Flash and AS but now experts in React.

Qualitatively speaking what was the development experience like for Flash websites or animations vs. HTML 5 + react OR JS?

Can you say definitively one experience was better than the other or is it a more complicated story?

I know there's a lot of hate for flash but I'm specifically asking about the developer experience here.

It's a mixed bag. The ideal usecase for Flash vs React is very different. 10 years ago with AS3 I could put together a graphically rich game with decent sound or an intercative graphic very quickly, it would be performant and available as a small download -- much easier than doing similar today though libraries like phaser have certainly helped the situation a great deal. It just wouldn't make sense to try to make a sprite based platform game in React. On the other hand, complex forms, modular UIs and dynamically loading content -- areas where React (etc) excel were possible in Flash (espescially with adobe's Flex UI framework) but never looked any good or behaved in a satisfying way (my feeling is that pursuing this kind of thing as a kind of 'look at us we can do serious software' move caused adobe to take their eye off the ball wrt where they could provide real advantages over web-standards based solutions). Further, colaborating across teams of any size on AS3 based products was hard -- you'd have to pretty much roll your own CI/ deployment stuff (which I guess was the case with JS at the time too).

In summary: Horses for courses.

As a language I really enjoyed AS3; solid class system, strongly typed, good refactoring tools and crucially a decent and standard library.

Thanks for sharing.

I may be old or disconnected, but it seems like the like of the flash animator community won't be seen again. Where will we find another Homestar Runner or Weebl?

It was the right tool at just the right time. It was well able to deliver animations and interactive multimedia with the one tool and ecosystem. While the JS/HTML5 tools can manage animations and multimedia, it seems like the environment, libraries and tools are much more spread out... which perhaps discourages animators, while developers are used to working in such a way.

No matter the disadvantages of a medium or technology, there will be somebody making something amazing with it. Homestar is a work of creative genius. It's good in a way to be rid of Flash, but something is always lost.

WAIT. Are you asking "real" devs or designers how could figure out some scripts using Actionscript. Huge difference. I know a few Actionscript Masters that could barely handle JS.

It’s still around?!? I thought Steve Jobs killed Flash years ago.

The way Apple treated Adobe might have been their very first platform abuse on the iPhone. Flash was huge at the time, but more importantly it was software being actively developed which means it was software that would have improved even as the hardware also improved. At one point Apple even prohibited cross-compilation just to fuck with Adobe, who had adapted Flash at great expense to produce native iOS apps. They had to recant that when they realized they'd also banned Unity3d and many more technologies.

If Apple hadn't contrived their little vendetta, killing someone else's multi-billion dollar piece of software, today Flash would be a flagship IDE on the iPad Pro continuing its then-two-decade legacy as a creativity powerhouse that helped fuel innovation online and in games, media and software.

The worst thing about this sad period of Apple history is today they aspire to kill Electron in the same way.



Flash's whole raison d'être was as a patch for W3C gridlock. The final emergence of HTML5, ES6, and just simple ideas like video tags did a lot more to kill flash than anything Apple did. Apple not supporting proprietary browser plugins on early iphones (which it still doesn't) probably helped to move us forward to open web technologies a bit faster, and meant the whole internet was less beholden to a single company. One shouldn't forget how many otherwise simple websites at the time were unusable on platforms that Adobe didn't support, or supported poorly. The several x-platform mobile frameworks that we can choose from are almost all based on a rich and open ecosystem of modern javascript and web technologies that Flash was the alternative to.

The electron article you linked to strikes me as speculative hyperbole. All the "threatened" electron apps mentioned in the article are still around, eating up RAM. I updated two of them through the App Store this morning.

in terms of video chat support , javascript is terrible compared to flash. Flash and RTMP are lightweight, support multiple streams and CPUs don't even sweat it. Doing video chat with javascript is a nightmare of protocols

The iPhone was a brand new product with an install base of exactly zero, vs Flash with an install base in the millions.

I don't think it's fair to call it "abuse". If anything, they saw that Flash was not going to work on mobile and made a tough but calculated decision. It could have backfired on them. In my opinion, it was the right move and we're all better off because of it.

We're about to see a whole lot of software that "doesn't work" on Macs and especially software that "doesn't work well". Is the solution to ban the software? Should we impose a short time limit on improving software and ban the stragglers? These would be ridiculous things to do to software on ARM Macs.

There was one particular problem Jobs had with Flash that transcended the software's addressable issues and made it "impossible", which is why referring to it as platform abuse is apt:

> desire to avoid "a third party layer of software coming between the platform and the developer"

Shortly after that they banned Flash, Unity3d, and most other compatible dev technologies, eventually relenting due to outrage.



"We're about to see a whole lot of software that "doesn't work" on Macs and especially software that "doesn't work well". Is the solution to ban the software? Should we impose a short time limit on improving software and ban the stragglers? These would be ridiculous things to do to software on ARM Macs."

WHAT? Why would it be ridiculous. You have about 6 years to get your app to run on ARM. Same as the 32-bit app owners. Apple gave devs an 8 year warning. If your app developer does not switch to ARM in the next 3 years then it is time to find an alternative.

You don't need to ban poor-performing software to use something else, or to wait for updates that will improve it, or for competing software to emerge. All of this can take place with nothing being banned.

Banning has no place in software development at all, which is why it's not wreaking havoc on Github with projects being disappeared for poor performance. It's why you can't write to Github and request a repository be banned "FoR pERfOrMaNcE ReAsoNs". Games don't get banned from GOG and Steam for poor performance. There's simply no such thing as Raspberry PI banning software. Firefox banning pages that perform poorly does not exist. Everywhere we build and distribute software regards poor performance as something we might be able to fix, something we should wait to be fixed, rather than a bannable offense.

> today Flash would be a flagship IDE on the iPad Pro continuing its then-two-decade legacy as a

...resource-hogging security nightmare. You described my nightmare scenario.

flash has been abandoned for 15 years

History would be different if Apple had bought Flash back then. It made sense: a web-based lightweight platform for making games and such on a phone.

That is the issue... Flash was not LIGHTWEIGHT! It was an obese messed that Adobe "NEVER" managed to control. Sure the files you pass from server to client was "somewhat" light weight but the player was breathing heavier than a fat man leaning over the buffet table!

yeah apparently javascript or html5 video isnt lightweight either though. I 'd prefer the timeline in which the flash ECMAscript and animation model had become standard in the browser.

Not sure what you are talking about. JS and HTML Video is as lightweight as you can get. The 3 main browsers just keep optimizing performance with JS on every release. If you need to compare Flash to something then compare it to Java Web Applets

> ...resource-hogging security nightmare.

Oh, you mean like a web browser?

No web browser since IE 6 has been as bad as Flash. It was an attacker's dream come true.

> resource hogging

Completely true.

> security nightmare

Really? All serious browsers are open source and the major ones seem decently well audited, considering the relatively low amount of exploits being published. IIRC Flash was a bit different in that regard.


Adobe wasn't able to create a non-power hungry version for Android which meant Steve Jobs was right. Flash died because they could not move forward while retaining compatibility.

Also the x86 version caused YouTube videos that were "PAUSED" to spin up the fans! Same video in the YouTube HTML video player (BETA) remained silent.

Yet it ran on early, low powered, Androids (pre-2012). It seemed to work during the couple of times I tried it.

I guess it was software decoding those videos on YouTube beta.

As a user I am glad that Apple pursued this strategy. Flash did have its use cases, that’s for sure. I still believe that the web is better off now without it.


I was around when Flash had its heyday (~2005-2010 or so) and in those times it was the other way around: Screw anyone who doesn’t want to use Flash/who wants to use only FOSS software/who is using another CPU architecture than x86.

Keep in mind that Flash was not an open platform. Far from it. Adobe held it in an iron grip and it was their way or the highway. So no, I don’t feel sorry about the demise of Flash.

Edited to add: Also, on macOS you are free to run any browser you like. As long as the browser supports Flash you’re set. When it comes to iOS then Apple had good reasons to not support it. If you want to develop for iOS you can use HTML5 instead or build a native app.

this, but sincerely and without sarcasm

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact