CyberWarfare / ExoWarfare Miscellaneous

Macromedia / Adobe Flash officially dies 31 December 2020 – after 25 years

The original 1995 ShockWave Global Download Servers at Macromedia HQ San Francisco

Back in 1995 Macromedia’s influence on interactive media began with the launch of Shockwave, a technology that converted Macromedia Director presentations into a compressed format for web delivery: the first true animations on the Internet, which also allowed Youtube to exist later, delivering video streams in a highly conpressed – and thus affordable – format.

I can claim I helped Shockwave to be a success, as I built the delivery infrastructure for it, which had been neglected during the programming and planning phase, and having it ready ‘just in time’ for the highly hyped launch date. Due to the overwhelming success of Shockwave, Macromedia acquired a small company in San Diego (“FutureFlash Inc”) with only one customer (Microsoft) for $30m.

The merger of their Flash product and Shockwave became what pretty much every web user had installed for the last 25 years: the Flash Player.

See the history here on Wikipedia, and the story with pictures here on my website.

Now, 25 years later, and riddled with an abundance of security issues, this chapter comes to an end:


Adobe Flash Player EOL General Information Page

  1. When is the Flash Player end-of-life (EOL)?
    As previously announced in July 2017, Adobe will stop distributing and updating Flash Player after December 31, 2020 (“EOL Date”). We made this announcement in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including AppleFacebookGoogleMicrosoft and Mozilla – which issued complementary announcements with more technical detail on what the Flash Player EOL will mean for developers, enterprises, and consumers using their specific OS environments or browsers.
  2. Why did Adobe decide to EOL Flash Player and select the end of 2020 date?
    Open standards such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content. Also, the major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plug-ins (like Adobe Flash Player).By announcing our business decision in 2017, with three years’ advance notice, we believed that would allow sufficient time for developers, designers, businesses, and other parties to migrate existing Flash content as needed to new, open standards
  3. How will this decision impact Adobe Flash Player support and distribution for the remainder of the year (2020)?
    Adobe will continue issuing regular Flash Player security patches, maintain OS and browser compatibility, and add features and capabilities as determined by Adobe through the end of 2020.
  4. Will Adobe make previous versions of Adobe Flash Player available for download after 2020?
    No. 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.
    Adobe always recommends using the latest, supported and up-to-date software. Customers should not use Flash Player after the EOL Date since it will not be supported by Adobe.
  5. If I find Flash Player available for download on a third-party website, can I use it?
    No, these versions of Flash Player are not authorized by Adobe. Customers should not use unauthorized versions of Flash Player.  Unauthorized downloads are a common source of malware and viruses.  Adobe has no responsibility for unauthorized versions of Flash Player and customers’ use of such versions is entirely at their own risk.
  6. Which browsers and operating systems currently support Adobe Flash Player?
    Please visit for the latest list of Flash-supported browsers and operating systems. Note, as it gets closer to the EOL Date, the number of Flash-supported browsers and operating systems may decrease so Adobe strongly encourages customers to migrate to other standards.
  7. Will Adobe provide security updates for Flash Player after the end-of-life date?
    Adobe will not issue Flash Player updates or security patches after the EOL Date. We recommend that all users uninstall Flash Player before the EOL date (see manual uninstall instructions for Windows and Mac users). Users will be prompted by Adobe to uninstall Flash Player on their machines later this year and Flash-based content will be blocked from running in Adobe Flash Player after the EOL Date.



Der Flash Player stirbt endlich offiziell

Der Hersteller Adobe hat erstmals ein konkretes Datum genannt, an dem der Flash Player eingestellt wird.

Das Web-Plugin Flash schien einfach nicht verschwinden zu wollen. Seit Jahren beschweren sich User und Entwickler gleichermaßen über den veralteten Standard. Wenn man noch darüber sprach, dann nur, weil schon wieder eine neue Sicherheitslücke dafür aufgetaucht ist.

Die schlechte Performance von Flash und ständigen Sicherheitslücken wurden auch den Browseranbietern zu viel. Mittlerweile ist bei allen großen Browsern Flash standardmäßig deaktiviert.

Schluss, aus, finito!

Jetzt hat wohl auch Adobe eingesehen, dass es keinen Sinn mehr hat, Flash weiter am Leben zu erhalten. Auf der offiziellen Support-Seite ist zu lesen, dass der Flash Player am 31. Dezember 2020 eingestellt wird. Adobe wird ihn nicht mehr zum Download anbieten und bisherige Versionen werden nicht mehr aktualisiert.

Adobe will auch keine kritischen Sicherheitsupdates nach diesem Stichtag zur Verfügung stellen. Adobe empfiehlt Usern den Flash Player bis zum 31. Dezember 2020 zu deinstallieren. Ende des Jahres werden User per Systemnachricht aufgefordert, den Flash Player zu deinstallieren. Wird das nicht gemacht, wird der Flash Player unbrauchbar: Nach dem 31. Dezember 2020 können damit keine Flash-Inhalte mehr wiedergegeben werden.

Apple und YouTube als Flash-Killer

Flash war Anfang der 2000er weit auf Websites verbreitet. Besonders bei interaktiven Elementen, Games und zur Wiedergabe von Videos und Audio kam es zum Einsatz. Bei der Gründung von YouTube nutzte das Videoportal ebenfalls Flash.

Das Ende wurde 2007 eingeleitet. Apples iPhone unterstützte kein Flash. YouTube begann deshalb die Videos in HTML5 anzubieten, damit das Portal von iPhone-Usern genutzt werden konnte. 2010 verfasste schließlich Steve Jobs einen offenen Brief, in dem er Flash kritisierte und bekannt gab, dass Flash auf iOS-Geräten nicht erlaubt ist.

2015 stellte YouTube komplett auf HTML5 um. Schon damals ging man davon aus, dass dies der letzte Sargnagel für Flash sei. Adobe kündigte aber erst 2017 an, Flash einstellen zu wollen – ohne konkretes Datum. 3 Jahre später wird dieses Kapitel Web-Geschichte nun endgültig geschlossen.



P.S.: the original 1995 Macromedia Shockwave download server racks ended up in a Dallas transmission shop (picture from 2012 – they are probably still there), after being thrown out in 1998, and serving in my living room to host my stereo equipment:

2305 Southwell Road in Dallas – if you want to lay your hands on a piece of history.



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