Internet Tech News

Developers Petition Adobe to Open Source Flash

Dave Parrack 27-07-2017

It turns out that not everyone hates Flash. Honestly, we thought the feelings of revulsion were fairly universal. However, one web developer has made it his mission to save Flash for future generations. How? By petitioning Adobe to open source Flash once they kill it off in 2020.


In case you hadn’t heard, Adobe is killing Flash Adobe Is Finally Killing Flash... in 2020 Adobe has announced it's killing Flash. This is it, with Flash going away for good. No comebacks, no last-minute reprieves, gone but not forgotten. Read More . Finally, after years of tech companies begging Adobe Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash Flash has been in decline for a long time, but when will it die? Read More to hammer the final nail in the rotting coffin. It won’t be happening for a few more years, but Adobe has announced its intention to end-of-life Flash at some point in 2020.

Most people are pleased that Adobe is finally killing Flash. Most people, but not everyone…

Asking Adobe to Open Source Flash

A Finnish web developer by the name of Juha Lindstedt has started a petition asking Adobe to open source Flash. He accepts that Flash is flawed Security Alert: You Need to Uninstall Flash Right Now Flash is so full of security holes and vulnerabilities, it just doesn't make sense to keep it installed anymore. Here's how to get rid of it. Read More as it exists at the moment. However, he’s arguing the case for Adobe to essentially hand Flash over to the internet to see what they can do with it.

His main argument appears to be that “Flash is an important piece of Internet history and killing Flash means future generations can’t access the past.” The early web was built using Flash, which means that once it’s gone, “games, experiments and websites would be forgotten”.

Lindstedt even lists some of the ways open sourcing the software would “keep Flash projects alive safely for archive reasons.” He argues, “There might be a way to convert swf/fla to HTML5/canvas/webgl/webassembly, or some might write a standalone player for it. Another possibility would be to have a separate browser.”


Because Petitions Always Work

The idea of open sourcing Flash is currently being discussed in various places, including Hacker News and Newgrounds. Opinions are very much split down the middle, which was always going to be the case with a debate such as this one. In the end though, it will be Adobe’s decision.

Developers Petition Adobe to Open Source Flash newsletter github mug

If you want to sign the petition to support the idea of open sourcing Flash you simply need to Star the repository on GitHub. Lindstedt promises that he will deliver this petition to Adobe at some point in the future. But it’s anyone’s guess what Adobe’s reaction will be.

Just Let Flash Die Already

We’re fans of open source software Open Source vs. Free Software: What's the Difference and Why Does It Matter? Many assume "open source" and "free software" mean the same thing but that's not true. It's in your best interest to know what the differences are. Read More here at MakeUseOf. However, open sourcing Flash would just be keeping it around, and those gaping security holes with it. Flash IS part of internet history, but that’s where it belongs; in the past with all of the other software that’s been abandoned over the years. Let Flash die with dignity Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) The Internet's relationship with Flash has been rocky for a while. Once, it was a universal standard on the web. Now, it looks like it may be headed to the chopping block. What changed? Read More , and let’s all move onto a bigger and better future.

What are your views on Flash? Do you welcome Adobe’s decision to kill it off in 2020? Or do you think it would be a good idea to open source Flash to preserve the past for future generations? Will you be signing the petition? The comments are open below…

Image Credit: Antonio Silveira via Flickr

Related topics: Adobe Flash, HTML5, Open Source.

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  1. Gazoo
    August 1, 2017 at 12:21 am

    I personally have no need for Flash but the pack-rat in me thinks that saving videos, games and content are invaluable. I like this developers thinking in that stuff created using Flash could more readily be converted into other formats. Ports to various other OSes, a final (secure/stable?) version, ports for running legacy/nostalgic games completely in offline mode...

    It's not about keeping Flash alive - it's about molding a technology into possible new directions that we aren't currently considering, developing easier to use and compatible scripting languages, reusing bits and pieces, and saving a chunk of the past.

  2. TJ
    July 31, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I'm with MUO here: Flash needs to die. Like, yesterday. Of course Windows should be gone as well. That wont happen. Adobe at least is willing to put this one out to pasture. Let them. Nothing's stopping those websites, video players, and games from keeping outdated versions of Flash around to be hacked, and the same goes for the versions of flash some people are apparently still using.

  3. Doc
    July 29, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Unfortunately, there's one Web game and two dozen video players that require Flash.
    I thought Google Chrome's PepperFlash was an open-source derivative? It's maintained by Google, and should (hopefully) survive the 2020 deadline. Otherwise, lots of people are going to be using outdated software for years...

  4. I. B. Halliwell
    July 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    VUDU (yeah, the movie company) uses Flash. Without it I can't watch the movies I purchased. Yeah, I know use Flixster, except Flixster is now sending people to VUDU because they got hacked and lost access to hundreds of videos. I discovered this after buying a digital copy of "Ghost in the Shell." Now of the 62 titles I own only 35 are available and the rest say unavailable.

    You'd think Flixster would fix this, but the issue has been going on for over week. VUDU and Flash are the only game in town presently for those using digital movies via several movie studios! Flash is important!

  5. Bertel King, Jr.
    July 28, 2017 at 1:27 am

    The latest episode of the Bad Voltage podcast had an segment on this. An argument made for keeping Flash was to preserve all the games and educational content that would simply go away. Plus, from a Linux perspective, Flash provides a large library of games on a platform that doesn't have as nearly as many games as Windows. For some people, that alone is reason enough to open source Flash -- not to encourage future development, but to provide a means to keep this content around.

  6. fcd76218
    July 27, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    If we were to kill and abandon any product with "gaping security holes", Windows should have died 20 years ago. Since Flash right now is closed and proprietary code, only the Adobe programmers working on it know for sure if it is unfixable. IF Adobe were to open-source Flash, Maybe it can be made secure.

    • Juha Lindstedt
      July 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

      That is so true ??