The discontinued support ushers in Flash’s demise. The program is no longer available for download for installation, after which Flash files in the web browser will stop playing on January 12.
Do I notice something?
The average internet user will probably not notice much: web browsers have already disabled support for a while, so the final blow only affects everyone who had installed Flash separately.
In addition, a large part of the internet no longer depends on Flash. Although video sites used to use Flash to play files in the browser window, the largest parties have all switched to alternatives that run on HTML5, for example. A technique that is expected to be supported for years to come.
Flash is still used on some older websites, because site administrators have not switched in recent years. Those websites will no longer be usable in 2021.
Why is Adobe discontinuing Flash?
According to Adobe, alternatives such as HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly now offer great ways to do the same thing as Flash, eliminating the need for the software.
After years of pressure, Adobe seems to finally yield to critical competitors. For example, Apple refused to support Flash when introducing the iPhone: Steve Jobs thought it was terrible software.
In the meantime, Google exerted pressure by using HTML5 on its own sites. This made YouTube market leader away from Flash in one fell swoop.
That was not entirely unjustified, however, because security researchers found one vulnerability after another in Flash in recent years. This enabled hackers to, for example, eavesdrop on or even take over your computer.
Anything else getting lost?
Flash was the basis of many internet jokes that are still used to this day, such as the dancing banana and the video All Your Base. Now that Flash is disappearing, none of these pieces of online culture can be seen in the original way.
The same goes for thousands of videos and games shared on websites such as Newgrounds. Flash was initially simple animation software, where hobbyists in the early years of the internet made everything to share with each other.
Are those important Flash movies gone forever?
No. The online archive at Archive.org is already busy storing the most viewed Flash animations and other creations.
Specially developed software ensures that you can still use them on their site: the files are converted live to a different type of format, so that your Flash-less web browser can also run them.
In addition, some more popular videos have also been converted and uploaded to video websites such as YouTube in recent years, where they can be viewed in a slightly different form.