Let’s fight to preserve a piece of internet history.

What does the death of Adobe Flash mean for internet culture?

If you grew up learning about computers in school in the early 2000s, chances are you’ve probably spent time on places like Coolmath Games, Newgrounds or any one of the hundreds of websites with Adobe Flash Player based games, videos and animations. These websites definitely played a part in my childhood.

Adobe plans to phase out support for Flash by 2020, and rightfully so. There are many better, universally supported content mechanisms like HTML5, that perform better, don’t require installing extra plugins and software and didn’t have to download large security updates as often.

In the wake of this, a petition has emerged that asks Adobe to open source Flash Player and the Flash file format by the time they stop making updates. If Adobe wants to phase out Flash development and have no plans to help find a way to convert existing Flash content into newer formats, they should at least open source it so that the community can find a way to preserve a part of internet history.

I can see that it’s unreasonable to ask Adobe to continue to update and support Flash Player, because today’s internet standards have outgrown it. The days of requiring additional, proprietary and often resource-heavy plugins to see content on the web can and should end.

We all know how annoying it was to see this screen every few weeks:

In the middle of watching your favorite YouTube video? Too bad.

But, at the very least, we can try to preserve the hundreds of thousands of animations, websites, games and movies of the past, a shared internet history, that relied on Flash. Hundreds of hours of online culture shouldn’t just disappear from the internet because one company decided it wasn’t worthwhile to keep a plugin alive.

I believe Adobe should give open source Flash and give it back to the community, so we can work on preserving all of the brilliant Flash-based creations that the internet has made.

How do I show my support?

I’m usually very cynical about the effectiveness of Change.org petitions and people’s tendency towards so-called slacktivism vs action.

However, If you feel strongly in support of this issue, I would urge you to share articles like this around, and show your support on the original petition by creating a Github account and “starring” this repo.

Progress as of the time of writing

I know this isn’t a guaranteed way to ensure our Flash content’s survival, but at the very least, I hope that we can spread awareness about this issue and maybe even get Adobe’s attention in the process.

If the internet could save MS Paint, couldn’t we at least try to find a way to preserve all of the great Flash creations out there?

Sign the petition here. Share this article around.

Let’s make things happen!

PS: Here’s some Flash-based things I grew up with and love:

Karoshi, Suicide Salaryman
Strong Bad E-mails
Animator vs Animation
Vuvuzela Hero
Cannabalt

Tom Fulp, creator of Newgrounds, also had some things to say on this issue.