Flash Replacement Shumway is as good as dead

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 23, 2016

Mozilla started to work on Shumway, an open source Flash environment that did not depend on proprietary software back in 2012.

It made sense for Mozilla to work on Shumway at that time, considering that Flash was still the dominant force on the Web, and that Adobe did not cooperate with Mozilla in regards to the integration of Flash in Firefox like it did with Google.

Mozilla's goal was to integrate Shumway in Firefox in a way that it would allow Firefox users to access Flash content on the Internet without having to rely on Adobe Flash much like the company added a native PDF reader to Firefox to eliminate the need for plugin-based PDF readers.

Shumway landed in Firefox Nightly in late 2013, and Mozilla started to enable Shumway for some Flash contents on Amazon in early 2015.

Development of the Flash replacement slowed down considerable in September 2015 and rumors began to spread that Mozilla changed its priorities in regards to Shumway.

Shumway on the Firefox Graveyard

If you check out the main Shumway tracking bug for implementation of the feature in Firefox, you will notice that it has been moved to Firefox Graveyard which means that work on it has more or less stopped.

Mozilla engineer Chris Peterson revealed in a comment that Shumway is no longer a priority for Mozilla.

Shumway is still on GitHub, but it's not on a path to ship in Firefox. Given our limited resources, other product priorities are currently more important than propping up Flash.

Flash lost much of its dominance on the Internet thanks to the rise of HTML5 and web-based technologies that deliver content to Internet users without the reliance on proprietary technology.

Media streaming is without doubt the area where Flash lost most ground but Google's announced that it will not accept Flash banners on its ad network from January 2, 2017 on, and that will impact the use of Flash significantly as well.

Considering that Mozilla had plans to enable Shumway for Flash advertisement first, as listed under Milestone 3 of the project, it may have influenced Mozilla in the decision making process as well.

In addition, Mozilla plans to end support for NPAPI plugins in Firefox for 2016 which means that the organization would have to have Shumway ready by that point in time to provide users of the browser with a replacement, or extend support for Flash instead.

It is possible -- theoretically at least -- that Mozilla will restart development on Shumway in the future but the likelihood of that happening is slim considering that Flash is being replaced by new technologies on the Internet. (via Sören Hentzschel)

Flash Replacement Shumway is as good as dead
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Flash Replacement Shumway is as good as dead
Mozilla has stopped development of the Flash replacement technology Shumway which it planned to integrated into Firefox.
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  1. Dr Dreyeth said on April 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Flash will be here for atleast another decade, HMTL5 adoption has been unimpressive even though
    there has been some.

    Not needing a flash reimplementation because HTML5 is here, is a pipe dream.

    I have to power up Chromium regularly because I need flash all the time, I wonder
    if that is why Youtube hasn’t switched to HTML5?

    Because Firefox does not have flash so if its competitor does not support the technology,
    they can start squeezing Firefox out and move everyone to Chromium.

  2. Lestat said on March 6, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    So much for Mozilla caring for their users! http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8836539&cid=51642315

  3. Lestat said on February 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    And another one bites the dust ;)

    One by one Mozilla projects are put aside and are getting buried. When you have money issues and your main sponsor is not a guarantee for secure money anymore, what choice do you have left.

    While i have almost only disgust left for Mozilla these days, there is still a part of mine which feels genuinely sorry for them. But, they have brought all that over themselves.

  4. Max said on February 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Leaves Mozilla more time to finish killing Firefox…

  5. Ben said on February 24, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Good. It was always a waste of ressources.
    Anyone with a bit of intelligence would have seen this.
    But with infinite money you can do stuff like that I guess.

  6. sirpaul2 said on February 24, 2016 at 6:27 am

    I would rather switch browsers than run something called ‘Shumway’.
    Ironically, one of the definitions of ‘shum’ is a person who buys a new version of something as soon as it comes out for no other reason than bragging rights – and disregards their perfectly fine previous version.

  7. Anonymous said on February 24, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Does Hulu still require Flash?

  8. Jeff said on February 23, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    What a horrible product name.

  9. Joker said on February 23, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Flash is on its way out, and now a replacement for Flash is pointless? Who could have known three years ago? Oh yeah, everybody. 2002 this would have been a nice project. Or 2007. But not in 2012.
    Another Mozilla-project which wasted tons of manmonths on another unshipped product. What a waste.

  10. CHEF-KOCH said on February 23, 2016 at 8:37 pm


  11. Bruno said on February 23, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Google has Swiffy for the last remains of Flash so why even bother with a doomed technology.

  12. Earl said on February 23, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    When the product you’re trying to replace gets supplanted by another product with the same basic principles of your replacement product… yeah, you’re pretty much dead in the water. You might as well paddle ashore and join everyone else. Shumway could have value, but if so, then why did it take them so long to do so little with it. Personally, there was a time when I was looking forward to it, and then I forgot about it. For a couple years now I’ve always disabled Flash except for the one place I’ve had to use it; that’s not a factor anymore, so I can simply remove it now and never look back.

    1. Tom Hawack said on February 23, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Quoting Mozilla engineer Chris Peterson :

      “Given our limited resources, other product priorities are currently more important than propping up Flash.”

      Tough to be poor, having to choose between bread and butter. Problem with Mozilla is the impact on priorities and that no one yet knows if the company prefers bread or butter. Moreover when Champagne pops in with short-term perspectives leading to abandon of the bottle never drank but by the developers themselves. I’m still with Firefox, but no idea who’s doing what, who’s deciding. Reminds me the students’ assemblies in the seventies when here in France a post-revolution guided the students more than the eager to learn. Chaotic, a miracle it’s still alive. This is typical of community work when their is no centralized decision center. true in business, true everywhere : community is great for the pluralism of ideas but lousy when a decision has to be taken.

  13. Bill said on February 23, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I think they need more time as they’re struggling to find a worse name

    1. dwarf_t0ssn said on February 23, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Dude, this. Feel like a pedant picking on the name, but they really could not have picked a worse one. Shumway. *groan*

    2. John B said on February 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Flash Gordon and Gordon Shumway. Alf would be proud of the name.

  14. Tom Hawack said on February 23, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Instant karma if Mozilla restarts development on Shumway in the future given the project is now in Firefox’s Graveyard (I like that way of putting it, I applause myself, feel free to join).

    Whatever the rise of HTML5 many sites still propose videos only in Flash format, which is an hopeless attitude but which would bring the abandon of Shumway to a less pertinent move.

    Meanwhile I just avoid Flash and send my thoughts of lesser consideration to Websites that choose to remain in the past.

  15. Dave said on February 23, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Maybe a small team will pick Shumway up and make it into an extension. Seems like a decent project.

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