Firefox 69: Flash disabled by default - gHacks Tech News

Firefox 69: Flash disabled by default

Mozilla plans to disable Adobe Flash in Firefox 69 by default according to an updated bug listing on the organization's bug-tracking website.

Adobe Flash Player is the last NPAPI plugin that Mozilla Firefox supports; support for other NPAPI plugins like Microsoft Silverlight or Java was removed in Firefox 52. Firefox users could switch to Firefox ESR to continue using NPAPI plugins at the time. Google dropped support for NPAPI plugins in 2015 in Chrome.

Firefox continued to support Adobe Flash provided that users installed the software on supported devices, and even considered integrating a Flash replacement called Shumway in Firefox, and later on Pepper Flash, the Flash system that Google used.

Google integrated Adobe Flash in the company's Chrome browser in 2010, and Microsoft did the same for its latest browsers.

Mozilla, Google, and other browser makers announced that Flash was on its way out, and Adobe decided to retire Flash in 2020.

Mozilla's Flash retiring timeline lists two Flash related events for 2019:

  • Early 2019 -- a visible warning displayed to Firefox users about Flash usage.
  • 2019 -- disable Adobe Flash by default in Firefox.

Adobe Flash was a major technology for many years but its popularity decreased in recent years. New web standards emerged that replaced Flash functionality for the most part. While there are still sites out there that make use of Flash, Adobe Flash is playing less of an important role on today's Internet than the technology did ten years ago.

Flash is problematic from a security and also a stability point of view.

Mozilla plans to disable Adobe Flash in Firefox 69. The Firefox release schedule lists September 3, 2019 as the release date for the stable version. Mozilla will disable Flash in Nightly when the browser hits version 69, then in Beta, and finally in Stable.

Disabling means that Flash cannot be used anymore by default unless activated again by the user. Firefox won't prompt users anymore to enable Flash when sites require it, but it will be possible to enable Flash in the browser.

The next steps in the Flash deprecation happen in 2020 and 2021. Flash support is removed completely from all Firefox versions except for Firefox ESR in 2020. Firefox ESR will continue to support Flash until the end of 2020.

When Adobe stops the release of security updates for Flash, all Firefox  versions won't load the plugin anymore.

Google and other browser makers plan to end Flash support at the same time. Google made Flash usage more annoying already in Chrome 69.

Closing Words

Adobe Flash won't be supported by major browsers anymore from 2020 onward. Smaller browsers or fork may continue to support Flash so that Flash content that is still available on the Internet remains accessible; the downside to this is that these Flash versions are no longer supported with security or stability updates.

It is unclear if organizations like Archive.org will preserve Flash content, e.g. tens of thousand of Flash games and applications, and how they would go about it.

Now You: do you still access Flash content? (via Sören Hentzschel)

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Firefox 69: Flash disabled by default
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Firefox 69: Flash disabled by default
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Mozilla plans to disable Adobe Flash in Firefox 69 by default according to an updated bug listing on the organization's bug-tracking website.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Sören Hentzschel said on January 12, 2019 at 7:12 pm
    Reply

    @Martin:

    > Early 2019 — a visible warning displayed to Firefox users about Flash usage.

    This was removed from the roadmap in June 2018. There is also an explanation in the document’s history:

    > We’ve decided to not show a user-visible warning on sites that continue to use Flash. This will annoy users because they have no control over the sites’ content.

  2. user17843 said on January 12, 2019 at 8:00 pm
    Reply

    When it comes to archive.org, I think they would need a couple of millions more to work effectively.

    Way more important than lots of other “non-profit” stuff. Preserving the web should be #1 priority for informed citizens.

    1. Censored said on January 12, 2019 at 11:05 pm
      Reply

      Preserving the web #1 priority? Were you born yesterday? Most of the web is bloatware not worth preserving or even visiting.

      Maybe stupid things like global warming, hunger, diseases… should be #2? Save the web lol

      1. itsme said on January 13, 2019 at 11:22 am
        Reply

        Are you really that dumb? He was clearly talking about making it a priority project.

    2. Alex said on January 14, 2019 at 1:41 am
      Reply

      Agreed! If you’ve been on the internet for long you know how transitory it is, and since it will likely be our main form of communication and the main repository for our art and culture, it’s important to preserve it the same we do books and other cultural artifacts. To protest this idea is bizarre and a sign of a very small thinker.

      1. Censored said on January 15, 2019 at 1:21 pm
        Reply

        ROFL

      2. Tom Hawack said on January 15, 2019 at 1:49 pm
        Reply

        For foreigners (as myself) and for those who may wonder about the meaning of ROFL :

        “ROFL is an internet accronmym for Rolling On Floor Laughing, and like all things internet it has adapted to nerd culture and has taken on new real-life use, though usually in a satirical way.”

        You learn every day, ROFL!

  3. John said on January 12, 2019 at 8:02 pm
    Reply

    Regardless of the merits or lack thereof of getting rid of Flash in general, that Adobe is going to be discontinuing support means that these moves by Mozilla are more than justified and in fact maybe ethically required. A large browser in good conscience really can’t be essentially pointing it’s users towards, or enabling by default, a technology that has been known to have tons of security holes in past that will not get future security holes patched past a certain point because of a lack of support by the company that maintains it.

    If power users want to override it being not distributed by default and being disabled by default, Mozilla is giving them the ability to do that. You won’t even have to go to about:config, you’ll be able to do it through the normal GUI menus.

    Pretty soon Flash will largely be a legacy thing, if it isn’t already. HTML5 video can pretty much do what Flash did video wise, but in a more standards compliant cross-platform way (There’s still DRM involved with *some* HTML5 video content, but Flash had that, too, and was of course entirely proprietary and owned by a single company, something that isn’t true of HTML5).

    Archive.org is an interesting case, but users can of course still enable Flash on that site if they want to. The site itself will likely see a traffic drop if it doesn’t find another way to make it’s browser games available, though. Is there a way to implement those type of games in HTML5 or java?

    1. DragoCubed said on January 13, 2019 at 7:27 am
      Reply

      What’s so wrong with the way it is now? It asks you if you want to enable it if you click on Flash content. It’s had to be enabled manually for a while now. I’ve been so happy that Firefox kept the option to remember our Flash choices. Firefox doesn’t even come with Flash.

    2. gwacks said on January 13, 2019 at 8:32 am
      Reply

      Hey man, you can give it a try, but don’t expect too much from it XD:

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/noplugin/

      I think I shall keep an old version of FF specifically for such contents on these sites if necessary in the future.

  4. rip said on January 12, 2019 at 9:02 pm
    Reply

    You just have to feel sorry for all those developers that made Flash the platform of choice. Yes, there were some nifty capabilities and animations that the HTML 4 browsers couldn’t (or wouldn’t or shouldn’t) handle, but it was really down to games and vanity sites.

    Having been exposed to all the problems with Adobe products (and ones that they acquired), I would think any future developers would shun them with a 3 meter pole.

    1. Uncensored said on January 12, 2019 at 10:37 pm
      Reply

      Those two remaining Flash devs will be all right.

  5. nosamu said on January 12, 2019 at 9:45 pm
    Reply

    There is an organization called Flashpoint that is working to preserve Flash games and other at-risk web games. You can read all about it on gHacks ;)
    http://www.ghacks.net/2018/08/28/the-flash-games-preservation-project-flashpoint/

  6. Mike said on January 13, 2019 at 2:11 am
    Reply

    I no longer use Flash and any website that still requires the use of Flash, is one that I automatically close and never visit again.

  7. DragoCubed said on January 13, 2019 at 7:20 am
    Reply

    Yes I do still use Flash. I use it for games such as Club Penguin Rewritten. Yes, BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint exists but that is not for online games such as MMOs. Sören Hentzschel is right. There is no warning. Flash still has a couple of things that HTML5 cannot do. People love to “poop” on Flash but do not realise that getting rid of it means that so much of the Web cannot be viewed, even if they are archived.

    1. Censored said on January 13, 2019 at 11:34 am
      Reply

      Name three usefull Flash sites worth viewing.

  8. madtrump said on January 13, 2019 at 8:01 am
    Reply

    Flash still beats html5 in areas. The speed of html5 implementation is a joke. How many more years will it take? Sad you have to ban to beat something.

    1. Censored said on January 13, 2019 at 7:58 pm
      Reply

      Same question as above, name three usefull Flash sites worth viewing. I’ll hold your beer.

      1. J. Redhead said on September 5, 2019 at 9:25 am
        Reply

        homestarruner.com — The one & only. And yes, I know they have a youtube channel — not everything is there.
        daxo.de — A personal website, mostly dedicated to the “daxophone”, an instrument invented by the author. Sadly they passed, so into the memory whole that site will go i guess!
        rippledotzero.com — Yes, this is a flash game (something you appear to detest), but it was created by Simon Stålenhag and is truly gorgeous.

        Why do you want flash dead so bad, anyway??
        I could sympathize if you are a sysadmin, but it seems you are hating blindly.

  9. ilev said on January 13, 2019 at 9:07 am
    Reply

    Apple blocked flash in iOS in 2007 ! Blocked Flash in Safari in 2016.

  10. Tom Hawack said on January 13, 2019 at 3:24 pm
    Reply

    It’s about time (Flash lovers please don’t hit me!).
    Do I still access Flash content? Certainly not. I had abandoned Flash (globally removed, files and registry entries) from my Windows 7 when HTML5 took the relay, in the beginning I’d encounter Flash only videos but progressively less and less. Nowadays I pass my way from sites reluctant to move ahead.

    To be honest, if i refer only to the video quality, HTML5 hasn’t up to now provided the same as Flash, but it’s nothing compared to the everlasting Flash security issues perpetually but never fully handled by an update after another. The fruit was rotten, tasty yet rotten (digital environments onlly allow this flagrant paradox!)

    1. Censored said on January 13, 2019 at 9:21 pm
      Reply

      You will find exactly two Flash lovers in this thread, and one is a Flash gamer… Enough said.

  11. pHROZEN gHOST said on January 13, 2019 at 11:48 pm
    Reply

    Did I miss something?
    I think this is a tad out of date.
    I’m running v71.0.3578.98 (Official Build) (64-bit).

    1. pHROZEN gHOST said on January 14, 2019 at 11:14 pm
      Reply

      My bad. Sorry :-(

  12. Weilan said on January 14, 2019 at 10:41 am
    Reply

    I never install Flash on my computer anymore. When I use Chrome, which has Pepper Flash by default, that’s it. When I use Firefox, I opt out of using Flash at all.

  13. Aurelio said on February 3, 2019 at 4:25 am
    Reply

    For Linux Ubuntu 14.04 distro, is there any version of Firefox to install w/o flash release from the terminal?

  14. chem lord said on September 17, 2019 at 1:48 pm
    Reply

    Games?? Forget games! I need Flash for my classroom! I’m a chemistry teacher and most of the free web tutorials, simulations, virtual labs, etc. use Flash because they were labors of love made by grad students in universities whose education departments get very little of the grant funding compared to the science departments; they don’t have the time, talent or money to upgrade these invaluable resources because it’s such a (relatively) niche user base. There are newer resources that can be purchased but they are way overpriced, because although they are “prettier” the actual chemistry content is sub standard.

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