Mozilla plans to drop Flash support in Firefox 84 (December 2020) - gHacks Tech News

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Mozilla plans to drop Flash support in Firefox 84 (December 2020)

All major browser makers plan to remove Flash support from their browsers in 2020. Adobe announced the deprecation of Adobe Flash in 2017 and companies like Google, Microsoft or Mozilla revealed plans to end support for the technology in their browsers. Adobe Flash won't receive security updates anymore from 2021 on.

Firefox uses a plugin system to integrate Adobe Flash, that is installed on the system, into the web browser. Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers ship with a native Flash integration instead.

The current state of Flash in Firefox is the following: Flash is disabled by default in Firefox but users may activate Flash on individual sites if they require it. Flash is the only NPAPI plugin that Firefox still supports; support for other NPAPI-based plugins such as Microsoft Silverlight was dropped in Firefox 52 which Mozilla released in 2017.

firefox no flash

Mozilla updated the Flash deprecation schedule recently; the organization revealed the Firefox version and the month in which Flash would be removed from Firefox. According to the schedule, Flash will be removed in Firefox 84 Stable, which Mozilla plans to release in December 2020. Flash support will be removed earlier from development builds. From Firefox Nightly, the cutting edge development build of Firefox, it will be removed in October 2020.

Firefox users may disable Flash in the browser already or remove Flash from the system entirely as this will also remove Flash support in Firefox.

Here is the remaining schedule:

  • September 2019 (current state) -- Always Activate option is removed. Firefox will always prompt for permission if sites require Flash.
  • October 2020 -- Flash support is removed in Firefox Nightly 84.
  • December 2020 -- Flash support is removed from Firefox Stable 84. No version of Firefox will support Flash anymore from that point in time.

Mozilla plans to remove Flash support in Firefox 84 but there is a chance that these plans may change. It seems unlikely, considering that Adobe won't distribute security updates anymore for Flash in 2021.

Google plans to remove Flash support from Chromium in January 2021 with the release of Chrome 88. The change will affect other Chromium-based web browsers as well.

Closing Words

Most of the Web has moved on already but there are still sites out there that use Flash. Some may cease to work once Flash is no longer support or updated, others may be updated eventually to newer technologies.

Now You: Any site that you visit regularly that still uses Flash? (via Sören Hentzschel)

Summary
Mozilla plans to drop Flash support in Firefox 84 (December 2020)
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Mozilla plans to drop Flash support in Firefox 84 (December 2020)
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Mozilla updated the organization's Flash removal schedule; Firefox 84 Stable, out in December 2020, will be the first Firefox version without support for Adobe Flash.
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Comments

  1. owl said on May 17, 2020 at 10:08 am
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    Lamentably, The services of major public institutions, such as Ministries of Japan, Online national tax return and tax payment system (e-Tax), Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), are It still only works with “Flash” and only “IE” is supported as a browser.
    The Abe administration, which is in control of the budget, is fixated on amending the constitution with nationalism as its ideal, and is indifferent to the “Flash” issue.
    Therefore, unless IE goes away, no change can be expected.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on May 19, 2020 at 11:01 am
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      Not just Japan… Several EU countries also do the same, especially for tax returns.

  2. Kubrick said on May 17, 2020 at 10:25 am
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    We were given enough warning.I still use some flash sites,notably gamesites.
    I can use an older browser for flash requirements if need be.Flash is not going anywhere just yet as a lot of sites still use it.

  3. JohnIL said on May 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm
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    I think Adobe announced it was ending support for Flash plugin at end of 2020. So I imagine browsers are simply following that schedule and finally making sure Flash is done. Funny how it has taken years since Steve Jobs announced Flash was dead on IOS and was not included on Mac’s out of the box. I was helping my wife a teacher the other day with her curriculum for her students with educating at home. I was surprised at how much educational material still requires Flash and how terribly frustrating it is for Parents, Kids, and educators to get it to work in browsers. Probably one of the biggest questions Parents ask was why Flash doesn’t work?

    1. Stan said on May 17, 2020 at 7:42 pm
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      AFAIR one of Brendan Eich’s priorities was killing Flash.
      Remember Shumway? Another ‘failed’ MozCo project.
      If they’d got it working imagine the marketing edge Fx would have had as the only browser that didn’t use the unsafe Flash player.

      1. Stan said on May 17, 2020 at 7:45 pm
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        @A little humor, how could Flash possible be a worse risk than AMO ‘security’.?

  4. R. said on May 17, 2020 at 1:57 pm
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    What about Firefox ESR, which will still be on version 78 by then?

    1. Iron Heart said on May 17, 2020 at 6:32 pm
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      It will presumably be able to run Flash until ESR moves up to the next main Firefox version (presumably Firefox 88). But then, Adobe will release an update for the Flash plaxer which will essentially disable it, as you have pointed out. If you still need Flash, it is imperative to block this Flash update from being installed, as well. Firefox updates can be stopped with enterprise policies or by blocking the update server URL, no idea how Flash updates can be stopped these days.

  5. R. said on May 17, 2020 at 2:18 pm
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    In addition Adobe has published more details on the EOL process:
    https://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/end-of-life.html
    https://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/enterprise-end-of-life.html

    Main changes:
    – There will be EOL prompts later this year.
    – Flash content will also be blocked by the player itself after EOL. So even using older browsers versions will not circumvent this.
    – You can however whitelist sites by using the Enterprise Enablement option. Flash Player itself will continue to allow running the site even after EOL. However this still depends on browser support.

  6. Samanto Hermes said on May 17, 2020 at 4:24 pm
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    Firefox 84 will be close to Chrome 88 in terms of version number. It seems even that Mozilla adopted 4-weeks release cycle to keep up with that.

    1. Iron Heart said on May 17, 2020 at 6:28 pm
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      They did in fact move to a 4-weeks release cycle:

      https://www.ghacks.net/2019/09/17/mozilla-will-release-a-new-firefox-version-every-4-weeks-from-2020-on/

      Their marketing team probably figured that „Higher version number = Far more progress!“ in the minds of some people, even though it is stupid to compare the version number of unrelated applications with each other. Goes to show how desperate they are at Mozilla, it‘s the power of 5% overall market share.

      1. anona said on May 18, 2020 at 11:45 am
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        That’s also the reason for the weird Xbox names (“xbox”, “xbox 360”, “xbox one”, …), because otherwise they would be one version number behind the Playstation, and dumb people may think the PS is better because the number is higher.

      2. Mike Murphy said on May 19, 2020 at 1:28 am
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        I wonder what marketing team was thinking when naming Xbox One X and Xbox Series X.

        Wii and Wii U naming came to mind with those.

      3. Anonymous said on May 18, 2020 at 6:50 pm
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        The only reason I use Firefox is because its version of uBlock Origin can block more than it can on Chromium-based browsers due to additional dev features, but yeah it’s really only a matter of time before it dies and I think everyone knows it.

      4. Kubrick said on May 19, 2020 at 2:55 pm
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        Why would firefox die and yet other “niche” browsers like vivaldi and brave survive.?
        Explain please.

      5. Iron Heart said on May 19, 2020 at 5:42 pm
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        @Kubrick

        Because Mozilla develops its own rendering engine. Developing their own rendering engine is complex and requires them to be a bigger operation compared to the companies behind Brave, Vivaldi etc. Developing a new browser based on a preexisting browser takes substantially fewer resources.

        This situation is compounded by the fact that Mozilla is entirely dependent on being sponsored by someone big, by virtue of not having any other successful product that could potentially fund Firefox. This situation is in turn compounded by the fact that they are not funded by a group of sponsors, but rather by one big sponsor – Google. About 80% of Mozilla‘s annual income comes from Google. Google is also their competitor in the browser market, and is also an ad company. Ad companies want to target as many Internet users as possible with ads, and at some point, when Firefox‘s market share is even lower than now, Google will question whether or not their funding of Mozilla is still worth it.

        Need I go on? I think I‘ve made my point. I give them a maximum of three years, unless they morph into yet another Chromium-based browser, thereby reducing their expenses. I mean, they had to lay off people at the beginning of the year…

      6. Kubrick said on May 19, 2020 at 6:27 pm
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        @ironheart.
        thanks for that.

        so mozilla corp and mozilla foundation can be assumed to be one and the same thing to all intent and purposes.

        Answer me this if you will in regard to vivaldi as it seems to be just a webapp on top of chromium giving chromium customisation,,
        Why did google not create such an app themselves..?..chromium engineers do all the legwork and vivaldi just puts an app on top and call it a “new” browser when in fact it is no such thing.

      7. Iron Heart said on May 19, 2020 at 11:54 pm
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        @Kubrick

        The non-profit Mozilla Foundation fully owns the for-profit Mozilla Corporation. This structure was necessary because of the legal ramifications of donations in the US, which made the Mozilla Foundation a necessity. Firefox is fully developed by the Mozilla Corporation. If you donate to the Mozilla Foundation, the money will not(!) be used for Firefox development, but to further other projects supposedly related to the open web, some of which I find to be very questionable (look up the incident where Mozilla donated $100K to RiseUp, for example).

        As for your other question, I‘ll try to answer to the best of my knowledge: When Google developed Chrome, they wanted the browser to be fast and easy to use. Easy to use in Google‘s mind means that there is a very straightforward way of doing things that is easy to learn and to understand, but this excluded Chrome from having any customization options whatsoever, since these might confuse basic users and might hurt brand recognition (Chrome looking the same everywhere is part of its marketing). So developing a highly customizable browser was never on the table, Chrome always was and was always meant to be simplistic. This was a big reason for its widespread success, basic users like things being simple and straightforward and uncluttered. Needless to say Firefox followed this trend recently, it used to be much more modifiable in the past.

        Back to Chromium: The philosophy of simplicity behind the browser meant that it was ill-suited for any project attempting to create a customizable browser. On the other hand, due to its big market share, Chromium had insanely good website compatibility. The Vivaldi team apparently didn‘t want to sacrifice the latter, so they took Chromium as is and frankensteined their own non-native interface (which is very customizable) on top of it. The interface being non-native is also the reason for its comparatively bad performance.

        As for Vivaldi supposedly leeching off Chromium, I don‘t look at it this way. Google purposely made Chromium open source, as long as you don‘t violate Google‘s trademarks, it is perfectly legal to fork it. Google profits from Chromium being open source in two ways:

        – Better image within the open source (especially Linux) community.
        – They are able to receive contributions / enhancements to the codebase from outside of their own company.

        The companies behind the other Chromium-based browsers use the codebase themselves and contribute back to it, but they are no serious threat to Google‘s dominance due to their low market share. I think the benefits of receiving code contributions outweighs Google‘s weariness of the small browsers so far (it‘s not like they can‘t spy on you just because you use a non-Google browser). Also, by virtue of using Chromium, the small Chromium-based browsers also stabilize Chrome‘s monopoly. If some Chromium-based alternative browser became a threat to Google‘s dominance, they might play the game more dirty than they do now (Chromium is fairly transparent as it stands).

        However, I do not think that a Chromium monopoly is as bad as especially Firefox diehards make it out to be. For one, if Google really goes nuts in some way, the other Chromium-based browsers do not have to implement the related changes, they might even collectively fork Chromium if the situation is dire enough. Such an action was not even possible back when Internet Explorer was dominating the market, as it was closed source and proprietary. And I also don‘t think that Firefox has to exist in order to keep the web free and open. As I said, Chromium can be forked if Google does something bad, there is no inherent need for one open source project (Firefox) to compete with another open source project (Chromium), because the typical dangers of a monopoly are just not present here due to the nature of open source. And needless to say, Mozilla‘s financial background means that they won‘t go against Google‘s explicit wishes anyway. That‘s how I see it.

  7. Kincaid said on May 17, 2020 at 4:53 pm
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    Unfortunately, many sites still use Flash, and they likely won’t ever be updated.

    Are there any web-services that will allow you to view websites containing essential Flash elements (via an emulator/interpreter) once web browsers no longer support Flash?

    1. Iron Heart said on May 17, 2020 at 6:24 pm
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      Use K-Meleon for those few and far between websites. It won‘t drop Flash support.

      1. EP said on May 18, 2020 at 7:36 pm
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        or Palemoon which still seems to support Flash

    2. John said on May 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm
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      One wonders who is footing the domain and hosting bills for these sites that “still use Flash” and “likely won’t ever be updated”. It seems like they would be throwing money down the drain if they didn’t either update to HTML5 technologies or take down their sites.

      Internet Explorer is losing web compatibility in a major way and isn’t going to be a solution for users of sites like that for much longer other then in business environments with legacy intranets. Even now, I doubt some people even know IE is on their home computers- Edge is the visible pre-installed Microsoft browser on Windows 10, which has been out for 5 years now. IE was somewhere on the install last I checked, but you’d have to be looking for it to know that. So, I doubt these sites will have much traffic after the end of the year if they don’t adapt their technologies to the time.

      Honestly, whatever one thinks of Flash, Adobe ending security updates kind of forces all the browsers makers’ hands. They can’t skip a historically heavily exploited insecure technology if it’s not getting security patched- it’d be irresponsible. The only alternative other than discontinuing access to it would be for them to buy it or create their only compatible alternative in a white room (Something that didn’t work out well for Linux when they were trying to do it). That’s a lot of money and effort for something that browsers makers really don’t want to support anyway.

      It’s really only a specialty use case for users anyhow now. I don’t think I even have it installed.

  8. Anonymous said on May 17, 2020 at 8:14 pm
    Reply

    If you wish to continue using heavy Flash support (for games), use a Flash emulator such as https://ruffle.rs

  9. sagnon said on May 17, 2020 at 8:26 pm
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    then i must uninstall flash player before apply firefox 84 update in December 2020? mandatory?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 18, 2020 at 5:50 am
      Reply

      No, the browser won’t load the plugin anymore.

  10. Kubrick said on May 17, 2020 at 9:22 pm
    Reply

    Just interested in what facebooks intentions are as all of there games are based on flash.

    If there were viable html5 alternative game sites then flash would be gone in a shot.

  11. stefann said on May 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm
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    If You use Windows 10 You shouldn’t be talking about security……

  12. ipnonymous said on May 18, 2020 at 4:05 am
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    If on windows you can always download a separate ‘portable’ version of a browser where flash still works and not update it. Then you can use it for those sites that still require flash. If you are on linux you can do the same with an ‘appimage’ version of the browser.

  13. MartinFan said on May 18, 2020 at 7:43 am
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    Why was flash singled out for the chopping block anyway? It seems like all software has vulnerabilities that need to be patched sooner or later.

    1. Trey said on May 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm
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      It’s been a favorite hole for malware for a long time. Time to move to an open standard that is safer and runs faster (html5).

      A separate browser frozen in time with Flash installed -maybe running in a sandbox- will eventually be the best option for all the content that will remain. Maybe there’ll be a good stand-alone viewer app.

      1. MartinFan said on May 19, 2020 at 11:45 am
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        I’ll give you that, it may be true it was a favorite target for malicious hackers, but can you say any game made in html5 is better then the ones we had that were made in java or flash. I can’t I tried a few and I just can’t get into them. Go read the forums at Pogo’s gaming site, people say that these new html5 versions of games look like they were made for kids aged 3-12.

        I’ve also read how developers hate coding games in html5, what works in one browser may not work in another, flash didn’t have that problem.

        I still play flash games to this day and haven’t been infected in years. And if my device ever does get infected by malware oh well it’s just a device not a living being. OS can be reinstalled.

      2. Trey said on May 19, 2020 at 11:08 pm
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        Yea, I’m sure the safety aspect is overblown, especially if you’re running known flash apps. Kinda sad all the good Flash content and games that’ll end up being abandoned. Lets hope something good will replace Flash even if it’s not html5.

  14. Anonymous said on May 18, 2020 at 2:03 pm
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    The article says flash is the only plugin Firefox still supports.I found two others

    • OpenH264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc.
    I don’t know what sites use this.

    • Widevine Content Decryption Module provided by Google Inc.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on May 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm
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      Both of these are internal, built-in plugins that FF supplies and uses out-of-the-box. I think the OpenH264 plugin is for any website that streams videos in H264, and it is there for reasons of royalty or something like that.

  15. John G. said on May 18, 2020 at 4:44 pm
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    There are more browsers to use FlashPlayer (e.g. KMeleon and Basilisk). No problem. :]

  16. Rascvou7 said on May 18, 2020 at 8:17 pm
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    Its true that Firefox and Edge will be continue using the alternative engine flash player NPAPI?

  17. Kubrick said on May 19, 2020 at 12:42 am
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    Pale Moon will support flash for as long as sites support it.

  18. João said on July 2, 2020 at 4:56 pm
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    From what I understand, some browsers will continue to support Adobe Flash after 2020. (Basilisk, KMeleon and Pale Moon).

    However, a question arose: these browsers do not have the built-in flash, that is, it is necessary to install it on the computer so that the visitor can interpret it. As Adobe will abandon flash, will the operating system be able to continue running these old versions of flash player?

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