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    The important thing here is that Frog Fractions 3 is real and glorious

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      I loved working in Flash. At the time, it was the best way to get your games in front of people with zero friction, in a way that seemed like they’d live forever – SWFs from the 90s still work flawlessly in the latest Flash player, decades later. Seeing the world try to transition over to HTML5 when it clearly wasn’t good enough yet was agonizing to watch.

      I remember the early flash-to-HTML5 projects – these really sucked in terms of performance. Slideshows at best, if your flash animation or game even worked. I was really confused – what were we supposed to do?

      Could flash have been effectively patched to nullify most security holes? Or VM’d? Ruffle (linked by author) seems curiously good so far, we will have to see what history brings.


      On the topic of history: there is enough already to be making some judgements. The hatred of flash was blinding and we’re not necessarily in a better position because of it. Toppling regimes often leads to new ones.

      Flash was accessible (ran on almost anything) and was easy to get into. Officially content could only be made through Adobe products, but in practice I’m not sure that many students paid for it and it was software that didn’t need servers.

      There was a variety publishers for flash content. The only gatekeepers were the many website hosts. Your flash anim, game or program could find a decent home pretty easily.

      Flash was considered insecure in terms of protecting you against the author’s wishes, as anyone could make flash content that broke out of your browser and did stuff on your computer. This was considered bad.

      Now we have lots of invasive native software (eg Chrome), phone apps and centralised video hosting sites.

      Native software and phone apps are not accessible. They require extra effort to support every platform, which many authors do not or cannot go to. In fact it’s easy to argue that phone APIs and ecosystems are designed to made it hard for your software to be cross platform (amongst the other gaming of your time and effort toward their platforms).

      Native software still has a good variety of publishers (not centralised) but phone apps and video hosts do not. There are now two major gatekeepers for phone apps and pretty much only one gatekeeper for video hosting.

      Native software and phones apps are insecure in terms of protecting you from their author’s wishes. Chrome is spyware, plain and simple, the sort that old AV software would have flagged and removed. No AV company could do that to big software company products today (perhaps overshadowed by the pivot of many to be just as abuse software themselves). Phone app and system API vulnerabilities are found and exploited just as flash APIs were.

      We’ve burned down the old stadiums and built new ones, but now with the same or worse security issues, less accessibility and central corporate control instead of community control. Killing flash for its security problems looks like an own goal. Alas, would flash have evolved into the same beasts we have now anyway?

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        FWIW, Flash lives on in a more secure way in Flashpoint. It’s an archive of flash games (and shockwave and a few others), with the necessary engines to play them on your local machine. It even includes website fakery to deal with SWFs that do phone-home checks, etc.

        It’s not a complete list of all flash ever on the web, but if you notice something missing, you can nominate it for preservation.

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        To anyone trying to use https://ruffle.rs/ (linked by author) in Firefox without pulseaudio: follow the apulse & sandbox config instructions on the Arch wiki. Otherwise you will have no sound! Even though sound works fine when watching videos in firefox without pulseaudio!

        I thought my distro (Void) had patched Firefox to keep using alsa. I guess not? Perhaps external libs (ffmpeg?) handle video embeds and that is why sound works with pulseaudio? Who knows!