At the end of this month, December 31, 2020, Adobe will formally discontinue Flash Player. Adobe will provide no further security updates for it and will continue to encourage users to uninstall it. Simultaneously,  Information Systems & Computing (ISC) will remove the Flash Player entry from the University’s supported computing products list.

This retirement does not come as a surprise. In July 2017, Adobe announced that Flash Player would end-of-life in December 2020, and the University technology roadmap has tracked this phase-out for over three years. Most support providers at the University have either already removed Flash Player from their installed base or intend to remove it by the end of December 2020. Adobe’s installers themselves currently suggest removing Flash Player, and the latest versions of their Creative Cloud applications will no longer export to Flash formats.

Adobe announced the planned retirement of Flash Player in concert with major web browser developers. Those developers have made it steadily harder to use Flash Player, with Apple completely removing it from Safari’s latest version. The Chromium project (which provides the underlying code for both Google Chrome and recent versions of Microsoft Edge) will soon remove Flash Player. Finally, Mozilla will remove all Flash Player support from Firefox in version 85.

Over the last few years, the University has largely rid itself of dependencies on Flash Player. What remains is a long tail of exception processing—elderly training modules, obsolete management interfaces, and the like. Technology personnel across Penn are working to address these remaining issues.