A new year symbolizes moving on from the past, and for users of one of the most famous web plug-ins ever, a big shift is now underway. Adobe Flash is officially no more, finally bringing an end to the animation and interactivity software that has been in a "funeral procession" of sorts for years, per the Verge. Adobe ended support for Flash on Thursday, meaning it can no longer be downloaded, and there won't be any more updates. Then, starting Jan. 12, Adobe will block the software from running at all on its Flash Player. Major browsers such as Google Chrome will also say goodbye to the versions of Flash they host. The BBC, How-To Geek, and Computer Clan dive into what made Flash so popular after it was released in 1996. Due to the software's design, files it created were small—a necessity for the old days of the internet, when most people used slower dial-up to connect.
The plug-in was also compatible with most browsers. Games and animations rich with sound and other interactive elements, as well as streaming video using Flash, abounded. But because virtually everyone used it, the software became a hacking target and was riddled with security issues. It also didn't transition well to smartphones, and in 2017, Adobe announced it would retire Flash in 2020. For those worried about all the content that was created over the years using Flash, there are a couple of preservation projects in the works, including an emulator called Ruffle that allows users to play Flash content in a web browser. The Internet Archive has a collection of nearly 2,500 Flash creations so far using this emulator. If you still have Flash installed on your computer, Adobe wants you to uninstall it for security reasons, with instructions on how to do so for Windows and Macs. (Read more Adobe stories.)