back to article Internet Archive to preserve Flash content for posterity with Ruffle emulator

The Internet Archive says it's found a way to preserve content created with Adobe's notoriously insecure Flash tool without risking user safety. Preservation is needed because Adobe will end support for Flash after 31 December. Browsers only grudgingly allow Flash to run today and enthusiastically stop supporting it not long …

  1. macjules Silver badge

    It's the only way to be sure

    Can we please petition for a sub-orbital nuclear bombardment of the Internet Archive's headquarters and storage centre? It's the only way to make sure.

  2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    "Leveraging the safety of the modern browser" Please, "Leverage" is NOT a verb. Using it as one just makes the author look utterly foolish.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Exactly. It's leverage on, right?

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      As I pen this missive to you, I wonder about inflexibility in language. Can we use nouns as as verbs?

      "Levarage" is listed as a verb in OED, Cambridge, Merriam-Webster, Macmillan, Collins, as it has a long history of use in finance, where it means to use funds from an original investment to make more investments. This is analogous to the common IT usage; the prior investment in safety of the modern browser is used to make something new.

      Personally, I save my word pedantry ire for "performant". We don't make things "more performant", we make them "increase performance".

      PS: pen is a noun that we happily use as a verb. People don't get their knickers in a twist and write articles over this one however, as it sounds old and fancy.

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Yes, in finance. And it isn't just a silly synonym for "use", it has an actual meaning.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        pen is

        hehehe

      3. needmorehare
        Trollface

        ...in other words

        You Googled that didn't you?

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Coat

      Leverage is an Industry Standard Buzzword from the early 2000s, around the time when Flash was The Next Big Thing.

    4. RLWatkins

      It's "use".

      I see people saying that "leverage" is listed as a verb in the OED. Shame on them.

      It's like the verb "access" in IT: all it means is "to do with something whatever one does with it". We already have a verb for that: It's "use".

      "Using the safety of the modern browser," is still nonsense, but it's more sensible nonsense.

    5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Not as foolish as prescriptivists making unfounded and unsupportable claims about English grammar and usage. Put the ruler down and back away slowly, schoolmarm.

  3. Stuart Moore
    Mushroom

    Badger Badger Badger

    https://archive.org/details/flash_badger - this needed preserving!

    (Icon because - Mushroom Mushroom!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Badger Badger Badger

      Doesn't work :(

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: Badger Badger Badger

        Badgers : animated music video : MrWeebl on YouTube.

        https://youtu.be/EIyixC9NsLI

        There you go

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: Badger Badger Badger

          The YouTube video is the worst way to experience this, the animations don't even go out of sync!!!

          1. Blackjack Silver badge

            Re: Badger Badger Badger

            Animations only went out of sync if you weren't using the right version of Internet Explorer.

            1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              Re: Badger Badger Badger

              :O I never knew that, I seem to remember I was on Opera back then :S

    2. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: Badger Badger Badger

      Excellent.

      Kudos to all those at the Internet Archive for making this work. There are a lot of cheesy, and sometimes useful, Flash gizmos which it would be a shame to see disappear like the Domesday Project did. A further good reminder of the importance of open standard file formats too.

      (Slightly annoying that it loads content from multiple arbitrarily-named hosts of archive.org, which plays havov with my NoScript rules, though… :-/ )

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Badger Badger Badger

        A great deal of electronic literature was created using Flash. That's an important cultural archive.

        Some works (Homestuck is a prominent example) were converted to newer technologies, but a lot of what you'd find on, for example, the early anthologies released by the Electronic Literature Organization would effectively be lost without projects like this one.

        And, yes, there's a lot of material which may not be quite so literary but have a certain entertainment value, such as the Homestar Runner cartoons.

  4. Dwarf Silver badge

    Emulation

    Does the rust emulation also emulate all the security vulnerabilities.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Emulation

      I suspect they will only support the visual items, although Flash itself has a lot of powerful scripting hardly any of it should be needed for Strong Bad emails

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Ruffle : interesting

    My wife is a school teacher. She's very worried about the disappearance of Flash because many, many useful educational tools have been made in Flash. The first time she saw a warning on her browser about Flash being decommissioned, she immediately came to ask me about solutions.

    At the time, I didn't have any. I told her that, unless the website made an effort to convert the content to HTML5, it was going to be unusable.

    Now, there might be a solution for her and her colleagues. I will be following the evolution of this tool closely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ruffle : interesting

      School IT Tech here, the companies have known that Flash is going for years, we've been telling the staff that it's going for years, and 99% of the content that I've seen teachers use is horrific, but they'd rather use these ancient things than find a youtube demonstration that's 100 times better!

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Ruffle : interesting

        I'm not going to comment on Flash, let's face it there is no need.

        However I do have an issue with youtube. Its awful and getting worse by the minute and I happily ignore its existence as much as possible.

        Unfortunately increasing amount of 'how-to' type stuff these days tends to be a youtube clip rather than good old fashioned page with some select images like how things used to be.

        I'm not saying a clip isn't sometimes useful or even a better choice, but more often than not old fashion page would work much better.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Ruffle : interesting

        Today we read that YouTube stuff will no longer come without advertisements, or am I missing something? Is that appropriate in schools?

        I've known teachers and... A technically clunky demonstration on computer can still work to put a point across, if students aren't distracted by the clunkiness. And Flash is nicely interactive and works at your speed, YouTube just plays at you. And, a teacher likes to use material that they've used before and they know. What actual good is it to replace it with newer but different material?

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Ruffle : interesting

      https://archive.org/details/newgroundsplayer

      Install that on a Windows XP VM and you are done.

  6. Beeblebrox
    Coffee/keyboard

    Merry Christmas

    https://www2.b3ta.com/merrychristmas/

    Works!

  7. Mike 16 Silver badge

    TUTOR?

    I have to wonder whether the content ported from TUTOR (Plato system authoring tool) to Flash some years ago will make the second leap.

  8. fidodogbreath Silver badge
    Alien

    Somebody set us up the bomb

    I, for one, welcome our new cat overlords.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    It's a dirty job

    ... but someone had to do it. All credit to IA

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: It's a dirty job

      Yes. There have been other Flash emulators (Mozilla Shumway, for example), but the ones I can think of used Javascript, which is certainly not ideal.

      I'm not a fan of WebAssembly, but I'd allow it (temporarily, and restricted to IA servers) for this purpose. Writing the Flash emulator in Rust is a good way to eliminate vast swathes of Flash's vulnerabilities (Rust's Borrow Checker prunes a lot of the attack tree at compile time).

      This is a good compromise between keeping Flash generally available, particularly for non-technical users, and losing access to historical Flash-based material.

  10. RLWatkins

    Thank god they've done this.

    I thought I'd never play the classic Cursor Thief game again. What a huge relief.

    No, I don't mean the flashy Japanese version with the anime protagonist.

    This is the *old* one, where the cursor thief chases your mouse cursor, and when he can grab it runs off and dumps it into a pile with all the other mouse cursors he has stolen.

    The good one. Cursor Thief. It's the only plausible reason to preserve Flash content.

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