A petition on GitHub is asking Adobe to release Flash into the hands of the open-source community. Finnish developer Juha Lindstedt started the petition a day after Adobe announced plans to end Flash support by the end of 2020.
"Flash is an important piece of Internet history and killing Flash means future generations can't access the past," Lindstedt explains in the petition's opening paragraph. "Games, experiments and websites would be forgotten."
The developer wants Adobe to open-source Flash or parts of its technology so the open-source community could take on the job of supporting a minimal version of the Flash plugin or at least create a tool to accurately convert old SWF and FLA files to modern HTML5, canvas data, or WebAssembly code.
The entire purpose of this project is to make sure a large chunk of archived web content, movies, or games doesn't die off in 2020, or in later years as browsers evolve, and the Flash plugin becomes noncompatible with modern tech.
"Another possibility would be to have a separate browser," said Lindstedt about possible avenues to support older Flash content. "Don't know how, but that's the beauty of open source: you never know what will come up after you go open source!"
"We understand that there are licensed components you can not release. Simply leave them out with a note explaining what was removed. We will either bypass them or replace them with open source alternatives," the developer also added.
Lindstedt is asking users to sign the petition by starring the project on GitHub. At the time of writing, the petition has garnered over 3,000 stars.
Reaction from the open-source community has been mixed, with some praising Lindstedt's efforts to save a part of our collective Internet history, while others have used Flash's many security flaws to urge the developer to let it die forever.
Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla have announced plans to deprecate and remove Flash from their products by 2020, so by that time Flash and its security issues should be a thing of the past. Flash is currently ranked seventh on a list of most vulnerable products of all time.
"Browsers plan to remove Flash from default configs anyway, so open-sourcing Flash for archival reasons makes sense," Daniel Popa, a former seller of Flash components on the old ActiveDen market told Bleeping Computer in an email today.