Flash may disable itself but I'll always be able to view Flash swf files

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The Flash plugin is being forcefull killed off by Adobe now, years after Apple first banned the plugin from safari and started the trend. Adobe's newly distributed plugin will come with a time-limit baked in and eventually stop working. This is another reason I'm glad I don't upgrade my software to the same versions across all physical machines.

I have a 2006 era computer with 2010 era software. A 2010 era computer with 2013 era software. A 2013 era computer with 2016 era software. All but the last is well outside of official software support. But I'll always be able to easily play Flash media if I want to because I can just load it up on my 2010 era machine. And on that machine the Flash plugin creates /proc/ temp files on disk so you can directly interact with the swf files. The old machine's HTTPS cypher set and TLS protocol might not be acceptable to a modern fancy website but I can always use a $modern era machine to grab the files w/curl-or-wget if I'm not loading from disk.

This also applies to things like GNU Radio. I can still run any GR 3.6, 3.7, or 3.8 flowgraph I find online. No more loading up a flowgraph to see a bunch of missing blocks. Instead of having to try to port things each generation I just leave them in-place, working, and then wait a couple years longer than most people to adopt the newest version of things on an entirely new machine. Like the xkcd comic says, it pays to live in the past.

Obviously this means security holes that aren't patched. I can't backport everything or provide static compiled deps for all of userspace. But for the most security problematic programs, like browsers, the kernel, x.org, it's usually possible. But these days security is more about attacks through your browser's VM or router's interface than your actual OS's programs.

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