The 'distribution3' link was never intended for public use. It was hidden behind the FPD license application form, but despite a warning in the license email that the link is confidential, people keep publishing it. The binaries are intended for enterprise IT administrators and OEMs who have the expertise to use them properly. Adobe are simply updating the application page so that customers who haven't been granted a distribution license can't access the binaries, and license holders need to sign in so their identity can be checked. The general public have always been required to use the negotiated installer at https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and nothing about that will change. The only people whose access will be 'impaired' are those who are downloading without permission.
Thank you for responding Dave. I was unaware of those licence constraints imposed by Adobe. It does not help the user when the approved method of updating from the authorised web page https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ has been modified so that the stub binary installer downloaded from that web page no longer works with PCs using SSE-only (i.e. pre-SSE2) compatible x86 processors e.g. AMD Athlon XP 3000+. The full offline installer is compatible with SSE-only x86 processors.
It is galling to be prevented from using a binary which is compatible with SSE processors when there is now no alternative. It might be that it was not Adobe's intention to create this difficulty for users of SSE-only x86 processors. If your 'legitimate' stub binary installer was to once again become compatible with SSE-only x86 processors, I would be delighted to use it.
It would be good to see Adobe relax its policy in this instance. Surely the more copies of Flash reader that are deployed, the better for Adobe and its Flash/Animator author customers?
Flash reader works much better than HTML5 alternatives, in particular seeming to run very well on older less powerful PCs.
BTW, my name is Pugson. I guess that I struck the wrong key when entering my name while registering with the Adobe community. You must think that I am another kind of animal.