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Why Is Adobe Flash On Linux Still Broken? 963

Posted by kdawson
from the where-there's-a-will dept.
mwilliamson writes "As I sit reading my morning paper online I still cannot view the embedded videos due to auto-detection of my Flash player not working. One in every three or four YouTube videos crashes the browser. I remember sometime back reading that Adobe has a very small development team (possibly only one) working on the Linux port of Flash. It has occurred to me that Flash on Linux is the one major entry barrier controlling acceptance of Linux as a viable desktop operating system. No matter how stably, smoothly, efficiently, and correctly Linux runs on a machine, the public will continue to view it as second-rate if Flash keeps crashing. This is the worst example of being tied down and bound by a crappy 3rd-party product over which no Linux distribution has any control. GNASH is nice, but it just isn't there 100%. I really do have to suspect Adobe's motivation for keeping Flash on Linux in such a deplorable state."
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Why Is Adobe Flash On Linux Still Broken?

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  • Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:38PM (#24636407)

    Flash (and Silverlight, et al) are a threat to the Internet generally. I wouldn't run Flash even if they bothered to create a version that runs on my OS (64-bit Linux).

    The more of use that don't use Flash, the better.

  • by calc (1463) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:44PM (#24636463)

    Flash 9.0.124.0 crashes all the time on my wife's Windows XP system running Firefox as well. Most of the time it exhibits as not being able to play sound. So it definitely isn't limited to Linux. Flash is just crap.

  • by wimmi (263136) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:46PM (#24636499)

    Flash is a great channel to provide commercial products (video, ads, DRM'ed shit).
    It's no threat at all when Flash isn't abused as website critical table of contents.

    To comment on the OP: have you already tried the version 10 release candidate? It's supposed to support new audio API's and hardware acceleration.

  • Probably... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quadelirus (694946) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:50PM (#24636557)
    "I really do have to suspect Adobe's motivation for keeping Flash on Linux in such a deplorable state."

    This is an irksome statement. I doubt Adobe has an interest in making Linux look bad. Isn't there a saying, "never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."

    Probably what would work better here is, "never ascribe to malice what can be explained by business sense." Linux is 4%ish of the desktop market so it would make sense that 4% (or less, but certainly not more) of Adobe flash development go to linux porting. 4% of their development just isn't going to make Flash as good as it is on other platforms, and I doubt they are receiving a lot of money from linux distros to change this.

    Yeah it sucks if you use linux but no need to point a finger at Adobe. Its simple dollars and cents (or sense).
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:50PM (#24636561) Homepage Journal

    So it's true - if the OP and the subsequent comments are representative of a real problem: Pr0n is what drives the success of a net platform!

    Elephant, meet room.

  • by Max_Abernethy (750192) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:50PM (#24636567) Homepage
    Adobe cares about the folks buying expensive site and server licenses. Those guys don't really care about you because there aren't enough of ya to have much impact on their website's success, so why should adobe invest in your platform, besides the bare minimum quality implementation as a hedge in case desktop linux becomes more important some day. There's no economic incentive.
  • what does it say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:51PM (#24636583) Journal

    What does it say if Adobe only has 1 employee (if that) working on the linux Flash port and he's doing a better job than GNASH and open source development?

    If you really feel so strongly about Flash's importance, maybe you should help turn GNASH into a viable solution.

  • That's funny... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:57PM (#24636671) Homepage

    No matter how stably, smoothly, efficiently, and correctly Linux runs on a machine, the public will continue to view it as second-rate if Flash keeps crashing.

    I have the same problem with Flash on Windows. What does that mean to the public?

  • Re:Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:57PM (#24636677) Homepage Journal

    I don't disagree that flash is bad for the web, but in order to convince developers not to use it, there needs to be a valid alternative. If youtube didn't use flash for video, what would they use instead? Animated gifs? Expecting a site like youtube to just not serve video because there isn't a free software way to do what they want to do is unreasonable.

    We really need at least some form of video integrated into the browser, and it looks like we might have it in firefox soon [slashdot.org], (better many years too late than never). Then, we can at least give sites the option of serving video to browsers that support theora but not flash.

  • by HomerJ (11142) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @01:58PM (#24636691)

    There's various bug reports about this with regards to Pulseaudio and Flash--as well as numerous othat applications--in all major distributions that have packaged Pulseaudio by default. I'm not going to link all the bug reports in a slashdot comment, but you can search for them yourself.

    The story and summary seems to be calling out Adobe on this issue, when it's not really their fault. If PA didn't have as many compatibility issues with alsa applications as it has, Flash would work fine.

    It's unfair to call out Adobe on this issue. It expects a working alsa implementation, and when it has to use Pluseaudio's version of the virtual device, it crashes. Adobe doesn't have any control over the faultily implementation. So if there's a story that's about Flash crashing fine, but let's put the blame where it belongs here.

  • by jddj (1085169) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:00PM (#24636709) Journal

    ..frankly Adobe (and other major software vendors) is one of the main barriers to adoption of Linux as a desktop platform.

    I'm on Mac OS Leopard and the only thing it'd take to make me move to Linux is to be able to get the Adobe, Microsoft and other suites of professional applications on Linux. That's na' ga' happen. Wouldn't be prudent for Adobe, Microsoft, et al.

    And Gdammit (beta), don't tell me that GIMP is just as good as Photoshop. Just don't. It's not, just not, just so very NOT. And there are a million other reasons that the other Adobe tools rock so thoroughly more than the best creative tools you can find on Linux.

    So Flash - a product from a giant software vendor that you need serious power-tools to create well (yes, I'm quite aware that the SWF spec is open) - is broken on Linux, AND you can't get the power-tools to create it. I'll shed the tiny tears for Flash (which sucks, in most cases), and the big tears for Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, Fireworks (new version is gonna rock), Lightwave 3D, MS Excel, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro and a hundred other tools that are must-haves within their disciplines.

  • by twitter (104583) * on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:01PM (#24636727) Homepage Journal

    Of course it's possible to implement Flash with free software, but that won't solve the problem. Free software is a powerful enough development method to overcome CSS, the Windows API, SMB, and DX. What task do you think is out of reach? The problem then is one of a legal framework that makes it impossible to distribute free software that works with broken media like DVDs and websites that use Flash. There are technical solutions but legal solutions are better. Software patents and the DMCA must go.

    There are several technical solutions to broken media. One is for individuals to ignore bad laws and just get DeCSS. A better one is to code around YouTube like Clive does. You can also simply avoid non free media, after all the Internet Archive, Wikipedia and Creative Commons have multiple lifetimes worth of excellent entertainment and education. Most of these send a clear message that Flash, Silverlight and other non free media is broken. Competing technology and it's users are going to win.

    Legal solutions are better. We would not have problems with broken media if people were allowed to share their solutions. Laws that prohibit people from sharing free software are always wrong and should never have passed. Modern copyright law is at odds with its purpose and must be reformed.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:04PM (#24636751) Homepage
    Forget the admin -- he/she probably got paid for doing the Flash work and is glad to have the bucks. What you need to do, is walk in and ask to talk to the owner. Tell him/her his website design is causing him to lose business because you can no longer order dinner on your way home. This causes you to patronize other shops. As a small business owner myself, I can tell you that that sort of feedback has a 99.99% chance of getting serious attention. There's always an outlier here or there of course.
  • OH RLY (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:15PM (#24636877) Homepage

    Have some tcpdump or ngrep logs to show such behavior? Or maybe your tinfoil hat is too tight.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:17PM (#24636883) Journal

    Flash (and Silverlight, et al) are a threat to the Internet generally.

    BS. Flash is a great way to deliver rich content on a website. It's only a threat if you think the Internet should stay in the same configuration it was in in 1983, when a 1200 baud connection was considered fast and if you wanted porn you had to print it out and hold it two feet in front of you.

    Considering the level of citizen journalism that sites like YouTube and LiveLeak have enabled, all thanks to Flash, I think you need to seriously rethink your stance against that platform.

  • by dbialac (320955) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:18PM (#24636893)
    Probably the very low user penetration. It has occurred to me that Flash on Linux is the one major entry barrier controlling acceptance of Linux as a viable desktop operating system. I've been hearing that argument for years. I remember back in 1999 hearing how Linux would be ready for the desktop in 2001. Years have passed since then and it still isn't. The underlining problem is that Linux and its components create a system written by developers for developers, and it always will be. But the thing is, there's nothing wrong with that. The fun of linux is the fun of being able to tweak everything, and lets face it simple systems like Mac and Windows just aren't as fun in that way.
  • by tokul (682258) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:18PM (#24636905)

    Linux users dont buy software. There is no revenue stream there.

    Windows users don't buy Adobe Flash player. There is no revenue stream there.

    Who is pirating more? Windows or Linux users? Have you seen some illegal Linux installation? Businesses are more likely to "pirate" Linux by violating license of OSS products.

    I am Linux user and I do buy software that runs on Linux.

  • by Bogtha (906264) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:21PM (#24636933)

    What does it say if Adobe only has 1 employee (if that) working on the linux Flash port and he's doing a better job than GNASH and open source development?

    Do you think that employee started from scratch? The reason why that "1 employee" is outperforming GNASH is because all he had to do was add Linux support to an existing codebase, while GNASH has to write everything from scratch.

  • Re:OH RLY (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) <eric-slash@omnif ... s.org minus city> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:22PM (#24636953) Homepage Journal

    Any software where they won't show me the source code and/or let me compile it myself with my own tools and have it work has something to hide. In Flash's case, I'll grant that what it's likely hiding is umpteen million security vulnerabilities,. But it could just as easily be hiding code to spy on me or censor things because the software decides I don't have a copyright license or I'm living in China or something.

    And I don't think, given the general history of software, that I'm being particularly paranoid here.

  • by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:23PM (#24636965)

    Are you so inept at fixing a pc that you think wiping the entire OS is some sort of monumental task? Is troubleshooting for 3 hours better than wiping your OS clean in 30 minutes? (you have your home directory on a separate partition, right?)

    Thank you, finally someone with some sense. It's really really easy to fuck up a Linux installation if you are a twiddler, like say, add the wrong repository to your update manager and then have some beta packages installed whose version numbers are hard-coded into each other and disappear after a few hours. What fun.

    Wiping windows is a pain but a necessity -everybody seems to have accepted that.

    Wiping Linux is a breeze but you have to know how to properly do it to save time -fewer people seem to have gotten that far.

    Separate Home partition ftw!

  • Re:Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:23PM (#24636981)

    You've proven the case for multimedia on the Web. Not Flash.

    Think of the level of citizen journalism, all the articles and ideas, that Microsoft Word has enabled. Therefore, we should all store and distribute .doc files instead of an open standard.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:24PM (#24636985)

    I agree with this - but it's important not to go off on some zealotry-driven rant (this being Slashdot) that's full of generalizations. Keep it simple, and explain the exact situation: There is no way to use the restaurant's new website on an iPhone, at all; while it used to work perfectly fine (make sure they realize this second part - something is broken that used to work well).

    I've seen and heard plenty of zealotry-driven rants about the web, usually regarding Flash or Javascript. In the real world people don't care about your opinions regarding "good" or "evil" technologies. What they DO care about is something that isn't working in a practical manner.

    A burger place may listen politely to a vegetarian, but they're not going to change much to accommodate that person. When a repeat customer is taking their business elsewhere, they're a bit more willing to make changes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:26PM (#24637005)

    Yes, most of the issues with flash arise simply because it's stupidly running in-process. If a child process flash instance running an advert crashes - oh noes, I don't see an advert. If an in-process flash instance crashes, there goes my browser session, and maybe 20 tabs. It's quite infuriating.

    You shouldn't _need_ nspluginwrapper - plugins should simply not be in-process in this day and age. Unix (and Linux) have interprocess isolation for a reason. Efficiency is a red herring - with a multi-GHz multi-core CPU, it just doesn't matter that much.

    So please, please, please, make the flash plugin run in a child process (like IIRC the latest Sun Java 7 applets nowadays do).

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:30PM (#24637063)

    There is two versions of Flash decoding libraries, one called Gnash and another called Swfdec. I still wonder why they don't work together, but hey, they are open source and both has kinda different visions how to deal with Flash proprietary stuff.

    While the Slashdot story opined that "Flash on Linux is the one major entry barrier controlling acceptance of Linux as a viable desktop operating system", I think you've unintentionally hit on the real reason Linux isn't taken seriously in the desktop arena by the masses. How many times have we seen this exact scenario played out on Linux (e.g. in window managers, browsers, digital music, video, etc.)?

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:30PM (#24637067) Journal
    No, I'd say my own personal boycott of Vista is working quite nicely as its resulted in me not running Vista. I guess it works in the same way that I'm 'boycotting' Ferrari and a dumpster full of sour cream.
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:36PM (#24637123) Homepage

    I've never encountered a restaurant that would take to-go orders via the web and not via voice.

    Handy if you have a menu. It's difficult to call a restaurant and have them read you the menu over the phone.

  • so in other words (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:39PM (#24637145)

    your answer is no. the more you spout off the crazier you sound. have you personally read every line of code for every app on your system?

  • Re:Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xSauronx (608805) <xsauronxdamnit.gmail@com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#24637165)

    More posts that should be put in a distro-specific forum, instead of the slashdot front page. Im all for helping people, but some need to help themselves.

    I never had any serious, regular problem, in the last year and a half, with Debian Etch or Any Ubuntu release since 6.10 (when i first used it) with flash. The oddball crash happens, but its nothing normal or that I can re-create (in epiphany browser or firefox)

    With that, I link to "How to ask questions the smart way" or "christ, can you search first, then ask in the apporopriate place?" :

    Clickity [linuxmafia.com]

    Please understand I have nothing again helping anyone....but people should help themselves first. The flashplayer performance is horrible, but the OP lists no specifics to help him with his problem. Theres no distro name, no kernel or browser type or version given, no way anyone can help him.

    The post is just a bitch and moan. This is slashdot, news for nerds, etc. There have been useful, interesting "Ask Slashdot" posts, but this is not one of them.

  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:42PM (#24637177) Homepage

    Poor Flash is the one major barrier? Pah - there are a number of more pressing issues, like poor wireless support...

    Hardware problems are annoying, but they are fundamentally different from the problem of "critical" software being broken or unavailable. A computer manufacturer that wants to ship computers with Linux pre-loaded, instead of Windows, can pick Linux-friendly hardware to work around the hardware problems. There is no work-around for Flash being crap.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NFN_NLN (633283) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:43PM (#24637187)

    Flash excels at vector graphics. If you have animated or computer generated graphics as opposed to raw video than the files are incredibly compact.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:55PM (#24637337)

    Depends, is one trying to be productive or is one a hobbyist? I find that most of the time when I spend the time to troubleshoot the problem, I end up with some ideas as to how to avoid the problem the next time around, or how to fix it in minimal time when it does occur.

    But in terms of productivity, unless it's a recurring problem, it probably is more productive to just reinstall the OS in those cases.

    Well, that's assuming that one doesn't compile everything from scratch and lack backups of the packages from which to quickly reinstall them.

  • Re:Flash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:56PM (#24637349)

    I wouldn't say the internet thrives on open standards. I'd say that closed source, proprietary technologies cause the internet to thrive and progress, and when the open standards people catch up to what most people have been doing for 5 years, it's usually a good thing.

    Nearly all the advances that have happened on the internet over the last 15 years have been started as proprietary technology, while the technologies that began life open have wallowed and gone virtually nowhere. It's only when the proprietary technologies become open that things become better.

  • by johndierks (784521) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:58PM (#24637361)
    I'm a flash developer and I'll be the first to admit that the format has some major drawbacks.

    The parent is correct though, there are no viable alternatives to the format. Nothing I know of provides the kinds of experience that flash is capable is. (see this site [gettheglass.com]) Advertising drives the consumer side of the web and advertisers aren't going to move to less interactive or more static mediums. It also doesn't hurt that flash has a 99% penetration.

    If there was a better platform with good penetration, while maintaining the ability to build rich interactivity, I'd be the first to jump.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:19PM (#24637545)

    I think it means that he only has to write code to make the Windows version work on Linux and that the Gnash devs have to write code to make, well all of it.

    I'd also suspect that the one guy being paid to work on it as his job is probably spending more time on it than several unpaid Gnash developers as well.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:35PM (#24637723) Homepage

    Okay, so other than Flash (or any other proprietary browser plug in such as Quicktime or Real), how do you propose to get that multimedia on the web?

    I prefer the browser plug-in myself. Flash is a pretty shitty medium for video.

    Really the only reason quite a few places use flash is because its easier to hide the source of the video within a flash environment (to stop those pesky kids from saving the video locally). Flash is a sort of poor man's DRM. Good thing clive and other flash downloaders exist.

  • by psyke83 (1346317) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:36PM (#24637735)

    The original poster of this article is experiencing bugs with his or her distribution, *not* merely with Flash. There are several issues at work here.

    a) Flash 10 RC is the first version to support "windowless mode" flash content that several sites use. Unfortunately, there is a bug in Firefox that causes "windowless mode" content to crash. It is not a bug caused by Adobe Flash; un fact, the newest version of swfdec (which also added support for "windowless mode" content) also causes Firefox to crash. This fix is due for release in Firefox 3.0.2 and a workaround is available for older releases already. See: https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/239182 [launchpad.net]

    b) Ubuntu Hardy was the first release to integrate PulseAudio, but its default configuration can cause a lot of trouble for users. PulseAudio provides ALSA plugins that enable plain ALSA applications to work correctly with PulseAudio; these plugins are supposed to be enabled by default. Some (buggy) applications do not work correctly using these plugins, including Flash 9 and Audacity. Hardy was released without these plugin enabled, causing many audio mixing problems for users. See: https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/198453 [launchpad.net]

    c) It appears the original poster is using the libflashsupport library, which is a workaround to enable PulseAudio support in Flash without the need for the ALSA plugins mentioned in point (b) to be enabled. There is a bug in Flash when using the libflashsupport API; closing and opening new flash streams will result in a crash (such as navigating from one Youtube page to another). See: https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/192888 [launchpad.net]

    d) Flash 10 has fixed its ALSA implementation, allowing it to work correctly with the PulseAudio ALSA plugins as mentioned in point (b) - this means that the (buggy) libflashsupport library is now redundant.

    Note that all the above bugs contain links to the upstream issues when applicable. For those too lazy to follow the individual bugs, I have posted a guide to configure PulseAudio (and Flash 10) correctly for Ubuntu users, complete with testing packages. See: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=789578 [ubuntuforums.org]

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:52PM (#24637885) Homepage

    Then notion that flash is a barrier to entry on Linux is just mindless outdated FUD.

    It's like someone found a repeatedly refuted claim on COLA and decided to turn it into a Slashdot story.

    Yeah... this "exact scenario" plays out often. 1998 called. It wants it's FUD back.

  • by Bashae (1250564) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:57PM (#24637927)

    Since when is 10% of the users of the worldwide web "insignificant"?

    And besides, even when flash works smoothly, it's still a design abuse. It's difficult to use the content automatically, and it's a closed, proprietary application.

  • Re:Flash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:00PM (#24637957)

    Did you seriously just suggest replacing Flash with Quicktime?

    Please tell me I'm reading this wrong.

    Otherwise, you are a retard.

    So we should all replace one crappy proprietary format with another crappy proprietary format which has an OS company as it's backer?

    Hell, why not just use Silverlight instead then.

    Because Apple or MS would NEVER do any type of proprietary switcheroo once they get the large majority of the userbase.....

    oh wait...

  • by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:01PM (#24637969) Homepage

    ease up on the guy, he's probably had way to many years on Windows.

    That's also the case, but I'm actually also a hobbyist and know my way around Linux pretty well. In fact, many time I'm in a hurry and don't even bother loading X: I do whatever I need in console mode and am done with it.

    It just so happens that nowadays I work full time and go to night college, consequently having only a few hours per weekend to play around in my home box, a much different scenario than when I started figuring out Debian, back in 1997. Very pragmatic consequence: I prefer using those few hours doing useful or fun stuff rather than fixing obscure annoyances. Thus, if I can solve something in one hour by wiping sda1 and reinstalling the OS, my actual data and custom compiled software being well secured in sda3, sda4, a shelf of DVD-Rs and Amazon S3, that's exactly what I'll do.

    Simply put, sometimes doing things "the right way" just isn't worth the effort.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:08PM (#24638033) Homepage Journal

    You mean via mplayer or other similar plugins? Sure, that's an option, but as far as I understand, mplayer infringes on a number of patents, and so it's not strictly legal in all jurisdictions. I just checked, and Ogg theora works fine in firefox on my system (thanks to vlc, mplayer, and totem plugins; I have no idea which one is actually rendering the video). But how many windows firefox installs also have a theora plugin? (Not a rhetorical question, I'd actually be interested in an answer.) Having some form of video support in the mainline browser code and not as an optional add-on is very important if you expect major sites to use something other than flash for video, and that's probably not going to happen with mpeg until all the relevant patents expire.

    There's also the issue of being able to start watching the video before the whole thing downloads (probably not an issue with mpeg, but I don't know how well the plugins handle streaming), and the ability for the video to adapt to available bandwidth, something that mpeg does not do.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:32PM (#24638291)
    But at least we have access to the Moonlight source code to fix bugs when needed.
  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:35PM (#24638323) Homepage

    Well, Microsoft officially endorse the open-source client, so I'd imagine that they have at least a somewhat vested interest in making sure that it works and remains compatible with the official windows/mac clients.

    It's really a shame that people haven't embraced Silverlight, as it really does have the potential to be a lot better than Flash. Unfortunately, the Open-source community treated it with outright hostility, and it looks unlikely to catch us.

    Therefore, instead of getting a slightly-more-open and slightly-more-compatible standard than Flash that also addresses many of Flash's performance issue, we're left with.....Flash.

    Unless the Open Source community has a legitimate alternative to Silverlight or Flash ready, I wouldn't go parading around and criticizing either.

  • by Kalriath (849904) * on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:18PM (#24638727)

    It's the same logic you guys use when talking about Windows, so why can't someone else misuse a clearly fallacious twist of logic?

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:53PM (#24639021)

    let's see:

    - doesn't do half the shit flash does
    - no video/sound
    - doesn't work right, implementation issues
    - no designers or tools

    great alternative, you smelly virgins.

    anyone waiting for svg to superceed flash/silverlight should just save a step and commit suicide immediately

  • Re:Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ilgaz (86384) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:55PM (#24639037) Homepage

    I tell you the issue with Quicktime and my personal favourite (really!) Real Player.

    Flash player plugin is a single click install with a joke like 1.2 MB size, it lives inside browser, nothing added to startup.

    Quicktime and Real missed the opportunity because of their size and old policies (Real, especially).

    There is no way you can explain to Apple fans that adding a taskbar icon on Windows, bundling additional software with UI tricks (iTunes) are reasons of "death sentence" on Windows scene. I am sure there are similar thinking people at Apple themselves. Would you want rc.flash.startup in your /etc everytime you install Flash? It is same for them.

    I see Real doing lots of things to get the download smaller with less user irritation but they still can't understand a basic trick: bare minimum framework+plugin. That is what Adobe does, even on recent Adobe Air.

    HTML5 guys pushing ogg format really, really doesn't make sense. Media have gave up VP3 ages ago and you know as people having lawyers dedicated to copyright, they aren't that bugged about patents. Big media is arguing whether they should keep on MPEG4 or convert to H264. It seems new fashion tiny laptops saved MPEG4 fate ;)

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darthdavid (835069) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @06:20PM (#24639215) Homepage Journal

    The reason why it won't ever supersede Flash or Silverlight is because it's not supposed to supersede Flash or Silverlight. SVG is designed for still vector images and animation on the order of animated gif (IE, short and no sound). Nothing else.

    This means that both the parent and the grandparent are being dumb. SVG isn't meant to do what flash does and so the GP is ascribing abilities to it which it will never have and P is criticizing it for not doing things which it was never meant to do. Obligatory Car Analogy: GP suggests using a pickup truck to move a shipping trailer on a long-haul delivery. P says that pickup trucks suck because they can't pull shipping trailers very well and then calls everyone who drives one a smelly virgin.

    As for online video, why the fuck is every sonofabitch out there making their own fucking flash client for video? Video should be distributed in a proper file none of this "Compress->Re-encode/resample for flash->stream to my computer" bullshit...

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @06:31PM (#24639319) Homepage

    Well, Microsoft officially endorse the open-source client, so I'd imagine that they have at least a somewhat vested interest in making sure that it works and remains compatible with the official windows/mac clients.

    It's really a shame that people haven't embraced Silverlight, as it really does have the potential to be a lot better than Flash. Unfortunately, the Open-source community treated it with outright hostility, and it looks unlikely to catch us.

    Long story short:
    If you're trying to gain market share you'll get in bed with pretty much anyone for backing.
    If you're trying to keep market share you'll sabotage any real compatbility and interoperability.

    Microsoft is not trusted because they have a deeply vested interest in making sure that the only place things really work is on the Windows platform. So we help Microsoft kill flash and when Silverlight has momentum enough, they won't need us anymore. Then you have another Microsoft-controlled technology that ships by default with Windows tying people to the Windows platform, while the OSS community tries to pull off another half-assed dotnet clone which doesn't really work well. Adobe's support for Linux sucks, but replacing it with Microsoft won't be any better in the long run.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mpeg4codec (581587) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @06:46PM (#24639425) Homepage

    Microsoft owns several patents related to Silverlight, covering both implementation and concepts. Microsoft promises that it will not sue the Moonlight team over any of these patents. However, a promise is not a legal agreement.

    How much faith do you have in Microsoft keeping its promises?

  • Re:Flash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jacquesm (154384) <j@wwPASCAL.com minus language> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @07:09PM (#24639581) Homepage

    I don't know who modded you insightful but you're full of it.

    The last 15 years includes HTML, XML and a host of other protocols/formats that started out about as open as it can possibly get and *THEY* are what drove the enormous growth of the internet.

  • by dotgain (630123) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @07:34PM (#24639733) Homepage Journal
    Sibling is correct in some ways. I've been able to write in C, VB, Perl for several years now, but I have to admit I'm just not a developer. Many projects need to learn that they will recieve bugfixes / criticisms from people who can't just open a terminal and fix them - and not for lack of trying. In fact some of the best criticisms in my experience come from your lay-people who understand the apps from a different level. At this point, most forums flam the hell out of the critic, burying him in technobabble and elitism, making him wish he hadn't bothered.

    I'll tell you how I'm helping FOSS - Advocacy.

    Over the last 12 years I've been in and out of various small to medium companies, tearing out expensive proprietary systems leaving Linux-based OSS solutions in my wake. No - I can't fix the DNS vulnerability that we just had, and I'll probably never be instrumental in getting Flash working on Linux. What I can do is teach the masses what's available to them from the FOSS world in a professional and non-rabid manner (I'm looking at you, Twitter), and get them using and talking about it.

    I've even (in an uncommon fit of diplomacy) attempted to bring the Gentoo crowd together and try and start acting like adults, concentrate effort on the distribution rather than all the factionism - but like trying to figure out why my Sparc20 would hang when I loaded the fibre-channel module - some things are simply beyond me.

    What do you think happens to all these non-dev / non-tech people who encounter the "submit-a-diff-or-GTFO" mentality? Do they actually spend the rest of their days learning to code? No - they bugger off back where they came from - Proprietary Closed-Source Software, probably never to return. Thanks pal, that's all my work down the drain, thanks to some smug elitist twit that doesn't realise that - as good a developer he is - he is only one part of the puzzle.

    Without sane and reasoned advocates, FOSS will wind up being excellent software (only by virtue of defeating their critics) used only by those that develop it. I've a sneaking suspicion that's exactly what some devs want.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @08:11PM (#24639933)

    Correction. Microsoft endorses Silverlight on exactly one distro, SUSE, making distribution hard. Flash does not have this limitation.
    Microsoft has a history of defining "standards" or using standards then creating it's own private customizations. Remember RTF? It's supposed to be a standard, but the way Microsoft uses it, there are many hooks into their platform. Remember Kerberos? Microsoft used it, then created their own extensions. Flash, for all it's faults, works (at least on Ubuntu).

    As for alternatives, you can start with Gnash. If you limit yourself to what Gnash produces (which honestly is a lot more than most apps need), you're okay. What really need to happen is that Gnash needs a validator so you can quickly check if a given flash file conforms.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @08:39PM (#24640111) Homepage Journal

    Why not simply provide an anchor (link) to an industry standard mpeg file that I can download and view?

    If you mean, in addition to the flash video, I think the answer is pretty obvious: because they don't want their users downloading and saving videos. Yes, this is annoying, and no, they aren't going to stop everyone, but their goal isn't to stop everyone, it's to stop most people.

    If you mean instead of flash, then there are several objections: a) mpeg is patent encumbered, and not everyone is going to be able to view it without downloading a (potentially illegal in some jurisdictions) mpeg viewer program, b) downloading and then viewing in an external program (if that's what you're implying) isn't much fun when you want to watch a lot of videos. Suppose you wrote a web browser that didn't do jpeg, but you're free to download the jpegs and view them in gimp if you like. Do you suppose web developers are going to bother to support that browser? c) mpeg wasn't designed with streaming in mind. I don't see any reason why a decent mpeg player would need to download the whole file before it starts playing, but mpeg is not capable of adapting its bandwidth use on the fly. And d) if you use a video plugin like mplayer or vlc, there's no guarantee that it will have a consistent, usable interface, or that that interface can be extended.

    I'm no fan of flash, but I think the open source community (and the mozilla developers in particular) have dropped the ball on video support. Maybe if it was in a better state, youtube would still have chosen flash so they can keep their users from downloading the videos. But, the way I see it, they didn't have any really great alternatives to flash at the time the site was first created.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @09:10PM (#24640341) Journal

    It might be easy to detect browser support, but it also means doubling the number of video files to store

    Only if you do it wrong.

    Both Flash and Safari's implementation of the video tag support h.264 video. At the very worst, you have to re-encapsulate it -- which is fast enough that it's likely possible to stream.

    You're also ignoring the fact that YouTube, at least, have already done this to support things like the iPhone.

  • Re:Flash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @09:28PM (#24640481)

    Fuck you and your 20k emails for 2 lines of text. I like small and compact.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bersl2 (689221) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:11PM (#24640727) Journal

    You know who's behind W3C, do you?
    It's a committee of companies. And Microsoft is one of the big fishes in there. (Primarily responsible for blockings and intrigues.)

    Why, yes, I did know that. :| But it's not one single company, which is the important point.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:15PM (#24640749)

    Actually, you proved my point.

    1) Email is older than 5 years, and it was largely made popular by proprietary corporate systems, then became popular over the internet.

    2) SSH began life as freeware, but was quickly proprietarized by the creator. Later, open source versions appeared.

    3) BitTorrent was never a standard of any kind and still isn't, BitTorrent corporation is proprietary.

    4) HTML was largely made popular by Netscape and Microsoft, both of whome flouted standards for years creating proprietary tags.

  • Re:C&C: generals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d3ac0n (715594) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:17PM (#24640757)

    Keep in mind though, that using a no CD crack is pretty much a requirement for running many games in Windows too. All convenience issues aside, SecuROM and other DRM can actually break the games' ability to run in many systems CD or not. To say nothing of various Windows issues you may have due to the DRM. So after you buy the game, you frequently need either a No-CD cracked .exe, or you just pirate the damn thing and leave the unopened game on your shelf.

    In regards to Flash, I've never actually had an issue with it. I run Ubuntu 8.04 and the non-free binary version of Flash and Firefox has no issues whatsoever with YouTube or any Flash site. Indeed, I've not had a problem with flash since Ubuntu 5.10 or thereabouts. Now, Shockwave, that's another issue. It doesn't work AT ALL. I'd like to see a fix for that sometime this millenium.

  • by Draek (916851) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:14PM (#24641095)

    advertisers aren't going to move to less interactive or more static mediums

    Remind me again, how did Google get to be the advertising giant it is today?

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sterling Christensen (694675) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:21PM (#24641139)

    Sure they're both controlled be a single company. But there is a critical difference.

    For Flash Player to be lousy on alternative platforms hurt Flash adoption a little, but not fatally so.

    If Silverlight were in any way difficult for Moonlight to be compatible with, it would:
    1) hurt Silverlight adoption a little, but not fatally so
    2) work in Microsoft's favor by reinforcing the monopoly position of Windows. "Linux sucks - blah blah and Silverlight animations look weird on it".

    I prefer apathy to a troubling conflict of interest. At least Adobe doesn't gain anything from problems with the Linux version of Flash Player.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HitoGuy (1324613) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:40PM (#24641241)
    The patent threats are irrelevant to Moonlight, especially since Microsoft is actually "helping" Moonlight.

    And, to be honest, I think this article is overestimating how badly Flash runs on Linux. I'm happily running Flash 10 Beta with no problems, thank you.
  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lerc (71477) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @11:54PM (#24641321)

    The problem here is that even if SVG is not intended to fill the niche of flash, It has been presented as such by many many people.

    The original poster was presenting an opinion that is hardly rare. I have encountered a fair few open source zealots that refuse to run flash and claim that if you need that functionality, use gnash(built without mp3 support of course) or SVG. Both of which are far from ideal.

    This does present a real problem. There is very little drive for an open spec alternative to flash. I have done some work in this area, and you would not believe the number of times I've heard "Just use SVG"

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @01:44AM (#24641865) Homepage

    But Flash suck on OS X aswell, a couple of pages with flash ads can easily take all my processor power, no matter how much there is, which is just unacceptable.

    What we need is to get rid of flash since it sucks balls, who needs it?

    1) Flash are mostly used for ads, who wants ads? Especially if they move, makes sound, sits on top of other things, take lots of CPU power, memory and heats up your machine.

    2) Flash are sometimes used to design complete webpages, which suck because they have to be navigated in a non-standard way, design goes over function, they take forever to load and I can't open lots of screenshots in multiple tabs...

    3) Finally flash are used for videos, which I guess some people who don't have a clue like because that way they don't have to install any more codecs. But personally that's (youtube, gametrailers, and such) the only thing stopping me from removing flash completely, so I so much want this to change. Safari can handle video directly in the browser and I hope we see more of that, won't happen until the suckers with IE get the functionallity + couple of years extra I guess though :/
    Even old embedded quicktime days was better.

  • Re:C&C: generals (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadOPCode (1187615) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:05AM (#24642237)

    Keep in mind though, that using a no CD crack is pretty much a requirement for running many games in Windows too. All convenience issues aside, SecuROM and other DRM can actually break the games' ability to run in many systems CD or not. To say nothing of various Windows issues you may have due to the DRM. So after you buy the game, you frequently need either a No-CD cracked .exe, or you just pirate the damn thing and leave the unopened game on your shelf.

    I'd like to also point out that DRM and all other copy protections in history has been historically known to break for legal owners and lock them out of the game. I've seen a couple of times where the copy protection locks out under Windows with the upgrade of Windows. If a game manufacture wants to maintain copyrights and copy protection on a game than they need to continue selling and be held responsible for making their product functional while they maintain these things.
    I wonder how long Lucas Arts would maintain copyrights and/or continue to not sell DoTT if we made them responsible to the consumers they so dearly love f-ing over.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uhlume (597871) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:42AM (#24642415) Homepage

    As for online video, why the fuck is every sonofabitch out there making their own fucking flash client for video? Video should be distributed in a proper file none of this "Compress->Re-encode/resample for flash->stream to my computer" bullshit...

    Because it Just Works, and Flash is ubiquitous whether you like or not. According to the stats on the commercial site I maintain, upwards of 96% of visitors have some FLV-capable version Flash installed. That means I can deploy video without forcing some large percentage of my users to install yet another player/plugin/codec just to see it. That just isn't true of any other comparable streaming video technology.

  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by segedunum (883035) on Monday August 18, 2008 @03:47AM (#24642433)

    As for online video, why the fuck is every sonofabitch out there making their own fucking flash client for video? Video should be distributed in a proper file none of this "Compress->Re-encode/resample for flash->stream to my computer" bullshit...

    Simple. Because there's no easy way of distributing video over the web, that's why. With Windows Media and Real you have to account for the version or plugin people are running, and it's a pain when you can just have the video appear within your browser quite easily. We have Ogg Vorbis and HTML 5, but there is little chance of Microsoft adopting that for obvious reasons. Bizarrely, even Nokia are against it, so we'll be stuck with Flash as a distribution medium as Microsoft and others fanny about trying to make their technology the standard...............again.

  • by Bashae (1250564) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:33AM (#24643121)

    If you don't care, why the rant?

    If you thought you were preaching to a zealot, I'm afraid you got the wrong guy. I'm actually in the minority of Slashdot visitors who thinks proprietary, closed applications are okay. The thing is, for something like the worldwide web, when you have a default set of protocols and technologies that is inherently open (html, js, css, etc.) it's best to use those, rather than a format that cannot be crawled, from which data cannot be easily extracted, that requires an additional plug-in to run on top of your browser and that will trap your content to the whims of (ugh) Adobe.

    Like nick.ian.k wrote, it's just pointless. And it degrades the quality of the web. That's why you should care. But you don't have to if you don't want to ;)

  • by Burpmaster (598437) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:47AM (#24643207)

    Because that logic isn't a fallacy when applied to Windows. Unlike popular Open Source software, Windows isn't really improving with time.

    Try this: Go back to Windows 2000 for a while, and as you use it, make a list of all its faults. Then install Vista, and start crossing the fixed issues off your list. Despite seven years of development, I doubt you'll have much to cross off.

    Now repeat the experiment with Ubuntu 4.10 and 8.04. The difference is huge even though that represents half as much development time as Microsoft had between Windows 2000 and Vista.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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