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Why Is Adobe Flash On Linux Still Broken? 963

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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  • Open Source Flash? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#24636423) Homepage

    So there is no version of Flash that is open source then?

    The disadvantage of not being able to play Flash is mostly on sites like YouTube. But some other sites are also using Flash for the interesting content.

    So the big question is - is it possible to implement a Flash player for Linux that's open source?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:45PM (#24636485)

    I used to have this happen to be on Ubuntu 8.04. I fixed it by downloading the official version of Flash from the Adobe website and replacing all of the versions of the .so on my computer. Wouldn't you know it, it worked again. I think the problem is that the version in Ubuntu 8.04 was hacked up to support PulseAudio. When I removed PulseAudio, suddenly audio didn't work anymore (in addition to, you know, the crashing all the time), but when I replaced the .so, it did again. So I recommend going to the Adobe website and getting the official version, because it does work.

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:46PM (#24636511)

    They just don't care because there are no real competitors to Flash. For most mainstream sites today, Flash is mandatory. (And no amount of boycott will change that.)

    I think the best way to fix this is by subversion and infiltration. Boycotts don't work. They haven't worked with Vista and won't work with Flash.

    The Linux community needs to stop thinking it can "boycott" things like protocols, and file formats and instead, work to make alternate applications that can work with those file formats and protocols to eat the other guy's lunch.

  • by LinuxInDallas ( 73952 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:49PM (#24636535)

    It's not just the "interesting" content unfortunately.

    There's a BBQ restaurant nearby that I occasionally order to-go from. If I was out of the house and wanted to get something on the way home I would pull their webpage up on my iPhone and order after looking at the online menu. Well guess what happened a couple months ago? They had their website redesigned with flash and provided no alternate webpage for those of us without flash players.

    The use of flash in this case provided nothing for the site other than some fancy animation when the page first opens. I emailed the admin but have had no luck getting access to the old site provided via the new main page :(

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:50PM (#24636553)
    Since switching to a 64-bit version of Ubuntu, I've been getting flashbacks to Win 3.1 and the trials and tribulations of installing printers and other drivers.

    far from the now mature process of download/click/wait/enjoy, the process involved getting just the right software version, installing it manually in the correct location, maybe hacking around with .INI files and then crossing your fingers that the mean-time-between-crashes was longer than the time it took to print your document.

    So it is with installing flash on FF3/U_x64. The process basically sucks and as said, provides a sufficiently bad user experience to turn normal people off Linux for years.

  • by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:50PM (#24636563)

    Flash doesn't work completely reliably on any platform I have tried. I find that Adobe Flash on 32bit Linux works about as well as the OS X version (meaning: it's usable but it does have occasional problems).

    The main problem people are having is that there is no 64bit Linux version of Flash, so all you can do is run it in some emulated environment.

  • by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:51PM (#24636581) Homepage Journal

    I've never been able to make any Flash site at all work with gnash (I'm currently using gnash 0.8.2). Though I'm using 64-bit Linux, so maybe that's the problem. Though I thought gnash was supposed to be written well enough that it wouldn't matter.

    I don't want to install Adobe's player. The source isn't available for public scrutiny and it's a major piece of infrastructure. AFAIK it's sending encrypted ICMP packets to Adobe telling them every piece of Flash I download or some such stupidly evil thing.

  • Re:Flash (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:52PM (#24636603)

    Agreed. Flash is like Aids as it infects the internet. I mean not only do we get terrible performance on the flash platform regardless of how good or bad the hardware is under it, but we also get a platform built for know-nothing coders and lazy developers who either don't know how or are too lazy to use javascript/css etc. Atleast with java, I would get decent performance with a core2duo. Hell, most of the flash (especially those trash internet games) plays like its running on a 300Mhz computer. And don't even get me started on flash video. Full screen mode that is completely software drawn? NO THANKS, I'd rather have my hardware accelerated avi video or dare I say it.... wmv?

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish DOT info AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:53PM (#24636609) Homepage

    I wouldn't run Flash even if they bothered to create a version that runs on my OS (64-bit Linux).

    I'm using Flash on 64-bit Linux right now. No problems with YouTube, although some sites appear to be using crap detection scripts that give me a "You must upgrade to Flash 9 to view this" when in fact I am running Flash 9.

    That being said, I'd be much happier if Flash were displaced by SVG or some other form of markup. Binary blobs suck.

  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:53PM (#24636627) Journal

    This is not so trivial as not being able to play YouTube videos. There are many commercial sites that use flash for almost their entire content.

    Along with that, I can tell you about a buddy of mine who works in the advertising industry: we were talking about Firefox and web sites and I mentioned to him about how much I hate flash and all the flashy crap (no pun intended) that distracts and pisses me off when I surf the web... so much so that I use Flashblock. His reply was, "yeah me and everyone I know in this industry try to get the programmers to put as much flashy flash stuff up on our different marketing web sites and advertising banners as possible... and loving it! We won't stop." (Paraphrased, but pretty damn close.)

    So you see, just like photo shop, the graphic arts and marketing industry are major players driving this piece of crap scourge (sorry for not letting my real feeling for flash content show... it wouldn't be appropriate here).

  • no reason to fix it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Orig_Club_Soda ( 983823 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @02:58PM (#24636679) Journal
    Linux users dont buy software. There is no revenue stream there. Plus, the user base is too small. Businesses are not charity, they aren't going to cater to a group that is more likely to pirate their goods than buy them. Sure, flash is free, but flash is used for distributing media and generating ad revenue. However, will linux users patronize advertisers? Its not likel bases on their other non-purchasing behavior.
  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vk2 ( 753291 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:03PM (#24636741) Journal
    Lucky you. I have a very different experience with flash on Ubuntu- ; After about 6 to 8 flash videos (Youtube.com, news websites etc) flash doesn't work anymore (gives me a blank white window) until I restart Firefox. The same cycle continues ad-infinitum. Since I fiddle with Oracle databases all the time on this machine - I got the brilliant idea to upgrade my machine to use 4G of RAM and now I cannot happily browse without restarting Firefox every now and then. Finally switched over to my backup desktop with 32 bit Ubuntu and I am back to normal again.
  • Re:Maybe it's you? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TerminaMorte ( 729622 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:03PM (#24636747) Homepage
    Ubuntu 8.04 and flash works just fine on x86 for me as well. Just install it from apt, don't get it from adobe.
  • iphone, no flash? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:12PM (#24636845) Homepage Journal
    I may be the only one here who finds this news. Although this is of course at least partially a symptom of my not caring about he iphone in general.

    However, as my wife wants the iphone, I have to ask how this problem works. I thought most systems used flash for youtube - which leads me to the question of how does the iphone use youtube if it doesn't use flash?
  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:20PM (#24636921) Journal

    Thank you for hitting the nail on the head. While everyone that uses Linux exclusively is saying "We need a well running flash player",we Windows users (only use Linux on the laptop for security reasons) will be happy to tell you that there ain't no such thing,certainly not from Adobe. If I build a machine and don't install flash on it,the browsers,be it Firefox,Kmeleon,Opera,IE,etc will be nice and stable. The second I install flash,well that is when the headaches begin. Random lockups,freezes,poor memory and CPU usage,etc. And as the above poster mentioned and I can attest to it isn't just when you are using flash either. It is just a buggy POS software.

    Unfortunately it looks like we are stuck with it for now, just like we were stuck with Real files being all over the net in the 90's. I just hope silverlight doesn't take off,because after feeling threatened by Vista hatred and the netbooks showing up out of left field with Linux running on them I'm betting they really feel the need to lock-in everyone to Windows with a new format. Lets face it,MSFT has never really gotten the web,but getting folks locked into Windows,that they understand. I'm betting if silverlight stomps flash and takes over web video that a year or so down the line they'll come out with a new version that "requires a subset of features only available on Windows Presentation Foundation,which is currently available only on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Please use a compatible Operating System to view this site." And that will be that.

    What we need is someone in the OSS community to come up with a completely free and open standard net video format to compete with flash/silverlight. It should run on all the major platforms(Windows,Linux,MacOSX,BSD) and have free editors,converters,etc,and finally have a better picture to size ratio than flash or silverlight. Then everyone could enjoy the Internet multimedia content,regardless of browser or OS. But asking for a non buggy flash,when the Windows version which is their bread and butter is buggy,is just pointless. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV

  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:25PM (#24637001)

    Flash is even broken on Windows and OSX

    Maybe not as broken as you find it on Linux, but when it comes to sucking performance for no reason or doing really stupid things like cropping video when flipping to full screen video it has some rather hugh problems. (Multi-Monitors is something Adobe thinks people don't use for watching Flash Video apparently, cause it looks very untested.)

    Sadly, Flash with Firefox is 10x worse than Flash with IE. After thinking I was going insane on a few new personal installs, I pulled techs to examine the Flash differences. Same sites, same Flash content, and inside Firefox it would bring the CPU to 100% and with IE not even scratch the CPU.

    These are also not lemur porn quality sites, these are mainstream sites that have Flash based Ads or even MSNBC which has not moved to Silverlight.

    In contrast, the new Silverlight is pretty, efficient and shiny in comparison on both Firefox and IE and even OS X. The NBC Olympic HD streaming it has been handling works better than even my Silverlight developer 'fans' expected, making Flash look problematic and more like an old dog.

  • Re:Flash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:30PM (#24637061)

    It's a threat to anybody that isn't able to use flash. And the fact that there aren't any good alternatives to their implementation is a pretty good reason to fear it as well.

    As a FreeBSD user the only way I get to see flash is if I use wine to run a Windows version of Firefox. Which means that a great number of sites like youtube don't run in any meaningful manner without a lot of extra effort.

    Just because I have a DSL line doesn't mean that I'm OK with sites that choose to waste a lot of it unnecessarily on overly complicated interfaces which ultimately just slow things down.

    Same goes for processing power, I don't care if it's lost revenue, if the only ads available are flash, I'm not going to be clicking. There's absolutely no reason why flash ads need to be used. We've got gifs and pngs which can do pretty much all of that without risk of crashing the browser.

  • Re:Flash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:39PM (#24637149) Journal

    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

    This isn't about the technology, not directly. There are two points to keep in mind here:

    First, Flash is proprietary. Making the Internet depend on proprietary technology is destroying the one thing that makes the Internet great -- anyone can connect, from anything.

    That is: The Internet thrives on open standards. Flash isn't open, and Silverlight is neither. (Yeah, I know about Moonlight -- how long till that gets hit with patents from Microsoft, though, if it starts to matter?)

    Second: Flash is its own little ecosystem. HTML really is very powerful -- done right, it's possible to both style it up very richly with CSS, and yet keep the HTML itself so clean that it's machine readable -- so much so that people start to build microformats [microformats.org] on top of it. Makes the job much easier for screenreaders, also, or for people who want to reskin the page (just load up a Greasemonkey script and add a stylesheet).

    Flash supports none of these things. There is some mention of accessibility, yes, but it's nowhere near where HTML is.

    HTML separates things into pages and sub-page anchors. It's possible to do this with Flash, but only by piggybacking on top of what HTML is already doing, and with a fair amount of Javascript.

    That is: I can bookmark this comment, if I need to. I can link to it from another page, directly. If Slashdot was written in Flash, would I be able to?

    I could go on. And on.

    The only legitimate use of Flash is to add functionality which isn't yet in a browser, and to select chunks of the page -- that is, YouTube isn't entirely Flash, just the player. But that should only be a holdover until the necessary things are implemented in the browser.

    Considering the level of citizen journalism that sites like YouTube and LiveLeak have enabled, all thanks to Flash...

    No, thanks to embedded video, which existed long before Flash, and is finally being done in a standard way with the HTML5 video tag. YouTube never needed Flash, and still doesn't.

  • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:41PM (#24637169) Journal

    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.

    I would be inclined to believe you if the Windows version of Flash didn't have a large amount of issues too. Which in theory, is supposed to be this platform that has all these "folks buying expensive site and server licenses".

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:45PM (#24637211)
    My hate is layered flash navigation. Like the Verizon Wireless web site. Try to log in from Linux... The login is under a flash banner. Turn off flash to log in, and you loose the navigation. So you go to a WinPC and log in wrong, and go to a "bad password, log in again" page, and save the link. Now it works in Linux. Asinine. And I bugged it with they several years ago...
  • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:49PM (#24637259)

    Now that usable websites can be created by anybody (mostly because the simplest HTML works best), people who have a career programming websites are a bit stuck.

    They can't really advertise being able to create the best types of website (basic HTML) because anyone can do that and most clients are getting along perfectly well with their grandson running the website. Why would anyone pay professionals for that?

    So the only reason you'd hire a webdesign professional, is if for some reason you wanted Flash content. Hence the lack of webdesigners using normal, sane techniques. Hence their lack of work. Hence the decrease in their workload as every site they design fails on the iphone or eee or freerunner or ubuntu desktop or flashblocked firefox.

    (all browsers should have FlashBlock, it's invaluable at saving your sanity)

    So yes, web designers will all use flash. That's because web designers aren't needed anymore to make websites.

  • Once Firefox 3.1 comes out and includes support for playback of Theora videos and Ogg audio... I hope there will be in influx of new content published (using the more simple tags) using Theora and Ogg. Hopefully that will cause some momentum and give Flash some competition. I realize that Flash is used for a lot more than just video and audio but it is the dominant thing Linux users care to use Flash for. Of course that isn't going to cause YouTube to switch everything over to Theora / Ogg but you have to start somewhere.
  • by brezel ( 890656 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @03:51PM (#24637285) Homepage

    not being the GP i still wanted to add myself to the list of linux users who buy (linux-) software:

    * quake3
    * f.a.k.k 2
    * quake4
    * rune
    * unreal tournament
    * rtcw
    * nwn1

    also i have bought and run the following with wine on linux:

    * nwn2
    * world of warcraft
    * vampire bloodlines
    * half-life 2
    * counterstrike

    i know those are all games, but all other software that i use is either free or open source and i have no need to buy any other software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:17PM (#24637527)
    While I agree that Flash should not be used, the reality is that Flash works for well over 90% of users and makes for what many people believe are engaging sites. (Myself, I hate that the "links" on them just show "about flash" for right-click instead of "open in new window"). It's really hard to get web designers to care about what is today an insignificant minority or people who can't use Flash in a stable fashion when it gives them the feature set that they want.
  • Re:Flash (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:20PM (#24637563) Journal
    You've proven the case for multimedia on the Web. Not Flash.

    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? A large unpadded table with Javascript updating the colors? I hope you like 320x240 at 2fps...

    Put simply, Flash solves a major shortcoming of the web in general - Namely, the lack of any really powerful client-side multimedia-oriented code execution in a more-or-less sandboxed environment. Until you can say how to do it better (and I'd love it if you would, since I don't claim to "like" Flash except as the best of a sorry lot).

    Therefore, we should all store and distribute .doc files instead of an open standard.

    No one has said we should put up with Flash because of all the good it has done; only that it fills an otherwise rather empty niche.
  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:36PM (#24637739)

    What are you talking about?
    Nobody ever tried to disguise the fact that Silverlight is from Microsoft. Moonlight is developed by Novel.

    And what is a proprietary lock on open source?

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

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @04:57PM (#24637925)

    I second that. Flash's native file format should be SVG. Didn't Adobe develop SVG as a direct concurrent to Macromedia Flash in the first place?
    A (on-the-fly?) converter would be a good idea too.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:04PM (#24637987)

    I don't know what went wrong for you all, but here, Flash 10 beta 20080702 runs nicely, except for some glitches on back areas in video playback, a hang every now and then (rare, so it's not very annoying), and because this is compiz-fusion and x86_64 on a crappy onboard graphics card, it's too slow in full screen (while xine/mplayer/vlc run fine).

  • Re:Flash (Score:1, Interesting)

    by kevmeister ( 979231 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:08PM (#24638017) Homepage

    I can watch YouTube on my FreeBSD system just fine. This is probably using the older Flash v7 plugin or, maybe the mplayerplug-in, but it does work just fine. There is also a gstreamer plugin for YouTube. Note that the Flash V7 does require nspluginwrapper to work with FireFox.

    These are not a solution to the Flash on Unix problem, but it is a solution if all you want is Youtube on FreeBSD.

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

    by felipekk ( 1007591 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:11PM (#24638061) Journal

    So it is Adobe's fault that Linux is not on the desktop yet?

    There is not enough usage of Linux to convince Adobe to create something stable.

    There is not enough stability of Flash to convince people to switch to Linux.

  • flash leaks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by opencity ( 582224 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @05:38PM (#24638353) Homepage

    Somewhat off topic, or in an overlapping corner of the topic -

    I don't run Linux anymore, only so many hours in the day, but I do a lot of Actionscript widget coding for $$$. Flash has some memory leaks that range from annoying to deal breaker. I honestly like AS 3 as I don't know Java well enough to write one man dev team internet apps and AS lets me do that. but ... If Adobe doesn't solve garbage collection and soon AJAX or (new buzzword) starts looking a lot better for low end desktop / web application development.

    Hey I'll sign up to an SVG / Javascript solution if one presents itself but I've been saying that for a while.

  • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @06:32PM (#24638845) Homepage

    I know lots of people will smile when reading this comment but I actually report issues to Adobe, especially alpha/beta testing Flash 10. They are NOT very communicative but I see some stuff I reported has been fixed. I am also on PowerPC (still) which MS overlords decided to drop support as early as Silverlight 2.

    Another issue with closed source/large company software is, they can't include "crash reporter" so they don't actually know who crashes doing what. It is problem on OS X too but at least we send them to Apple, I don't know what Apple does with them though. For that part, also thank to paranoids and conspiracy theorists. They can obviously have "crash dump" code attached and next day, you would see "Adobe spies on their Linux users!!!" type of story.

    Anyway, if you know a specific site triggering crash, you better report to Adobe. Linux is _very_ important to them in light of recent developments. If they didn't care, you wouldn't see Flash 10 beta shipped for Linux.

    For "Real Networks" and "Adobe", realistic companies not spoiled like Microsoft, Linux support is passport to "devices" and somehow OSX/future iPhone. Don't think they don't care.

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

    by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @06:39PM (#24638909) Homepage

    Adobe at least tries so hard to support multiple platforms, even planning to ship Flash Lite 3 for free to Symbian/WinMo whatever while Microsoft would sit and cry if somehow all operating systems have Silverlight support.

    They (MS) dropped PowerPC support as early as release 2 while Adobe enabled (finally!) multi core/SMP support on Flash 10 plugin OS X.

    Moonlight? Yes, we see how Mono helps windows developers to ship for Linux. ;)

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2008 @07:08PM (#24639135)

    I think Silverlight 2 will be huge.

    I'm an old-school programmer with a CS background. I've programmed embedded systems, MVS, Unix and Windows using machine code, assembly languages, imperative languages, object-oriented languages and functional languages. And my absolute all-time favorite programming environment is C# in Visual Studio. C# is a really nice language, the BCL (the .Net class library) is huge (and for the most part very well designed) and Visual Studio hides all the usual programming cruft. (And for the 0.01% of the time that I actually need to care about the cruft, Visual Studio lets me tinker with it.)

    Silverlight 2 is a slimmed-down .Net. It has WPF (the new UI framework, also in Silverlight 1) + the BCL + C# (or whatever other .Net language you like). It is a joy to program and if the cross platform support (Windows/Mac/Linux) works as promised I don't see how it can fail. It is very, very nice. Just one example of its loveliness: WPF is, without a doubt, the best effort to-date in separating presentation and content. It is much, much better than HTML+CSS.

    Silverlight's only competitor, Flash, is relatively difficult to develop for because it is a thing in itself. On the other hand, there are already millions of C# programmers, of whom most will learn WPF and have no trouble developing Silverlight apps.

    Indeed, I don't see how Silverlight 2 can fail.

  • Re:Flash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @08:04PM (#24639553) Homepage Journal

    The thing is, despite all the flaws in Adobe's flash player, it is generally fast and things load really quickly. Java on the other hand though more open and better, takes forever to get things loaded and navigation in Java has always seemed to be laggy.

    The loading speed of the Java plugin is being addressed with the upcoming update 10, which actually contains many improvements. The navigation issues are usually a result of a badly written UI, which unfortunately is all too easy to do with AWT and Swing.

    The new JavaFX takes much of the complexity out of writing a well behaved UI. It will also have better multimedia playback for video content like what YouTube uses Flash for.

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

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @09:32PM (#24640069) Homepage

    Well, a verbal contract (especially a highly publicized one) might actually stand up in a lawsuit.

    There is the chance that the only purpose of the patent is to prevent somebody else from patenting the same idea, and then suing Microsoft.

    As far as I can tell, Microsoft have acted in remarkably good faith in terms of Silverlight. They know that their draconian tactics of old aren't going to work anymore.

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

    by The Original Yama ( 454111 ) <lists.sridhar@dh ... an.com minus cat> on Sunday August 17, 2008 @09:49PM (#24640179) Homepage

    Adopt Silverlight!

    If by that you mean that we should be investigating alternatives, then absolutely.

    Before Adobe swallowed Macromedia, they were assisting the development of SVG as an alternative to Flash. Perhaps we need to return to this idea and place renewed emphasis on SVG. I'm sure that SVG combined with other open technologies (JavaScript, Ogg Speex/Vorbis/Theora, etc.) could prove to be a viable alternative if the right effort was put in.

    The biggest stumbling blocks I see to this are the dearth of easy authoring tools and the lack of a strong install base on the client side.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Sunday August 17, 2008 @10:03PM (#24640283) Homepage
    You bring up an interesting point.  It makes me wonder what would  happen if Youtube DID change formats, to some open standard.  Maybe make high resolution video only available on that platform.

    They are probably the sole player on the net with even the possibility of breaking the Flash stranglehold.
  • Re:Flash sucks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DECS ( 891519 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @12:40AM (#24641235) Homepage Journal

    SVG is just for vector graphics of course, but there are plenty of ways to present video via JavaScript without using a plugin monster like Flash or Silverlight. That's what Apple does, and there's no shortage of web users unable to watch the iPhone and Leopard ads on Apple's site.

    Using the presentation of web video as a killer app for browser middleware is absurdly ridiculous.

    So let's take the third application of Flash/Silverlight beyond animated ads and framing video: rich apps. Apple is also proving that this can be done just as well using a JavaScript framework with MobileMe. Yes, Apple had problems getting their servers up to serve the few million upgrading .Mac users and an an influx of new iPhone MM subscribers, but the apps work pretty well, and they outclass anything I've seen built in Flash/Flex/AIR.

    Apple isn't alone in proving that Flash/Silverlight is unnecessary, but the company is also actively working to kill both by making neither work on the iPhone. Linux users should congratulate Apple's efforts to scrape this unnecessary middleware from the web, as web apps designed to run in JavaScript will also run in Linux (and JavaScript can be optimized by the FOSS community openly without patent threats from Adobe/Microsoft).

    You don't even have to like Apple's hardware to appreciate what its doing for open source.

    Symbiotic: What Apple Does for Open Source [roughlydrafted.com]

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

    by HitoGuy ( 1324613 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @12:52AM (#24641305)
    Apple is rather so-so for open source, but there's a lot more companies doing more than Apple is likely to do. And, naturally, if you're like RMS, (Which I hope not, RMS, while his goals are good, strikes me as overzealous.) Apple doesn't behave like it supports free (libre) software.

    I'd be happier with Apple if not for exploiting code that uses the overly permissive BSD license. I like the GPL because I can rest assured that anyone legitimate can use my code, but not suddenly close it and make a tidy profit off my work.

    Though, I could be wrong, Mac OS X uses BASH (Though I doubt many Mac users ever actually use it.), which I believe, and correct me if I am wrong on this, is actually GPL. But I haven't heard of any contributions from Apple to BASH... again, I could be seriously flawed in my thinking here.
  • Re:What problems? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @01:03AM (#24641363) Journal

    As for Youtube, why would a Linux user want to use their flash-based player? Install latest version of clive, mplayer and xclip, and run this script after selecting or copying Youtube URL

    This is the biggest problem with FLV. You need a website-specific script just to FIND the videos in question. Certainly, there are several apps that can handle YouTube, but 95% of the FLV videos I would ever care to watch are embedded on other, smaller websites like, eg. GorillaMask.

    IMHO, we need some kind of SWF plug-in, but not the monsterous, slow bloated beast that is GNASH. An SWF plug-in stripped down to absolutely nothing, that runs when it encounters an embed=file.swf, then it's only task is to look for the media player strings, find the pointer to the FLV filename, and launch MPlayer with that URL (of the actual FLV file).

    With a tiny fraction as much development effort as something like GNASH, and practically no system resources, every FLV video out there becomes easily accessible on Linux, FreeBSD, ReactOS, BeOS, on x86, PPC, ARM, MIPS, et al.

    IMHO, Adobe screwed this up horribly... With H.264 support, they could have leap-frogged Microsoft's WMV, and become the ubiquitous format for web playback. However, they, instead, are working AGAINST 3rd parties that also included H.264/MP4, by not embedding the file directly, and forcing websites to include it, hidden behind an SWF "player" that simple obfusticates the actual file, and makes it impossible for other apps to get at, on the off chance they DON'T have the latest version of Flash installed (it'll be a few years before everyone upgrades to v9+). But instead of that, they force websites to provide TWO different web pages if they want compatibility... One for Flash, one for every other video player in the world. Unfortunately, of course, the easiest way out is to just create the Flash page, and screw everybody else over, which is what most sites do, YouTube included. Google Video was smart enough to included a download link, but they are the exceptions, and a direct link to the Flash file would be just as good.

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

    by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <ed@membled.com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:07AM (#24642725) Homepage

    Firstly, C# version 3 (supported by current Mono, and also by that alternative Mono implementation from Microsoft) is much more functional in style, if you want it to be. IIRC it has let-expressions (perhaps as part of LINQ) and lambdas, and it might even have algebraic data types (I need to check that).

    Secondly, F# is a pretty sweet functional language that compiles to CLR bytecode, letting you do anything you can do in C#.

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

    by Jaseoldboss ( 650728 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @08:01AM (#24643285) Homepage Journal
    I'd be more inclined to try it out if it didn't send your unique system identifier* to all the web sites you visit. I've got used to appearing to be a new visitor to every site I go to by deleting cookies and removing flash shared objects** which are used as surrogate cookies. I'm not willing to give it up for another snazzy plugin.

    Doubtless there will be a way to prevent it, especially in Moonlight as it's open source.
    * See my journal
    ** Put the following code in a batch file in your "all users" startup folder:

    RMDIR "%APPDATA%\Macromedia" /S /Q

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

    by higuita ( 129722 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @10:36AM (#24644879) Homepage

    > On the other hand, there are already millions of C# programmers, of whom most will learn WPF and have no trouble developing Silverlight apps.

    there are already millions of flash developers today, no need to wait for tomorrow...

    >Indeed, I don't see how Silverlight 2 can fail.

    its from MS... not even MS use it in their sites...
    MS have many products that are a totally failure (when they hit, they hit it big), just remember the MS BOB!!

    to work in the web, it must be cross platform, specially today with linux and mac (and appliances) in the rise, light (remember java) and give something new

    i'm not even referring that people must have it installed, as MS will probably enforce its usage via some security update (think in the windows search)

  • by geekyMD ( 812672 ) on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:35AM (#24645949)

    And yet, while I have never ever had any trouble whatsoever from insertion of windows CD to complete functional install (hardware failures aside).
    I still have yet to successfully install a linux distro without at least a week's worth of reading FAQ's, tweaking, re-installations, and overall total frustration, starting with Redhat 6 in '99 right up to Gutsy a few months ago.

    The philosohpy behind linux doesn't seem to be capable of building a unified solution which will work in all cases because linux is as much an ideology as it is an engineering triumph, and all too often ideology trumps both functionality and utility. Orthodoxy doth not a bridge make. Thankfully Ubuntu seems to understand this model more and more, but nobody really has embraced the idea that to be truely functional Linux must abandon dogma for practicality.

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.