[svlug] Flash woes.

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Sep 26 00:53:57 PDT 2015

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> If you have to deal with some legacy video site, or
> corporate application, or want to play a Flash game,
> you can always keep a separate browser for it.
> I use Firefox, with no Flash, as my regular browser,
> but I keep a copy of Google Chrome around for sites
> that need some vintage functionality.  It has Flash
> built in.  Another option is an MSIE VM:
>   https://dev.modern.ie/tools/vms/linux/

I meant to circle back to this matter, to give Michael Robinson and
people in what I'm _guessing_ is his position (since he never said what
specific problem he seeks to solve) some help.  So, yeah, Google
includes in the proprietary Chrome browser a binary-only Flash
interpreter, Pepper Flash.

I came across some rather amazing standarised instructions for
installing Google Chrome, extracting the Pepper Flash extension from it
and storing it separately, deleting all the rest of Google Chrome,
installing the open source Chromium browser, and loading Pepper Flash
into it.  The mind boggles, but for the utterly determined, that would
be one way to do it.  (Don't have a link, but those who care can find

Or use the proprietary Google Chrome browser, or MSIE in a virtual
machine, as you say.  {shrug}

For the rest, flv and swf is dying (v7, v9, and whatever), so isn't
going to matter except to diehards, completists, and various special
needs for long.[1]  The experiementally inclined might see how the Mozilla
Shumway extension is coming along in the meantime:
https://wiki.mozilla.org/Shumway  However, personally I'd think having
Flash rendered natively as HTML5 in the core of my Web browser is an
even bigger threat to security and performance than doing it in an XPI.

For SVLUG mailing list participants willing to think about this further
than 'Wah!  My Flash only poker games don't work because the proprietary
Adobe Flash extension I've been relying on is obsolete and unmaintained'
can read about the obstacles to anyone _else_ other than Adobe Systems 
supporting Flash here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash#Format
Essentially, it's always been horribly engineered, a moving target, and
its specs have been available only to NDA signers, if that.

BTW, I'm proud to say, my wife Deirdre Saoirse Moen had a key role in
killing Flash.  When she was working at Apple, she wrote a long and
detailed analysis of the problems Flash support cause, and Steve Jobs 
used her analysis as his primary source for his famouse 2010 open letter
'Thoughts on Flash' that explained why Apple would be immediately giving
it the heave-ho:

[1] For perspective, Adobe isn't supporting _any_ mobile platform for
Flash, which is another way of saying 'This isn't serious.  Ignore it.'

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