Adobe Flash on Firefox/Linux EOL – Summary

We just ran a session [1] on what to do about the upcoming EOL for Firefox/Linux in 2017.  In short, we’re not planning to diverge from Mozilla’s direction.   The goal is to have Flash work today, and to become irrelevant over time.    Hopefully reaching the point of being irrelevant by 2017.  There are ways for you to help!  See below.

Distributing Firefox and Chrom/ium plugins now possible

A deal was reached with Adobe to distribute NPAPI and PPAPI Flash in Canonical Partners Repo!  (No more grabbing PPAPI from Chrome to get it to work in Chromium. No more “downloader” packages necessary for Firefox either.)  This should help make thin

How can you help make Flash go away?

On any browser, any platform (that has Flash of course)

Use less Flash.  See if you can do step 1.  If you can proceed to step 2, etc.

  1. Make Flash Click to Play.
  2. Disable Flash.
  3. Uninstall Flash.

To do these on Chrome, browse to chrome://plugins/,  On Firefox go to Add-ons -> Plugins.

If their is a site that doesn’t work without Flash, see if you can load their site on a mobile device.   Either way contact them and ask them nicely about removing the Flash content to get more hits, or for enabling at least the mobile site for non Flash users.

Run a Beta browser

Generally both Firefox and Chrome will push new web technologies in their Beta browser.  Many of them have the potential to help make Flash less relevant.   Help make them more stable by testing them!

https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/beta.html

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/

Run Firefox Nightly

Try running Firefox nightly.   We could always use more testers.  Specifically, we might get a more aggressive Mozilla when MSE is done being implemented (which should make youtube even more HTML5 video friendly).

Of course, there a bunch of other useful features Mozilla is working on to make browsing better.   Help would be welcome there too!  Report bugs on issues you have.

https://nightly.mozilla.org/

[2][3][4]

Other options considered.

  • We default to Chromium  – nope, let’s specifically NOT switch browsers over Flash. 
    • Outcome: That would send the completely wrong message.
  • We default to a compatible Flash alternative (Shumway, Gnash, Lightspark)
    • Outcome: That would just be a stop gap measure.  And we’ll always be playing catchup.
  • We add PPAPI support to Firefox ourselves / Hack it in
    • Outcome:  Non-starter.  Unless Mozilla adds it we don’t want the maintenance burden.

My Todo List

  • Investigate why Youtube Live videos sometimes don’t work without Flash. (Even in Chromium).
  • Figure out why my Nightly install doesn’t have working H264..
    UPDATE – because it’s not designed to yet!  See here – http://andreasgal.com/2014/10/14/openh264-now-in-firefox/
    If you have H264 working in Firefox it’s likely due to GStreamer support included in the Ubuntu (and many other distros) builds.  Upstream Gst1.0 support is waiting on infrastructure [3].

Hopefully I captured everything right.. but if I didn’t please let me know!

[1] http://summit.ubuntu.com/uos-1411/meeting/22354/adobe-flash-on-firefoxlinux-eol/
[2] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1083588 testers wanted, run Firefox nightly
[3] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=973274  Have RHEL 6.2 experience?  Might be useful there..
  – thread discussing how Firefox can be more aggressive against Flash.

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