The Adobe flash plugin is ending its days on the Linux platform. The buggy and insecure plugin has been the only way to watch Youtube for many years and now it is winding down. Adobe flash has been a vector for Malware infestations on Windows and Linux platforms. It is time that this was put aside, but only if there is a worthwhile alternative on Linux to the flash plugin. You may use Firefox to watch Youtube videos with HTML 5 support, but this does not seem to work with other browsers like Chromium. How long will Youtube keep the HTML 5 support for watching videos with Firefox or Iceweasel, that needs to be properly supported with all new browsers, but how would you use Google Adsense statistics and the many other websites that use flash for various effects and displaying video? If Adobe end support for flash on Linux absolutely, then the only option would be to use Gnash on Linux & UNIX to watch videos on sites such as Hulu and ABC Iview. Hulu does not offer HTML 5 like Youtube does at the moment, this is one way of watching videos, and disabling the flash plugin on any computer does stop ads from displaying that use flash to display animations or Video. When I last visited Hulu, I saw no option for HTML 5 and annoyingly the website is not available in Australia anyway, but it waited until I had clicked a video and it went to the video page with the flash error before telling me. You would think it would alert you of that fact before you had wasted your time trying to watch something.[caption id="" align="alignright" width="301" caption="Adobe flash on Linux no more?"][/caption]
I have installed the Gnash plugin on Debian and I tried it with Iceweasel 12, but it does not seem to work with Myspace or Vimeo. Youtube will only show a white square where the video is supposed to display, meaning that keeping an old copy of flash around will be necessary for now. I have had Gnash working on FreeBSD 8.1 using Firefox, but that plugin does not seem to work very well with a modern browser. That does not leave many options for Linux and UNIX users wanting to enjoy online video content that requires the flash plugin. Hopefully when the flash plugin is gone from Linux, that development of a proper alternative will accelerate and a free and open source plugin for Firefox and Chromium will be in a properly working state. It is very nice that the free and open-source Firefox web browser is available for Linux and UNIX, but enjoying the Internet fully does unfortunately require using the flashplugin-nonfree package for now. I am hoping that in the future we can still enjoy using open-source software. Ubuntu and Linux Mint are two distributions that are dominating the Linux community and hopefully in the future they will not push the users into a locked-down proprietary app-store system and remove the apt-repositories. Having to pay money for system updates like the Macintosh users have to would be a step backwards indeed. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for online browser-based games and video sharing websites. Myspace is a video sharing website, I have watched movie trailers on that site, but it needs Adobe flash to work. Removing the plugin for Linux will deny Linux users a significant slice of the entertainment on the Internet.