Flash Isn’t Dead Yet

Flash Isn’t Dead Yet

Adobe Flash Is like a creepy uncle.

Sure, it may give us the creeps while annoying us to no end. Hell, it may even be a danger to those around it….but it also gives us access to cool stuff. Anyone claiming Flash is no longer needed is not taking media consumption into account.

Your local news

Admittedly, I still (occasionally) depress myself by watching the local news. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with the concept; rather, it’s the delivery that frustrates me. For most folks, the local news is provided by cable, satellite or perhaps OTA (over the air) antenna.

Then there are cord cutters like myself who sadly, live in valley making anything OTA a complete impossibility. So on those super rare occasions (such as snow days, checking for road conditions) that I do watch the news, I prefer to do so from my PC. I then open up my Firefox browser and guess what – it requires Flash. No HTML5 video alternatives like with YouTube. Nope, it’s Flash or go home.

Google Play Video

Do you enjoy watching videos purchased through Google Play? Would you like to watch them on something besides your tablet, smartphone or TV streaming device – a Linux PC, perhaps? You’ll need to use Flash. Google, the company that made a big stink about how Flash needs to die…requires it for their video content.

GooglePlay
Chrome on left, Firefox on Right – “Keep Summer safe…from Flash”

Despite my GooglePlay video purchases being rather small when compared to my local video library, the fact remains that my viewing of said purchases on my Linux box means I have to have Flash at the ready.

Hulu

Next up, we have Hulu. Surely, with the company trying to turn things around, Hulu has done away with its Flash requirement, right? Wrong. No matter your subscription level with Hulu, you will absolutely need to have Flash available in order to watch videos using Hulu.

hulu
Chrome on left, Firefox on Right

Please forgive the lousy screen capture. Despite my displeasure with Flash, the video playback actually did not have any tearing…unlike my screenshot above.

Netflix

Next to Hulu, Netflix is the single most watched video service in my home. Despite this, I must have….wait, it’s not asking for Flash. It’s asking me to install Silverlight! Even though it’s well known that Chrome-using Linux enthusiasts can indeed watch Netflix using HTML5 video, under Firefox I’m being prompted to install a dead technology that Microsoft wrote off a long time ago. Best part is their help page – holy browser useragent, Batman!

netflix
Chrome on left, Firefox on Right

So with Netflix, I guess the good news is that you’re not required to use Flash! Sigh…

Amazon

Like Netflix, Amazon video also expects you to have a browser that supports it like Chrome. I am happy to report however, that it did not make any mention of Silverlight.

amazon
Chrome on left, Firefox on Right

It’s all about Chrome

I suspect as time goes on, we’ll see Hulu and Google Play following along with Netflix and Amazon, thus, tossing Flash aside for good. Regardless, the fact remains with all of these video services (including your local news) that using Chrome is the best way forward.

So why not simply install Flash into Firefox or another browser? Because of DRM and the fact that Chrome is the most reliable media browser for Linux right now. The sad fact of the matter is Chrome is the goto browser for streaming video media. So unless you’re thinking of running your own Kodi or Plex server, your options on the Linux desktop are limited to Chrome at this point.

What say you? Do you bother with these services? If so, how do you watch them? Maybe instead, you said “forget it” and run your own Kodi or Plex server? Whatever it may be, hit the comments and tell me how you watch your favorite TV shows and movies.

Matt Hartley
Freedom Penguin’s founder & talking head – Matt has over a decade working with Linux desktops, his operating system experience consists of both Windows and Linux operating platforms. In addition to writing articles on Linux and open source technology for Datamation.com and OpenLogic.com/wazi, Matt also once served as a co-host for a popular Linux-centric podcast.

Matt has written about various software titles, such as Moodle, Joomla, WordPress, openCRX, Alfresco, Liferay and more. He also has additional Linux experience working with Debian based distributions, openSUSE, CentOS, and Arch Linux.

14 thoughts on “Flash Isn’t Dead Yet”

  1. I can’t understand your point. How is HTML5 vs Flash a Chrome vs FIrefox issue? I don’t use Firefox but I can’t watch local news using Chrome – In Canada, the US, or Britain – because all the sites I check use Flash.

    Not only do all the TV networks use Flash, my British electricity utility requires me to use flash just to see my utility bill!

    Well, I’m not installing a technology that even Adobe says is a security concern to watch TV, or read my electricity bill. btw, I was sure Microsoft had abandoned Silverlight, too, but just yesterday I came across an MS page that wanted me to use Silverlight (I don’t recall which page, but it must have been related to Active Directory, since that was yesterday’s problem…)

    • I should have elaborated on my browser choices. Basically they were plot devices. With and without flash example. I may use Chromium in the future to compare flash / no flash for future articles. The bulk of the article was about flash as a media requirement.  But as I went along it turns out that it’s slowly becoming a chrome requirement for media services like Netflix, etc. Appreciate the feedback.

      • Ah. That’s what I thought your configuration must be, because you were using Chrome for services that definitely use flash, but it wasn’t made clear. I can’t believe website developers are still putting browser checks onto pages… I don’t use Netscape often but it really should be able to handle all of those with Flash installed.

  2. I refuse to use Chrome because of privacy issues. There are Chrome based options. Chromium, Slimjet and I believe the new browser is also Chrome based. I may have missed some others.

  3. Most of my local news sites and Bloomberg require flash, as do some music services I use – Flash will not go anywhere until sites reject it and reconfigure for HTML5 or better. For Adobe and some of the sites that implement it, collecting and reselling Flash cookie user data is a profit center and nobody is technologically embarrassed to keep milking an old but reliable cash cow.

  4. The most stupid Flash news ive heard this week is that Scratch which was based on Squeak/Smalltalk which was free/open source
    will now be using…. Flash, a proprietary and dying dinosaur.

    Im used to seeing stupid things in tech, of people shooting themselves in the foot but this is still such monumental stupidity that it deserves an award.

  5. Since I don’t really watch content on my PC its a non-issue for me, and when its time for Hulu and Netflix….i do that from the comfort of my Laz-Y-Boy chair and the 55 inch HDTV. So I have no issues whatsoever watching anything. As for Flash, I’m in total agreement,…just like Windows XP? it’s time to lay it to rest. And put it out to pasture. No sense in letting the decaying corpse of this technology linger on anymore. I’m just sayin’ LoL!

  6. Flash should have been strangled at birth. But AFAIR (My desktop motherboard gave up on me last month, and I haven’t been able to replace it yet) I use Chromium for multimedia (YT, Netflix, and so on) in application mode. FF for the otherwise demanding pages and QupZilla for the rest.

  7. Actually, I addressed this in the article above. 🙂

    Quote: “Please forgive the lousy screen capture. Despite my displeasure with Flash, the video playback actually *did not* have any tearing…unlike my screenshot above.”
    The tearing happened because I captured the image mid-motion.

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