Feature #5363

Flash support

Added by Tails 2013-07-18 07:39:39 . Updated 2018-08-25 10:30:13 .

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Free (as in Free Speech) Flash players now do a reasonably good job at playing the simplest Flash files one can found online, i.e. movies. Such software is listed and compared on the Debian wiki. One of those should be shipped in Tails.

We have a dedicated ticket for YouTube (easier YouTube (Feature #5476)), so this one is about… the rest.

Note that shipping a HTML5-ready browser did improve the situation for YouTube, but not much for other video websites.

Next things to do:

  • Gnash on Wheezy reads all current YouTube videos, we should test:
    • how does it work on "older" hardware?
    • how does it work on other websites?
  • bring and organize some test reports from the forum into here
  • Video DownloadHelper works pretty well
  • test Easy YouTube Video Downloader
  • JDownloader was suggested by an user
  • test the tools that replace the Flash video with embedded WebM and/or display them with external player
  • Greasemonkey + Viewtube (homepage script
    • GPL, actively maintained, supports more than just YouTube
    • install xul-ext-greasemonkey package
    • set greasemonkey.version to an arbitrary large value in FF config
    • set extensions.torbutton.no_tor_plugins to false
    • should now test with the totem-mozilla package installed, which may not support the video formats broadcasted by YouTube, and might not be robust enough; mozilla-plugin-vlc (15MB compressed .deb files) might be safer bet.
  • If we decide to go the Gnash way, we’ll need to research the privacy/anonymity issues it may have.



Does BetterPrivacy support Gnash / swfdec / whatever?

This is what’s said about BetterPrivacy in the Torbutton FAQ:

Better Privacy is an excellent extension that protects you from cookies used by Flash applications, which often persist forever and are not clearable via normal Firefox "Private Data" clearing. Flash and all other plugins are disabled by Torbutton by default, but if you are interested in privacy, you may want this extension to allow you to inspect and automatically clear your Flash cookies for your Non-Tor usage.

Discarded options

youtube-dl, clive et al.: work pretty well, but not as user-friendly as a UI integrated into the web browser. get-flash-videos from sid works nicely in Tails; its -p option plays the video in Totem. 400kB with dependencies. But… it is command-line only. Might be better than nothing as a temporary solution. Note that cclive is the one, in this category, that will be nicely maintained in stable updates during the Wheezy lifetime.

Youtube Moteado: not updated since mid-2010.

Youtube without Flash Auto (GitHub: currently broken, looking for a maintainer


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #5476: Easier access to YouTube Resolved 2013-09-06


#1 Updated by intrigeri 2014-10-31 17:32:58

  • Description updated
  • Priority changed from Normal to Low

YouTube works fine in Tails nowadays, so Flash support is more rarely asked than it used to be.

#2 Updated by Anonymous 2018-08-19 10:42:12

We have since youtube-dl. No other Flash support. Although to my knowledge only quite oldish websites still use Flash. And webcam stream sites.

#3 Updated by intrigeri 2018-08-19 12:23:11

I think we should now either reject this once for all, or — if help desk tells us it’s a hot topic for them — do something.

#4 Updated by sajolida 2018-08-25 10:30:13

  • Status changed from Confirmed to Rejected

Flash is dead. It’s not required by any video website nowadays and very few websites still use it.

Let’s reject this.