Going Flash Free (or Flash reduced Diet #4)

February 20, 2010 at 18:31 | Posted in Life, Privacy/Security, thoughts | Comments Off on Going Flash Free (or Flash reduced Diet #4)
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It finally happened today. I finally just got totally fed up with the draconian and proprietary nature of Flash on the web. The result of this is that I have decided to go completely Flash free.
Now, those that have been following my “Flash reduced diet” Line of posts, will know that I have been using Gnash instead of Flash for a while now.
A recent turn of events that has driven this decision is that many websites now REQUIRE Flash 10 or above, and even though Gnash is quite compatible with flash (up to Flash version 8 ) these websites refuse to talk to me. No Backwards compatibility. Also using Gnash I have been able to watch and learn that many, many, websites will use flash just to put up an image. The only reason to do this is that the websites wants to set a Flash super cookie and circumvent users browser privacy settings. As I mentioned before Gnash as a wonderful option to send all the LSO’s (super cookies) straight to /dev/null/ (a special black hole from whence nothing returns for those not familiar with *nix systems).
With the advent of HTML 5, which my browser supports there is no longer any NEED for Flash. (unless a website needs to try and circumvent users privacy). I therefore have decided to vote with my virtual feet. If a website requires Flash to a point that it will not function. Then they can forget about my viewership. I refuse to be forced to use a piece of proprietary software that goes against my beliefs (I firmly believe in the four fundamental freedoms as enumerated by the FSF), and most likely is there to remove my privacy, and in many cases my security (Flash has had several major security holes over the years).
Even though Gnash is trying valiantly to make a free (as in speech) version of Flash (thanks Guys) I feel the time has come for people to start abandoning Flash in droves. Insist on your right to privacy, security and freedom! Insist that websites start using HTML 5 and the free/open Vorbis/Thoera codecs (that means you YouTube). Insist that websites stop trying to set super cookies that ignore the browsers settings. Insist that you shouldn’t need the latest version of some proprietary software that wont work on many older machines just to view a simple web page that should work on all machines.
How do you do this? Uninstall Flash and anything that supports Flash (sorry Gnash guys), and when you hit a page that refuses to work with your browser either write the page owner and complain or lie and say your and iPhone.
That is enough for now. I’ll let you all know how my now Flash Free life goes.

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Flash Reduced Diet #2

June 22, 2009 at 15:32 | Posted in Tech | 1 Comment
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About a month ago I started my Flash Reduced diet. I must say, it’s a month on, and I am really enjoying the current state of affairs. Gnash although not perfect, renders what it does render well. As I mentioned in my previous post gives a lot more control to the user, including automatically saving video. I enjoy knowing that all LSO’s are going straight to /dev/null/ now (for the non Linux users in the crowd that is a black hole from which nothing returns). I’ve yet to play with the whitelist/Blacklist. I definitely would recommend Gnash to anyone looking for a Flash alternative or just looking to have a Flash reduced diet.

I am still pondering going totally Flash Free.. but as that would break a lot of sites I’m not (quite) there yet.

Flash reduced diet.

May 26, 2009 at 17:14 | Posted in Life | 3 Comments
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I realized today that I no longer required Flash for video conferencing (had a friend that wasn’t on Skype until recently). And thus I now had the chance to loose a huge proprietary blob from my nice open source system. So out goes Adobe Flash 10 and in goes Gnash.

Today is the first day of living with a Flash reduced diet on my main delaptop (laptop that sits on my desk all day). I have learnt from using my OLPC XO as my main mobile computer that life can go on just fine sans Flash. However after removing Flash from my main delaptop I find myself wondering how much my productivity will increase now that I will be less distracted by cute videos and the like. I’m not talking about ads they don’t exist on my systems thanks to things like “Adblock Plus“. I’m talking about all the “check out this cool vid..” and “Isn’t this cute (Flash animation)” that us netizens are bombarded with daily.

I can already feel myself being more focused.

Other benefits of installing Gnash. I have a LOT more control over privacy, and a lot more control over the Flash content that I do choose to watch.

I understand that a Flash reduced diet isn’t for everyone. It breaks a lot of the stuff on the web because Flash is way over used. That, however, is one of the reasons I rail against it. I hate being railroaded into using some proprietary thing just because it is popular with the masses, or because it make web 2.0 development fast and easy, and lets admit it one of the large reasons for Flash adoption is so companies can pollute your system with LSO’s which most people don’t know about or how to get rid of. Because in the eyes of companies deploying Flash.. Track you they must.

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