Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

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Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby kedaha » 2010-04-11 21:44

Update May 3 2010. The title of this thread should really be Bye bye flash, hello Mplayer: Please see How to watch YouTube with only free software in Debian before reading the present thread.

Update April 12 2010 Before uninstalling Adobe Flash Player, please read replies, especially by Serenity which works, at least on my system. I thought I had got Gnash going but evidently Adobe Flash was still running. My mistake, sorry.

I was a bit bored so I thought I'd try Gnash, the GNU Flash movie player on my Squeeze system. Using Synaptic, I removed the flashplugin non-free browser plugin and also the swfdec browser plugin which was still there and to my surprise, Gnash and a lot of dependencies appeared in the "to be installed" list. After this, I was even more surprised when I opened a few of my favourite YouTube videos and everything works perfectly. There is no difference to using the non-free plugin. It really has made my day. :) However, i have yet to try my new free browser plugin with other sites.
Last edited by kedaha on 2010-05-03 13:07, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby Parsifal » 2010-04-11 22:16

I have Gnash installed in GNU IceCat, and it's really becoming a nice little program in recent versions. It isn't as fully featured as Adobe's Flash Player, but I've noticed it doesn't tend to crash GNU IceCat or slow my system down to a crawl simply by loading Flash applets (as Adobe Flash did on Ubuntu; never actually used it on Debian), and - more importantly - it's free software.

I do have the Gnash Mozilla plugin disabled, though, and only enable it when necessary. If somebody links me to YouTube, I prefer to request they repost the link as TinyOgg rather than watch the proprietary video stream, even if the decoder I use is free.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby BioTube » 2010-04-12 00:45

I use Gnash in Konqueror, but keep Iceweasel set up with Flash for those cases where Gnash doesn't work.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby RoyFokker » 2010-04-12 01:48

Based on this thread I tried Gnash again on my Debian testing system, version 0.8.7-2 to be precise and Youtube absolutely does not work.
You really gave me false hopes, because I know that the open source alternatives when they crash, they just stall the tab which can always be exited, but when Adobe Flash crashes it takes down the whole browser, also it does not seem to free up memory too well.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby nitehawk » 2010-04-12 02:10

Honestly,...Swfdec seems to work better for me in Lenny than Gnash does. I've been using Swfdec successfully for quite some time,...but reading this thread,..I un-installed Swfdec, and installed Gnash. Some of the sites I always use didn't display all of the flash like I was used to getting with Swfdec. I just took out Gnash and put Swfdec back in. That just works for me (maybe it's different for others). Adobe Flash works very well, also,..it's just that I prefer the FOSS when I can get it,..and it works.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby Bulkley » 2010-04-12 02:24

kedaha wrote:I was a bit bored so I thought I'd try Gnash, the GNU Flash movie player on my Squeeze system. Using Synaptic, I removed the flashplugin non-free browser plugin and also the swfdec browser plugin which was still there and to my surprise, Gnash and a lot of dependencies appeared in the "to be installed" list. After this, I was even more surprised when I opened a few of my favorite YouTube videos and everything works perfectly. There is no difference to using the non-free plugin. It really has made my day. :) However, i have yet to try my new free browser plugin with other sites.

Removing the flashplugin non-free browser plugin does not remove Flash. The plugin "package will download the Flash Player from Adobe." Essentially, the plugin is simply an errand boy.

To prove this, I removed the plugin without it affecting my ability to watch Youtube or anything else. I do not have either Gnash or swfdec installed.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby Serenity » 2010-04-12 07:32

Why use Flash or Gnash to view YouTube videos? Here's my non-Flash/Gnash solution (works well on Firefox/Iceweasel, probably possible to do similar with other browsers):

1. Make sure you have the requisite codecs for decoding at least H.264 (Debian Multimedia may be of help here) and a few others I can't remember right now. This is among the first things I do on any system, though I can't actually remember how I did it on Debian. My motto is that if you don't know which codecs you need, just get them all.
2. Install gecko-mediaplayer. This requires MPlayer, which you should already be using. If not, stop using VLC right now and use a proper media player instead.
3. Install the Greasemonkey extension if you don't already have it (Greasefire would be useful too).
4. Install the YouTube without Flash Auto script.

Job done. YouTube videos will now use an embedded instance of GNOME MPlayer rather than the Flash plugin. The main advantages I've found is that this is hella quick. 720p video on YouTube used to choke on a Core 2 Duo E6750 with a GeForce 8800GT. The exact same videos were fine in SMPlayer, so it was Flash being a bottleneck. With gecko-mediaplayer, the same videos suddenly play perfectly smoothly.

Note that this also works on blip.tv if you manually select the source video rather than the Flash player, but this must be done each time you view a video (there's a Greasemonkey script that's supposed to make this happen automatically, but it doesn't work for me) and the video/audio formats you get will be pretty unpredictable, so be prepared. I'm thinking the best way forward on that minor problem is to just make a feature request to blip.tv, see if they can implement source video by default as an official option.

Finally, any other Yahtzee fans here? The Escapist's Flash video player doesn't work with Gnash, which almost made me give up, but there is a solution of sorts. Do the above, then do this:

1. Install the Download Escapist Videos script.
2. Allow Gnash to try (and fail) to play the video. This requires clicking it in my case because I have Flashblock doing its thing. You'll know when it's done because the plugin window will start grey, then go black, then go grey again.
3. Click on the download link the script has added.

At this point gecko-mediaplayer will intercept the video, and play it maximized in the current tab. Not exactly perfect, but it does work.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby sir fer » 2010-04-12 08:35

Serenity wrote:If not, stop using VLC right now and use a proper media player instead.


:lol: Uh huh uh huh!
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby kedaha » 2010-04-12 09:26

Serenity wrote:Why use Flash or Gnash to view YouTube videos? Here's my non-Flash/Gnash solution (works well on Firefox/Iceweasel, probably possible to do similar with other browsers).


Thanks. I read your post and tried it on my system with Iceweasel and it works for me. I've updated my original post.
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby kedaha » 2010-04-12 09:30

RoyFokker wrote:Based on this thread I tried Gnash again on my Debian testing system, version 0.8.7-2 to be precise and Youtube absolutely does not work.
You really gave me false hopes, because I know that the open source alternatives when they crash, they just stall the tab which can always be exited, but when Adobe Flash crashes it takes down the whole browser, also it does not seem to free up memory too well.


Sorry about that, my mistake. I had false hopes myself but I've tried the solution proposed by Serenity posted above and it works, at least on my system. Regards
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby kedaha » 2010-04-15 13:24

Serenity wrote:Why use Flash or Gnash to view YouTube videos? Here's my non-Flash/Gnash solution (works well on Firefox/Iceweasel, probably possible to do similar with other browsers):

1. Make sure you have the requisite codecs for decoding at least H.264 (Debian Multimedia may be of help here) and a few others I can't remember right now. This is among the first things I do on any system, though I can't actually remember how I did it on Debian. My motto is that if you don't know which codecs you need, just get them all.
2. Install gecko-mediaplayer. This requires MPlayer, which you should already be using. If not, stop using VLC right now and use a proper media player instead.
3. Install the Greasemonkey extension if you don't already have it (Greasefire would be useful too).
4. Install the YouTube without Flash Auto script.

Job done. YouTube videos will now use an embedded instance of GNOME MPlayer rather than the Flash plugin. The main advantages I've found is that this is hella quick. 720p video on YouTube used to choke on a Core 2 Duo E6750 with a GeForce 8800GT. The exact same videos were fine in SMPlayer, so it was Flash being a bottleneck. With gecko-mediaplayer, the same videos suddenly play perfectly smoothly.

Note that this also works on blip.tv if you manually select the source video rather than the Flash player, but this must be done each time you view a video (there's a Greasemonkey script that's supposed to make this happen automatically, but it doesn't work for me) and the video/audio formats you get will be pretty unpredictable, so be prepared. I'm thinking the best way forward on that minor problem is to just make a feature request to blip.tv, see if they can implement source video by default as an official option.

Finally, any other Yahtzee fans here? The Escapist's Flash video player doesn't work with Gnash, which almost made me give up, but there is a solution of sorts. Do the above, then do this:

1. Install the Download Escapist Videos script.
2. Allow Gnash to try (and fail) to play the video. This requires clicking it in my case because I have Flashblock doing its thing. You'll know when it's done because the plugin window will start grey, then go black, then go grey again.
3. Click on the download link the script has added.

At this point gecko-mediaplayer will intercept the video, and play it maximized in the current tab. Not exactly perfect, but it does work.



Serenity's solution worked automatically for two or three days on my Squeeze system but today, when trying to play a YouTube video, it doesn't work immediately but a message is displayed in large white and blue letters: Old Flash? Go upgrade! But below are listed options and one can still watch YouTube. :)

Download | Low 5 | High 34 | High 18 ♦ View without Flash | Low 5 | High 34 | High 18 ♦ View Flash
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby workspace5 » 2010-04-15 18:17

kedaha wrote:
Serenity wrote:Why use Flash or Gnash to view YouTube videos? Here's my non-Flash/Gnash solution (works well on Firefox/Iceweasel, probably possible to do similar with other browsers):

1. Make sure you have the requisite codecs for decoding at least H.264 (Debian Multimedia may be of help here) and a few others I can't remember right now. This is among the first things I do on any system, though I can't actually remember how I did it on Debian. My motto is that if you don't know which codecs you need, just get them all.
2. Install gecko-mediaplayer. This requires MPlayer, which you should already be using. If not, stop using VLC right now and use a proper media player instead.
3. Install the Greasemonkey extension if you don't already have it (Greasefire would be useful too).
4. Install the YouTube without Flash Auto script.

Job done. YouTube videos will now use an embedded instance of GNOME MPlayer rather than the Flash plugin. The main advantages I've found is that this is hella quick. 720p video on YouTube used to choke on a Core 2 Duo E6750 with a GeForce 8800GT. The exact same videos were fine in SMPlayer, so it was Flash being a bottleneck. With gecko-mediaplayer, the same videos suddenly play perfectly smoothly.

Note that this also works on blip.tv if you manually select the source video rather than the Flash player, but this must be done each time you view a video (there's a Greasemonkey script that's supposed to make this happen automatically, but it doesn't work for me) and the video/audio formats you get will be pretty unpredictable, so be prepared. I'm thinking the best way forward on that minor problem is to just make a feature request to blip.tv, see if they can implement source video by default as an official option.

Finally, any other Yahtzee fans here? The Escapist's Flash video player doesn't work with Gnash, which almost made me give up, but there is a solution of sorts. Do the above, then do this:

1. Install the Download Escapist Videos script.
2. Allow Gnash to try (and fail) to play the video. This requires clicking it in my case because I have Flashblock doing its thing. You'll know when it's done because the plugin window will start grey, then go black, then go grey again.
3. Click on the download link the script has added.

At this point gecko-mediaplayer will intercept the video, and play it maximized in the current tab. Not exactly perfect, but it does work.



Serenity's solution worked automatically for two or three days on my Squeeze system but today, when trying to play a YouTube video, it doesn't work immediately but a message is displayed in large white and blue letters: Old Flash? Go upgrade! But below are listed options and one can still watch YouTube. :)

Download | Low 5 | High 34 | High 18 ♦ View without Flash | Low 5 | High 34 | High 18 ♦ View Flash



I've had that same problem recently on youtube and I have no idea why it just started recently. Also, when using the mplayer plugin on youtube iceweasel just segfaults/kills and I have to restart the browser.

Has anyone compared gnash/flash in terms of cpu%? On my laptop--which is 5 yrs old to be fair--gnash seems to be about as bad as flash. I guess that's why I just use clive or cclive to dl the videos....
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby refracta » 2010-04-15 18:40

Yep, as far as resource usage gnash sucks about as bad as flash. I have never noticed swfdec to be as bad regarding resource usage but it may be and I just havent noticed it.

I usually just use an online downloader like keepvid but clive (or similar) comes in handy...anything to keep flash out of the browser...
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby Bulkley » 2010-04-15 22:08

Forgive me for being a neophyte at this but I don't want to download videos, I just want to watch them. And Less than half of what I watch is from Youtube. That's why I use Flash. A couple of years ago I experimented with some alternatives, but I got fed up with stupid messages on web sites demanding that I install or upgrade Flash. Will Serenity's system allow me to watch any and all? Easily? In whichever browser I happen to be using?
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Re: Bye bye flashplugin non-free, hello Gnash!

Postby RoyFokker » 2010-04-15 22:14

No, Youtube changed their code/api/whatever and it no longer works. I had it sort of working in Opera, it would not stream but it would work on downloaded videos. Lately even that did not work and I deleted the script.

If you are really interested bookmark that userscript page or Google Alert it to check for updates.
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