Avoiding Flash

Reinstalling a laptop I thought it would be a good idea to join the Occupy Flash campagin. The manifesto says:

Flash Player is dead. Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser. It introduces some scary security and privacy issues by way of Flash cookies. Flash makes the web less accessible. At this point, it’s holding back the web.

Since I am starting with a clean system Flash is not installed in the first place, so it is an easy start to the campaign. Unfortunately, Firefox complains about the missing Flash plugin every time I come to a web page with Flash content. This can be changed, although it is one of those “hidden” features of Firefox. I came across a web page describing how to disable the plugin warning when opening about:config in Firefox. However, the variable has a different name on my system. The correct name is “plugins.hide_infobar_for_missing_plugin”, and it should be changed to “true”, as shown in this screenshot.

Two of the main sites that I would need Flash for are YouTube and Vimeo. Fortunately, Youtube has an HTML5-player available that seems to work fine. Vimeo, on the other hand, only has HTML5 support in Safari and Chrome. Too bad, but hopefully a Firefox version will come soon.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.