Klaus Knopper answers your Linux questions

Ask Klaus!

Article from Issue 154/2013

Klaus Knopper is the creator of Knoppix and co-founder of LinuxTag expo. He works as a teacher, programmer, and consultant. If you have a configuration problem, or if you just want to learn more about how Linux works, send your questions to: klaus@linux-magazine.com.

Klaus Knopper

Klaus Knopper is the creator of Knoppix and co-founder of LinuxTag expo. He currently works as a teacher, programmer, and consultant. If you have a configuration problem, or if you just want to learn more about how Linux works, send your questions to: mailto:klaus@linux-magazine.com.

Flash Alternatives

Klaus: Flash doesn't work well, so what is a person to do? Could you use the Wine program and download a Windows browser version; install SeaMonkey, Chrome, or something else? What about Lightspark? Does it work?

Thanks, Joe


It seems that, probably, because of its proprietary nature and frequent security problems, many vendors are abandoning Flash as a browser plugin or video player for their browsers lately. But, there are still fields of application for Flash:

  1. videos, especially the Flash player-optimized .flv video format,
  2. interactive games or programs written in Adobe's Flash programming language ActionScript, and
  3. interactive and multimedia elements in some websites.

The original Flash Player is not really needed anymore for just playing videos because MPlayer or VLC can play .flv files with much better performance. Also, YouTube offers an alternative HTML5-based view for many videos, especially the newer videos. So, if you go to the so-called "experimental" HTML5 version of YouTube [1], you might be able to say goodbye to the Flash plugin and use the browser's internal video player support.

About Wine: Most Flash problems are not related to Windows or Linux, so running Windows programs in the Wine emulator and installing the Windows version of Flash Player there will most likely not give you a more stable or faster Flash experience than running Flash natively on Linux.

Lightspark [2] is a quite new and interesting replacement project for the Flash-based video player. It aims to be faster and more stable than the original player, yet it is open source and does not contain proprietary modules. The project is located on GitHub, and an official Debian package is available: browser-plugin-lightspark [3].

If you still need proprietary Flash support in Debian, you can download and upgrade the Flash plugin by installing the newest flashplugin-nonfree package. Then, run

sudo update-flashplugin-nonfree

to check for and install the newest versions of the Flash plugin for Firefox/Iceweasel.

A TrueType Font How-To

Is there an easy way to install a TrueType font in Linux?

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