Feeds

Ubuntu board rejects slippery Flash installs

YouTube sensations no justification

The Power of One Infographic

Ubuntu won't be updated to quietly slip third-party apps like Flash Player onto your PC, regardless of the app's popularity.

The Linux distro's technical board has unanimously ruled against a change that could have allowed third party software to install by default if users weren't paying attention and that seemed aimed at greasing the skids to putting Adobe Software's Flash on more Ubuntu PCs.

The technical board voted Thursday afternoon five to nothing to defeat the idea.

It had been proposed that a check box in Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer that gives you the choice to install third-party software should be selected by default. This would have required users downloading the latest version of Ubuntu to proactively de-select the box should they not want the non-Ubuntu options installed with their fave Linux distro.

The justification for the proposal was YouTube: people would be deterred from using Ubuntu if they fired up their machine, hit the Tube, and found it didn't work, according to the thinking.

The problem is that most video on YouTube is streamed using Flash, a proprietary media player that uses the royalty-encumbered H.264 video codec.

YouTube owner Google has its own problems with Flash and H.264. Last May, Google released the source of its own video codec as WebM, which it now wants people to use when playing the video tag in HTML5. In January, Google said it planned to drop H.264 from its Chrome browser, although the web giant has yet to follow through on this promise.

When it came to Ubuntu, technical board member Martin Pitt said that ticking the box by default "is by and large equivalent to always installing the software by default, as it would now require an informed decision to get only free software installed."

Pitt noted that while Ubutu's made some concessions on hardware drivers, Flash doesn't meet the same requirement. Flash is not required for most of the work done on a computer. Free alternatives to Flash are widely available, and Ubuntu already makes it easy to install non-free codecs and Flash plug-in via totem's codec and Firefox's plug-in installer.

Further, Pitt noted the board felt they should support the emerging trend way from Flash towards free codecs and HTML5. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.