Ubuntu board rejects slippery Flash installs
YouTube sensations no justification
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. ®
I have to agree wholeheartedly with this decision. There's enough bloatware around as it is. However, I would agree that they should allow proprietary hardware drivers for stuff like wireless when there are no open-source alternatives for the devices installed on a user's system. It is such a PITA to sort all that out. I spend an inordinate amount of time on the LinuxForums helping people get their wireless cruft working on Ubuntu. It has to be easier! I should be able to purchase any mainstream laptop, plug in my Ubuntu installation disc, and go! Since they usually do that with the Live DVD's, they should be able to install those drivers when you install the system as well.
Good for them!
Nothing wrong with leaving the default to no. And lets be honest here, anybody who wants them, will know what they are, and tick the damn box themselves.
On Ubuntu and Fedora(my preferred distro) If you want to install flash, go to Youtube, and follow the prompts, and in a minute or two, Flash is installed and configured. Easy.
Allowing things to be "yes" by default is one Windows "feature" I definitely don't miss. And hope it never infects Linux.
It's been a while but don't you have to install Flash yourself onto a plain Windows install too? Or is that "service" normally provided by the hardware vendor along with the trial software and other crud they benefit us with?