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My thoughts on Flash

I’m using Ubuntu and Flash makes my Firefox crash too many times. It also slows my browser down and the fan of my laptop goes crazy when surfing web sites which have Flash animations or videos in them. So, I can’t help giving Apple right about pushing HTML5 in their mobile products. And I hope it will have an impact on desktop, too.

When Flash videos first came out I was glad since before that the most widely used formats were .wmv and .mov for online streaming. Mov videos were okay on Windows and MacOS but were mostly unsupported on Linux. Wmv videos were unsupported or broken anything outside Windows and Internet Explorer. So watching a video online was a pretty bad experience for me.

Flash videos came out and changed that. And I’m glad it did, it pushed the technology forward. But Flash videos are far from being perfect. They slow your computer down and make your browser crash. A lot.* Especially if you are on a Linux machine. So the time to replace Flash videos with a better alternative has come.

I don’t like how Apple pretends being a “standards hero”. They push their platform dependent technology whenever possible and ignore free software. But I’m glad they pushed HTML5. Because no other company other than Apple or Google has the power to stand against Flash.

Actually one other weird thing is that HTML5 is not a replacement for Flash. But it pushes the usage of a video player implemented by the browser itself instead of a Flash player which will solve a lot of problems we are facing right now:

  • The browser won’t crash as frequently since it won’t depend on a third party plug-in.
  • The player will behave the same way for all the videos (every web site uses a different Flash player to serve their videos right now, some of them are working good while some of them aren’t).
  • The playback will probably be smoother and won’t slow your browser/computer down (according to my experience with the current sites using HTML5).
  • The video player will work great on every OS (I wasn’t able to even pause the videos on Youtube a few months ago on 64-bit Linux).

As I said, HTML5 won’t solve all of our problems with Flash since it is not an alternative to Flash. But it will enhance the video streaming experience of ours.

* I’m writing this blog entry from Epiphany, right now, because I was watching a long Flash video on Firefox and the browser freezed. The only thing working is the player right now. I don’t restart the browser since I don’t want to download the video again.

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