Google are to drop support for the Adobe (NPAPI) flash plugin in their open source Chromium web browser in April … though it WILL support their sandboxed Pepperflash (PPAPI) plugin.
No big deal you may think (possibly even an improvement)…
Problem is, a lot of distros use Chromium as the default web browser (there are licensing issues with Chrome) and are licensed distributors of the Adobe flash plugin, yet Google don’t distribute Pepperflash as a standalone plugin, only as part of Chrome.
It would be easy enough to rip the Pepperflash plugin out of Chrome and distribute it in the distro’s repositories, but I’m willing to bet there would be legal issues in doing so.
Is there about to be a mass migration back to Firefox I wonder ? … we’ll have to wait and see if Google clarify any implications of the use of the Pepperflash plugin outside Chrome.
What’s Pepperflash? Will it still run Flash on a website, or it is some propriatory standard that no-one uses but Google? To be honest, as long as functionality is retained, I’m not too bothered. I mean, it’s not like Flash is open-source, so we’re not even losing freedom.
Chromium is open-source (BSD/GPL?), so there shouldn’t be a problem re-packaging the code (Debian does it with Firefox, after all). I guess it would be nice to have a Chromium build without it, but as an end-user, I don’t think I’d use it. Nice to have the choice though!
Pepperflash is Google’s implementation of the Adobe flashplayer … but it is ONLY available as part of Google Chrome, and cannot (AFAIK) be distributed as a standalone plugin (certainly Google don’t distribute it this way).
a) Distro’s can’t distribute Chrome because of licensing issues
b) They CAN distribute Chromium, but Chromium cannot play flash without a plugin (either adobe-flashplugin or Pepperflash)
c) From April, Chromium won’t support the “Adobe” flash plugin (that a lot of distro’s are licensed to distribute)
d) They cannot distribute Pepperflash as a standalone plugin.
So there will be NO way for distro’s to use Chromium as the default web browser and (legally) support flash.
It’s not just distro’s either … where will this leave browser projects like Maxthon and Iron (who’s browsers are based on the Chromium code).
Google NEED to allow distribution of Pepperflash as a standalone plugin, or a lot of people will have no option but to go back to Firefox.
This is of particular importance to Peppermint, as we cannot use Ice and SSB’s in Firefox … it’s just not possible to have Firefox open multiple instances using the same profile like Chromium and Chrome can … but to not have a way to add flash would be a disaster for ANY distro.
Peppermint will find a solution, but as the title says Google are creating an unnecessary problem for distro developers (and other browser projects).
Weird, it’s not exactly in Google’s interest to do that though, is it? They will lose a big user base if Linux turns its back on it.
I think it’ll be available as a binary from them, and you’ll have packages in the repos that just point to Google servers to download the binary. It’s the total opposite of what end-users want (Debian & Fedora must be going nuts!), but functionality is what most desktop users want, in the end of the day (otherwise, NO-ONE would buy a Chromebook)
Also, Chromium is open-source, so I wouldn’t put it past Debian or Ubuntu to patch Adobe Flash or something into their Chromium package.