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Firefox 55: Flash Will Become 'Ask To Activate' For Everyone ( 114

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: Starting with the release of Firefox 55, the Adobe Flash plugin for Firefox will be set to "Ask to Activate" by default for all users. This move was announced in August 2016, as part of Mozilla's plan to move away from plugins built around the NPAPI technology. Flash is currently the only NPAPI plugin still supported in Firefox, and moving its default setting from "Always Activate" to "Ask to Activate" is just another step towards the final step of stop supporting Flash altogether. This new Flash default setting is already live in Firefox's Nightly Edition and will move through the Alpha and Beta versions as Firefox nears its v55 Stable release. By moving Flash to a click-to-play setting, Firefox will indirectly start to favor HTML5 content over Flash for all multimedia content. Other browsers like Google Chrome, Brave, or Opera already run Flash on a click-to-play setting, or disabled by default. Firefox is scheduled to be released on August 8, 2017.
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Firefox 55: Flash Will Become 'Ask To Activate' For Everyone

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  • About time (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @08:10PM (#54445753)

    Flash is worse than systemd.

  • You mean they won't let me get my daily fix of Badger Badger Badger?

    (To say nothing of Magical Trevor.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You mean they won't let me get my daily fix of Badger Badger Badger?

      Seems to have been converted to HTML5 [] using Swiffy.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Its frame rate in Firefox on my laptop with an Atom N450 CPU is so much lower than that of the original Flash version that it desyncs noticeably within the first ten seconds, with the first "mushroom mushroom" appearing over a second late.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @08:28PM (#54445821)

    I used to blame flash for everything too, but since the Internet has become a whole lot more flash-free I now get by without it even being installed, but both Firefox and Chrome still keep regularly freezing/crashing, in fact more than ever, on both Windows and Linux.

    • Either you've got a rosy coloured view of the past or something very wrong with your browser installation.

      If Chrome crashes once a month then it's a bad month. Firefox is likewise not unstable enough to note.

  • Bugger HTML5 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    *All* media should be click-to-play, regardless of format.

    Seriously, what is the case for auto-playing? Does anyone like that?

    • Autoplay abuse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @08:43PM (#54445885) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, what is the case for auto-playing? Does anyone like that?

      Advertisers like it.

      We, speaking of the majority, variously known as "the product" or "the victim", depending on how honest one is being at any particular moment, don't count. Because we, again speaking of the majority, will continue to return to sites that abuse us in this fashion.

      I highly recommend a local blacklist. When a site does this, slap a into your hosts file for the site name. This will prevent the site from ever loading into your browser again via normal links.

      Or, you can keep going back. And they'll keep abusing you.

      • I've started adding auto-play video domains to my hosts only a few months ago, adding domains manually every time. I think I only have about 50 in my list and it's already pretty rare to see something auto-play.

        Yes it's easier if you get your hosts file somewhere else, but from my own habits and from what I've read, most people only visit a small number of known websites so it's not like adding domains to hosts is a permanent job.

      • by trawg ( 308495 )

        Or, you can keep going back. And they'll keep abusing you.

        I like going back over and over to close the website immediately, so that their stats show that more users bounce after a very short period of time, which hopefully they correlate to the addition of autoplaying video.

        I suspect I'm an edge case though and most people happily sit there and soak it up.

        • by doom ( 14564 )
          That's how I'm currently handling full-screen javascript pop-ups (sign up for our newsletter!). If enough of us learn to hit control-w fast, maybe they'll get the message.
    • To make matters worse, they hid the "click to activate" setting for HTML5 video in some obscure about:config entry. At the very least, it should be in the main config dialogs.

      • That's because the setting in a:c that blocks autoplay, also largely breaks HTML5 video altogether. You'll find a lot of stuff won't play at all with that setting enabled.

        • A. I haven't seen a problem with videos not working. Granted, there are only about 3 sites on the web where I have ever wanted a video to play. Everywhere else, I don't care if it breaks.

          B. I don't see any technical reason why it should break. How is it any different from faking a "pause" button right after the page load? If it is breaking, the browser vendors should fix it. If the protocol somehow can't handle it, fix the protocol. Get it done.

          • A: Lucky you. I'm gonna go ahead and guess that if they actually put this into the primary options, not many other users would be so relaxed about it breaking content. B: The great almighty Waffle Iron has spoken. It shall be so.
            • If you think I'm being unreasonable, maybe you could tell my why it breaks, what is the justification for creating such a crappy architecture, and what is the justification for not fixing the crappy design?

              • I'm not a Mozilla engineer dude, I don't know why they think the way they do. I was just trying to help explain that the a:c fix isn't as simple as you think. Also, explaining to you why things work they way they do isn't actually a prerequisite of thinking that your entitlement complex is unreasonable.
                • I don't have an entitlement complex. As I pointed out, the config fix works for my use case. That doesn't make this alleged limitation any less stupid, though. For example, there are a lot of people on metered data plans, and auto-play videos are undoubtedly costing them a significant amount of money. Saddling them with this crap is plainly irresponsible.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      That can be abused. Watch a site show only the headline and first sentence until the viewer clicks the "Read More" button, which treats the click as an authorization to play for as long as the page remains visible.

      A policy to require a separate click for each media element would be impractical as well. A web-based video game would end up pausing every single time an event occurs that results in playing a sound effect. You'd look for the native version only to find that the native version is for a platform o

  • who in their right mind would run flash on by default?
    • Who in their right mind would run flash?

      Fixed that for you.

      • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @10:32PM (#54446261)

        There's a large corpus of games, animations, and so on, written in Flash. Unlike DRM and advertising, those are actually useful.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I would be happy with click-to-play if it wasn't such a bugger to keep up to date. The update mechanism for Flash is horrible. The way Chrome does it, where Flash is bundled with browser updates, is much better, but Firefox still relies on Adobe to keep the plugin up to date.

          • Yeah, I really wish Flash was available as a reasonable stand-alone executable that actually works.

            This way, we'd have all the good Flash content still working; that on the web Flash degenerated into a tool for DRMing videos hurts what I consider legitimate uses. And those would be nice to have the same way we have NES emulators.

            Especially if it's portable -- somehow every dev around me talks about jumping the x86 ship for arm64, where nothing Adobe exists.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          There's a large corpus of games, animations, and so on, written in Flash. Unlike DRM and advertising, those are actually useful.

          Not to mention vendors who still use it... Looking at you VMWare... who are killing off the very usable, solid, stable, fast and quite nice Vcentre thick client.

    • who in their right mind would run flash on by default?

      I was still using Macs when I installed the Flashblock extension on Firefox, so that was a good decade ago.

      Who in their right mind ships a browser that has Flash autoplay enabled? Users were fed up before Flashblock was written (in response).

  • What? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Sir Holo ( 531007 )

    What's "Flash"?

    Is it like COBOL or something?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's something that can improve pictures in poor lighting conditions. Apparently HTML5 is letting websites access to the computer's cameras through the browser and Firefox is trying to play it safe by not accidentally blinding anyone who is driving. The clues are in the details. It's being rolled out to Firefox Nightly first. This should greatly improve night pictures. The daily Firefox builds will likely get it later.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2017 @10:18PM (#54446217)

    At least Flash can be blocked / click-to-play. While, in major web browsers, HTML5 video and audio auto-play by default with seemingly no way to disable.

    Without running add-ons, is there any simple way to disable HTML5 auto-play in any major web browser?

  • I got fed up with the constant upgrade nags about a year ago. Occasionally video sites will refuse to work, but most of what I failed to load were ads, or annoying autoplay videos on articles I was trying to read. sadly these seem to be shifting away from Flash as well.
  • Those horses bolted 20 years ago.

    This decision should have been made with the introduction of NPAPI back in the heady days of Netscape 2.0.

  • Wouldn't it be cool if Firefox 55 was "ask to activate"?

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