Contributed by deanna on from the annoyances dept.
- www/opera-flashplugin - the full-blown official player from Adobe;
- net/yt - an app that will download youtube videos and convert them to more manageable formats;
- www/gnash - a standalone flash player and browser plugin.
This port, the official answer to flash on OpenBSD as per the FAQ, is the proprietary Linux player from Adobe, which runs in emulation on the i386 platform only. It's useful for those who have i386 hardware and don't mind running non-free software. Those who can use it say that performance is decent enough. This port is recommended for those who just want to see some content, with as little hassle as possible. And unlike any of the other options, this one works with Homestar Runner, which I hear is extremely important to some. ;)
yt, a lua script written by Pedro Martelletto, allows downloading and saving of flash video from youtube, and automatic conversion to more useful formats (by default, avi). Movies can then be opened in viewers such as mplayer and xine. This is very handy for non-i386 hardware and for saving movies to disk, and Pedro does a good job of keeping yt in sync with youtube's ever-changing URL schemes.
Gnash is a many-featured flash player and browser plugin; an official FSF project. It works with all flash versions up to, but not including v9. It runs as a standalone player with gtk or kde guis, as well as a plugin for firefox or konqeror. It's been reported to work on several OpenBSD hardware platforms, the source code is fully available, and our port requires no binary emulation.
Gnash is still alpha software, and needs some special care in order to be fully useful on OpenBSD. One of the biggest problems people encounter is the automatic loading of Flash v9 advertisements, which aren't supported and can drain huge amounts of resources if allowed to run.
The best way to deal with this is to install a few firefox extensions to prevent automatic loading of flash content. adblock and noscript work very well for this. The two combined will prevent the hijacking of your attention and system resources by blocking these buggy ads. They're very simple to install and configure, and are very important for making the gnash plugin more of an asset than a liability. I wouldn't recommend using gnash at all without these extensions installed.
It's understandable that many of us are annoyed by the very existence of flash, having endured the "Download flash or go away" messages that have been all over the net for years. In the past, we've been able to get by without it, since most of the content was simply entertainment, and we all have better things to do, right?
This isn't really the case any more, since youtube is becoming culturally important for more serious reasons. Take, for example, the recent incident where the Quebec provincial police planted agents provocateur in the middle of a peaceful protest, and a witness placed footage of the event on youtube for all to see. Or itojun's 5-part video series, ipv6 demystified. Hopefully this article has provided enough information for you to find a way to view these movies on OpenBSD. :)
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