rob's blog

2010 Free Software Awards announced

The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is given annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software.

This year, it was given to Rob Savoye. Savoye is a long-time free software hacker, who has worked on GNU and other free software for over 20 years. He has contributed to dozens of projects including GCC, GDB, DejaGnu, Newlib, Libgloss, Cygwin, eCos, Expect, multiple major GNU/Linux distributions, and One Laptop Per Child. Savoye has led the effort to produce a free software Flash player, Gnash. This work has enabled free software users to avoid dependency on a pervasive piece of proprietary software.

Gnash 0.8.9 Released!

Open Media Now! and the Gnash community are happy to announce the release of Gnash 0.8.9. Gnash the GNU Flash player is a free/libre SWF movie player, with all the source code released under GPLv3. Gnash is available as both a standalone player and also as a browser plugin for Firefox (and all other Gecko based browsers), Chromium and Konqueror.

Currently Gnash has been ported to most GNU/Linus distros, embedded GNU/Linux, *BSD, non x86 architectures - ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and even 64 bit processors. And yes, Gnash plays Youtube!!

The last few months have been pretty eventful, and Gnash has made several important advances.

YouTube Cookies and Gnash

Since bug reports are pouring in, I figured I'd answer this in just one place. YouTube uses cookies to redirect the browser to a regional video server closer to the user. This got broken in Gnash around the time of the 0.8.7 release, as Gnash used XPCOM to handle cookies. I fixed this back in March or so by using newer features of NPAPI, which requires a newer version of xulrunner.

The 0.8.8 release of Gnash handles this correctly, but the user needs to delete all their YouTube cookies first and restart with a fresh one. That's all! For older browsers, you also have to block the YouTube cookies after deleting them to get this to work.

Gnash 0.8.8 Released

We just released an improved GNU Flash player, Gnash 0.8.8. Gnash plays SWF (Shockwave Flash) files compatible with the Adobe Flash player. Gnash is portable software released under the GNU GPLv3. It runs on GNU/Linux, embedded GNU + Linux systems, and BSD, including x86, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and 64-bit systems. It comes with a standalone player as well as a browser plugin compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Konqueror, and all Gecko-based browsers.

Improvements since the 0.8.7 release are:

* 100% of all YouTube videos should work. If you have
problems, delete all YouTube cookies and refresh.

Why Debian Users Think Gnash Sucks

After reading yet another blog post from a Debian user about why Gnash sucks, I need to rant. The problem is very simple, Debian has been shipping an ancient release of Gnash that was so old, very little worked with it anymore. This was due to several factors, but the end result was nobody was happy. I tried to work around this problem by building frequent snapshots as deb packages for Lenny on x86, amd64, and mipsel, which one can get from out own Gnash Debian repository

But most people never knew about this repository, so after a few seconds of staring at a blank window, they'd quickly drop Gnash and install the Adobe plugin. So much for being supporters of free software...

Funding Plea

So the Gnash team is broke, and has been for most of a year. This has forced many, but not all of the Gnash developers to find paying work, and mostly stop working on Gnash. The few of us left focused on Gnash like to eat and pay bills.

We get a lot of bitching about lack of compatibility on some web sites, but we won't get more compatible without your help. And the way you can help is to contribute funding.

There is a list of tasks on the Gnash wiki we'd appreciate some support for. Please think what it costs an experienced developer to live at bare survival level. Most of us have families, and they're all getting a bit burned out by our support of free software to the point of long hours of work for no compensation.

Gnash 0.8.7 Released!

The 0.8.7 release of Gnash has just been made. Gnash is a GPLv3'd SWF movie player and browser plugin for Firefox, all other Gecko based browsers, Chrome, and Konqueror. Gnash supports many SWF v8 features and ActionScript 2 classes. with growing support for SWF v10 and ActionScript 3. Gnash also runs on many GNU/Linux distributions, embedded GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, non x86 processors (ARM, MIPS, PowerPC), and 64 bit architectures. There are also standalone players for GNOME or KDE based desktops.

Improvements since the 0.8.6 release are:

* Automatic and spontaneous screenshots support in all GUIs

Gnash 0.8.6 Released!

Gnash is a GPLv3'd SWF movie player and browser plugin for Firefox, Mozilla, and Konqueror. Gnash supports many SWF v7 features and ActionScript 2 & 3 classes. with growing support for SWF versions 8-10. Gnash also runs on many GNU/Linux distributions, embedded GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, non x86 processors, and 64 bit architectures. There are also standalone players for GNOME or KDE based desktops.

Improvements since the 0.8.5 release are:

Open Media Now Summer Project

Open Media Now has launched a "summer of code" project for Gnash to implement a large chunk of the ActionScript 3 class library needed for swf v9/10 & AIR support. Some projects you can throw bodies at. :-)
For more information, try the Project Updates page.

Playing with Android

I've recently been playing with porting Gnash to Android, which turns out to be more complex than it should be. I've ported Gnash to several other cell phones, but the C++ support for Android is totally crippled. I've almost got a full C++ toolchain working, I can compile Gnash all the way, but there is a runtime problem still C++ initialization. More details on life with Android on the
wiki page .

Other than the problems with C++, Android is an interesting platform. The qemu based emulator works well with the adb shell, to make it easy to test your code.

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