back to article Ubuntu board rejects slippery Flash installs

Ubuntu won't be updated to quietly slip third-party apps like Flash Player onto your PC, regardless of the app's popularity. The Linux distro's technical board has unanimously ruled against a change that could have allowed third party software to install by default if users weren't paying attention and that seemed aimed at …

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  1. William Boyle

    Correct decision

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with this decision. There's enough bloatware around as it is. However, I would agree that they should allow proprietary hardware drivers for stuff like wireless when there are no open-source alternatives for the devices installed on a user's system. It is such a PITA to sort all that out. I spend an inordinate amount of time on the LinuxForums helping people get their wireless cruft working on Ubuntu. It has to be easier! I should be able to purchase any mainstream laptop, plug in my Ubuntu installation disc, and go! Since they usually do that with the Live DVD's, they should be able to install those drivers when you install the system as well.

  2. Daniel Garcia 2
    Flame

    death to flash player!

    never such ubiquitous plug-in gave so many headaches to so many people!

  3. John Bailey
    Happy

    Good for them!

    Nothing wrong with leaving the default to no. And lets be honest here, anybody who wants them, will know what they are, and tick the damn box themselves.

    On Ubuntu and Fedora(my preferred distro) If you want to install flash, go to Youtube, and follow the prompts, and in a minute or two, Flash is installed and configured. Easy.

    Allowing things to be "yes" by default is one Windows "feature" I definitely don't miss. And hope it never infects Linux.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Grenade

      @John Bailey

      "...anybody who wants them, will know what they are, and tick the damn box themselves."

      Unless of course you were ever looking to the O/S becoming a mainstream product punted to the Great Unwashed. I suspect that if you ask Joe Bloggs in the pub what "Third Party Software" means and why this concept is important to the Ubuntu installer, the most likely answer would be "WTF?"

      I reckon it's that sort of evangelism that's the main obstruction to Linux ever becoming a mainstream user O/S. Grunt users want YouTube to work. They don't care how it works or why it works and they certainly don't give a rat's arse about who wrote whatever it is that makes it work. If Canonical are serious about Ubuntu becoming Mac-like, all this sort of thing has to "just work".......

      1. MonkeyBot

        Re: Mainstream product

        An O/S is not a mainstream product, a computer is. The box-shifters can decide what third-party software they'll ship and if Flash is wanted, it'll be there.

        I have a hard enough time trying to get my brother's head around the concept that his music is not "in" iTunes or Media Player

      2. Elmer Phud Silver badge
        Boffin

        The great unwashed

        As someone who just about has a vague grasp of how the various Penguis O/S's work I guess I'm included in the 'unwashed'. A couple of days back I was also an 'expert' while someone else was installng Ubuntu for the first time - he'd heard it was the mutt's nuts from several people and was building a new machine.

        He was expecting a 'windows' sort of experience where you just bung the disc in, install then go for all the updates. I got him through that bit but then it came to 'Where's all the stuff I usually see?' and I was faced with carefully trying to explain that it's sort of all there or available and that he has to learn a similar but altogether different O/S and that a lot of the terminology is different as well.

        "No, it's not all 'fucking useless', it's different"

        I got YouTube working for him.

        I also had to explain that a Windows installer for a programme is unlikely to work as it can't find windows and that all the fancy stuff that comes with the motherboard also only works in Windows. And that Ubuntu isn't 'shit' just because manufacturers tend to aim for the market that brings in the most money.

        They really do 'just want it to work' but are not happy with learning new names for just about everything they were familiar with before. (they includes me at times).

        Oh, the poor sod also tried downloading the ISO directly and was faced with a download suggested to be several days. I went a little bit further down the screen and found the route to the Torrent file. Not long after that I gave him a Cd with the ISO on it. If Canonlcal want folks to use Ubuntu maybe it would help if the link to the Torrent was a bit more prominent.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          @The great unwashed

          'Where's all the stuff I usually see?'

          "No, it's not all 'fucking useless', it's different"

          There is a point where you have to give up. If someone is not willing to TRY and figure stuff out for themselves, let them eat the same dog food every day for life.

          The individual you dealt with would be much the same with an Apple Mac, except perhaps having spent a lot of money they might just have had the incentive to work out that the internet is NOT the 'blue E' and you have more than one way of laying out icons, menus, etc.

          Yes it is a right pain that software patents mean 'standard' stuff like MP3 and DVDs can't be made to work out of the box without feeding American lawyers, but again you need to remember that all computers need skilled care at some point, more so on installing and configuring things in the first place. Otherwise you end up with machines run by monkeys as 'admin' going cruddy and infected all over the place. Oh wait...

        2. Dave Murray

          Fud or moron?

          You're either spouting FUD or your mate is a complete moron. I installed Ubuntu for my gf two years ago. After 5 minutes of telling her "here's how the menu works", "that's the Word processor", "there's Firefox" and similar I haven't had to touch it since. She is not techy in any way but the only thing she's asked me since is to remind her of the root password when she's installing something.

          1. Alastair 7

            FUD, moron or right?

            "I installed Ubuntu for my gf two years ago"

            I did the same. The trackpad on her bog-standard Dell didn't work properly, the printer didn't work, and Rhythmbox randomly froze and crashed. Don't get me started on OpenOffice's suitability for writing documents you are going to submit to university professors.

            I spent a while screwing around with Synaptics trying to get the trackpad working before I realised that Ubuntu still doesn't "just work". I'd love for it to, but my experiences taught me that it still isn't ready yet.

            1. JEDIDIAH
              Linux

              More Lemming silliness.

              > Don't get me started on OpenOffice's suitability

              > for writing documents you are going to submit

              > to university professors.

              Where do you boobs come up with this stuff.

              ST Writer is/was more than sufficient for this sort of thing. Never mind Open Office.

            2. neil 15
              Stop

              yup FUD

              "Don't get me started on OpenOffice's suitability for writing documents you are going to submit to university professors."

              Why, turnitin happily accepts the ISO standard ODT files, as well as pdfs etc. I wonder what sort of course makes it hard, My PhD is largely being done in openoffice (now libreoffice) as was my Masters. Not doing anything computing based. I suggest you should have a word with your university to actually support international standards.

              You could always use "Save As" a word doc anyway.

              1. Red Bren
                Coat

                @neil 15

                "My PhD is largely being done in openoffice (now libreoffice) as was my Masters."

                So are you going to be a Doctor or a Sith Lord?

                Sorry! :-)

        3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          A download suggested to be several days: pardon?

          Hmm. 4 kilobytes per second was reasonably good speed on a phone MODEM connection. (Or maybe it was excessively good speed.) A CD image overburned full of compressed data, call it 700,000 kilobytes... well, about 48 and a half hours. Two days. I don't see how a torrent will be faster, though, but it may be more flexible about stopping and resuming.

          I've only seen a DVD of Ubuntu as a computer magazine giveaway - a proprietary one, I think.

          Of course, after installing the CD, you have to connect and download the post-release patches... do you? I've wondered about that, about getting a pre-patched CD. Apparently That's Not the Way. It does mean, however, that if you want to use it as live CD or live from USB stick, then you do so without patches. Or, can you install to the USB stick like a hard disk? I didn't try that.

          I wondered long and hard where I was supposed to be buying the 750-800 MB CD-R that Moblin apparently required. Well, you could load the image onto DVD (if your software let you override media type) or onto a USB stick (which I'm never managed with SystemRescueCD). But the Moblin instructions said CD. Apparently, over-capacity CD-R actually exists, but with compatibility issues, and it's hard to find in stores in Glasgow. But what really happened, I think, is that the Moblin people stuffed more and more code into their ISO and just didn't notice that it didn't actually fit on a widely available CD format any more.

          I also wondered how Knoppix is Linux but exclusive to a computer show and a magazine or two, i.e. non-open. I'd still like to know about all these things.

      3. John Bailey
        FAIL

        That was quick..

        "I suspect that if you ask Joe Bloggs in the pub what "Third Party Software" means and why this concept is important to the Ubuntu installer, the most likely answer would be "WTF?""

        And I suspect if you asked him a similar Windows related question, you would get the same answer.

        Your point?

        Most people don't understand how to use a computer. Never mind set one up from scratch. So the situation does not arise. Because for any computer related task, they call a friend who knows a bit, or they bring it back to the shop, and get it sorted there.

        Mainstream Linux.. Who cares. It works, and it works well. Software is plentiful, compatible hardware is plentiful. And massive amounts of energy are not wasted making it idiot proof.

      4. Steve Coffman

        @ "I suspect"

        " I suspect that if you ask Joe Bloggs in the pub what "Third Party Software" means and why this concept is important to the Ubuntu installer, the most likely answer would be "WTF?""

        I would suspect that you'd actually get the same reaction if you asked Joe Bloggs in the pub what Ubuntu was...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        What decade are you currently living in?...

        ... because it's about 10 years behind the one I'm in mate.

        Your argument is complete and utter *crap*

        Give a non-technical computer user a computer with nothing on it and a windows DVD and see how far they get installing it. They should be able to just about manage it.

        Then give them a printer, ask them to hook it up and print to it.

        Give them an unconfigured router and ask them to get online with it.

        It's almost certain that they will come a cropper and head on over to PC World, or get a mate to help.

        The fact is, most people buy thier computers with the OS already installed, all the drivers installed etc.

        The same *could* apply to any modern linux distribution - sell it pre-installed and the end-user will be happy.

        Gah, why did I bother replying to this uneducated comment...

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          No magic fairy dust from Redmond

          > Then give them a printer, ask them to hook it up and print to it.

          Been there. Done that.

          I have had to set up peripherals for friends and family for EVERY version of Windows including Windows 7. This idea that rubes are any better equipped to deal with Windows than Linux is just baseless nonsense.

          I doubt Macs would magically make them all any more self-reliant.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        all the 'leets downvoting...

        yes keep downvoting, that keep ur head in the sand attitude will get the linux platform far...

        Downvote all u want I care not...

    2. Paul M 1

      Title

      It's been a while but don't you have to install Flash yourself onto a plain Windows install too? Or is that "service" normally provided by the hardware vendor along with the trial software and other crud they benefit us with?

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      I'm not a numpty, but...

      For my first forays into Ubuntu, the install was nice and smooth, everything seemed to go in without problem. Reboot, start...

      Oh, it doesn't support mp3 (clicky-clicky apt-get blah). Oh, I need yet more codec support to play these videos. And, for what it is worth, getting my Brother scanner/printer working looks a monumental hassle (I have better things to do, hence why most of my work is done using Windows).

      Feel free to downvote, but for many (you know, the many who DON'T relish days poking through somebody else's code) they just want it to work. Out of the box.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        You can't even make up good FUD.

        > Feel free to downvote, but for many

        Of course you're going to get downvoted. You are talking obvious trash about Brother of all companies that advertises "MS-DOS compatability" on their printers. Never mind Linux. They are highly standard kit and always have been trivial to get working with Linux.

        People will always need 3rd party software. Whining that the unwashed masses can't deal with installing something is just plain retarded.

        Most of this stuff is automated on Ubuntu. The notable exception is DVD playback because it's not just a matter of patents but the idea that a DVD player is some sort of "cracking tool" in some jursidictions.

        Installing Flash should be as easy as anything else in Ubuntu. It's certainly not the distribution of "ideological purity". THAT horse left the Ubuntu ranch a long time ago.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          @ JEDIDIAH

          MS-DOS compatibility? What the hell? It's a USB printer, and I'm not sure how much smarts the printer itself has and how much is the driver.

          Whatever, it is a DCP-165C. I looked up how to install it and got three different answers. I started with one (install some sort of printer system) and it threw up a bunch of nerdy-looking messages. Not being an instant expert in Ubuntu, I gave up on it. Oh, and no, it didn't auto-detect the printer at all, so no help there. This is not my idea of "trivial".

          Let's not get started that there doesn't appear to be any useful support for all the nifty things a touchpad can do. Mine is detected as a PS/2 mouse. Oh, and really don't get me going on the topic of the temperament of the WiFi card. Kindly do not take the lame route and think of blaming my hardware. There is nothing unusual in my setup. There is nothing radical and new inside my computer. Nothing Ubuntu likely hasn't seen before.

          Ubuntu mostly works, but then there's a lot of stuff that doesn't, or doesn't quite correctly. Perhaps if you concentrate on this (and other commenters saying much the same thing) instead of picking me up on talking "trash" (DOS? USB? printer? really?) you might understand that it is not a problem of whether or not it is Open Source. It is not a problem of whether or not it is Free (either sense of the word). It is a problem of the fact that Ubuntu throws too many obstacles in the way. It would not pass The Granny Test. And I have neither the time, patience, or attention span to fiddle trying to get working something that already works on my other machines...

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        @heyrick & @Alastair 7

        "my Brother scanner/printer working looks a monumental hassle"

        Ah, maybe you have a crap printer unit that is only supported on Windows by the manufacturer and they don't publish full specifications to allow others to do so? Did you complain to Brother about this? Otherwise what do you expect, just smile and pay MS for your bad choice.

        You could have checked this site out first:

        http://www.openprinting.org/printers/manufacturer/Brother

        Next time buy a printer that is at least fully Win/Mac supported in *all* its features, as they usually more cooperate. Better still, get a postscript printer as they generally "just work" for all OS.

        "on OpenOffice's suitability for writing documents you are going to submit to university professors"

        What exactly is wrong? If they can't read an open standard like .ods properly, just use the Export as PDF... option and you get it properly laid out and print-ready.

        And yes, I do use Word and like some of its features much more than OO, but I hate the ribbon and my own favourite (from a usability point of view) was Office 97, even though it is buggy. Oh, and some of those bugs were still not fixed two versions later with Office XP. Nice to know what you pay MS for...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Paul Crawford

          "Ah, maybe you have a crap printer unit that is only supported on Windows by the manufacturer and they don't publish full specifications to allow others to do so? Did you complain to Brother about this? Otherwise what do you expect, just smile and pay MS for your bad choice."

          Whilst the underlying point about manufacturer support for different OSes is correct the attitude with which you put the point across is what really shits me about some Linux advocates - it may not have come across how you intended but it reads as patronising.

          I use a variety of different OSes and what people need to realise is:

          1. Most people know jack-shit about computers. They want to access the internet, their mail, photos etc and for things to just work. Perhaps they'd be better suited to an appliance type of device such as an iPad but that's a different matter.

          2. The printer and other peripherals they have aren't "crap", they're just what they happen to have and they don't wish to be patronised about their choice but assisted in getting it working. Most people look at a printer from the angle of "does it do photos, colour documents, and what does it cost etc" not "what drivers are available" or "is it supported out of the box by kernel 2.6.x-y..." because they don't have the knowledge to realise that it may not be supported.

          3. If things work when you use the Live CD then why the f*ck can't they just work once the operating system is installed - wireless connections on Ubuntu being a case in point. Several times for me in fact. This is probably what gets a lot of users.

          4. Be aware of how you advertise things - if Linux is promoted as easy to use then there will be great expectations placed upon it from a usability perspective and it just isn't there yet. If you want to know where/what/why then just compare using the OSX interface to your favourite desktop.

          I get things working eventually because I'll search on forums and post questions (and solutions when I've found them to assist others) but I also recognise that the average user has neither the aptitude nor patience to go through what I have at times to get things working.

          Hell, I'll probably be flamed downwards but I'm prepared to acknowledge what others go through rather than just tell them their kit is shite and go use windows.

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            @AC

            "The printer and other peripherals they have aren't "crap", they're just what they happen to have and they don't wish to be patronised about their choice but assisted in getting it working."

            What exactly do you call a product that is not fully documented and where the manufacturer will not assist you, or any others who are sufficiently skilled, to make it work?

            So while the person who bought it may not have understood the issues and deserves some sympathy, the problem is exactly the same - they bought a lemon. It is a device that will only work in certain circumstances, i.e. for those who pay MS.

            If you won't complain to the manufacturer and demand your money back when there is no support outside of MS lock-in, how are things ever going to improve?

    4. Martin 42

      Reverse

      "Nothing wrong with leaving the default to no. And lets be honest here, anybody who wants them, will know what they are, and tick the damn box themselves."

      I think the point is that the reverse is true - many who want to watch youtube will not realise it is '3rd party', whereas those that don't want 3rd party software will understand what this includes.

      It's the age old open source idealism against usability, and there is no 'right answer', just what direction ubuntu which to go in.

  4. Stuart 22
    Unhappy

    I wish I didn't have to use Flash, but ...

    I disagree having wasted an hour of my time getting YouTube working on my Kubuntu 10.10 system. Eventually used a non-verified Firefox plugin (Flash-Aid) to make Chrome work. Go figure!

    I can understand some of the Linux persuasion wish to avoid non-free. Is the solution not to have default marked/non-marked but require a POSITIVE decision one way or the other before proceeding past that point of the installation?

    A sentence giving the pros/cons of each decision would help - or are we trying to avoid the real reasons behind this decision?

  5. The BigYin

    The correct decision

    For the new to Linux it is often annoying that MP3s, DVDs, Flash etc will not play on most distros. There is the 5 minutes of "This is utter crap! I am going returning to Windows. A pox on this backwards OS, get with the 21st century freetards!"

    And then one finds that a script or an apt or a yum gets the missing bits.

    Then one finds out why they are missing.

    Then one begins to understand the poison that patents et al often are in IT.

    Then one begins to avoid the proprietary formats as much as is possible (with pragmatic exceptions).

    Given that FF4 just landed and FF (along with Chrome, Opera etc) all agree on what video formats to support, I can see an end to Flash on YouTube (once Google figures out how to insert ads). Certainly in the EU, IE is no longer the major browser and hasn't been for some time.

    h264 is a patent minefield and should be avoided if possible. It is also a licensing boobtrap waiting to be sprung.

    1. XMAN

      Yeah right

      I think you'll find that most users simply switch back to Windows before working out how to fix the problems. That's my experience with non-techy friends trying out Ubuntu.

      As for patents etc being poison. If companies and people don't make money, innovation will eventually dry up. Most of the companies offering "free" software do so to try create a monopoly before pulling the plug on the "free" part.

      1. The BigYin

        @XMAN

        "open" != "free"

        Just ask RedHat

    2. davtom

      The right decision?

      The problem is that most people just want things to work. Funnily enough, that issue also applies to Windows these days since many legacy drivers don't work in the latest versions of the operating system.

      I agree that in a utopian world, we shouldn't have to worry about things like H.264 patents and all the rest of them, which probably don't apply to many parts of the world in fact - US and Japan, I believe. But we don't live in a utopian world. If you restrict yourself to open source, that's a lot of stuff, but it's still quite a big restriction. After all, if software is closed source, that does not inherently make it bad.

      I fear that many people find out that MP3s, DVDs etc don't play nice out of the box, and if they are not tinkerers and don't know how to fix it, they are lost to Linux. As you point out, they think "This is utter crap," but they fail to move beyond that point.

      Even for tinkerers, the fact that it takes some time to install all the necessary bits can be a pain in the neck.

      This is the differentiating point of Mint, and I think that's why it has got to be the second most widely-used distribution of Linux. To quote from their about page on their website bullet point 1:

      "It works out of the box, with full multimedia support and is extremely easy to use."

      Personally, I think that's the way it should be. Just my opinion...

      1. copsewood
        Linux

        Windows doesn't work out of the box

        After installing Windows you then have to install a functional office suite (easier to download OOffice than to buy MSOffice), compressed archive decompressing tools, install printer drives from CD which Ubuntu generally autoinstalls over the Net unless you've bought a stupid printer, then download and install Firefox if you want a half way decent browser, programming languages if you have any software developed using Perl, Python etc. On Windows all of this has to be downloaded & installed from 3rd party sites where the typical Windows user has no way of knowing whether it includes malware.

        All of this stuff comes standard with Ubuntu/Fedora etc. If you then need to run media which isn't natively supported, one or 2 very simple checkboxes or following a dialogue requiring minimal attention from the user is usually all that is required.

        If you do need further add-ons on Linux, everything you are likely to want you can easily install using Synaptic/whatever and comes with a cryptographically signed trust path built into the installation method, so your probability of infection is kept extremely low. Yes it does take a higher level of knowledge to install 3rd party apps on Linux which are not in the very extensive distribution repositories, but from a trust point of view in the sense the installer is also likely to be capable of making an informed judgment on security issues, this isn't such a bad thing.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          @copsewood

          It's unfortunate but I'm afraid you can't compare installing windows with installing Linux because the fact of the matter is that windows is pre-installed and Linux needs installing at the current time. Its installer is great but then you are often faced with problem device drivers etc. This may not be Linux's fault but the end user doesn't give a rats arse because Windows just worked and this new OS people told them is great is a "useless piece of shite because x,y,z don't work etc". Sad but true. Users really do not care whose fault it is. The best thing Shuttleworth could do is to start shifting boxes with the OS pre-installed. Someone will have to at some point.

  6. Chris Lovell
    Linux

    In two minds

    I have conflicting perspectives on this decision.

    On the one hand, it does appear eminently sensible and justified - Yes, it's easy to install if you want it, and we get to choose exactly what we want on our distro.

    That said, by my understanding one of the aims of Ubuntu was to make it easy for those not used to linux to switch to it. Flash has become so ubiquitous now that, love it or hate it, it's conspicuous in its absence.

    I'm not saying it's a wrong decision per se, and hopefully in the future we'll be able to shift away from it entirely for many things on the web, but I'm unable to join in the flag-waving "100% right decision" commenters above.

  7. Goat Jam
    Linux

    Good Lord

    I'm glad they voted that way. If there is one thing that I hate about commercial OS ecosystems is the constant vigilance required to ensure you uncheck all the crap everytime you want to install something.

    Yes apple, I'm looking at you.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good (non) move

    While it would be nice if some help were provided to identify potentially useful stuff that isn't installed by default, I'm happy with things as they are : I know that what I have is what I currently need.

    If the Ubuntu board had gone the other way I would have gone elsewhere. The state of a tick box isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but it is a very slippery slope from that point on.

  9. Grease Monkey

    Not Just Flash

    Why do most people seem to be reading this as an issue solely related to flash?

    No operating system should install (or uninstall) apps without the user's knowledge and express permission.

    1. Mostor Astrakan
      Linux

      I'm also looking at...

      The Windows Update window with the "Express install (recommended)" setting, which would result in me installing the "malicious software removal tool" over what Norton already gives me, most likely breaking it in the process. I am also looking at the check box which says "Don't remind me about this update again". In fact, I look at it every bloody time. I am also looking at Windows Media Player, which keeps trying to install later versions I don't want.

      It sodding works for now. Stop trying to change it.

      Well done to Canonical for *not* doing that.

  10. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Correct decision +1

    I agree in not making flash (or other crap) the default option. not because it is propriety, but because of is long and inglorious history of piss-poor security and crashing browsers (less of an issue now).

    Yes, I have it installed for web sites that need it, but people should choose to have it if they need it, and understand the consequences. Really, if you can't manage to to the package manager and select it, then you have no right to be installing / setting up a PC!

    Make it all easy was MS' motto and that lead to a large proportion of the security issues we have today, as rolling back some of those 'features' breaks too much of Joe Average's favourite software. Learn from history, don't copy it!

  11. UBfusion

    Not really important to the end user

    The average Ubuntu user together with their mom, aunt and dog really don't care whether the installation has a proprietary ingredient or not. For them, "free" cannot not forked into beers and speeches.

    However, if removing flash altogether from the distro would relieve Canonical from some millions of dollars of licensing fees, I would gladly approve, provided they invested said sum to improve other parts of the user experience.

  12. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    Good vote

    You tube should not be a selling point for anything, the world truly is filled with sad lonely individuals if it ever becaomes a major selling point.

    A tick box should always be user based and not defaulted when installing apps you probably want. Because Adobe will only bloat the next release or "add on" more benefits (useless software) at a later date and so what then, more of your precious HDD taken up with absolute junk.

  13. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I thought

    that when you clicked on a video in YouTube from Firefox on Ubuntu (at least, up to 10.4), it pops up a box that says that you have to install Flash, and then directs you to an Adobe page that asks which package you want to load. Once decided (and working out which format you need is about the only tricky bit), it downloads it and asks how you want to open it. Selecting the default will open whichever package manager is the default (IIRC it was gdebi last time I did it) and install it on your system.

    OK, this will not be the version from the Ubuntu repository, but it should work.

    As far as I remember, this is pretty much the same for Firefox on Windows.

    Again, I believe that Totem will ask you to enable various options (lame and dvdcss) the first time it encounters a .mp3 or a DVD.

  14. Paul Hayes 1

    good for them

    I'd be quite happy if Flash completely disappeared from existence tomorrow.

    It's not Ubuntu's fault that Flash Player development is always a step or two behind Windows, it's Adobe's fault.

    And last time I installed Windows, it didn't come with Flash installed either. It has to be installed manually. And there's no central package management that'll keep it up to date there either.

    Now to wait for Google to put their money where their mouth is a drop Flash from Youtube in favour of html5 etc...

  15. Lghost
    Go

    want linux to work straight out of the box ? get mint

    <quote>This is the differentiating point of Mint, and I think that's why it has got to be the second most widely-used distribution of Linux. To quote from their about page on their website bullet point 1:

    "It works out of the box, with full multimedia support and is extremely easy to use."

    Personally, I think that's the way it should be. Just my opinion...</quote>

    And mine ;-) and that of a great many others..

    Mint is unbuntu linux as it should've been been done ,better, nicer looking , easier install easier to use, so easy that it is the only linux I install for peoples grannies and grandpas who have never touched a computer before, and they rarely have more than 1 or 2 questions later except the "what was my password one"..

    I've put Mint as a dual boot on a lot of windows boxen for kids,teens and adults too ..most prefer it to their windows install within 2 weeks ..its great if your business isn't call out based, ( because they only ever call you back to say thanks for turning a nightmare into a pleasure) but you are just installing for free to help people out on windows machines that have been trashed by the latest contaminated email from the grandchildren or "jokes" sent around the office workers and then passed on to extended family etc.

    Minty green icon used deliberately ;-) Go Mint

  16. cd

    If you want to save time...

    http://pinguy-os.sourceforge.net/

  17. SilverWave

    Maybe an explanation - tick if you want Flash and MP3?

    Not that its that hard to install it later...

  18. Oninoshiko
    Badgers

    A lot about not having flash installed confusing users...

    but it's strange, I don't think any windows installation disk I've been forced to use (kicking and screaming, mind you) included it either. Maybe one of the Apple users can tell us if theirs ships with it.

    I have no particular love for Linus' not-quite-UNIX, but let's try and keep what we consider usability requirements consistent across platforms.

  19. gerryg
    Linux

    articles passim

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/21/reg_linux_guide_1/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/23/reg_linux_guide_2/

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/24/reg_linux_guide_3/

    Hasn't everything been said that could be said by now?

    The ease of one approach to codec installation was indicated here

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/06/opensuse_11_3_review

    and although this one's also about KDE, my preference, (currently loving openSUSE 11.4)

    http://apcmag.com/linuxs-new-look-kde.htm

    no doubt Gnome is also better today than it was in September 2010

  20. nemo20000
    Thumb Up

    If at first you don’t succeed, try the next version

    I installed Ubuntu 10.04 for an entirely non-technical teacher friend whose XP installation had eaten itself (and, apparently, disposed of the recovery DVD too). I don’t think I would have dared with an earlier version, but the just-released 10.04 seemed reasonable.

    Fire up Firefox, go to Youtube, follow the prompts. Flash installed. Ditto mp3. Arranged for existing XP partition to be mounted by default and hey presto, all of her documents, photos etc were once again accessible. Total cost: 0p

    Back to the present day and she’s still using the machine quite happily (though her daughter won’t touch it).

    I think Linux is just about there now. For actual humans I mean, not just us.

  21. maclovinz
    Thumb Up

    Next Decade

    In the next decade, it looks like Flash should become obsolete, or, at least, a relic.

    Allowing such behavior in this manner would just pave the way to allowing the installation of all sorts of other spyware without users' knowledge.

    Good choice.

  22. Ceiling Cat

    Funny thing . . .

    When I install Windows from a proper install media (not from a "recovery set" issued by an OEM), I don't even get the OPTION to automatically install Flash. I have to go and download the plugin manually, or surf to YouTube and Firefox will semi-update the installation process for me.

    Personally, it's sad that they'd even WORRY about people getting turned off Ubuntu because YouTube doesn't work "right out of the box". Since when did YouTube become a selling point for EVERYTHING?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Well... as far as "Youtube"...

    I just finished switching our entire family (and all our primary systems) to Ubuntu (I've been running it, personally, for quite some time). And, we all couldn't be happier (My wife and I, were so tired of the insane expense, and especially the security problems, related to Microsoft "Windows", and other MS software). However, my ten year-old son, and thirteen year-old daughter, practically LIVE on youtube. So, it [Youtube] had to work (along with office-type software for their schoolwork, ALL my kid's media, and their normal Internet-usage). In fact, those were THE criteria for their being happy with the switch (And, yes, they are very happy with Linux... especially the COOLNESS-factor... after they decided that everything DOES work). Also, personally, I do frequently find Youtube (the HOWTO videos) invaluable as a source of information for some of my other hobbies/interests.

    In my opinion, "Adobe Flash" is, still, unbelievably annoying (flaky/buggy, arrogant)... in, both, Windows AND Linux... but, it is (unfortunately) often a necessary evil. However, one of the very reasons that we decided to finally, and blissfully, leave the Microsoft-world behind... was very much the need for real control over our-own computers. So... I think Ubuntu, absolutely made the right decision.

  24. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    FAIL

    Right move

    "He was expecting a 'windows' sort of experience where you just bung the disc in, install then go for all the updates."

    Except that's not the WIndows experience. It amounts to running the install CD. Then go find your drivers. Then update, reboot, update, reboot, update, reboot. Then go find an app, download, install it, find the next app, download, install it, ad nauseum. Then a week or two later have like 5 different updaters reminding that updates are due for those apps that were installed.

    MOST of the people I talk to who are afraid to go off Windows, go striaght to a tirade about how unreliable and problematic computers are. They list their specific grievances, and I then point out "Those are not *computer* problems, those are Windows problems. If you ran Ubuntu, or a Mac, or whatever, none of those problems would occur." (Or, if they *did* come up with legit computer problems, "none of those problems would occur except a and b".) It's strange, to me it's like if almost everyone drove Yugos, and were like "No, I love my Yugo and won't switch. It's to bad cars all have doors that fall off, handles that break, need carburetor adjustments, cap, rotor, and plugs pretty frequently, don't want to start sometimes, and generally break down so much."

    Back on topic, Canonical etc. are making the right move. As a few commenters have said, the first time someone goes to a flash or a java page, it's like "you need to install Flash (or java). Click next to do that." And then it does. Some people feel strongly about not wanting flash on there, and the rest it's a few click install (or checking that box) anyway.

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