SeaMonkey, Flash, Flashblock

SeaMonkey 1.1.1 has a lengthy list of known issues, some of which are Linux-specific. I mentioned a week or two ago in the DSL Forums that I was experiencing one of them regarding Flash.

Every time I’d hit a site with Flash, I’d get the prompt that I needed the Flash plug-in. I would cancel it and then I would either crash immediately or soon thereafter (such as when switching tabs). After reading the list of known issues, I’m not sure that installing the Flash plug-in would’ve done much to reduce the crashes which were occurring several times per day — it’s amazingly stupid and inconsiderate the number of major websites that run stuff like Flash by default. This is a serious issue — SeaMonkey 1.1.1 has been very unstable because of it.

The Linux binaries we distribute are now compiled with GCC 3.3 or GCC 3.4… Users of older Linux versions should wait for a SeaMonkey version compiled specifically for their Linux distro, or compile it themselves. Other than potential plugin issues, however, SeaMonkey continues to support very old distros.

Okay, so what are the recommendations? The site suggests installing the latest versions of Java and Flash, which appear to be the biggest culprits. The former is acceptable. The latter isn’t — nevermind the fact that Flash is proprietary, it’s not exactly the most secure thing someone can add to a computer:

Personalized Results 1 – 10 of about 23,400,000 for flash security issues. (0.20 seconds)

And now that piece of excrement is causing SeaMonkey to crash several times a day! Per the “known issues” page:

Some SeaMonkey crashes are actually caused by Flash.

No kidding! And installing a newer and larger version of it so Flash will load by default will stop that? I don’t want it anyway, so why do I even have to be prompted incessantly?

I decided to find a way to block Flash content altogether. Flashblock sets placeholders for Flash content and allows the user to decide if he or she wants to view that content. This has totally eliminated the prompt of a “need” to install the plug-in. More importantly, I haven’t crashed since installing it.

It would be nice if SeaMonkey’s development team would integrate such “blocking” utilities in the default build just like they do for pop-ups and other annoyances. Users — not the application’s developers or webmasters of visited sites — should get to determine exactly what content types load or don’t when clicking on a website. Plug-ins shouldn’t load by default, and users shouldn’t be prompted more than once to install a plug-in, unless a user turns on such features to allow those things.

And while I’m on the subject, people should avoid supporting or using any Linux distribution that installs closed or proprietary code like Flash or Opera or certain drivers by default. That includes Mint, the developers of which are totally willing to compromise when it comes to things that “produce an elegant desktop.” That’s something users should get to decide for themselves. Not developers.

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One Response to “SeaMonkey, Flash, Flashblock”

  1. CanSecWest: pwn2own Wrap Up (Adobe Flash Causes Vista Laptop Pwnage) « lucky13 Says:

    […] of my blog know I’m a proponent of flashblock and other extensions for Firefox (and Seamonkey) that help users whitelist trusted […]

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