Online Media Viewing Woes

I think the thing that I am finding to be the most annoying these days is the alert for ‘Missing Plugin for Quicktime, please download.’ Well, go figure, I can’t – at least that I know of.

But it’s not just Quicktime files, it’s also those sites that embed video in Windows Media Player format (also something I can’t view) as well as those who embed things requiring Flash 8 (not yet available for Linux, only up to version 7). Similarly, there is no Shockwave player for Firefox on Linux. Which is just … unamusing. In fact, you can see a list here: Common Firefox Plugins to see which are not available on Linux.

I find this all particularly annoying. I love using Linux (Ubuntu) as my primary Operating System – but I am inordinately displeased with the lack of Linux support for such common plugins. I really hope this improves in the near future.

Now, what was the point of this rant? The point was actually Accessibility. Please keep in mind that your web viewers may not have a required plugin. Always keep up to date on what plugins are even available to your users. Asking them to download a plugin is presumptuous enough – asking them to download a plugin that doesn’t exist is downright ridiculous and reflects poorly on your site. If you are trying to determine a good media type to pick – choose the least common denominator. In this case, that means use RealPlayer file formats or <= Flash 7.


4 Replies to “Online Media Viewing Woes”

  1. I use mozilla-mplayer (you’ll find it in the repository) which has worked for 99 % of the times.

  2. There is both Flash and QuickTime and etc. players for linux. It’s just a pain to put in place and I, so far, haven’t even bothered getting it to work right.

    There are some tutorials out there though. Just search the Ubuntu Forums. (Wonder if that link will work.)

  3. Mmm… maybe I’ve missed them, I can search the site again. I’ve been looking for them for a while.

    I’ve got Flash stuff working fine (up to Flash 7, and that I can find there’s no plugin for Flash 8). For Flash its in the repository and you install: swf-player (which should also install the gstreamer0.8-swfdec), and libflash-mozplugin, and to go upto Flash 7 you also install the flashplugin-nonfree.

    Now… for QuickTime there is one called the kmplayer-konq-plugins which will let you play RealPlayer and Quicktime in Konqueror – but obviously this doesn’t crossover for Firefox. There’s another one called mozilla-plugin-vlc that I have installed and its supposed to let you see streaming QuickTime and several other things in FF … just doesn’t seem to work.

    I’ll look around more to see if I can find any that work. It’s just one of those things that really gets on my nerves. I run into it all the time because it seems that language learning sites with audio clips have this unruly tendency to use QT and RM audio files.

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