I'm primarily concerned about this question for Ubuntu on Toshiba AC100 (ARM), because a Flash plugin for browsers is not available as a working package for Ubuntu on AC100, but it is a general question which would apply to any Ubuntu system where one doesn't want to use the prorietary Flash plugin and the format.

At http://vk.com (VKontakte -- a popular Facebook clone from Russia), video and audio are usually played by means of Flash. What if one doesn't want to mess with the proprietary Adobe's flash plugin, is it possible to play video and audio at VKontakte?

(As we know, in the case of YouTube, video playback can be done by means of HTML5 as an alternative to Flash. And indeed, I could play video from YouTube in Firefox in Ubuntu 12.04 for AC100.)

Is the situation for VKontakte worse than for YouTube?

I have found the following answers about HTML5 and VKontakte (in Russian) from 2010 -- http://otvety.google.ru/otvety/thread?tid=405ffaec80c737f7 and http://habrahabr.ru/company/vkontakte/blog/93599/ -- saying that VKontakte encodes the video with H.264, and because of this, HTML5 playback will work only in Google Chrome and Safari (important for iOS), but not in Firefox and Opera which don't support H.264.

I've also found the following statemnent concerning H.264 support in browsers -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H264#Controversies :

"In January 2011, Google announced that they were pulling support for H.264 from their Chrome browser and supporting both Theora and WebM/VP8 to use only open formats.[16] However, as of September 2012, Google has not followed through with this announcement and still supports H.264 in their Chrome browser through FFMPEG. No official statement was released on the matter.

On 18 March 2012 Mozilla announced that it will support H.264 in Firefox on mobile devices due to prevalence of H.264-encoded video and the increased power-efficiency of using dedicated H.264 decoder hardware common on such devices."

So, the situation is not clear: is Chromium expected to abandon the support for H.264, and has Firefox not yet implemented it? Is it possible to play video at VKontakte in one of the browsers in Ubuntu on AC100 now?

(And what about audio at VKontakte?)

(I've also posted this question to https://answers.launchpad.net/ac100/+question/208747 .)

  • I am afraid your question is a bit off topic. The part about whether or not vk.com supports non-flash playback should be directed to the admins of that site. The part of whether Google will or won't (and when) drop support for h264 should be aimed at Google, and, of cause, it's only logical to aquire info about Mozilla's plans directly from the source, in other words, Mozilla. Commented Sep 16, 2012 at 23:38
  • @mikewhatever I agree. But at least, is it true that Firefox in Ubuntu currently doesn't support h.264? And that Chromium in Ubuntu does? If the answer is yes to both questions, then at least I will know that my former attempts to test video playback on vk.com in Firefox on this machine didn't make sense, and one should try it in Chromium, if one wants to try to play video from vk.com on this machine. If the answers are different, then the problem might be not in Firefox, but in vk.com, or another option (if neither browser supports h264): the goal is currently unachievable on Toshiba AC100. Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 10:11
  • It is true about Firefox, but I am not sure about Chromium. Chromium shold definitely have support for h264, but that wouldn't help either if vk.com doesn't support non-flash content playing. Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 10:57
  • vk.com has stated that it supports HTML5 video playback (h.264 encoded) -- because they care about iOS. I'm not sure what should trigger the switch from Flash to HTML5 on their site, so first, I need a browser that definitely supports HTML5 with h.264, in order to test video playback on vk.com. (Firefox playing video on YouTube without Flash is probably due to YouTube using another codec, different from h.264...) Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 11:43
  • 1
    youtube.com/html5 shows if a browser supports h264 or not. Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


I've tested this:

in Chromium, under each video at vk.com, there is a notice saying that Flash Player is needed, or one can load the HTML5 player (the 2nd option is a clickable link). If one clicks the "HTML5 player" link, the video is played rather well.

Similarly for audio at vk.com in Chromium (some tracks are played badly, others quite well).

In Firefox, there is no such "HTML5 player" option in the notice under a video.

Hence conclusion: videos from vk.com can't be played in Firefox in Ubuntu 12.04 on ARM, but they can in Chromium.

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