[Solved] I need support for ActionScript 3

h_achatz

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I'm not sure if this is the proper place for this post, but since this problem ties to old Flash games I thought I'd start here. I repair and maintain an old brand of spectrum analyzer (I'm an RF engineer working in the telecom industry) that has a remote control feature. The firmware runs on a stripped down version of Linux, and the portion of the firmware in the spectrum analyzer (I'll now abbreviate spectrum analyzer with SA) that allows for remote access requires Adobe Flash with ActionScript 3 support. The remote PC must be on the same LAN as the SA, with each assigned separate IP addresses. The problem now, as you've probably guessed, is that the remote access feature no longer works. When I access the SA with my PC and web browser I get a message stating the Adobe Flash Plugin is missing. And if I load the Ruffle Flash emulator I get a new message stating Action Script 3 is not presently supported by Ruffle.

I've tried several 'work arounds' but with no success. One idea was to install a Linux version that was created prior to 12/31/2020 and that would have installed Flash Player on Firefox by default. I used to keep install DVD's of earlier Mint Linux distro's as they were released but tossed them several years ago. I can download an old version from linuxmint.com, but apparently they have been recompiled with Flash support removed, as it's not loaded by default as it used to be.

This is an important feature on this test equipment, as it not only allows for remote access, but also provides for fully automated testing via a script on the PC, which is a huge time saver. I suspect Ruffle will eventually support ActionScript 3, but I need the feature now!

Incidentally, I've been using Linux since the early 2000's so I'm not a newbie, However, I would be the first to admit I understand the hardware side much better than the software side, so perhaps there's an easy fix here that I haven't thought of. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Stumped and frustrated in Iowa.
 


jpnilson

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I know nothing of ActionScript 3 but I think you are on to something. I would go back and find a OS version that supports your application. It is does open you to some potential security concerns but you could firewall all of this off and protect it. I will do a bit of research to see if I can find something.....
 

jpnilson

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h_achatz

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Thanks for the 2 replies; I really appreciate it! Regarding the GitHub link, I believe I'll download most of the support files from all directories to a thumb drive just so I have them all going forward.

Now on to what is probably a dumb question.

As I stated yesterday, I'm primarily a 'hardware engineer' that knows enough on the software side to keep things running, but I'm still sometimes confused by the terminology. What I need specifically to solve my problem is the Adobe Flash Player plugin for a web browser. I normally use either Firefox or Chrome. So, when I download the install file for Adobe Flash Player that's probably not going to provide the resource(s) needed for a web browser plug-in? Is this correct thus far? The middle section of the GitHub page is divided by OS, then within each folder by browser type. I assume that is the file that I need to provide the appropriate plug-in?

Thanks again!!
 
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h_achatz

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Finally had time to try some of the downloads on GitHub and they don't solve the problem either. This are INSTALLER files, meaning they begin the install process, then open a browser and attempt to link to Adobe to download the remainder of the required code, which of course doesn't work because Adobe stops the process with a message saying Flash is no longer supported. I need a self-contained installer that contains all coding required without the needi to link to the Internet.

I think I'm out of options on this, as I only see two viable options in resolving it.
1. Find someone who has an old laptop that they've kept off the Internet since Adobe support was dropped. Then, if they would allow me to, I'd clone their HDD/SDD onto an older laptop that I'd keep dedicated for just this use (instrumentation control).
2. Wait for a new version of Ruffle or some other Flash emulator under development that fully supports ActionScript 3. Once I have that I think the problem will be resolved. I know there is open source development along these lines as there are many old games that require ActionScript 3.

Thanks again for the posts thus far.
 

jpnilson

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I am wondering you have tried flash player open source alternatives. I'm wondering if it may actually be browser settings that are causing you the grief. still looking
 

KGIII

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I'd look into pepperflashplayer-nonfree, which should do the trick. It was a Google thing.


Some digging should turn up an older version. You may also need to use an older release distro in a VM or the likes. I think the 'end date' was hard coded in the software. I'm not positive about that, so don't quote me on it.
 
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h_achatz

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Thanks for the suggestion for PepperFlashPlayer. I followed the link, and unless I'm misreading the information it has been shutdown as well. I'll do some further searching, but the repository states no-one is managing the project any longer.

I've been trying to download and install Lightspark which claims to be compatible with all 3 versions of Actionscript, however thus far I've been unable to install it in Mint Linux.
 

KGIII

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Yeah, it'll be unmaintained and you'll have to find an older version that still works. I'm sure it's in an archive or two. You may want a version that isn't quite the last version - as the last version may have some sort of date cutoff. This will require experimenting on it yourself, as I've got no way to test it.
 

JasKinasis

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I used to work at an e-learning company many years ago. We used Actionscript 3 with the Flex SDK to create games and courseware content in Flash. We had a "multi-media engine" written in pure AS3.
And the engine worked on any platform that could run flash player, which included Linux. Those were fun times!
Used to use Flashdevelop as an IDE on Windows. And on Linux, I just used vim for editing the AS3 code and used the CLI tools that came with the Flex SDK to build, run and test.
Sadly, I think flash is completely dead in the water nowadays.

I used to have the final version of the Adobe Flex SDK installed, with a locally installed version of the last Linux version of flash-player on my laptop. But at some point, it all stopped working because a lot of its dependencies were updated and the older libraries relied on by those builds became unavailable.

However, you could probably quite easily port a lot of existing Actionscript3 code to something like ECMAScript, or JavaScript with html and css. But you’d need to find some kind of replacement for any internal, or external as3 libraries used in the code.

There used to be some really good tweening libraries for animating vector graphics and physics libraries for games in AS3. Saying that, there’s no shortage of JavaScript libraries and application frameworks out there nowadays.

As flawed and plagued with security problems as Flash was, it was a fun platform to work on!

Might be an interesting project for me. Dig out some of my ancient AS3 projects and see if I can port them to JavaScript, or some other language.
 
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h_achatz

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I am wondering you have tried flash player open source alternatives. I'm wondering if it may actually be browser settings that are causing you the grief. still looking
Yes, I've tried Ruffle, Flash Player 2022 (based on Ruffle?), and also tried a 2020 version of PepperFlash but could not get it to work either. It appears none of them fully support ActionScript 3, which I need for this to work correctly. What I need is a URL where I could download a Flash Plugin (probably for Chromium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS), isolate Ubuntu from Internet access, and then set the computer clock date back to sometime in 2020 or earlier.

In other words, I'd use an old laptop for test equipment control and nothing else. Or..... I wait until Ruffle fully supports AS3; apparently they are working on it.

Thanks again for all the replies and suggestions.
 

beelzy

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I hope I'm not too late, but are you still having this problem?

I have found a lighter way than Flashpoint to play flash games on Linux, and I'm wondering if the method outlined in this gitlab repo might be of some use to you: https://gitlab.com/beelzy/fg-catalog (Disclaimer: that's my repo, so if you have issues, feel free to ask)

Essentially, I use Electron or NW.js sandboxed in a no Internet (except LAN) environment to drive a separate browser with the pepper flash plugin.
Technically, you don't have to run fg-catalog or the sandboxed environment, but you might use similar settings from package.json to get NW.js to work. Last I checked, they are still offering downloads of that specific version of Chromium that does not block flash player.

As for obtaining an old enough version of the flash player, I believe archive.org had them. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the correct url for it was. if you don't know the correct url, Archlinux archives has them as well; you just need to untar them with zstd support. Not sure if it will work on Ubuntu, but I did find this: https://launchpad.net/~skunk/+archive/ubuntu/pepper-flash Unsure if that works either.
 
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h_achatz

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Beelzy:

No, you're not too late. I'm still trying to solve this issue but had decided to shelve it for a week or two and then try again. I'll check your repo later today; especially your instructions. As I've stated several times in earlier posts, I'm a hardware guy who knows just enough on the software side to be dangerous.

I'm intrigued with your comment about needing an older version of Chromium, as I've suspecting this may be part of my issue. I've been trying to find an older version but without much success to this point.

I'll probably have questions once I check all the info you've provided. Thanks again.
 
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h_achatz

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I want to provide a final solution to this issue and mark this problem solved. Many thanks to everyone who made suggestions; but especially to KGIII, as his suggestions were invaluable towards the solution.

It all came down to the right software and install sequence:
1. Install an older version of Linux. I settled on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
2. Do not perform any software updates after the basic Ubuntu installation.
3. Install Chrome 42 (or any Chrome version prior to version 54, as beginning with ver. 54 Pepper Flash was removed). I had to briefly activate Internet access for the install, as the Chrome 42 package had to download several 'dependency packages'. Then immediately disable Internet access.
4. Setup a local static IP addressing scheme between the laptop Ethernet port and my test equipment.
5. Open Chrome and type in the IP address assigned to the test equipment (spectrum analyzer in my case).
6. Log in to the web page contained in the instrument firmware.
7. I'm up and running and have full test equipment control from Chrome/Pepper Flash.
8. As a cautionary note, stay off the Internet using this arrangement for a variety of reasons - security issues plus others.

I want to again express my sincere thanks for the suggestions, especially the URL/ repository for older Chrome packages provided by KGIII, that I could download and experiment with!!
 
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KGIII

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I'm glad it's sorted. I strongly suspect that this thread will help other people, or at least end up being a search engine result that's pretty high in the list for 'Linux flash' or some other keywords.

For completeness sake, and you take your risks with it, this is the link I was able to provide that had antiquated Linux versions of Chrome. I dunno how lawful the share is, but I suspect Google allows redistribution of installation media. So, we'll hope for the best:


There's really no way to verify the integrity of those files, but they seem to do the trick.
 

KGIII

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Hmm... It might be worth editing your original tutorial by switching the 48 to 42. That way readers don't mess up and have to return to the thread and scroll down.

People are like that. Once they see what they think is a solution, they stop scrolling. I see it here with some regularity. "I followed this tutorial." They link to a forum thread somewhere. If you actually visit the link, you'll see that it was discovered that the fix wasn't quite right (or needed some tweaking). They'd know that, but they didn't read the full thread.

Of course, sometimes the threads are 20 pages long and I can at least relate when it comes to not wading through all of that.
 
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