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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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Flash on OpenBSD? Say it isn't so!!!

Posted 12-15-2009 at 03:08 PM by rocket357
Updated 09-17-2010 at 12:02 PM by rocket357

I like OpenBSD. Minus about 2 tiny details, it really is (IMHO) the most superior OS on the planet. Sure, I'm a fanboy, I admit it freely =)

One of those "2 tiny details" is the lack of a flash player for OpenBSD. I mean, sure, there's the opera-linux-emulation-crapola that's hovering between vaporware and "our project admin died and we forgot to tell you" (it's still flash 7...flash 10 is out now!). Blarg. There must be a better way.

Some time ago I ran across a nifty little howto for setting up WinXP in a virtual machine and running applications from it directly on your desktop. Sounds like it has potential, especially since flash takes about "<default_install_size> + 10 MB" on a vm. Useful as well because I work in IT for a hosting company and I sometimes need to check sites in IE...

Here's the howto:

I made a few modifications. For starters, I run WinXP on a laptop that has a cracked LCD and missing around 10 keys (yeah, the installation was a blast). Second, I installed a second NIC in my OpenBSD machine, plopped in a crossover cable, and created a mini network on the 172.16.x.x block so WinXP and OpenBSD could talk. Third, I set up pf to route packets between my desktop's real NIC and the WinXP add-on NIC. Oh, and I restricted the laptop from accessing anything other than port 80 and 443, and I set all of the fun state-modulation/scrub/hide-my-real-OS stuff that pf is capable of.

Ok, this works relatively well on OpenBSD, right up until you actually open a browser. At that point, rdesktop bombs out and completely disconnects you from Windows. Segfaults for the win! I downloaded rdesktop-CURRENT, recompiled, and tried again. No dice.

I started up a gdb session and traced the problem to lines 483/484 of ewmhints.c:

XChangeProperty(g_display, wnd, g_net_wm_icon_atom, XA_CARDINAL, 32,
PropModeReplace, (unsigned char *) (new_set ? new_set : cur_set), nitems);
Now, this appears to simply update an icon (Segfault only occurs on amd64, and it was patched some 18 months ago but the patch isn't in core yet). I commented those lines out, recompiled, and left the executable in $HOME/rdesktop-seamless/ (i.e. I didn't install the "broken" rdesktop over my system rdesktop). I created a startup entry (fluxbox) to connect to Windows when I login, and created a menu entry to let me connect when I wish.

Then I dumped IE for Firefox, installed flash, noscript, and WOT, and started having fun...Now I have a gimp'd laptop that serves as my flash-slave. Yeehaw.

EDIT - as of 09/2010, you need to pass --with-sound=libao to configure to build rdesktop on OpenBSD-CURRENT. I guess some underlying compiler issues or header file changes have brought about this need? (That, or I forgot to document that detail last time I dealt with this...)
Posted in OpenBSD
Views 2557 Comments 5
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Total Comments 5


  1. Old Comment
    lol that's funny
    flash not needed. i always disabled it everywhere. a potential vulnerability and also a source of more than half of stupid ads.
    Posted 12-15-2009 at 04:32 PM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    I know flash isn't *necessary*, but I keep it around for 1 reason: tons of Linux and Windows buddies who send me links to videos. Besides, if the lappy gets rooted, no big loss. It'd be capable of flooding port 80 or 443, but not much else. It's sole purpose in life is to render flash content, so there's no personal/critical information on there.

    As for ads, that's what noscript and WOT are for =)
    Posted 12-15-2009 at 05:42 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
    Updated 12-15-2009 at 05:45 PM by rocket357
  3. Old Comment
    ah, it's understandable. that's why i have no buddies lol. coz when they send me a link to utube i begin to get angry
    btw utube is a treat to internet, did you know? it takes big percent of a world's traffic. you can free some bandwidth if you don't go there!
    Posted 12-16-2009 at 12:05 AM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by Web31337 View Comment
    it (utube) takes big percent of a world's traffic.
    That doesn't surprise me one bit. The internet is a series of tubes, afterall...
    Posted 12-16-2009 at 12:25 AM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Posted 12-16-2009 at 11:45 AM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline


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