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Gnash User Manual: Introduction.

Gnash is a free SWF movie player. It is available as a stand-alone application or as a plugin for several popular web browsers. It supports playing media from a disk or streaming over a network connection. Some popular video sharing sites like YouTube are supported on a wide variety of devices from embedded ones to modern desktops.


Gnash has a better focus on security, allowing the user tight control of all network or disk based I/O. Gnash also supports extending ActionScript by creating your own classes. You can write wrappers for any development library, and import them into the player much like Perl or Python does.



This manual is primarily focused on users interested in how to get Gnash installed from a package, and basic usage as a web browser plugin. For more technical details, please refer to the Gnash Reference manual.


What Is Supported?

Gnash is known to compile for most any POSIX and ANSI C++ conforming system if you have all the dependent libraries installed. Systems we test on, and which Gnash is known to run on are Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Mandriva, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Win32, and Darwin (OSX) primarily. Occasionally other platforms are built, primarily by those distribution maintainers. This includes BeOS, Haiku, Syllable, OS/2, Solaris, Slackware, and Gentoo.

Gnash is capable of reading up to SWF v9 files and opcodes, but primarily supports SWF v7, with better SWF v8 and v9 support under heavy development. Since the 0.8.2 release, Gnash includes initial parser support for SWF v8 and v9. Not all ActionScript 2 classes are implemented yet, but all of the most heavily used ones are. Many ActionScript 2 classes are partially implemented; there is support for all of the commonly used methods of each class.


Gnash has implemented about 80% of ActionScript v2.0, and has begun implementing ActionScript v3.0. Gnash supports the majority of Flash opcodes up to SWF v9, and a wide sampling of ActionScript classes for SWF v8.


As ActionScript 3 is a more developed version of ActionScript 2, many of the same classes work for both. Support has been added to Gnash's ActionScript library to support the new ActionScript 3 filters, which get applied to every class. Implementing ActionScript classes is often the easiest way for new Gnash developers to make a contribution without a deep internal knowledge of Gnash.


Gnash has included video support since early 2007, but this is an ever changing field of reverse engineering. Many of the popular video sharing sites use SWF v8 or v9, which Gnash supports imperfectly. This is improving all the time, so often builds from a development snapshot will work when using the older release packaged in your distribution doesn't. You can find daily snapshots of the latest CVS tree at: http://www.gnashdev.org/dev_snapshots.


Gnash uses FFmpeg for codecs, so any file supported by Mplayer should work with Gnash. Gnash supports the loading of patent free codecs like Ogg Vorbis or Theora from disk based files, while work is being done to support these codecs when embedded in a SWF file. FFmpeg contains the codecs used by the current SWF defintion, FLV, VP6 (ON2), H.263, H.264, and MP3.

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About Hugo Repetto

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that offers an operating system predominantly focused on desktop computers but also provides support for servers. Based on Debian GNU / Linux, Ubuntu focuses on ease of use, freedom in usage restriction, regular releases (every 6 months) and ease of installation.
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