There is currently a discussion on a private mailing list about whether some money from a community organisation should be used to assist the development of Gnash (the free software Flash player) . The main reason for this is that there are apparently some schools that depend on flash web sites to such a degree that they won’t consider using a free OS that lacks Flash support.
It has been shown that there are a number of issues related to contributing financially to free projects, the people who advocate financial contributions in this case assure us that such problems have been addressed but it will remain controversial to some extent. One thing that is not controversial is the fact that testing and debugging is universally a good thing. So I advocate doing such testing as a way to contribute to Flash development and therefore free software use in education.
The Debian-Edu project has a web page with a link to flash sites that can be used for testing . So I plan to now install Gnash on all Linux desktop systems that I run and get bug reports to help development. I encourage others to do the same.
While a non-free format such as Flash is not ideal, it’s certainly a lot better than Silverlight!
Note that I don’t have strong feelings about the issues of financial support for Gnash (which is why I didn’t contribute to the private discussion in question). But I am convinced that more people using and testing Gnash is a good thing.