animationsbeamermovie15

I sometimes have to present on other people's equipment, such as machines running stripped down Linux distributions, presentation servers with a bare-bones PDF viewer running in a virtual machine, or a Windows box with a heavily locked-down Adobe Reader (e.g. with JavaScript disabled). So far I've tried to avoid doing anything fancy with beamer. But for some concepts, animations seem necessary.

How can one create PDF presentations in LaTeX, preferably with beamer, which include animations that work on most PDF viewers?

Ideally, if the animations don't work then they should degrade gracefully. For instance, the first and last frame could still be shown.

Beamer has \animate but this requires the PDF viewer to support showing several slides in succession, without manual intervention. Jens Nöckel suggests using external movies, which seems even less likely to work; this relies on a viewer being available for the movie format, and that the movie viewer can be called by the PDF viewer.

Older documents suggest MetaPost or animated GIF files, which seem hacky (though I will consider them if no other alternatives exist).

As discussed in https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2428372/insert-video-clip-in-a-lyx-presentation-and-play-it-in-gnu-linux, you can use the multimedia package to embed movies (mpg, mp4) in a way that you can play them in Okular. Minimal example:
\documentclass{article}