Thursday, July 06, 2006

Random bits on current status

Update (10/31/06): I still see tons of people reading this old entry. Please read this for up to date information. A beta for Linux is now available.

Flash Player 9 is finally done and some of us can finally take a long deserved break. As I have been part of handling the engineering on the OS X universal binary I have been more busy than others after the release together with those who are handling the other ports and versions which need to get out. The OS X universal binary is in beta and I expect people to find lots of bugs. I've made numerous changes to the code base to make it work better with XCode/gcc. These changes will be moved it into the Linux builds, with some minor exceptions. It's certainly good to see that people seem to be happier with the performance compared to 8.0r27. Although I have to say, we probably hit the top limit of what is possible with the current architecture of the Flash Player. Everything else will have to wait until the next major version. My focus during this beta period will be purely on bugs.

I have been following the progress of the Linux version closely and have even managed to add a couple of change lists specifically for this version, even though I broke the build badly on Mike's Gentoo box recently. I decided to use Ubuntu to do my Linux builds since I am a .deb/apt-get/dselect guy and each one of the other engineers is using a different distribution. Amazing how many small good bugs pop up because of this.

Another few good bits come from a very well known engineer:

In case you have missed this, it is a wrapper to run Netscape 32 bit plugins in a 64 bit environment. Some of us will probably soon try this in their spare time and see if we can make it work this way, despite its obvious limitations. Hopefully the requirement for low level OS constructs in Flash Player 9 (GC/JIT/mmap/exceptions/pthreads etc.) will not prevent it from working.

You might wonder why I bring this up obviously. Well, yes I know this will initiate a flame war, but there will be definitely no 64 bit version of the Linux plugin initially, at least not for the beta. Neither have we planned to have a Linux PowerPC or even ARM version for the upcoming beta. There is no Windows 64 bit version either right now, I have already talked about some (but not all) of the technical the reasons in a previous blog entry and why it's not just a simple recompile or fixing 'pointer casting bugs'. It will happen eventually and we are actively working on it, but the time table is completely unknown to me at this point. The focus of ours is to first reach a majority of Linux users with a stable and usable build to get as much beta feedback as possible.

Fun personal side note: I see that Gwenolé Beauchesne is maintaining the SheepShaver project. Did you know that I did draw the SheepShaver icon you see here? Really. This was back in my BeOS days. And yes, I suck as a pixeler ;-)

What else is there in the short term? I'll be actively working on updating some of my AS3 code which I posted here on my blog and rerelease it in some form, with hopes that people will pick it up. Also, next gen stuff is always in my mind.


Anonymous Reinoud Elhorst said...

I think it makes sense to first get a 32bit linux version of flash player out there. Although it is not ideal, one can always run mozilla in 32bit mode, or indeed, use the nspluginwrapper (incidentally, a <br> seems to have snook into the link). Don't divert any attention to 64bit yet until the 32bit is fully stable.

Now, if you had developers sitting around doing nothing... But I don't think there are many companies like that.

Friday, July 07, 2006 6:02:00 AM  
Anonymous John Nack said...

Hah--I love the shorn sheep!

Friday, July 07, 2006 7:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael Klishin said...

A question here: do you plan to support any language beside ActionScript in future architecture? How about smth expressive like Ruby? Scripting is being widely adopted recently. This should make sense, shouldn't it?

BTW, your and Mike posts are very interesting, try to post a bit more often, please ;)


Saturday, July 08, 2006 3:48:00 AM  
Blogger jayKayEss said...

I await the beta with bated breath...

Saturday, July 08, 2006 8:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Rob H. said...

Well, at least by declaring no 64 bit support, that is least known officially about whatever is going to be the next Linux Flash player...

I hope you guys really get a working beta available by Q1 of 2007 for end users to provide feedback on. I just got Adobe After Effects 6 working on VMWare with the hardware acceleration, so when the Flash 8 (or 9) on Linux comes out, I'll likely buy Adobe After Effects 7 along with Flash Professional 8.

Monday, July 10, 2006 2:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Bloody said...

About nspluginwrapper: it only supports plugins built for Netscape 4. I tried it with the Sun java plugin 5.0 for Mozilla/Firefox/Netscape 7 and it didn't work (and Sun have discontinued NS4 support with java 5).

And it crashes very often with the current Flash 7 plugin. Although I don't know if it's the plugin fault or if it's Flash for Linux that's unstable since it relies on very old technology.

Oh well no Flash for me (unless someone improves nspluginwrapper).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a 64-bit native version as soon as possible, but if that isn't possible, providing some kind of workaround would be great - maybe contributing some code to nspluginwrapper or a similar 32-bit -> 64-bit wrapper.

Flash, Java (not for long!) and the win32 video codecs are the only things really holding back 64-bit browser usage on linux. Flash is quickly becoming a de facto standard for web video, so a native version would go a long way toward improving the linux desktop experience.

On a related note - will there be any love for Linux/ppc users?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 9:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Bloody said...

Anonymous said : "contributing some code to nspluginwrapper or a similar 32-bit -> 64-bit wrapper."

I think that contributing some code to nspluginwrapper would be the way that would require the least ressources as the architecture is already in place. The only thing that needs to be modified is the way nspluginwrapper loads the plugin as well as, probably, adding some stuff that wasn't in NS4. And, maybe, some debugging.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:15:00 AM  
Anonymous léo studer said...

Too bad there's no 64bit beta. While still hoping for a 64bit version with the final release, I'll rely on gnash for browsing flash websites.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, in response to what Reinoud thinks, it would be better to focus its development in a cross-platform way from the start. In that way, they will have less problems porting Flash to other platforms (such as Amd64). If they rush to get a 32 bit version out, the code will be very bad and hard to port anywhere else and any other distributions would delay a lot... if they arrive.

Friday, July 14, 2006 3:01:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hey Tinic,

On an unrelated note, is there any word on when we might see the swf 9 file format specification? I remember reading a previous post where you indicated that this doc was maintained by the devs post player release.

Sunday, July 16, 2006 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tinic Uro said...


The SWF9 docs are worked on right now. Keep in mind that a lot of people who worked on AS3 over the past 2 1/2 years are taking their sabbaticals these days, we'll have to wait for their return to finalize and proof read the specification. I suppose most people are insterested in the AMF3 format which along with the new VM are pretty much the only file format changes.

Sunday, July 16, 2006 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas Leavitt said...

... OS/X is *nix, right? Shouldn't that make porting something like the FlashPlayer to Linux easier than otherwise? Or am I just being naive?

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's simply a shame that one of the biggest software company in the world is unable to deliver 64 bit version of his *most important* plugin.

If you are unable to program correctly, please open source the package and let do the work to the people that know how to do it.

64bit are available since a lot of time now. They created the linux version in a matter of time, adapting and recompiling *thousands* of software.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I don't use any 64bit systems, I do use Linux on my PCs and PowerMacs. And, when you get right down to it, I don't even have it enabled on all my machines. The main reason is that probably 80+% of the sites that use Flash, use it for advertising. And the other sites use it badly. Case in point, the site. It is SLOW, even on a DSL connection on an Athlon 3200+. And, why is it slow? Because they make you watch them "build" the site and "build" the pictures. What a lot of crap. Most of my desktops are in the 4-500Mhz range. I always turn off the eye-candy crap. And I don't miss it one bit. I work on computers and see so many machines crawl because of the useless eye candy and the tendency of windows applications that think that they are the most important app you can ever use, like iTunes, Quicktime, java, weatherbug, deskshots, etc. Once I turn off all that garbage, people are like wow, my computer is fast. And, then, some times afterwards, they start complaining again. I look, and all that garbage is back and/or turned back on. So, I just tell them to buy a faster computer. That's what flash is to me. Annoying ads and useless eye candy. When I do switch back to a machine that has it, I see how much I haven't been missing. So, please don't rush on my account. Because I have no interest in it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous r1348 said...

This 64bit plugin is taking forever.
Nspluginwrapper is fine, but still in beta stage and manages to crash badly my Firefox sometimes.
Now, I think that the only _REAL_ hope for we 64bit users is gnash. Wait for it to reach a stable status, it's able to compile and run on every possible OS on every possible arch. It also uses well integrated Linux backends such as opengl, cairo, gstreamer. The power of open-source...
I really can't trust much the antiquate development model Adobe uses (let's serve the bigger parts of the market, others will wait).
About a Java plugin: I saw a plugin using gcj has just been added to Fedora rawhide, so Fedora Core 6 will have it. Can't wait...

Sunday, July 30, 2006 3:40:00 AM  
Blogger 尼古拉 said...

I think with Terra Soft Solutions announcing Yellow Dog Linux v. 5.0 being available for Sony's PPC on launch, this will make Flash 9 for PPC Linux an important market to focus on next.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 8:22:00 PM  
Anonymous <a href="">ShopMan</a> said...

I like articles like this. Thanks!

Saturday, August 25, 2007 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous <a href="">Anonimous</a> said...

Well done. Keep up the great work. Best regards!

Sunday, September 09, 2007 10:08:00 AM  

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