Sunday, August 26, 2007

Flashy 32bit diehards

Some days ago Mr. Mike Melanson of Adobe Flash's Linux port fame posted in Penguin.SWF blog about the news of H.264 coded support in Flash. Nice, a new codec. But there's a question that doesn't want to be silenced:
What about a nice, clear and objective answer about the availability of a 64bit version of the Flash plugin?
I know "Requests for such features as alternate operating system or CPU architecture support are more suited for the Adobe Wish Form", but come on. We users don't get any answer at all, clear or not, about it since yesteryear (21th july 2006 to be more precise), and submitting something to the Adobe Wish Form is just like waiting an answer from a cold, silent tombstone. At least Mr. Melanson talks to us from time to time, but his apparent policy of not discussing 64bit at all is such a denial mode that makes us think what's going on inside Adobe's corporate mind (as I believe he would like to be able to discuss it but his Management prevents him from doing so).
I posted something around these lines in the comments' session of his blog, knowing the odds that such comment would not be approved were high, but sincerely, people are starting to get fed of Adobe's silence (as increasingly frequent comments like "64-bit version or die" are quite revealing). Why have plugin versions to computer minorities as Linux-x86 and Solaris and deny Linux-amd64 users? Sincerely I would feel better if only Win32 versions were available, so the F/OSS community would reinvent itself again and bring up a free-as-in-speech multiplatform competitor with its proper creative tools (maybe even with a little help from the ones like Google, who has a huge interest in online media and owns two video-sharing portals) instead of settling for less and an implicit promise to deliver it "when it fits company's mood". This wait is a deja-vĂș of the XFree86's slowness before Keith Packard gently triggered the chain reaction who generated the XOrg's revolution, but in Flash's case it's closed source and closed-spec. Adobe's position about the PDF format represents a good balance between openness and commercial interests, but the same doesn't apply to Flash.
I and others recognize the efforts of some valiant people inside Adobe's headquarters to bring updated versions of the technology and to be more open and I hope they'll prevail and Adobe's management will understand this current window of opportunity to stay relevant in the rich media for the internet in the next decade.
People get fed, and not aways in the Gnash's sense. Sometimes it's in OpenOffice.org/ODF's sense (full creative suite that was the motivator and currently implements the ISO standard for office documents). Maybe Adobe will understand this before it's too late.

22 comments:

floodis said...

Amen to that. I also wrote a comment, but it will not be published.

Still, I would really prefer if the FLOSS community would make an alternative to Adobe Flash. Everything is better when its free :-)

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary said...

"Everything is better when its free :-)"

This just in. The flash plugin is free. They just haven't compiled a 64-bit plugin yet. The open source community already have made alternatives, like gnash which can somewhat work. You can also use nspluginwrapper to emulate 32-bit.

codeman38 said...

I'm still waiting for the Linux-PPC version myself... I'd install Linux permanently on my PowerBook in a heartbeat if Adobe would release such a thing.

Karl L. Gechlik said...

Everything is better when its free :-)

Yup word up but as Gary said it just has not been created yet - 32 bit yes 64 bit no.

NSPLUGINWRAPPER is a work around but we will wait for a real release.

thanks from your friends @ AskTheAdmin.com

WadeMealing said...

"This just in. The flash plugin is free".

Gary, you know as well as I do, that he meant free as in freedom.

I think that Adobe face an interesting challenge porting their application to 64 bit.

From what I remember reading about the flash compiler workflow, macromedia wrote in a metalanguage which was then compiled via assembly in the native systems assembly code.

I guess the original meta-language developers are long gone, hence the problems porting this code forward to 64 bit.

Releasing the code in its metalanguage without the compiler will be a waste of time.

Macrodobie won't do this without significant market pressure and most systems -still- run 32 bit operating systems.

Perhaps if Apples Leopard ('full 64 bit') build, will not allow hacky backwards compatible plugins, this -may- have enough pull finally push some dollars into this project.

But, all this is just speculation, I'm sure the employees of adobe know the real story and can't tell us anyway.

Lesson learned, don't use closed source software, you can't fix it even if you are capable.

Jason Stubbs said...

Negative karma to me for defending Adobe, but there isn't a 64bit version for Windows either. Apparently, the core VM needs a lot of modifications to make it 64bit compileable - probably endian-safe as well (although that doesn't apply to amd64).

I whole-heartedly agree that taking Flash to a similar level of openness as PDF would be a great step, though.

andrewsben said...

I too have felt the shun of Adobe, and others, for support of the 64-bit arch. I have had to resort to running firefox's 32 bit app on my amd64 system, as well as thunderbird (to get lightning to work). I think that it is time for the 64-bit system to get the respect it deserves.

Tinic Uro said...

"Apparently, the core VM needs a lot of modifications to make it 64bit compileable"

Yes, and that part also happens to be open source:

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/tamarin/

Everyone is welcome to contribute patches.

ZephyrXero said...

There is no 64bit version of Flash for Linux, Windows nor Mac OSX...no one has 64-bit, so don't thing it's something against just us Linux users ;)

Tom-Erik said...

Flash is a fuckin joke with its bugorama actionscript and the lack of real programers to write the flash clients. Im a linux guy but think MS will kick ass when silverlight runs on mono.

Kansei said...

I fail to see why anyone expects Adobe to compile a version of the Flash Player plugin for 64-bit Linux users.. what the heck kind of market share do you think we (yes, we.. I'm running Firefox 64-bit with nspluginwrapper giving me 32-bit Flash..) command to get a company like Adobe to listen.

You know who has 64-bit Flash support? The Mac OS. It would take 30 seconds of work plus.. well a whole crapton of QA testing (which could be cut out by saying 'it's a beta').

When someone involved or aware of the linux community gets a job at Adobe, then we'll be in business. But it sure won't be FOSS.

If you want FOSS, give some support to Gnash.. I hear they almost have flash video support!

Ian said...

I imagine its like Skype. They share a common backend with Windows and their overall developer focus is on Windows. Since on Windows 64bit vs. 32bit doesn't even matter, even for the 3 or 4 people who use 64-bit Windows.

I use x86-64 Gentoo, I use some sort of 64-bit wrapper, its not a big deal.

Benjamin said...

Fwiw, the Open Source community does work on Free Flash. See for example http://swfdec.freedesktop.org - it's Free and works fine on 64bit and/or PPC. It's not complete yet but progressing fast.

dr. Bongo said...

Software writers are having enough trouble programming for 32-bit. It appears they are either afraid, or perhaps incapable, of writing anything for 64-bit.

Case and point: How long have 64-bit systems been out; and how many decent 64-bit applications have been written for them?

Dollfinn! said...

Again its not just linux 64 bit users that are missing out, windows now has xp 64 bit and vista 64 bit operating systems. Funny enough there is no flash player for either unless you want to use a 32 bit browser (which is possible but seems rather pointless when you have paid all this money for a 64 bit system!) there is also very little in the way of antivirus and firewall protection for those using windows 64 bit XP, yet vista 64 is covered (i am not a programmer but that doesnt seem logical to me).

I am late to this issue and discussion after battling with a 32 bit o/s on a 64 bit system (amd/asus/nvidia) for 2 years now, putting up with ever increasing crashes (try 30 + in one day dependant on what programs i wish to use that day!) and finally having the money to augment my 64 bit system with a 64 bit o/s just to find out I have to go back to freebie antivirus (explain to me why the freebie ones can support xp 64 while the major ones cant?) and things such as flash player, ooh lol i dont need to get started on my soap box for that one as you lovely people have already done so.

I wouldnt even mind paying for 64 bit support from adobe (within reason of course) and I am a single parent putting myself through university, so not by any means financially comfortable let alone secure, but i need decent program support (such as flash players) to access my online study content.

Ok, well thats a long enough rant for today lol.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I use XP x64 and I'd looked at swfdec and It appears to be a Linux effort, It's a nice idea, But since It doesn't work in XP x64, It's not worth downloading. As to Adobe and Flash, If they can't or just won't make a 64 bit version, Then Adobe's head is up their but ignoring pleas to release a working flash plugin for XP x64 and the Firefox(BonEcho 2.0.0.13) web browser that is a 64 bit browser, They've had 2 whole years and not done anything and I think they're hoping x64 will just plain go away, Adobe is STUPID!!!

Stan Seibert said...

This is an old post, but I want to correct one point: The Flash plugin on Macs is *not* 64-bit. If you look at the binary in the terminal:

file /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/Flash\ Player.plugin/Contents/MacOS/Flash\ Player

you find that it contains only two architectures, x86 and ppc, but not x86_64 and ppc64. In fact, a search through all of the binaries in my Applications/ folder revealed that the only 64-bit app on my system (Leopard) is Chess! Note that all of the system libraries seem to include 64-bit versions, allowing a developer to deploy 64-bit apps for the Mac if they want.

But, the lesson here is that there is no 64-bit Flash anywhere, including the Mac.

Firehorsepower said...

It's now freaking July, almost August 2008 for crying out loud. is Adobe even ever working or what?

This is just uber-silly and dumb. I'm going to have to dump Minefield (x64 Firefox) just because of this. ALL other plugins work just fine in it now. Every other software package out there is available in some type of 64 bit form. Stupid Flash idiocy.

Adam Stern said...

Nice article!

http://www.infinitelyvirtual.com

obispo said...

I have just installed 64-bit Flash plugin on my Ubuntu 10.04. Here's how...