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Adobe unleashes 64-bit Flash

Nov 17, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Adobe released a 64-bit alpha Linux version of its Flash Player 10 media software, and announced a partnership with ARM on an ARM11 version of Flash 10. Other Adobe news includes AIR 1.5 for Linux, upgraded media servers, and a new design tool called Flash Catalyst.

Adobe made the announcements at its annual MAX conference today in San Francisco. At the conference, it reported that Adobe Flash Player has shipped on more than 800 million mobile devices, a claimed milestone that was said to have occurred a year ahead of schedule.

A shot in the ARM

The collaboration with ARM is intended to develop Adobe Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR for devices incorporating the ARMv6 and ARMv7 architectures used in the ARM11 family and Cortex-A series of processor cores, says Adobe. Among other potential ramifications, this would provide integrated Flash players on devices running Texas Instruments's Linux-ready OMAP3 family of Cortex-A8-based system-on-chips (SoCs). Last week, Canonical announced it was porting Ubuntu Desktop Linux to ARMv7 and Cortex-A processors.

The ARM collaboration stems from the Open Screen Project, which was announced this Spring with a charter of delivering a consistent runtime environment across multiple devices using Adobe Flash Player, and eventually, Adobe AIR, says Adobe. The project aims to remove restrictions on Flash file formats, open Flash server protocols, and give away the player free along with the APIs needed to port it to new devices. Although desktop versions of Flash Player have been free, device makers have previously paid license fees.

The ARM version of Flash 10 should be available in the second half of 2009, says Adobe. Supported devices are said to include mobile phones, set-top boxes (STBs), mobile Internet devices (MIDs), televisions, automotive platforms, personal media players (PMPs), and other mobile computing devices.

In addition, Adobe says that at MAX it will preview a version of Flash Player 10 for smartphones. The demo will reveal the latest work being done at the Open Screen Project, says Adobe.

64-bit Flash: Linux finally goes first

The 64-bit Flash 10 release follows up on last month's release of the 32-bit version, which for the first time came out on Linux at the same time as it did on Windows and Macintosh. As recently as last year, Linux users waited six months for Flash 9 to arrive on Linux, following its release on other platforms. Now the alpha 64-bit version is coming out first on Linux because “that's where we've heard the outcry the loudest,” Adobe GM/VP (Platform Business) David Wadhwani was quoted as saying in a story on today's announcements in our sister publication, eWEEK.

Similar to the 32-bit version, the 64-bit Flash Player supports new features and capabilities available in Creative Suite 4, Adobe's content creation toolset for online developers. Touted improvements include “easy-to-use” 2D and 3D animation effects, new expressive features and visual performance improvements, and custom filters, blend modes, and fills. Designed to enable operation on 64-bit platforms without requiring 32-bit emulation, the 64-bit alpha release has been tested on Ubuntu 8 and OpenSUSE 11 Linux distributions, and against Firefox 3.0, says Adobe.

Other announcements from Adobe today include:

  • Adobe AIR 1.5 — Released today for Windows and Mac, AIR 1.5 will be available for Linux by the end of the year, says the company. Used for developing rich Internet applications (RIAs) outside the browser, AIR has been upgraded with the open source WebKit HTML engine. In addition, AIR 1.5 is said to offer the “SquirrelFish” WebKit JavaScript interpreter for claimed acceleration of application performance. Other touted new features include an encrypted database.
  • Flash Media Interactive Server 3.5 and Adobe Flash media Streaming Server 3.5 — The new 3.5 versions of Adobe's media server products support Red Hat Linux, as well as Windows. New features for the $4,500 Interactive Server and $1,000 Streaming Server are said to include dynamic streaming, the ability to pause and seek within a live stream, “enhanced” H.264 video, and High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support. The 1.5 releases are expected in early 2009.
  • Adobe Flash Catalyst — Adobe previewed this Eclipse-based professional interaction design tool, which had been code-named “Thermo.” The company did not detail platform support for Flash Catalyst, but since it is designed to work in conjunction with the more full-featured and Windows-only Flex Builder development toolkit (see below), Linux support is unlikely. Catalyst is said to help rapidly create “application interfaces and interactive content without coding,” as well as enable images created in Adobe Creative Suite 4 to be imported and converted into UI components. Catalyst should arrive in beta in early 2009.
  • Adobe Flex Builder 3.0 — Adobe previewed its new “Gumbo” version of this development toolkit for the company's “Flex 3” cross platform, open source framework for creating RIAs. The new version is said to offer enhancements to the core IDE (integrated development environment), debugger, and editor, as well as provide new code profiling components and support for Catalyst. Gumbo supports Windows only, so Linux developers will have to make do with the plugin-only Flex Builder for Linux version, which was released in alpha 4 stage in August.
  • “Cocomo” Platform-as-a-Service — Adobe will preview “Cocomo,” which it says will help Flex developers more easily “add real-time social capabilities into RIAs via cloud computing.”
  • Collaboration with SAP AG — The partnership intends to help SAP NetWeaver developers to use Adobe Flash and Flex components with the Web Dynpro environment, says Adobe.
  • Qualcomm BREW support — Qualcomm announced it was making the Adobe Flash SDK (software development kit) available for its BREW Mobile Platform.

Stated Ian Drew, VP of Marketing at ARM, “The combination of Adobe Flash and ARM's low-power processor IP and Mali GPUs will ensure a fantastic Internet experience for consumers on the world's leading 32-bit architecture.”


More information and download instructions for the alpha version of 64-bit Adobe Flash Player 10 for Linux should be available here. More on the Open Screen Project may be found here.

For further information about the announcements at Adobe's MAX conference, see the coverage on, here.

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