An outline of Flash Runtime installation options

flash_installer

From time to time, we receive questions and concerns from our customers regarding their options for installing and deploying the Flash Runtime components.  This blog post will provide a high level overview of the options available.  For additional information, please see the links below.


Distribution agreement

The Flash Runtime components are available from Adobe for distribution and use in multi user environments.  Many of the installation options discussed below were created for our distribution agreement customers.  If you are interested in deploying Flash or AIR, we recommend you investigate this option.  This simple process can be started using the links below.

Flash Player Distribution Page
AIR Distribution Page


Administrator Guides

Our admin guides are the “go to” documents for IT professionals looking to learn how to install and configure both Flash Player and AIR.  Additional details on the install options outlined below can be found in these guides.  We recommend all admins take the time to review these documents.

Flash Player Admin Guide
AIR Admin Guide


Extended support release (ESR)

Adobe makes available the extended support release to organizations that prefer Flash Player stability over new functionality.  We create a branch of the Flash Player code that we keep up to date with all of the latest security updates, but none of the new features or bug fixes available in our normal release branch.  This allows organizations to certify and stay secure with Flash Player with minimal effort.

We strongly recommend that companies focused on security and stability take a close look at this release option.  Customers can find these installers located on our Flash Player Distribution Download page under the “Extended Support Release” section.

Our current ESR uses the version 13 Flash Player code branch.


Installation Options

Scheduled Flash Runtime releases are typically done on “patch Tuesday” (second Tuesday of the month).  We plan four major quarterly releases that introduce new functionality, bug and security fixes.  With these releases, we update the major version number (13, 14, 15, etc.)  We then have monthly minor updates, on an as needed basis, where we fix bug and security issues.  These small monthly updates will see an increment in the minor version number only.

For the majority of Flash Player users (those that have enrolled in our auto update mechanism) the eight minor updates are performed silently.  The four major releases are considered “loud” releases.  These updates display an update dialog letting customers know what new features are available.  This notification is done for up to 45 days after the initial release at which point we then switch back over to silent updates.

Further details on the typical installation workflow can be found in this FAQ:

Details and answers to common installation questions

We understand that many organizations wish to control the roll out of Flash Player and AIR to their end users.  They’d prefer their users to not see update dialogs or attempt manual updates.  Customers that have signed the Runtime distribution agreements have multiple options to completely control the installation process.

Flash Player supports industry standards like SCCM with Adobe provided SCUP catalogs on Windows and native .pkg installers for OS X deployments.  We also make available components for leveraging our Flash Player auto update mechanism, allowing organizations to host their own internal Flash Player update server.  This provides a true cross platform solution with the ability to update all clients within hours.  For full details, we recommend reviewing the Flash Player Administrator guide.


Public Beta Program

Flash Player and AIR have an active and ongoing public beta program.  We strive to make releases available on a regular basis.  We strongly recommend that all interested parties participate in this program to verify that your organization or applications are compatible with future versions of the runtime.  Release notes and links to these beta installers can be found at labs.adobe.com.

Flash Player Beta on labs.adobe.com
AIR Beta on labs.adobe.com


Runtime Release Notifications

Finally, we’ve made it simple for users to receive email and RSS notification for all updates to Flash Player and AIR.  Simply follow the instructions outlined in this FAQ: “Is there a way to be automatically notified when a new Flash Runtime release is made?” and you’ll be notified whenever a release or beta build is made available.

For additional questions or concerns, please feel free to email or post on our Flash Player Installation forum.

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