Major Player

This enthusiastic guy in a tie recently named me the most important person at Adobe. His people called my people and set up an interview regarding Linux Flash Player development. The answers appear here in his ZDNet blog. I’m happy to report that, despite being filtered through a few layers of management and PR, enough of my original prose remains intact that I do not need to attribute the interview to Alan Smithee.

47 Responses to Major Player

  1. Mark says:

    Nice interview!As a registered user of quite a few Adobe and (formerly) Macromedia products on Windows, I look forward to as much support as Adobe can give to Linux.

  2. Josh says:

    Hey Mike,Thanks for re-enabling the comment system. I think it’s important to keep this a bidirectional communication system, especially when developing a product for a community that’s so used to having 100% total and free access to every minor detail of linux-oriented projects :).Keep up the good work, and here’s hoping for an alpha or beta ASAP :)-Josh

  3. Chris Rose says:

    I imagine (or rather hope) there is a large base of Linux users patiently following the blog, understanding that this development takes time, and that it’s fortunate that Adobe is treating Linux as a first-class operating system in supporting the Flash platform.

    I am a member of that group :)!

  4. Bloody says:

    Thanks Mike for the info about the Adobe Wish Form.Now, if any amd64 fan sees this, please don’t forget to go post a feature request on the Wish Form. I already have!

  5. Brad Wyman says:

    I almost hate to admit it, but this is my home page, so yes, I am part of that “large base of Linux users patiently following the blog”. I just have not had much that i can contribute to the conversation yet.

  6. Ryan Stewart says:

    Wow Brad, this is your homepage? THAT is dedication.

  7. Ann Onymous says:

    […] it’s fortunate that Adobe is treating Linux as a first-class operating system in supporting the Flash platform

    Uh, I’m sorry, but with Flash 8 never making it on linux, and Flash 9 coming out 6 months at best after the windows version, I think its only fair to conclude that linux is really a second class citizen in Adobeland…

  8. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the work… I notice you are using Gentoo. Is there a possibility of a preview release for gentoo soon? Either way, I’m glad to see flash comming allong. Thanks

  9. Bobonot says:

    Glad to see the recent news regarding Flash 9 for Linux and discovering your blog. I, like many, look forward to an alpha or beta as soon as you can get us something to play with.Is it possible to make nightly builds available so that users can help with the testing and bug reports?Good Luck!

  10. kenneth says:

    Great interview. I was a little disappointed to read that you thought linux should want parity with windows wrt automatic upgrading. That’s a security hole. My distro has signed rpms and a replicated distribution system. Hopefully adobe will allow for things like mplug to pop up. And do expect for ipfilter rules to pop up very soon for any phone home capabilities that one cannot be disabled.

  11. Scott says:

    Mike Melanson mentioned that he really wanted to implement an Express Install feature in the Linux version of the Flash player. As a Linux enthusiast I would call this a mistake. Updates should be distributed through the proper distribution channels (i.e. repositories) which provide for roll-back or de-installation much more effectively and securely. Adding an auto-updater to the Flash Player is a waste of time when every distro of Linux already comes with a far superior system built-in (rpm or apt).Also, when are we going to see the player open-sourced? I’m sure the community could have had v9 out before the Windows version if they were given a chance.

  12. Matt says:

    Just read the interview. Things sound good on the Flash 9 front. The interview sounded like you get mostly negative feedback, so I wanted to tell you (and Adobe) that everybody I know in the linux community is greatful of the work you do. Thanks for helping. There are several of us in my group that wouldn’t be able to do our job with the OS of choice (linux) were it not for you. Thanks Adobe for putting resources on linux projects.*Matt* Any chance you could add some other products to the linux list *cough*Creative Suite*cough*? πŸ™‚

  13. James C says:

    I agree with the assertion that you are the most important person @ Adobe (at least for me! πŸ™‚ ). I check this blog at least three times per day, hoping for some sign of the elusive Flash 9; It’s like bigfoot, I keep hearing people talk about it and seeing screenshots/videos, but no solid scientific evidence of its existence yet. :DSo Mike, any word on Adobe providing official update repositories for Flash for the major distros? It would be quite useful, much better than trying to shoehorn some automatic updater into the flash plugin itself when all Linux distros have their own built-in systems!

  14. I’m one of those silent ( untill now I suppose ) and paitently waiting Linux users that follows this blog. I check it once a day or so. I’m glad Adobe decided pay you to work on flash 9 for us and as long as you keep giving me reason to beleive that you are putting in an honest effort to get this thing stable and done, I’ll keep being paitent. So far, so good πŸ˜‰

  15. rmjb says:

    I too am one of the silent users that’s following your blog just waiting for any kind of release. There are many of us out there.- rmjb

  16. Marko says:

    Thanks for putting so much effort into Linux. Too bad the flash player for Linux is only due in early 2007. I work for a leading media company in the Netherlands and we would love to use flash 9 for our site, but as long as there is no Linux version, we decline to do so for our major sites. So please hurry, you’re loosing a great chance to show the power of flash 9!

  17. atrus123 says:

    Great interview. Keep up the good work.

  18. aht says:

    In the interview you mention that “Adobe considers Linux as a first-class platform”.I am sorry to disagree. If that would be the case, releases of new versions of the flash player would happen at the same time for Linux than the other OSes, plus there will be support for non-x86 architectures.I do not intend to rant, and the effort is appreciated, but Linux is not a first-class platform for Adobe’s Flash, and as such, the Linux community is marginated. There are nowdays several apps for Flash 8 that are unusable from Linux.If Adobe don’t make timely releases for Linux, at least open up Flash (API, spec, documentation…) so that the OS community can make decent Flash implementations without depending on Adobe.Please do so! Thank you,aht

  19. Hoek says:

    Mike, let me tell you that your effort is certainly greatly appreciated amongst linux users as i am myself.What i personally don’t understand however, and i think i’m not alone, is, why isn’t Adobe just sticking with the FSF mantra to “release early, release often”?Is it because Adobe doesn’t want beta software to ruin their reputation?If things are really working to such an extent that the Flash 9 Player is playing random movies from YouTube and MySpace, and only some internal hardcore Adobe tests fail, then i wonder, why not just release it already?Users *know* that this is beta software, and it’s just frustrating to have to wait until 2007 to be able to use a great part of the web as a linux user.Then why not just let people display 98% of the Flash 8+ movies, instead of 0%, as it is now?

  20. Kevin Peters says:

    I am really glad to see Adobe is working on Flash 9 for Linux. I have been a Linux user for 6 years now and am glad to see there are SOME companies that feel Linux is a viable option for their software. It would be great to see Adobe’s Creative Suite (as someone mentioned earlier), as I come from a Design background, but I do realize that this type of work will take time to get started and Adobe is in the market to make money. Hopefully the demand will grow to a point that Adobe can’t ignore it any longer.Anyway, thanks for the work you’ve done for the community.

  21. Daniel says:

    Hey, can I tell you about an amazing futuristic graphics programming technique that has yet to be discovered by anyone working on Flash, called double buffering…:(Yes, unbelievably, even the latest flash client running on Windows looks pants when trying to do the simplest thing when set to full screen.Why is this important? Well forgetting the game and event market, I work for a company that specialises in graphics running on screen displays in movies. If you have seen a film in the last 15 years with someone using a computer, then you have seen our work. Currently I sometimes use Macromedia Director, but it has been left to rot – I’d love to switch to Flash but it is hopeless full screen.Get the linux client running without flickering full screen and I’ll get it used on the biggest film release next summer:)

  22. rmjb says:

    I am one of the silent people that’s waiting patiently for this release of Flash 9. Don’t worry, we’re out there.- rmjb

  23. patrick says:

    thanks for your work on the Flash player. i know the major issue for is sound/video sync – i frequently just look away from the vid so i can pay attention to whatever is being said by the person on the screen.cheers!-patrick

  24. Ken says:

    Appreciate your work. Any tentative schedule for the Beta testing of the Linux version of Flash Player 9???

  25. Count me among the patient masses, and thanks for all the work. And ignore the nay sayers. One unfortunate side effect of OSS is that you interact with people who’s sum total of their existence is defined by their online persona. The result can be, and frequently is, garish.Also, ignore the “free as in freedom” and “open source everything” people. There’s a strong (but generally quiet due to a stark lack of zeal) contingent of folk who believe in the “whatever works” and “just for fun” mentalities. IMHO, there’s no point in your business comitting seppuku just so it conforms to some arbitrary set of deontological ethics. Yeah, it would be nice to get free flash, just like it would be nice to get a free ferarri. That such is not reality doesn’t sap it of its utility and entertainment value.

  26. Hi Mike.Thanks for the great interview. I’d be one guy who falls into the “large base of Linux users patiently following the blog”. Just patiently waiting for the goodness that will come! Thanks for the link for the Wish Form, I’ll be requesting AMD64 support. πŸ™‚

  27. Brad Felmey says:

    I wish to express appreciation to Adobe for spending the money on a Linux player. I’d imagine your real customers (the sites paying to use Flash) appreciate this even more.I look forward to the day when Linux is a platform that you (Adobe) support with your content creation solutions.

  28. Arthur Bogard says:

    I, too, am one of the silent hopefulls. Thank you for all your work. One thing I would request: providing a timeframe for release of the new player would help calm the jitters of many in the community. When a newcommer asks why they can’t access flash based content, it would be nice to let them know roughly when they can expect compatibility.Thank you all again πŸ™‚

  29. Peter Trotter says:

    Hey Mike,Everything has already been said but I’d like to say thanks for the hard work.

  30. Glen Gray says:

    I’d just like to add my 2 cents worth here. I’m also one of the silent masses (?) who follow this blog patiently and appreciatively.

  31. Ian Fette says:

    First, I’d like to say that I greatly appreciate your continued work in getting Adobe to release Flash for Linux. Please understand that nothing I say here is meant as a criticism against you personally. With that said -“Adobe is treating Linux as a first-class operating system.” I realize that as an employee, you’re likely expected to tow the party line, but this is going way too far. Adobe has never treated Linux as a first-class operating system. Acrobat Reader for Linux has traditionally lagged behind, most of your content creation programs (Photoshop etc) will likely never be ported to Linux, and now Flash is half a year (or more) behind in its Linux release when compared to Windows.I’m glad that Linux is a “supported O/S”, but I don’t buy that it’s treated as a “first-class O/S”. We’re sitting on the back of the bus, greatfully accepting any scraps thrown our way. I realize that we don’t represent a huge market-share, and I’m not demanding an open-source version or a simultaneous release, or anything of the sort. All I’m asking for is an honest recognition of the fact that Adobe does not treat Linux as a priority for its releases.Again, I’m greatful for the work that you do, and I realize that you are an employee and limited in what you can say – I just found the “first-class O/S” bit to be too much. Thank you for your work, and please don’t take this as a personal criticism or a rant against you – I’m just wishing that companies pushing new technologies such as Flash would be more honest and forthcoming in their statements about support for various platforms.

  32. amd-linux says:

    @ Peter Bessmann:Please, a free Ferrari would be economical non-sense, while there is a rock solid business case for a free (open source) Flash player: regards,C.

  33. Jeremy Frank says:

    Just a tip of the hat to you – Keep up the good work!

  34. Frank Earl says:

    Good interview- and I’m glad you didn’t have to Smithee the thing. Shame you chose v4l version 1- but I guess it can be overlooked considering the rationale you gave out.

  35. Josh Wendt says:

    I am looking forward to the release!!!Thanks!!!

  36. Odo says:

    Is there REALLY development going on, or is this blog just a way of keeping us Linux users busy?We shouldn’t have to pile together here to beg like a bunch of pilgrims at a shrine for Adobe and leave our prayer notes or lit candles in the form of a feedback message in hopes that Our Lady Of Adobe will squirt out a miracle tear some time in the next century.This is one of the many reasons why open source is better, because we don’t have to rely on any one company to release something or further development.If anything, the time it has taken so far to date to get anything done for Flash 9 for Linux is yet more proof that free operating systems like Linux are better for humanity, with their OPEN and FREE software.Poop or get off the pot, either there’s going to be a new Flash version or there’s not. This isn’t rocket science, why not rename it Flash For Linux FOREVER like the Duke Nukem Forever game still yet to release?

  37. Phil says:

    Just wanted to leave my thanks for your work on Flash 9 for Linux! I read about your eceiving negative comments, so I wanted to throw some goodwill your way!

  38. Dave O says:

    Just a quick note for those complaining that Adobe isn’t treating Linux like a first-class platform because the releases are lagging…Yahoo! has an IM product available for Linux; it is a feature-poor shell of an app, that supports instant messaging, but not much more. Meanwhile, Windows and Mac users (who had to wait a lot longer than Windows users, by the way) get VOIP, webcam support, and much more.When I think “First Class”, I don’t think “All the same features, at the same time” — I think “All the same features and reliability.” The practical reality is that programmers are a limited resource, and Adobe’s decision to focus the largest number of developers on the largest user base is a valid economic decision that doesn’t necessarily indicate an attitude of “B-list” towards Linux.Incidentally, since it takes time to stabilize code so that it’s reliable, I’d much rather see a release to Windows that has bugs (like player 8), then a huge pile of effort to fix the bugs (like player 8.5, that is now called player 9), THEN see that ported with all features complete to Linux. The alternatives are to get an earlier release with a sub-per feature set, or to delay the Windows version until the Linux version is ready — neither of those alternatives are practical.

  39. bobby says:

    Wow its great to see you guys care about developing for the linux platform. Will we see adobe release some more software for the linux platform? like… maybe… photoshop? πŸ˜€

  40. Jimmy says:

    In case you are wondering why all the fuss about 64-bit stuff: unlike on Windows, it is normal to install a nearly pure 64-bit Linux system if the hardware can do it. It’s not like 64-bit Windows, where a 32-bit browser is in the start menu next to the 64-bit one. Typically a Linux system will only have a handful of 32-bit executables, mainly for supporting old 32-bit apps. Some people don’t even have that. The attitude is that 32-bit stuff is trash to be eliminated.FYI, you can probably reuse your Windows assembly code. You can switch the “gas” assembler into Intel syntax, or just use the “nasm” assembler which has that as a default. Be sure to add the required notation to mark your assembly files as not needing an executable stack. For the interface between C and the assembly, check out the gcc function attributes for controlling the calling convention on a per-function basis.

  41. Fred W says:

    Re: Dave OI understand the Linux release lagging behind Windows, there is a very large difference in the number of users. But to lag so far behind Mac? I was under the impression that those where pretty close in userbase size (Linux & Mac). Very disappointing IMHO, althought not something I hold against Mike & his time in any way.What I would really love to see happen (maybe with Flash Player 10), is merge the Windows, Mac, and Linux source trees, moving all the platform specific code into it’s own modules, and making the bulk of the code platform independant. That way releases for all platforms happen at the same time, and adding additional supported platforms is easy (and cheap).

  42. Ian Murdock says:

    Hi Mike,From the article:”Generally, when a piece of proprietary software is ported to Linux, the company only tests it and certifies that it works on a single version of a single commercial Linux distribution (often Enterprise Red Hat or SuSE). We would like the Linux Flash Player to be different; Flash Player needs to be a single binary that can reliably operate across any x86-based Linux distribution, subject to a (hopefully small) list of facilities that the host machine is expected to provide (e.g., ALSA and OpenSSL). While Adobe may only certify a select number of popular distributions as part of its release process, we would like it to ‘just work’ for the others.”The LSB is designed to doprecisely this. All of the major Linux distributions are certified or plan to certify their upcoming version (Red Hat, Novell/SUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, …), and we recently announced that applications are beginning to certify too, beginning with RealPlayer and MySQL. Would love to talk to you.-ian

  43. Arrrgh. says:

    I tried to write a small comment to let you know how dissapointed I am about Adobe for their lack of planning to release a version of Flash since Macromedia released Flash 7 for Linux. Adobe ignored this problem while browsing restrictions are mounting on the Linux users daily. Yet you say Adobe consider Linux to be a first class OS?…. Arrgh.. Here I go again… My previous comment also soon turned into a long rant (much longer than this). I decided to place it in my recycle bin instead of posting it here. I am posting this comment though since I want my two cents worth on this issue. Hope you understand the frustration here. I am staring to feel like Flash 8+ requirement is an infection in the web. Please consider releasing beta. Even a buggy beta is better than absolutely nothing. Hey, we may even be able to help you find some bugs sooner.Thanks.

  44. Andy Clements says:

    Glad to hear about the Flash Player 9 on Linux! I’ll be glad to test it out when it comes around. Keep up the good work.–Andy

  45. an excited individual. says:

    <3 Audio/video sync! <3The only Adobe product I use gets an upgrade! Now maybe I can stop hating the flash websites which don’t work at all.*Cheers*

  46. Terry says:

    I followed a link from the Ubuntu forums and found myself really interested in what was to be said about Flash Player 9 for Linux. I went so far as to read the ZDnet interview and then to the blog entailing the progress reports. I’m impressed with the dedication and the progress. my only question is: “Since Adobe is dedicated to supporting Linux, why is it that Flash Player 9 for linux isn’t coming out till six months or more AFTER the Windows version?” I realize the task at hand but still. For a company the size of Adobe, they could put equal focus on Windows and Linux. Everywhere I’m reading how Linux is entering places that use to at one time be Windows bastions. The reason is cost. Support for either operating system has been reported to be the same. Where business is winning is the cost per desktop since Linux is free. Basically, I’d like to see releases of both Windows and Linux versions to be set on the same footing.

  47. Zbigniew L. says:

    Thanks for working on Linux flash plugin. I silently read your Penguin.swf and I’m happy to know that something happens to this project. If there could be similar blog for Acrobat Reader for Linux it would be cool.I like your interview for ZDNet. However I found some things which forced me to write something.*Mike, do not care if there is negative feedback. There are always people who are not happy. In Linux community too.However some say what do not like in flash plugin having good will in mind and this can be helpful.* Adobe is not treating Linux as a first-class operating system. I know that PR usually force employees to say such things. Such talking works on Windows market. But Linux community prefers to hear the worst true than the most sweet fantasy. I appreciate your effort (and Adobe efforts too) in creating flash plugin, but we can say about first-class only if the complete release time is equal to other premium OS releases like Windows platform. Linux is second-class for Adobe and that is nothing wrong in general till a company do not try to say something else. Waiting 6 months for Linux plugin confirm this.*thanks for wish form link. Could you show me similar link for Acrobat Reader for Linux. I could not find any.* APIs. I find your choice very smart. It looks some people misses OSS. There is libsalsa – simple ALSA emulation on OSS drivers. Maybe this library will help these people. It is not finished yet but better than nothing I think.*Please do NOT implement ‘Express Install’ feature in Linux. This is serious security hole and source of troubles. I know you have good will in mind, but this feature will do more bad than good. Linux has different philosophy than windows. Windows are designed to be eyecandy and easy to use than being stable and safe. Linux just opposite: security and stability first and then (sometimes, when security and stability allows) can have eyecandy and easy use. Every Linux distro uses its own packages and digital signatures (important during often security audits) and on most workstations administrator have control. Such automatic updates are horror to such person because such code is out of any control and do not pass security audits because such file has no digital signature made during packaging. This does not matter at home Linuxes (a minority I think) but is serious at company use (major Linux users) where admins are responsible and paid for keeping machines working all the time and have all files signed to be clear during file signature verification.Do not worry about updates. The packages are made usually in less than 24h and adobe pages are visited very often to look for updates. I also have your blog in RSS subscription so immediatly would know and package every new release of flash plugin.*What about other plugins for Linux: Shockwave Player. Will appear any?I wrote all these things as I think thay can help you at your work. (It is always better to know what people need/afraid of).For me Mike, you are the most important, professional person at Adobe. I’m serious. Adobe should show you as example to others. Especially for those from Acrobat Reader for Linux team. Reason:I’m still waiting for CUPS printing support and compability fixes to make AR working with recent gtk.I wish you good luck!