Light Weekend Reading

I like this simple piece from Ted Patrick, professional Flash enthusiast, entitled Flash Player – Forward, Backward, Platform Compatibility. The page outlines several poignant answers to the question, “What’s so special about Flash?”

19 Responses to Light Weekend Reading

  1. chodo says:

    Maybe it is because the flash player on linux is only available as version 7, but I see many differences in the way some flash pages look on Windows and Linux. On Linux they usually look broken (if they don’t block Linux).I hope this changes with Flash 9. 🙂

  2. I use Flash Paper for my text writings for people who are unwilling to download the Adobe Reader which is a much bigger download. I always have my writings in PDF format that can be read with open source PDF viewers such as Kghostview and also Preview on OS X. I also have an interactive menu that I bought the code from someone else but did the design myself as an alternative navigation for one of my sites. I have tested this all on Linux – Ubuntu 6.06, Suse 10.0, and Linspire 5-0 and there is no problem with how it displays or works on either the navigation menu as well as the Flash Paper provided the user has Flash Player 7 installed. I think most of this – “Flash files don’t work on Linux” is not a fault of Adobe but of sites that support Windows only in their Javascript or some other aspect of their design that is browser or platform specific.

  3. Bobris says:

    “What’s so special about Flash?”- The fact that it is ubiquitous, nothing more.

  4. Ben says:

    RE: Benjamin HuotLinux users do not have any player about Flash 7, and Flash 7 videos are very often out of sync A/V-wise. Anything that requires Flash 8 or 9 is unviewable to us. I encounter this frequently. For example, has a store locater that is inaccessible to me.Another frustrating thing is the lack of Shockwave support. Not such a big deal but annoying nontheless.note: this post wasn’t intended to bash adobe, simply tell the state of flash on linux

  5. Alexandre says:

    Out of context here, if you want to test some flash apps and heavy ones, try this url : will have fun too.

  6. Ygor Lemos says:

    @ Bobris:ehheeh not so ubiquitous… hope that scenary changes with the advent of Flash 9 for Linux, but I keep thinking 2 things…Will Adobe start to synchronize the further releases of Flash Player for Linux and MacOsX and, will Adobe think on BSD Systems???Ubiquity is the capacity to run unnoticed on any environment…And it is just not happening now… as Flash Player is broken in many aspects….Hope this changes at least for us, desperate Penguin lovers :)@ Mike Melanson:1.) As you’re developing the plugin on Gentoo, are you thinking on port it directly to portage???2.) Will you enable the compatibility with the Firefox plugin installer??? I think that Mozilla folks will help you a lot! :)thanks, and keep the good working!

  7. If it is just that the audio and video are out of sync than this only applies to flash videos. Do you know if this is just the proprietary .flv or another codec in .swf? I don’t do videos with sound, so it wouldn’t be a problem on my website. I see this also as a problem of content providers – I will not host Flash beyond version 7 until it supports Linux and I will only provide Flash versions of texts and images as one of multiple formats including PDF and HTML until they support FreeBSD. I would love to do my whole site in Flash, but not until open source developers reverse engineer up to that version. I wouldn’t mind paying for the Flash Professional if I was sure that people could see it with completely open source software. I just don’t want to trust my content to any one company.

  8. n3ldan says:

    The worst thing about the linux flash player, in my opinion, is when it won’t render text. There are several games I’ve wanted to try, but I would load the page only fo find buttons with no text. At first it confused the hell out of me, but then I realized what was going on and could figure most things out.I really hoped that has been fixed.

  9. Greetings,I’m developping a small streaming mp3 player for the NGO I’m working with and I ran into an odd problem.While trying to verify if the swf was running smoothly with 3 major plateforms (win32s/osx/linuxes), I noticed it’s simply hanging in linux using the flash7 from adobe.Strangelly, if I clear up my cache, the swf will operate normally the first time and then with subsequent loadings, it’ll simply hang there doing nothing.a) is it a known bug with flash7 or I’m just not coding the thing correctly?andb) would be very appreciated if you can have a look at it with your developping flash9 and confirm it’s working 100% (plus, it’ll make a new test case 😉 )You can have a look at it here:

  10. Re problem with linux flash 7, it turns out _root.onLoad function will not be called if the .swf is loaded from the cache.I’m pretty sure you tracked that bug down a while ago.Keep up the good work, can’t wait for the pregnancy to end ; )

  11. Ben says:

    To Ben Huot:I’m not an expert on the technology but as far as I know all flash video gets out of sync. I have personally experienced this at google video, youtube, and a host of other sites.Doing your whole site in Flash? That’s icky in my mind. You seem to be interested in making your site accessible, which is a good thing! But not only do you have to think about different platforms and browsers — you have to think about people with disabilities. AFAIK there is no text-to-speech technology that works with Flash. Or Braille.Just something to think about!- Benp.s. You’re doing a host more than a helluva lot of webmasters out there, kudos.

  12. One of the beauties of Flash is in dealing with people who use Internet Explorer or anyone who uses Windows. Installing on Windows is difficult and especially error prone. The hardest part of installing is uninstalling. I remmember when I used Windows ME Quicktime never worked – it kept asking to download something and then said that the download was corrupted and I could not get files to open with a newer version of Adobe Reader after I installed it. I finally resorted to using Ghostsctipt on Windows for PDF files. One of the beauties of Flash is that it is a plugin – not a program so it seems to install more successfully. On the accessibility, I heard that Flash at least version 8 was accessible. Can people with screen readers hear pdfs? Another problem Flash solves is in dealing with Javacript – I remember how scripts would always work with new versions of Internet Explorer, but always had to be reworked to work with the latest version of Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox. I gave up on Javascript a long time ago because of this. That is one of my main uses of Flash.

  13. Ben says:

    I would imagine that screen readers can interpret PDF files.As for the Javascript I don’t think that is the case these days. I am not a Mozilla developer, but one would guess that their javascript interpret is pretty stable…otherwise AJAX stuff probably wouldn’t work very well 😉

  14. Valentijn Sessink says:

    The page reads “Platform Compatibility: “Every SWF will work identically cross platform””That’s not true. See my comment at Emmy’s blog for a background. Flash is not platform agnostic anymore. It doesn’t work on Linux, it doesn’t work on 64 bit. I’d say that it’s just another proprietary format controlled by a single vendor.

  15. Grey says:

    Valentijn, I agree with you 100%. Although I am very much anticipating this plugin, and check this blog every day, waiting for a beta… Adobe’s attitude regarding this whole thing has convinced me more than anything that Flash is to be avoided on any future work I do. (And yes, I have worked as a professional web programmer).Honestly, flash is obsolete. There’s not a lot it can do that a good video plugin, or dhtml cannot accomplish. Firefox 3.0 will have OpenGL embedded. What will happen then?

  16. Joseph Cole says:

    @ValentijnI totally agree. I think there are some concerned and dedicated Linux developers at Adobe but I think their problem is the code they have to work with.My *guess* is that the Flashplayer code is mostly C/C++ with some 32-bit assembly hacks (+MMX) for extra performance. Assembly language hacks are always evil, since they always restrict an application from easily being ported to other architectures.Porting Flash to non-32bit and non-x86/ppc architectures would probably require a complete rewrite of Flash, which Adobe sees no *financial* benefit in doing. Will Adobe ever open source Flash? Doubt it. Maybe there would be too much sentimental developer drama, like when Sun open sourced Solaris and Java.I would love to have Flashplayer in my browser on my ARM-based Linux phone, and also on my ARM-based PDA. Obviously, my bets are on Gnash for this to actually happen. Now that Gnash is in Debian, it’s just a matter of time before it’s ported to ARM and all the other Debian arches.@Mike MelansonIs my guess correct?

  17. Amy Ferriola says:

    “Maybe it is because the flash player on linux is only available as version 7, but I see many differences in the way some flash pages look on Windows and Linux. On Linux they usually look broken (if they don’t block Linux).I hope this changes with Flash 9. :-)”I agree with you, there. So many flash videos look broken on Linux. I think the sound sync is a big part of it, but sometimes things just scale awkwardly… I don’t really know how to explain that one.

  18. Ken says:

    No blog entry for 12 days??? Is progress slowing???

  19. Iozzi says:

    For a true test of Flash/Shockwave compatibility, load Debian on a P3 with FireFox. Then go to FireFox will instruct you to download the plugin, and you can then watch videos. Go to and you will then understand why Windows is beating Linux in the marketplace. If I spend an hour or so I could possible resolve the issue. That’s a lot to expect when I just want to do an online game. FireFox in Windows, doesn’t have this issue, on the same machine.Linux just isn’t ready for prime time.