Archive for November, 2006

Beta II: The Audio Fix

As indicated, we’ve been working diligently to fix issues that were found in our original Flash Player 9 for Linux beta. Most notable of these problems is audio output. We are eager for users to test this version and see if the myriad sound problems have cleared up.

As before, please log problems through the proper channels (feedback form or support forums). This blog’s comment forum is not appropriate for tracking problems.

Open Up

Today, Adobe released the source for its ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation.

That’s what Adobe did. Since this blog is a common stop for open source-minded folk, I thought it might be pertinent to use this space to discuss what Adobe didn’t do:

  • Adobe did not open source the Flash Player.
  • Adobe did not incorporate the Flash Player into Mozilla.
  • Adobe did not license Mozilla’s HTML rendering engine.
  • Adobe did not purchase Mozilla, or vice versa.

The project is specified by the name Tamarin, as in the monkey, in keeping with Mozilla’s primate-naming conventions. Fun fact: Adobe is contributing around 135 KLOC (thousands of lines of code) of source code to the Tamarin project. So, in the grand tradition of open source collaboration, I invite you to jump right in.

Chart Toppers

After years without an updated Linux Flash Player, you can imagine how much feedback we have had to sort through following our recent beta. We have received some very unique and valuable bug reports about specific, hard-to-find bugs. But the vast majority of the bug reports are regarding:

  1. Audio: Our #1 priority. There are a lot of bug reports that simply boil down to the way that we handle sound, often in streaming video situations. Many such problems are being exposed since one of the top applications for the Flash Player these days is online video sites. The problem where the video plays silently for 2 seconds and then stops, sound stuttering and looping, sound skips and apparent speed-ups, video pausing while buffering more data and refusing to start again, and a host of other problems can be traced back to this.
  2. WMODE: This goes by many descriptions: WMODE, transparency, windowless mode, “grey region where the SWF should be”, and “Hey, the Javascript menus drop down behind the SWF”.

We are putting a lot of effort into the first issue as we have a large amount of control over this component. Ideally, the new flashsupport API will help to alleviate audio-related issues in the long run (though we will need to make several gratuitous changes to the API, just on general principle since it is an open source component).

The latter issue is a bit trickier since it involves browser code over which we have no control. It’s a known issue for the browser that has been open for a little while. (So, any open source hackers out there who have been wanting to do something to improve Flash support on Linux, this might be a good place to start.) In the interim, the comment thread on that bug page describes some possible workarounds.