There’s a new beta for Flash Player 10 (Astro) available for Windows, Mac, and — you guessed it — Linux. Go get it in the lab. This beta is a big deal since it finally contains an important, oft-requested feature. I refer of course to Turkish localization.
I’d like to give a shout out to my Turkish open source pal, İsmail. We didn’t forget about you!
Oh yeah, this beta also introduces some other features that may be of interest to some people. There’s this thing called windowless mode, a.k.a. wmode, a.k.a. transparency, a.k.a. proper stacking order, a.k.a. DHTML/JS menus unroll over a SWF vs. under, such as on the main Adobe website:
A.k.a. fullscreen Flash overlay ads! Yes! They’re on Linux now. Let me tell you, I have never been so happy to see one as when I first got one to work in Linux. I suspect the novelty will wear off rather soon.
To be clear, there are 3 major modes for SWFs embedded in webpages: 1) Windowed mode, which is the only one supported by the Linux Flash Player up to this point; 2) windowless/transparent mode; 3) windowless/opaque mode. CommunityMX has this great, simple page that illustrates the differences between the 3 modes. (There are also 2 new wmodes introduced in Astro — direct and gpu — that are already supported in Linux where allowed by hardware.)
Thanks to both the Firefox and Opera teams for their support in implementing wmode. That’s right– this feature will work on both Firefox and Opera on Linux. For Firefox, you must have version 3. For Opera (as of this writing), you will need
the latest beta of 9.50 Opera 9.50 release. Thanks also to Swfdec for implementing this feature concurrently, helping to attack wmode from many angles and bring Linux web browsing up to ~2002 standards.
Be advised that there are still some wmode-related problems, most notably this crash issue. Please report any other consistently crashing URLs.
Updated Camera Support (V4L2)
This Linux beta includes native support for the Video4Linux v2 (V4L2) camera API. When I started this journey 2 years ago, V4L2 was supposed to be the standard, but V4L1 still seemed to be used everywhere. The last 2 years have seen significant change in this regard and now V4L1 distros are nearly impossible to come by which, by extension, has made Flash’s camera support nigh useless on Linux. No more, since V4L2 is now supported. In fact, it is supported concurrently along with V4L1.
There is still some work to do on V4L2 and I will need some help with it. You might be able to help me with it, too. Details to come in a separate post.
Bonus! You can finally select from among multiple cameras installed on the system:
Oh hey, the dialog is localized in another new language: Swedish. Which brings me to…
Extended Language Support
In addition to Turkish, there are other new languages supported too. The complete list is (alphabetically by language code): Czech, German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish, and Chinese.
Speed and Stability
Additionally, we are also working hard on speed (using a number of quality Linux profiling tools to identify and optimize hot spots) and stability (boom). To that latter point, do you know my favorite kind of crash bugs? The ones that occur consistently on a particular URL. Please let me know about those. The less useful reports are the ones about purely random crashes. While those are definitely irritating, any programmer will tell you that such reports are not especially helpful. Identifying consistent crashes goes a long way towards addressing the more random crashes as well.
Go. Get testing.