64-bit Flash Plugin Released For Linux, First

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 17, 2008

It might be time to invest in a better umbrella, as over the last few days it seems as though pigs might be taking flight. It's not so much that Adobe is releasing a 64-bit Linux alpha version of Flash, it's that Adobe is releasing the Flash alpha for Linux before it releases versions for any other operating system.

For sure it is a demonstration on Adobe's part that it truly is serious about Linux support. It's clear though that Adobe has more to gain, given that Linux is the system with the edge in 64-bit support and features native 64-bit browsers.

Running a 64-bit Linux distribution gives some significant performance advantages over a 32-bit system on the same processor. One major nuisance of the 64-bit Linuxes, however, is installing the 32-bit Flash player. The 32-bit support and emulation layers aren't generally included in a 64-bit install, so at the very least, it is necessary to install a script such as nspluginwrapper to get Flash working.

Flash can be touchy in 32-bit Linux systems, so it goes almost without saying that 32-bit Flash running on a 64-bit platform can have major issues. I've experienced issues in the form of Flash media simply not loading, others have had browser crashes and freezes.

So while the 64-bit Flash doesn't feature a debugger, and it may not make applications perform better, it also doesn't mean that applications that might have had problems with emulation won't run more smoothly.

Adobe does assure 64-bit Linux users that it will be easier to install Flash in browsers without the need for nspluginswrapper, and that the browser plugin should behave as expected. The alpha has been tested in Firefox 3 on Ubuntu (Hardy and Intrepid) and openSUSE 11. Adobe encourages users to report 64-bit Flash bugs discovered on any distribution. There is no date set for a 64-bit stable release.