C’mon Adobe, New Flash for Linux, M’Kay?

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C’mon Adobe

Originally uploaded by sogrady.

The other day in the #redmonk channel – which has been a bit quiet the past few days as Cote’s on vacation and I’m in and out trying to getting ready to travel back to Denver – my colleague passed along a screencast of Flickr’s new geotagging feature. The problem? It didn’t work for me. It didn’t work for the same reason that Julien’s “Take it With You Wiki” doesn’t work for me, and the same reason that ESPN’s homepage doesn’t work (which may, it must be said, actually be a blessing in disguise) for me.

The reason is simple: Adobe has not released an updated version of its Flash player for the Linux operating system since 2004. Wikipedia describes the situation thusly:

Many feel that Adobe has completely abandoned the Linux market, having not released a new version of the player for Linux since the 2004 release of Flash Player 7. Increasingly, websites insist on the use of newer players, which weakens Adobe’s claim that their Flash Player is “Linux compatible.” Linux users seeking to upgrade to Flash Player 8 are instead redirected to a download page for Flash Player 7 (which they very likely already have installed).

As I understand it, Adobe/Macromedia is focusing their energies on Version 9 for Linux, but I have to question a cross-platform strategy that has a bias against one platform.

If Adobe were to decide that Linux is not a crucial platform for them, I would disagree strongly but respect their right to make that decision. But given that Flash is often touted as near ubiquitous and a truly cross-platform offering, their dramatic lack of support for Linux has to call their commitments in that regard into question.

So c’mon Adobe. As Mr. Van Driesen would say, let’s see a new version of Flash for Linux, M’Kay?

Disclaimer: Adobe is a RedMonk client.


  1. There is an occasionally interesting Flash 9 for Linux blog, by the engineer responsible for it at Adobe. Claiming beta ‘soon’.

  2. Luis: yeah, just ran across that. interesting.

    Mike: knew you’d agree 😉

    Donnie: yeah, ran across it shortly after i posted this. pretty random timing 😉

  3. M’kay – that’s a new one…

  4. First screenshot of Flash 9 for Linux yesterday –

  5. On its way. It’s taking about the same amount of time as previous ports, but the accelerating flow of content sites to new versions of Flash Player is making this cycle far more of a hot issue, I agree.

    Background: Flash Player 5 took about a year-and-a-half to reach 80% consumer viewability… FP6 took just over a year, FP7 just under a year… Flash Player 8 recently reached 86% consumer viewability in its first nine months of release! Content providers are following their audience on this, particularly when combined with the new features available in recent versions. Result? People not in the majority are feeling more pain than in previous cycles. Not good.

    If it’s of any help I can testify that I see a pro-Linux, pro-portability sentiment within Macromedia and Adobe, even though there isn’t a clear business model for such work. But I also recognize what a hassle it is when sites move faster than porting does. There should be a public Player beta this autumn, before the general release after New Years — my apologies for the pain of being rejected by popular websites in the meantime. 🙁

  6. James: it’s from the Mr. Van Driesen link – comedy.

    andyp: i did catch that; excellent news.

    John: perfect response – i thank you. my intent here was certainly not to vilify, but rather gently prod, and i appreciate that you took in that context and constructively responded. as discussed in the follow up, i certainly understand the difficulty involved – it’s just that the inconvenience as you note is not insignificant.

    thanks again for the reply – just perfect.

  7. Thanks as well andyp and John – I likewise only meant to give a gentle poke but maybe came across too harsh. Glad to see some work is going into this.

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