Linux has typically been at the front of the pack when it comes to 64-bit processor support, which made the lack of a compatible 64-bit Flash Player a glaring omission for the open-source platform. The no-show by Adobe has been particularly frustrating for Firefox fans, who by being limited to using the 32-bit Flash plug-in meant also being limited to the 32-bit version of Firefox. That all changes today. From Adobe Labs:
"Furthering Adobe's commitment to the Linux community and as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the cross-platform compatibility of Flash Player, an alpha version of 64-bit Adobe Flash Player 10 for Linux operating systems was released on 11/17/2008 and is available for download. This offers easier, native installation on 64-bit Linux distributions and removes the need for 32-bit emulation."
Windows and Mac users need not feel too bitter, as Adobe says native 64-support across all platforms is forthcoming, although no specific time frame has yet been announced, only that it will arrive "in an upcoming major release of Flash Player."
Adobe began shipping its Creative Suite 4 (CS4) this week, and perhaps the most significant new feature from a typical Maximum PC reader's point of view is the support for GPU acceleration in Photoshop CS4 and other components, including Bridge CS4, After Effects CS4, Premiere Pro CS4, Acrobat 9, and Flash Player 10.
Adobe’s senior marketing manager in the Platform Business Unit, Tom Barclay, said that the Flash Player 10 is capable of “things not possible with Silverlight 2.” The direct reference to Silverlight 2 underscores the amount of respect Adobe accords to its seemingly innocuous rival – just about enough. Barclay heavily touted the addition of Adobe Pixel Blender-related functionality in the new edition. Flash Player 10 has simultaneously become available on Windows, Mac and Linux.
It might not be well publicized, but there's a major war brewing between Microsoft and Adobe, and they're fighting for you. Each one of them wants to be your provider for rich media content, a task that has traditionally been served by Adobe with its Flash player, but one Olympic sized loss could change the game in Microsoft's favor.
It was Microsoft who won the deal to supply NBC with video-viewing technology via Silverlight for the Olympics in Beijing, and while Microsoft and NBC have ties that go back to their collaboration building MSNBC, Adobe could have been considered a favorite to the win the account based the mature nature of Flash technology. So how did Microsoft secure the gold?
"We talked about features like adaptive streaming, the ability to automatically keep checking how much bandwidth you have and deliver the appropriate quality stream and how to be smart about knowing what's coming up in the stream," said Rob Bennett, the general manager of sports for MSN.
In other words, Microsoft won the account on a combination of Silverlight's feature-set, and convincing NBC that Flash's scalability had never been put to an Olympic-size test, unlike Silverlight's underlying technology which is based on Windows Media technologies.
Of course, it's only one account, but it's not so much what Adobe lost, but what Microsoft gained. While download specifics have not been disclosed, we do know that it's registering 1.5 million downloads a day, and according to a spokeswoman for Microsoft, "in the last several days, more than 50 percent of the visitors to NBCOlympics.com on MSN already have Silverlight 2 installed."
CNet reports that Adobe has rolled out a new version of Adobe Media Player. Despite the modest .1 increment in the version number (Adobe Media Player 1.0 users are offered the update the next time they start the player), Adobe Media Player 1.1 has undergone substantial changes in this new release, with improvements in speed, user interface, and content.
To learn (and see) how Adobe has made it easier and faster to watch your favorite TV shows and movies on your PC, and to find out how much TV AMP 1.1 provides, join us after the jump.
Developers concerned about indexing have thus far been hesitant to incorporate Flash into websites because of the challenge involved in making the content searchable. This despite the fact that more than 98 percent of internet-connected computers have Adobe's Flash Player installed. Search engines are able to index static text and lnks within Flash SWF files, but as Adobe points out, "rich internet applications and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states," a problem which also exists in other RIA technologies.
To help get over that hurdle, Adobe announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files more indexable-friendly by search engines. For its part, Google says it developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way a surfer does, "by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on." Any text visible to a website visitor while interacting with a Flash file is also visible to Google's algorithm. And while Yahoo isn't quite as far along as Google, the collaboration with Adobe means it's now a matter of when, not if, SWF applications become more searchable.
Missing from this latest announcement is any mention of Microsoft and its MSN Search. It remains unclear whether Adobe purposely excluded the Redmond company, which owns Silverlight (a competitng format to Adobe's Flash), or if Microsoft chose not to participate. But regardless of Microsoft's level of involvement, expect to see more Flash content, whether you want it or not.
Adobe makes the wait for Reader 9 a short one, rolling out the companion to its heavily upgraded Acrobat 9 family just days after releasing Acrobat 9. Reader 9 supports all of the new multimedia features in Acrobat 9, including embedded Flash videos, and like Acrobat 9, loads much faster than its predecessor. Download it here.
Planning to try Acrobat 9 and Reader 9? Happy with third-party PDF readers? Give us your thoughts after the break.
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