Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adobe: Thank you sir. May I have another?

If you use Linux on the desktop then odds are you know that getting support from big name companies that produce software is typically difficult at best. They tell us we don't have enough market share, they tell us we have too many different configurations, they tell us there is too much fragmentation to create software for us.

Thats fine. Believe whatever lies you want and do as you will - it's your company and your software.

You know what isn't fine though? Giving us the impression you are going to provide support and then slapping us in the face later on. Adobe has done just this - not just once, but twice now!

In September of last year Adobe announced the release of their preview flash player that supported 64 operating systems of all types - even Linux. Since then there has not been a single up to the Linux 64 bit binary. In fact when going to the Adobe download page you are informed that the only version you can still download is the old version from September for 64 bit Linux.

The worst part? Adobe doesn't even have the gall to respond to their users about the lack of updates.

Flash isn't the only thing Adobe plans to screw it's desktop Linux users on though. As of version 2.7 Adobe's Air technology will no longer support desktop Linux. At least the developers at Adobe labs have the spine to tell us the are dropping support for the Linux desktop with Air instead of just leaving us wondering.

All in all just another healthy reminder of why closed source technologies are not ones you should come to rely heavily on. At any rate, hopefully more websites will start adopting the more open HTML5 for steaming content in the coming months - making flash less and less relevant. With respect to Adobe Air - we still have java if we want to run slow, cross-platform code. Guess that will have to do for now!

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. Adobe Reader X is not developed for Linux either.

  2. well for me the current availible version still works fine and hopefully by the time it becomes so outdated that is is un-usable (probobly 18-24 months from now) we will either have a fully (good) free flash plugin (and this might be more realistic than we think....the linux world has been moving at lightning speed the past few years)......or the more likely case that flash will be all but dead and html5 or another free standard will have replaced it.

    After all the flash format is AWWWWWFUL. 6 years ago when youtube came out and brodband everywhere was still a dream (not to mention a p4 was the power house of the day) it was great and it revolutionized the internet....BUT today it is far behind our needs. The best implementation of flash that I have seen is get the resolution (without insane buffering) is really good. But I still get screen tearing (not bad just once in a while). Flash has been pushed to its limit (which its probobly gone farther than most thought it could). It is time for a new format

  3. It would only be fair to mention that Flash/Air is a disaster not only with Linux. Flash/Air is a platform neutral in terms of being a resource hog, a privacy violator and a huge security risk.

    To be frank: Virtually no user likes Flash. Even if it's needed - it's a significant nuisance.

    The advertising industry may be huge fans of Flash - users are not.

    For Youtube: Try minitube - runs without flash. Stuff Adobe and go with HTML5/VP8.

  4. Actually Air is an encapsulation of a html/flash/ajax environment in a desktop application (it has webkit as one of its components). You don't need a browser to run it. We were supposed to make an air application for a webcam device that streams video (does html5 have webcam integration? No, it doesn't - flash has other uses than fancy animation/video stuff). Air does have it's uses. Unfortunately with this development, I'll be forced to delay support for linux desktop devices as a result.

  5. If I, and/or my trusted partner, can't inspect, build, and use, the application, then keep it away from my system. The proprietary vendor is not to be trusted.

  6. I'm really disappointed at the lack of AIR support for Linux. I was relying on it to provide cross-platform support using 1 single language on desktops and web (Actionscript). Sadly this means I'll have to rely on C++ for all desktop stuff from now on.

    I still think Flash is a great and fast way to develop for the Web. Don't you find JavaScript development to be very hack-ish, like meshing PHP with HTML? I prefer a clean environment like pure C++.

    The idea of Javascript and HTML5 being a cross-platform desktop/Web language is very appealing. But it's not here yet, and we are still seeing majority apps developed in Objective C and Java (or what is it that Android uses). Instead of seeing Flash die out, wouldn't you want both languages to flourish and provide competition to each other? After all, where would Linux be without Mac and Windows? Even Firefox benefited from Chrome and IE.

  7. This has nothing to do with poor Linux desktop support : Adobe sucks at x64/amd64 support for every platform.

    If you look carefully, even the Windows binaries are dated and full of security holes.
    Adobe explains these versions should only be used in labs...

    Why they need more than 7 years to make working 64-bit software is beyond any comprehension. The Open Source gnash project definitely needs some funding.

  8. And they are bloody right! It IS really hard to develop for many distros available. Even developing for one distro only, i.e. Ubuntu, we have KDE/GNOME/Unity, Xorg/Wayland, 9.04- 11.04, ... etc. etc. Keeping pace is difficult at best. Stuff that works in 9.04 does not work necessarily in 11.04. On Windows, a lot of applications does not need even a line of code from XP to Win7. Until this fragmentation is resolved, problems will still rise. I am not speaking as a developer but as QA engineer. The biggest problem is constant changing of technologies and bloody 6 month release cycle.
    Why not three years. In that case, three years of support for one application is looking good from perspective of development and quality + support.

  9. @kalac

    A valid point. The answer to this is to pick a distribution that does not pull the rug out from under your feet so often. RHEL comes to mind.

  10. Mmmmmmm content tastes best steamed.....think you meant streaming :P

  11. Isn't there a "beta" version of flash for linux x64? I'm using it.. It seems fine for me. But I'm not a big flash user, occasionally a few youtube videos and that's it.

  12. How is Adobe screwing us exactly? I hear this all the time in the Linux circles. Being on Linux, exclusively, myself, I interact with these circles 90% of the time.

    I'd really love to know why you feel Adobe owes us anything? They're a company, not a charity. They don't owe us anything, not even an explanation. You know what I hear? I hear the same thing they hear:

    "Ubuntu is the best!"
    "No, Fedora is the best!"
    "No, Slackware is! You all suck!"

    The problem? You have at least 3 different ways of handling things in two key areas: sound, and video. Which happen to be the most critical points for multimedia applications. And all you have is division and derision among the Linux advocates. You want them to congeal all of this on our behalf? If we can't get our crap together, what makes you think they even want to bother?

    Linux isn't even Linux (referring to a newer post about how Android isn't really Linux). Linux is a kernel that in and of itself is cohesive ... until some slap-happy distro maintainers decide their way is better in certain key areas instead of trying to coordinate a consistent interface to sound, and video.

    Hell, I know people that still haven't left the 2.4.x kernel yet. They refuse to because of some stupid ideological grounds.

    You know what Adobe owes us? A handshake, and a farewell -- be that a tangible gesture, or just by continuing to ignore us for the petty crowd of entitlement-minded freaks that we've become (as a collective).

    In other words, if you don't like it, don't buy it. And since it's free... too damned bad.