September 15th 2010 | Jens C Brynildsen
After being nagged by the (Linux) Flash community for years, Adobe finally released preview versions of full 64-bit Flash Players for Mac, Windows and Linux today.
You can download the preview release from the Adobe Labs website for all platforms. This first release is codenamed "Square" and you can expect there to be more updates until this is released to the general public. Product manager for the Flash Player, Paul Betlem writes on the Adobe Flash Player Team blog that this is an early preview, but that they've managed to squeeze in Hardware Support from IE9: "In our internal testing, we’ve seen significant improvements in Flash Player graphics performance – exceeding 35% in Internet Explorer 9 Beta compared to Flash Player running in previous versions of IE." Very promising!
What's so important with 64-bit Flash Players you may ask? Isn't the point about 64-bit just that you can address more memory? Why do I need this for a browser plugin?
The Linux community has known the answer to those questions for a very long time. Linux was the first major OS to move to 64-bit, but if a Linux user wanted to see the web in all its glory, they had to keep a 32-bit browser on their 64-bit system since the Flash Plugin would only work in 32-bit software. Now there isn't all that many that use Linux and Macromedia (and later Adobe) didn't want to spend resources on a tiny market. For the time, that was a wise decision but things changed about three years ago.
Now the entire market has shifted to 64-bit. Apple's big move to 64-bit happened with OSX 10.5 (2007) and a couple years later, Microsoft released Windows 7. In the mean time, Adobe was busy saving it's failed strategy where they charged money for the Flash Player on mobile. Only now, after bringing the mobile version of the Flash Player up to par (and making it free), have they had the time to look into the conversion to 64-bit. Some will say that it's a little late, but we think it's impressive that the team has gotten this far just months after releasing 10.1 on so many platforms. Keep up the good work!
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