Flex 2 Apps on Linux!!!

One of the benefits of working for Adobe is that I get to test new products while they are still in the pre-release state. One night a few weeks ago I was able to install a pre-alpha build of Flash Player 9 on Linux. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I pulled up my first Flex 2 app on my Gentoo laptop. Smiling from ear to ear I ran over to Emmy Huang (who, as usual, was still working at 7pm), and I thanked her. And the next day I also had the chance to thank Mike Melanson, Tinic Uro who are also investing a lot of time making Flash Player 9 on Linux a reality. Many others at Adobe are also working hard to get the public beta out the door. Most Flex 2 apps I have tested are working, but there are still frequent browser crashes and other bugs that the team needs to fit before we can send a beta out the door. But we are close and I can’t wait to watch the very eager Linux community get their hands on Flash Player 9.

Flex 2 and Flash Player 9 are changing how the world builds and experiences web applications. Now we have a ubiquitous and consistent virtual machine to run real applications in. And we have an amazing programming model and SDK to build those applications with. Best of all, it’s all free (as in beer)! I have been working with JBoss on a Flex based collaboration client and the results have been stunning. It’s beautiful, extremely fast, and as soon as Flash Player 9 on Linux debuts it will work the same on any OS or browser, without any “if IE” workarounds! When Apollo is available this will get even more interesting since we can take the same collaboration client application and run it offline, without the browser! Just to further drench Linux users appetites for Flash Player 9 here is a screenshot of the JBoss Collaboration Client running in Flash Player 9 on Linux:

Flash 9 on Linux

Amazingly it actually works without any problems and looks exactly the same on Linux as it does on Mac and Windows! Write once, debug once, run anywhere actualized! (By “debug once” I am of-course referring to only having to debug on one OS and one browser.) This is the future of web applications!

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  • vk

    “One night a few weeks ago I was able to install a pre-alpha build of Flash Player 9 on Linux.”

    Got a download link for that by any chance? ;)

  • James, Good to see you. Wasn’t aware that you have a blog.

    I can understand the excitement… Just waiting for beta, Adobe Flash Player’s reach would surely extend with this..

    -abdul

  • Ambassador, with these screenshots you are spoiling us !

    Can’t wait for the release. Of an alpha. Or anything. Need it (although I did find the setting in Compiz to turn off ‘windows focus leaves trail’ for WINE applications, which stopped ‘ghost’ window borders !) *now* :-)

    Must stop gushing, or I’ll have nothing left for when it is actually released.

  • Looks great! Thanks for thinking about the Linux community :)

  • Marcelo de Moraes Serpa

    Now that’s a big leap forward for the Flash Platform! Support for the major OS’s is fundamental and key-role for the ubiquitousness and success of our beloved platform.

    Great work guys!!

  • Very cool James. Now finish that demo of AMF versus XML performance for us ;) Can’t wait to see it online.
    Ian

  • Please, when talking to the right guys ask them about Linux on PPC and AMD64 support. – I mean just let them compile versions for these platforms – it would make some geeks quite happy.

    And btw. It would be great to have acroread on this architectures as well… sry

    Greetings from Berlin

  • Ben

    This is great news. What are the chances Adobe will be simultaneously providing the Linux community with builds for all major architectures? x86, AMD64, PPC, ARM and Sparc. That’d be news. Otherwise, those of us who are truly interested in a cross-platform solution will be left using traditional technologies that don’t leave out users of platforms deemed unimportant by Adobe.

    Sorry to rain on the good news but as a user of alternate platforms, Flash is one of the very few things that I really miss. If Adobe wants Flash to be taken seriously as a platform, I believe that it is up to them to go this extra mile to make Flash truly ubiquitous. If Opera can do it with their browser, surely a company with Adobe’s resources could manage it.

  • A screenshot is nice, but what about the sound synching problems that everyone who already uses Flash on Linux experiences? Is that an issue with Flash 9?

  • CO

    “This is the future of web applications”. Is it me, or does that sound like cheap marketing? I know Adobe doesn’t really need your personal help to promote their products, but it still sounds a bit lame when someone gets over-excited about their own product. Is Flex the future of web applications? Many people would disagree.

  • James Ward

    Flash Player 9 on Linux solves the sound sync issue!

    As far as 64bit and other architectures check out Tinic’s blog about this:
    http://www.kaourantin.net/2006/07/random-bits-on-current-status.html

  • Mike

    That is so cool, can’t wait to get it now :)
    I just wish the Photoshop folks at Adobe were onto linux in the same way you guys are.

  • Does the Linux build still depend on ye olde OSS emulation for audio, or can it now use the new platforms like ALSA and JACK?

  • Jesse

    Great news, I’be getting more and more sites that I can’t access with Flash player 7

  • James Ward
  • Being myself an open source guy, I prefer to think that Open Laszlo is going to be the future. I prefer open platforms.

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  • Enrique

    Please don’t forget Solaris when implementing Flex for Unix browsers. Most of my users are there. Thanks!

  • Hey if it sorts out the sound sync issue on videos that would be swell.

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  • “This is the future of web applications!”

    Not so sure about that myself. Yes, some will use it, however, I think it’s pretty bad idea to use a proprietary browser plugin to write your web applications. You may as well just offer a link for the user to download an executable program.

    Personally, I believe Ajax is the way forward with this kind of thing, yeah it’s not as responsive, and you can’t do ‘flashy’ effects (well, you can do some!) but it’s far nicer and can degrade gracefully (and easily).

    I think there’s a time and place for flash (youtube anyone)? But web apps isn’t it. I think this is just Adobe’s attemt at trying to get into the web app market. Any serious developer will shun this.

  • Kreuger

    I wouldn’t mind seeing screenshots of it using youtube.com and myspace.com’s audio/video players because currently you can listen on myspace but can’t change songs or anything because there’s no text.

  • A lot of guys are waiting for that flash plugin. And as soon as linux fonts mature, the run on linux might commence.

  • Some Guy

    I have one question for you: do you REALLY think Linux users are going to get so excited over this? How can you be “Smiling from ear to ear”?? Do you really think this is such an amazing thing? It’s just a binary! A binary without source code means NOTHING to Linux users! It might as well not even exist! Seriously, the only people this is going to appeal to are the corporate types making embedded set-top boxes that need to display flash content to dumb users that don’t even realize they are running Linux.

    Actual Linux users are going to continue to experience the same frustrations with this crappy binary software, and continue to demand that you release it as open source, since you seem to think it’s some kind of standard now, which it is NOT. I only prey for the day when animated SVG matures to the point where we can replace all proprietary flash content with an accepted, standards-compliant solution. Adobe COULD lead this effort and have a big impact on it, but they are continuing to ignore it, which will be their loss, and eventual downfall.

  • “…to further drench Linux users appetites…”
    uhhhh…. what? I think you might be confusing the words “whet” and “wet”. But, yes, my appetite is thoroughly whet now. Thanks for the screen shot!

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  • Nahuel

    Ok, but what about _developing_ Flex 2 apps in Linux? there is a Flex Builder 2 for Linux or another open source program? there is a comprehensive guide on how to setup a Flex 2 development environment in Linux?

  • Alok

    This is good news. It is good to hear that Adobe will support Linux too outside of Windows & Mac. I just wish that they could do the same for all their products.

  • Hello,

    I think you need to look into openlaszlo http://www.openlaszlo.org/ which is better than flex 2.0

    You can create google maps via flash and ajax based on it, it’s better than Flex and for free since it’s an open source ;)

    You can with openlaszlo to make flash and ajax output, so you code it for once, and you can have any output you want.

    Multiple runtimes has always been on the roadmap. LZX was conceived as a language that would be independent of Flash. This is being proven out with
    the implementation of the AJAX/DHTML runtime.

    Finally they signed up with sun to support Mobiles as well.
    http://www.openlaszlo.org/node/342

    Sun Microsystems Inc. the creator and leading advocate of Java™ technology, and Laszlo Systems, Inc., the original developer of OpenLaszlo, a
    leading open source rich Internet development platform, today announced a collaboration to enable OpenLaszlo applications to run on devices supporting
    the Java™ Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) application. With this move, Sun and Laszlo are actively contributing resources to a new project for the
    OpenLaszlo community, code-named Orbit.

    So I think Flash with OpenLaszlo is much better than using flex or ajax.

    Google Maps here by OpenLaszlo

    As for google Maps in Flash check it here ;)

    Google Maps demo:
    http://laszlo.jp/lps/samples/googlemapsonlaszlo/googlemapsonlaszlotest.lzx.swf

    sources : (SVN of google code)
    http://openlaszloincubator.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/googlemapsonlaszlo/

    So I guess OpenLaszlo is the way to go ;)

    Thank you,
    Abdullah
    Arab Portal Network
    http://www.WeArab.Net/

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  • Chang Li

    I have heard of some stability problems with Flash Player 9, such as memory leaks which lead to out of memory erors. I have personally experienced a Player crash on Adobe’s website when I was going through some of the articles with Flash players embeded. That happen during my first 2 hours working with Flash Player 9 and Flex 2. Just how bad are these issues? Does anyone know a good source for information on these issues?

  • James Ward

    The release version of Flash 9 for Linux is very stable. I occasionally do get Firefox crashes, but I have no idea if it is due to Flash or not. If you can consistently reproduce a crash, please let me know and I will pass it on to the Flash Engineering team.

  • Nobody

    In response to Mr. Ward’s coments: Flash 9 is stable? I don’t think ‘stable’ means what you thing it means. With Flash 9 installed, Firefox crashes *every* time I try to watch a Flash video (and audio does not work at all). This may pass for stable in the Windows world, but on Linux it’s simply unacceptable. Without Flash installed, Firefox has not crashed yet.

  • James Ward

    Hi Nobody,

    I’m sorry to hear that you are having problems. What distribution are you using? 32bit or 64bit? What version of Firefox?

    With Gentoo, 32bit & 64bit, and Firefox 2.0.0.1, Flash video and audio works great for me with Flash Player 9.

    -James

  • keith smith

    Crash,
    Smash,
    Flash,
    Pretty Much any flash content
    Firefox Blows up on close without flash content.

    Build identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.8.1.2) Gecko/2007022001 Firefox/2.0.0.2

    about:plugins
    File name: libflashplayer.so
    Shockwave Flash 9.0 r31

    flash 9 has gone from r2x to r31, since I started messing with it
    Without the flashplayer plugin firefox is stable as a rock.

    Slackware 10.2, relatively vanilla. Note: it is MORE STABLE on slackware 11.0 with libc-2.3.6, but still blows occasionally.

    [music@media] /opt/firefox/pluginsldd libflashplayer.so
    linux-gate.so.1 => (0xffffe000)
    libdl.so.2 => /lib/tls/libdl.so.2 (0xb77f3000)
    libpthread.so.0 => /lib/tls/libpthread.so.0 (0xb77e1000)
    libX11.so.6 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libX11.so.6 (0xb7717000)
    libXext.so.6 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXext.so.6 (0xb7709000)
    libXt.so.6 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXt.so.6 (0xb76b8000)
    libfreetype.so.6 => /usr/lib/libfreetype.so.6 (0xb764e000)
    libfontconfig.so.1 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libfontconfig.so.1 (0xb7626000)
    libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0 (0xb7352000)
    libgobject-2.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libgobject-2.0.so.0 (0xb731f000)
    libglib-2.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libglib-2.0.so.0 (0xb729f000)
    libm.so.6 => /lib/tls/libm.so.6 (0xb727c000)
    libc.so.6 => /lib/tls/libc.so.6 (0xb7160000)
    /lib/ld-linux.so.2 (0x80000000)
    libSM.so.6 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libSM.so.6 (0xb7157000)
    libICE.so.6 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libICE.so.6 (0xb713f000)
    libz.so.1 => /usr/lib/libz.so.1 (0xb712d000)
    libexpat.so.0 => /usr/lib/libexpat.so.0 (0xb710d000)
    libgdk_pixbuf-2.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libgdk_pixbuf-2.0.so.0 (0xb70f8000)
    libgdk-x11-2.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libgdk-x11-2.0.so.0 (0xb707b000)
    libpangoxft-1.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libpangoxft-1.0.so.0 (0xb7074000)
    libpangoft2-1.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libpangoft2-1.0.so.0 (0xb704e000)
    libpangox-1.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libpangox-1.0.so.0 (0xb7043000)
    libpango-1.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libpango-1.0.so.0 (0xb700c000)
    libatk-1.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libatk-1.0.so.0 (0xb6ff3000)
    libgmodule-2.0.so.0 => /usr/lib/libgmodule-2.0.so.0 (0xb6fee000)
    libXrandr.so.2 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXrandr.so.2 (0xb6feb000)
    libXi.so.6 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXi.so.6 (0xb6fe3000)
    libXinerama.so.1 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXinerama.so.1 (0xb6fe0000)
    libXft.so.2 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXft.so.2 (0xb6fce000)
    libXfixes.so.3 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXfixes.so.3 (0xb6fc8000)
    libXcursor.so.1 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXcursor.so.1 (0xb6fbf000)
    libXrender.so.1 => /usr/X11R6/lib/libXrender.so.1 (0xb6fb7000)

  • Hi Keith,

    Are there any specific Flash pages that you can reproduce a crash every time with? Also, what distro are you using?

    Thanks.

    -James

  • DUJA

    hi, my firefox crashes too every time i try to open a flash page (every flash page crashes eg. myspace.com etc..)
    when i delete flashplayer plugin it works stable
    im using slackware 10.2 kernel 2.6.13
    hope ull make it better

  • Duja,

    You are the second person to report crashes here with Slackware. I’m not sure what the problem is. But it does seem specific to Slackware. I did some googling and I see other people having this problem, but can’t find any solutions. You might want to try the debug version from:
    http://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/downloads.html

    What version of glibc do you have?

    -James

  • awesome work!

    some basic questions. Do we have flex data server under linux? How do you vision the gap in loading time of flex app v.s. html/ajax app’s performance in loading time?

  • The Flex Data Services is Java, so it runs anywhere Java runs.

    Loading time is very dependent on many different things. The time for the swf to cross the wire can be longer with Flex applications, but since Flex applications run in the Flash VM, they execute much faster than HTML/Ajax apps. So once you get the app down to the client it will startup and run much faster than a JavaScript application. Also typically Flex applications make much fewer requests to the back-end server once running, so this also significantly increased performance.

    Hope that helps.

    -James

  • Ajay V

    Hi,

    Was using the standalone debug player in flash ( I need to use it cause this is the only one that lets me make a text log which is quite essential for the application am developing), and it encounters memory leak like crazy, can anyone tell me how to fix this? or is there any other way to make a text log without using the debug player???

    Thanks
    Aj

  • Aj,

    You want the logging to happen locally or on the server? If you want it to log locally you have to use trace and enable the trace output. If you want to log on the server there are many ways to do this. A simple HTTPService would be the easiest.

    -James

  • I too am running slackware and Firefox 2.0 with consistent crashes. (this is with FP ver 9)

    Warren

  • Hi Warren,

    What is your specific version of Flash Player? Are there certain sites which always cause a crash? Thanks.

    -James

  • Warren Steffen

    James, my version of Flash player is 9.0 & fire fox is
    2.0
    Any that use the flash player.
    Warren