My Tribute to Flash 9 on Linux: Compiz Like Wobbly Windows

I’m sitting in Caribou Coffee in Ann Arbor Michigan looking out at beautiful ice covered trees glistening in the sunlight. It’s Jan 17th 2007 and this day is going down in history! Today is the day Flash Player 9 was officially released for Linux! This is HUGE! The web allows anyone with a PC to engage with information and others. Flash has always pushed the limits of how that engagement happens, most recently with video. Even though many Desktop Linux users prefer free software, Adobe has still committed to making Flash work on Linux. I think this is noble. Do you see MS or Apple doing this with their platforms? By having Flash 9 for Linux, Desktop Linux is made all that much better. I have been using Linux as a desktop since ’96 and without Flash I would be missing out on some pretty amazing stuff. Some will say “But Flash isn’t Open Source”. You are right. But if you don’t want to run proprietary software, rather than complain, go help Gnash. Ok, now that I’ve espoused my religious views, lets move on to the cool stuff!

First the demo: Wobbly Windows on the Web

That’s using Flash Player 9 and was built with the free Flex SDK. The wobble isn’t as refined as Compiz’s/Beryl’s, but that can be fixed once I (or you) figure out the math for doing that. Let’s walk through how you can compile that application.

First get the code from SourceForge. It’s in the wobbly module of the flexapps repository.

You need to get the free Flex SDK. Also if you don’t have it, you will need the Sun JDK 1.4 or better.

Set the FLEX_SDK to where you extracted the Flex SDK to.

In the directory where you checked out the wobbly code, run

Load the build/wobbly.html file in your browser!

This still needs some work, and since it’s Open Source, I’d love your help! Let me know what you think.

Flash 9 on 64bit Linux in 2 Commands

I’ve heard it so many times… “Flash 9 doesn’t work on 64bit Linux” So when I loaded 64bit Gentoo Linux my new Merom based Intel Core 2 Duo, I really was expecting an adventure. Turns out that it was actually pretty uneventful. It worked first try without any problems and in only 2 commands. Here’s what I did..

First I added the net-www/netscape-flash package to /etc/portage/package.unmask
sudo vi /etc/portage/package.unmask

Then I emerged Flash 9 & the Netscape Plugin Wrapper
sudo emerge -av netscape-flash nspluginwrapper

Then I reloaded Firefox, tested it, and it works great! I assume it’s this easy on other distributions, but I only have Gentoo to test on.

Of course this means much more than just being able to watch YouTube videos… Now that the Flex 2 SDK is free (as in beer) anyone can build applications that work the same on all major browsers and operating systems! I’m happy to say that since I started doing Flex development about two years ago, Firefox on Linux has been my primary build and test environment. And in that two years the only time I’ve had to write any of those “if IE” things was when I was writing JavaScript for a soon to be released Ajax & Flex benchmarking tool.

Using my OS of choice… Writing code once that works the same universally… These are things that make me happy. :)

Oh, and the fact that Flash is now built on the Mozilla / Open Source Tamarin VM makes me ecstatic!