Adobe released a prerelease version of the Flash 9 Player, supposedly for “Linux”. I run Linux, but it doesn’t work for me. Hm.
$ tar xvfz FP9_plugin_beta_101806.tar.gz flash-player-plugin-18.104.22.168/ flash-player-plugin-22.214.171.124/libflashplayer.so flash-player-plugin-126.96.36.199/readme.txt $ cd flash-player-plugin-188.8.131.52/ $ less libflashplayer.so ELF Header: Magic: 7f 45 4c 46 01 01 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 Class: ELF32 Data: 2's complement, little endian Version: 1 (current) OS/ABI: UNIX - System V ABI Version: 0 Type: DYN (Shared object file) Machine: Intel 80386 Version: 0x1 Entry point address: 0x220c0 Start of program headers: 52 (bytes into file) Start of section headers: 6752832 (bytes into file) Flags: 0x0 Size of this header: 52 (bytes) Size of program headers: 32 (bytes) Number of program headers: 6 Size of section headers: 40 (bytes) Number of section headers: 27 Section header string table index: 26
Uh oh, it’s a 32-bit x86 shared library. That rules out 64-bit platforms and non-x86 platforms, where real Linux runs quite successfully. (I write this entry on such a platform.)
Now Adobe can do exactly as it wishes with its source code. It can support only x86 Linux or PPC Linux or Sparc or ARM Linux, or it could release Flash 10 for the old Acorn computer, if it really wants. It’s fine for Adobe to say “We only support 32-bit x86 Linux”. In my mind, however, it’s not okay to claim to support “Linux” without explaining that Adobe’s conception of “Linux” is actually far more limited than the reality. I don’t see a note to that effect either on the download page or in the readme.txt file at all. That’s lazy at best, and quite possibly a lie.
Imagine, if you will, that the world in general now thinks that it’s okay to require Flash 9 for certain websites (or technical screencasts — there’s the one that bites me), because “Of course there’s a Flash player for Linux now!”.
There’s a Flash player for 32-bit x86 Linux. That’s a lot of people, yes, but it’s certainly not everyone. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is.
It’s not as if Adobe somehow failed to produce PPC and x86 versions of the player for Mac OS X, for example.