Today Abode announced the availability of Adobe Flash Player 10 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new plugin offers a number of improvements such as native support for 3D, a new text rendering engine, and integration with Adobe’s Pixel Bender technology. However, we know that many of you aren’t interested in these upgrades, which are mainly aimed at Flash developers. What you want to know is this: Will Flash video finally work in Firefox?
We’re pleased to report the answer to that question is YES. After installing the new player, we loaded up a bunch of tabs in Firefox and played a YouTube video. The video played to completion. It worked!
The Firefox 3/Flash Bug
If you don’t have any idea what we’re talking about here, consider yourself lucky. The Flash/Firefox bug has been a major source of aggravation for many users running Firefox 3 on Windows XP or Vista. When viewing an embedded video on a web site like YouTube, the videos would start playing, but they would stop after only a couple of seconds. There was nothing you could do to fix it except to close the browser and re-open it (which only sometimes worked) or load up an alternate browser like IE or Chrome.
People’s experiences with this bug weren’t consistent – some people were affected, some not at all, and for some it was intermittent. To make matters worse, the only solution at the time was to install the Flash 10 player which was then still in beta and therefore unsupported by many large web sites, like CNN, for example. That site would prompt you to upgrade to Flash 9 as it thought you must be running an older version of Flash.
Both Mozilla and Adobe were aware of the issue, but neither company seemed to really know what the problem was. At one time, Adobe suspected that it was another Firefox plugin that was affecting Flash. The Mozilla developers also did their best to determine the cause on their end, too, but because Adobe was a closed-source company, their efforts could only go so far.
This fix came just in time. Because the issue had been going on for so long, people were getting comfortable running two browsers – Firefox (as usual) and one that played Flash, like Chrome. That opened the door for another big browser switch – this time away from Firefox instead of towards it. What a shame that would have been because otherwise, Firefox 3 is a great browser. We’re happy to see that Adobe finally figured out the issue and has made Flash usable again.
Other New Features
As far as the other upgrades go, developers will be happy to learn that the new Flash Player supports the following:
- 3D transformations and animations that take advantage of GPU hardware acceleration
- New text rendering engine that lets developers create their own text layout components
- Pixel Blender integration which lets developers create custom filters and effects which can be applied at runtime to videos, images, and bitmaps
For more details on the technical aspects of these features, Josh Catone has a good write-up over on SitePoint.
You can download the new version of Flash from here: http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer