Dear Adobe, can we please have a 64-bit Flash player?

Dear Adobe, can we please have a 64-bit Flash player?

Summary: In the TalkBack section of my earlier post on the sudden popularity of x64 Vista, a commenter notes that Adobe's Flash player is not yet available in a 64-bit version, which means that if you go to a site that uses Flash, your 64-bit browser will not render the content correctly. That’s one of the minor annoyances in using 64-bit Vista, and Adobe's been silent on the subject for six months except to say, "We're working on it." Can someone light a fire under the Flash development team?

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In the TalkBack section of my earlier post on the sudden popularity of x64 Vista, a commenter makes a good point:

Flash is not yet 64 bit (at least not the last time I looked). We got a new PC last summer running Vista 64 bit and when you use IE and go to a site that uses Flash it will not work.

That’s true, and it’s the source of one of the minor annoyances in using 64-bit Vista. As I note in my reply, 32-bit IE is the default in Vista x64, presumably for this very reason:

Although there's a 64-bit IE, you have to go through some special steps to enable it as a default. Virtually everything opens in the 32-bit IE, which you can tell if you look in Task Manager.

You can find the shortcut for IE x64 on the All Programs menu:

Internet Explorer x64 has a shortcut on the Vista Start menu, but itÂ’s not the default

But if you use the IE shortcuts on the Start menu or the Quick Launch bar, or if you double-click a link or a URL shortcut, you get the 32-bit version of IE (or Firefox, which doesn’t even offer a 64-bit version for Windows as far as I can tell). All those *32 entries in this snippet from Task Manager provide the proof:

When you run IE on Vista x64, it uses the 32-bit version by default

The single biggest blocker to using a 64-bit browser is the absence of a compatible Flash player. If you open the 64-bit version of IE and click Adobe’s Get Flash Player link, you get redirected to this TechNote:

Flash Player support on 64-bit operating systems

Issue: Adobe Flash Player is not supported for playback in a 64-bit browser. However, you can run Flash Player in a 32-bit browser running on a 64-bit operating system.

Reason: Adobe is working on Flash Player support for 64-bit platforms as part of our ongoing commitment to the cross-platform compatibility of Flash Player. We have not yet announced timing or release dates.

Solution: To use Flash Player to view Flash content on a 64-bit operating system, you must run a 32-bit browser.

That article was last updated on February 8, 2008, nearly six months ago. Not even a "we're still working on it." With the increased popularity of 64-bit Windows, someone needs to light a fire under the Flash development team.

Update 23-July 1:30PM: A commenter suggests that Flash 10 will eventually offer 64-bit support. Maybe, but that support is certainly not there today. I just downloaded and installed the latest (July 2008) Beta 2 build of Flash 10. It doesn't work with either IE7 x64 or a compiled 64-bit experimental build of Firefox 3.

Topics: Networking, Browser, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Processors

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Talkback

75 comments
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  • nspluginwrapper

    Works like a champ. It does the mapping between the 64-bit calls from Firefox and other compatible clients and the library's native 32-bit API.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Is there a Windows port of that? (nt)

      nt
      Michael Kelly
    • 64bit linux rocks, I have flash running fine on mine <nt> :)

      nt
      T1Oracle
      • Fail

        It's not provided by adobe, and therefore is not guaranteed to be compatible. That makes it virtually useless as it's a potential security risk.
        Spiritusindomit@...
        • The 32 Bit Flash is by Adobe, the plug-in wrapper is for FF 64 not Flash

          Nice try though. 64-bit Linux still rocks.
          T1Oracle
      • Not exactly ... Flash itself runs 32 bit

        Flash on 64 bit linux is running inside a 32 bit wrapper (nspluginwrapper)
        http://www.linuxheadquarters.com/howto/64-bit/flash64.shtml
        zdnet@...
  • RE: Dear Adobe, can we please have a 64-bit Flash player?

    That update must have been a typo fix or something -- I've emailed Adobe about it sporadically since Vista came out, since I immediately went to x64 with its release. Its a joke -- the article has barely changed since 2006!
    TigerhawkVok
  • Firefox for 64 bit Windows

    The regular site doesn't have a binary, but since the source is available you could either compile it yourself or find someone to do it for you. A quick Google helped me find someone who [url=http://www.mozilla-x86-64.com/]did it for us[/url]. Try it out and let us know how it works (I would myself if I had a test machine).
    Michael Kelly
    • Not much help...

      Then you would have to manually update it every time there was a new firefox update, whether someone else built it for you or you built it yourself.

      Kinda defeats the elegant simplicity of the automatic updates...
      ridingthewind
      • Good point

        Thanks for reminding me of the elegant simplicity of [url=http://www.gentoo.org]Portage[/url]. It works so well I forget the job it's doing sometimes.
        Michael Kelly
    • Just did that

      Thanks for the pointer. It downloads and installs just fine. Adobe's Get Flash page doesn't recognize it as incompatible, so it keeps prompting me to download and install the software but doesn't actually render any Flash content. This will be handy when Adobe finally gets its 64-bit Flash code ready.
      Ed Bott
      • See YBK's thread

        about nspluginwrapper. It does work like a charm for Linux AMD64 ports of Firefox (not to mention Konqueror and other browsers based on WebKit or Gecko), but I don't know if there is a Windows port. If there is I can't find it.
        Michael Kelly
        • I can't find it either (nt)

          ...
          Ed Bott
    • Firefox for 64 bit Windows

      I keep reading about x64 browsers and how good they are so I ran a series of tests using Firefox v3 32bit, Firefox v3 64 bit, IE 32 bit, IE 64bit, and Safari 32 bit to find out if there really was a good reason to go 64bit. The test computer ran Vista 64, has a Q6600 cpu, and 6 gig of memory.

      After running a series of real life timed tests against 8 test websites, I came to the conclusion that, currently, there is no good reason to run a 64bit browser.

      The winner, 32 bit Firefox v3 with a few optimized settings. 2nd place went to Safari ( 32bit ). 3rd place went to 64 bit Firefox, followed by the 64bit version of IE and the 32 bit version of IE was dead last.

      Testing was conducted using http://www.numion.com/StopWatch/ and the test sites listed on there main page.
      mbryeans
  • RE: Dear Adobe, can we please have a 64-bit Flash player?

    they need to come out with a version that only runs when i tell it it's ok to run. i refuse to install it because all of these web designers annoy the hell out of their visitors as soon as a site is visited. flashing animations, loud sound and whatever else they can come up with. i don't want to be annoyed, i want to go there and read an article without the distractions.
    g_keramidas@...
    • Add-ins

      IE7 Pro for IE7 has a Flash blocker, and there are multiple options for Firefox. You can create blacklists or whitelists. Why not check those options out?
      Ed Bott
      • thanks

        i may, i just try to keep these add-ins to a minimum.
        g_keramidas@...
        • Flashblock

          I've used an add-on for Firefox called Flashblock for as long as I can remember. It adds a "Flash" logo on top of white boxes that would be a Flash animation. When you click on it, the flash plays as normal. You can even right-click and enable all Flash for a website then reload the website rather than clicking on each piece for those very Flash heavy but needed websites.
          rivalary
    • Blocking Flash in Firefox

      I use noscript as a plug in to Firefox. It blocks all scripts on a website unless I allow them including Flash.
      You can temporally allow all scripts on a site. Or green light it to use all scripts including flash in the future. It green lights the scripts by URL so scripts called from other websites from the page must be green lighted also - as a result this blocks a lot of the Google ads and other ads called from off of their domain. You can also click on the noscript icon in a blocked script box to enable just that script or flash. This helps protect you from drive by scripting attacks where a site is hacked to execute off site scripting.
      NZJester
  • Flash 10 should support Vista x64

    Flash 10 should support Vista x64
    qmlscycrajg