Still waiting for a 64-bit Flash Player

Still waiting for a 64-bit Flash Player

Summary: Adobe is hard at work on its next Flash Player release. Or, to be more accurate, it's hard at work on the 32-bit version of its next Flash Player. A new Flash 10.1 beta is now available, but it's 32-bit only. Exactly 18 months after I wondered out loud about the whereabouts of a native Flash Player for a 64-bit world, Adobe still says only that it's planned for "an upcoming release."


Adobe is hard at work on its next Flash Player release. Or, to be more accurate, it's hard at work on the 32-bit version of its next Flash Player. The company publicly unveiled the 10.1 release in October at Adobe MAX 2009, and earlier this month Flash Player 10.1 Beta 2 for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems was made available for download.

Curiously, though, the October press release doesn't mention 64-bit support at all, and the announcement of the latest beta includes only a passing link to "the latest alpha refresh" of the 64-bit Flash Player 10 prerelease for Linux.What about Windows or the Mac? Sorry, folks, no news to report.

I first commented on this topic, in July 2008 (see Dear Adobe, can we please have a 64-bit Flash player?). Today, exactly 18 months later, the wording on the Adobe TechNote page has changed slightly, but there's still no sign of 64-bit code. In 2008, Adobe said they were "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." Today, the updated page still reports that Adobe Flash Player is "not supported … in a 64-bit browser." As for future plans, the company says only, "We expect to provide native support for 64-bit platforms in an upcoming release of Flash Player following the release of Flash Player 10.1."

Given the huge popularity of 64-bit hardware and operating systems these days, I'm surprised that Adobe isn't more forthcoming with its roadmap.

Apparently Microsoft feels no pressure to deliver a 64-bit version of Silverlight either. As of April, 2009, the company officially said that x64 support would not be included in Silverlight 3, adding "We are considering this for future versions of Silverlight."

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, Networking, Processors

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  • ED: They seem not to care

    Someone need to make a Flash killer. I would have thought Adobe would have it working for Windows 7 launch.

    They had 5 years to get this working.
    • Silverlight

      Give it time.
    • What do you mean they don't care?

      Despite Ed's off-hand dismissal of 64-bit flash flash for linux, I've been using it since it came out (novemberish? Seems like forever ago), and it's been the most stable version of flash I've ever uses. sure, there's still that silly fullscreen bug, but that also affects 32bit linux versions (yes, I can acknowledge the shortcomings of my platform of choice).

      All I have to say is, thanks adobe, 64-bit flash is at least as much care as you've ever given linux, and seemingly a bit more.
      • Agreed, the 64 bit Flash for Linux is OK

        I've been using it for over a year, and have had no additional problems with it. Adobe have been keeping it up-to-date wit respect to all their security problems as well.
      • Offhand dismissal?

        You're projecting. I included the link to the page and everything.

        Ed Bott
      • 64-bit flash does have some problems

        I've been using the 64-bit flash plug-in with firefox on the last few 64-bit Fedora distributions, and I've had a lot of crashing problems. The latest version seems to have cut that back quite a bit, and the latest versions of firefox seem better at containing the crashes so that only flash dies, not the whole browser. Most of the crashing for me occurs with ESPN's web site. So I would say it's not on par yet with the 32-bit version as I remember it.
      • I thought Ed was talking Windows

        When it comes to 64bit windows they don't seem to care when or if it ever get release.
  • 64-bit Firefox?

    Shouldn't the pressure first be on getting 64 bit browsers? Firefox has unofficial 64 bit version with no claims that it will actually work and no word on whether extensions are supported.

    Firefox folks say that 64 bit version would not bring much advantage.
    • IE8

      Has had a 64-bit version since day 1, as did IE7. The 32-bit version is enabled by default because of add-in support.
      Ed Bott
      • Other apps to 64 bit

        Sure Windows OS and IE both appear in 64 bit versions (and I truly appreciate that). The pressure to get to 64 bit should not be limited to Flash however. There is a whole pile of applications that need to get to 64 bit.

        Just for example, most video processing applications I have come across are 32 bit. These are able to use currently 1.5GB of RAM out of ~3.5 GB total available in the system, and they tank out on memory very quickly, and most even crash right after. Going to 64 bit OS would allow the system to have more memory (say 16 GB), but the 32 bit app can still access only 2 GB, which is not much up from 1.5GB before.

        I do see that Flash needs to go 64 bit, but many others also do, including Firefox.
        • Firefox is 64 bit ready

          They do not have it for general release simply because plugins (Flash especially) are still mostly 32 bit, but there are plenty of <a href="">unofficial releases</a> of 64 bit Firefox, or you can compile it yourself from source.
          Michael Kelly
          • No problems here with 64bit ...

            The latest versions of 64bit Firefox are working splendid for me along with 64bit Flash. In fact I am really not having an issue with any plugins being missing other than Real Player which I have learned to live without. Pretty sad when there is no 64bit Real Player for Linux, but Windows Media stuff works flawlessly on 64bit Linux. And I believe that even 32bit Real Player could be implemented with nswrapper, but it is easier to just choose a Windows Media stream instead. These latest 64bit Firefox releases have been really totally trouble free for me and fast as lightning, especially when used with OpenDNS. Video, everything, just roles.
            George Mitchell
    • 64bit browser useless without flash

      Facebook and Youtube is useless cause you need flash.

      This is the problem with IE8 64bit it is fast but if you can't access sites that use flash it pretty useless.

      You think flash is no big deal until you find news , social sites etc unable to watch videos or play games etc due to lack of flash.
      • nspluginwrapper

        Or else use a browser like Konqueror which doesn't call plugins directly as subroutines.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Agreed, 64bit IE8 is much faster ....

        but every time you access a page with flash on it the browser pauses slowing it down drastically.

        I am really surprised that Adobe has stumbled on this front. Maybe they need some new programmers.
    • Say what?

      [i]Shouldn't the pressure first be on getting 64 bit browsers? Firefox has unofficial 64 bit version with no claims that it will actually work and no word on whether extensions are supported.[/i]

      I've been using 64-bit Firefox for years. Works fine.

      In fact, the reason I need a 64-bit version of Flash is [b]because[/b] I have a 64-bit Firefox and don't want to use nspluginwrapper.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
  • RE: Still waiting for a 64-bit Flash Player

    It's not just Adobe. It's the whole mentality of many. I use 64-Bit Linux and 64-Bit Windows Vista and enjoy safe and secure computing in both. Not to mention how fast and stable they both are!

    Windows Vista 64-Bit has no evidence of the complaints that plagued the 32-Bit side. I have seen none of that nonsense in 64-Bit Vista.

    Where can you find 32-Bit hardware in the mainstream anymore? It's all 64-Bit. So why on God's green earth would you run a 32-Bit O.S. now?

    My 2 year old Toshiba Satellite came with 32-Bit Vista. It is much happier with a 64-Bit O.S. even though it has an A.M.D. processor. That 32-Bit backward compatibility in the processor was to enhance the 32-Bit Compatibility Mode in 64-Bit Windows and other Operating Systems. It was not meant to run a 32-Bit Operating System, just enhance 32-Bit program operation.

    It's time to say goodbye to 32-Bit stuff and get with the program.
    The Rifleman
  • RE: Still waiting for a 64-bit Flash Player

    I'm still waiting for Adobe to deliver a version of Flash that can accurately index into any MP3 recording made at a rate other than 44.1 KHz CBR.

    How can any supposed "media" platform not be able to have their client move forward 30 seconds on an arbitrary piece of recorded MP3 audio, and leave this as a permanent known bug for years?

    Can anyone at Adobe be bothered to play a file accurately at any rate other than 44.1 KHz as they ponder the far greater complexity of offering a 64 bit implementation (which would likely include this well documented sound object basic design flaw?)
  • They have years worth of security bugs to fix in 32 bit first

    Wouldn't the world be better off if they tackled those first?
    Johnny Vegas
    • No

      If people had that attitude we'd still be using 8 bit software ;-). Seriously, security will always be an on-going concern. If you waited until software was foolproof it would never get upgraded.