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Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player Icon
Adobe Flash Player under Linux
Adobe Flash Player under Linux.
Initial release: 1996
OS Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris and Pocket PC
Available language(s) Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Korean [1].
Genre Interpreter, Media Player
License Proprietary freeware EULA
Website Adobe Flash Player Homepage


The Adobe Flash Player is a widely distributed proprietary multimedia and application player created and distributed by Macromedia (a division of Adobe Systems). Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by the Adobe Flash authoring tool, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other Macromedia and third party tools.

Adobe Flash, or simply Flash, refers to both a multimedia authoring program and the Adobe Flash Player, written and distributed by Adobe, that uses vector and raster graphics, a native scripting language called ActionScript and bidirectional streaming of video and audio. Strictly speaking, Adobe Flash is the authoring environment and Flash Player is the virtual machine used to run the Flash files, but in colloquial language these have become mixed: "Flash" can mean either the authoring environment, the player, or the application files.

Flash Player has support for an embedded scripting language called ActionScript (AS), which is based on ECMAScript. Since its inception ActionScript has matured from a script syntax without variables to one that supports object-oriented code, and may now be compared in capability to JavaScript (another ECMAScript-based scripting language).

The Flash Player was originally designed to display 2-dimensional vector animation, but has since become suitable for creating rich Internet applications and streaming video and audio. It uses vector graphics to minimize file size and create files that save bandwidth and loading time. Flash is a common format for games, animations, and GUIs embedded into web pages.

The Flash Player is built into some browsers and is available as a plugin for recent versions of other browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer) on selected platforms. Each version of the plugin is completely backwards-compatible.

Supported platformsEdit

The latest version of Flash Player, Version 9, is available for Windows (98 and newer), Linux (x86-32 only), Solaris and Mac OS X. Version 7 is the most recent official version currently available for the Linux/ARM-based Nokia 770/N800 Internet Tablets, classic Mac OS, Pocket PC and Windows 95/NT.[1][2] HP offers Version 6 of the player for HP-UX.[3] Other versions of the player have been available at some point for OS/2, Symbian OS, Palm OS, BeOS and IRIX.[4] The Kodak Easyshare One includes Flash Player. The Flash Player SDK was used to develop its on-screen menus, which are rendered and displayed using the included Flash Player.[2] Among other devices, LeapFrog Enterprises provides Flash Player with their Leapster Multimedia Learning System and extended the Flash Player with touch-screen support.[3] Sony has integrated Flash Player 6 into the Playstation Portable's web browser via firmware version 2.70. Nintendo has integrated Flash Player 7 in the Internet Channel on the Wii.

On September 15, Adobe by way of Lee Brimelow's "The Flash Blog" announced the release of a public beta preview, native 64-bit Flash Player code-named "Square" for all major platforms and browsers. Previously no x86-64 editions of the Flash player were available for any platform [5], due to the complexity of porting the x86-32-specific garbage collector and just-in-time compilation engine [6] to native 64-bit (platform specific) code. Adobe engineers in 2006 had already stated that 64-bit editions for all supported platforms, including Linux, were in development [7]. Adobe however, had been developing a x64 edition of the Flash Player since 2005. While the new beta version on labs support 64-bit natively, it's still a long way from finished, to that end, Adobe as of yet have not stated if and when a stable, final release will be given.

Although SWF has recently become an open format again, Adobe has not been willing to make complete source code available for free software development. The source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine has been released as a project named Tamarin [8] under the terms of an MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license. It includes the specification for the ActionScript byte code format. This project is jointly managed by Mozilla and Adobe. The full specification of the SWF format is available without restriction by Adobe. The principal alternative free software player, gnash, is quite incomplete at this time, however since SWF is now an open format, it should have a much higher quality going forward as developers implement the official SWF specifications.

Internet Privacy/Persistent Identification ElementsEdit

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Flash Player is an application that, while running on a computer that is connected to the internet, is designed to contemporaneously interact with websites containing Flash content that are being visited online. As such, under certain configurations the application has the potential to silently compromise its users' internet privacy, and do so without their knowledge. By default, Flash Player is configured to permit small, otherwise invisible "tracking" files, known as Persistent Identification Elements (PIE)[4] or Local Shared Object files, to be stored on the hard drive of a user's computer. Sent in the background over the internet from websites to which a user is connected, these files work much the way "cookies" do with internet browsers. When stored on a user's computer, PIE (.sol) files are capable of sending personally sensitive data back out over the internet without the user's knowledge to one or more third parties. In addition, Flash Player is also capable of accessing and retrieving audio and video data from any microphone and/or webcams that might be either built in or connected to a user's computer and transmitting it in realtime over the internet (also potentially without the user's knowledge) to one or more third parties.

While these capabilities can all be affirmatively blocked and/or disabled by the user, the Flash Player application does not provide an internally accessible "preferences" panel to accomplish this. Instead access to the various settings panels necessary to manage the application's "Privacy," "Storage," "Security," and "Notifications" settings can be achieved through a web-based "Settings Manager" page located on the "support" section of the Adobe.com website, or by third party tools (see Local Shared Object). Each of the functions can be enabled/disabled either "globally" to cover all websites, or set differently for individual websites depending on how the user desires Flash Player to be able to interact with each one.

Whilst the Flash Control Panel Settings in theory allow users to protect their privacy it should be remembered that suitably crafted Visual Basic Script or similar code can overwrite any user defined settings before the Flash Player Plug-in is called by a webpage.

In addition to cookies, many banks and other financial institutions also routinely install Persistent Identification Elements using Flash Player on users' hard drives when they establish and access their accounts, as do other interactive sites such as "YouTube".

HistoryEdit

  • Macromedia Flash Player 2
    • First version under Macromedia brand
    • Mostly vectors and motion, some bitmaps, limited audio
  • Macromedia Flash Player 3
    • Added alpha transparency, licensed MP3 compression
  • Macromedia Flash Player 4 (May 1999)
  • Macromedia Flash Player 5 (August 2000)
  • Macromedia Flash Player 6 (version 6.0.21.0, codenamed Exorcist) (March 2002)
    • Support for the consuming Flash Remoting (AMF) and Web Service (SOAP)
    • supports ondemand/live audio and video streaming (RTMP)
    • Support for screenreaders via Microsoft Active Accessibility
    • Added Sorenson Sparc video codec for Flash Video
  • Macromedia Flash Player 7 (version 7.0.14.0, codenamed Mojo) (September 2003)
    • supports progressive audio and video streaming (HTTP)
    • supports ActionScript 2.0, an Object-Oriented Programming Language for developers
  • Macromedia Flash Player 8 (version 8.0.22.0, codenamed Maelstrom) (August 2005)
    • support of GIF and PNG bitmapped images
    • new video codec (On2 VP6)
    • improved runtime performance
    • live filters such as blur and drop shadow
    • file upload and download capabilities
    • crisp pixel-perfect text rendering
    • new security features to prevent unsafe code from running
  • Macromedia Flash Lite 1.0 and 1.1
    • Based on Flash Player 4
  • Macromedia Flash Lite 2.0 (December 2005)
    • Based on Flash Player 7
  • Adobe Flash Player 9 (version 9.0.15.0, codenamed Zaphod) (June 2006) previously named Flash Player 8.5
    • New ECMAScript scripting engine, ActionScript Virtual Machine AVM2. AVM retained for compatibility.
    • Actionscript 3 via AVM2.
    • E4X, which is a new approach to parsing XML.
    • Support for binary sockets.
    • Support for Regular Expressions and namespaces.
    • ECMAScript 4 virtual machine donated to Mozilla Foundation and named Tamarin.
  • Adobe Flash Player 9 Update 1 (version 9.0.28.0, codenamed Marvin) (November 2006[5])
    • Support for full-screen mode.[6]
  • Adobe Flash Lite 2.1 (December 2006)
    • Running on the BREW platform
  • Adobe Flash Lite 3 (Announced on February 2007)
    • Support for FLV transcoding
  • Adobe Flash Player 9 Update 2 (version Mac/Windows 9.0.47.0 and Linux 9.0.48.0, codenamed Hotblack) (July 2007)
    • Security Update
  • Adobe Flash Player 9 Update 3 (version 9.0.115.0, codenamed Moviestar or Frogstar) (December 2007)[7]
  • Adobe Flash Player 9 (version 9.0.124.0) (April 2008)
    • Critical Security Update
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 Beta (version 10.0.1.218, codenamed Astro) (May 2008)[8]
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 Beta 2 (version 10.0.1.525, codenamed Astro) (July 2008)
    • 3D Effects
    • Custom Filters and Effects
    • Advanced Text Layout
    • Enhanced Drawing API
    • Visual Performance Improvements
    • Rich Media

See also Edit

References and notes Edit

Template:Reflist

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors). Smallwikipedialogo.png
Adobe Flash
FutureSplash Animator · 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · MX · MX 2004 (Professional) · Basic 8 (Professional 8) · CS3 · CS4
Adobe Flash Player: 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10
Adobe Flash Lite: 1 · 2 · 3
ActionScript: 1 · 2 · 3

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