Adobe (Temporarily) Suspends 64-Bit Flash Beta

If we compiled a Top 10 list of contentious subjects on the web, Adobe's Flash would no-doubt be on it, and indeed would probably be a heavy contender for #1. Though there are many charges against it, its total lack of 64-bit support was one it was headed towards resolving — until last week, when its beta disappeared.

Adobe served up a double-whammy for Linux users in late 2008: First came full support for our favorite platform in Flash 10, followed by an early-alpha of 64-bit support, exclusive to Linux.

Last week, however, the company took the double out of the whammy when it released the final version of Flash Player 10.1 — with no 64-bit version in sight. Visitors to the 64-bit player's Adobe Labs page were greeted with a brief message that the project had been canceled:

The Flash Player 10.1 64-bit Linux beta is closed. We remain committed to delivering 64-bit support in a future release of Flash Player. No further information is available at this time. Please feel free to continue your discussions on the Flash Player 10.1 desktop forums.

The message's lack of details immediately spawned reports — many scathing — of the project's fate. The inevitable allusions to Adobe's very-public fight with Apple were made, and many conclusions were jumped to.

It would seem Adobe heard the commotion — unsurprisingly, as free-falling conclusion-jumpers do tend to scream a lot on the way down — as the previously-uninformative message has been expanded to read:

We have temporarily closed the Labs program of Flash Player 10 for 64-bit Linux, as we are making significant architectural changes to the 64-bit Linux Flash Player and additional security enhancements. We are fully committed to bringing native 64-bit Flash Player for the desktop by providing native support for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux 64-bit platforms in an upcoming major release of Flash Player. We intend to provide more regular update information on our progress as we continue our work on 64-bit versions of Flash Player. Thank you for your continued help and support. Stay tuned to the Flash Player discussion forum for further announcements.

Whether the expanded message represents intention or placation remains to be seen, but for our part, we hope it rings true. 64-bit users deserve to be supported, and the last thing Adobe needs in the middle of Flash vs. Fruit is angry Linux users at the gate.

Image courtesy of Gilberto Stankiewicz.

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