Adobe to improve Flash support for OS X

Adobe has recently come in for criticism regarding its implementation of Flash support for OS X. Steve Jobs himself has been vocally critical of Adobe's browser plugins for Safari, blaming Flash as the number one cause of crashes on the Mac platform. Speaking last week at a "Town Hall" meeting, Jobs reportedly called Adobe 'lazy' and reiterated his belief that HTML5 will eventually negate the need for Flash.

It is widely believed that it was Apple's choice, rather than Adobe's, not to allow a Flash plugin for Mobile Safari, which is used on the iPhone, iPod Touch and the upcoming iPad.

Regular Mac users also note that Flash uses many more CPU resources under Mac OS X than it does on the same computer running Windows. Despite this Adobe has, until now, asserted that Flash performance and stability on the Mac platform has been satisfactory.

In a reply to his own blog post, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch has now promised improvements to Flash performance saying, "Given identical hardware, Flash Player on Windows has historically been faster than the Mac, and it is for the most part the same code running in Flash for each operating system." He continues, "In Flash Player 10.1 we are moving to Core Animation, which will further reduce CPU usage and, we believe, will get us to the point where Mac will be faster than Windows for graphics rendering."

Lynch also notes that streaming video is now one of the top uses for Flash and expects that performance optimisations in version 10.1 will cut CPU usage on the Mac in half. 

Flash 10.1 is currently in beta and is available for download from Adobe.

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44 Comments

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Does Adobe now expect applause?

Darn it... How can a big company like Adobe be SO lazy about getting sh** right on one of their major products?! Really, it's ridonculous!

What would Macromedia do? -.-*

This should be interesting to see. I don't buy that the Mac version of Flash will be faster than the Windows version though... Adobe tends to over promise and under deliver...

Hum, ok, that is nice, but I bet they'll forget about the crappy flash version they have for Linux. I mean, not forget, but will postpone it for a year or two... I just hope that, by doing these improvements in the MacOS version, they'll get reflected also in the Windows one, but essentially in the Linux one (macos's flash is perfection when compared to its linux counterpart).

dmeireles said,
Hum, ok, that is nice, but I bet they'll forget about the crappy flash version they have for Linux. I mean, not forget, but will postpone it for a year or two... I just hope that, by doing these improvements in the MacOS version, they'll get reflected also in the Windows one, but essentially in the Linux one (macos's flash is perfection when compared to its linux counterpart).

There is no font size big enough to agree with this. Flash on linux is dreadful.

Kinda late, but hopefully they can improve it as it ****es me off more and more each day. Adobe always likes to say that it's apps performance and stability on the Mac platform is fine the way it is. CS4 and Spaces for example have never got along. Adobe says its not their fault, meanwhile no other apps have these problems. I guess they think their custom window framework doesn't count...

Not to mention being a resource hog with Flash Player and Flash CS4 often runs poorly, lagging when working with text. It's a shame because I need to use their products daily. The more often you need their apps the more annoyed you get when they screw up.

Flash for Windows can't be ignored. Chrome and Firefox's crashes are almost exclusively caused by Flash (though in Chrome, I just get a plugin has crashed message, while in Firefox, firefox.exe goes down ).

I am afraid Windows will get ignored in this debate.

ObiWanToby said,
Flash for Windows can't be ignored. Chrome and Firefox's crashes are almost exclusively caused by Flash (though in Chrome, I just get a plugin has crashed message, while in Firefox, firefox.exe goes down ).

I am afraid Windows will get ignored in this debate.


Mozilla will implant 'Out of process plugin' soon enough

problem solved!

ObiWanToby said,
Flash for Windows can't be ignored. Chrome and Firefox's crashes are almost exclusively caused by Flash (though in Chrome, I just get a plugin has crashed message, while in Firefox, firefox.exe goes down ).

I am afraid Windows will get ignored in this debate.

Hm... Though Flash crashes Chrome CONSTANTLY, I can't even remember the last time I had Flash crash in Firefox... And Firefox is my primary browser...

Ci7 said,

Mozilla will implant 'Out of process plugin' soon enough

problem solved!

"Soon enough"? Please, considering how slow Mozilla develops their products I'd be surprised if I see anything like this before I've switched browses.

ObiWanToby said,
Flash for Windows can't be ignored. Chrome and Firefox's crashes are almost exclusively caused by Flash (though in Chrome, I just get a plugin has crashed message, while in Firefox, firefox.exe goes down ).

I am afraid Windows will get ignored in this debate.

You do realise that potentially it could be the developers trying to exploit the ExternalInterface calls, which means shoddy JavaScript would be the issue.

I wish all the ****ant developers had never invaded Flash, they're ruining it for everyone else :(

Melfster said,
Hey Adobe how about fixing freaking huge PDF reader. Better yet lets have it intergrated into the next Windows.

Adobe doesn't believe in releasing anything that isn't bloated... Unfortunately... LOL

As for integrating it into Windows, I'd be really surprised if that ever happened personally.

Wish they'd improve support on windows, its the only reason IE, FF and Chrome all crash or have problems. Tried the newest betas and still get high cpu usage and sluggish browser performance. All i can say is bring on silverlight and html5

Chemaz said,
Wish they'd improve support on windows, its the only reason IE, FF and Chrome all crash or have problems. Tried the newest betas and still get high cpu usage and sluggish browser performance. All i can say is bring on silverlight and html5

I'd personally just like to see a 64-bit Flash for Windows released.

Chemaz said,
Wish they'd improve support on windows, its the only reason IE, FF and Chrome all crash or have problems. Tried the newest betas and still get high cpu usage and sluggish browser performance. All i can say is bring on silverlight and html5

Yeah, Silverlight is MUCH better IMO. Though I don't have crashes in Firefox, I do get sluggish performance with Flash on occasion... Chrome crashes CONSTANTLY though...

On my Vista & Windows 7 machines, the only times I have a browser crash is because of the flash plugin, it's very frustrating. They have never been able to make a stable version for Windows, I don't see much hope for OSX. BTW, they're still "working on" 64 bit support. No hope for that either.
I agree with torrenthief, replace with silverlight and html5 and get rid of this.

Silverlight is a much better alternative to Flash on both windows and on the mac. Everytime i read Adobe winning about iPad flash etc, i think to myself "They can't get flash on the mac to work correctly, what hope have they on a mobile version of mac os."

A good flash player on the mac would give Adobe a bit of credibility.

REM2000 said,
Silverlight is a much better alternative to Flash on both windows and on the mac. Everytime i read Adobe winning about iPad flash etc, i think to myself "They can't get flash on the mac to work correctly, what hope have they on a mobile version of mac os."

A good flash player on the mac would give Adobe a bit of credibility.

Silverlight is amazing. I play 720p videos just fine with it and Flash 480p stutters.

if only flash apps and banners were replaced by silverlight ones and html5 video replaced flash video then we could be free of flash forever:)

torrentthief said,
if only flash apps and banners were replaced by silverlight ones and html5 video replaced flash video then we could be free of flash forever:)

What a beautiful world... lol

torrentthief said,
if only flash apps and banners were replaced by silverlight ones and html5 video replaced flash video then we could be free of flash forever:)

You do realise that when Flash does die off in your pretend world, all the scrub coders that are using that will migrate across to Silverlight and then it will turn to ****.
The issue here is mainly the developers NOT the actual platform itself.

John S. said,
Let's hope the final offers some actual improvement, the beta still maxes out my CPU at 100%

Indeed. The beta is a minor improvement at best but Flash is still the only thing that makes the fans on my Macbook Pro ramp up in regular desktop use.

It also sucks that GPU-accelerated H.264 most likely isn't coming for OSX even though apps like Quicktime X already support it.

Only when they have dug themselves into a hole Adobe seems to actually do something relevant. I can't wait when their hole for the Creative Suite is dug because that set is full of usability flaws, sloppy UI design and poor implementation. Even more so on OSX.

^ Definitely agree with you as far as CS goes for OSX. With CS5 being completely re-written OSX native, similar to how they are using more native OSX technologies for speeding up Flash Player, I have hope the next version will be free of most of the current flaws.

About the GPU-accelerated H.264. I believe that the video cards were the reason why it wouldn't work on all. I remember reading about it when Snow Leopard was about to be released.

Xero said,
^ Definitely agree with you as far as CS goes for OSX. With CS5 being completely re-written OSX native, similar to how they are using more native OSX technologies for speeding up Flash Player, I have hope the next version will be free of most of the current flaws.

About the GPU-accelerated H.264. I believe that the video cards were the reason why it wouldn't work on all. I remember reading about it when Snow Leopard was about to be released.

The claim by Adobe is that there isn't a way for them to hook into an exposed API to GPU accelerate h264 - which is bullcrap. Why?

1) Why don't they use the Quicktime h264 decoder instead?
2) There is OpenCL, why don't they take advantage of that? let the system automatically work out whether the GPU or CPU is the best option for accelerating the decoding.

I'd sasy they need to act fast - with Silverlight, HTML5 and Apple/iPhone user disquiet, their days could be numbered.

wotsit said,
I'd sasy they need to act fast - with Silverlight, HTML5 and Apple/iPhone user disquiet, their days could be numbered.

One can only hope. Personally I would like to see Flash go away...

Flash is just a pain in the ass. I hate sites that a solely built using Flash. Gimme good ole' HTML any day. Even Silverlight is better implemented.

Performance improvements coming in 10.1 for Windows as well. If you haven't heard, they're going to use GPU-accelerated h.264 decoding when possible, which should take a load off the CPU for decoding (most) streaming video content. Nice to see, with YouTube and many other sites going more and more towards HD. :-)