There has been a lot of confusion regarding the Adobe Flash Player for desktop Linux recently. PPAPI, NPAPI, just security updates, limited functionality, vegetable salad. Woah. Let’s take it slow shall we?
What is Adobe Flash Player?
Adobe Flash Player (labeled Shockwave Flash in Internet Explorer and Firefox is freeware software for using content created on the Adobe Flash platform, including viewing multimedia, executing rich Internet applications, and streaming video and audio. Flash Player can run from a web browser as a browser plug-in or on supported mobile devices. Flash Player was created by Macromedia and has been developed and distributed by Adobe Systems since Adobe acquired Macromedia.
The two variants of Adobe Flash Player
Flash player for Linux, comes in 2 variants.
Seriously Adobe? Why not just name them Turbo and Prime? Hell even Orange and Pineapple would have been cool.
The NPAPI version of Adobe Flash Player is the version that runs natively on the system. It installs on your operating systems and all the applications can access it. It means all the browsers running on your system will display Flash content on the web using the NPAPI.
Adobe, in 2012 had discontinued the NPAPI version of Flash player for Linux and promised only security updates till 2017. But recently, Adobe announced that it will completely support NPAPI for Linux. More on that later.
PPAPI, The revamped Flash Player
The PPAPI version of Adobe Flash Player is the product of a collaboration between Google’s Chrome and Adobe. NPAPI is native, had a great performance, but the whole concept of NPAPI had become irrelevant and there was a need for something different. Something advanced.
Google was looking to re-define some basic parameters regarding how the Web worked. Web apps or web based applications that could work on computers, without the bias of platform were the ultimate ambition of Google in this division. (I must say It’s doing pretty good.)
Let’s see some major highlights of PPAPI:
- It allows websites to access computer resources like they were native apps. This is a huge leap forward.
- The Browser poses as the OS to webapps. Hence the platform independence.
- This has led to creation of a huge number apps for Chrome browser and chrome OS.
- PPAPI is available as a plugin for Chrome browser. It comes bundled with Chrome on all platforms. So even on Linux, when you install Chrome browser, you get the latest of Adobe Flash Player PPAPI version.
- It works only with Chrome browser.
What’s the deal with NPAPI now?
Since, PPAPI works only with Chrome browser, other browsers need the NPAPI flash player or else they’ll be rendered obsolete with Flash content on web pages.
Adobe, which previously had discontinued support for NPAPI for Linux platform has reviewed their decision and announced that they will support NPAPI on Linux. Not just security updates but development updates too. Well that’s good news. But there is a catch.
Adobe will not be adding major advancements such as GPU acceleration, Stage 3D ,DRM to NPAPI anytime soon. Their reason being it can cause security risks as they had left NPAPI in stagnation for too long.
Well, although we might lack some features now, It’s still a great leap forward for NPAPI on Linux. A lot more browsers like the Firefox browser will benefit tremendously from this move of Adobe’s.
Microsoft has been giving Linux a lot of attention lately and now Adobe joining in, What does this mean? Desktop Linux’s future looking all shiny and bright? Do give us Your thoughts. Also do share this article. Cheers.