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Adobe Still Shafts Linux With H.264 GPU Decoding

Proprietary Software

Published on 11 August 2010 08:55 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Proprietary Software
33 Comments

Adobe rolled out a security update to their Flash Player yesterday and for Mac OS X users this update also integrates Gala -- their codename for H.264 GPU video decoding in Flash on Mac OS X. With Adobe Flash Player 10.1.82.76 on Apple Mac OS X there is now GPU video decoding enabled by default to offload more of the playback work to the graphics card, assuming you are using a newer NVIDIA graphics processor. This is coming after Adobe introduced H.264 GPU decoding in their Windows Flash Player 10.1 release, but they continue to shaft Linux users with video support.

Flash Player 10.1 was Adobe's big update where they focused on providing the GPU decoding support for Windows systems and on the OS X side the support entered beta. At first it looked like the Linux Flash Player might use VDPAU for video decoding, but that never ended up materializing. Instead, Adobe's main Linux engineer just ranted about the Linux video APIs on his blog (he did this twice in fact). This engineer, Mike Melanson, complained about the multiple video acceleration APIs for Linux and how they wouldn't work how he wanted for Flash (though other experts say otherwise).

Adobe should really target VA-API or VDPAU support within the Linux version of their Flash Player, but alas they haven't. VA-API and VDPAU are the predominant video API standards on Linux and are already implemented by many other multimedia applications -- even the open-source Gnash Flash player implemented VA-API support. Targeting VA-API also allows most hardware drivers from the different vendors to also work, thanks to the different libraries created by Splitted Desktop Systems for hooking into VDPAU and XvBA on the back-end.

For those interested in Adobe's Mac OS X video decoding support can read these two blog posts from engineers on the Flash Player engineering team.

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