Lightspark Flash Player Continues Marching Forward
It was just earlier this month that we were talking about Lightspark now rendering faster and supporting H263/MP3 video when the first Lightspark 0.4.3 release candidate was made available. This open-source project that only reached beta in May aims to provide a completely free software implementation of Adobe's Flash/SWF specification, continues to advance rapidly. Lightspark 0.4.3 was already released and this morning the 0.4.4 release has even made it out the door.
Implemented in Lightspark 0.4.4 is localization support, exception handling for ActionScript, more robust network handling, and stream controls (such as play/pause/stop). There's also an assortment of bug-fixes and other work for this release that came together in less than a couple of weeks. Right now though the localization support is limited to error messages and the stream controls do not yet work with most YouTube files due to masking support not yet being implemented.
Alessandro Pignotti, the lead developer of Lightspark, has also laid out some of his plans for the next Lightspark 0.4.5 release. To be included in this next release will be support for multiple audio back-ends via plug-ins and a more powerful graphics architecture. The new graphics path for Lightspark is expected to be faster and more powerful with a mix of hardware and software rendering with its design being inspired by modern compositing managers. Geometries will be generated using Cairo in a multi-threaded friendly manner. The resulting objects will then be offloaded to the GPU using PBOs (Pixel Buffer Objects) while OpenGL will be used to blit the rendered components on the screen and apply any filters/effects.
The Lightspark 0.4.4 release information and early 0.4.5 details can be found on Pignotti's blog. For those needing support for older Flash content or where Lightspark currently fails, recently there was a new Gnash release, the free software Flash player that's been around for a few years. The newest Gnash release brought support for VA-API video acceleration, 100% YouTube video compatibility, run-time rendering switching support, and various other features.