Flash Player 10 on the Asus EEE PC: A working webcam and proper full screen video
It's been a long journey to get full Adobe Flash player functionality on Linux machines, but now it looks like that journey is drawing to a close. I've just been playing with a release candidate of Flash Player 10 on my Asus EEE PC and am very happy with the results. It looks like the built in camera will now work under Flash Player, thanks to the addition of support for the Video4Linux Version 2 camera API, which is great news if you use applications that make use of this functionality. The other very noticable change is that full screen video now appears to be working at the correct frame rate making it possible to enjoy full screen videos from such YouTube or BBC iPlayer without the choppiness caused by a slow frame rate. This turns the EEE into a great portable net media player (although be very careful using iPlayer and video sites with a mobile internet dongle or you may end up with a hefty bill!).
To test the new version of Flash Player I downloaded the tarball from Adobe, extracted the libflashplayer.so file and dropped this into the plugins directory of Flock 2, which I have been trying out too. The installation proceedure covered in my earlier blog post Full Screen YouTube and BBC iPlayer on the Asus EEE PC should work here (obviously change the file names and download locations as appropriate). You might have to install the libnss3-dev package if you use Firefox 3 to prevent error messages about some missing libraries. My EEE is of course Ubuntu powered now, so I have not tried this on the default Xandros installation as yet.
It's been a long wait to have full Flash functionality on the Asus EEE PC, but hopefully it will be worth it and expand the number of uses the little machine can be put to; for example The Open University's Flashmeeting allows people to have a multiple person video conference on line without the need for special software or equipment (handy for those meetings where people may be spread out geographically and using different platforms), all it asks for is a webcam, microphone, Flash and a browser. I haven't yet tried other applications such as Seesmic yet, if you try this out it would be great to hear from you.
Judging by the release notes it looks like Adobe have put a lot of effort into bringing the Flash Player up to scratch for Linux computers. I think this was a wise move in the light of the increasing popularity of netbooks It also cements Flash's position as market leader in this area, now that Flash can work on all three main platforms; Linux, Mac and Windows it is one less reason for developers to look into alternatives such as Microsoft Silverlight.
*** UPDATE ***
Flash Player 10 has officially been released, see http://www.adobe.com/go/getflash
*** UPDATE ***
Flash Player 10 is available from the standard Ubuntu repositories as flashplugin-nonfree (Intrepid) or flashplugin-installer (Jaunty).