Your choice: whine about Flash crashing, or help make it better

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

In recent months, there has been a lot of criticism of the reliability of the Flash runtime. One of the keys to reliable software is testing. To that end, Adobe is asking folk to help it make the upcoming flash runtimes (Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0) as reliable as possible. So if you are a Flash developer or designer, or are simply someone that enjoys flash-based games, BBC iPlayer, TweetDeck etc, why not help combat those criticisms by trying out the beta versions of Flash and AIR?

Download the Flash Player 10.1 beta 2 here and AIR 2.0 beta 2 here.

Install them and try your favourite content out with the betas.

If you find a bug, be sure to let Adobe know.

Finally, why not help spread the word by passing on details of this beta test drive via your own blog or twitter?

I want to add some more here in response to the comments so far. I thought long and hard over whether to get involved in this beta bug request as only this morning I was looking at a bug – ClassReference in nested CSS file compiled to SWF causes error – that was closed as “deferred” two years ago. Stefan Richter had highlighted it as an example of how Adobe mess up with bugs at times. The problem remains unfixed and Adobe’s communications were crap with this bug as they didn’t explain why they chose to ignore it. However, in the end I decided it would be wrong to focus on such negatives at the expense of the great stride Adobe have made toward openness.

They have a open bug reporting system. A lot of the flash development environment is open (the whole of Flex Framework for example.) Part of opening up to the community involves inviting the community to give back to the project, both in terms of bug reports and bug fixes. Adobe have frequently highlighted the fact that people are welcome and encouraged to not only report bugs, but to help fix them too. So to those that complain bugs remain languishing unfixed for long periods of time, I have a simple question for you: have you tried contributing to the openness of Flash by helping fix that bug?

ClassReference in nested CSS file compiled to SWF causes error

7 thoughts on “Your choice: whine about Flash crashing, or help make it better

  1. Believe me, I understand what you are trying to say, but at the end of the day, until the Flash runtimes are open, the onus is on Adobe to make a quality product. We can beta test until we’re red in the face, but they need to actually fix the bugs.

    I don’t think I am the only one to have logged bugs in Adobe’s bug tracker to no response. Considering the lack of control the community ultimately has over this, whining seems to be the next logical step.

  2. It’s weird to file bugs for a project with such a closed development environment. I’ve filed bugs with Mozilla, WebKit, PHP, WordPress and others, and I find it refreshing to see the bugs get dealt with, or even sit around, get marked as dupes, etc. Nothing is more frustrating that filing a bug only to watch it languish. Well, actually it is more frustrating when the project is someone else’s private project, and they don’t communicate well (for example where are the details on the performance improvements in Flash 10.1 aside from just the GPU codec work).

    I’m not trying to be a jerk about open source, but there’s a reason that system works to draw in community participation. If Adobe really believes that proprietary development (of a platform they ultimately give away for free) is necessary or better – then let them prove it, and stop “whining” about all the whining. And yes, I usually say the same to the open source pinheads (and no they are not all pinheads), who think that open source is always better (so binary).

  3. I’ve been seeing all the negative comments, and Flash has always run pretty nicely on my Macs. But I will do my part, especially when I try out AIR.

  4. Kevin, I know exactly what you mean. I filed a bug on Apple’s 10 years ago. They tried to fix it a few years later, and nearly got it right. I filed a bug report – they need to remove two characters from a message header to be RFC compliant. A few years later on, I’ve filed six reports on this trivial bug, and they’ve still not fixed it.

    In contrast, I filed a feature request on the open source Exim. The following day I was told where to modify the source (which I was able to recompile to my satisfaction), and the next release contained the feature.

    When there’s an open flash client, I’ll contribute bug reports.

  5. do what ?
    are you kidding me ?
    solve bugs for someone who is making a lot of money for a product that’s not worth a penny ? nice try !

  6. beta test what ? man are you smoking some heavy weed over there ? stop it, it’s not amusing any more. I can’t test my own software projects enough and I’m supposed to test theirs ?! Flash should expire soon as a technology anyway …

  7. I was speaking generally (since I can’t actually log into JIRA – it simply won’t let me) – but I would think it’s impossible to actually fix any particular bug without access to the source – and motivation to do so is appropriately lacking without that source…

    Anyway, the success of the open source Flex Framework demonstrates what I meant. That project does receive the kind of positive attention from the community that good usable open source projects tend to attract.

    Even Tamarin (which was largely seen as a failed OSS experiment within Adobe, if I read those tea leaves correctly) has received some positive results on the smaller parts of it (nano-jit) that were adopted by Mozilla (that project was largely an unusable code dump – if it had been released within a buildable framework, I bet it would have been more successful).

    Anyway, I can imagine some risks with opening the source (particularly with Apple and forking) – but I really think that can be mitigated with a proper management/rollout/transition plan.

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