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Flash 7 player port started

Published: 19th Nov 2006, 13:04:12 | Permalink | Printable

Coders welcome to help finish it [Updated]

The Homestar Runner!The Flash animation and movie player Gnash can be ported to RISC OS, it was shown this weekend. John-Mark Bell of the NetSurf team produced on Saturday a set of patches allowing the open source Flash player to be built for the RISC OS desktop.

It proves that users could soon watch the latest web animations and shiny gimmicks on their RISC OS computers, as pictured here. Releasing his Gnash work for other programmers to finish off, he described the port as "very tentative".

John-Mark previously released a 32bit compatible version of Leo Smiers's Flash browser plugin, which can handle animations using Adobe Flash version 3 features and some from version 4. In comparison, Gnash can play media files with Flash version 7 features, while the latest official Microsoft Windows player from Adobe can handle up to version 9. The port uses a simple non-accelerated frame-buffer to render its graphics, although it could later use OpenGL, in theory.

The port is not optimised, and needs bringing up to a usable speed. Sound is also disabled for now, and the software runs as a standalone application rather than as a browser plugin. It's also prone to crashing while taking out other applications or the whole machine itself; these faults are being investigated. John-Mark said he would prefer to concentrate on boost.org-related work and bringing NetSurf up to version 1, adding that the Gnash port could be an ideal project for another coder to pick up and finish off.

Click on a thumbnail for the full image

  1. The latest patches for RISC OS are available here. These should be applied to the latest source from the Gnash CVS HEAD. A pre-built version is not suitable for release at the moment.
  2. The floating-point state should be preserved between Wimp_Poll calls, so in ro.cpp, the call to xwimp_poll_idle should have wimp_SAVE_FP as its first parameter rather than 0.
  3. You will need the GCCSDK and libagg built using the SDK's porting scripts

Update at 13:23 20/11/2006
The Gnash port and its dependencies are now in the GCCSDK Autobuilder under the name 'gnash'. Checkout the GCCSDK and latest Autobuilder from svn to get the files, which includes John-Mark's patches and other fixes. The Gnash upstream maintainers also contacted John-Mark over the weekend to receive a copy of his patches.


More on Gnash More on Adobe Flash animations

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This is good news indeed. If anyone is going to take it on, I'll certainly be will to donate a little cash.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 19/11/06 1:22PM
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It seems after, what turned out to be, a quiet period (still no Select 4) the platform again has some exciting prospects with a strong chance of success.

I believe the window for Oregano 3 (with its embedded Flash 5 player) has almost passed... Given sufficient funding, hopefully Firefox 2 could be here in 6 months time and if one or more developers would invest serious time and effort in the Gnash port, the platform would have a good chance of keeping some more people onboard for a while longer.

It seems the well-known commercial band of developers are increasingly hesitant at publishing new titles or updating software to modern standards (excluding Martin Wuerthner), while the non-commercial developer community is making practical use of open source applications and libraries from the Linux / BSD world. Perhaps the commercial RO era is just about over and this minority platform can only continue with the aid of open source licenses and applications? Castle / ROOL seem to have caught on and intend to offer an interesting mix in the form of a shared source license, whereas ROL are definitely struggling to keep to the old way which seems more and more a dead end now.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 19/11/06 3:39PM
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The ball has started to roll....

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 19/11/06 7:20PM
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hEgelia: Its time we forgot about Select, if it happens all well and good, but if it doesn't happen (or rather continues to not happen) there will be very little impact in the RISC OS world. We need to be concentrating on what counts - application development is far more important to users, and Flash something that is continually asked for, so this is very good news.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 20/11/06 9:34AM
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What great news. If donations are accepted, I'll be happy to provide one :-)

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 20/11/06 9:57AM
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First the announcement of a possible Firefox 2 then this less than a week later. If someone can put the two together our platform could look a whole lot healthier this time next year. Like others have said, I will contribute (financially) to making this happen.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 20/11/06 12:39PM
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I too would contribute to this financially. If there were a coder willing to take this on, maybe they'd even make some money! :)

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 20/11/06 1:09PM
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I would definatly contribute to this project financially.

In reply to lym: People arent going like the idea of someone making money off somthing that they can get for free if they use an alternative OS.

Then again I suppose the developer will be doing it in there free time and would like some return from the work. So now I think about it I wouldnt mind if the developer made a bit of cash.

 is a RISC OS UserMikeCarter on 20/11/06 1:26PM
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Some people work on stuff for free, which is great. But some need a bit of a return for doing such difficult and time-consuming development in their spare time. As long as the licence conditions of the original code are observed, I see no reason why the RISC OS community shouldn't support this. The important thing is that development keeps happening, whether commercial or open-source (in all its various forms), and that non-programmers do our bit by encouraging this, financially or otherwise.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 20/11/06 2:04PM
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Wow looks like things are finally happening in the RISC OS arena :-) Internet browsing on RISC OS is starting to look good again, I'd deffinatly contribute to a flash port even though I now use OS X (most of the time)

 is a RISC OS Userleeshep on 21/11/06 1:52AM
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I should probably point out that Oregano 3 actually contains a Flash 7 player, and not a Flash 5 one.

 is a RISC OS UserLeo on 21/11/06 10:13AM
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Leo: That's great, but when is it going to be available? Before Firefox2 and Gnash?

It seems the next issue of RISC OS Now has an interview with Richard Brown, but last night Louie refused to tell ROUGOL what he had said about Oregano3 :-( Damn her principles!

 is a RISC OS Userhelpful on 21/11/06 12:55PM
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I'll find out when I read RO Now I guess. If O3 is available soon and is any good then I'll spend some money on it. If not, my money will go to PN for FF2 for my A9home.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 21/11/06 1:21PM
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Oregano 3 will be (presumably) released when Richard declares it is ready. Although I'm aware of the state of Oregano 3 from a development point of view, I don't have the same awareness of the business side of things.

I did see Oregano 3 mentioned on the new RISC OS Now cover at ROUGOL, but I've no idea what's covered in the interview.

 is a RISC OS UserLeo on 22/11/06 9:11AM
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