Breaking News: Adobe just made an announcement on the official Air and Flash Player Team Blog that changes are coming to Flash Player on Linux. The company has partnered up with Google to “develop a single modern API for hosting plugins within the browser”. PPAPI (code-named Pepper), adds a layer between the browser and underlying operating system that “abstracts away differences between browser and operating system implementations”.
Google will provide a PPAPI implementation later this year for all 32-bit and 64-bit platforms that are supported by the company’s Chrome web browser. All Chrome version on all operating systems, and not only Linux, will receive an update that implements the PPAPI-based Flash Player.
Changes do not end here though for Linux users. Adobe notes that the Flash Player browser plugin for Linux will only be available via the PPAPI plugin that is part of the Google Chrome browser distribution. Adobe will not provide direct Flash Player browser plugin downloads anymore on their site, nor will it update Flash Player on Linux anymore with non-security related updates.
This basically means that Flash Player 11.2 is the latest cross-browser version of the browser plugin for Linux. While it is theoretically possible that other browser developers will implement Pepper, it could also mean the beginning of the end for Flash on Linux. Mozilla for instance states on MozillaWiki that it “s not interested in or working on Pepper at this time”.
Adobe will support Flash Player 11.2 on Linux for five years after release with security updates. Linux users have five years that they can continue to use Flash contents in other browsers besides Chrome. After that, they either have to hope that other browser developers have implemented Pepper by now, ignore Flash from that moment on, or switch to Chrome when they want to access Flash contents in their operating system.