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Adobe Flash

Flash is a software package currently distributed by Adobe Systems, which enables the web developers and the web designers to add high quality multimedia to their websites.

What is Flash?

Adobe Flash is a software package which provides a unique multimedia web development platform. Acquired by Macromedia Inc. in 1996 - this original product became an industry standard for web based animation and development of interactive web environments. Currently distributed by Adobe Systems (Adobe acquired Macromedia in 2005), Flash is an important part of the Adobe Creative Suite. Flash started out as primarily an animation tool but has evolved into a much more complex product. The current Adobe Flash CS4 release makes it possible for users to design an entire website quickly and with exciting effects. It uses its own proprietary scripting language called ActionScript, which enables Flash developers to create dynamic and complex web applications. Also, the current release comes with a brand-new modern GUI and many new panels, and offers complete integration with all the other products in the CS4 Suite.

The Flash Player

The Flash technology is everywhere on the Web. Whether you are watching a tutorial movie on YouTube or are viewing a page with fancy dynamic advertising - your browser opens Flash files with the usage of the Adobe Flash Player. Some Flash applications use an embedded Flash Player, but the most popular FLV and SWF files depend on a Flash Player software application installed on a client's computer.

Probably you are asking yourself how to make your browser Flash-enabled. This is an easy process. You just need to navigate to the Flash Player download site - http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and then to choose the right version for your platform and browser. If you are using Windows, you need to choose between versions for Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer. Also, the IE version comes with ActiveX support. For Linux and Mac OS X, there are installation packages which will integrate the Flash Player in your browsers. For example, if you try to install the Flash Player on Ubuntu Linux, you can go for the ready-to-install .deb package or make a manual installation using the .tar.gz archive.

Once you have downloaded the .tar.gz version of the Flash Player, open a command line terminal and unpack the archive:

tar xvfz install_flash_player_10-_linux.tar.gz

Then you need to navigate to Adobe's installation script, which you've just extracted, and run it using the following command:

cd install_flash_player_10_linux/
sudo ./flashplayer-installer

This will start the installation wizard which will walk you through all the important steps and set all your browsers to the newest version of the Flash Player.

*Hint: Check the path to your browser installation folder - during the installation process the script will ask you for the path where to install the Flash plugin for Firefox. Note that the default path is set to /usr/lib/mozilla, but on Ubuntu you need to point the script to /usr/lib/firefox instead.

Once the installation is finished, you can start your browser and enjoy a Flash-enabled browsing experience.