Update: Check out this article from Phoronix which runs benchmarks and compares Flash 10.1 with 10.2 on similar hardware (Atom 330 Ion system).
While I don’t really want this site to be about reporting new releases of software, I believe this is a special case because it directly affects the performance of Linux-based HTPC’s. Believe me, I hate flash as much as the next person. Its proprietary nature has left many platforms out in the cold over the years as we wait, and wait, and wait for Adobe to finally getting around to making a release. Besides its traditional sub-par performance on the Linux platform, its lack of support on the mobile platform has infuriated many. My Palm Pre, for example, was supposed to have flash support last year sometime, but as of right now, there is not even as much as a beta release, leaving many customers bitter.
Well, one piece of good news dropped yesterday. Adobe has churned out release 10.2 p2 pre-release of the flash platform for Windows, Linux and OS X. The one thing it brings to Linux that has been sorrowley missed is hardware acceleration support. What this has meant in the past is that when watching high definition flash video on my HTPC in Chrome/Firefox has caused video to be choppy and laggy due to it using the CPU for video decoding. Now, the decoding will be done in the GPU, leaving the CPU to do the rest of the usual work. That means smoother video.
After making the install on my HTPC, I tested it with a website that I use to watch high definition hockey games. In the past, the video has been so unwatchable, that I had resulted to plugging my Windows 7 laptop into my TV to watch the games. Now, with the latest version of flash, the videos are smooth in window and full screen. Finally I can say that Adobe has finally done something right, albeit slowly. To upgrade flash is pretty easy, so SSH (or open up a terminal) to your HTPC and do the following:
htpc@XBMCLive: sudo aptitude remove flashplugin-installer
htpc@XBMCLive: wget http://download.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashplayer10/flashplayer10_2_p2_32bit_linux_111710.tar.gz
htpc@XBMCLive: tar zxvf flashplayer10_2_p2_32bit_linux_111710.tar.gz
htpc@XBMCLive: cp libflashplayer.so /usr/share/ubufox/plugins
So, first we remove the currently installed flash, and then download and install the latest from Adobe. Keep in mind that Flash will not be upgraded automatically now, so you should try and keep track of available updates when needed.
With regards to Boxee, I have been searching around and trying to find whether Boxee uses a built-in version of Flash instead of the system-installed Flash, and so far I can’t find a straight forward answer. It may be that older versions of Boxee used a built-in version while newer versions have been using the system flash, which is hopefully the case.