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'Major' Flash Player beta released

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The "first major" Flash Player update since Adobe Systems completed its 2005 acquisition of Macromedia is due to be made available today as a beta.

The Flash Player 10 beta features a brand-new Just In Time (JIT) engine to load pixel bytecode into the Flash Player engine.

The JIT engine will support a planned expansion in graphics and effects rendering, with users themselves expected to create their own filters. Flash Player 10 will incorporate Adobe's Pixel Blender - a language and toolkit previously codenamed Hydra - that'll let users build their own pixel filters.

The JIT engine combines technology from Macromedia Flash Player and Adobe's digital imaging and core technology groups.

Adobe said filters could be applied to bitmaps, video and animation at runtime.

The Adobe Pixel Blender is expected to be made available for download from the Adobe Labs site on Thursday, along with the Flash Player 10 beta. Also due is an online exchange for Pixel Blender where plug-ins can be posted by their authors.

Among other features are a new text engine and the ability to create native 3D effects. Flash Player 10 will also extend support for Linux to Ubuntu versions 7 and 8, going beyond the current Red Hat, SuSE, Mac OS/X and Windows.

Tom Barclay, Adobe senior product marketing manager, called version 10 the "major release" of the ubiquitous Flash Player since Adobe's $3.4bn acquisition of Macromedia. The first full version of Flash Player 9 shipped in June 2006, six months after the deal was completed. There's no date yet for final availability of version 10, other than "this year."®

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