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|11-20-2009, 04:59 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Adobe Releases GPU Accelerated Flash Plugin Beta
From our front-page news:
There was a rather significant release that occurred earlier this week that I ended up forgetting about, but it's worth mentioning now even if I'm a few days late (whoops!). Adobe released its long awaited Flash 10.1 plugin. Before you say, "Who cares?!", realize that this is the version that brings GPU acceleration into things. That's right... the latest version (in beta) will allow you to run version Flash videos accelerated on the GPU rather than the CPU.
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|02-08-2010, 11:17 PM||#2|
Join Date: Nov 2009
I might be a bit late with the reply, but this is something Iíve been pondering over for a long timeÖ. (also, the second beta has been out for a while as well)
The addition of GPU support for vector rendering in Flash might also be a sign of GPU support for other Creative suite applications apart from Encore and Photoshop, like Illustrator (something Iím personally very interested in), since GPU support is desperately needed for Illustrator (anyone whoís worked with meshes will understand the strain it can put on a system). There are a few things that are annoying me though. For a start, many of the new additions to the Flash code must be enabled by the developer before the user can take advantage of them, so existing content must be updated before any real benefit can be seen. Additionally, like with the release of Adobeís creative suite, only certain elements may be accelerated by the GPU, as well as a rather small list of supported GPUís. Initial impressions; while limiting, provided an interesting look into the future of what can be achieved. All that is needed was some tweaking, broader acceleration and efficiency. It is the last element that has me concerned, efficiency.
Adding GPU acceleration will help alleviate some of the major problems people have with Flash; namely video, but in some respects it is misdirection. Instead of working to make Flash more efficient, Adobe is adding more features and giving it more processing power to consume. Not only will it be able to consume the CPU but the GPU as well, leading to a massive spike in power usage if left unchecked. When a 200x500 advert can bring a modern computer to its knees, there are some fundamental problems with the engine that need to be addressed first, but thatís typically been the adobe way; add more features then polish them later.
My major concern with Flashís GPU support is that of security. Flash has had numerous security problems over the years, ranging from simple URL redirects to malicious sites, to grabbing passwords and security credentials. This is in large part due to the fact that Flash is more than just a movie player, but has its own programming language, ActionScript. Now that Adobe is adding GPU support, think what could happen should a malicious programmer started to creatively use the GPU with the help of ActionScript.
Hypothetically, with some further additions from Adobe and some creative thinking, one could create a key logger thatís downloaded from a rouge Flash Ad, load it onto the GPU, and have it sit there out of the main view of the system, like a rootkit. While antivirus may be able to pick up on some of the system communication, it would be powerless when it came to remove the malicious code resident in GPU memory. This is probably a little extreme, especially since the current version of Flash probably couldnít do this, but itís something worth bearing in mind down the line, should Adobe decide to expand GPU capabilities. Also, AVís canít protect against malicious Flash apps very easily, causing further security concerns.
While I see a lot of good from these new enhancements, there are numerous problems that should be addressed first.
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