Emmy Huang (Product Manager, Flash Player) has made a confirmation that there will be a flash player 9 on Linux platform soon. Up to now, the current flash player for GNU/Linux is 7.x, while Windows version has been updated to 8.x. The player is now being developed in Adobe Labs and hopefully there will be a pre-release before the end of this year and after receiving some feedbacks from the testers and users, they will fix it and release it in early of 2007 (would it be a nice gift for new year?).
A significant component of this release is a brand new, highly-optimized ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM) known as AVM2. AVM2 is built from the ground up to work with the next generation of ActionScript (ActionScript 3.0) to support the needs of rich Internet application developers. The new virtual machine is significantly faster, supports full runtime error reporting, and industry-standard debugging. It includes binary socket support, allowing developers to extend the player to work with any binary protocol. Flash Player 9 also contains AVM1, which executes legacy ActionScript for backward-compatibility with existing content.
Some people had been waiting for the upcoming flash player 8.5 for GNU/Linux platform since last year (December 2005), but it isn't available up to now. It makes some site broken when viewed with GNU/Linux platform, since they don't have a minimum requirement to view the flash. Stacy Young had put a comment in May 2006 that the 8.5 version is being renamed to 9.x (perhaps to syncronize with Windows' version) and it has been stated in Emmy Huang's blog either.
There is an alternative for this, as it's being developed by GNU Project. It's called Gnash. This standalone flash player is being heavily developed and it can support many SWF v7 features (that means, we are lacking 1 version behind compared to Flash version that has been upgraded to 8).
I can't wait for the upcoming flash player.....