Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash (formerly Marcomedia Flash) is a proprietary program, mainly used for animations, video and advertising on websites.

Installation

Ubuntu

9.04 Jaunty and above

There are experimental, native 64bit “Adobe Labs” releases. If you are using a 64bit Ubuntu,1) you may want to use them (better performance). See below for information.

There are experimental Open Source alternatives: Lightspark, Gnash and swfdec. If you installed one of them, remove their packages before using Adobe Flash. Otherwise it will not work properly.

Close your browser and install the following package(s):

Install experimental 64bit "Adobe Labs" version

If you are using a 64bit Ubuntu,2) you may want to use the experimental, native 64bit “Adobe Labs” Flash release instead of the 32bit NSPluginWrapper.3) It provides better performance and sometimes less problems. But – beside the fact that it is experimental – you have to update the “Adobe Labs” version manually. Otherwise your system has to face serious security vulnerabilities in the near future.

readm3.org provides a 64bit Flash installation/update bash script, making the installation or update of the 64bit version much easier. Simply open a terminal and run the following command to download start it (copy and paste recommended):4)

wget "http://readm3.org/_export/code/app/adobe-flash/adobe-flash-install-64bit.sh?codeblock=1" -O "/tmp/adobe-flash-install-64bit.sh" && chmod a+rx "/tmp/adobe-flash-install-64bit.sh" && sudo "/tmp/adobe-flash-install-64bit.sh"

What the script does:

  1. Uninstalls eventually existing older Adobe Flash versions and Flash alternatives to prevent problems.
  2. Downloads the newest experimental Adobe Flash 64bit Labs version archive into a temporary directory (including cleanup after installation is done).
  3. Copies the Plugin into the correct directories for Mozilla Firefox, Chromium and Opera (system wide, for all users).

However, if you don't want to use the script offered above and follow the steps manually:

  1. Remove other/old Flash versions to prevent problems.
  2. Download the newest .tar.gz for Linux 64bit. Untar the included libflashplayer.so, e.g. into your home directory.
  3. Copy/link the Plugin into the fitting Browser directories and set appropriate permissions:
    #Mozilla Firefox, main location
    sudo cp ~/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so
    sudo chmod 0755 /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so
    
    #If you need Chromium support...
    sudo ln -f -s -v "/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so" "/usr/lib/chromium-browser/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo chmod /usr/lib/chromium-browser/plugins/libflashplayer.so
    
    #If you need Opera support
    sudo ln -f -s -v "/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so" "/usr/lib/opera/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo chmod /usr/lib/opera/plugins/libflashplayer.so

    You can delete ~/libflashplayer.so and the downloaded .tar.gz now.

  4. Make the plugin available for non-browser applications:
    sudo ln -f -s -v "/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so" "/usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo ln -f -s -v "/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so" "/usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
  5. Restart your browser and visit Adobe's Flash testing site to check if your installation.

Windows

XP and above

Simply download the Windows installer (Direct Download: install_flash_player.exe) and execute it with administrator privileges.

Tips and tricks

Check which Flash version your browser is using

Simply visit Adobe's Flash testing page. It shows you the version your browser is currently using. Additionally, it offers a quick overview what is the newest version for your platform, making it easy for you to determine if an update is available.

Silent (Un)installation (command line, batch) on Windows

If you need to install Flash silently, use the most recent install_flash_player.exe and execute it with the -install parameter:

install_flash_player.exe -install

If you need to uninstall Flash silently, use the most recent uninstall_flash_player.exe and execute it with the -uninstall parameter:

uninstall_flash_player.exe -uninstall

Troubleshooting

Flash player does not respond to mouse clicks (Ubuntu Linux, 64bit)

Because Adobe did not release a maintained and stable 64bit version of Flash until today (data as per 2010-09-16), the NSPluginWrapper has to be used to make the 32bit Flash player work on a 64bit Ubuntu Linux. You are using the 32bit wrapper if you installed the flashplugin-installer package on a 64bit Ubuntu. The problem of not working elements (e.g. useless YouTube controls) is caused by the interaction of Flash with the NSPluginWrapper and GTK+.

To solve this problem, you have to set the environment variable GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1. This is possible by creating a small wrapper for npviewer.bin:5)

  1. Open a terminal
  2. Rename the npviewer.bin to npviewer.bin.original:
    sudo mv /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer.bin /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer.bin.original
  3. Open an editor with root privileges (e.g. gedit) to create the needed wrapper script at npviewer.bin's old place :
    gksudo gedit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer.bin

    Store the following content into the file:

    #!/bin/bash
    GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1 /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer.bin.original "$@"
  4. Make the wrapper script executable:
    sudo chmod a+rx /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer.bin
  5. Restart your browser if it was running.

Uninstall old Flash versions (Ubuntu Linux), including experimental "Labs" releases

Beside the 32bit package provided by the common repositories, Adobe released different experimental 64bit Linux versions without providing packages for it. No matter if you want to update your experimental 64bit version or switch to the stable 32bit release: you should clean-up your system before to make sure no vestiges are left.6)

Uninstalling it is not so easy because Adobe did not release .deb packages for the 64bit Labs version, forcing the user to install it by manually copying the libflashplayer.so. And there are many places where the libflashplayer.so possibly took place (e.g. depending on your target browser(s)). If you do not remember which version you are using and where you copied it, do the following to make sure everything will be removed:

  • Remove eventually installed 32bit Adobe versions and/or existing free alternatives:
    sudo apt-get remove adobe-flashplugin
    sudo dpkg -r adobe-flashplugin
    sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-installer
    sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-nonfree
    sudo apt-get remove mozilla-plugin-gnash
    sudo apt-get remove swfdec-mozilla
    sudo apt-get remove browser-plugin-lightspark
    sudo apt-get remove mozilla-plugin-gnash
    sudo apt-get remove konqueror-plugin-gnash

    This avoids confusing the package manager by the following manual removal and prevents compatibility problems when installing the current Flash version afterwards.

  • Delete all possible occurrences of libflashplayer.so. To do so, open a terminal and run:
    rm --preserve-root -rf "/usr/lib/adobe-flashplugin/"
    sudo rm -f "/usr/lib/chromium-browser/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo rm -f "/usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo rm -f "/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo rm -f "/usr/lib/opera/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo rm -f "/usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins/libflashplayer.so"
    sudo rm -f $(find "/home/" -name "libflashplayer.so")
  • To be really sure no other program is using an old libflashplayer.so, run the following:
    sudo updatedb  
    locate libflashplayer.so

    If locate does not print anything, you'll be on the safe side. Delete the reported files otherwise.

  • Install your preferred version of Flash as described above.
  • If you want to check the version your browser is using, visit the Adobe test page.

Uninstall old Flash versions (MS Windows)

Removing Flash is not as easy as it seems because it does not provide a common Windows uninstaller. And it gets really complicated for old versions by Macromedia. Therefore Adobe provides a special removal tool. Simply download uninstall_flash_player.exe, execute it with administrator privileges and follow the instructions.

See also

1) , 2) You can check this by opening a terminal, executing uname -m. If the result is x86_64, you are running a 64bit Ubuntu.
3) used by the flashplugin-installer package on 64bit systems
4) working Internet connection needed
5) idea found at linuxundich.de :lang_de:
6) They may cause security vulnerabilities or incompatibilities!
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