Flash Player on Linux – Installing Native 64bit Flash Player

It seems that installing Flash Player on an Ubuntu desktop is getting easier and easier with every release of the popular Linux operating system. However, its still very apparent that there are still problems pairing the two together in some areas. In the past, it has been less-than-easy to install the 64bit Flash Player plugin in Linux. However, Adobe just released ┬árefresh to the alpha, so let’s see if it has taken care of some of the ease-of-installation problems.

Let’s get to it! Go ahead and download the plugin, and we’ll walk through installation. When you first untar/unzip the package, you’ll find that there’s really only one file inside: libflashplayer.so. It seems that Adobe still hasn’t addressed the ease-of-installation problems yet! For the average Joe, a file named “libflashplayer.so” doesn’t mean anything at all. You can’t really execute it from the commandline, and double-clicking yields nothing at all. Bummer! Well, Joe, we’re going to have to do some terminal work to get this up and going, so don’t lose heart!

So what are we supposed to do with this file? First, lets move the file to an arbitrary place where we can keep track of it. Open up a terminal and “cd” to the directory in which you downloaded “libflashplayer-10.*.gz”. For me, it’s in ~/Downloads, so I’ll run

cd ~/Downloads

to get where I need to be. Now, let’s unpack the sucker. Run the following command in your terminal to unpack the plugin:

tar -zxvf libflashplayer-*.tar.gz

A quick look at the directory should show you that there is now a file named “libflashplayer.so” present. This is our browser plugin, exactly what we need. Now, let’s move it to a global location where we can reference it later. We’ll create a directory layout under /opt and move the plugin to that directory. Let’s make that directory:

# Replace "10.0.42.34 with the version of Flash Player you downloaded.
# The tar.gz file you just downloaded should contain the version number in the filename.
sudo mkdir -p /opt/adobe/flashplayer/10.0.42.34/release/64/
sudo mv libflashplayer.so /opt/adobe/flashplayer/10.0.42.34/release/64/

Note the directory hierarchy we just created. We created a directory called /opt/adobe/flashplayer for storing all of our different versions of Flash Player that we may or may not decide to install in the future. Next, we created a directory within /opt/adobe/flashplayer named after the version of Flash Player we’re using. Within that folder, we created a folder called “release.” (There are two different types of Flash Player plugins, a debugger and a release player, the one used most often by the general public.) Within that folder, we created a folder called “64,” since this is a 64bit version of Flash Player. In a future post, we’ll talk about how to install Flash Player 32bit edition on a 64bit machine, but for now, we’re using the native 64bit plugin.

Next, before we start linking up our shiny new 64bit Flash Player plugin, we need to make sure that we remove any 32bit versions of Flash Player. Execute the following commands to remove all Flash Player plugins installed on your system:

sudo apt-get remove --purge gnash flashplugin-installer flashplugin-nonfree
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f ~/.mozilla/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/*flash*
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/plugins/*flash*

This removes all Flash Player plugins you may have installed. If you are sure that you don’t have Flash Player installed, you might not need to run line 1 above, but you should run the rest of the code just in case.

Now, let’s create symbolic links pointing to our shiny new 64bit Flash Player plugin!

sudo ln -s /opt/adobe/flashplayer/10.0.42.34/release/64/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so
sudo ln -s /opt/adobe/flashplayer/10.0.42.34/release/64/libflashplayer.so ~/.mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so
sudo ln -s /opt/adobe/flashplayer/10.0.42.34/release/64/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/libflashplayer.so
sudo ln -s /opt/adobe/flashplayer/10.0.42.34/release/64/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/libflashplayer.so

Alright! Good job! You’ve just installed a 64bit copy of Flash Player on your Linux desktop! Give yourself a nice pat on the back! Restart your browser(s) and you’re good to go! Just remember to be sure that your browsers actually exit. A nice test would be to run

killall chrome
killall firefox

to make sure that your browsers really did get zapped!

Now, the next part is optional, though it is recommended that you give it a try. Since there are still a few bugs with Flash Player on Linux in general (not just with 64bit edition), you’ll notice some strange functionality at times running Flash Player. Sometimes, YouTube videos will not accept mouse input, leaving a user at the will of autoplay. To fix this problem, we need to edit a configuration file within /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux . Let’s open it in “gedit”:

sudo gedit /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/i386/linux/npviewer

You’ll now notice that the file looks something like this:

#!/bin/sh
TARGET_OS=linux
TARGET_ARCH=i386
. /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/noarch/npviewer

Modify this file so that it looks like this:

#!/bin/sh
TARGET_OS=linux
TARGET_ARCH=i386
GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1
. /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/noarch/npviewer

This modification tells “npviewer” to use GTK native windows. Now, you shouldn’t be experiencing some of those nasty bugs!

I know what you’re thinking. “This is ridiculous! Why doesn’t Adobe just package Flash Player in a .deb file and do all of this work behind the scenes for us?” And that’s a good question, but I don’t have an answer for it. Hopefully when the Linux 64bit Flash Player plugin comes out of alpha, we’ll at least get a nice deb file that we can double click and install away to our utmost enjoyment :)

Any suggestions? Run into any problems? Post back in the comments below and we’ll see if we can walk you though this and help you get your 64bit Flash Player running like clockwork!

5 thoughts on “Flash Player on Linux – Installing Native 64bit Flash Player

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