Ubuntu, Firefox 3, and Adobe Flash

*Instructions not necessarily restricted to Ubuntu.

This article is brought about because a new Ubuntu user was asking in the #ubuntu irc channel on irc.freenode.net about installing Adobe’s Flash player.

The easiest method would be to just run

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

or alternatively if you want to install a whole whack of non-free apps

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

or kubuntu-restricted-extras (depending on your distro).

My experience with the apt-get method has been a bumpy road, to say the least. That tiny flash installer has *always* been an installation that takes hours. I don’t know why, maybe it’s that I’m in Canada. So I install Flash manually. Here’s how.

Visit http://adobe.com/ then find the “Get Flash” button and click it. Here is a link to the English US version.

Now select the “tar.gz” and download. By default it will download to your ~/Desktop.

When the download is complete, open a terminal (like bash ~ the command line). Type

cd ~/Desktop

to navigate within the command line to your desktop. Now untar (unpack, like unzipping) with the command

tar -xzf install_flash_player_9_linux.tar.gz

or you could start with “tar -xzf inst” and then press the Tab key on your keyboard. When inside a bash terminal, this will auto-complete the filename for you.

So now that the tar.gz has been unpacked, navigate into the unpacked directory.

cd install_flash_player_9_linux

Now you are in the directory with the flash installer. To install you will need to run the install script with root privileges. To do this you begin the install script with the word ‘sudo’ like the following

sudo ./flashplayer-installer

which will begin the Flash player installation. Follow the prompts through the warnings (by pressing ENTER) and close any browsers you have open. You should be at the prompt

Please enter the installation path of the Mozilla, Netscape,
or Opera browser (i.e., /usr/lib/mozilla):

By default, in Ubuntu 8.04, the Firefox3 path is /usr/lib/firefox-3* where the * represents the current version of Firefox3. In my case it is “/usr/lib/firefox-3.0.1” so that is the path I would type when asked.

The installer will ask you to confirm that the browser installation directory is correct, and to confirm just type


and you are done. Open up your browser and you should find that Flash is installed for Firefox 3.

Of course you can install to other browsers such as Flock or Opera just by pointing the install path to that of the browser you intend to install Flash to.

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