Getting Firefox and Adobe Flash to work on Ubuntu Linux

A few days ago I booted up my rather old HP workstation which is running Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS (Hardy Heron) and Firefox 3.6. I wanted to see how it would perform playing music from last.fm, so I browsed to the site, logged in, and tried to launch a stream.

Well, nothing happened.

I pretty quickly realized that Flash was not installed, at least not where Firefox could see it. After browsing around about a dozen different sites and getting a dozen different answers, I figured out how to make it work.

First, you need to the Flash 10 plugin for Linux from the Adobe website (http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/). Be sure to get the tar.gz and not the .deb package. Use the tar xvzf [filename] command to extract the single file libflashplayer.so. This is the plugin component that you will hand to Firefox in a moment. But before you do that..

Launch Firefox. Open a terminal and run

ps aux | grep firefox

You will see something like this:

ben 6203 0.0 0.1 1776 440 ? S 20:07 0:00 /bin/sh /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13/firefox<br /> ben 6208 0.0 0.1 1776 444 ? S 20:07 0:00 /bin/sh /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13/run-mozilla.sh /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13/firefox-bin<br /> ben 6212 17.3 33.9 277012 86416 ? Sl 20:07 17:11 /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13/firefox-bin<br /> ben 6545 0.0 0.3 3012 776 pts/1 S+ 21:46 0:00 grep firefox

Note the path Firefox is running from. In my case it is /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13. Under this directory there should be another directory, /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13/plugins. Copy the libflashplayer.so file into this directory (if you are not already running as root, you’ll have to do a sudo cp to copy the file.)

Change over to this directory and do a sudo chmod 777 libflashplayer.so.

Now, close Firefox and launch it again. Before trying to use Flash, return to the terminal and do a ps aux | grep firefox again. This time you should see something similar to the following:

ben 6375 28.2 24.0 157240 61172 ? Sl 21:11 13:57 /usr/lib/firefox-3.6.13/plugin-container /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/libflashplayer.so 6212 plugin

If you see this, congratulations! Firefox loaded the plugin. You can also verify this by browsing to about:plugins in Firefox.

Now, browse to your Flash-enabled website and enjoy! Remember that Javascript must be enabled for Flash to launch, so if you are running NoScript be sure to whitelist the site you’re visiting.