Flash Player Install

on Linux

for watching internet TV
and other 'video streams'

via Mozilla browsers
(Seamonkey, Firefox, ...)

Adobe Flash player software
is being replaced in the
2010-2020 timeframe --- as
a player needed at sites
offering 'video streams'.

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This Flash Player install page

! Note !
In the 2010-2020 timeframe, HTML5 video constructs
were being touted for use in place of Flash player.
This page may be updated someday to offer descriptions
of the newer video playback techniques in web pages.


In early 2013, I was getting increasingly frustrated about the number of TV ads appearing on cable TV channels --- wasting my time and making a mockery of my paying for cable TV service.

I am/was paying for TV ads that were occupying at least 30% of my viewing time, and when I switched to another channel (or turned on the TV), it was fast approaching the situation that there was about a 50-50 chance that I would encounter an ad. This is definitely the case in late-night TV when some channels become constant, 100-percent TV ads.

If I switched through 5 or 6 TV channels, there was about a 30% to 50% chance that at least half of them were showing an ad. The situation seemed to be getting worse from January 2013 through June 2013.

The managers of providing content (at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, ESPN, Comedy Channel, HGTV, etc.) were apparently on a roll to provide more and more ads and less and less content.

The ads are even creeping into sporting events more and more --- as evidenced by returning from a 'brace' of TV ads and finding that we have missed part of a game. And, now, in 2013, I am encountering sports broadcasts where they announce that because of time limitations, they must skip forward in the sports broadcast --- RIGHT AFTER they have bombarded us with another 'brace' of TV ads --- and when at least 25 percent of the entire broadcast has been occupied by ads.

When cable TV first became available in my neighborhood (back around 1986), I thought it held the promise of commercial-free TV watching. I thought that because I was making monthly payments for cable service, the channels would be free of ads.

Unfortunately, once commercials get into ANY service, it appears that it is just too tempting for managers of the service to go for more money by inserting more and more ads into the service. This applies to internet sites as well as to cable TV.

    Since the 'Hulu' video streaming subscription service is putting ads in its offerings, there will be no Hulu for me --- ever. And if Netflix ever starts inserting ads into their offerings --- no more Netflix for me. It is just a downward slide from there into commercials-hell.

So I started looking around for ways to avoid all the ads. Using Netflix via a Roku box looks promising. Then ...

In 2013 June, when the French Open tennis tournament was to be shown on TV, I found that there was relatively little coverage of the tournament via TV channels that I pay for --- ESPN2 and NBC in this case.

A majority of the French Open coverage was via the Tennis Channel, which is only available in a 'premium package' which would add about 50% to my monthly cable TV bill.

    (The absence of 'a la carte' cable TV --- in other words, the presence of the restrictions imposed by offering channels only in 'packages' --- is subject matter for a rant on a different web page. This smacks of the days when music was only offered in 'albums', rather than song by song.)

Often, at the end of a tennis coverage day, the ESPN2 announcers would say that continued coverage would be offered by ESPN3 --- which is available via the internet.

I Googled ESPN3 and found the ESPN web site that provided access to the ESPN3 coverage (of multiple sporting events --- baseball, basketball, etc. , as well as tennis). However, when I tried to access the site from an Acer netbook on which I was running Linux (Ubuntu 9.10), I got a popup saying that I needed a Flash Player to access the ESPN3 'channels' (streaming video).

    I have described Linux installs (of Ubuntu and of Linux Mint) via an an Ubuntu Installs web page, written in the 2009 to 2011 time frame. Perhaps I should briefly explain why I am using a version of Linux that is more than 3 years old.

    In my opinion, Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu overlord) took a wrong turn in the development of Ubuntu releases after 9.10. (In addition, Gnome 3 developers started removing essential functions from the Nautilus file manager and the Gnome desktop about the same time).

    So I am sticking with Ubuntu 9.10 on my main 'productivity' desktop and netbook computers --- until the entire Gnome 3 fiasco and UEFI boot confusion dies down --- circa 2014 or 2015? If necessary, I will probably move to a distro using the MATE desktop environment.

I checked the 'bin' directories on that Acer netbook to see if there was a 'flash' binary (executable). There was none. So I needed to download and install a suitable version of the Adobe Flash Player.

A description of that install is below. But first, a note on future availability.

Availability of Flashplayer on Linux

A 2012 March article indicated that Flash 11.2 would be the last version of Flash Player available for Linux --- although it indicated new versions would be bundled with the Google Chrome browser, which has versions that run on the Linux-based Android (Google) operating system and on Linux. (Note: The open-source 'Chromium' browser does not include a built-in Flash player).

    Rant inserted here:

    Personally, I refuse to use the Google Chrome browser because it is so infernally loaded with ads, and Google is making the internet a haven for even more ads than are seen on cable TV. Furthermore, Google is flooding the internet with ads for the Chrome browser --- and ruining my internet experience in the process.

    Google is a Big Brother who is setting a bad example to all its fellow web sites. Almost all sites now want to follow Google's bad example and flood the internet (i.e. bombard you and me) with ads --- often with Google providing the means for these sites to put ads on every page of a web site.

    There should be national laws that require that ads be placed 'distinctly on the side' (right/left/top/bottom) of a main content area of a web page (on any device whose IP address is of that nation), instead of popping up ads in our faces or forcing the ads on us in such a way that we are forced to spend many minutes/hours/weeks/... of our lives watching ads that we are not at all interested in --- and will NEVER be interested in.

    Furthermore, adding waste to waste, the same ads OVER-AND-OVER-AND-OVER make the 'unavoidable, in-your-face approach' to advertising EXTREMELY annoying and EXTREMELY wasteful of users' time --- especially when the ads are video/audio ads. There oughta be a law!

    GAAAAAGHHHHH! I want an escape from all these ads. 99 percent of the time they are advertising things that I do not want and will never need. And the same ads keep wasting my time --- over and over and over ...

    If individual freedom is to be preserved, we must have alternatives to Google (and Adobe and Apple and Ubuntu and ...) products (and their implementations) that are wasting the precious minutes of our lives with an inundation of unavoidable, total crap.

You can do web searches on keywords like 'flash player linux 2013' to check on the current situation with respect to the Flash Player for Linux.

Install of Flashplayer on Linux, for the Seamonkey browser

I decided to install the Flashplayer --- especially since it may help provide another tool in my toolbox, to avoid all the ads swamping cable TV programming. (I decided to install Flashplayer in spite of reservations about Adobe and the Flashplayer --- especially in regard to viruses and altered executables, as indicated in a note below.)

I downloaded a 'tar.gz' file from the web location get.adobe.com/flashplayer/. That web location detected that I was running a browser on Linux and offered me options that might be compatible with a Linux operating system, rather than a Microsoft Winows or an Apple Mac operating system.

    There was an 'rpm' package offered, but RPM packages (RedHat-based) are not exactly compatible with Debian-package-based operating systems such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint. The 'tar.gz' option seemed to be the best match with my old Ubuntu version of Linux.

I downloaded the 'tar.gz' file into a 'Downloads' directory of my home directory. When I clicked on the file (in the Nautilus file manager), I was offered the option of browsing/unpacking the file contents with an 'Archive Manager' (which is actually the 'File Roller' program).

I unpacked the directory structure within the 'tar.gz' file into that 'Downloads' directory.

Then I found Mozilla install directions for Flashplayer on Linux that suggested simply copying the 'libflashplayer.so' file to a 'plugins' directory of Mozilla-type browsers --- like Seamonkey and Firefox.

If the Mozilla link to install directions (above) goes dead, you can try this Adobe link -- or a web search on keywords such as 'flash player install linux seamonkey'.

Since the 'plugins' directory for Seamonky on my netbook was owned by 'root', and not my userid, I needed to switch to the 'root' (administrator) userid to copy the '.so' (shared object) file into the 'plugins' directory.

I could have used a command like 'gksudo' to start up an instance of the Nautilus file manager and do the copy from the 'Downloads' directory to the 'plugins' directory by drag-and-drop. But rather than do that heavy-handed procedure, I decided to do the copy via the command line, using the 'sudo' command, along with the 'cp' (copy) command.

I used a terminal startup command in the 'TERMtools' group of my 'feNautilusScripts' group of utilities (which is available as an easily-quickly installable package at freedomenv.com) to start up a Gnome terminal postioned at the subdirectory of the 'Downloads' directory that contained the '.so' file.

In that terminal, I issued the command

    sudo cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/seamonkey-2.0.8/plugins

Then I went to the ESPN3 website and was able to watch the matches of the French Open that were being provided there --- unfortunately, with as many ads as I see on cable TV. But at least I could watch some good matches.

    I should note that this time, when the viewing rectangle for the video stream came up, it did not remain black, as it did before. However, when I go to the 'espn.go.com' site and choose to watch videos, I still get a warning popup --- a popup that indicates that my Flashplayer may be unsuitable for viewing.

    But, when I dismiss that popup, I am taken to a viewing window and the viewing rectangle within that window does become occupied by the controls for the flashplayer. For example, I do see the little multi-arrow icon in the lower right of the viewing rectangle that allows me to change the view to fullscreen. I simply use the 'Esc' key to exit the fullscreen mode.

    I may be able to get rid of the warning popup by copying some Flashplayer configuration files to an appropriate directory, as is suggested in Adobe install directions for the 'tar.gz' file, on Linux.

Install of Flashplayer on Linux, for other Mozilla browsers

In case I want to use Firefox instead of Seamonkey, at some time in the future, to do the viewing of video streams, I used the following command to place the '.so' file in a suitable Firefox directory.

    sudo cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins

This 'plugins' directory was actually a link to the directory 'usr/lib/firefox-3.6.10/plugins' --- so I was actually copying the '.so' file into that directory.

Similarly, if you are using the Debian 'unbranded' version of the Seamonkey browser, 'Iceape', you could use a command like

    sudo cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/iceape/plugins

And, if you are using the Debian 'unbranded' version of the Firefox browser, 'Iceweasel', you could use a command like

    sudo cp libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins

You will probably have to browse the '/usr/lib' directory to find the exact name of the 'ice*' subdirectory to use in doing the copy of the '.so' file.

Handling video streams on Linux in the future

There is talk that the days of Adobe Flash (whatever software that may be referring to) are numbered. There is talk that the coming widespread use HTML 5.x for web pages will bring about new substitutes for Adobe's Flash Player.

You can do a web search on keywords such as 'flash player html5 video' to get current information on HTML5-based players to replace Adobe Flash players.

HTML5 video player availability would probably be helpful to Linux users who want to view video streams. However, it is not clear when sites like ESPN3 and Comedy Channel will be offering playback by such players.

In any case, it may be possible to use video viewers that are available on Linux (such as VLC or Mplayer) to view video streams. And those players are packaged into software packages such as Debian packages and RPM packages.

If it turns out that it will be possible to use Mplayer or VLC for viewing video streams from sites such as ESPN3 and the Comedy Channel, I will probably put a writeup of procedures for enabling that function on a web page and put a link here.

When that day dawns, we Linux users will be able to download the viewing software (like Mplayer) from sites such as packages.debian.org or snapshot.debian.org --- instead of software from an Adobe site --- and instead of software provided by the web page of a site like ESPN3 or Comedy Channel --- where they have little interest in catering to the needs of Linux users.

Then we will be free --- free at last --- from the vissisitudes (and the security holes) of Adobe --- and of websites offering Flash players loaded with ads and viruses. (It is no wonder that Apple refused to allow Adobe Flash players to be installed on some, if not all, Apple devices.)

If the day comes when we can handle video streams from most web sites by using viewers like Mplayer or VLC, then you may find it helpful to view my web page on Debian App Installs from '.deb' files.

Video 'streams' versus file-downloads

I am concerned when I read articles that say video streaming is a major portion of internet traffic. I saw one article that indicated that Netflix video streaming is consuming about 30 percent of internet 'bandwidth'.

Add to that other sources of video streaming (such as YouTube and sites like ESPN3 and Comedy Channel) --- and add to THAT downloads of video files. THEN we see that video may account for well over 50% of the traffic on the internet.

    One gross fact: A lot of those videos from sites such as ESPN3 and Comedy Channel are 'embedded' with ad videos. So one thing is for certain: Like on cable TV, there will be more and more internet bandwidth consumed by ads --- video ads.

In the future, I hope to move a lot of my video watching to downloaded '.mp4' files (or video files of other formats) --- and use a video player such as Mplayer.

Furthermore, I plan to use DVD videos whenever suitable --- for example, for educational programming. (There is very little educational programming on cable TV --- and what there is of it is usually watered-down to the level of pre-schoolers. Most cable TV shows seem to be concerned with zombies, vampires, ghosts, Sasquatch, UFO's, 'ministers' offering me riches beyond my dreams if I will just send them money, and house-wives bad-mouthing each other.)

Video streaming has the advantage that one is not gobbling up lots of disk space, over the long term, with huge video files. Basically, the file content is copied to temporary 'local' file storage and then deleted.

On the other hand, by downloading video files (rather than 'streaming' them), I can do the downloads at times when regional internet pathways are not saturated. But downloading a video file is usually not as convenient as 'streaming' --- and can be quite disk-space consuming. A main argument for down-loading is to handle the case when the content may be watched more than one time.

There is much more to be said on the pro's and con's of streaming versus downloads of video. I leave those considerations for another time.


Here is a note on rebranding of Mozilla products by Debian, as a result of a Mozilla-Debian dispute.

And here are some links to info on the Iceape and Iceweasel web browsers --- and Mozilla web browsers, Seamonkey and Firefox.

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Page was created 2013 Jun 04.

Page was changed 2018 Dec 13.
(Added css and javascript to try to handle text-size for smartphones, esp. in portrait orientation. Added some links.)