32-bit Ubuntu users: You can read this for some general info, but for installation of Flash use this guide instead.
While Flash support on Linux distros used to be a nightmare, most people these days rarely need to bother fiddling with it. In fact, installing Flash support on 32-bit i386 systems it can be even easier than doing the same in Windows. But 64-bit users often find it is one big mess, and this has nothing to do with Ubuntu, as Adobe has only ever released a 32-bit version, as incredible as that may seem.
At the time of writing, there is the first alpha 64-bit version available, so things are looking up. While you could be forgiven for not trusting a product that isn’t even at its first beta level yet, from what I have seen it is stable, and should be the answer you are looking for. While this might not be the solution to help everyone, hopefully it is the answer to your Flash woes.
What you first need to do is go into Synaptic and completely remove the package flashplugin-installer, or do so with the following command in a terminal (if you never installed it, obviously you can skip this step):
sudo apt-get purge flashplugin-installer
If you suspect you may have installed some open source Flash plugins, open Synaptic and enter “flash” in the Quick search bar. I personally removed the popular gnash just to be safe (since it and the Adobe one always fought for supremacy, though that was never the problem, considering I installed Gnash after the Adobe product failed me). You can leave swfdec-gnome if that is installed, as that handles things like giving thumbnail previews for .swf files in Nautilus, etc, and doesn’t appear to cause any conflicts.
You can always try just skipping all that and seeing if the 32- and 64-bit versions happily co-exist, but since the 32-bit one is failing you anyway, you may as well uninstall it and save any potential headaches.
Next, we need to add the Adobe Flash repository to the APT sources, update the sources list, then download and install the 64-bit plugin. This is easily done by pasting the following into a terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer
Note that if you get an error, most likely because during the sources update it failed to fetch some info, this install will fail (since it won’t actually get to the last command and download and install anything). However, if you open Synaptic and search for “flash“, you will see there is now flashplugin64-installer included in the list of found packages, and is then easily installed (though you could always just run sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer in a terminal).
If you prefer, you can run each of the three commands separately:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer
That way if the update fails, you can run it again and then run the last command when ready.
After that, you should have Flash support in Firefox and other web browsers, and you shouldn’t even need to reboot (though if you didn’t already exit Firefox before installing Flash, restart the program now, and you should be able to watch Flash vids).
If you want to make sure the plugin is installed properly (without viewing a Flash clip, which is obviously the best way to get this info), just enter about:plugins in the Firefox address bar and hit Enter. You should see the Flash section right near the top.
Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!