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Posts Tagged ‘Flash’

A couple of years or so ago, Ubuntu‘s file manager, Nautilus, gave you the ability to “Safely Remove Drive” when right-clicking an attached USB hard drive (or flash drive), rather than just simply “Unmount” it. The difference between the two is that when you simply unmount a drive, it is still listed as attached (but not mounted) in Nautilus‘s left-pane. For many, seeing the drive completely removed was reassuring, since it could then be unplugged safe in the knowledge there would be no data loss, or physical damage to the device.

However, in the Ubuntu 12.10 upgrade, we lost this option, and now only have “Unmount” and “Eject” (which is exactly the same as “Unmount“, except in the case of CD/DVD drives where it will eject the disc tray).

Device Context-Menu

While “Safely Remove Drive” may yet make a return (it has caused a flood of complaints about this backward move), for now you can do it via the command-line if you really prefer this to simply unmounting.

First, if you’re unsure what the drive’s address is, run the following in the terminal:

mount|grep ^'/dev'

If you only have one internal hard drive, and no other storage devices attached, it should be something like /dev/sdb. To safely unmount and totally remove the drive, enter the following command, replacing /dev/sdb with your own drive’s designation if need be:

udisks --unmount /dev/sdb1 && udisks --detach /dev/sdb

You should now see your drive disappear from the file manager’s left-pane.

Note that in the unlikely event you have a partition other than the first partition on the drive mounting, you will need to change the “1” (ie: sdb1) in the command to reflect that.

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If you’ve been getting blue faces when watching YouTube clips, or any other Adobe Flash videos, the cause can be hard to pinpoint. When faces and flames, and other red/orange elements, turn varying shades of blue, it can be due to a buggy Flash update (especially for 64-bit users), or it can be due to video card driver issues (currently it seems to be affects a few Nvidia users after upgrading to Ubuntu 12.04 – read more at the bottom). Whatever the cause, this issue usually drives people to uninstall Flash, then reinstall an earlier version.

But hopefully the following fix will correct the colours in the movies you watch in Firefox or Chrome (and any other web browsers) without having to resort to such drastic measures. All you need to do is create a text file and paste a line of text into it, but since saving it will fail unless you create the folder first, do so by running the following in the terminal:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/

Now to create the file and open it for editing:

gksu gedit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg

When it opens, paste in the following:

EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1

Close the file, and confirm you want to save the changes. Now, all you need to do is restart your browser and your clips should look fine. If not, you may need to reboot, and hopefully all is fine when you return.

The EASY WAY: Now that you understand what’s needed, you could cheat and just do the whole process with one command:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/ && echo -e "EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1" | sudo tee /etc/adobe/mms.cfg > /dev/null

If you also want to force the Flash player to bypass its GPU validity checks (GPU validation – see below), then the command would be:

sudo mkdir /etc/adobe/ && echo -e "OverrideGPUValidation=1\nEnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1" | sudo tee /etc/adobe/mms.cfg > /dev/null

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That Didn’t Work, or Caused Problems? In some cases, you might find you need to disable GPU validation in addition to, or instead of, telling Flash to use vdpau hardware acceleration. If you’re experiencing trouble at some sites but not others (like YouTube videos are now fine, but at Vimeo the Flash plugin crashes), you may want to play around with the settings. For example, to enable the acceleration but bypass GPU validation, the text in mms.cfg would be:

OverrideGPUValidation=1
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=1

… or the following to just bypass GPU validation:

OverrideGPUValidation=1
EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode=0

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To Revert Back: If these tweaks have caused you more headache than it was worth, just delete the entire folder you created with:

sudo rm -r /etc/adobe

Or you can just edit the file with:

gksu gedit /etc/adobe/mms.cfg

… and set EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode= to 0 if you prefer to keep it.

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Nvidia users: Apparently the issue (which Adobe reportedly won’t be fixing) is caused by having hardware acceleration enabled, so right-clicking a Flash video, choosing Settings… and disabling “Enable hardware acceleration” can often fix this. However, the above fix is perhaps more elegant since you’re allowing Flash to use vdpau hardware acceleration, rather than just disabling it altogether.

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32-bit Ubuntu users: You can read this for some general info, but for installation of Flash use this guide instead.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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64-bit Ubuntu users: You can read this for some general info, but for installation of Flash use this guide instead.

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A common complaint from newbies is the lack of Flash support in Firefox when they first encounter a site that needs it. However, the solution is quite simple, and the fact that it is even seen as a problem is evidence that often the most obvious things are the most easily missed.

When you go to a site that relies on Flash, don’t look at the error message on the web page – look just above it and you’ll see Firefox is well aware of the issue, and is presenting the solution to you.

All you need to do is click the “Install Missing Plugins…” button and you will be presented with a list of plugins to choose from, both official (ie: the Adobe one) and open-source. You can try any you please, especially if you’d like to try slimmer, open-source alternatives that probably use less system resources, but pick “Adobe Flash Player (installer)” if you prefer to play it safe (I’d recommend that).

Select your choice, click the Next button, and that’s it (Firefox might need to be restarted, though probably not).

If you want a simpler method you can implement straight after an Ubuntu install, before you even load Firefox, once again the terminal is the answer. Just enter the following command, and it will take care of everything:

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

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If you’d like to make sure the plugin is successfully installed, enter about:plugins in the address bar. It will list all installed plugins, with the first one being the most recently installed, Flash.

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In case you’re wondering what other web browsers this plugin supports, any browser based on Netscape or Mozilla can use the Flash plugin. Here is the list of those currently supported:

Mozilla, Mozilla-Firefox, Firefox, Iceweasel, and Iceape. Also Galeon and Epiphany can use the Flash plugin. Konqueror can also use the Flash plugin if konqueror-nsplugins is installed.

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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!

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In Ubuntu, you can get many multimedia players – programs that play both audio and video – and you may find one that fulfills all your requirements. Personally, I don’t mind having different apps for different tasks, since I was already used to that with Windows (I mean, who seriously uses Windows Media Player for everything?). Amarok is a great flashy audio player, but I generally just use the default Rhythmbox for music; for DVDs, I prefer Kaffeine, but for playing all my video clips (and DVDs that Kaffeine is spitting the dummy over), I use SMPlayer.

It’s just an alternative to MPlayer, but has a lot more features, and can can be customised a fair bit. For example, you can skip backwards and forwards using the scroll wheel on your mouse, and you can edit the amount skipped. In fact, you can assign another function to the scroll wheel, just as you can change functions for all mouse actions, as well as edit and add to existing keyboard shortcuts.

You can also edit certain control buttons, like Skip Forward and Skip Back, with times like 10 secs, 30 secs & 1 min (note that with earlier versions, you would have 3 extra buttons on each end of the progress bar, while now they are inside a menu accessed by clicking the little arrow next to the single button shown on each end).

You can change the interface to a mini GUI, or to the Media PC (MPC) one if you prefer something different to the default. You can also choose to show the playlist as a separate window which becomes a handy way to access and add to your playlist (which you can then save for future use).

As far as advanced features go, you can tweak performance in many ways, fiddle with audio/video synchronisation for problem clips, and even get it to autoload subtitles for clips that come with subtitles files. Also, because of issues due to Ubuntu’s move to Pulse Audio, all my DVDs and movies had no sound for a while in the other players, but in SMPlayer it wasn’t an issue; not sure why that was, since MPlayer was mute, but I was certainly glad I had installed SMPlayer!

So there are a few reasons worth try SMPlayer. It’s lean, yet feature-rich, with a good level of customisability, and it will play any media file you throw at it, including YouTube (.flv) clips. It’s easily installed via the repos, and it might just end up your default movie player.

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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!

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Even Windows does not ship with the ability to play DVDs and many media types by default, due to copyright/proprietary issues. Ubuntu respects these as well, but by installing one simple package, you not only get DVD playback – even on copy-protected discs – but support for basically every type of video and audio file out there today! If you’ve got two different codec pack launchers in Windows pumping codecs into Windows Media Player and there are still heaps of clips you can’t play, then Ubuntu will amaze you. You will suddenly be able to play all those XviD .AVI movies that only had sound till now, .FLV clips from YouTube, and the latest formats like .MKV.

All you need to do is open Synaptic and mark ubuntu-restricted-extras for installation, or just paste the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

When codecs are updated or added, you will receive them with your system updates! How easy is that?!

* For info on adding even more codecs and the ability to play encrypted DVDs, read about adding the Medibuntu repository.

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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!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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Please note: Due to YouTube’s ongoing war against downloading of their clips, basically every program available (for Linux or Windows) will now fail when trying to fetch the clip with the URL supplied. You can still keep clips you’ve watched by finding them in your web browser’s cache; just watch the clip in full, and do not navigate away before saving a copy of the clip, as it will be automatically deleted by YouTube. With Ubuntu’s superior preview thumbnailing, you will spot them easily from amongst all the files in the cache; simply rename them with something descriptive, and end it with the .flv extension.

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There is a cool little app for Ubuntu called QtTube, and its sole purpose for existing is to download video clips from YouTube. As you may already be aware, Ubuntu has native support for .FLV clips (whereas in Windows you need to find a dedicated player that can handle the file type). So you can actually download your favourite YouTube vids and play them back any time you wish without having to go back and watch it from the web page!

Simply use Synaptic to mark qttube for installation, or paste the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install qttube

Once installed, it’s really easy to use:

  • Under Get Video, paste in the url.
  • For Destination Folder, put a path to a folder of your choosing
  • Change the File Name to something descriptive
  • Click the Get Video button to begin.

You can get QtTube to automatically download to your preferred folder by going to Edit > Preferences >  General, where you can specify something like your Downloads or Videos folder as the default download location from then onwards. The default filename for each clip will be the numbers  and letters at the end of the url, so just select everything before the .flv and type something more useful. Lastly, to successfully paste an url into Get Video when there is already one there, triple-click the previous one before pasting (you need to make sure the end of the url in the separate little field on the end changes too).

QtTube - for Downloading YouTube Clips in Ubuntu Linux

If you find that you can’t play .FLV video clips in Ubuntu, you will need to install Ubuntu Restricted Extras to remedy this.

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