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10 January 2008 @ 04:07 pm
Never give a simple answer that works when you can give a complex one that won't.  
I fixed the Adobe Flash problem on both my Ubuntu machine and my grandson's.

I had to plough through the Ubuntu forums and combine two different responses before I could do it, though -- and the ultimate solution was far simpler than the first few pages of "all you have to do is..."

This is my biggest complaint about Linux. Open-source support is wonderful in theory -- if you do a Google search for just about any problem, you'll find a lot of people who've run into the same issue. Unfortunately, there's only a fraction of that number who can tell you how to fix it. Lots of cries for help, but very, very few rescues.

The problem I faced is apparently a common one: Fresh Ubuntu install, fresh Firefox install. Went to a page with Flash components. Got a dialogue box saying that I didn't have the right plug-in, and clicked the button to install the Adobe Flash non-free plug-in. Restarted Firefox. Went to the same page.

Got the same dialogue box.

Clicked it.

Got a dialogue box saying that it was already installed, and I needed to restart Firefox.

Restarted Firefox.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

The first few "solutions" in the Forums explain that Adobe hasn't yet updated the DEB installer package, and list multiple different ways to assemble one from scratch.

Finally, someone says that they just found grabbed the file from Adobe, pulled the plug-in file out of the compressed bundle, and pasted it directly into Firefox's plug-ins folder. It worked for them, with no hitch, and it worked for me, to.

So, here's the Step By Step, for any desperate soul who finds Your Obedient Serpent's blog through Google:

PROBLEM: In Ubuntu 7.10, Adobe Flash Plug-In will not install properly with Firefox 2.0.
  1. wget http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/install_flash_player_9_linux.tar.gz

  2. tar xvfz install_flash_player_9_linux.tar.gz

  3. nautilus install_flash_player_9_linux (This opens a File Manager window into the directory created when you untarred the tarball in the last step.)

  4. sudo nautilus /usr/lib/firefox/plugins (This opens a File Manager window with admin permissions into Firefox's plug-ins folder.)

  5. Cut libflashplayer.so from the first directory and psate it into the second.

  6. Restart Firefox.

  7. Laugh at those still trying to make their own DEB installers from stone knives and bearskins. A good Girl Genius Spark laugh. You know you want to.

And that's it. Download, unzip, cut, paste.
I feel: accomplishedaccomplished
Hafochafoc on January 11th, 2008 04:11 am (UTC)
Congratulations. You have run face first into the problem of Learning Math from Mathematicians, Digital Version.

You know what I mean. You want to learn how to add two plus two and you end up with a sixteen-hour lecture series on F Ring Group Theory. If you have any sense, you'll ditch the mathematician and go ask a bricklayer.

I'm starting to run into that a bit because I just got a Linux-based mini micro laptop computer-- ya got to see this thing, I'll bring it out when I come. Anyway, I'm going through long lectures on ripping out the supplied, dumbed-down version of Linux and replacing it with any of eight other flavors of Linux (each of which is, of course, the God's Inspired Truth of computing, according to the commentator) and doing hacks on this and patches on that so that they can install a full NSA-grade firewall on the bloody thing-- when all I want to do is find the command that will let me shut down the three unnecessarily-open ports that constitute the machine's entire security problem in the first place.
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on January 11th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
Actually, over all, Ubuntu is pretty good about letting you "install the software and be done with it in two seconds", especially if the software in question is already in their rather extensive public archives. The GNOME version automates most set-up stuff -- some things, like installing video drivers, are actually EASIER than they are under Windows.

Installing stuff that isn't in the archives isn't particularly difficult; there's just a learning curve (more of a learning speed bump, really) as you figure out just how it's done. I had as many WTF moments when I went from DOS to Windows.

Kubuntu, which uses KDE instead of GNOME as a desktop interface, is a bit more do-it-yourself -- which is why I'm backing away from it until I get a bit more savvy.
JP Sugarbroadtaral on January 11th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the problem with blatantly secure systems. Why doesn't the install work? Because your (non-privileged) user can't put things in the (secure) directory where plugins are stored.

Solution? Run the browser as a privileged user (via sudo), then install the plugin.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on January 12th, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
Actually, Ubuntu is pretty good about that. If you do anything that needs admin access, it asks you for your password right there. It's almost transparent -- just non-transparent enough that it lets you know, "HEY! This could screw things up! I need a person to say yes!"

The plug-in problem is because Adobe hasn't updated their package, from all I can here. Other plug-ins don't seem to have an issue.