No Flash Video in Firefox!

I’ve been playing with the Linux version of the BBC iPlayer on my HP laptop (I’ll blog about this later). As performance was poor decided to try this on my desktop.

It was at this point I discovered that flash video playback would just give a grey box with a “play” symbol in the middle (swf and flash enabled websites would work). Pressing the “play” symbol would start Flash, but Firefox would totally freeze with the only option of doing a “Force Quit”.

After some digging around uninstalling Adobe Flash and the version which comes with Ubuntu I found someone else on Ubuntu Forums with a similar problem

Like me they had copied their bookmarks from Firefox in Windows into Ubuntu so as to retain their plug-ins, add-ons and bookmarks, they had also re-installed Flash but to no avail and then took the drastic step of wiping and re-installing Ubuntu, something I was not really prepared to do!

I decided to try an alternative browser, as I’m running Ubuntu I installed Epiphany and had exactly the same experience as Firefox.

After some more digging and established the following:

1. Flash enabled websites do work, I just need to click the play button in the middle of the big grey window!
2. Sites using SWF flash files playback okay.

After reading this post…econds-32861-3 which is related to Windows and Firefox but in this case (same difference) it looked like there is a problem with Flash 9. In my case I have in Firefox Plugins Shockwave Flash 9.0 r999. On two of my PCs where streaming Flash Video works fine i.e. BBC iPlayer and youtube, it is Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22.

The next step was to work out how to change this to Flash 10.0 r22.

I upgraded the Flash plug-in to but it was still showing Flash 9 in Firefox!

Found the following on the Mozilla Knowledge base Really excellent link for trouble shooting Flash problems in Firefox. This confirmed the Flash version 9 bug in the Firefox plugin.

Removed flashplugin-nonfree from firefox with:

sudo apt-get remove flashplugin-nonfree

Flash was still present in Firefox so did the following (as instructed in the link):

If the uninstall don’t work: 1. type about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Find the option plug-in.expose_full_path and change the value to “true” (double-clicking the preference name will toggle the setting). 2. type about:plugins and locate the flash plug-in.

File name: /usr/lib/swfdec-mozilla/
Shockwave Flash 9.0 r999

Remove the plug-in files (both .so and .xpt).

I could only find the .so file so just deleted this file.

Noticed in /etc/alternatives two broken links to the above for mozilla-flashplugin and midbrowser-flashplugin and in /usr/lib/firefox/plugins another broken link for flashplugin-alternative, pointing to /etc/alternatives. As these were just links linking back to the deleted .so file I decided to leave, at least for now!

Restarted Firefox, checked that the flash plugin was still removed and then re-installed the Adobe plug-in (back to the Adobe website) using the Ubuntu 8.04+ deb package via the package manager.

Restarted Firefox.

Checked the plug-ins again and now got:

Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22.

Entering in the address bar about plug-ins showed the following for Shockwave Flash (I decided to leave the full path information exposed, might be useful in the future!)

File name: /usr/lib/adobe-flashplugin/
Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22

All was now looking good, so went to the BBC iplayer website and played a program. It worked, previously Firefox would hang.

Flash was fixed.

I guess that as the problematic plug-in file was outside the Home folder, this problem was not caused by me copying over my Firefox settings folder from Windows.

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