A Pain (Flash) in the Neck

Posted on Sunday 1 February 2009

In between being tied up with babysitting my grandsons and fighting off flu bugs I have been battling a rather nasty problem that I have been having with playing anything associated with using Flash on Firefox 3 on Ubuntu 8.04.

And FINALLY, just now, I found the fix that worked. It’s the little things like this that give Linux a bad name  ( and unfortunately still make it not ready for the masses! )

Ever since I moved to Linux full time, I have been having a problem getting Flash ( a pervasive type of multimedia programming language or file type that is spread all over the Internet – used mainly for watching Videos ) from consistently working properly. This was most common or prevalent when logged into Yahoo and You-Tube.

Almost at random boxes and windows would appear as a grayed out box with an arrow in it ( looking something like large a large ugly play button. ) Sometimes when I clicked on it, the video would play, and other times it would not!

I have been searching high and low to find the problem, and  tried every recommended solution discussed, all to ( naturally ) no avail. Installing some software, uninstalling others, nothing seemed to work. Till I came across this helpful set of postings on Ubuntu’s own forum (which I have checked innumerable times before I might add. )

Now admittedly I have tried a bunch of things, and some things may have affected others, but the bottom line is these steps worked! The culprit, it appears is, a wonderful little set of Ubuntu libraries associated with swfdec  ( which is of course – the decoder or renderer for Flash Animations! )

I am hoping that this article will hopefully help to get the information out on wider distribution as ( having already found hundreds of other people trying to fix this ) there are a LOT of people having problems with this!

Here is the solution that worked for me:

  1. Open up a terminal and type  sudo synaptic and enter your administrators password
  2. Click on the Search Icon on the top right hand corner
  3. In the search window type swfdec and search for all instances
  4. Click on any boxes that are grayed when you get results
  5. When prompted select complete removal and action accordingly
  6. When that is complete again click on the Search Icon
  7. In the search window type flashplugin-nonfree and search for that instance
  8. If the box is grayed out already – GREAT. If not click on it to install and click Apply
  9. After installation, click on the X in the corner to exit Aptitude

It’s always simple when you know the answer – but getting there is another thing completely!

Good luck…

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