FreeBSD 7.0, Mozilla Firefox and the Adobe Flash Player

Herbert Langhans

This instruction gives an overview how to combine and install the Adobe Flash Player with Mozilla Firefox on a FreeBSD 7.0 workstation.

Information about ports and how to install them you find in the original FreeBSD Handbook, chapter 4, Installing Applications: Packages and Ports.

THIS DOCUMENTATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT IT IS LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS DOCUMENTATION, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

FreeBSD is a registered trademark of the FreeBSD Foundation.

Adobe Flash Player is a registered trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.


Installing the Adobe Flash Player on FreeBSD

1.1. Introduction
1.2. What Versions will work?
1.3. Installation
2.1. The alternative way with swfdec
3.1. Traps
3.2. Compatibility

1.1. Introduction

It is hard to deny that Adobe's Flash Player had become more then an option when you surf the web. Not long ago we found most of the websites just based on html, css and eventually animated gifs. Video clips were just on subpages and most of us didnt really miss the obtrusive advertisment, often displayed on the banners on commercial websites like magazines.

While you can eventually ignore video websites like Youtube you find more and more pages you cannot even access—you have to skip over a Flash intro to enter the website, click through Flash-created menues, click on Flash animated maps where your current location is and other, often annoying tricks.

There were many FreeBSD users who tried to move Adobe to release their Flash Player plugin not only for Mac OSX, Linux and Solaris but simply to compile a BSD binary what we can use on BSD workstations. Not much of a reaction yet..

These instructions here may help you to get around this little inconvienience. There might be some quirks, but you will get along with a FreeBSD Firefox port and the Linux plugin and the nspluginwrapper written by Gwenole Beauchesne.

1.2. What versions will work?

At the moment I can not refer to many combinations. I had sucess with these here:

  • The port of Firefox I use is /usr/ports/www/firefox-devel. This is currenly the version Firefox 3.0a2

  • There is the nspluginwrapper 0.9.91.5

  • The plugin is Adobe Flash Player version 9.0.124.0—the .tar.gz for Linux (x86)

  • And FreeBSD 7.0-i386

Another well working combination was reported from Irwin Villamizar:

  • The port of Firefox is /usr/ports/www/firefox3. Version Firefox 3.0.5

  • nspluginwrapper 1.0.0

  • The plugin Adobe Flash Player version 9.0r124_1 ? the .tar.gz for Linux (x86)

  • FreeBSD 7.1-RELEASE

  • linux_base-fc-4_13

Please send me a short email if you found another working combination:

1.3. Installation

The Adobe Flashplayer plugin is a Linux binary. You have to make sure your BSD System can run these binaries. If you have an existing /usr/compat/linux/ directory then you have already the port for the Linux-userland installed. If not, you have to install it. You have to be root for these steps:

# cd /usr/ports/emulators/linux_base-f4
# make install clean
Also, the file /etc/rc.conf has to contain:
linux_enable="YES"
—use you favorite editor and type it in.

After rebooting the system you have the Linux emulation available.

If you dont have the actual Firefox already on your computer, install /usr/ports/www/firefox-devel, login as root.

# cd /usr/ports/www/firefox-devel
# make install clean
Now install the nspluginwrapper. This program does the trick what will later prepare the Linux version of the Flash Player plugin to run with Firefox on BSD:
# cd /usr/ports/www/nspluginwrapper
# make install clean
The following steps you have to perform as a normal user. All plugins will get locally installed on your /home/username/.mozilla.

Visit Adobe's download site http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash&P2_Platfo rm=Linux

and get the .tar.gz for Linux.

Untar it:

$ tar -xvf install_flash_player_9_linux.tar.gz

Copy this file into the ~/.mozilla/plugins directory:

$ cp ~/install_flash_player_9_linux/libflashplayer.so ~/.mozilla/plugins

and invoke the nspluginwrapper:

$ nspluginwrapper -v -a -i

..check if it had worked:

$ nspluginwrapper -l

it should have created a file like this:

/home/username/.mozilla/plugins/npwrapper.libflashplayer.so

Restart firefox and check the Flash sample on: http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/welcome/

2.1. The alternative way with swfdec

There is another approach, you can simply install the port /usr/posts/www/swfdec-plugin:

# cd /usr/posts/www/swfdec-plugin

# make install clean
It should work out of the box. It is a noncommercial port, an open source project and currently the version 0.8.4. It is reported to work with YouTube as well.

Thanks to Steve Franks for letting us know.

3.1. Traps

If you have ever installed swfdec-plugin then be sure to have it really removed from your Firefox installation before you use nspluginwrapper. The safe way to to this:

$ mv ~/.mozilla ~/.mozilla.backup

and restart Firefox—it will create a new ~/.mozilla directory where you can install the plugins as described above. Your bookmarks reside in ~/.mozilla.backup and all the subdirectories i.e. drcfe9.default contains the themes, cookies, settings, bookmarks and so on. After you test your Flash plugin you just copy these files back, but not the pluginrec.dat or the plugins directory.

3.2. Compatibility

The Linux emulation we use is /usr/ports/emulators/linux_base-f4—it runs on the Linux Kernel 2.4, what is default on the most desktops. The more recent linux_base-f8 uses Kernel 2.6 and has also been tested. You can see your current Linux Kernel Version with:
$ sysctl compat.linux.osrelease

Thank you for this hint, Leslie Jensen!

Robert Jesacher was sucessfully using /usr/ports/emulators/linux_base-fc6-6_5. The kernel version of this port is 2.6.16, so we suppose it works with other 2.6 kernels as well.

Thank you, Robert, for letting us know!

If you were sucessful with other combinations or later versions than mentioned here please send us a short email.


Notes

If you have hints, corrections, updates and further links please contact me by email:



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