Flash alternatives on Linux

flash_compYou might have come across the fact that Adobe Flash (SWF) has a history with security issues. Development for Linux Flash version has ceased. Users are looking for alternatives. Youtube has made HTML5 the default for playing hosted videos. A Linux user on Reddit looking for alternatives prompted us to come up with a list of Flash alternatives on Linux. Let’s dive into the list without much ado.

  • Gnash
    Gnash is a flash (SWF) player and plugin for Firefox and Konqueror. Gnash supports most NPAPI or WebKit compliant browsers. The counterpart for KDE is Klash. To install Gnash on Ubuntu, run:

    $ sudo apt-get install browser-plugin-gnash
  • Shumway
    Shumway is a Mozilla project that intends to replace Flash on Linux. It is an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building a faithful and efficient renderer for the SWF file format without native code assistance. It is a highly configurable extension. Download the extension for Firefox here.
  • Lightspark
    Lightspark is an LGPLv3 licensed Flash player and browser plugin written in C++/C that runs on Linux. It aims to support Adobe’s newer Flash formats and AVM2 virtual machine. It is still under early development phase and is in the process of adding support for websites. Lightspark is not available as an extensions or package yet and has to be compiled from source to try it out.
  • Stream videos locally
    If you are looking for options to stream web hosted videos locally, try SMTube. Livestreamer is another cmdline python utility that plays web hosted videos from several websites locally. To install Livestreamer on Ubuntu, run:

    $ sudo pip install livestreamer
  • Pepper (not an alternative)
    Pepper Flash came from Google in a form of cross-platform PPAPI plugin bundled with the Chrome browser. It is Adobe Flash bundled within Google Chrome. Note that it doesn’t work with Firefox as it is. Ubuntu has a package to extract Pepper Flash from the latest Chrome browser and install in system-wide. To install pepper on Ubuntu, run:

    $ sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree

    A related alternative is the Fresh Player Plugin which is a PPAPI-host NPAPI-plugin adapter. This player gets PPAPI (Pepper) Flash player working in Firefox. To install Fresh Player Plugin on Ubuntu, run:

    $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install freshplayerplugin

Get rid of adobe flash plugin

flash_compThe Adobe Flash Plugin is a shared library used by web browsers to render embedded flash video, say on YouTube. The plugin has a notorious reputation for having security flaws and is quite bulky too. This article explains ways on Firefox and Google Chrome to set HTML5 as default for YouTube videos or to fallback to flash in case HTML5 is unsupported by a particular video.

  • Firefox and Google Chrome
    Open this URL and click on the “Request the HTML5 Player” button to set HTML5 as default. This is a per-browser setting so you need to do it on each browser if you have both of them installed.
  • Google Chrome only
    Google Chrome comes with its in-built Flash extension PepperFlash. To enable it type in about:plugins in the address bar and go to the Adobe Flash Player section. Enable PepperFish and disable the system Flash library if it is installed.

You can now go ahead and remove the Adobe Flash Plugin from your system.