Enable flash and use themes in Google Chrome Linux

Google Chrome is making huge gains in the web browser space. It has done wonders to catch up to all of the competition and, in some ways, has surpassed the competition. The only problem for Linux users is that Chrome has lagged behind a bit. That doesn't mean Linux users can not get their Chrome on in Linux. If you have yet to install Chrome in Linux you can see how to in my article "Install Google Chrome on Linux (and why you should)".

Upon conclusion of that article you will have a very basic installation of Chrome that will browse quite well and fast.

The problem is, however, you won't have flash working, nor will you know how to add themes to your installation. Although themes are not crucial to using Chrome, flash is. Without getting flash working, you won't be able to do things like view YouTube videos.

Update: Flash is still an important technology on the web but things have moved away from plugins on the web towards HTML5 which means that you don't need Flash installed to watch videos on popular sites.

By the end of this article you will be running Google Chrome with flash support enabled and using the available themes.

Before you begin

The first housekeeping task you need to do is make sure you have flash working for Firefox. Most likely you already do. To figure this out open up Firefox and enter "about:plugins" (no quotes) in the address bar and hit enter. When this page appears you should see Shockwave Flash listed somewhere on the page. If you do, Flash is working fine and you are ready to go.

If not you will need to get flash installed. If you are using Ubuntu 9.04 this is simple: Navigate Firefox to a page that requires Flash. When the toolbar popup appears informing you a missing plugin needs to be installed go ahead with that installation. Make sure, however, you install the "official" Flash plugin - not either of the open source versions. After this is installed restart Firefox and check the "about:plugins" page again. Is it there? Good. You're ready to move on to Google Chrome.



The first step is to make sure you have the most recent build of Chrome. As of this writing the most recent built is 4.0.202.2. You can find that out by clicking on the Settings dropdown and selecting "About Google Chrome". Once you know you have the latest build you are ready to go.

Read also:  A look at Desktop Environments: Openbox Window Manager

Adding Flash support

The first thing you need to do is locate the file libflashplayer.so. To do this issue the command:

locate libflashplayer.so

The results of that command should look similar to:

/usr/lib/firefox/plugins/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/iceape/plugins/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/mozilla-firefox/plugins/libflashplayer.so
/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libflashplayer.so

The file you will want to work with is in:

/usr/lib/mozilla-firefox/plugins/

But before you do anything you need to create a plugins directory for Chrome. To do this issue the command:

sudo mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins

Now you need to copy the libflashplayer.so file to the newly created plugins directory with the following command:

cp /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox/plugins/libflashplayer.so /opt/google/chrome/plugins/

The final step is to run Google Chrome with plugins enabled. To do that you start Google Chrome with the following command:

google-chrome --enable-plugins

Now if you enter "about:plugins" (no quotes) in the address bar of Google Chrome, you will see an entry for Shockwave Flash listed.

You might want to change all of your Google Chrome launchers to reflect this command change.

Themes

Themes are simple. All you have to do is navigate to the Google Themes Gallery, select the theme you like, and click the Apply Theme button underneath the theme. After the file has downloaded the theme will change automatically. The only issue I have found with Google Themes on Linux is the Transparent theme will not work properly.

Final thoughts

I will warn you that the Flash plugin will crash a lot. Fortunately, the way Chrome works is that Flash crashing will not bring the browser down.  But so far, Google Chrome has failed to disappoint on any level.

Summary
Article Name
Enable flash and use themes in Google Chrome Linux
Description
Find out how to enable Flash and install themes in the Google Chrome browser on Linux systems.
Author

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Responses to Enable flash and use themes in Google Chrome Linux

  1. David Legg September 3, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Good article. You might want to put an 'sudo' at the front of the line:

    cp /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox/plugins/libflashplayer.so /opt/google/chrome/plugins/

    Either that or tell users to login as root to do it first. Cheers.

    • Tanager March 5, 2010 at 2:02 am #

      Yes, thank you - that was my problem. Needed that sudo command!

  2. Pablo P September 8, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Thanks for the article!

    Minor typo that might get beginners wrong: "--enable-plugins" rather than "–enable-plugins", notice the double dash.

  3. Andrew October 22, 2009 at 8:13 pm #

    Thanks so much! Finally I got flash working in Chrome Linux. I symlinked libflashplayer.so and it didn't work, by copying it, it seems to work 100% and seems ultra stable. Thanks again!

  4. Ilídio Martins November 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    I used the Opera Flash pluggin...

    I copied the following lib:
    /usr/lib/opera/plugins/libflashplayer.so

    cp /usr/lib/opera/plugins/libflashplayer.so /opt/google/chrome/plugins/

    That worked for me!

  5. Hikari December 9, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    A more efficient version:

    # locate libflashplayer.so

    /usr/lib/browser-plugins/libflashplayer.so
    /usr/lib/browser-plugins/npwrapper.libflashplayer.so

    # ln -s /usr/lib/browser-plugins/ /opt/google/chrome/plugins

    # chrome/google-chrome -–enable-plugins

    voila! this has the advantage to keep all of your libraries updated with all of your browsers, saves space, reduce complexity and you get all of the Mozilla plugins installed in the system and not just the flash plugin. I now have vlc, pdf and others enabled btw :) tho, I still have to test them but flash works.

    Cheers!

  6. Krellan December 14, 2009 at 9:13 pm #

    Great advice. However, one change to make: For 64-bit Google Chrome, running on Linux, the default libflashplayer.so download won't do. It's only 32-bit. You have to go to a special download page on Adobe, to get the 64-bit download:

    http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10_64bit.html

    This download contains a fresh new 64-bit libflashplayer.so, that you can drop right into the /opt/google/chrome/plugins directory, that you created earlier.

    Works great!

  7. Al January 23, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    Dude You are awesome!

    Not only did you get my chrome flash going....but my firefox flash too!!!!

    Sweet!

  8. JuL March 9, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    I'm trying to copy the 64bit version of libflashplayer.so into /opt/google/chrome/plugins/libflashplayer.so but I get a "permission denied" error, what should I do ?

  9. Phani March 22, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    google-chrome –enable-plugins
    /usr/bin/google-chrome: /lib64/libz.so.1: no version information available (required by /usr/bin/google-chrome)
    /opt/google/chrome/chrome: /lib64/libz.so.1: no version information available (required by /opt/google/chrome/chrome)
    [5085:5085:4476571780:ERROR:/usr/local/google/b/slave/chrome-official-linux-64/build/src/net/proxy/proxy_config_service_linux.cc(227)] Error requesting gconf directory: Failed to contact configuration server; some possible causes are that you need to enable TCP/IP networking for ORBit, or you have stale NFS locks due to a system crash. See http://projects.gnome.org/gconf/ for information. (Details - 1: Failed to get connection to session: Did not receive a reply. Possible causes include: the remote application did not send a reply, the message bus security policy blocked the reply, the reply timeout expired, or the network connection was broken.)

    This the error message that i'm getting Please help me i am using Fedora 11 as my OS

  10. ray April 18, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    thanks it works, flash is so difficult in Linux

  11. Fred April 23, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    Worked for me also, however a few slight differences.
    1. I had to use the command "locate -i" which is a case-insensitive locate command to find any files.
    2. Instead of finding a variety of files as in the example I found only one which was:
    /usr/lib/adobe-flashplugin/libflashplayer.so
    I followed the rest of the instructions using this file instead of the one listed in the example and it appears to work fine as well. If I have any problems I will return to post.

  12. Mohamed Amir April 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    It just works !!
    THANK YOU

  13. melvyn October 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    flash does not work correctly on my Athlon +2800. Something to do with not having SSE2 I believe. With GNflash some movies work OK but with most I am left with a black movie frame. Tried proper flash but found Iceweasel browser (Yahoo page) quit immediately after showing on screen, Google stayed displayed but flash movie not functioning. Question is will the Chrome embedded flash behave likewise.

  14. PabloniusMonk December 2, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    Many thanks for the post. Using your instructions, (and a wee bit of tweeking) I was able to get flash in Google Chrome working on my Dell Ubuntu.

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