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Using the Flash Plugin with 64-bit Firefox

Since many websites use Flash, often on their homepage or as part of the navigation, it can be difficult to browse the web without the Flash plugin. If you have a 64-bit processor such as the Intel Core2 Duo, you probably installed the 64-bit version of your favorite Linux distribution. This means that you have the 64-bit version of Firefox installed. Some distributions like Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 also install the 32-bit version of Firefox, but you have to know how to start it instead of the 64-bit version if you want to use 32-bit plugins.

Recently, a program called nspluginwrapper has been developed to allow the 64-bit version of Firefox to use 32-bit versions of plugins. This tutorial shows you how to install and configure this program to allow 64-bit Firefox to use the 32-bit version of the Flash plugin. These instructions work on Fedora 7 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. They should work for other distributions with a recent version of Firefox. If you discover additional steps for other distributions, email me and let me know.
Installing nspluginwrapper

Before installing nspluginwrapper, install the 32-bit Flash Player for Linux. Instructions are available in the Installing the Flash Plugin tutorial.

  1. Download the two RPM files for the nspluginwrapper program from its website (link to first RPM, link to second RPM). If the binary RPMs available are not compatible with your version of glibc or gcc, you might need to download the source RPM and recompile it.
  2. Install the RPMs as the root user with the rpm -Uvh nspluginwrapper- nspluginwrapper-i386- command. You will see the following messages as it finds compatible 32-bit plugins:
    Auto-install plugins from /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
    Looking for plugins in /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
    Install plugin /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/
    into /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/
    Auto-install plugins from /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins
    Looking for plugins in /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins
    Auto-install plugins from /root/.mozilla/plugins
    Looking for plugins in /root/.mozilla/plugins
  3. Start Firefox, and type about:plugins as the location. You should now see the Shockwave Flash and NPAPI Plugins Wrapper plugins listed as shown below:
  4. To test the Flash plugin, go to the Adobe Test Page. The Adobe Flash Player example should work. The Adobe Shockwave Player example will not work because that requires a different plugin, which Adobe does not make for Linux.

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