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

7 thoughts on “Flash alternatives on Linux”

  1. Unfortunately this article does not say how useful these alternatives actually are. How well do they work for Youtube videos. How well do they work for twitvch.tv or ustream

    Pepper Flash is not an alternative, it’s still Adobe’s Flash modified by Google to work with Chrome and as a consequence with Chromium.

    1. > Unfortunately this article does not say how useful these alternatives actually are. How well do they work for Youtube videos. How well do they work for twitvch.tv or ustream

      That was not the intention of the article either. It explains how to install the alternatives and leaves it to the readers to try those out.

      > Pepper Flash is not an alternative, it’s still Adobe’s Flash modified by Google to work with Chrome and as a consequence with Chromium.

      It’s mentioned that Pepper is Adobe Flash bundled within Google. However, thanks to your comment, we have explicitly mentioned now that it’s not an alternative and pulled it to the end.

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