Mad, Beautiful Ideas
Flash on 64-bit Linux

Flash has always been one of those necessary evils of the 'net. Early on, it was far more evil, as we'd have tons of websites built entirely on flash, which were enormous in the days of 56k. Not that you don't still see a lot of Flash, and pretty shitty Flash, but these days, Flash is mostly used in places where it really adds something, like video playback, or certain types of applications.

When Flash finally came to Linux, it was a really big deal for those of us who were using the platform as our only OS. Finally, there was nary a site on the 'net that was inaccessible on our platform of choice. However, for me (and some others) the joy was fairly short lived. 64-bit processors were just around the corner, and with them 64-bit Linuxes.

Now, there is probably no good reason for me to want or use a 64-bit Linux, at least not until I get that 8 GiB of RAM I've been eying, but that's starting to change (this seems to be driven largely by Microsoft finally starting to push 64-bit more seriously with Windows). Ubuntu has been really good to me, as far as running 64-bit, but Flash was always a problem.

See, Ubuntu insisted on including a 64-bit build of Firefox, but no 32-bit build. And you couldn't load a 32-bit plugin into the 64-bit build. Enter nspluginwrapper, a project which allowed the loading of 32-bit code into that 64-bit image. Unfortunately, it was flaky, and didn't work very well. YouTube would often crash my browser, sometimes the Flash simply wouldn't appear.

So, you'll imagine my surprise (and glee) when I read on Steven Harms' blog that 64-bit Builds of Flash for Linux were available. Not only that, but Flash player 10, which means the Linux version (finally) hit almost the same time as Mac/Windows.

Installation is simple, just make sure the 32-bit version isn't installed, and drop the contents of the tarball from Adobe into /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins. You might have to restart Firefox, but I didn't, and it just worked. Thank You Adobe.

Finally, I can go back to watching videos of funny cats.