Contrary to popular belief, the Adobe Flash Plugin is still very important for online content, especially in a world where people are using web based subscription services to watch media. It is because of this, most Linux users have switched to Google Chrome. It’s not hard to see why, as Google provides an always up to date flash plugin. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Firefox. Firefox is stuck on the same version of Adobe Flash since 2012, and that won’t change anytime soon. Fortunately, some Firefox fans who very much want to see a modern version of the flash plugin working in their favorite browser have come up with a way to use the Chrome Flash plugin in Firefox. It is done with the “Fresh Player” tool.
Fresh Player wraps up the Chrome Pepper Flash Plugin in such a way that it works like any other plugin in Firefox. Getting it working takes a little tinkering, but once it is up and running, Firefox will stop seeing warnings to “install a modern version of flash” and etc.
Fresh Player doesn’t install like a normal program, as it is a plugin. Ideally, the best way to get it working is to build the latest version from source. To build, you’ll first need to satisfy all of the libraries and programs used to build it. These are known as “dependencies”. Follow the instructions to get these dependencies for your Linux distribution.
Debian and Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install cmake gcc g++ pkg-config ragel libasound2-dev \ libssl-dev libglib2.0-dev libpango1.0-dev libgl1-mesa-dev \ libevent-dev libgtk2.0-dev libxrandr-dev libxrender-dev \ libxcursor-dev libv4l-dev libgles2-mesa-dev libavcodec-dev \ libva-dev libvdpau-dev libdrm-dev libicu-dev
sudo dnf install cmake gcc gcc-c++ pkgconfig ragel alsa-lib-devel openssl-devel \ glib2-devel pango-devel mesa-libGL-devel libevent-devel gtk2-devel \ libXrandr-devel libXrender-devel libXcursor-devel libv4l-devel \ mesa-libGLES-devel ffmpeg-devel libva-devel libvdpau-devel libdrm-devel \ pulseaudio-libs-devel libicu-devel
Sadly, the official Github page for fresh player only outlines the specific dependencies required for Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora. If you’re running something different and want to build the plugin on your system, it may be a good idea to head over to the page and read all the dependencies. Use the names listed for Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu to find the equivalent ones on your operating system. Alternatively, ask the developer directly.
Building Fresh Player From Source
First, clone the latest version of the source code using Git.
Note: make sure that the git package is installed on your PC or you will not be able to build Fresh Player.
git clone https://github.com/i-rinat/freshplayerplugin.git
Using the CD command, move to the cloned Fresh Player folder.
Use the mkdir command to create a new build sub-folder.
mkdir build cd build
Inside the build folder, use Cmake to set build parameters.
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo ..
With Cmake set, use the make command to build the Fresh Player plugin.
Lastly, install the plugin to the system so that Firefox has access to it with the make install command.
sudo make install
Tip: want to install Fresh Player for your use only? Run make install as a generic user, without the sudo or root commands. Doing so will install Fresh Player in ~/.mozilla, rather than the root Firefox directory.
Enabling And Disabling Flash Player
The plugin is built, but before you can use it in Firefox, you’ll need to re-enable NPAPI plugins. This is necessary because in new versions of Firefox these types of plugins are turned off. Start off by opening a new browser tab, and paste in
Accept the warning that Firefox shows when you open up the config page. Then, right-click anywhere (just make sure you’re not actually selecting anything) and select “New” in the right-click menu. Under the “New” section, you’ll need to select the “boolean” option.
In the pop-up window that appears, type,
plugin.load_flash_only and press the enter key. After writing it in, the browser will set it to true. Change it to false by double-clicking on it.
When you’ve added the new boolean string to the browser, restart Firefox. When Firefox loads back up, click the menu, then “add-ons”. Go to “plugins” and see if your browser is loading Fresh Player.
Keep in mind that this plugin may still not load in some cases, as the Fresh Player plugin is essentially a hack. There are many issues to troubleshoot, and your experience may vary. For best results, uninstall Chrome to purge the machine of other Pepper Flash plugins. Alternatively, read the instructions on the Github page, and tweak how you compile it. The developer outlines that you may need to change the location that Cmake installs the plugin when
sudo make install runs.
Lastly, check out the known issues page. The Fresh Player developers have quite a lot of information to help with troubleshooting. They’ve got everything from flash performance issues, to enabling DRM correctly, and etc. The help page is located here.