Mozilla Firefox/Google Chrome and Flash on Debian Squeeze 64-bit

Update, 2012-04-24: This procedure updates the Flash player in use by Firefox. Chrome can also pick this up, so this solution appears to work for both browsers.

I recently re-installed Debian Squeeze on my main machine. I’m using the 64-bit version along with 64-bit Chrome.

However, the 64-bit Chrome does not come with a built-in Flash player. Instead, it seems to be finding the plugin by searching the Mozilla plugin folder (/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/), where it finds, which is a symlink to /usr/lib/gnash/, the Gnash flash plugin.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy to see how Gnash is looking, and I’m happy that a free software alternative exists. However, I’m not a FLOSS puritan; I’ll use the best tool for the job which, in my opinion, remains as the official Flash plugin.

So, how to install the Flash plugin?

Adobe says to refer to the browser documentation. Google’s docs mention Flash as being built-in for 32-bit, but I couldn’t find mention of how to install for 64-bit.

Here’s how I did it: since Chrome seems to be using the symlink in the mozilla folder, which is managed by Debian’s “alternatives” system, I installed the plugin and added it as an alternative.

Step 1: Download the plugin from (This procedure explains the .tar.gz installation method; Adobe now offers an Apt-oriented solution as well but I have not tested this.)

Step 2: Install the plugin as follows:

sudo mkdir -pv /opt/flashplugin
cd /opt/flashplugin
sudo tar -xf <path/to/flashplugin.tar.gz>

Step 3: Install the plugin as a alternative:

sudo update-alternatives --install \
    /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ \ \
    /opt/flashplugin/ \

Step 4: Select the Adobe plugin for use as the active plugin:

sudo update-alternatives --set /opt/flashplugin/

That’s it! Flash should now work in both Chrome and Firefox. If it does not work immediately, restart your browser.

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