When searching through Synaptic for flash player I always see the options to use "flashplugin-installer" or "flashplugin-nonfree" or "adobe-flashplugin". Is there a reason to use one over the other?

I seem to be constantly running into problems with Flash player freezing crashing, mostly because of running too many flash apps at once (pandora/fantasy apps/youtube/etc). Does using one of these over the other have performance benefits? Or am I confusing myself and it doesn't really matter as they're both the same?

  • 2
    Notice that there is also the "adobe-flashplugin" package...
    – Agmenor
    Nov 29, 2010 at 21:44
  • right, I'll add that to the question
    – wajiw
    Nov 29, 2010 at 21:47
  • it usually works for me...if it fails for some reason, you can copy the requisite .so files to appropriate directories.. examples include /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so Nov 29, 2010 at 22:53
  • /usr/lib/flashplugin-installer/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/iceape/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so /usr/lib/libvisual-0.4/morph/morph_flash.so /usr/lib/midbrowser/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so /usr/lib/openoffice/basis3.2/program/libflashli.so /usr/lib/xulrunner/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so /usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins/flashplugin-alternative.so /usr/share/ubufox/plugins/libflashplayer.so Nov 29, 2010 at 22:54
  • 1
    the adobe flash plugin has a gtk based GUI for setting individual website options, very much needed case others wont show options when accising camera and mic , u can fix this with adobeflash-plugin by manually adding that site Jan 3, 2012 at 19:05

2 Answers 2


flashplugin-installer is the 'new' name for flashplugin-nonfree. The aim being to more accurately reflect the contents of the package - the package doesn't contain the actual flash player, only an installer that automatically downloads and installs a copy of the plugin. (The file downloaded is the tarball as provided on the Adobe website, but in this case the file is mirrored on Canonical servers.)

The reasons you still see flashplugin-nonfree in Synaptic is for backwards compatibility. It is a transitional metapackage with no actual content, all it does is depends on and install flashplugin-installer.

So to cut a long story short, there is absolutely no difference between the flashplugin-installer and flashplugin-nonfree packages.

As for the adobe-flashplugin package - this is provided in the Canonical Partners repository. The difference with this package is that it actually contains the non-free flashplugin itself (it's not just an installer). Note that this package is exactly the same file as can be installed by downloading from the Adobe website.

So I'm afraid I can't say definitively whether you'll see any performance difference between the flashplugin-* packages and the adobe-flashplugin - but at the end of the day they are the same plugin so it's very unlikely.

  • 11
    One is just as terrible as the other :) Nov 29, 2010 at 22:26
  • 1
    I need to clarify that the flashplugin-installer postinst script actually downloads the very plugin from archive.canonical.com not the Adobe web site. In other words, the "original" upstream tarball of the plugin is downloaded by the flashplugin-installer package. Nov 30, 2010 at 4:20
  • @Daneil Thanks I've incorporated that into my answer.
    – 8128
    Nov 30, 2010 at 10:59
  • 1
    Thanks for the explanation. This has been something that's been bugging me for years.
    – wajiw
    Dec 1, 2010 at 20:18
  • @8128 a difference with adobe-flashplugin is that it comes with the useful configuration tool "Adobe Flash Player Preferences". I didn't have this tool installed with flashplugin-installer askubuntu.com/questions/15408/…
    – baptx
    Nov 10, 2015 at 16:52

It makes no difference which one you use, flashplugin-nonfree is a transitional package - a sort of alias that is kept when, for example, a package name is changed - to keep backwards compatibility.

These are three options:

  1. The flashplugin-nonfree and flashplugin-installer Install flashplugin-installer package

    • They download the flash plugin from adobe and install it. This is the default.
  2. The adobe-flashplugin Install Adobe Flashplugin package from the partner repositories

    • This version is supported by canonical. It will not be as up-to-date, but more stable. Notice that this is a virtual package. It will download flash, Microsoft fonts and so on. But it doesn't seem to be quite the same as the above. The difference must be tiny though, at the time of writing this, the version numbers differ by only a -2 at the end.
  3. Downloading a Adobe .deb package directly from adobe.

    • I don't really see any value in this one, plus it's not obvious. But if an error message somehow redirects you get.adobe.com/flashplayer you can install it alight. It is the same version as the one in the partner repository.

My thanks to jorge castro and fluteflute.


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