When I installed 12.04 I also added Ubuntu-restricted-extras. I decided to try accessing flash content in Firefox without the Adobe plugin, and I wanted to experiment with streaming video directly with VLC, so I removed flashplugin-installer. I thought everything was still working on YouTube when the first video played flawlessly, but it seems to be hit-and-miss; I'm not sure why some play while the rest give me the "Adobe Flash Player required for video playback" message. Those that do load look better and allow a smoother browsing experience.

My Firefox plugins

Can I get videos to play consistently without the Adobe plugin?


You are probably experiencing YouTube HTML 5 player. Most videos are available in HTML 5 except those that include advertising.

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  • Specifically, it seems only YouTube videos using the WebM (VP8 codec) format are available for me to watch. The majority must use the proprietary h.264 codec. I can add &webm=1 to search urls to only return those using WebM, but it still means most of YouTube is off-limits. – user131976 Feb 14 '13 at 15:34
  • You can use another browser, one that supports h.264 like Chrome or Chromium with a plugin (askubuntu.com/questions/114872/how-can-i-get-h-264-support). – Javier Rivera Feb 14 '13 at 15:52
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    Why did you mention VLC in your question? Was it being used at all? If you weren't using VLC, wouldn't it make sense to remove "and I wanted to experiment with streaming video directly with VLC" from the question? – user25656 Feb 14 '13 at 16:37

Ubuntu is hopeless for playing Adobe flash. It is not Ubuntu's fault but nevertheless it explains why (along with Unity) people are leaving Ubuntu in droves. I play Youtube videos via VLC player - which is a hassle but enables me better to control what is happening AND I can watch in full screen (and before Ubuntu people say anything, I do not see why I should upgrade my PC - it plays DVD and flash perfectly well in Windows XP)

Go to the Youtube page with what you want to watch via VLC (then pause playing)

Then open VLC player (having installed it of course via Software centre)

Media > open network stream

Copy and paste the entire Youtube URL

(for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VATmgtmR5o4)

and press PLAY.

I know VLC may still in some way be using Adobe Flash - all I know is that get stuttering on full screen on firefox and chrome when playing Youtube videos in the browser - I do not with VLC.

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You're most likely experiencing the Youtube HTML5 video player. It would totally rock if all videos would play in HTML5, then everyone could drop Flash and YouTube could be accessed on more platforms much more easily, but unfortunately, we can't at this time.

What you can do is install Gnash. Gnash is a flash player reimplementation that is totally free software (free as in freedom), this was we can avoid the proprietary plugin. It does however come with some issues. You can't play flash games, but it will, after a fashion, play youtube videos.

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