I’ve now got a Core 2 Duo laptop, so I’ve installed a 64-bit build of Ubuntu Linux (actually Xubuntu) for the first time, and I wanted to install the Flash player. Well, that’s not strictly true: I don’t much want it, but there’s no fully functional open alternative. Adobe have finally pulled out their fingers and released a native 64-bit Flash player, but the Ubuntu repositories contain a package that installs the 32-bit version (plus 32-bit libraries plus shims).

I’ve found a few places that explain how to install the native 64-bit plugin manually. I haven’t seen anyone explain how to install it properly, in a way that the package manager will actually track. Here’s how:

First, grab the 64-bit Flash plugin from Adobe (near the bottom of the page). At present, the latest version is; if that’s changed, update the commands below accordingly.


sudo apt-get install curl checkinstall
mkdir flashplugin-nonfree-
cd flashplugin-nonfree-

Because there are three steps, I’ve written a script to wrap them:

curl -O http://po-ru.com/files/install-flash.sh
chmod +x install-flash.sh

The next line will depend on where you downloaded the plugin to:

tar zxvf /path/to/libflashplayer-

Finally, install it:

sudo checkinstall ./install-flash.sh

You can accept checkinstall’s defaults: it should figure out the name and version automatically from the directory name. checkinstall is a magic tool that wraps an installation in a fake root environment, watches what happens, builds a proper .deb package, and installs it. You can extend this technique to any software that you install by hand.

The advantage of this method over just copying is that if you decide that you don’t like it, you can remove Flash in the normal way via apt-get remove, and go back to your system’s original state.