64bit Java / Flash Deathroll

I think Linux users can safely agree that Flash and Java make web usage into a battle ground. Many of us choose to blame the issue on the distribution we use. When we favor our distribution too much we'll point fingers at Sun or Adobe. If we use the FOSS versions we'll point fingers at the respective maintainers.

The sad truth is that I'm writing this not really knowing where the blame lies. However, I'm not sure that it even matters. I don't care whose fault it is, I just want it to work.

How can we fix this plaguing problem? For starters, I think we need to get back to our roots. Rather than rely on the repositories, lets roll back to pulling the vanilla packages. For me, this worked like absolute perfection.

Note that I'm using 64bit and this is where most issues are. Following this with 32bit is nearly the exact same except for the obvious changes.

To get ‘vanilla' 64bit java:

Download 64bit java tarball from http://www.java.com/.

As Root:

# Remove old java
aptitude purge sun-java6-jdk sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin
# Create the directory
mkdir -p /opt/java/66
# Move the downloaded package to the new directory
mv ~/jre-6u17-linux-x64.bin /opt/java/64
# Make the file executable
chmod +x ~/jre-6u17-linux-x64.bin
# Execute the binary file / Unpacks java
Do you agree to the above license terms? [yes or no] yes
# Install the java option
update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/java" "java" "/opt/java/64/jre1.6.0_17/bin/java" 1
# Set the Java option
update-alternatives --set java /opt/java/64/jre1.6.0_17/bin/java

As User:

# Create the plugins directory if it doesn't exist
mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins
# Force the creation of a symbolic link to the installed java
ln -sf /opt/java/64/jre1.6.0_17/lib/amd64/libnpjp2.so ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Now you need to get flash working:

Download the latest flash player from http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10_64bit.html

As root:

# Remove old flash
aptitude purge flashplugin-nonfree flashplugin-installer
rm -f /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/*flash*
rm -f ~/.mozilla/plugins/*flash*
rm -f /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/*flash*
rm -f /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/*flash*
rm -rfd /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper

As User:

# Unpack flash
tar zxf libflashplayer-
# Create plugins directory if it doesn't exist
mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins
# Move flash to plugins directory
mv libflashplayer.so ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Now to test that it works...

NOW! What does this mean? It sure doesn't prove that Adobe or Sun are against Linux. I really don't think we suspected Sun of that. It could possibly prove that our distributions aren't keeping up on these issues. Considering the vast number of distributions with the issue, I don't think that's really the case either. I would point fingers at those that maintain the packages but I know some of them personally and I can guarantee flash/java are important to them.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a whole massive list of suspects. Each and every package installed on a system could be causing part of the problem. GTK+ update caused many issues and I can see that being part of the existing issue. However, I doubt it's the only reason.

Thousands of bugs have been created in the issue queues among the bug trackers for many distributions as well as many different packages.

I have no doubt the issue will be resolved at some point. Adobe and Sun have proven to be taking an active role in this support. It's just up to us to track down and destroy the remainder of issues. Our big up side is that the companies aren't against our success. As opposed to multimedia companies because of that dang DRM crap that they worship…