flashplugin-installer vs. flashplugin-nonfree vs. adobe-flashplugin

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?

Asked By: wajiw


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

    • 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.

Answered By: Stefano Palazzo

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.

Answered By: 8128
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