Google Chrome and Firefox are both excellent web browsers. Firefox has for years been gaining in popularity against the long-standing “champion” Internet Explorer, and lately Chrome’s popularity has exploded. They both offer a huge variety of extensions and plugins and both have users who swear by them.
Of course, many users have both web browsers installed, for a variety of reasons. Some have a favorite plugin for one browser that isn’t available for the other, while it is the sad reality that some websites simply work better in one browser than in all the rest. Sometimes having two browsers installed is a necessity.
One advantage Google Chrome has over Firefox is that it is shipped – thanks to a deal between Adobe and Google – with a Flash plugin already installed. This plugin is updated automatically, which means one less thing for the user to be concerned with. For Ubuntu users wanting to take advantage of this, it’s possible to use the Chrome Flash plugin in Firefox as well. Here’s how.
To begin, assuming you already have Google Chrome, Firefox and Adobe Flash installed, we’ll need to either delete the version of Flash (and the configuration tool installed along with it) installed system-wide, or disable Firefox from using it. This is so that – once we point Firefox at the Google Chrome bundled version of Flash – we don’t see the two plugins conflicting.
To remove Flash entirely, if that’s what you choose to do, first open a Terminal.
If you’re using a newer version of Ubuntu, there is the Adobe Flash Plugin and Adobe Flash Properties (for either GTK or KDE). Typing sudo apt-get remove adobe-flashplugin adobe-flash-properties-gtk will remove Flash and GTK Flash Properties control panel, while using adobe-flash-properties-kde (instead of adobe-flash-properites-gtk) will remove the KDE configuration tool.
Once Flash is uninstalled, we need to point Firefox at the Google Chrome version. The Flash plugin used by Google Chrome is located at /opt/google/chrome/libgcflashplugin.so (no matter which version of Google Chrome you’re using). Firefox, on the other hand, looks inside the folder located at /home/username/.mozilla/plugins/ for the Flash plugin. To link the Google Chrome version to this folder, type sudo ln -s /opt/google/chrome/libgcflashplugin.so /home/username/.mozilla/plugins/ into your Terminal.
Note: in the above command, replace “username” with your own username, as shown.
Depending on what version of Google Chrome you have installed, the Chrome Flash version may be newer than your system-wide installed version. If this is the case, you can simply disable Firefox from using the system-wide Flash (while keeping it available for other programs to use), which will then leave Firefox with the newer version that came bundled with Google Chrome. To do this, open Firefox and go to the Add-ons page, by clicking the Tools menu and chosing Add-ons.
Once there, check to see if there are two versions of Flash mentioned. At the moment, the official version of Flash available is 22.214.171.124, while the version shipping with the latest version of Google Chrome (the unstable development channel), is 11.1.202 – a newer version, in other words.
As you can see, both are available for Firefox to use. To force it to use the newer version from Google Chrome, simply click the Disable button.
And that’s it! From now on, Google Chrome will keep you up-to-date with the newest version of Flash (sometimes even newer than the version available from the Adobe website, not to mention the Ubuntu repositories). In some instances this won’t mean much, although the newer, Chrome-bundled version does seem to be smoother in playing back videos from ESPN or Hulu, but of course this is only anecdotal.