Adobe Flash

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  For the general public
This page is part of the XO Support FAQ.     Support Index | Print This Page

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This page describes third-party software that does not meet the OLPC standards for software freedom. The use of such software is unsupported; OLPC does not endorse or encourage its use.

Adobe Flash is a Restricted Format. A free software player Gnash comes with each XO laptop, but does not work with all web pages, because not all web sites have taken care to make sure that Gnash works.

Adobe Flash Player is a proprietary player for Adobe Flash media. Adobe Flash Player plays a larger variety of Flash media than Gnash, but has license restrictions that prevent easy distribution. More information on Adobe Flash Player can be found on the Adobe Flash Player web site.


Adobe Flash Player can be added during build, for some laptop models, subject to permission from Adobe. Adding during build is the method supported by OLPC, because it works with our operating system olpc-update feature.

Adobe Flash Player is not included in OLPC OS, because of the restrictions on redistribution. But it can be added after install. Such changes are lost on olpc-update.

Both Adobe and OLPC provide an Adobe Flash Player plugin, depending on the model of laptop:

XO-1 Adobe do not provide a compatible player.
See technical details.
XO-1.5 Adobe provide a player,
follow the instructions for XO-1.5,
XO-1.75 OLPC provide a player,
please negotiate with OLPC regarding the payment of Marvell license fees for video drivers, then
follow the instructions for XO-1.75,
XO-4 OLPC provide a player,
follow the instructions for XO-4,
because OLPC has paid the Marvell license fees.

Checking Version

To check which version is installed, visit the Adobe Flash Browser Version Test.

Installation on XO-1.75 and XO-4

OLPC support will provide a file at the same time as providing access to the video drivers.

sudo cp /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/
sudo yum -y install nspluginwrapper && \
sudo rm -f /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/nswrapper*.so && \
sudo /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/npconfig -n \
    -p nswrapper_32_32 \
    -d /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins-wrapped \
    -i /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ && \
sudo yum remove -y gnash gnash-plugin && \
sudo chmod a-x /usr/bin/mozilla-plugin-config 
  • start Browse and check version,
  • for the first video played, raise the volume in the playback window.

Installation on XO-1.5

  • use My Settings and About my Computer to check what release of OLPC OS you are using,
  • connect the XO laptop to the internet,
  • stop Browse,
  • start the Terminal Activity,
  • check the clock shows the correct date,
  • download and install the plugin, paste this:
wget && \
sudo rpm -U flash-plugin-*.rpm
  • (our link to the Adobe Flash Player is occasionally broken by Adobe when a new release occurs, to find the current one go to and complete the prompts.)
  • wait for the above to complete, it may take a few minutes before the terminal prompt reappears,
  • wrap the plugin and remove gnash, paste this compound command:
sudo yum -y install nspluginwrapper && \
sudo /usr/lib/nspluginwrapper/npconfig -n \
    -p nswrapper_32_32 \
    -d /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins-wrapped \
    -i /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ && \
sudo yum remove -y gnash gnash-plugin && \
sudo chmod a-x /usr/bin/mozilla-plugin-config 


To update to a later plugin, repeat the steps above. This must be done after any olpc-update.

Test Cases

Local Flash Media

See hints on how to disable security questions popping up when using local content.

Click to Play

On OLPC OS prior to 13.2.0<ref>the exact version that fixed the click to play is unknown, but it was probably between 11.3.1 and 13.2.0</ref>, Flash media is not played immediately; click on the media to start playing. You can upgrade the version of Browse or the OLPC OS version to fix this.

Issues with Adobe Flash

See the main article on issues with Adobe Flash.



Developer Discussions

The contents of this page are considered outdated and some of the information may be stale. Please use information here with caution, or update it.

Flash-heavy Sites

Note that media-rich and script-heavy Flash media can be very taxing on the CPU and may perform poorly.

The XO Browse Activity is loaded with Gnash, a Free and Open Source Software that was compatible with Flash 8. A number of sites, however, require at least Adobe Flash version 9 and higher running the newer Actionscript Virtual Machine 2 (AVM2) and Actionscript 3.0 code.

To successfully access sites that require Adobe Flash 9 and above:

  1. Close all Activities
  2. Ensure that the XO is connected to the internet
  3. Install Adobe Flash, and follow the advanced instructions to disable Click to Play
  4. optional: Disable Gnash
  5. Reboot the XO
  • Please note that a lot of websites such as popular children's sites (Flash 9+ required) and are generally geared towards systems that have a lot of free disk space for browser cache files. The XO only has a total storage of 1GB so be aware that successive use of these sites may quickly fill up your free storage.
  • Also note that the Browse and Firefox activities zoom-in pages by default to improve readability. Because of this, Flash applets are artificially scaled up above native resolution and the CPU is taxed even more because more pixels have to be rendered by Flash. Zooming out or using a browser that runs at native resolution like Opera will improve performance.
  • Additional performance increase at the sacrifice of visual quality may be gained by running Flash in low-quality mode. This may be achieved by right-clicking on the flash applet to access the context menu, then selecting QUALITY -> Low. Note that a lot of Flash applets disable the right-click context menu.

A forum thread at the following URL documents a workaround that will start the Adobe Flash plugin in low-quality mode by default: note that the guide was written with Flash 9 in mind and has been documented to crash the browser on Flash 10:

Flash Video

Installing the latest version of Adobe Flash will allow users to run sites like and and play Flash Video. Note however that decoding video is a CPU-intensive activity. Due to the XO's limited CPU, Flash Video will play at very low framerates. Sound in general will play at full speed. Running Flash in low-quality mode (detailed in the previous section) may improve Flash Video performance.

Flash 3D

3D in Flash is achieved via software rendering and is not hardware accelerated. Because of this, 3D in Flash is very CPU and memory-intensive, and the XO's limited 433MHz CPU and 256MB RAM may not be able to cope.

Visiting sites that use Flash 3D engines such as, the demo pages of and may freeze the browser *AND* the entire machine thus requiring a reboot.

Because of this, avoid visiting sites which make use of 3D in Flash.

Webcam Support

Support for the XO's built-in camera seems to be problematic.

In both the Browse Activity and Opera browser:

  • Browsing Flash apps that use the webcam will turn on the indicator light above the webcam
  • Flash 9 shows just a black screen
  • Flash 10 shows red and green static which reacts to motion. This means the camera is working, but isn't talking quite correctly with Flash.
  • Tested on Update.1 711

More information may be found here: