Flash Video Running Slow in Ubuntu

This blog post provides tips for trying to solve the problem of Flash video running slow in Ubuntu (Linux).

It isn’t unusual for flash video to run slow or for frames to jump, when being run on Ubuntu, especially the newer editions such as 11.04 and 11.10. This problem usually occurs on slower systems, but just because you could be using older hardware, doesn’t mean you have to put up with this problem. This article provides you with useful tips for improving your flash performance.

Tip 1 – Proprietary graphic drivers

It isn’t unusual to discover you are running basic vesa drivers, whereas drivers for your graphics card could be available. As with Microsoft Windows computers, running ‘generic’ drivers could mean reduced features and performance, the same applies for the linux world.

Ubuntu Proprietary Graphic Drivers

If using Ubuntu 11.10 from the ‘System Settings’ icon you will want to click on ‘Additional Drivers’ under the ‘Hardware’ heading. Now the system will check whether there are any additional drivers available. If there are, it is probably worth installing them and then rebooting your computer.

Tip 2 – Xfce or Xubuntu

Ubuntu 11.10 runs the Unity interface and earlier versions ran Gnome. However there is the Xfce environment that is less hardware intensive you can run instead. It does mean you will have a completely different gui experience, but it also could mean your flash videos no longer have issues, or at the very least run smoother than they used to. Xfce can be installed in Ubuntu 11.10 either via the ‘Ubuntu Software Centre’, else via a terminal sessions. To install via a terminal session you can do the following:

  1. Click on the ‘Dash Home’ icon from the icons in your dock.
  2. Type terminal and press enter to run a terminal session.
  3. Type sudo apt-get update.
  4. Type sudo apt-get install xfce4 and follow the instructions.

Note: If it doesn’t find a xfce4 you might have to change the repository from a country specific to ‘main’, via the Ubuntu Software Centre.

You can go even further and install Xubuntu, which utilises Xfce amongst other changes aimed at lower performance computer systems. Xubuntu is a great linux distribution and great for slower computers such as 750Mhz systems.

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