I have tried following http://wiki.debian.org/FlashPlayer but on the very first command:

sudo aptitude install flashplugin-nonfree

I get:

oshirowanen@debian:~$ sudo aptitude install flashplugin-nonfree
[sudo] password for oshirowanen: 
No candidate version found for flashplugin-nonfree
No candidate version found for flashplugin-nonfree
No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.
0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B of archives. After unpacking 0 B will be used.                              

No idea what I'm doing wrong.

1 Answer 1


Check your settings in /etc/apt/sources.list.

If this is a fresh install, most likely you don't have the contrib and non-free portions enabled yet. Look for the line that says

deb http://ftp.XX.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main

and change it to

deb http://ftp.XX.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free

then run apt-get update and try again. It should be there as flashplugin-nonfree.

Adobe's Flash plugin, while freely downloadable, doesn't meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) which define "free" as "open source", so debian has created a downloader package in the contrib section which can then download and install the flash player.

  • Actually, some open source software is considered non-free by Debian. I think pico/pine fall into that category, for example (partially hence nano) because at least historically, while the source code was available and free to edit, modified versions could not be distributed freely.
    – user
    Apr 8, 2013 at 14:17
  • @MichaelKjörling "open source" means more than you can look at the source code. E.g., if you're willing to jump through enough hoops, you can look at the source code of Windows but no one in their right mind would call Windows open source. That said, yes, there are edge cases which people disagree if they're free software or open source.
    – derobert
    Apr 8, 2013 at 16:34
  • 1
    pico and pine have very stringent licensing requirements that demand that any repackaging in binary form must be a "proper" compilation of the original source, without any kind of patches or modifications to installation directories. Its author is kind of a prima donna that way; debian is one of the few distros that actually took him at his word and responded by recategorizing it as non-free. You download the source plus debian patches and run an automated compile/install script. Apr 8, 2013 at 17:23
  • 1
    @derobert In the context of this answer, what matters is the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG). For example, about pico/pine, DFSG point 3 says "The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.". See also what DFSG licenses: the MIT license or DFSG and Software License FAQ (Draft) point 4 has to say about pine.
    – user
    Apr 9, 2013 at 8:11
  • @MichaelKjörling Yep, for Debian, DFSG is what matters (and take a look at the authors of that FAQ in Q40). But distributing modified versions matters for "open source" as well. The open source definition was based largely on the DFSG after all.
    – derobert
    Apr 9, 2013 at 14:58

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