How To Kill Flashviewer in Linux / Firefox Easily

Living With Flash

I use Linux almost exclusively these days. Ubuntu is an excellent desktop operating system, and is easy enough for even non-techies to use. Fortunately, Adobe has released a zero-cost Flash Player for Linux. (I say "zero cost" because it's not free software; Adobe just doesn't charge any money for it.) Unfortunately, it doesn't always work right.

Sometimes Flash locks up and just won't die, even if you close the browser. When this happens, you have to kill the flash process before you restart Firefox. This happens frequently enough that I created a shell alias to do it. Just add:

alias killflash='kill `ps -ef | awk '\''$8 ~ /npviewer.bin/ {print $2}'\''`'

to your .bashrc file and then all you have to do is type "killflash" at a command prompt and the problem is solved. This same technique can be applied to any other buggy program that locks up frequently.

As much as I dislike propriatary technologies and espouse open standards, there are a lot of programmers and web designers who haven't gotten the message. As a result, the web is littered with Flash-based web sites, making Flash an indespensable part of the web browsing experience. This makes living with that necessity a little less painful.