Make Webex work in Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit

Today I wanted to attend a webinar put together by the people in The European IPR Helpdesk about Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Rights. I plan to attend many others during the following weeks, because the topics are very interesting for companies exploring EU R&D funding programmes such as FP7. Here is the list of webinars for the first quarter of the year, have a look.

Igalia is currently involved in two FP7 project proposals submitted to the EC for evaluation and we plan to make part of a few more consortia for R&D projects soon. We are also looking for ways to start our own projects and get them accepted in national programmes and smaller European opportunities. We recently hired specialised staff and we seize training opportunities such as these IPR Helpdesk seminars.

The only drawback is that they are using Webex for these webinars. Webex is a solution for meetings that integrates chat, VoIP, VideoConferencing and desktop sharing. It is made by Cisco and it is not open source. There are some open source alternatives to Webex, like OpenMeetings and BigBlueButton, but they are not as popular.

Anyway, I was forced to use Webex and tried to enter the webinar only to find out that although I could join the event and chat to the host, I could not see the desktop that the speaker was sharing nor hear anything. I was stuck before the following error message:

“The Audio Device is Unaccessible Now”

After searching a bit on the web, I found dozens of posts and bug reports regarding this issue in different combinations of Ubuntu/Java/Firefox setups. None of them worked until I found this comment by someone called Steve on a blog post about making Webex work in Ubuntu 9.10 64 bit. The root of all problems is that Webex does not officially support 64 bit Linux. So part of the solution is having two separate Firefox/Java setups in your machine, one 64 bit and one 32 bit to use for Webex sessions. Even better, you can use Swiftfox for Webex and keep Firefox for your daily normal use.

Attending a webinar with Webex

So this is what I did:

  1. Install Swiftfox 32 bits
  2. Instal Java 32 bits
    • Go to http://www.java.com/
    • Download the self extracting file. The one that I got is: jre-6u31-linux-i586.bin
    • Grant execution permission for the file: chmod +x jre-6u31-linux-i586.bin
    • Execute it: sudo ./sh jre-6u31-linux-i586.bin
    • It will self-extract to a directory called: jre1.6.0_31
    • Copy that directory to an appropriate location, your home dir for example: cp  jre1.6.0_31 $HOME
  3. Make Swiftfox use the files in $HOME/jre1.6.0_31/
    • Go to /usr/lib/swiftfox/plugins/ and remove the following files if they exist: libjavaplugin_oji.so, libjavaplugin.so and libnpjp2.so
    • Create the following links to the matching files in $HOME/jre1.6.0_31/

With ln -s link_name $HOME/jre1.6.0_31/target_name:
libjavaplugin_oji.so -> /home/teo/jre1.6.0_31/plugin/i386/ns7-gcc29/libjavaplugin_oji.so
libjavaplugin.so -> /home/teo/jre1.6.0_31/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so
libnpjp2.so -> /home/teo/jre1.6.0_31/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so

Now you should have a Swiftfox/Java 32 bit setup (besides your normal Firefox 64 setup) that you can use to join Webex events. You can try that your setup by joining this test meeting. Be careful to actually launch Swiftfox when you need it and not just a new Firefox window, run it from the terminal with this command to make sure, as explained here:

swiftfox -P -no-remote

25 Comments

  • Kenny Schiff
    April 3, 2012 - 3:08 am | Permalink

    You are a lifesaver… not sure if my webcam will work this way, but audio definitely does work. Thanks for the clear instructions… really helpful. I stumbled through the symbolic link thing, but after a bit of trial and error I figured it out.

  • Kenny Schiff
    April 4, 2012 - 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Teo, do you have video working in your setup? Audio works using your method, but not video. Wonder if I’m doing something incorrect.

  • Pablo
    April 7, 2012 - 1:19 am | Permalink

    Hi Teo, Have you made the camera to work in Ubuntu? The audio works by using Swiftfox 32bits but not cam 🙁

    I’ll appreciate any help you can give us.
    Regards,

  • April 30, 2012 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    When I installed Quickfox, /usr/lib/swiftfox/plugins/ was a symlink to Firefox’s plugins directory. Flash wasn’t working in Quickfox, and its required for webex.

    I removed the plugins symlink and gave swiftfox its own plugins dir, and followed your directions from there. Flash is still not working for swiftfox (but it’s fine in Firefox – they are both pointing to the same flash plugin). My plugins dir for swiftfox looks like this:

    flashplugin-alternative.so -> /etc/alternatives/mozilla-flashplugin
    libjavaplugin_oji.so -> /home/toppa/bin/jre1.6.0_31/plugin/i386/ns7-gcc29/libjavaplugin_oji.so
    libjavaplugin.so -> /home/toppa/bin/jre1.6.0_31/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so
    libnpjp2.so -> /home/toppa/bin/jre1.6.0_31/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so

    My Firefox is version 12, I have the Adobe Flash Plugin installed, and I’m on Ubuntu 11.10, 64 bit.

    When I try webex in Swiftfox, I no longer get the “device unaccessible” error, and my microphone works (people can hear me), but I get no audio. When I go to verify my media players on the webex site, all 3 fail in Swiftfox (flash, windows media player, and quicktime). In Firefox, all 3 pass (but of course I get the “device unaccessible error”…).

    Any advise is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mike T

  • yiping
    May 2, 2012 - 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the post, but it did not work for me due to missing 32 bit shared libs.

    There are no instructions about installing missing 32 bit libraries in th epost and how did you resolve them ?

    • bazza030
      May 29, 2012 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

      I have the same problem.. I downloaded jre1.6.0_32 from the oracle site and the bin file misses the libnpjp2.so file. Did anyone find a workaround for this?

      cheers,
      Sebastian

      • bazza030
        May 29, 2012 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

        ok, my bad. I did not realize the libnpjp2.so file is located in the lib directory instead of plugin.. However, even with the correct links in place it does not work for me :/

  • May 7, 2012 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Gracias, por fin puedo usar el puñetero webex sin depender de una máquina virtual con Windows! Ya podría soportar la versión de 64 bits de Linux que hace años que la usamos…

  • Pooria
    June 12, 2012 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    I got this error while linking:
    failed to create symbolic link `jre1.6.0_32/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so’: File exists
    for the 3 links.
    I use ubuntu 12.4.

    • August 10, 2012 - 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Are you doing the linking while in the /usr/lib/swiftfox/plugins/ directory? That’s where you should be doing the linking.

  • Teo
    July 4, 2012 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys, I’m sorry I did not answer your questions before. I didn’t have much time to devote to this site lately. However, I never had to use this thing again so I don’t think I would be able to track down new problems.

  • erny
    July 30, 2012 - 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot. Works like a charm.

  • August 8, 2012 - 1:48 am | Permalink

    Haha “unaccessible” isn’t even a word; “inaccessible” is.
    Thanks for the excellent post. ☺

    • August 10, 2012 - 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Also, does that test room allow testing audio? I don’t think it does…

  • August 28, 2012 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Well, I tried your solution with the recent Java (v. 1.7), but it didn’t work, neither the 32-bit nor the 64-bit versions. (In fact Java 1.7 causes WedEx to have even more problems.) I also tried OpenJRE with Iced Tea in Firefox (both 32- and 64-bit version) but to no avail. This audio issue must be something else.

  • August 29, 2012 - 2:41 am | Permalink

    Actually, rather than using SwiftFox, it’s much easier to use nspluginwrapper, described here.

  • mei
    January 11, 2013 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Thank you !

  • mei
    January 11, 2013 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, it didn’t worked for me, the 32-bit switfox needed 32-bit shared libs like in /lib/ld-linux.so.2. But my system only has it in /lib64/, and shouldn’t the 32-bit ELF need to use a 32-bit libc to run ?

  • March 1, 2013 - 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    I’m on Ubuntu 12.10 I tried the steps mentioned, but I got an error saying Java is NOT working.

    I run it as: swiftfox -P -no-remote

    And this is an error that appears:

    LoadPlugin: failed to initialize shared library /usr/lib/flashplugin-installer/libflashplayer.so [/usr/lib/flashplugin-installer/libflashplayer.so: wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64

    This is my linux:

    Linux soad-UX32VD 3.5.2-030502-generic #201208151151 SMP Wed Aug 15 15:52:12 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

    What could it be?

    Thanks!

    • Teo
      March 3, 2013 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Jose, I am not using Webex any more… so I can’t help you. Hope someone else will.

  • Haris
    March 8, 2013 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

    It is working with Ubuntu 12.10 64b.
    This instructions are copied to webex site: https://support.webex.com/MyAccountWeb/knowledgeBase.do?articleId=WBX47298
    swiftfox_3.6.13-1_prescott.deb is not available on swiftfox website. I found it on mirror site: http://debian.sumy.volia.net/repo/swiftfox/dists/unstable/non-free/binary-i386/swiftfox_3.6.13-1_prescott.deb
    WebEx will work only with Java 6. Latest version is jre-6u43-linux-i586.bin
    After creation of all three symlinks, start swiftfox and enjoy… 🙂

    @Jose: ignore this error, as it is related to flash plugin. Check symlinks for libnpjp2.so libjavaplugin.so and libjavaplugin_oji.so
    Here are mine symlinks:
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 67 Mar 8 14:12 libjavaplugin_oji.so -> /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_43/plugin/i386/ns7-gcc29/libjavaplugin_oji.so
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 45 Mar 8 14:12 libjavaplugin.so -> /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_43/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 45 Mar 8 14:12 libnpjp2.so -> /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_43/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so
    Obviously, I have moved Java into /usr/lib/jvm

  • March 26, 2013 - 4:58 am | Permalink

    There is a way to make webex work on 64bit system without installing separate 32 bit swiftfox and 32 bit java.

    See this post for details

    http://www.emsperformance.net/2013/03/25/making-webex-work-on-64bit-fedora-core-18/

    And method described in the above post can also be applied to 32 bit systems to find those missing packages that prevent webex from working properly.

  • raul seco
    April 16, 2013 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    No me aparecen los archivos que dices en las páginas que indicas.

    A mi me funciona el audio en firefox, pero no el video. Puedo ver y oir, pero los otros solo me pueden oir.

  • September 16, 2013 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! You saved me lots of hours.

  • April 19, 2017 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Non-specific Information Here this outcome

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