How to get WebEx running on an Ubuntu smoothly

Being 2016, there are a lot of ways to get on a video link between people.

While Skype, Viber, Whatsup or anything else can open a video connection and can be used between friends, in business world the options are a little bit more limited.

One of the option that is on par with the time is google hangout, and if your company has google apps, you can set up nice meeting, directly attached to your calendar invitation. It’s awesome and I like it a lot. My choice.

However, in biz space old habits are hard to die, therefore people stick to things like gotomeeting, which is not too bad, or the worse thing ever supported on Linux, WebEx.

To run the WebEx on Linux is a nightmare, to put it mildly. The WebEx is a java application, but they made sure that you can only run the 32 bit, and you can launch the applet only using a Firefox 32 bit installation. As I said, they may have their own reasons, but honestly I don’t really get it, and I think it is super crazy.

After battling with it for at least 4 hours, I found a reproducible way to get it going.

Here are the steps:

1) Install Firefox an 32 bit and some libraries for nice appearance.

sudo apt-get install firefox:i386 libcanberra-gtk-module:i386 gtk2-engines-murrine:i386 libxtst6:i386

2) Download the jre from oracle:

This is the link where you can pick the jre. Get the tar package, not the rpm http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre8-downloads-2133155.html

3) Create a dedicated dir and untar it there

mkdir ~/32bit
cd ~/32bit
tar xvf ~/Downloads/jre-8u73-linux-i586.tar.gz

4) Add the plugin to firefox

mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins

5) Link the plugin

ln -vs ~/32bit/jre1.8.0_73/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Now you are all set!

In my test I was able to share the screen, to use the audio from the computer, and everything was working ok.

Good luck, and honestly, if you can, avoid WebEx.

23 Comments

  1. doesnt work here, ubuntu 16.04

    • Hi there,
      I remember I had to fight to get it going again on the Ubuntu 16.04, but I’ve tested right now and it’s working.

      One tip: Make sure that, when you load firefox, the Java that is picked up is the 32 bit and not the 64.

      Basically at the end I’ve resolved to link the `libnpjp2.so` from the downloaded JVM to the browser plugin folder of the local firefox, which means:

      `ln -sv /home/mattions/32bit/jre1.8.0_91/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so /home/mattions/32bit/firefox/browser/plugins/libnpjp2.so`

      • Hi I tried your solution but it does not work for ubuntu 16. Can you please explain your following step –

        ========================
        Basically at the end I’ve resolved to link the `libnpjp2.so` from the downloaded JVM to the browser plugin folder of the local firefox, which means:

        `ln -sv /home/mattions/32bit/jre1.8.0_91/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so /home/mattions/32bit/firefox/browser/plugins/libnpjp2.so`
        ====================

        from where are you getting this folder – /home/mattions/32bit/firefox/browser/plugins/libnpjp2.so

        I do not see firefox under 32bit folder.

        • so `/home/mattions` is just the path to my home, so for you is gonna be different, according to your username.

          The `32bit` directory is the one you have created, so from that part onward it should be basically the same path.

          HIH

          • The main part of the blog has:

            ln -vs ~/32bit/jre1.8.0_73/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so ~/.mozilla/plugins/

            Now it looks like there’s supposed to be a separate installation of firefox under ~/32bit, i.e., in the same folder in which JRE was untarred. If there’s a way to have 32-bit firefox installed there and keep my 64-bit firefox, that would be ideal.

    • Hi nobble, are you able to solve this issue?

  2. FWIW this didn’t work for me. Just says ‘You don’t have Java’. Ubuntu 14.04

  3. Roberto Leite

    July 27, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Hey! I tried this on ubuntu16 but the message is always that the soundcard isnt available… maybe something related to pulseaudio version being 64bits?

  4. First time I comment in a post to thank someone. Lots of kudos mate… The post was a lifesaver…

    • you are welcome!

      I really find ridiculous that Cisco cannot be bother to make a 64 compliant client for Linux, and instead we have to jump through all these hoops to just get a crappy client working..

  5. Have you experienced this? Your browser, browser version, or operating system is currently unsupported.

    I followed all the mentioned steps…

  6. One -possibly easier- alternative is via Docker, just pull one of the several “webex” images: https://hub.docker.com/search/?isAutomated=0&isOfficial=0&page=1&pullCount=0&q=webex&starCount=0 . I used mbessler/ff32-webex and it worked fine. Much less painful then getting deep into dependency hell (I tried to install ffox-esr :i386 but all I got there is dozen broken pkgs)

  7. Hello,
    I followed all the mentioned steps but still getting an error “Failed to download client parameter”. Please find the below attached image of that error. Could you please suggest me any solution. Thanks in advance.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fda74a51ce673f0623f444a3bf4ee6ef75d05b8470ec7b0a4b114a448729a413.png

  8. It works for me
    @disqus_UXb0LHej1P:disqus if you have more than one version of java then select the correct one that matches the JRE version when you get asked to select java by your system. (ex. v8.xxx, v9.xxx)

  9. Ubuntu 16.04. Firefox 56.0. JRE 8u152. No luck here.
    How do I go back to 64-bit Firefox???

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