/ How to build and install GNU IceCat 12.0 with GNU Gnash 0.8.10 as plugin for gNewSense 2.3

How to build and install GNU IceCat 12.0 with GNU Gnash 0.8.10 as plugin for gNewSense 2.3


It is well known that the 100% free software gNewSense GNU operating system distribution with Linux kernel (free replacement of Ubuntu) doesn't come with the GNU IceCat browser (free replacement of Mozilla Firefox) in its recent version 2.3. Furthermore, there is no standard and easy way to play Adobe Flash files served via the web. Despite the fact that Adobe Flash is a proprietary format and is widely spread because of the Adobe Flash Player plugin for various browsers, the GNU Gnash project has made progress in implementing a free alternative to do at least *some* Flash as standalone player application and GNU IceCat plugin. Both the richer features of GNU IceCat (in comparison to the gNewSense default browser Epiphany) and the basic support of Flash within the browser itself are reasons to build and install those components as long as they're not incorporated in future gNewSense releases. All instructions refer to a plain and fresh gNewSense installation, which should grant the reproducibility as long as the hardware meets the minimum requirements for each step and finally the program run.


To avoid the need to resolve a lot dependencies manually, a general patch update should be made by

GNU IceCat 12.0

The next step is to obtain the GNU IceCat source code files. Download the package icecat-12.0.tar.xz from the GNUzilla project. Since the GNU packages are *.tar.xz compressed and gNewSense 2.3 doesn't come with xz-utils, download xz-5.0.4.tar.gz from the XZ Utils home page and compile/install it by

Now the IceCat package can be uncompressed and unpacked:

In order to get ./configure of IceCat statisfied, further dependencies have to be resolved:

Only one dependency is still left – the Yasm Modular assembler. It can't get resolved by apt-get install yasm because the version in the repository is 0.5.0 where the IceCat build system requires at least 1.0.1. So download yasm-1.2.0.tar.gz from the Yasm project page and compile/install it by

After having all preparations in place, IceCat should finally compile/install successfully:

IceCat should now come up when invoked by icecat & on the terminal.

GNU Gnash 0.8.10

Download the source code package gnash-0.8.10.tar.gz from the Gnash project, then

Now statisfy some dependencies by

After this preparations, it should compile/install by


Not alone is IceCat very useful at least for its HTML5 support, it is even capable of playing Flash wherever Gnash provides a free way of doing so. In case there are problems with this approach or there are questions about details of the procedure, feel free to contact me.

/ How to build and install GNU IceCat 12.0 with GNU Gnash 0.8.10 as plugin for gNewSense 2.3