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Tips for running WebEx on Linux (Java plugin based)

1. (green star)  Running in a VirtualBox VM (recommended, will be slow)

→ git clone and run WebEx Box project.  Follow instructions in README

What works?

(tick) Connecting to scheduled and listed conferences (see Known Bugs below for "personal room"). 

(tick) Chat

(tick) View screen share

(tick) Share your own screen or individual application

(error) Audio conference using computer audio does not work for me.  I believe it's supported in theory by the Java implementation but it might  need some hacking on pulseaudio rules or such for correct routing. 

UPDATE: (star) In the new HTML5 based client - viewing works directly in a modern browser without Java, but sharing is apparently not supported.

Therefore expect to use telephone dial-in (unless you're a Linux audio wizard)



2. (red star) Native installation

The following instructions might be obsolete, but try them if you prefer a native installation:

Assumptions:  Webex apparently has some 32 bit specifics which means you need to install 32-bit versions of libraries even if you are running on a x86_64 version of Linux. (question)

You need a java plugin for your browser (Firefox tested) – icedtea-web, and of course a Java environment - OpenJDK 1.8.0 seems to work. 

+ Some other graphics libraries. 

What works?

Same as Webex Box above.  (You might need to run X and not Wayland to have successful sharing though)

Not using Fedora?

If you are on Debian or Ubuntu for example, I think you should try installing (with apt-get, not yum) the equivalent libraries.  Or whatever package manager your distribution may have. The names might be different.  Try to find equivalent package names for your distro.

If you run into trouble, proceed to solve that the Ubuntu way (google the type of problem).  Probably there is a difference in the method of troubleshooting.   I found the information by googling and most links were actually describing Ubuntu.

1. Installing dependencies - note 32 bit versions!

Tested on Fedora 23:

sudo dnf install icedtea-web java-1.8.0-openjdk pangox-compat.i686 libXmu.i686 mesa-libEGL.i686 gtk2.i686 libpng.i686 alsa-lib.i686 libXtst.i686 libart_lgpl.i686

According to some reports libgcj is required.  However on my old Fedora 19 it conflicted with a libgcc.i686 version that was installed 
In other words the libgcc package apparently included libgcj already?  In any case I skipped it and there was no problem.  The above dnf install was enough.  You could try adding libgcj.i686 if needed.

If you run into problems, there is more troubleshooting information at the end of the page.

2. Activate java plugin in Firefox

The first time I did this I had to explicitly fix the java plugin in Firefox but the second time it was already enabled.  So try without making any change to Firefox first.

If you find that no Java plugin pages are working, I found this recommendation to activate the icedtea java plugin in Firefox,

sudo /usr/sbin/alternatives --install /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/libjavaplugin.so libjavaplugin.so.x86_64 /usr/lib64/IcedTeaPlugin.so 200000


If also these above instructions fail, search the web for how to enable java plugin (java applet support) in Firefox.

3. Restart Firefox

Otherwise you won't have java plugin, if you just installed it now.   Java should now be active.


INSTALLATION DONE


Try WebEx now

There is a test meeting you can try here:  http://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html

Known Bugs

I couldn't make the "My Personal Room" work in WebEx.  The webserver  returns " Your browser, browser version, or operating system is currently unsupported."

So in theory, the technology is there to make the meeting work it would seem, but the web server is reacting to the browser/OS information being sent.

Others have complained that browsing doesn't work to any meeting and you must use only direct links, but browsing to listed meetings works for me on GENIVI WebEx site.  

If in trouble, try getting the meeting number or direct link.  Keep trying some different ways before giving up.

(warning) Security (warning)

In order to run the applet and be able to screen-share, you basically have to accept to give it access to the machine.  I have no idea how safe it is but I suppose the situation is similar in Windows. 

      So, if the Webex applet is reading all your files and taking screen dumps of your secret information, I can't help it... (smile)

I tried some of the "sandbox" options provided by Firefox when the Java applet loads but could not make WebEx work with them, so I just selected "Run" for the applet when asked.  Possibly some fine-tuning might work here.

Good luck!

Please share your experiences as comments to this post.


Supplementary information.  Fedora 19 and general troubleshooting.

The following tested on Fedora 19, should be the same for later ones except that on recent Fedoras "yum" is replaced by "dnf"

sudo yum install icedtea-web java-1.8.0-openjdk pangox-compat.i686 libXmu.i686 libgcj.i686 mesa-libEGL.i686 gtk2.i686 libpng2.i686 
  • If libpng2 fails, try libpng.

This may fail on some packages - it did for me, with a big scary message.  In my case yum tried to upgrade some packages for compatibility, but there was a mismatch in the version about to be installed as 32 bit, and the 64 bit version that was already installed.  I found out that for each of the problem packages, more than one 64-bit version was actually installed...  I therefore guessed that yum refused to auto-upgrade the 64 bit version to match the 32 bit because there was more than one package.  Or something like that.

Anyway, first, read carefully and make a note of the error message – write down or save a list of all problem packages  (gtk2, libgcj, ...) and remember the version of the i686 package it is trying to install.

Then, for each package listed as a problem during install, do a yum/dnf check to find duplicates: (or equivalent on Debian, Ubuntu or whatever you are running).

sudo yum check | grep <offending package>
# example
sudo yum check | grep libgcj

If you are trying to troubleshoot with DNF, then instead:  (see man yum2dnf)

dnf repoquery --unsatisfied

Now let's remove conflicting packages, the ones that are listed more than once in yum check (multiple versions installed) and of course only mess with the ones you noted down as being problem packages.

I found that I should remove  the x86_64 package that has a version not matching the desired version of the i686 package.  In other words, you want the x86_64 package that remains to have the same version number as the i686 package that "yum install" tried to install.  Remember you can also ask to install a specific version of a package, e.g.  yum install libgcj-4.8.3-7.fc19.x86_64

Another idea might be to remove the x86_64 package altogether, but that won't work for most if there is too much depending on it.  Removing gtk2 for example would trigger the removal of your entire GNOME desktop and most other applications that cannot function without it (assuming you use GNOME desktop).

EXAMPLES ONLY:

sudo yum remove libgcj-devel-4.8.3-7.fc19.x86_64
sudo yum remove cups-libs-1.6.4-10.fc19.x86_64

Hmmm, why cups?  Well it's not listed in the packages to install, but it was a dependency brought in by one of the packages.  Dependency packages could also be among the problem packages.

Other things to try

  • If installation of libraries works, but running the applets don't work....  I don't know, I was just successful to make it work.
  • But maybe try Oracle Java instead of OpenJDK - there is a chance it is more compatible.   Go to Oracle Java, then for 64-bit users: select "Linux x64" jre-7u25-linux-x64.rpm sudo rpm -ivh jre-7u25-linux-x64.rpm.

Then set java plugin alternative in a similar way to above.

  • I found most of this by googling, first how to install WebEx, then how to troubleshoot yum install error, finally how to "enable java in firefox".

If you have installed Oracle Java then I think this the way to enable.
You can check that the last path (libnpjp2.so) actually exists.  If not, search for it or google to find an alternative.

sudo /usr/sbin/alternatives --install /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/libjavaplugin.so libjavaplugin.so.x86_64 /usr/java/default/lib/amd64/libnpjp2.so 200000
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