Background info: I've locked down my /Library folder so even the admin group can't write (only root can).

The Adobe update app opens the password dialog when I click "install". Is it possible to install without giving root access to this executable?

The ps command says the installer is running as $TMPDIR/FPUnpackPath/Install Adobe Flash Player.app/Contents/MacOS/Adobe Flash Player Install Manager. That file is a compiled binary (Mach-O).

I also found a single dpkg directory: Contents/Resources/Adobe Flash Player.pkg. Under this is Contents/Archive.pax.gz. The file list looks innocent enough, my existing installation seems to have the files under /Library.

Would the install be clean if I just run the dpkg file, rather than proceeding with their Mach-O binary? I take it that running the dpkg is safer? (I have a feeling that the Mach-O only does installation-support stuff like making sure the old files aren't in use before replacing.) Please support your answer with evidence, don't merely speculate.

Btw, Cmd-I when the Installer app is running will list the contents. Very nice. (See How can I open a .pkg file manually?)


Download the dmg from Adobe's website. Mount it and right click on the Install Adobe Flash Player.app and select "Show Package Contents."

Drill down into Contents > Resources:

enter image description here Launch the Adobe Flash Player.pkg:

enter image description here

When the plugin installer launches, go to File > Show Files (or CMD + I).

enter image description here There you will see a list of the files it installs and where. You'll need to use something like Pacifist to extract the contents, but once you do, you can install the files manually. And yes, the install would be just as clean if you used the pkg to install the plugin. It's not any safer, it's just an alternate route that doesn't have the Adobe wrapper (so it doesn't use Adobe's proprietary installer).

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  • Why is it not any safer? Can executables in the pkg be run when a pkg is installed? What would these look like in the pkg file? Btw, the pkgutil terminal util can unpack (--expand) a pkg file. – Kelvin Mar 21 '12 at 16:09
  • I had a use for this too... sadly you can no longer do this. Adobe gives you a stub app, which then downloads all the components. – Rich Homolka Dec 2 '14 at 1:24
  • @kelvin if MacOSX stuck to its FreeBSD roots, then – Rich Homolka Dec 2 '14 at 1:27

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