Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dear Adobe, Please Stabilize Flash

I continue to test Firefox 3.1 with Flash 10 and have found it to *extremely* unstable:

Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
0xae6b610d in ?? () from /u/firefox_3100b3/firefox/plugins/

Frame rates and sound both seem better than 9, but it crashes constantly during testing. Right now there is no way I could deploy the most recent release.

Adobe: It's great that flash is so widely used, people must like using it for content development. But with this much content on the web, you always need to provide a quality player too. I understand that many companies have made cuts in staff, and I would be happy to help debug it for you. Please think about deploying bugzilla for Acrobat Reader and the Flash Player. Please, help us help you!

PS: Already tested swfdec, it's no where near ready for enterprise deployment.

Update: Having some better luck with FF 3.5B4, not crashing as much as B3; but still crashing more than it should.

Update2: Lots of ideas and things to try from the comments. I'm now testing older builds of Flash 10 to see if they provide better stability (current is r22, I have r15 here too). I'm also going to try using Firefox 3.0.X builds and see if that works better too. I had been using the 3.1/3.5 builds with the anticipation that it would be released the same time as this new server goes live. The video card we have is ATI 9250. I'll test over other video cards, and also test with a new version of pulseD.

Update3: OpenSuse 11.1 seems to have some GTK issues that are making the testing process difficult for me. Current plan is to blow the server and load with Fedora Core 10 and see if that works better. OpenSuse/Stable seems to still have some file manager bugs, with the GUI constantly bouncing around the screen and resizing.


Anonymous said...

Using SVG instead of Flash is becoming more feasible.

Marc said...

That's odd that you have stability problems with it...I haven't had one crash with v.10 for months! May I ask what sort of sites you are testing? I'm intrigued...

Anonymous said...

I believe flash player has a bug tracker at

Dave Richards said...

marc: I'm not going anywhere unusual for testing,, Youtube. But it's crashing all the time. It also crashes if you open a child window, and then close the child window. When I remove Flash, it works fine. Things that are unique to us: remote display, remote PULSE. But in a way it shouldn't really know.

anonymous: will check out the site.

Anonymous said...

I have discovered that Flash instability is linked to what sound device you're using. For example, Flash is crashing all the time when my Audigy SE sound card is connected and is almost perfectly stable without it.

Still, with all recent updates, it's not enough. And don't get me started at performance, try playing longer flash video on slow CPU (a lot still in use in fairly modern machines - Atom, Pentium M, Pentium 4, Athlon XP) - while it might be OK for a few minutes performance will deteriorate really badly.

Dave Richards said...

anonymous: I'm using pulse over the native Alsa driver. Pulse is configured as an Alsa 'device'.

Anonymous said...

swfdec is more or less dead. I found gnash to be better right now, but still not ready for real deployments.

sn0n said...

please keep us updated, im having same issues, but im 64bit.

Anonymous said...

I suggest we all donate to Gnash. The lead developer recently lost his full time paid position developing Gnash, so the donations are needed now more than ever. Then perhaps we can tell Adobe to take a hike.

Federico said...

Well, maybe it's not Adobe that should stabilize flash, but it's we (the whole oss stack) that should try to give them a stable platform on which develop flash.

I believe that changing something every six month must be a nightmare to them (see pulseaudio, alsa, oss, udev, and so on...)

Dave Richards said...

federico: I agree that the constantly changing technology has made it very hard for them to keep it stable!

Anyone know how to get a decent backtrace off the .so file? Does one need a -debug type package from Adobe to generate useful information. all of this crashing could easily be just one issue.

Anonymous said...

Do you have an nvidia card? Did You try to put a flash video to fullscreen?
In Firefox-3.1 (3.5) and newer, if you fullscreen a flash video (youtube for example), firefox crashes. This happens with nvidia drivers only. To fix this, you can preload libGL before starting firefox, like so:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/ firefox-3.6

I fixed the firefox starting script by adding

export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/

to the beginning. After that, I can fullscreen flash without crashing firefox.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to echo what Marc said. I haven't had a flash crash since the amd64 v10 plugin is available. v10 also deals much more gracefully with pulse (via alsa) than v9 did.

Maybe it's a FF 3.1 issue?

That said, I'm looking forward to the day swfdec (and gnash of course) can deal with AVM2 opcodes, and reaches feature parity. (no good plugin for my PowerPCs for instance)