Chart Toppers

After years without an updated Linux Flash Player, you can imagine how much feedback we have had to sort through following our recent beta. We have received some very unique and valuable bug reports about specific, hard-to-find bugs. But the vast majority of the bug reports are regarding:

  1. Audio: Our #1 priority. There are a lot of bug reports that simply boil down to the way that we handle sound, often in streaming video situations. Many such problems are being exposed since one of the top applications for the Flash Player these days is online video sites. The problem where the video plays silently for 2 seconds and then stops, sound stuttering and looping, sound skips and apparent speed-ups, video pausing while buffering more data and refusing to start again, and a host of other problems can be traced back to this.
  2. WMODE: This goes by many descriptions: WMODE, transparency, windowless mode, “grey region where the SWF should be”, and “Hey, the Javascript menus drop down behind the SWF”.

We are putting a lot of effort into the first issue as we have a large amount of control over this component. Ideally, the new flashsupport API will help to alleviate audio-related issues in the long run (though we will need to make several gratuitous changes to the API, just on general principle since it is an open source component).

The latter issue is a bit trickier since it involves browser code over which we have no control. It’s a known issue for the browser that has been open for a little while. (So, any open source hackers out there who have been wanting to do something to improve Flash support on Linux, this might be a good place to start.) In the interim, the comment thread on that bug page describes some possible workarounds.

15 Responses to Chart Toppers

  1. Greg T. says:

    Best news I’ve heard today. Of course, I have to ask: Can you give a hint as to when a refreshed beta might come out?

  2. Jeremiah says:

    I think this is hilarious. I was just coming to this blog to see if I could get a hold of someone about the javascript menu problem, & there it is in your post. So, you know about it. . . what is going to happen with it?

  3. Hub says:

    Another solution would be to have Adobe pay an Open Source hacker to fix that.

  4. Belegdol says:

    The most funny thing is that the patch adding WMODE support was almost ready 2 years ago. Someone has to revise it and address the comments from the bug report.

  5. Ɓukasz Jarochowski says:

    And what with flash transparency (i’m talking not about top-layers, but usual movies with transparent bg)? Is this an issue of X or Flash Plugin, and if Flash Plugin will You address it?

  6. TiCL says:

    I have switched to OSS using flashsupport.o, now the sound looping is gone, however audio is sometimes out of sync. Good to see the problem is being addressed.

  7. Lars says:

    Actually Using Alsa (yes alsa) thorough flashsupport.so has solved me the audio problems stated in #1 even when I do have a few audio/video freezes (momentaneous not permanent) right now, and that could be located anywhere.Still no more 2-second-video-no-audio problems for me so far since I started using flashsupport for alsa (NOT OSS)

  8. Seehund says:

    Any chance that the issues beind discussed here http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=135737 will be resolved any time soon?

  9. roberg says:

    Thanks Lars! That solved it for me to. I enabled ALSA in flashsupport.c, compiled it, put it in /usr/bin and no more audio problems here.

  10. roberg says:

    Ehm.. I put the libflashsupport.so in /usr/lib of course. Not in /usr/bin.

  11. cwillu says:

    launching firefox via aoss makes it work for me too (‘aoss firefox’, packaged with alsa-oss in debian)

  12. Lars says:

    cwillu the trouble with using the aoss wrapper is that it surely produces desync between video and audio, does it not?About why the flashsupport helps solve the issue? well I am not sure, but I see tinic (or whoever coded it) is doing some threading handling in there, so I guess it has to do with that. That or the original flash opens the device in blocking mode while if you see flashsupport opens the device in nonblockign mode.Btw I’m thinking about adding a .conf reader in flashsupport to let it define what alsa device to use in a /etc config file, do you guys think this would be usefull? or should we wait for the next beta before trying it out?

  13. cwillu says:

    re: my bad, I didn’t do enough testing. Firefox with ‘aoss’ still has the same issues as without; I tried the other workarounds listed above, with success.

  14. Jay says:

    I’ve got RHEL4 x86_64 with 32-bit firefox. Testing with youtube.com. When I use flashsupport.so with ALSA, I get no audio and it stops after a couple seconds, just like if I didn’t use flashsupport at all. When I unload the snd-ioctl32 kernel module, video plays smooth, but there is no audio. I tried flashsupport with OSS and it works, but the audio delay is unbearable. Any help appreciated!

  15. Otis Wildflower says:

    How do I tell the flash player plugin to use dmix? I can find no documentation on config files or environment variable settings for the plugin…