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Ubuntu Fix: Firefox 3.6.4pre Freeze

After upgrading from Firefox 3.5 to Firefox 3.6.4pre, I got this annoying problem: Whenever I opened a page with flash, Firefox greyed out and freezed. Fortunately, there are many smart people out there. I found this fix from Ubuntu Forum.

Basically, it’s what I suspected all along. Firefox developers have started to add the code for process isolation to Namoroka 3.6.4 but it’s not working properly yet.

Since version 3.6.2, I’ve observed that Firefox on Linux now has 2 processes while running – firefox and firefox-bin. Today, however, I noticed that since the update, whenever a site with flash components is loaded, a third firefox-bin process is loaded, presumably to contain and isolate the flash data. Whenever this process loads,however, the browser freezes.

I was able to find out which settings in about:config control the flash isolation behavior. Here goes:

Type about:config in the address bar
In the filter pane, type ipc

The filter should produce the following four config lines –

dom.ipc.plugins.enabled;false
dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.libflashplayer.so;true
dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.libnptest.so;true
dom.ipc.plugins.timeoutSecs;10

To turn off the flash process isolation, change the second line (libflashplayer.so) to false and restart the browser. Then re-enable flash and the browser should be able to load flash pages and play flash video as usual.

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