Monday, February 8, 2010

flash followup

Apparently fixing flash on Karmic Ubuntu is easier and harder than I thought. I messed with various profile setting for a long while and still couldn't get GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS to stick in all cases. It looks like gnome makes a habit of launching things outside of the context of the parent process.

I have everything working correctly now, but it took wrapping the firefox and prism executable with a one liner to set the environment variable

[~]$ cat /usr/bin/firefox
GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1 exec firefox-bin $@

That was enough to get it working again. Hopefully this saves someone some time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

how to fix flash in Ubuntu Karmic

This has been annoying me for a while now. I wasn't able to hit half of the buttons in flash games, youtube, or GrooveShark while running karmic. I figured an update in flash broke my system but it turns out the problem runs a bit deeper.

Gnome decided to enable client side rendering in their GTK windows. This allows for quicker and cleaner redraws when doing special effects. I happen to run fluxbox so I didn't notice anything in the switch. Eclipse users might be familiar with this since Eclipse hasn't handled the change yet. I stole most of this fix from their boards.

You can disable this new client side rendering using the environment variable GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1.

My trouble was that it was impossible to get that variable to set anywhere in my config. I edited .profile (which is frowned on), .bash_profile (which is cheating since the variable won't make it into the window manager), /etc/environment (which sets it on a system level), and ~/.pam_environment (which sets it at a user level). None of these solutions would actually get the environment variable to stick.

Flash forward a frustrating half an hour of trial and error and I realized I started up the gnome-settings-daemon in my fluxbox startup script. I put a sleep after the gnome-settings-daemon and appended the GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS assignment and everything started working. Turns out gnome-settings-daemon was hiding the environment variable changes. I have no idea how to reconfigure the setting daemon so I'm currently letting the hack stand (1 second delay and all).

Long and short of it: Add the line "export GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS=1" to your startup files (any that I mentioned above) and keep in mind the gnome-settings-daemon might decide to squash them.

Hopefully that will spare you some troubles