Adobe Flash based uploaders have become fairly ubiquitous on the Web, mainly because of their multi-upload capabilities. Hurrah to no longer having to click-through ‘Add more upload bixes’ links in HTML forms.
It seem to me that in Linux at least there might be a bug in Adobe Flash specifically regarding Flash-based uploaders. I’m putting this post up in the hope that someone else may have a solution to this problem OR can confirm whether this actually is a reproducible bug on other Linux distros.
I’m currently using Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex with all updates installed. The browsers I tested on are Mozilla Firefox 3.0.6 and Epiphany (Gecko) 2.24.1. The issue that I’m facing is that whenever I’m uploading files using a Flash-based uploader, my browser hangs (in Ubuntu, the window gets greyed out). As soon as the upload gets over, everything goes back to normal. If I’m uploading multiple files using the same uploader then the browser alternates between its normal and ‘not responding’ state until all the files are serially uploaded. This happens across every Flash-based uploader. I’m using the latest version of Flash – v10.0.22.87 – installed using the adobe-flashplugin package in Ubuntu repository. I’ve also tried with uninstalling this and using the flashplugin-nonfree package (this one’s recommended for older Ubuntu versions, although it installs the same version of Flash). I later reinstalled adobe-flashplugin.
I have recorded some screencasts of this potential bug in Flash on Linux, which you can download by clicking here. The download is a bzipped tarball containing three screencasts – total download size is 9.9 MB. The videos are in Ogg Theora format (if you’re on Windows and want to see the problem, you can use VLC Media Player). I’ve chosen to demonstrate the issue on three different sites – my on own WordPress install, MediaFire, and Flickr. For the Flickr one, I’ve shown how the browser alternates between not responding and normal state for multiple uploads.
When uploading many files (say, around 5-) using a Flash-based multi-uploader, the constant switching of states causes the browser to lock up for good forcing me to kill the process. Once I was uploading a video once to Yahoo! Video (a considerably large file which took around an hour to upload) the browser was in a ‘not responding’ state for around an hour; despite that, when the upload finished the browser returned to its normal state.
I didn’t find any material regarding this from anyone else on the Web, so I’m not sure whether mine is an isolated case – and whether there are steps to solve this. Please leave your inputs in the comments section!