Firefox 3.6, Flash 10.1 and problems

For a long time I’ve been using Firefox 3.6 with Flash 10.0 and I haven’t run into any problems. After updating Flash to version 10.1 some serious issues emerged – some SWFs caused the browser to hang and the only thing that helped was killing Firefox‘s process using the Task Manager. At least that’s what I thought. Until I realised that if you kill the plugin-container.exe process, the browser “survives”, printing an error message in the place where the SWF object was supposed to be displayed.

It turns out that, starting with Firefox 3.6.4, some plugins are loaded by a separate process called plugin-container.exe1). It was supposed to prevent the whole browser from hanging due to a problem with a single plugin. In my case the effect was contrary to the purpose :) Fortunately, you can control the Plugin Container using configuration settings accessible through about:config. You can either disable it for all plugins by setting dom.ipc.plugins.enabled to false or for individual plugins using dom.ipc.plugins.enabled‘s child settings (e.g. for Flash in Windows the setting is called dom.ipc.plugins.enabled.npswf32.dll).

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