For a while now I’ve had a strange behavior happen in Firefox on Ubuntu 8.10 (Ibex): whenever I started a flash video (e.g. in YouTube or CNN.com), the video would come out abut right, maybe a little halting, but the sound would be choppy. I would hear something that sounded about right for a fraction of a second, but then it would repeat like an echo. Turns out that an echo every fraction of a second makes the whole sound unusable.
Given that this morning, Inauguration Day, watching video had a certain importance, I tried to address the issue. The process of addressing an issue in Ubuntu is always the same:
- Type in an accurate description of your problem and add distribution and version into a search enging
- Sift through all sorts of useless links: people that post the question, but nobody replies; people that post the question, and the reply is RTFM or a variant; people that post the question and the reply is private-messaged
- Find something that vaguely sounds right (invariably on a site like ubuntuforums or linuxquestions) and try to apply it to your situation
- Poke around your system configuration until you find the location of the problem
- Fix the problem creatively
This time around, the useful piece of information was to look at about:plugins in Firefox. I did that and found that there were two versions of the Flash Player in use: 10.0.15 and 9.55. Well, that certainly would cause the problem I saw.
Next step: find the two versions. I did a quick locate libflashplayer.so, the name of the file associated with the Flash player in the plugin listing. I got, of course, two entries: one from a common location, one in my .mozilla directory.
Which one to get rid of? Well, the one in the common directory had to come from a package file. So I searched for the corresponding package:
dpkg -l | grep flash
As a result, I got flashplayer-nonfree, which was listed as version 10.0.15
ii flashplugin-nonfree 10.0.15.3ubuntu1~intrepid1 Adobe Flash Player plugin installer
That was all the information I needed. I went to my local directory, which evidently had the old version, and removed the file:
Restart Firefox, and life is good again…