Flash: better without Flash

Remember my previous post about a problem with Flash in Firefox/Iceweasel? Now the second part.

After following my own instructions, I ended up with a Flash instalation that could play YouTube videos correctly, but some other Flash animations would not work. By chance, my computer at work would reproduce any Flash animation just fine, so... why would that be?

To find out the reason, I have compared what Flash-related packages I have installed in Homer (my computer at work) and Heracles (the one at home). The result is quite surprising:

Homer[~]: aptitude search flash
p   flashplayer-mozilla       - Macromedia Flash Player
p   flashrom                  - Universal flash programming utility
p   flashybrid                - automates use of a flash disk as the root filesystem
p   libflash-dev              - GPL Flash (SWF) Library - development files
p   libflash-mozplugin        - GPL Flash (SWF) Library - Mozilla-compatible plugin
p   libflash-swfplayer        - GPL Flash (SWF) Library - stand-alone player
p   libflash0c2               - GPL Flash (SWF) Library - shared library
p   libroxen-flash2           - Flash2 module for the Roxen Challenger web server
p   m16c-flash                - Flash programmer for Renesas M16C and R8C microcontrollers
p   vrflash                   - tool to flash kernels and romdisks to Agenda VR
Homer[~]: aptitude search swf
p   libflash-swfplayer        - GPL Flash (SWF) Library - stand-alone player
p   libswf-perl               - Ming (SWF) module for Perl
p   libswfdec-0.5-4           - SWF (Macromedia Flash) decoder library
p   libswfdec-0.5-4-dbg       - SWF (Macromedia Flash) decoder library
p   libswfdec-0.5-dev         - SWF (Macromedia Flash) decoder library
v   libswfdec-dev             -
p   pyvnc2swf                 - screen recording tool to SWF movie
v   swf-player                -
p   swfdec-mozilla            - Mozilla plugin for SWF files (Macromedia Flash)
p   swfmill                   - xml2swf and swf2xml processor

Yes, Flash works perfectly at Homer because it has no package installed with swf or flash in their name! And I don't have any Gnash package installed, either. I removed all swf/flash-related packages on Heracles, and now Flash works perfectly in my home computer too.

Flash player problem in Debian Lenny: "This SWF file is known to trigger bugs in the swfdec decoder."

[Update: read a more recent post]

I have recently come accross this problem, and I am posting the solution I just found. The problem is the following: when trying to watch any online flash animation with Iceweasel on my Debian Lenny (e.g. in YouTube), instead of the video, I got a grey window, with the following black letters on it:

This SWF file is known to trigger bugs in the swfdec decoder. Playback is cancelled.

This bug can be followed in this August 2007 thread at donarmstrong.com. I am amazed why it didn't affect me sooner than this week, but oh well...

The steps that fixed the issue for me where to install two packages. I am not 100% sure the first one was needed, though. I first installed the package flashplayer-mozilla, which uninstalled flashplugin-nonfree as a side effect. This step alone fixed nothing.

The second step was to actually read the donarmstrong.com bug report, and see that it says that "This is fixed in swfdec-0.4.2 [...]". Great! I did a aptitude search swf, and found out that Lenny has libswfdec-0.5-4, and a swfdec-mozilla that depends on it. I installed the latter, which obviously also installed the former, plus it removed swf-player and libswfdec0.3.

After that, I opened Iceweasel again, and now flash works!