Monday, March 27, 2006

An annoyance using Firefox on Linux

Many of the Linux boosters point out how there is essentially no difference between Linux and Windows when it comes to essential tasks such as web browsing, email, and even basic office tasks when using Open Office. I have discovered over time that there are differences. In this post I'd like to point out an annoyance that occurs on web sites that use Javascript and Flash.

In this post I'm comparing Firefox on Windows XP SP2 and SuSE 10. The SuSE window manager being used is Gnome 2.12.0. The annoyance I'm about to describe manifests itself on the ATI site (, and is visible on any site that has a mix of Javascript menus and Flash. The problem is this: Javascript drop-down menus appear behind Flash objects on a web page in Firefox running on Linux, while they properly appear in front of Flash objects in Firefox on Windows. This is what makes working with equivalent applications on Linux so difficult at times. Applications and functionality are not the same between platforms, and the equivalent user experience can be very inferior under Linux when compared to Windows.

This cropped screenshot shows the Javascript dropdown menu above the Flash object on the web page. This is Firefox on Windows. This is the correct rendering.

This cropped screenshot shows the dropdown menu behind the Flash obect on the web page. This is Firefox on SuSE Linux. This is the incorrect rendering.


  1. Did you ever find a solution to this problem? I have a similar issue and I am trying to google a solution.

  2. No, I did not. It is still a problem on Firefox versions installed on Suse 10.1 and SLED 10.

  3. This isn't a Firefox problem; it's a problem with the Flash plugin. All plugins render in the topmost layer in the browser window. Adobe allows the passing of a parameter called WMODE to allow for a work around.

    See this Adobe technote: link

    And this bugzilla entry: link

    Since the flash plugin isn't open source only Adobe can fix it. Sorry that I can't find more specific documents. Adobe's site appears to have problems today. I'm getting a lot of "Site Area Temporarily Unavailable" errors.

  4. I believe this problem is now OBE. I'm running the latest Flash version (9) and since AMD purchased ATI, the site has been extensively re-worked. The AMD/ATI site no longer triggers the problem, and I haven't run across any other sites that trigger it either.

    Thanks for going to the trouble to post the links, though.


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