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Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Mozilla Firefox 1.5: Adblock vs. Java and Flash Plugins

Ever since I upgraded my development machine to Fedora Core 4 Linux and re-installed various things disrupted by the installation of the new distribution, neither Flash animations nor Java applets have displayed correctly in the Mozilla Firefox browser, despite the latest versions of the plugins for each being installed. Odder still, sound from the content would play OK, but the portion of the screen where the graphics were expected to display remained blank.

Today, I finally figured out what was going on. For more than a year, I have had the “Adblock” extension installed in Firefox. Properly configured, it blocks about 95% of banner advertisements and irritating animated flash ads which clutter some popular sites. Unfortunately, apparently with the advent of Firefox 1.5 (which I installed some time before the upgrade to Fedora Core 4, but I view Flash and Java content so rarely, I may not have noticed the problem immediately), Adblock appears to be a bit too assiduous in its blocking, blanking out all Java and Flash graphics entirely, even if permitted by the filtering rules. If you're experiencing a problem with Flash and Java and suspect this to be the cause, try disabling Adblock from the Tools menu; if that fixes the problem, Adblock is fingered as the culprit.

Fortunately, the problem is easily fixed. A complete rewrite of Adblock called “Adblock Plus” is now available from adblockplus.mozdev.org. This fixes the conflict with Flash and Java (at least it did for me), and has a number of nice new things, such as the ability to subscribe to filter lists published on the Web.

Posted at March 1, 2006 22:44