How to increase Flash peformance with FF/Iceweasel in Debian

Apr 16th, 2012 | By | Category: Linux / Freebsd

So after going from Firefox to Chrome and then realizing that Chrome possessed the ability to melt my entire system and slow it to a crawl like some out of control plague of cpu usage I switched to Opera.  Well opera has some good qualities but Flash is not one of them so I’ve gone back to Iceweasel(firefox) for my flash browsing with Opera serving me well with the rest.  The problem though is that I was seeing insanely poor performance when watchign flash videos, the frame rates were probably between 7-10 if not less at times.  Now I’m running an AMD E350 which has the equivalent of an Atom processor but a pretty good video card.. The problem in linux though is that it’s very rare that you see even a fraction of the video card performance in linux compared to in windows so while I may have a decent card it’s probably running at 1/2 speed in Debian.   You can understand why finding little ways to optimize performance becomes important unless I want to boot into windows everytime I’m on youtube, which I sure as hell don’t.

So I was watching some killer Planetside 2 videos today and after seeing the framerate drop to 5 or so I brought up Top to make sure that nothing else was hogging the cpu.. There wasn’t, it was all iceweasel.. Specifically it was plugin-container that was hogging it all.  After a little bit of research I learned that the plugin-container is a wrapper that was developed for firefox after 3.6 to add some stability so that if flash crashes it doesn’t take all of firefox down with it.  Sounds great, I mean it is great the problem is that it comes with some overhead.  While I may have seen chrome crash out pages I ‘ve never seen it happen in firefox so this added security doesn’t really appeal that much to me.  Anyways, you can tell firefox/iceweasel to run flash in the browser directly and not in this wrapper with a simple modification to about:config

So just put about:config in yuor url bar, bring up your FF/IW options and go down to  dom.ipc.plugins.enabled and set it to false.

Big thanks to Chris Newland for the original post here: http://www.chrisnewland.com/plugin-containerexe-high-cpu-on-firefox-134

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2 Comments to “How to increase Flash peformance with FF/Iceweasel in Debian”

  1. John Scott says:

    Found your ideas re debian iceweasel flash from 2 years ago I think
    Just using audio media, found that iceweasal will open multiple plugins and then freeze
    I tried out your change to dom.ipc.plugins, but at least on change iceweasel just crashes and closes politely!
    Had to revert to original setting though
    It is (almost) the only browser that causes me grief!
    With all kind regards
    John

  2. garvint says:

    having same problem with crunchbang, you tube very choppy on Toshiba satellite pro 2.2ghx 3gb ram 32bit.

    it is a software problem

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