Gnash makes me gnash my teeth in frustration

A new release of Gnash has arrived: 0.8.9. I like the idea of having an open-source Flash plugin, but Gnash has never quite managed to fill my needs; I was thinking with the new version, things might be a bit better. Alas, after compiling and installing Gnash 0.8.9, all I see are grey rectangles where flash movies should be. This is worse than the previous version! At least with 0.8.8 some flash movies did work.

When starting firefox from the terminal, I see this error output:

Error: Support for renderer agg was not build

“agg” refers to the antigrain renderer, which I indeed I *hadn’t* built. However, one would assume that if there is an option not to build a renderer, then that renderer is indeed optional to the operation of the software. Delving into the source, I discovered that the “agg” renderer was being set as the default at an early stage (in the command line options parsing, which is done via the boost library’s “program_options” module), and because it was then considered set, the setting in the configuration file was not being used, nor was the logic normally used to choose a sensible default coming into play.

So, an easy fix, but it does appear that the release was severely under-tested.

Having now gotten the Gnash plug-in working, I can report that it seems to play youtube videos quite well, but still fails on some flash websites. Hopefully further progress will come soon!

Edit: bug filed.

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