Firefox, Mac and Transparency woes - pulling the FOSS strands together

Owen Barton


February 11, 2008

Firefox, Mac and Transparency woes - pulling the FOSS strands together

It is often said that 3 things make a 'trend' in the modern world, so here are 3 very sneaky browser bugs triggered by 3 different Drupal modules that have crossed my path in the last few weeks, all (it turns out) quite likely related. Here they are, in the hope that if you see something similar you might be able to locate the problem a little more rapidly. All these bugs only appear on Mac OSX (both Tiger and Leopard it seems) when using Firefox 2 (I haven't tested version 3). Actually, I don't own a Mac myself, so a most of the actual testing and debugging have come down to other folk (thanks Sam and Gregory!). If anyone has the tools for the job, and can workaround any of these module issues or (most importantly!) fix the bug upstream on Firefox bugzilla, or at least confirm the status on Firefox 3 HEAD that would be a valuable contribution! I'll try and contribute where I can too - but I thought it would be really useful to draw the many threads together and raise some awareness. One of the great things about Free and Open Source software is how people can rally around issues in software that they build on (but don't normally code) and fix something that in a closed-source/commercial environment would be far out of reach and would need workaround upon workaround.

Bug 1: TinyMCE module/script

Symptoms: the rendered page is broken badly on scrolling, causing the form to be unusable. This happens more often when there is more than one instance of TinyMCE on the page, and also more often with the zen theme. Cause: Transparency on any disabled buttons visible in TinyMCE Issues: Status: Not fixed (in the current stable TinyMCE script, at least)

Bug 2: Admin_menu module

Symptoms: Almost exactly the same as bug 1 Cause: Transparency on the dropdown menus, perhaps also an overflow layout problem with fieldsets Issues: Status: Possibly fixed (the second issue seems to suggest that it is not - but we have had good results with recent versions of admin_menu).

Bug 3: Googtube, flashnode and other modules placing SWFs on the page

Symptoms: SWFs do not appear at all (including ones embedded from other sites, such as YouTube) Cause: wmode transparent parameter on object/embed tag and/or divs with opacity elsewhere on the page Issues:

Upstream issues and testcases

Obviously this is the best place if we are going to nail this bug once and for all. It would be great to check the latest builds to see if we can reproduce these issues there too - perhaps it has already been fixed. I read that the flash transparency issue (Bug 3) has, but I don't know about the other issues (that don't involve flash).

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The security researcher has featured five security flaws, three for Microsoft's Internet Explorer and one apiece for Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari. Elmer
I use Navigator 9, FF2 and 3 pretty much all day every day on MAc OS X Leopard. I have worked with the TinyMCE bug and patched sites to workaround the issue. I haven't been able to reprodruce the admin_menu bug yet, albeit reasonable extensive use of v2 of the module. AFAIK I haven't been able to reproduce the SWF one either, but it could be that I thought something else was the issue and inadvertantly worked around this issue...
I have seen the display errors described here in Firefox 2 on Mac OS X with none of these modules. Um, can't remember which modules though. I blamed having 200 tabs open at the time! benjamin, Agaric Design Collective
Well, this bug (or these bugs perhaps!) could happen anytime opacity is used in the CSS or JS of a site, which could happen in a large number of areas - the modules listed were simply some cases I have run into, but this issue could equally occur with themes, custom or contrib.
Great write up of these issues Owen. I think this falls into the category of "Module Monday" AND "Technical Tuesday"!