libgtk-x11, acroread and Firefox
Today, I tried to view a PDF file from within Firefox thanks to the Adobe Reader 7.0 plugin, but I couldn’t understand why it took so long to load the PDF. I first thought it was a big file, but Firefox was completely frozen for more than one minute. I was expecting that even if this was a large file, Firefox should still be responsive and that the navigation in other tabs should still work. When I looked at my shell window to kill the Firefox process, I realized the window was full of "expr: syntax error" error messages. Was the PDF file corrupted or was it a bug in Firefox? None of them! This was a bug in acroread itself as running it from the shell with no file specified was throwing exactly the same error. So why today and not these last few months?? The reason seems to be that Mandriva Linux 2007.1 released some updates for libgtk-x11 a few days ago and acroread was now failing. Fortunately, the fix is trivial and acroread (and Firefox using the Adobe plugin) is working fine again! So if you are running Firefox on Linux and use the Adobe plugin to view PDF files and wonder why nothing happens, this may be the reason.