Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fix for Firefox 8.0.1 and Mosaic Vivarium Cage Side Assistant (CSA)

Despite the fantastic work of the Mozilla folks, it seems like every time a new Firefox version comes out something breaks.  Firefox 8 is no exception.

Users have reported problems with the Cage Side Assistant under Firefox 8 on both the Mac and the PC.  Two pieces of good news here:

  • We did a quick test of Safari 5.1.2 on the Mac:  all of Mosaic Vivarium, including CSA, seems to work.  With Apple’s improvements, Safari now seems like a viable platform for using Mosaic Vivarium.
  • We have a work-around for users of Firefox 8.0.1 (Mac and PC).

Here’s how to allow Cage Side Assistant to work properly under Firefox 8.  First, make sure you have the latest Silverlight 5.0.61118.0 installed by visiting this link:

That’s all you should need to do for the Mac.

15-Mar-2013, update from customers:  MacOS 10.6.8 seems to work fine with Silverlight 4 in Firefox, but if you update to MacOS 10.7.2 or higher, you’ll need to follow the instructions above to update Silverlight.

For the PC, put on your work gloves, because we’re going under the hood for this one.

  1. Open Firefox 8, type “about:config” into the address bar, and press the button:
  2. Type “ipc” in the filter box, then double-click on the “dom.ipc.plugins.enabled” entry until its value is “false”:
  3. Close all Firefox 8 windows and restart Firefox 8.  CSA should now work normally.

What did we just do?  Firefox runs some plugins (like Flash and Silverlight) in a separate process.  The idea is that if the plugin fails, Firefox doesn’t crash.  Great idea if the plugin still works correctly…  If you are technically curious, some related information (pre-Firefox 8) may be found here:

Please login to your Mosaic Vivarium account and send us feedback if you are still having problems.

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