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Linux Tips: Fixing Blue YouTube People


There is a Flash video problem that is peculiar to Linux users using certain Nvidia graphics cards, and that is YouTube and other Flash videos render everything with a blue tint, so that people look like Smurfs, or like the Na'vi in Avatar. Figure 1 shows what it does to Limor Fried, founder of Adafruit Industries.

limor fried, colored blue by adobe flash bugLimor Fried, made blue by Adobe Flash











This is due to a bug in Flash 11.2 that interacts incorrectly with the VDPAU (Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix) library. libvdpau moves some video decoding functions to the GPU, which should improve performance and reduce the load on your system's CPU. libvdpau is used by GeForce 8 and newer Nvidia GPUs. The easy fix is to turn off hardware acceleration for Flash videos. To do this, simply right-click on the video and you'll see this:

disable hardware acceleration in Flash

Un-check "Enable hardware acceleration", re-start Flash, and your colors should be back to normal:

limor fried, founder of adafruit industries

There is a good detailed discussion about this, and also the related problem of Flash videos always staying on top in an eerie, ghost-like way, on the Arch Linux forums. There are several other fixes to try if you're in the mood, like mucking with configuration files and patching libvdpau. Or you could wait until the fixes percolate into your Linux distribution. Or just disable hardware acceleration. Or have a little fun with it, like give the Na'vi normal flesh tones and turn the humans blue.



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  • Zauber Paracelsus Said:

    This bug has been going on for a long while, well over a year. Basically what is happening, is that the red and blue color channels are getting flipped. I think there are many different colorspace formats (in particular, RGB and BGR) and that the code isn't correctly converting the data.

  • guyfromkcmo Said:

    I found that if you backport (correct term?) to Flash version you can keep acceleration on, but all subsequent versions -available for Linux with out lousy Google Chrome, I'm Firefox for life....GD it, had the same problem, I'm now using because it seems to a little bit faster/lighter. I'm also still miffed that if I enable "EnableLinuxHWVideoDecode" and try to seek in a video that only the audio will go to the selected time but the picture stays paused at current frame.

  • Zeki Said:

    It is not new This is not a solution. You should better to push Adobe to continue updating its Fash player for Linux. That's what people wants from LF as a proactive foundation.

  • Niki Kovacs Said:

    Thanks a lot ! No more blue people here. Phew.

  • Joeg1484 Said:

    Flash?!? People still use Flash??? :)

  • derpdawgs Said:

    ahahahahahhaa the irony of using flash on a freaking OPEN SOURCE system... get with the program

  • lolreader Said:

    And yet you link to a Flash video.

  • Thatguy Said:

    When I attempt to fix this and click settings to turn off acceleration, the option does not respond. Once it brings up settings it does not respond, then, the YouTube video player window does not respond. Am I alone on this. I've just assumed its an nvidia problem but dice Ubuntu 11.04 I've had this problem.

  • Tim Diels Said:

    First put the video / flash player in full screen, then open the settings and you'll be able to uncheck and apply.

  • guyfromkcmo Said:

    I've been using the HTML5 demo on YouTube for a while, I'd use RTMPDUMP for sources like Hulu, Ustream etc that don't use HTML5 and play those in an Mplayer variant, but I'm still trying to figure out how to use the thing, I'm capable but hardly a programmer or developer.

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