Ubuntu browser builds can't select text on NYTimes articles

Bug #1690254 reported by Paul on 2017-05-11
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
chromium-browser (Ubuntu)
firefox (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Note: this bug *may* affect touch screen devices only. Just a hunch.

Load an NYTimes article such as https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/science/trappist-earth-size-planets-orbits-music.html and attempt to select some text, either via click-and-drag or double/triple click.

Using the official Mozilla Firefox 53.0.2 build, this works as expected. Using the Ubuntu Zesty Firefox 53.0+build6 build however, the user can't select any text. Instead, click-and-drag scrolls some links to other articles in from the sides, while double click resizes the article text (equivalent touchpad and touchscreen interactions have the same effect). Android-style tap-and-hold does nothing. Caret Browsing also doesn't work, as the arrow keys are overridden. Only <Ctrl>+<A> still works as expected.

There doesn't seem to be an invisible layer above the text, since the mouse pointer changes between an arrow, finger, and I-beam cursor, and since clicking on links works.

This inconsistency violates the Law of Least Astonishment.

Affected browsers:
* Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 64-bit touchscreen: Ubuntu Firefox 53.0+build6 with clean profile, Ubuntu Modifications add-on only
* Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 64-bit touchscreen: Ubuntu Firefox 53.0+build6 with clean profile and no add-ons
* Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 64-bit touchscreen: Ubuntu Chromium 58.0.3029.96

Not affected:
* Ubuntu Gnome 17.04 64-bit touchscreen: Official Mozilla Firefox 53.0.2 with clean profile
* Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 32-bit: Ubuntu Firefox 53.0+build6 on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
* Windows XP 32-bit: Mozilla 52.0.2

Bugzilla reference: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1363936

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 17.04
Package: firefox 53.0.2+build1-0ubuntu0.17.04.2
Uname: Linux 4.11.0-041100-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.4-0ubuntu4
Architecture: amd64
BuildID: 20170509205512
CurrentDesktop: GNOME
Date: Fri May 12 07:47:00 2017
InstallationDate: Installed on 2016-12-02 (159 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu-GNOME 16.10 "Yakkety Yak" - Release amd64 (20161012.1)
SourcePackage: firefox
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Paul (i41bktob-launchpad-net) wrote :
spm2011 (spm2011) wrote :

Moving this to the Chromium browser package. https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/chromium/ is for the game package chromium-bsu, not the web browser (confusing, I know).

affects: chromium (Ubuntu) → chromium-browser (Ubuntu)
Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

That reminds me of a similar bug we had with the Ubuntu Touch webbrowser-app, where text selection on touch devices wasn't working for nytimes.com (bug #1573620). This was fixed by adding a specific (android-like) user-agent override for that site. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a similar issue where nytimes.com does funny things to disallow selection based on user-agent detection.

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