Dist Upgrade from 13.04 to 13.10 stuck during flashplugin-installer

Bug #1243090 reported by Anthony Fok
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
flashplugin-nonfree (Ubuntu)
update-notifier (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

When I was upgrading from Ubuntu 13.04 (raring) to Ubuntu 13.10 (saucy), the installation was stuck for several hours here:

    flashplugin-installer: downloading http://archive.canonical.com/pool/partner/a/adobe-flashplugin/adobe-flashplugin_11.2.202.310.orig.tar.gz

Eventually, due to a system reboot (caused by baby pounding on the keyboard), I had to recover from the half-finished upgrade process manually.

It might be an isolated incident, but I am not alone, as seen by this user's experience here:

    "13.04 to 13.10 upgrade stalled at flashplugin-installer", posted 2013-10-19:

After I got my system back in order (e.g. sudo dpkg --configure -a; purging obsolete/unneeded packages; removing ~/.config/gtk-3.0 to get the correct set of system tray icons; adding input methods, etc.), I tried "sudo apt-get --reinstall install flashplugin-installer" again:

    Processing triggers for update-notifier-common ...
    flashplugin-installer: downloading http://archive.canonical.com/pool/partner/a/adobe-flashplugin/adobe-flashplugin_11.2.202.310.orig.tar.gz

And it got stuck again, with or without proxy.

I originally suspected that it may have something to do with GFW of China, but then a normal "wget http://archive.canonical.com/pool/partner/a/adobe-flashplugin/adobe-flashplugin_11.2.202.310.orig.tar.gz", albeit somewhat slow, fetched the file just fine, both with direct connection and with proxy.

Digging deeper, it dawned on me that Ubuntu's flashplugin-installer differs from Debian's flashplugin-nonfree, mainly, the Ubuntu-specific "update-notifier" and its package-data-downloader Python script is used instead of wget for downloading external package data.

So, I finally found "/usr/share/package-data-downloads/flashplugin-installer",
and in "/usr/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloader", these relevant lines:

                        print "%s: downloading %s" % (relfile, files[i])
                        dest_file = urllib.urlretrieve(files[i])[0]
                        output = subprocess.check_output(["sha256sum", dest_file])

Failed to discover the location of the tempfile that urllib.urlretrieve() writes to, I fell asleep.

Today, I decided to file this bug report before my interests die down and my memory fails me. :-)

As I was typing this, I tried to install flashplugin-installer again, and I discovered that urllib.urlretrieve() writes to /tmp/tmpXXXXXX.gz (e.g. /tmp/tmpXbszB4.gz) by default, and was able to see the file growing in size.

True to Murphy's Law, despite failing to install flashplugin-installer for two days, now I see it installs successfully, as I am finishing this bug report! :-p

Nevertheless, I think this bug is worth looking into and taking care of. There are at least two such confirmed incidents, and it is such a downer when the whole distribution upgrade process got stuck by something as "innocuous" as the Adobe Flash Plugin. :-p

A few points to look at:

 1. Are Python's urllib.urlretrieve() and friends able to provide a download progress bar of some sort so that the end-user isn't stuck wondering whether the download stalled, or just that it is slow?

 2. From my cable TV 6 Mbps Internet connection in Beijing, depending on the time of the day, the download speed http://archive.canonical.com/pool/partner/a/adobe-flashplugin/adobe-flashplugin_11.2.202.310.orig.tar.gz may get as low as 20KB/s or even 10KB/s, which translates to 10 to 20 minutes of download for this 13MB tarball. Even without connection timeout or whatnot, the end-user cannot help but wonder what is happening. Debian's older flashplugin-nonfree package with wget's progress bar has the definite advantage here.

 3. Does urllib.urlretrieve() and the rest of /usr/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloader handle all kinds of exceptions like network error, DNS timeout, download interruption, etc. gracefully? Or are there some corner cases where "stalling" would indeed happen?

Many thanks for looking into this!

Anthony Fok

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 13.10
Package: flashplugin-installer
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.11.0-12.19-generic 3.11.3
Uname: Linux 3.11.0-12-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.12.5-0ubuntu2
Architecture: amd64
Date: Tue Oct 22 15:17:50 2013
InstallationDate: Installed on 2012-12-11 (314 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" - Release amd64 (20121017.5)
MarkForUpload: True
SourcePackage: flashplugin-nonfree
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to saucy on 2013-10-21 (1 days ago)

Related branches

Revision history for this message
Anthony Fok (foka) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in flashplugin-nonfree (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Bryce Nesbitt (bryce2) wrote :

Same here. S tuckarro:

  extracting fontinst.inf
  extracting Licen.TXT
All done, no errors.
All fonts downloaded and installed.
flashplugin-installer: downloading http://archive.canonical.com/pool/partner/a/

Revision history for this message
Bryce Nesbitt (bryce2) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Bryce Nesbitt (bryce2) wrote :

Here's a "gdb attach" backtrace of the hung process:

> pstree -p
        │ │ └─{precise}(9759)

(gdb) attach 19123
(gdb) bt
#0 0x00007fcdc8074102 in recv () from /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libpthread.so.0
#1 0x00000000004902a0 in sock_recv_guts ()
#2 0x0000000000493d2f in sock_recv.59458 ()
#3 0x0000000000486614 in PyEval_EvalFrameEx ()
#4 0x000000000048d930 in PyEval_EvalCodeEx ()
#5 0x0000000000486bb8 in PyEval_EvalFrameEx ()
#6 0x000000000048d930 in PyEval_EvalCodeEx ()
#7 0x0000000000486bb8 in PyEval_EvalFrameEx ()
#8 0x000000000048d930 in PyEval_EvalCodeEx ()
#9 0x0000000000486bb8 in PyEval_EvalFrameEx ()
#10 0x0000000000486e02 in PyEval_EvalFrameEx ()
#11 0x000000000048d930 in PyEval_EvalCodeEx ()
#12 0x00000000004246a1 in PyRun_FileExFlags ()
#13 0x000000000042492e in PyRun_SimpleFileExFlags ()
#14 0x0000000000425cb6 in Py_Main ()
#15 0x00007fcdc6d7376d in __libc_start_main () from /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6
#16 0x000000000041bb31 in _start ()

Revision history for this message
Monfort Florian (florian-monfort) wrote :


I wanted to upgrade my sister's computer to 13.10 during the night, and now I am stuck in the same way.

I am definitely not an expert and therefore I need help before rebooting and destroying my sister's computer.

I must say I am super angry that such a bug was never solved and this puts me in a very bad situation.

Please help

Revision history for this message
Ubuntu QA Website (ubuntuqa) wrote :

This bug has been reported on the Ubuntu ISO testing tracker.

A list of all reports related to this bug can be found here:

tags: added: iso-testing
Revision history for this message
Michael Vogt (mvo) wrote :

A potential fix might be to use pycurl which is probably more robust: http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~mvo/update-notifier/use-pycurl/revision/845

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Revision history for this message
Michael Vogt (mvo) wrote :

I can reproduce this issue here if I install ttf-mscorefonts-installer and then "simulate" a network failure via disconnecting my network cable after the download started. If its already installed you can also run from the checkout:
$ cd data ; sudo rm /var/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloads/ttf-mscorefonts-installer ; sudo ./package-data-downloader

With the default version this hangs until I press ctrl-c for me. With the version from https://code.launchpad.net/~mvo/update-notifier/socket-timeout it will fail after the timeout is reached.

Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package update-notifier - 0.154.1

update-notifier (0.154.1) trusty; urgency=low

  * data/package-data-downloader:
    - set a default sockettimeout of 60s to avoid hangs if the network
      becomes unresponsive during the download (LP: #1243090)
 -- Michael Vogt <email address hidden> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:35:05 +0200

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Fix Released
Changed in flashplugin-nonfree (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
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