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A CrXPRT fix for Chrome 76

After Chrome OS version 76 moved from Chrome’s Beta channel to the Stable channel last week, we became aware of an issue that occurs when CrXPRT’s Photo Collage workload runs on a Chrome 76 system. We found that the Photo Collage workload produces an error message—“This plugin is not supported on this device”—and the test run does not complete.

The error occurs because the Photo Collage workload uses Portable Native Client (PNaCl), and starting with version 76, the Chrome team changed the way the OS handles PNaCl tasks. Technically, Chrome still supports PNaCl, but the OS now disables the capability by default. Chrome’s current plan is to end support for PNaCl by the end of this year, focusing related development efforts on WebAssembly instead.

We’ll investigate the best path forward during this transition, but for now, testers can use the following workaround that allows CrXPRT to complete successfully. Simply navigate to chrome://flags on the test system, and find the Native Client flag, which is set to “Disabled” by default. Click the toggle switch to “Enabled” to allow native client capabilities, restart the system, and kick off a CrXPRT test in the normal manner.

We’ll update the CrXPRT web page and test documentation to include information about the workaround. In the long term, we’re interested in any suggestions you have for CrXPRT—whether they’re related to PNaCl or not. Please let us know your thoughts!


An example of the community in action

Last week, I hosted a Webinar on HDXPRT. We’ll make a recording of it available on the site fairly soon. Multiple members attended. As I was going through the slides and discussing various aspects of the benchmark, a member asked about installing the benchmark from a USB key or a server. My response was the simple truth: we hadn’t considered that approach. As I then elaborated, we clearly should have thought about it, because those capabilities would be useful in just about every production lab out there, including ours here at PT. I concluded by saying that we’d look into it.

I’m not naming the member simply because with big companies I’m never sure if doing that will be good or will cause someone trouble, and I don’t want to cause hassle for anyone. He should, though, feel free to step forward and claim the well-deserved credit for the suggestion.

Less than a week after the Webinar, I’m happy to be able to report that the team has done more than look into these capabilities; it’s implemented them! So, the next Beta release, Beta 2, which we’ll be releasing any time now (maybe even before we post this blog entry), lets you install the benchmark from a network share or a USB key.

I know this is a relatively small thing, but I think it bears reporting because it is exactly the way the community should work. A member brought the benefits of his experience to bear in a great bit of feedback, and now the benchmark is better for it—and so are all of us who use it.

Keep the good ideas coming!

Mark Van Name

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