Takeaways from a weird Chrome bug

In Odoo

On a late Friday afternoon in the midst of December, one of our Project Manager reported that he could not connect to a testing Odoo instance anymore.

At Trobz, all our instances are protected by HTTP authentication, in addition to Odoo's own authentication.

Somehow, even with the good credentials, he could not pass through the HTTP auth barrier and always ended up with an empty white page, such as below:

White page fail


  • this was happening with Google Chrome, but not with Mozilla Firefox, hinting for a client-side only issue;
  • not all our Chrome users were facing this issue, only some of them;
  • for those who where facing the issue, it didn't systematically fail.

After debugging a bit, we built a reproducible case and opened a ticket in Chromium's bugs tracker.

Long story short, the fix has now landed in latest stable version of Chrome (80.0.3987.36). Yeah \o/

Here are 2 key learnings from this experience:

  • First: in order to detect which commit had introduced the regression, Chromium developers used the git bisect command: it allows to proceed by elimination, without having to go through all commits manually. Nice!

  • Second: it appears that a lot of features in Google Chrome can be remotely disabled by Google, via "Finch". You can find the list of "variations" enabled in your own Chrome browser at this url: chrome://version/?show-variations-cmd. You can find more information about these "fields trials" here. Note that this is the kind of things that Brave, the privacy-focused Chromium-based browser is disabling in its builds.