This paper presents a study on the dynamic stability of the steady frictional sliding of a linear elastic or viscoelastic half-space compressed against a rigid plane which moves with a prescribed nonvanishing tangential speed. The system of differential equations and boundary conditions that govern the small plane oscillations of the body about the steady-sliding state of deformation is established. It is shown that for large coefficient of friction and large Poisson’s ratio the steady-sliding of the elastic body is dynamically unstable. This instability manifests itself by growing surface oscillations which necessarily propagate from front to rear and which in a short time lead to situations of loss of contact or stick. Similarly to what has been found with various finite dimensional frictional systems, these flutter type surface instabilities result from the intrinsic nonsymmetry of dry friction contact laws. The effect of viscous dissipation within the deformable body is also assessed: when viscous dissipation is present larger coefficients of friction are required for the occurrence of surface solutions propagating and growing from front to rear.