Firefox Quantum ;(

From time to time I try to change web browser (switch Firefox <> Chrome). This time it is moving to Firefox Quantum (v57). And have to say that I have very mixed opinion.

For years it was easy: Chrome is faster, Firefox has extensions which can alter how browser look, feel, work, behave. From Firefox Quantum it is gone. All add-ons have now be “so called” WebExtensions – no way to alter browser itself, only what is presented on web page can be changed.

Say good bye to switching tabs with mouse scroll – function was always missing in Firefox but there was extension for it. Same with tab grouping in tab bar – “Tree Style Tab” is now sidebar and original tab bar has to be disabled through userChrome.css file. Good that they got at least moved reload/stop button to the left side of location…

I will use it for week or two and see it stay or not on my desktop instead of Chrome. Have to admit that main reason for test is tab grouping function in Tree Style Tab as it allows me to get rid of multiple browser windows.

Also I have limited amount of extensions in use to just six ones related to ad blocking/privacy/user scripts.

I am starting to dislike GNU project

When GNU project was announced over 30 years ago it was something great. But time passed and I have a feeling that it is more and more politics instead of coding.

I do builds. For over 10 years now. It was ARM all the time with some bits of AVR32, MIPS, x86. During last two years it is nearly 100% AArch64. And during last months my dislike to GNU project grows.

Why? several reasons.

Commit messages

There is a lot of articles about “how to write good commit messages”. I can tell you where to look for bad ones: gcc, binutils, glibc — base of most of GNU/Linux distributions. All of them can be fetched from GIT repositories but look like deep in CVS era. Want to find what was changed? You will get it in commit message. Why it was changed? Forget.

GNU forks

Do you know what IceCat is? Or GNUzilla? Let me quote official homepage:

GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons.

Where is source? Somewhere in GNU cvs probably. I failed to find it. OK, there is a link to something which is probably source tarball but we have XXI century — developers take source control systems got granted.

Of course IceCat fails to build on AArch64. Why? Because it is based on already obsoleted by upstream version 24 of Firefox. Support for 64-bit ARM platform was merged around Firefox 30 and is complete in version 31. Sure, I could dig for patches for IceCat version but no. This time I refuse.

I do not know, but maybe GNU project needs some fresh blood which will make them more developer friendly?

Annoying software bugs

There is no software without bugs. But there are bugs and BUGS. Second ones are annoying, well known and no one work on getting them fixed. Few examples:

  1. FireFox/Iceweasel — many people use it, many people want to kill their developers. Why? It leaks memory, it eats memory, it can take 6GB of memory just because there is no more memory available in system. Problem exists in 2.0.x but also in 3.0 trunk version. No solution developed.

  2. KMail — flagship of KDE PIM. It can fetch mail, send mail and do many other things with mails. And it can handle OpenPGP/GnuPG signed/encrypted ones. But a way how it handle them is horror. Whole UI freezes, no updates for several seconds just because someone decided to sign all his mails. Bug was submitted over 5 (FIVE) years ago, there was one major KDE release and many minor ones but bug is still present. No one even marked is as important.. No comments

I can live with first bug as for most of time I use Konqueror. But solving second one needs to wait until Mailody will get more usable so I will be able to switch to it. I lost faith that KDE PIM will get into more usable state then it is now.

GTK FileRequester – disaster idea

As desktop environment I use KDE 3.5.x but for developing websites I use Firefox and this force me into evil side of world — GTK one…

Each time when I have to upload file into system I need to think ‘does test17.png is <10K or not’ because GTK developers follow some kind of GNOME way to simplicity in removing anything which can be removed and more. I am not requesting thumbnails and other things from KDE filerequester but possibility to see sizes would be great.

I can not understand why there is no possibility to check file sizes — each other library which I used over years gave it.

Good thing is that Firefox allow to be configured to use own filerequester instead of shitty one.

Debian + Firefox browser + me = Argh!

As I already wrote I switched to amd64 platform and reinstalled Debian on it. Everything works now… except Firefox.

Yes Firefox… I understand that Debian developers decided to not ship it due some licensing problems. But there was discussion about Iceweasel instead of it — too bad that it was only discussion ;( Today I have few possibilities:

  • use Firefox 1.5.0.x which is old
  • forget about Firefox and stick to Konqueror
  • switch to Ubuntu which I do not want to do as I use Debian for years
  • build Firefox 2.0 from source
  • build Firefox 2.0 from Ubuntu sources

Probably will select one of last ones when will find some free time.

And Opera does not provide amd64 packages too ;(

UPDATE: I have Firefox 2.0 working now. To get it installed and working few steps need to be done:

  • add experimental into APT sources
  • upgrade libc6 and libgtk2 to ones from experimental
  • fetch firefox and libnss3 libnspr4 from Ubuntu
  • install fetched packages

Firefox 2.0 released

IN Tuesday Mozilla Foundation released Firefox 2.0 version. Many websites wrote about it so I will not list what is new. There is one more reason to not do it — for me most of those new features are not new — during last 2 years I mostly use nightly builds of Firefox^W Bon Echo — first it was 1.5 nightly when other people used 1.0.x line, then I used 2.0 nightly during 1.5.0.x times.

Many extensions needed a bit of hacking (mostly bumping of MaxVersion), I had to edit my favorite theme (LittleFox) to get proper displaying but it was easy. Some authors were releasing updated (mostly ‘developers’) versions for 2.0-pre/rc versions.

Yesterday I tried Firefox^W Minefield 3.0 and now I have to decide will I use 2.0 or move to 3.0 version. One of nice things is plugin for bookmarks integration, which replace normal bookmarks. But installing it also means user cannot create bookmarks so I will rather remove it..

Anyway with release of Firefox 2.0 it is time to switch — from 1.5.0.x to 2.0 for ones and 2.0 -> 3.0 for me.

Firefox extensions

Today I looked into my FF 1.5beta extensions list and after little cleaning (removed few not recently used ones) I have 21 external extensions installed. Some of them are little tweaks which imho should be integrated in FireFox itself (like AutoMarks, Bookmarks Full Titles or LiveBookmarkThis).

Many extensions does not work out-of-box with 1.5beta — I changed MaxVersion for them and tested does they work.

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