Today I noticed that FF was starting up slowly and loading web pages like walking through liquid tar. I did the usual troubleshooting steps to see if any recently updated addons, extensions, or services were creating this issue. Sadly, nothing was jumping out at me.
I thought, “What the Hell. I’ll install the current release of FF instead of the ESR version in the Slackware repos. Installation was easy-peasy. The new version doesn’t seem to be having any of the issues the ESR version was having; using the exact same profile.
Interested in running the newest FF in your Slackware? Just d-load the tar.bz2 package from Mozilla in your flavor and unpack in /opt. Create a launcher from your panel (Xfce for me), and away you go.
Of course, you’ll have to keep track of new FF updates from Moz and install manually. But what the hey…
Wow! What a dumbass mistake I made here!
Thanks to a comment by +Jennifer Doering (friend from G+) posted below, I realized that I had made a small boo-boo by installing FF 52.x above on my Slack64 14.1. The mistake was that the newer FF is compiled from the source to be compatible with PulseAudio. I’m NOT using PulseAudio (can’t stand it, actually) in my 14.1. That means… UH-OH! No sound. No YouTube. NO METAL! ARRRRRRRGH! Can’t have that.
But to compound the above error, I did a truly Slacker newbie faux pas. I did not run an update (#slackpkg update) before doing all this crap. It turns out that just the day before Slack had released a patch update for FF taking it to — you guess it — 52.0.02 ESR (64 bit). I’m so embarrassed. The Nocturnal Slacker fscks up and posts all about it to the world. Ain’t the Internet grand?
The lesson here is that before you start installing from sources other than your distribution’s repos, check to make sure that the maintainers (the ones a helluva lot smarter than you) haven’t already solved the problem you’re trying to resolve by installing out-of-repo software.
Thanks again, Jen. 🙂
~Eric, the forgetful and occasionally dimwitted Slacker.
This posting sent to the Linux Kernel mailing list by Christopher Barry is a MUST READ for anyone concerned about the future of Linux or their own favorite distribution and supporting software.
From his summary paragraph:
systemd is a trojan. systemd is a medusa. systemd is Substance D. systemd is scary - not just because it's tools suck, or because it's a massive fucking hairball - but because architecturally it has way too much concentrated power. We all need to collectively expel it from our midst because it will own Linux, and by extension us and our freedoms. systemd will *be* Linux. Sit idly by and ignore this fact at all of our collective peril. OneLinux == zero-choice*
*Above emphasis mine. ~Eric
You’ve got to read this; not only for its message, but for its author’s eloquent style of rant. Outstanding. I couldn’t have said it better if I’d tried.
While you’re at it, read Slackware dev Eric Hameleers’ take on this. Don’t forget to read the comments. 🙂
I’ve had continual issues with Firefox on all my systems. It hogs CPU cycles and RAM like there’s no tomorrow. It crashes often when viewing Flash intensive pages such as Grooveshark and Photobucket. I’m almost missing Internet Exploder these days. 😉
Seriously, I’ve tried all the usual remedies: running FF in Safe Mode, checking/removing extensions, using up-to-date plugins, nuking it all and starting with a fresh profile, etc. Nothing seems to solve the issue. Even with the new profile, FF managed to begin its old (mis)behaviors within days. It’s frustrating. It was beginning to take the joy out of the Internet for me.
In a previous article here, I mention trying Pale Moon as a remedy to my FF problems. That went fine for a bit, but eventually Pale Moon began to display the hogging tendencies of FF. This is not to say that PM was the issue. It was most definitely the underlying FF browser functions that were causing these same issues in PM.
I’ve tried Webkit-based browsers like Midori. They’re fast, lean, and not at all greedy with resources; however, they’re also rather plain when it comes to features and customization potential. I like my FF. I like the way I had it set up. Unfortunately, the sleekest, coolest, most awesome hot rod car is nothing if it doesn’t run well enough to drive to the little store up the street for a pack of smokes. 😦
I’ve had many folks jump up and down and recommend Chrome/Chromium to me. Well, I wasn’t going to compile the branded Google Chrome for my Slackware system for two reasons: it required too many dependencies that I didn’t want to have to search for/compile/install, and I don’t particularly care to be sucked (assimilated) into the Google Collective at this time.
So, what I did was grab a Chromium .txz package that had been compiled by dedicated Slackware friend, Alien Bob (Eric Hameleers), to whom I still owe a big donation one of these days. You’ll actually find the link to Eric’s Chromium build on Google Chrome’s download site under “community supported versions” download link. Anyway, downloaded and installed. Now the fun begins.
I had to first off find compatible extensions for Chromium that were at least functionally similar to the primary ones I use in FF. That wasn’t a major problem. There are loads of extensions available at the Google Chrome Web Store. I found ad blocking, flash blocking, script blocking, and other security and special function extensions there. So, I’m all set there.
One thing that I couldn’t find was a decent version of Speed Dial for Chromium. The ones that were advertised as equivalent to the FF Speed Dial were far from being the same. I worked around this by creating my own custom dial page(s) that I serve on my locally. I do the same for my custom home pages, so that all worked out fine.
My Chromium w/ custom dial page
My next BIG issue with Chromium was the fact that it SUCKS at rendering fonts. I’m used to those crisp, clean fonts in FF. Not so in Chromium. They’re ugly. I tried some of the extensions out there that are meant to improve the fonts, but none are actually for Linux, so they didn’t really have any effect. While searching for alternative solutions to sucky fonts in Chrome/Chromium, I ran across this little gem by Aatish Neupane on his blog, Linux Tutorials and Reviews. Now my fonts are pretty again.
I don’t know if Chromium will be my long term browser solution, but for the moment it’s my default browser on all my systems. We’ll see how things go from here.
Further reading: The Chromium Projects
The time is rapidly approaching when Microsoft will permanently suspend all support for the Windows XP operating system.
Are we sad to see it go? Yes, in many cases, I’m sure that there will be a ground swell of angst and sadness that XP is going the way of the dodo. Unfortunately, life is all about change. We need to learn to embrace it. AHEM! Yeah… I sound like an Anthony Robbins commercial here. The facts of the matter are that many individuals and businesses around the world are still using that insecure Swiss cheese OS called Windows XP. Don’t get me wrong. I used to like XP a lot. I have a lot to be thankful to XP for, actually. It’s the NUMBER 1 MAIN REASON I started using the GNU/Linux operating system as my primary OS on ALL of my production machines.
I often wonder why MS had such a difficult time keeping ahead of the hackers, spammers, and malware merchants for much of XP’s lifetime. Being the numero uno operating system in the world definitely painted a rather large target on XP’s back, I would think. Why would a pimple faced miscreant sitting in front of his Mac on the island of Zoobie-doobie target GNU/Linux’s 1% when it could hit ’em big by hacking MS Windows XP’s 95% or so worldwide users? Makes sense, right? So, poor MS had to fight a losing rear guard action as it retreated into its hardened (by 3rd party mercenaries) Norton and McAfee bunkers. It was what it was.
MS learned a few things from that experience, though. They implemented many innovations into their new Win 7 and Win 8 operating systems to lessen the need for the hired guns required by XP to guard the gates. Sorry about all the military analogies today. I seem to be stuck in that mode at the moment. But I digress… Er, where was I? Ah. Yes… I was saying that nothing lasts forever. I think that’s the point of this exercise, anyway.
Back in the day, when I was much enamored by the Win 98SE operating system, I dreaded the time when MS would stop supporting it. I swore to never go over to the dark side by submitting to the charms and siren songs of that new OS, Win XP. Myeh… I eventually broke my vow. Sure, XP was an improvement over 98SE, but it was also a seemingly unprepared plunge into the future by Microsoft. I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the explosion of naughty, nasty, downright malicious behavior that would soon raise it’s pimply faced, greasy haired head on the Internet.
The pizza and Jolt soda driven hordes descended on the cyber world like never before. Few operating systems or their overseers were prepared for the onslaught. There are exceptions to this… AHEM. Linux. 😉 Anyway, don’t let me gloat too long on that. Moving on… So what now, security wise? Are we any better off in the world now that Win 7 and 8 are in dominance and XP is falling by the wayside? Hmm… I’m not so sure. I understand that MS can’t continue to waste time and resources at their 100% for-profit capitalist corporation to continue to pour hot oil and push back the scaling ladders of the invaders forever. Yet, there are millions of XP users worldwide who are going to become a giant botnet once open season is declared by MS in just a few weeks. Can you even imagine what fun those acne suffering residents of Zoobie-doobie and elsewhere are going to have spreading their mayhem?
If you’re running an XP system that has access to the Internet, I would strongly recommend pulling the plug on it. I’m being serious now, folks. Once Microsoft stops patching newly discovered vulnerabilities in the XP operating system, your ass will be swinging in the breeze out there. The 3rd party anti-virus and anti-malware companies will not be focusing on XP nor will they be able to keep up with the hordes that will be descending upon that OS after April of 2014. Do yourselves a favor. Move on to Win 7 or even 8. I can’t honestly recommend 8 to you at this time because I’ve read too much bad press about it and because I’ve never experienced it myself personally. I can, however, say that Win 7 is a very solid OS. If you can still find yourself a copy of it, that would be a wonderful alternative.
And I know many of you out there expect me to make the GNU/Linux suggestion. Well, that’s really the optimal alternative, as far as I’m concerned. However, it wouldn’t necessarily be that optimal for many Win XP users. Folks are often reluctant to change and unwilling to invest time into learning something new. They would have to do both to use GNU/Linux. Yes, there are relatively gentle transition distributions out there… Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Vector Linux, Zorin, Ultimate Edition, Mepis, etc., but there is still a pretty good learning curve for folks coming from XP. It is what it is. I’m not one to bullshit, so take that for what it’s worth.
End your XP dependence. You’ll be better for it.
Image credits: all clipart images in this article courtesy of http://www.clker.com/