Fed Up w/ Firefox

As much as I love Mozilla, and Firefox in particular, I just can’t continue to use a browser that functions so poorly and malfunctions too often (likely Flash-related issues, though).

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

click for bigger pic

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.

Later…

~Eric

Further reading: The Chromium Projects


Midori On Slackware – Using SlackBuilds

Yes, I’m still on spring hiatus, but the place was getting to look a bit run down.

Plus, I wanted to show you all how to install this cool little browser that I found called Midori. Oh, it’s nothing new. It’s been around for a while, but it’s new to me. I first found it while using Salix OS recently on one of my tester partitions. I’m also using it in Zorin OS on one of my laptops. It’s fast. It’s pretty simplistic and minimal, too.

It is a bit complicated to install on Slackware, though. However, I’m sure you can do it. It just requires using some excellent SlackBuild scripts provided by the dedicated folks at SlackBuilds.org. Unfortunately, Midori is not one of those apps that you can install with just one SlackBuild. It has some dependencies… and its dependencies have some dependencies.

That always complicates things a bit, particularly in Slackware where you have to be smart enough to resolve dependency issues on your own. There is no a gaggle of volunteer repo maintainers doing it for you. That’s alright, though. Slackers are known to be smart and tough. We can take it. Dependency H3LL don’t scare us none. 😉

Let’s get started, OK?

Fire up your current browser and navigate to SlackBuilds.org. You know the place. You’ve been there before. Once you’re there, you’re going to search and download six different SlackBuild scripts and their related source tar balls. Got that? OK.

Here they are (click for the SlackBuilds.org page for each one):

Midori

webkitgtk

icu4c

libsoup

libunique

vala

Midori is your ultimate goal. It requires webkitgtk, libunique, and vala. The others are dependencies of webkitgtk and will have to be built first and installed before you build webkitgtk.

You should be familiar with the whole SlackBuild thing by now. Just in case, though, I’ll run through one for you.

Let’s build libunique first:

1. Download the source and the SlackBuild

2. Decompress the SlackBuild (using Xarchiver or your favorite tool)

3. Move the newly untar’d directory to your favorite temporary build directory

4. Move the libunique source package to the untar’d libunique SlackBuild directory (see Fig. 1)

Figure 1

Photobucket

5. Open a terminal and make the script executable:

# chmod +x *Build

6. Execute the script:

# sh *Build

NOTE: If you’re building on a 64 bit Slackware, you should use the prefix Arch=x86_64. For example: # Arch=x86_64 sh *Build

7. Once the script completes, using Slackware’s pkgtool to install the newly created .tgz package you’ll find in your /tmp directory:

# installpkg libunique*

NOTE: You might also want to keep these packages somewhere safe in case you ever want to reinstall Midori on this system or another Slackware installation somewhere.

Now, we need to build and install the rest of the dependencies in this order: icu4c, libsoup, vala. Once you’ve built and installed these guys, you can then build and install webkitgtk. Something to keep in mind once you begin your webkitgtk build; it is NOT one of those zippity-fast builds. Even on a fast system, it may take 45 minutes to build. Just be patient. Don’t sit there waiting for the pot to boil. Go have some dinner or take a healthy walk around the neighborhood while it builds.

OK, assuming you’ve managed to build and install libunique, icu4c, libsoup, vala… and then webkitgtk, you should now be able to build and install midori. It’s a pretty fast build, less than 1/2 a minute. Install it using pkgtool, as you did with the others above. If all went well, you should have a nice working Midori browser on your system now. If you run Xfce4 like I do, it will automagically show up in the Menu –> Network sub-menu.

Here’s my Midori running with the Midori Home Page opened:

Photobucket

NOTE: That’s an April Fools post you’re seeing there about merging Midori with Postler. 😉

Have lots of FUN! 🙂

~Eric

P.S. I’m going back on hiatus now. See you again soon…