back to article Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Write, as I have, about Firefox and you receive the usual slew of critics who demand to know why Firefox matters? Who cares if Firefox continues to exist? This is often accompanied by "Chrome is better! Chrome is all we need!" Clearly a lot of people do think Chrome is better. StatCounter, which offers reasonably reliable …

I recently ditched Firefox.

Firefox 52 on Linux broke audio by dropping support for the standard Linux sound subsystem, ALSA.

Instead, Firefox now requires PulseAudio. Pulse was originally intended to be a replacement for ALSA, but development stalled, and now it's just a routing layer that requires an actual sound infrastructure underneath it, usually ALSA.

Some people have got this "architecture" working perfectly adequately. Others complain of latency and glitches, or simply no sound. I don't see the point in even trying, since the existing structure works perfectly well.

It's the latest stupid decision by Firefox developers, and it was enough. I migrated to the Chromium-based Vivaldi browser.

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Thread Hijack - why did that planet story get taken away?

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:cktStK114yIJ:https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/19/404/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=fire

Thread closed and allsorts.

The Truth is out there...

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Pulseaudio sucks a bag of d**ks and all the linux distro sheep jumped on board.

eh.. what it means to be 'different' - ALSA was ok, dmix helped do what most desktop users wanted

Linux always sucked for people working with audio seriously, so they broke it even more instead.

Firefox needs pulseaudio. really ? god help us.

that is why i pretty much ditched Linux tears back & went Mac and BSD.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Whereas I agree with you on Pulseaudio - it is the work of the devil - you ditched linux because of pulse?

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Alien

Re: Thread Hijack - why did that planet story get taken away?

The reg editors must have got a warning from our reptilian shape shifting albino alien overlords ..

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

If you need real audio you're running Jack at minimum latency though, right?

Pulse is fine for day to day work, but with Jack I've managed to get some fairly nice sounding music on an entirely Open Source stack.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Yes, I didn't want to clutter up my post with detail. As well as my general-purpose machine, I have a Linux-based home studio, with Ardour and using Jack for the plumbing, ALSA for driving the hardware.

(Although most people would probably be surprised at how much plumbing you can do, purely with ALSA. It's just that the .asoundrc syntax is odd, and it's not well-documented.)

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

<snip>it is the work of the devil - </snip>

Check out the name of the developer of PulseAudio and Systemd:

PulseAudio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio

Systemd: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemd

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I don't know what you've been doing but ALSA is still there and drives the hardware, pulseaudio mixes multiple applications sound sources together, has done for years reliably on my Fedora laptop. When I run JACK2 pulse suspends itself and gets out of the way of the hardware until I terminate JACK and then it takes over again. Never had an issue with it. Whatever you're doing, you're doing it wrong. Firefox can be compiled to use JACK too if you like.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"Linux always sucked for people working with audio seriously"

As an audio engineer who has used Linux systems for professional sound recording for 10+ years I beg to differ. So do quite a few manufacturers of high-end pro audio gear.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"...Firefox can be compiled..."

Then you wonder why people prefer other alternatives. Normal people, not the typical reg reader, have no idea what "compile" means

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

" pulseaudio mixes multiple applications sound sources together, has done for years reliably on my Fedora laptop."

So does ALSA, in theory. That was the whole USP for it to replace OSS back in the day. Frankly as a C/C++ dev I found the OSS API a lot simpler and more intuitive but then I never needed to do anything particularly complex with it.

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Devil

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I think he ditched FIREFOX because of pulse...

I'll stick with firefox but I want to get rid of the HAMBURGER MENU and "fat finger friendly" *GARBAGE* . I like the _OLDER_ look a _LOT_ better.

So here's what I'm thinking: As MATE was to GNOME, it's time for a FIREFOX FORK!

Debian had Iceweasel. Maybe it's time to resurrect it, but include those "problem areas" like DROPPING ALSA, and FAT-FINGER-FRIENDLY [desktop irritant] features *like* the hamburger menu.

In fact, JUST having a SETTING to TURN THAT OFF would make me happy...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Re: "Linux always sucked for people working with audio seriously"

Then: "As an audio engineer who has used Linux systems for professional sound recording for 10+ years I beg to differ..."

Actually, I also tend to find that Linux is (still) notoriously crap for pro audio. And I'm not alone... (e.g., https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/5foi3v/its_2016_and_linux_audio_still_sucks_for/)

For anyone who's seriously used Linux for any sort of serious post-production--or frankly, for any professional realtime, low-latency work that actually requires a DAW (i.e., something beyond just pushing "record" to grab some audio from a couple of mics)--I for one would love to learn what you actually do, who employs you to do it, and what kernel, hardware, and software plugins you use in your setup. Because both latency and support have been truly horrendous on Linux for non-trivial audio work, in my humble experience, and I'd really, REALLY love to learn that this somehow has changed--from someone who's actually done it.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I also looked at a potential Linux studio in 2011, but was told on the Audio forums that my kit was "Too Professional" for Linux, and there was no support available.

My kit was a £400 Audio Interface. It's basically High End home kit, not professional at all. I too want to know where the sudden inmprovemnt in Linux audio has come from, and most of all, which professional DAW is now available on Linux, I hadn't noticed one being released.

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Optional

"Pulse was originally intended to be a replacement for ALSA, but development stalled"

Um. No it wasn't. PA was never designed to replace ALSA. It was always designed as a higher level, more pleasant interface for apps to use, since writing to ALSA is kind of a nightmare. Here is an article from 2007 that explains this perfectly well:

https://www.linux.com/news/why-you-should-care-about-pulseaudio-and-how-start-doing-it

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@fatman

Very well aware of that - this is one good reason I say NO to systemd

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"So does ALSA, in theory. That was the whole USP for it to replace OSS back in the day."

No, it wasn't. ALSA replaced OSS in most distributions a long time before dmix (the ALSA feature that allows for software stream mixing) was introduced; this is why we used to have various other things that sat on top of ALSA and did stream mixing which no-one remembers terribly fondly (principally esd and arts).

The reason ALSA replaced OSS was that OSS went to a partially proprietary model (the kernel included a subset of it referred to as OSS/Free - obviously, it wasn't going to include the non-free bits) and development especially of the free software part of OSS stalled heavily.

PA does software stream mixing, but that's not the only reason for it to be used. It's a 'sound server', like arts or esound were (or like JACK, which is also a sound server, just one tailored specifically to pro audio usage), which provides a convenient interface you can write apps for and easily get the capabilities that most normal applications need, without having to deal with ALSA's much lower level and more awkward interfaces directly (and reinvent stuff like source / output selection).

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Windows

.asoundrc documentation - Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"(Although most people would probably be surprised at how much plumbing you can do, purely with ALSA. It's just that the .asoundrc syntax is odd, and it's not well-documented.)"

Please consider documenting what you know. Just a series of notes in a text file together with a functioning .asoundrc file would be fine.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

@bombastic bob

Considered Seamonkey? Still in most repos.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"VI'll stick with firefox but I want to get rid of the HAMBURGER MENU and "fat finger friendly" *GARBAGE* . I like the _OLDER_ look a _LOT_ better."

<alt>Tools | Add-Ons | Extensions and search for "Classic Theme Restorer" (current 1.6.4) and add it if you don't already have it.

Hover mouse over tabs bar or add-on bar, r/c, select Customize, click on hamburger menu, delete.

Happy now?

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

>In fact, JUST having a SETTING to TURN THAT OFF would make me happy...

Tools -> Addons -> Extensions

Classic Theme Restorer

Hide Bar Wtih One Tab

New Tab Override

Ublock Origin (or whatever to taste)

Right click approximately where the tabs are, choose customize. You may now remove the hamburger menu as well as basically anything else you don't want. It's possible to have quite a clean look this way, but the extensions are required to remove the stuff that is normally locked in the customize interface.

I too dislike Chrome, primarily for the interface, and am disgusted with Firefox's slow mutation into just another Chrome clone. But because the extensions are still available, I can make even new versions of FireFox look pretty close to the old versions.

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Pint

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Holy Crap! You've gone and found the Root of the Problem! (Beers, many plurals) for you good sir. Now that we have identified it, let us go about eliminating it, with extreme prejudice.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

If you hate what firefox has done, why not try 'palemoon' , a *users* version of the old thing.. ??

http://www.palemoon.org/faq.shtml

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I ditched it as it's slow, really slow compared to chrome or opera, particularly on android, page loads feel like 2-3x longer. Chrome is blisteringly fast. I'm kind stuck however, I want to use the same browser everywhere, opera is awesome on the desktop, vastly superior to anything else around, but it sucks balls on mobile, so I use chrome there..

I kinds hope Mozilla move to blink and v8, not because of a standard web engine, but it might make Firefox a viable project again .

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Re: Thread Hijack - why did that planet story get taken away?

Because it was Nibiru !!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"which professional DAW is now available on Linux"

Ardour? It supports linux.

There are other windows DAW known to work to some extent on Wine.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I keep a nailed down W8.1 machine solely to run WASAPI audio

[using AMD's Audio driver gives me bit-perfect sound]

MusicBee for audio

Kodi for movies, etc

Now I have to use it for YouTube as well because Firefox broke ALSA in Linux Mint - how stupid can you get?

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"Not well documented" is the curse of anything Linux when you get off the beaten track, which is a shame because the tools are often pretty great if one can ever figure out how to make them do anything and utterly frustrating when one can't.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

In terms of DAW the best thing I've found on Linux is Ardour, which is as good as anything else I have used, but I have only really tinkered with other products on Windows and it is a few years since I did that. I can't say how it matches up to a current Cubase but I will say that once you have the routing figured out it is pretty great as a midi controller and works well for multi-track recording. It's not easy to use but no more difficult than any equivalent tool I have tried in the past.

Of course where VSTs are concerned it is pot luck whether something will run under Wine, I haven't spent as much time looking into that, but for the results I have been aiming for I've found Ardour to be pretty good.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I heard it through the grapevine that they're going to offer the look of old without the horrendously complicated addon extension plugin (whatever) ClassicThemeRestorer. I bitched about the ugly ass rounded tabs last week on twitter and was assured that an option to switch the look back was imminent.

Maybe alsa just needs a pulse emulation layer <ducks/>

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I'll stick with firefox but I […] like the _OLDER_ look a _LOT_ better. So here's what I'm thinking: As MATE was to GNOME, it's time for a FIREFOX FORK!

That's exactly what Pale Moon is; I've been using it in Linux since Firefox went full Australis:

http://palemoon.org

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Anonymous Coward

Linux pro audio. Was: I recently ditched Firefox.

"As an audio engineer who has used Linux systems for professional sound recording for 10+ years I beg to differ..." That was me.

"I for one would love to learn.....what kernel, hardware, and software plugins you use"

Kernel: Standard 4.x kernel with CONFIG_PREEMPT=y and CONFIG_HZ=1000. I monitor direct from hardware when recording, so don't usually need low latency. If I used a lot of MIDI I'd probably want a realtime patched kernel. These days several mainstream distros have RT patched kernels available, so getting one isn't the chore it used to be.

Hardware: Choice is better than it used to be. I still prefer the long-supported RME PCI/PCIe cards for high channel counts (up to 192 in/out channels on their triple MADI cards). Obviously you need external A-D and D-A converters with those, but that's pretty standard for pro studio gear.

Plugins: There's a wide choice of plugins now. I still use mostly LADSPA plugins as I dislike fancy GUIs. I make my own plugins if something doesn't exist and I can't cobble something together from simpler plugins.

That last point brings up my main reason for using Linux for audio: I need access to source code to do the things I want. If I wasn't freelance and able to make my own software decisions, Linux might not be the most practical choice, but it works for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

"which professional DAW is now available on Linux, I hadn't noticed one being released."

If by professional DAW you mean one which is adequate for doing professional quality work, Ardour has been quite usable since around 2006. If you take too much notice of the numerous Dunning-Kruger casualties who infest the "pro" audio forums these days, you might not have accurate information.

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Re: Thread Hijack - why did that planet story get taken away?

As one poster puts it, Niburu has been found so the story has been removed to keep the conspiracy theorists happy. As a conspiracy theorist myself I find it much more interesting now I have to get it from the web cache.

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Anonymous Coward

If the Linux "all software must be crossplatform" didn't come up with the ill conceived "ALinuxSA", you linux people wouldn't be in the big audio clusterfuck you are now.

In turn, all of us using sane systems, had to deal with porting stuff that depended on these unneccessary libraries.

That's the problem with Linux coders. No discipline or maturity. If it doesn't work, no-one can be bothered to fix it, they just have to come up with a new shiny-shiny..

udev/devd/devfs/Hal oss/alsa/ blah blah.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Just ditch Linux for FreeBSD.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

I'd say it's more because of the music production.

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Re: Thread Hijack - why did that planet story get taken away?

The story is still on The Register. You will have to click on "Older Stories" to see it now, and it has a picture of the interior of a space ship instead of a picture of the Sun, plus some minor wording changes, from the cached page you point to, but it's still there.

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Anonymous Coward

Pale Moon

"So here's what I'm thinking: As MATE was to GNOME, it's time for a FIREFOX FORK!"

It's been here a few years already, it's called Pale Moon. Try it.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Well in that case I'd be eternally grateful (and I am being 100% serious here) if you could tell me , step by step, how to get my Focusrite 18i8 interface to talk to my Reaper DAW under Ubuntu Studio (17.04 Zesty Zapus) as I'm completely at a loss.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

Ubuntu forum???

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

...FIREFOX FORK...?

It's already out there. Get hold of Pale Moon.

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Re: I recently ditched Firefox.

http://linux.palemoon.org/

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There is no one true browser

How many versions of WebKit and Blink are there out there?

It shouldn't be a problem to develop for Gecko too if you stick to standards, it's not as if Firefox is like IE where you need to design a page again for it.

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Re: There is no one true browser

Indeed, it is just a matter of interface preference. I have a liking for Firefox because of some plugins that make it work especially well for me. Nevertheless, surely I'm not the only one who runs numerous browsers because many have useful features that I like from time to time. Why only use one browser?

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Anonymous Coward

Spinning plates

Too many variations in packages lead to the developer's nightmare of "keeping the plates spinning" ***.

It becomes a never-ending task to keep your code compatible for all your users. When one browser changes - then you have a support task to bring it back into line. Solving that problem may introduce other problems with other browsers - known as the "squeezing the balloon"***** situation.

***in the days of simple public entertainments - a "variety show" would often include a juggling act. One common set piece was to start a series of plates spinning on the end of long sticks dotted round the stage. As each one was started the earlier ones were running down and had to be given a fresh impetus. Eventually they were all spinning but occupying all the person's time as different ones started to approach the point of slowing where they would drop off their stick.

*****when you squeeze a balloon - a bulge gets displaced elsewhere in the balloon's shape.

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Re: Spinning plates

You know who really likes spinning plates?

People paid to spin plates.

Windows is an extremely troublesome piece of software - just this week I'm having to deal with our Windows clients ignoring Group Policy rules for no apparent reason. If it worked correctly the first time and every time then I'd be out of a job.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spinning plates

"I'd be out of a job"

Ehhh no.

The purpose of support is to keep the ball rolling into the future, not keep plates spinning in the present.

You should be giving your clients a competitive edge not maintaining the status quo.

While break/fix is heroic and it takes balls of steel, its by no means the reason professionals like us exist.

I tend to do my best work when im helping businesses improve their processes and make them more efficient, not when Im firefighting.

Also, I aim to have to do as little as possible for my retainers to increase their value. Troubleshooting and firefighting cost me time and therefore money.

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