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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Fri, 23 May 2014

The latest Google Chrome browser is segfaulting in Fedora 20

I don't run Google Chrome all that often in Linux, though I run it all the time in Windows.

But I do keep Chrome, via Google's repository, on my Fedora 20 system.

So I try to run it today and it segfaults (I know because it kills X and I see "segfault" in the console messages).

I searched (yes, using Google) and couldn't find anything on this.

I can't remember if I've used this particular version of Google Chrome successfully before my most recent reinstall of AMD Catalyst (via the Fedora 19 packages in RPM Fusion).

Right now I'm unwilling to uninstall Catalyst just to test Chrome, especially because I'm primarily a Firefox user on this machine.

Tue, 25 Feb 2014

Firefox vs. Chrome on Windows and Linux

I spent quite a bit of time running Google Chrome/Chromium on both Windows and Linux, but between feeling uncomfortable giving away so much data to Google (when logged in on Chrome) and how well Firefox performs on Linux (which is very well from what I can see), I now use Firefox about 99 percent of the time in Fedora 20.

But on my Windows 7 work machine, which is a more powerful (quad-core AMD to my laptop's dual-core, with 8 GB of RAM to the laptop's 4 GB), I flip it, using Chrome about 99 percent of the time.

So I've been switching it up to see how I might like using more Chrome in Linux and more Firefox in Windows.

I'll keep it short. There's nothing about Chrome on my laptop in Fedora 20 that makes me want to use it. It's no faster and no more stable. And SELinux doesn't much like it (and I get warnings).

I spent the whole day yesterday in Windows 7 on my big box running Firefox (version 27 on both machines for the record) for everything. It was measurably slower, and I had a few periods of non-responsiveness, especially with my customary 15-20 open tabs.

This means I'll be sticking with Firefox on my Linux-running laptop (and for my personal use, where I'm not so crazy about Google spying and Chrome on my workplace desktop, where I'm already using Google Apps and am not doing any personal business (and could care less if Google knows about my web use as it relates).

Thu, 30 Aug 2012

When I try to arrange bookmarks in the Chromium or Google Chrome browsers in Debian Wheezy, the app crashes

Update: I only have this problem with the Chrome/Chromium menu while running the GNOME 3 desktop environment. In Xfce, everything is fine.

The original entry starts here:

I guess I should file a bug report against Chromium in Debian Wheezy about the following:

When I go into the menu in either Chromium or Google Chrome (yes, I have both) and try to edit the bookmarks, the browser crashes. So I can't re-arrange my bookmarks in these two browsers.

FYI, re-arranging bookmarks in Firefox/Iceweasel not only works but is extremely intuitive: You can drag/move bookmarks right in the bookmarks menu -- no need to go to a special bookmarks-editing screen to change the order of a bunch of bookmarks. Thanks, Mozilla!

Fri, 17 Aug 2012

The Firefox ESR -- aka Extended Support Release -- is what CentOS (and most likely RHEL) is using

Firefox in CentOS (and by extension Stella) right now is version 10.0.x. I wondered why.

Well, it's because those very-long-term support distros are using the Extended Support Release of Firefox. Read more about ESR here, here and here, and if you want to try the ESR version of Firefox, start here.

Wed, 04 Jul 2012

Epiphany, aka 'Web,' is fast and light in GNOME 3

Despite not being able to render Flash content without excessive (too much so for me) tweaking, the Epiphany browser (which the GNOME people are half-heartedly trying to brand not as Epiphany but as Web) has gained some speed in execution (or "feel") but remains light on the CPU.

It's a nice way to skitter around the web a bit more simply. It starts quickly, responds quickly, and seems to work as well as Chrome (or Chromium). Since both (or all three, if you want to separate Chrome and Chromium, though I do not) use Webkit as the rendering engine, this isn't surprising.

While still unsure overall about GNOME 3/Shell, I endorse Epiphany/Web as a light, alternative browser when you're tired of Firefox and Chrome, or just don't need all that full-featured firepower.

Wed, 13 Jun 2012

I just installed Iceweasel 13 in Debian Squeeze

I finally got Iceweasel 13 installed out of the Mozilla Debian APT archive on my Debian Squeeze system. For at least a week I've been stuck on Iceweasel/Firefox 12 due to dependency issues. dWhile a Debian Forums article didn't provide the exact solution to my problem, it did give me a clue:

Reinstall Iceweasel.

I did that, and I got the new Iceweasel/Firefox as well as the needed dependencies, and thus far nothing appears to be broken.

Read the rest of this post

Thu, 19 Apr 2012

I had an Epiphany ... about the Epiphany Web browser

You know what I'm doing? Using the Epiphany Web browser that ships with GNOME. In my case, that's GNOME 2.30.2 in Debian Squeeze.

Why? I've been having trouble with one of my most-used web-delivered apps in Firefox and Google Chrome.

So I decided to try Epiphany.

Sure it's slower than Chrome. But it compares well with Firefox. And I've solved a few lazy-developer issues (i.e. things that work well in some browsers but not so well in others).

I'll continue testing this over-the-web app with Epiphany. I hope it does more things well. If not, I'll go back to Firefox and Chrome. But if it does, I'll have some nice time ahead of me running Epiphany until GNOME 2.x bites the dust (which could be a very long time in my Debian installation).

One thing I'll be looking at is how Epiphany performs over time. Most browsers bog down in terms of memory usage and processes as the session continues. Both Chrome and Firefox can try one's patience in this regard.

I can't imagine that the Epiphany browser, known by some as the generic app name Web, will be anywhere near the same in GNOME 3. I could be wrong. It could be a whole lot better.

Thu, 12 Apr 2012

Firefox 11 has been crashy enough to get me using Google Chrome

Life is easier when I use Firefox. But lately it's been very crashy in Debian Squeeze. It often just freezes, and I have to wait, let it freeze some more and then finally kill it.

Thus I've been using Google Chrome more and more. It supposedly eats more memory over time, but it's much, much faster, doesn't bog down so early in my session, and pretty much just works.

That's what I need: A browser that doesn't slow down to nothing. I'd like that browser to be Firefox (aka Iceweasel in the Debian world). But now that browser is Google Chrome (and could very well be Chromium when I move to Debian Wheezy).

Wed, 14 Mar 2012

Firefox/Iceweasel 11 a huge improvement? (Answer: No)

I've only been using Firefox 11.0 (known as Iceweasel 11.0 in the world of Debian GNU/Linux) for about a half-hour, but I get the feeling that it's a whole lot faster on the desktop than Firefox 10.

I'll report back when I've been using it for a few hours.

A few hours later: Nope, same old Firefox. After a few hours, it eats enough CPU and memory that you need to quit and restart.

The next day: My first Iceweasel start of the day and the thing hangs. I have to force-quit out of it. Lovely. I'm now using Google Chrome (and will probably be using freer, less-spyish Chromium when I upgrade to Debian Wheezy).

Sun, 24 Jul 2011

Mozilla still (quietly) updating Firefox 3.6.x series

Mozilla is already casting the enterprise market adrift with its stated wish to stop maintaining the Firefox 3.6.x series of the popular web browser in favor of charging through Firefox 4 right into version 5 and coming up on 6 and then who knows what.

Enterprises hate this. They need to build shoddy web-based applications against a browser, and if that browser changes, their apps will likely break.

Hence they need Firefox 3.6.x, if that's what they're building against, to stick around as long as possible.

No, no, NO, says Mozilla. We're in a development frenzy to catch Google Chrome, and we're upsetting the apple cart now for more goodness later.

The enterprise cares nothing for "goodness." It wants sameness, predictability and as little work as possible.

Can't say I blame them.

From a PR standpoint Mozilla is thumbing its nose at any enterprise users who decided to throw in with a browser that isn't Internet Explorer (and for large bases of users, switching browser allegiance isn't something that happens very often — and yes, they are where you, as an individual, were 10 years ago).

Despite all this, I still have updates coming to my remaining Firefox 3.6-running machines (of which there are more than a few, especially because there's not Firefox 4 or 5 for Macintosh PowerPC unless you count TenFourFox).

Yes, they all recently climbed to 3.6.19.

But if you can find the Mozilla Firefox 3.6 page, there is supposedly an end in sight for 3.6.x:

Firefox 3.6.x will be maintained with security and stability updates for a short amount of time. All users are strongly encouraged to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox.

If Mozilla wises up (and I hope they do), they'll continue patching Firefox 3.6.x for security issues for at least the next year if not two.

They don't seem ready or willing to do this, but I bet they're plenty able. Especially if they want to cement (and not rend) its relationship with enterprise users.