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Update gecko in the browser

asked 2016-04-29 02:45:22 +0300

balta gravatar image

The browser engine of the default browser is based on Gecko (Firefox) 31 at the moment. This ESR version is EOL nearly a year now, and even the next ESR version (38) will be EOL in a few weeks. The current ESR version would be 45.

A newer browser engine would not only give us a better web experience and support for newer web technologies, it would even allow the access to security related fixes.

Before I look in the sources to try to build a newer one myself, is it planned to update the engine? Are there any problems using the newer version? Has anybody already tried it?

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Reality is that embedlte and qtmozembed are not maintained themselves, so it is not possible to update gecko in SFOS.

Frankly speaking would be much better to update Qt to 5.6 LTS and use provided qtwebengine instead.

AnonUser4803 ( 2016-04-29 13:02:26 +0300 )edit

is sailors backporting security fixes for the browser? if so why get latest browser engine which is bigger and more resource hungry? is there something that current browser engine is missing? i think it is better set baseline and fix security issues and not get new fangled things.

alloj ( 2016-04-29 16:31:21 +0300 )edit

I second updating Gecko – and I'd like to see better privacy control alive. There are (unfortunately) more than cookies!

robertb ( 2016-05-06 14:33:19 +0300 )edit

Updating Gecko is a must, more and more websites everyday are not browsable anymore with the Jolla stock browser.

romu70 ( 2016-05-31 14:30:22 +0300 )edit

9 Answers

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answered 2020-01-02 13:27:39 +0300

pasikarkkainen gravatar image

updated 2020-01-02 13:45:58 +0300

The problem with updating sailfish-browser in sailfishos is (afaik) mostly related to the way how the firefox/gecko engine is integrated to sailfish QT UI using qtmozembed/embedlite components.

The related components are deprecated upstream, so a new method for integration needs to be developed. And then there's the problem with (still) having too old compiler/toolchain in sailfishos, for example total lack of Rust support, which is required for latest firefox components.

Once the compiler/toolchain is updated (as mentioned in the jolla 2020 roadmap blog post), it should be easier to get progress with updating the browser engine and related components.

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You can just use the rust compiler form https://static.rust-lang.org/rustup/dist/armv7-unknown-linux-gnueabihf/rustup-init AFAIK or am I missing something?

bomo ( 2020-01-06 20:05:15 +0300 )edit

Well, for one getting a compiler as a binary from a website on the Internet does not seem very safe. Distros generally build & periodically rebuild everything from the source code, including the compilers.

MartinK ( 2020-01-06 22:44:56 +0300 )edit

Compiling is really not the issue here. The issue is mainly priority, I'd say, on Jolla's side.

tortoisedoc ( 2020-01-07 22:28:34 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-03-18 17:00:26 +0300

pat_o gravatar image

Jolla is working on upgrading gecko to ESR 52


That is good news even if likely not ideal and unclear when targeted to be released

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ESR 52 is better than nothing. The last esr version before quantum.

atlochowski ( 2020-03-18 17:14:42 +0300 )edit

Each ESR is a lot of work, jumping to newer ESR directly might be too difficult. Let's see what the future brings :)

Dylan Van Assche ( 2020-03-18 19:27:30 +0300 )edit

I know it's not a trivial task. I'm happy that Jolla is working on update.

atlochowski ( 2020-03-18 21:56:34 +0300 )edit

I'm happy that something is happenning too, but ESR 52 is EOL since June 26, 2018. I hope that they keep working on it in the near future, so that we are on a supported version someday in 2020.

sailr ( 2020-03-18 23:37:18 +0300 )edit

From the community meeting I gather, that this is unlikely to be released. It is just a stepping stone for a newer ESR. Making the jump to the newest ESR in one step would be to hard, so they are jumping ESRs one at a time, but it is not quite clear, which version is intended to be released then.

KuroNeko ( 2020-03-22 09:48:36 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-01-01 12:13:21 +0300

Github is complaining that the browser is too old and not supported anymore.

image description

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Some features on github are not working anymore as of now. Gecko 45 is far too old :(

balta ( 2020-01-01 13:07:39 +0300 )edit

@Edz thanks for the link. So there is no activity for a newer engine version, that's sad

balta ( 2020-01-01 14:04:55 +0300 )edit

@balta: they'd have to completely replace Gecko since Mozilla's Firefox now uses a new one called Servo

rozgwi ( 2020-01-01 17:11:35 +0300 )edit

@rozgwi that is simply wrong, servo is still experimental and will never replace gecko, it will just be migrated part by part and they started this with quantum (the css engine) I can just imagine rust is a problem here because of the very old toolchain in SailfishOS.

balta ( 2020-01-01 19:47:13 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-01-07 21:07:11 +0300

leighelse gravatar image

updated 2020-01-07 21:11:32 +0300

I've never seen CSS issues in Firefox. I have experienced a few brief instances of "Google lockout" where Alphabet services have limited effectiveness with non-Chromium (and sometimes non-Chrome) browsers. But as I actively avoid Google products, such experiences are rare.

Firefox with the ability to install add-ons would be my dream browser solution for Sailfish OS. I do not want to see the world end up with only one rendering engine in multiple flavours. As a consequence I'm a strong advocate and supporter of Firefox.

Opera would be a second-best solution that would always have me looking over my shoulder for an alternative mobile OS that supported Firefox. It ranks about the same with me as sticking with the current default Sailfish OS browser.

I do have Webcat installed, but only for its reader mode. I really would not welcome a default Webkit browser in Sailfish OS.

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I still not dive into Webkit variants etc It would be possible to have a browser with same rendering of Safari? :-D

minojolla ( 2020-01-08 21:57:26 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-01-01 17:20:29 +0300

rozgwi gravatar image

updated 2020-01-01 23:49:17 +0300

now we have Gecko ESR 45, which is 'as good as it gets'.
anything newer most probably will require porting to Mozilla's Servo Engine (nonsense, thanks to @balta for pointing that out).

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45 ESR is not the lastest before quantum. There is Firefox 52 ESR which is more recent and the latest before switching to quantum and the rust rewrites.

I guess we all agree that an updated Firefox-based browser is a must.

orangecat ( 2020-01-02 11:24:58 +0300 )edit

yes, indeed.

and I better shut up since I don't have a clue :)

rozgwi ( 2020-01-02 13:22:19 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-01-16 20:48:49 +0300

Nerevareeeeeeee gravatar image

updated 2020-01-16 20:49:52 +0300

I've tried adding armv7 opensuse repo. Being several versions newer and X based it bricked the system after FF installation. Turns out desktop FF UI needs GTK to run and GTK drags a bunch of X stuff with it etc.

Next thing I've tried was chroot (https://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=98882). And, hey, it worked! Holy-moley, you don't want to experience desktop FF on a phone unless you have a micro pp to operate it and a jeweler's monocle nearby.

All that brought me to "realization" what it needs a native GUI. FYI: after Windows Phone fiasco Mozilla would not port FF to an another obscure OS.

Maybe someone can frankenstein android FF UI into sailfish but I doubt it.

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gtk runs on wayland. firefox runs on wayland also. the issue is probably the compositor that works with a deprecated wayland protocol.

Lipstick needs to be ported to the newer and i am not sure if QT also needs to be fixed since this protocol is supported on versiong 5.10 and up.

ApB ( 2020-01-16 21:22:49 +0300 )edit

Yeah, FF suported wayland since 2016 or something. The one from opensuse used X tho (and there were more other packages added/replaced). My point was, we take lots of mobile UI improvements for granted until we try to use our phones without them. Standard SFOS browser with a bit newer gecko will do for me.

Nerevareeeeeeee ( 2020-01-16 22:17:18 +0300 )edit

"Supported" probably. Only the last few months with red hat dedicating a dev to it it started to work. And it still has ways to go. On the desktop at least. And while a newer gecko would be nice there are more features from firefox i'd like to be able to use. Ie sync stuff etc. Mozilla porting FF on SFOS (native) would be ideal. But they don't care.

ApB ( 2020-01-16 23:04:43 +0300 )edit

the integration is a big part of the work; keep in mind the browser engine is used at every need by the os. Its not "just" the browser. Something more flexible is required. Like servo.

tortoisedoc ( 2020-01-17 08:06:11 +0300 )edit

Servo is basically Mozilla's development "pseudo-branch", with parts of it periodically merged into mainstream Gecko as part of Quantum.

Servo will never be considered mainstream, instead most of the current parts of Servo will end up in Gecko Quanrum at some point in the future (and by that time Servo might contain even newer experimental tech).

DrYak ( 2020-01-17 09:23:05 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-01-02 14:25:03 +0300

tortoisedoc gravatar image

So no alternative exists for embedded engines , on the firefox front? Considering firefox plans for the future involve in adoping servo; and considering the toolchain already allows for compilation of rust (see http://kastlunger.blogspot.com/2019/04/lets-do-time-warp-again-or-compile-llvm.html), what is stopping us to adopt servo?

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answered 2020-01-06 11:51:50 +0300

ruskie gravatar image

Why focus on firefox - maybe something like basing it off of Palemoon might be better? https://www.palemoon.org/

Just an idea.

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Isn't palemoon just an old Firefox fork?

balta ( 2020-01-06 12:48:02 +0300 )edit

No it's not. It did fork and refork and rebase a few times but overall the developers are working on it on their own and implementing security features and such like.

ruskie ( 2020-01-06 13:10:01 +0300 )edit

so it is an old/new fork

tortoisedoc ( 2020-01-07 22:26:51 +0300 )edit

I love the way this forum cannot deal with 2020 and displays the year as '0 - the sort of programming that plagues the world. But I digress.

Palemoon on Android got deprecated, sadly, and the UI was based on no longer supported FF code. As a PM user for a very long time on Win and OSX, that is unfortunate.

I have moved over to Kiwi Browser running under Android on SFOS. Based on Chromium, it is IMHO considerably better than the alternatives. Chromium, as I understand it, is the open source version of Chrome, without all the Goggle garbage (correct my error if this isn't so).

I recognise that a native browser is needed. Would we be better served by switching to something different than what we have, like Kiwi?

DrDweeb ( 2020-01-17 03:46:14 +0300 )edit

answered 2020-01-06 12:57:28 +0300

updated 2020-01-06 12:58:26 +0300

It's time to switch to Chromium, like a sort of Opera variant. Jolla need something solid at the center of the UX of a smartphone.

Over the year I noticed how many css issue had Firefox. This - once Jolla decide for the effort of update the Browser app - will allow for a Browser aligned with Opera and Chrome, the way most of the web is rendered.

In the long term is less work, as for the Opera developers who at a certain point they had to switch on Chroumium.

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@minojolla: I use Firefox as a daily driver on my desktop and I haven’t seen these CSS issues you mention. If you refer to issues in the Sailfish browser, it’s understandable since that version is pretty outdated.

Mohjive ( 2020-01-06 13:18:03 +0300 )edit

No thanks. We already have an IE6 issue with Chrome/Chromium - I want Chrome/Chromium to stop breaking sites for other browsers. But we are again at a monoculture of browsers that was IE6. There are websites that work poorly or not at all in anything other then Chrome/Chromium based. We need different browsers - not just one.

ruskie ( 2020-01-06 13:40:44 +0300 )edit

Aren't Chromium-based browser memory-hogs? I haven't seen any problems on desktop with Firefox Quantum unless you count the Youtube loading tiny bit faster with Chrome because Google has added some non-standard coding there to make other browsers little bit slower. Maybe they can update the Sailfish-browser engine to newer within this decade, but I don't see any reason to change to Chromium.

avhakola ( 2020-01-06 14:01:06 +0300 )edit

Why you SHOULD use Firefox

orangecat ( 2020-01-06 15:50:14 +0300 )edit

yes I refer to issues along old years. For sure between 2013- 2016 I noticed rendering issues that needed some custom CSS...

What about a native Opera?

minojolla ( 2020-01-06 16:37:23 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2016-04-29 02:45:22 +0300

Seen: 3,699 times

Last updated: Mar 18 '20