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Firefox The Internet Ubuntu Linux

Firefox Goes PulseAudio Only, Leaves ALSA Users With No Sound (omgubuntu.co.uk) 322

An anonymous reader shares a report: If you're a Linux user who upgraded to Firefox 52 only to find that the browser no longer plays sound, you're not alone. Firefox 52 saw release last week and it makes PulseAudio a hard dependency -- meaning ALSA only desktops are no longer supported. Ubuntu uses PulseAudio by default (as most modern Linux distributions do) so the switch won't affect most -- but some Linux users and distros do prefer, for various reasons, to use ALSA, which is part of the Linux kernel. Lubuntu 16.04 LTS is one of the distros that use ALSA by default. Lubuntu users who upgraded to Firefox 52 through the regular update channel were, without warning, left with a web browser that plays no sound. Lubuntu 16.10 users are not affected as the distro switched to PulseAudio.
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Firefox Goes PulseAudio Only, Leaves ALSA Users With No Sound

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  • This is silly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mvdwege ( 243851 ) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:02PM (#54060131) Homepage Journal
    While I quite like PulseAudio, does it even run on anything but ALSA? And would therefore maintaining the old ALSA-only codepath in parallel not be much of an imposition?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Desler ( 1608317 )

      While I quite like PulseAudio, does it even run on anything but ALSA?

      Yes, hence why it can be used on BSDs, Solaris and macOS.

    • by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:12PM (#54060249) Homepage

      I didn't know they where still maintaining ALSA audio. Did they get all the bugs fixed in PulseAudio? None of my Linux machines have any audio on them at all, so I'm a little out of date.

      • Re:This is silly (Score:5, Informative)

        by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:16PM (#54060285)

        Pulse is just an alsa client. Alsa isn't unmaintained. It is the defacto sound system for linux.

      • Re:This is silly (Score:5, Informative)

        by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:22PM (#54060329) Homepage Journal

        ALSA works great. PulseAudio uses it for actual output. Most apps that output sound will use ALSO if PulseAudio isn't available. So the quickest way to fix most Linux audio problems is to uninstall PulseAudio.

      • by xororand ( 860319 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @04:54PM (#54061761)

        ALSA headquarters [imgur.com]

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      The ALSA code was subject to a number of bugs that they didn't have the resources to fix. They'll probably be more than welcome to accept your patches to fix the bugs

      • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        Oh fuck off with your defensive attitude. This coder-centric kind of thinking is one factor why Firefox has been haemorrhaging market share.

        Frankly, the only reason I am still on it is because it is the least bad browser. Attitudes like yours do not help.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        What bugs were those? In the years I've used firefox with pulse-free systems, I've never encountered any issues.

    • While I quite like PulseAudio, does it even run on anything but ALSA? And would therefore maintaining the old ALSA-only codepath in parallel not be much of an imposition?

      Qt and KDE replaced dependency on PulseAudio and GStreamer with Phonon (developed by KDE, and for a while part of Qt) because supporting multiple backends was a PITA and PulseAudio made it even worse.

      Anyone in their right mind would not use PulseAudio - another bastard child of Poettering that he developed before systemd.

  • so the saying goes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:06PM (#54060181) Homepage
    "pulseaudio/systemd isnt a requirement, you can use something else if you dont like it"
    --Lennart Poettering
    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      You could say that about virtually every software library. Qt isn't required either. Unless you choose to use software that depends on it.

  • by volkerdi ( 9854 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:07PM (#54060189)

    All you need is the --enable-alsa configure option. The resulting Firefox will prefer PulseAudio if it is present, but will use pure ALSA if it is not.

    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:43PM (#54060511)

      --enable-alsa will go away in Firefox 54. And the build system of Firefox is insane, so you can't expect a regular user to recompile.

      With PulseAudio being criminally broken (case in point: doesn't work on the box I sit my butt at right at the moment), the effect is that Firefox has no sound.

    • So if you're running Gentoo, the ebuilds should configure Firefox for you just like always, and you'll never notice this change. Or at least until version 54 when it really goes away and suddenly you're wondering why media-sound/pulseaudio is a required dependency for upgrading.

  • Firechrome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:07PM (#54060199)
    It went all down hill after 3.6.
  • Feature? (Score:5, Funny)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:08PM (#54060213)

    Note for people bothered by the incessant chattering of auto-play content in their browser, this could be a feature and not a bug!!

    • This. For video and audio on the web, there are much better tools. I basically youtube-dl | mplayer so I can watch the fscking video instead of watching a browser. I'm old enough to remember sharing fun videos online before Youtube, and I guess we can all go back to a decent web again.

      Als[ao], those who do not understand ALSA (with dmix) are doomed to reimplement it, poorly.

  • Sadly for production boxes this was the decision the moment we realized they stopped support for NPAPI plugins. And more people on slashdot did the same... https://tech.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

    This isn't the way to go but really we've had enough aggravation with old certificates, unsupported encryption algorithms and so on. Just give me the yes, I really want to run this and leave me alone. Noooo, users are too stupid to be trusted, they'll click anything. I'm on 192.168. or 10. for f*k sake!

    Well users are too

    • by bucky0 ( 229117 )

      My pet peeve -- all the IPMI management consoles whose SSL causes firefox/chrome to refuse to even allow you to request to ignore the weak encryption, then the java console access applets which new versions of Java refuse to let you load.

      All of our IPMI interfaces are connected via a physically separate network, which only a single locked-down machine has access to. It ends up being quicker to open a ticket to ask someone down in the DC go touch the hardware instead of trying to manage some things remotely

      • by markus ( 2264 )

        Or you could take the hit once and spend half a day writing a script that requests certificates from LetsEncrypt and pushes them to your IPMI controllers. These days, there really is no good excuse for lack of proper certificates other than either laziness or using really poorly designed consumer-grade hardware. Even ancient enterprise-grade hardware has always had support for installing custom certificates. It's really not that difficult, and it even makes your network a little more secure. How much more s

        • by gmack ( 197796 )
          That is of course, assuming that the IPMI controllers are net accessible and that the IPMI controllers allow you to update the SSL certificate to something with modern encryption. The first problem is solvable by creating a local certificate authority. The second one is not solvable at all..
        • by bucky0 ( 229117 )

          If the problem was certificates, we would've pushed new certificates. It's the ancient SSL/TLS implementations that are the problem.

          I agree that IPMI controllers, in general, don't have their security well-implemented. That's the whole reason we have a physically isolated network for the IPMI traffic in the first place.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:10PM (#54060237) Journal
    PulseAudio won. Even Slackware gave up and enables pulse audio by default.
    • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:44PM (#54060527)

      Only if "produces no sound on hardware where plain ALSA works perfectly" counts as winning for you.

      • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @03:07PM (#54060771) Journal

        It's LennartCode. As long as it works on his machine and at least 90% of machines out there, it's going to be adopted. Kind of like systemd. I'm only a hater because there's a severe problem on my laptop which I can't debug and no one has been able to offer any advice on.

        Now I'm not one to easily take offence (despite what many here seem to think), but THIS is offensive:

        https://www.freedesktop.org/wi... [freedesktop.org]

        Quoth the page:

        "As PulseAudio forms part of what is typically preferred to as the plumbing layer of Linux userspace, it is a non-trivial job to integrate it fully to form a complete system. This is why we strongly encourage you to go via your distribution whenever possible."

        When did hell did Linux become a "fuck you don't touch the innards" system?

        • by Quietti ( 257725 )
          You probably meant "fuck you, don't touch the Lennart" I presume?
          • When did hell did Linux become a "fuck you don't touch the innards" system?

            You probably meant "fuck you, don't touch the Lennart" I presume?

            Let's compromise. I think we can *all* agree on: "fuck you, don't touch Lennart's innards"

        • "As PulseAudio forms part of what is typically preferred to as the plumbing layer of Linux userspace, it is a non-trivial job to integrate it fully to form a complete system. This is why we strongly encourage you to go via your distribution whenever possible."

          A clear sign of an over-complex system: one which even programmers and sysadmins are advised to not touch.

  • by secretagentmoof ( 1101717 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @02:18PM (#54060307)
    Since all the power users will bail at the 57pocalypse anyway, Mozilla is subtly trying to encourage earlier migration.
  • That Lennart Poettering guy is on a roll

    [ducks and takes cover from the brigades with pitchforks, torches and flamethrowers]

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      Don't forget avahi, another brilliant masterpiece of software engineering. /s

    • Next from "Poettering Labs", previously known as Redhat...... PoetterIX, All the software you've come to love, all rolled into one (previously known as Redhat/Debian) /s

      (or *am* I being sarcastic?? wait and see....)

  • Firefox needs to get on board, and work in the environments that are present, not the environment they want.
  • Fake news... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mi ( 197448 )

    Firefox 52 saw release last week and it makes PulseAudio a hard dependency -- meaning ALSA only desktops are no longer supported.

    This is simply not true:

    .../work/firefox-52.0 (1007) ./configure --help |& grep alsa
    --enable-alsa

    Quite obviously, ALSA remains an option...

    • by Foresto ( 127767 )

      "This is simply not true."

      It absolutely is true. ALSA is no longer an option in official or standard builds, and Mozilla does not support custom builds.

      Even if they were supported, making custom builds of Firefox every time there's an update would be a waste of time, and sticking with a single custom build would be a foolish security risk. Easier and safer to switch browsers.

      Also, Mozilla is planning to remove the compile-time option completely in Firefox 54, breaking ALSA systems even in custom builds.

      Bye

  • When I was hired at my current employer in 2012, I got a Thinkpad T-series laptop. I installed Debian Squeeze with the XFCE desktop environment on it, and it worked beautifully. I dist-upgraded that installation to Wheezy when that release was made. No problems, everything just continued working. After Wheezy became oldstable, I dist-upgraded to Jessie. No problems, everything just continued working. A few months ago, I switched to a Skylake-powered desktop machine, simply by transferring all the data on th

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Sorry, if I can avoid Poetterix-contamination, I will.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @04:25PM (#54061501)

      So you equate your rather limited usecase and expectations with everyone elses needs, call them whiners, and then top it off with a nice appeal to antiquity fallacy.

      Great.

    • by Foresto ( 127767 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @04:35PM (#54061579) Homepage

      Your anecdote is pretty, but irrelevant. We already know that PulseAudio works for some people. It does not work for everyone.

      (I am genuinely happy to know that this part of your life is easy, though.)

    • My stereo headset becomes the active, default output once I plug it in, and the speakers assume that role as soon as I unplug it.

      Back in the day, this used to be a hardwired thing, using tiny switch elements in the socket. In my current systems, the ALSA driver presents an auto-mute feature for when you plug in the headset. (The headset will go mute again when you unplug it, using a different kind of magic.) Now if you need a userspace daemon to do this, does it mean the kernel driver should become a lot simpler?

    • by c ( 8461 )

      Bottom line, I guess: PulseAudio in 2017 _just effin' works_. Save yourself some time, skip the whining and bitching, get with the times and install it already.

      Yeah, we did, because users apparently need Firefox to play sound.

      Now we need to figure out why some of our systems are bogging down or completely freezing.

      I'm not saying you're entirely wrong, but you might have reversed the words "effin' works"...

    • by preflex ( 1840068 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @06:49PM (#54062579)

      Bottom line, I guess: PulseAudio in 2017 _just effin' works_.

      Just effin' works? You gotta' be effin' kiddin' me.

      Pulse is _barely acceptable_ if you ONLY deal with stereo.
      If you're using 5.1, or better yet, 7.1, you are sooooo fucked.

      1. Pulseaudio has "enable_remixing" enabled by default.
      This effectively ruins stereo content when played back on surround hardware. It sends L to L, SL, BL, and C. It sends R to R, SR, BR, and C. Do you see the problem here? C=L+R.
      Bonus, it will also synthesize a LFE channel for you. LFE=L+R lowpassed at 200hz.

      This can be disabled in the config file. I've never seen any pulseaudio manager with an option for it.

      2. ZERO of the about 40 linux games which support surround in my steam library actually work properly in 7.1. (This might be steam runtime's fault). It invents channels that don't exist in a 7.1 configuration. Instead of SL and SR, there is a Front-Left-of-Center and, Front-Right-of-Center.

      If remixing is disabled, you will have no output on SL and SR. If remixing is enabled, you will have incorrect output on SL and SR (A mix of the front and rear channels).

      3. If you're trying to set up 5.1 over optical SPDIF, may god have mercy on your soul. Good luck getting it to output 5.1 DTS. I was only ever able to get stereo, but I hear it's doable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla is largely used by tech-savvy people. I use it because I can mod the living daylights out of it, from about:config, to the way it acts, looks, performs using on-baord tweaks or add-ons. No other browser allows this level of customisation. Mozilla are losing users because they cannot leave well enough alone.

    • Mozilla is largely use to be used by tech-savvy people. I use it because I can mod the living daylights out of it, from about:config, to the way it acts, looks, performs using on-baord tweaks or add-ons. No other browser allows this level of customisation. Mozilla are losing users because they cannot leave well enough alone.

      FTFY. With changes Mozilla is making, they are quickly killing their long time user-base. By FF57 they will have probably 50% of their current users.

      I've been a long fan of Firefox due to the TabGroups (Panorama) functionality. FF57 will see an end to that as the new API that the add-ons must use can't support it. Add on to that the massive memory/cpu bloating that has gone on lately, and Firefox is being replaced more and more with Chrome.

  • Microsoft is obviously the way to go for long term support. </troll>
  • All I ever do is click the mute button on the tab that just opened that obnoxious self-playing video.
  • Pulseaudio is nortiously linux-specific. We've had nothing but trouble trying to use it on BSD and switched to ALSA (which is a lot more reliable on BSDs) a year or two ago for that reason.

    I guess that's the end of Firefox's portability. Most of our users use Chromium anyway because Firefox has been so unstable and crash-prone. Long live Chromium?

    -Matt

  • That makes it even easier to make sure that websites can't make noise at me.

  • by Foresto ( 127767 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @06:57PM (#54062615) Homepage

    Mozilla developers planned this last year, and when watchful users objected in the related issue [mozilla.org], Mozilla staff closed it to comments. They then pushed the system-breaking change to the world, with no mention of it in the release notes [archive.org]. When users whose systems were broken said so in a bug report [mozilla.org], Mozilla closed it to comments, too.

    I understand the need to minimize clutter in bug reports, but by taking away the only existing channel for users to engage with decision-makers, Mozilla is effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and telling their community to suck it up. How ironic that this was done by Mozilla's engineering community manager. How telling that his public comment invited people to email him to discuss it directly (making himself look good on record), yet he has completely ignored email messages sent to him in the days since then.

    I always thought that one of the open source community's greatest strengths was our dedication to helping one another. When I write free software, and encourage people to use and depend on it in their daily lives, I take care to avoid causing unnecessary problems for them in future updates, even if their needs are different from my own. If I do cause such a problem and a bunch of them take the time to identify and report it, I see that as a sign that I made a mistake, I take responsibility for my actions, and I return their favor by spending a bit of time reworking my design.

    I do this work partly for personal satisfaction in creating quality software, and partly because I don't like jerking people around, but mostly because I know that my time donated to the community is repaid indirectly, through all the contributions those people make to other open source projects. One of them might be writing the documentation for my favorite version control system, another might be using unusual hardware that exposes an OS bug that I'll need fixed next year, and others might have donated money or suggested a good design idea to projects that make my life easier in some other way. I give a little in the short term, and in return, I receive a lot in the long term.

    This ecosystem of diverse and indirect contributions works amazingly well. I don't believe we would have Firefox, Chrome, MacOS (remember its Mach & BSD roots?), Android, Linux, or hundreds of thousands of other wonderful things if not for people in different situations helping one another like this.

    So, when developers of a project like Firefox shut out a cross-section of the community that made their jobs possible and from whom they will almost certainly continue to benefit over time, it seems greedy to me. When they deliberately break the systems of the people whom they encouraged to depend on their software, especially when it's something so integral to daily life as the web browser, it seems irresponsible to me. And when onlookers choose disrupt the ensuing discussions by slinging useless comments like "freeloader" or "works for me" at other community members despite receiving value every day from this same community, they seem like hypocritical trolls.

    I think we can do better than this. The open source community thrives on diversity and collaboration. Firefox can be replaced, but if we become another monoculture of self-absorbed know-it-alls, we all will have lost an asset of immeasurable value.

    tl;dr: Dear Mozilla, you're doing it wrong.

  • by Thorfinn.au ( 1140205 ) on Friday March 17, 2017 @08:35PM (#54063073)
    hi

    download the source code .rpm
    install in build directory
    edit SOURCES/firefox-mozconfig
    add
    + ac_add_options --disable-pulseaudio
    + ac_add_options --enable-alsa
    delete
    - ac_add_options --enable-pulseaudio
    - ac_add_options --disable-alsa

    build the firefox local rpm
    remove distribution version of firefox and install local version of firefox
    repeat after each update of firefox

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