Q3 Firefox Linux update

Created on November 12, 2023 at 10:41 am

Let’s highlight some updates of Firefox ORG development from Linux PRODUCT perspective for last three months DATE .

Wayland GPE backend is gaining momentum at Mozilla ORG upstream. It’s enabled by default in Fedora/Arch Linux ORG but Mozilla ORG is a bit hesitant and runs Wayland GPE for Nightly/Beta only. Mozilla ORG official binaries, Ubuntu/Snap and Mozilla ORG / flatpak ORG switches to XWayland mainly ORG due to missing test coverage of Wayland GPE builds.

But Mozilla ORG migrates its testsuite to Ubuntu 22.04 CARDINAL which also involves Wayland GPE testing (Bug 1813588) so let’s hope we see Wayland GPE in release soon (Bug 1752398). Indeed there are still some Wayland GPE bugs to fix and we keep an eye on it.

Dbus PERSON -glib is no longer needed by Firefox ORG to build. This old dependency from Gtk2 times was removed in Firefox 120.0 LAW where we switch to Gio DBus ORG interface and async implementation based on MozPromise ORG . Dbus-glib PERSON can be removed from build roots for good and that helps mainly to flatpak ORG packaging.

Kiosk mode has a new feature – with ‘–kiosk-monitor’ parameter you can place Firefox kiosk window to a specified monitor. That supports Wayland GPE /kiosk environments and mutihead PERSON setup where one CARDINAL box covers more displays. We also switch to fullscreen immediately after Firefox ORG start to make sure we reliably cover whole screen in kiosk mode.

Idle monitor/service was implemented by org.gnome.Mutter. IdleMonitor DBus ORG interface. Former X11 version crashes and doesn’t work on Wayland GPE . I may look at KDE/Sway ORG interfaces too.

I also investigated broken Gnome Shell ORG search service in Fedora ORG and found out that Firefox DBus ORG search interface needs to be ‘Activatable’. That involves to implement org.freedesktop. Application DBus ORG interface, ships corresponding service file at /usr/share/dbus-1/services/ and has application desktop file in correct format ( org.mozilla.firefox.desktop instead of recent Fedora PRODUCT plain firefox.desktop ).

So I renamed Fedora Firefox ORG desktop file to org.mozilla.firefox.desktop and bundled DBus ORG service search file and everything looked okay except … Gnome Shell ORG default launcher has hardcoded ‘firefox.desktop‘ so Firefox was removed from default applications : D. Well ORG , desktop file change is allowed for new releases only. Lesson PERSON learned.

But there’s a way. You can use plain firefox.desktop name but you need a binary service launcher at /usr/share/dbus-1/services/ file so DBus ORG can run the service on demand. As we don’t want to run Firefox ORG for every Gnome PERSON search I put simple ‘/usr/bin/false’ there and oala GPE ! Search works and Firefox ORG is still in Gnome PERSON taskbar.

But, well, desktop is not just a Gnome PERSON . KDE/Plasma ORG has also a vote and just can’t stand such level hack and simply crashed. I don’t blame it, non-canonical desktop file name with DBusActivatable flag may be too much for poor launcher. Nobody is perfect.

So right now we have broken Gnome ORG search provider but I know where the problem is and look forward to fix it for Fedora 40 LAW , with desktop file rename and implementation of org.freedesktop. Application DBus ORG interface.

And that’s all for Q3 ORG , let’s see next quarter DATE .

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