Firefox 55+ crashing on armv7

Everyone loves the Firefox 57 (Quantum) update which made Firefox feel like a contender again, but on the hardware where that speed increase would really be a great benefit – low end arm devices like the raspberry pi or in crouton on arm based chromebooks – it won’t run. In fact, Firefox version 55+ hasn’t worked on this architecture since earlier this year (2017).

Something changed after version 52 and Firefox will just instantly crash when launched. I only noticed in September when I got around to updating my Xenial (Ubuntu 16) based crouton install which is running on an ASUS C201 (Rockchip powered 11.6″ chromebook) and got Firefox 55. It had been awhile since I’d updated so I didn’t realize there was a problem in August when 55 first came out. I ended up having to dig through the available builds on Canonical’s Launchpad until I found one that would run. The last one that works for me is 52.0.2. I was able to install that manually (with dpkg -i) and then hold off future automatic upgrades (with apt-mark hold firefox).

update: a new build for trusty seems to be working on xenial!

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adding markdown syntax highlighting to notepad++

Markdown isn’t one of the Languages supported by notepad++ so if you find yourself reading those kinds of documents frequently you might want to know about this project. Just pick your theme of choice (I’m using default most of the time but the screenshot is from zenburn) and download the .xml file. In notepad++ just click Language in the menu and select “Define your Language”, then click the Import button and navigate to the .xml file. When viewing a markdown (.md) file you can now apply Markdown from the bottom of the Language menu drop down.

Malwarebytes flags Firefox as malicious for checking Certificates?

For many years I have been pushing out Firefox through Active Directory to 150+ Windows machines. Currently all the machines are running Firefox 55.03. One user who runs the Professional version of Malwarebytes for additional security noticed a strange detection appearing yesterday. Malwarebytes was identifying Firefox as making outbound connections to which, as it turns out is a domain owned by Symantec. In Firefox, there is an option (under Advanced | Certificates) to “Query OCSP responder servers to confirm the current validity of certificates”.

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The myth that iOS is easier to use

Apple hardware used to be great. I had three Mac laptops (and still use my 2008 Macbook all these years later although I run Linux on it now) and we still have a bunch of iPods around the house. I have to support countless iPhones at work (though being a BYOD company, I had nothing to do with buying them). The hardware quality has definitely gone downhill over the years – one particularly egregious example was chargers (2011-2012) with wires separating leaving exposed bare wires and there was no way to use any other kind of charger you have to buy a new $80 Apple charger and they only have the one that breaks. I could go on about bending iPhones, and now in iPhone 8 batterys apparently exploding.

But this rant is about iOS. There is a myth (much repeated) that iOS is “easier” which sets me off every time I hear someone repeat it. What they mean is –

iOS is more like the iOS that I’m used to than something which isn’t iOS

Its not “easier” by any real measure. What is a real measure? Here’s one: Try to use the operating system to get various tasks done and measure how long it takes to get them done, if you can get them done at all.

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Virtualbox in Win7 bridged network no adapter

I won’t get into why, after 10+ years I’ve switched my work desktop from Linux to Windows 7, but suffice to say its been painful. I still need access to a local linux install for various reasons so where I used to run Windows in a VM under linux, I now need to run linux in a VM under Windows. I ran into a problem which Googling didn’t immediately solve and since there were other folks with a similar problem out there I thought I’d write it up.

  • I have a Windows 7 64bit host, with Virtualbox 5.1.28 r117968 (Qt5.6.2) installed.
  • I have a Broadcom NetXtreme 57xx network card on the host.
  • I couldn’t get the guest (an Ubuntu 16.04 VM) set up with a bridged network adapter.
  • It would work with NAT, but I needed the guest to be on the same network as the host.
    I’m used to doing this the other way around (Linux host / Windows guest) and haven’t had any problems.
  • In the Virtualbox Settings for the VM, under Network, for Adapter 1 in Attached to: I selected “Bridged Adapter”
  • The dropdown below that (Name:) was empty (it didn’t see my host’s Broadcom adapter)
  • This is because there was no service “VirtualBox NDIS6 Bridged Networking Driver” listed on the “VirtualBox Host-Only Ethernet Adapter”
  • I chose Install, Service, Add – and Windows knew that that service needed a driver, but the path under which it was searching for it was borked.
  • I took note that it was trying to find vboxnetlwf.inf but the path was pointing to a Windows Temp folder which no longer existed after the install of Virtualbox.
  • I navigated to that folder under:
    instead, and it installed fine and bridging worked!