Category Archives: Crazy Ideas

When should i386 support for Ubuntu end?

Are you running i386 (32-bit) Ubuntu?   We need your help to decide how much longer to build i386 images of Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and all the flavors.

There is a real cost to support i386 and the benefits have fallen as more software goes 64-bit only.

Please fill out the survey here ONLY if you currently run i386 on one of your machines.  64-bit users will NOT be affected by this, even if you run 32-bit applications.
http://goo.gl/forms/UfAHxIitdWEUPl5K2

Adobe Flash on Firefox/Linux EOL – Summary

We just ran a session [1] on what to do about the upcoming EOL for Firefox/Linux in 2017.  In short, we’re not planning to diverge from Mozilla’s direction.   The goal is to have Flash work today, and to become irrelevant over time.    Hopefully reaching the point of being irrelevant by 2017.  There are ways for you to help!  See below.

Distributing Firefox and Chrom/ium plugins now possible

A deal was reached with Adobe to distribute NPAPI and PPAPI Flash in Canonical Partners Repo!  (No more grabbing PPAPI from Chrome to get it to work in Chromium. No more “downloader” packages necessary for Firefox either.)  This should help make thin

How can you help make Flash go away?

On any browser, any platform (that has Flash of course)

Use less Flash.  See if you can do step 1.  If you can proceed to step 2, etc.

  1. Make Flash Click to Play.
  2. Disable Flash.
  3. Uninstall Flash.

To do these on Chrome, browse to chrome://plugins/,  On Firefox go to Add-ons -> Plugins.

If their is a site that doesn’t work without Flash, see if you can load their site on a mobile device.   Either way contact them and ask them nicely about removing the Flash content to get more hits, or for enabling at least the mobile site for non Flash users.

Run a Beta browser

Generally both Firefox and Chrome will push new web technologies in their Beta browser.  Many of them have the potential to help make Flash less relevant.   Help make them more stable by testing them!

https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/beta.html

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/

Run Firefox Nightly

Try running Firefox nightly.   We could always use more testers.  Specifically, we might get a more aggressive Mozilla when MSE is done being implemented (which should make youtube even more HTML5 video friendly).

Of course, there a bunch of other useful features Mozilla is working on to make browsing better.   Help would be welcome there too!  Report bugs on issues you have.

https://nightly.mozilla.org/

[2][3][4]

Other options considered.

  • We default to Chromium  – nope, let’s specifically NOT switch browsers over Flash. 
    • Outcome: That would send the completely wrong message.
  • We default to a compatible Flash alternative (Shumway, Gnash, Lightspark)
    • Outcome: That would just be a stop gap measure.  And we’ll always be playing catchup.
  • We add PPAPI support to Firefox ourselves / Hack it in
    • Outcome:  Non-starter.  Unless Mozilla adds it we don’t want the maintenance burden.

My Todo List

  • Investigate why Youtube Live videos sometimes don’t work without Flash. (Even in Chromium).
  • Figure out why my Nightly install doesn’t have working H264..
    UPDATE – because it’s not designed to yet!  See here – http://andreasgal.com/2014/10/14/openh264-now-in-firefox/
    If you have H264 working in Firefox it’s likely due to GStreamer support included in the Ubuntu (and many other distros) builds.  Upstream Gst1.0 support is waiting on infrastructure [3].

Hopefully I captured everything right.. but if I didn’t please let me know!

[1] http://summit.ubuntu.com/uos-1411/meeting/22354/adobe-flash-on-firefoxlinux-eol/
[2] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1083588 testers wanted, run Firefox nightly
[3] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=973274  Have RHEL 6.2 experience?  Might be useful there..
  – thread discussing how Firefox can be more aggressive against Flash.

32 bit usage – survey results

Running 32 bit Ubuntu when the hardware technically can do 64 bit
32 bit running on 64 bit capable hardware

  • hardware issues varied from EUFI 32 bit only, to printer and driver issues
  • application included wine (try building wine on 64 bit…)  and virtualization
    • some 64 bit users use 32 bit images for virtualization to use less RAM
    • Not in survey but I know of others who use 32 bit specifically to work with Android.

Arch vs Desktop Environment vs Release

Desktop environments vs arch vs release

Please do not use this to really compare desktop environments!  If multiple answers I took the least resource intensive one! (Next time I do this.. I should just require users to pick a primary one)

 Impacts over Releases

Impact

  • Switch from Ubuntu – also includes plans to stay on old unsupported version until hardware dies
  • Moderate is somewhat a catch all
  • If I do this again, I should just have a 1-5 sliding scale, in addition to a text field.
  • Users are concerned about having to throw out old machines, not having an upgrade path to go from 32-> 64 bits, and the cost to upgrade.
  • Select Comments (many more in the raw data of course!)
    • As an aspiring software developer, phasing out 32 bit support would be great for me as it means one less build to maintain.
    • I plan on reinstalling Ubuntu on this laptop as a 64bit install at some point anyway.
    • Unless the schedule changes, no impact. We’re planning to do the switch late 2015 / early 2016.
    • I will have to stay on 16.04 forever on that machine. The needed drivers are not going to be available in an open-source form.
    • My parents + my children have no PC
    • we have old PC’s in the hospital and i don’t think this hardware would be upgraded.
    • If the majority of freely given computers we receive are still 32-bit by then, we’d have to respin another distro. But, like PowerPC; all good things must come to an end.
    • Just need to figure out how to make the switch. If it means re-installing, bah.
    • It is terrible, because my eeePC only has 1GB in it.
    • One more reason to decommission the hardware.

I think the original plan can still work, but like any good survey we know have more questions to ask!

  • Lubuntu/Xubuntu support for 14.04 LTS is 3 years not 5.   It’s going to be a LOT higher impact if they don’t have support in 2019/2020 (which would be the case if 16.04 is 3 years too).   This could obviously be mitigated by moving 32 bit to ports and having it be opt in.  Lubuntu/Xubuntu 18.04 with 3 years would get us to 2021.
  • What can we do to make virt use less RAM?  (Lots of Virtualbox)
  • What can we do to make bare metal use less RAM?
  • Building Wine on 64 bit? (The two easiest methods are defunct if we remove 32 bit images I think… http://wiki.winehq.org/WineOn64bit)
  • Can we do an actual upgrade path?  Or at least start officially testing 32->64 “upgrade” re-installs?

Just to complete the application compatibility story (not from survey), Games are starting to be 64-bit only:

Raw Data can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iA062pCR1ayAMEKveUToEhq–9awyDXTEaL4fhsj8TU/edit?pli=1#gid=0

Still running 32 bit Ubuntu?

I’m considering a proposal to have 16.04 LTS be the last release of Ubuntu with 32 bit images to run on 32 bit only machines (on x86 aka Intel/AMD only – this has no bearing on ARM). You would still be able to run 32 bit applications on 64 bit Ubuntu.

Please answer my survey on how this would affect you or your organization.

Please only answer if you are running 32-bit (x86) Ubuntu! Thanks!

If you can’t see the form below click here.

The Mozilla I want

Somewhat a response to
https://webwewant.mozilla.org/en/
https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/05/14/drm-and-the-challenge-of-serving-users/
https://fsf.org/news/fsf-condemns-partnership-between-mozilla-and-adobe-to-support-digital-restrictions-management

NOTE: These are more personal opinions and not necessarily those of my employer, your employer, or any of the businesses and government in my town,city, state, country.

DRM

It is *never* something people want.  Have you ever heard someone say “I really want this content I bought/”rented” to be harder to share/remix/watch and to have even greater legal ramifications if I do so?”  They do want content made by Hollywood, but those are different things.

DRM – Mozilla being played?

This reminds me of the time Chrome said it would drop H264 [1].   From what played out in public it seemed that Mozilla didn’t see the need to push for H264 sooner because they trusted Google to actually drop H264 support.

In a somewhat reverse situation, Mozilla just said they will adopt EME in Firefox before any of the possible benefits are realized by others.  Right now it’s being implemented only in Chrome and IE 11 [2], and I’ve only seen it used in Chrome OS and IE 11.   From my point of view I would have preferred if Mozilla had at least waiting to see if we will get more platform support from major vendors on this.  (aka Linux support for Netflix)

If so, maybe the increase in Linux market-share would provide some balance to the DRM’s negative affects.  Making free software overall a net win.   If so, I would (still reluctantly) support Mozilla’s decision here if they saw it as an end to get Hollywood media to more freer platforms.   But why not wait and see if this is actually true with Google Chrome/Netflix on Linux?

[1] http://blog.chromium.org/2011/01/html-video-codec-support-in-chrome.html
[2] http://html5test.com/compare/feature/video-drm.html

Reduce “Hollywood” power

I would like to see Mozilla pushing Indie/Crowdsourcing media, like:
Paid streaming site for indie videos https://indieflix.com/
Public broadcasting http://www.pbs.org/
Better publishing http://www.getmiro.com/
Basically, How can Mozilla use it’s capabilities to better change the media landscape?  (A slightly “better” form of DRM should not be the answer to this question).

Abandon the DoNoTrack header, provide actual options

It doesn’t work (and almost certainly never will) and it gives people a false sense of doing something.   You are giving advertisers another data point to track!  It literally does the opposite of what is supposed to.

Instead!

  •  Finish blocking 3rd party cookies (https://blog.mozilla.org/privacy/2013/02/25/firefox-getting-smarter-about-third-party-cookies/)
  • Promote (by adding it as a search option, etc) providers that promise to not track ANY of their users.   DuckDuckGo being the most obvious example.
    Their is so little difference between Yahoo and Bing search.. and DuckDuckGo is a damn good search engine[2].
  • Push advertisers off of Flash (generally a good idea, but also will help with privacy – no flash cookies, etc)
    Generally I’m supportive of the Click-to-play, etc initiatives Mozilla has taken thus far.  Flash is the exception to that rule.   Here’s the outline of a plan to push advertisers off of it. (the numbers are obviously made up for illustrative purposes)

    1. Start forcing Click-to-play for Flash when the site has more than 6 plugins running (pick some “high” number, and count all plugins, not just flash)
    2. Reduce the number of plugins to 5, after some number of Firefox releases or some specific Adobe Flash counting metric.  Repeat pushing to 4, etc.
    3. Once advertisers get on board and Flash ads aren’t served by the big advertisers, now we can push Flash to click-to-play at 2 instances per page.
    4. Once flash usage drops under 5% [1], we’d be able to push it to default click-to-play for all Flash.

[1] http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cp-flash/all/all
[2] http://libretechtips.com/reviews-internet/duckduckgo-comparison-google-bing-yandex

SSL 3.0 – When will it go away?

You’ve removed the (easy) option to disable it.  When will it go away for good?  Why does Chrome let the user see what protocol version (TLS 1.2 vs 1.0, etc) their users are using, but Firefox doesn’t?

Mobile – Firefox OS

Well I work at a direct competitor in mobile… but not actually working with our phone product..

  • Launching just with Facebook contact sync well, isn’t very open and totally goes against promoting those that respect your same values.
  • I get that you can’t magically make the devices more open, but at least can we get public commitments for how long a device will be supported for?  And how often it will get Firefox OS updates?
  • I wish you had used Thunderbird as Firefox OS’s email client… I think that would let it scale really really well and give you a new reason to push features there.. Maybe you are under the hood?

If you’re reading this and don’t know, you can try out Firefox OS (“Boot2Gecko”) on your desktop too! (https://nightly.mozilla.org/)

End on a positive note..

I love the new Firefox interface.  It’s awesome and makes customizing the browser much better.   I’m a nightly user and teach courses on Firefox.  I’m not going anywhere (fast) over the DRM decision.  Going to keep doing what I do and see how it pans out…