What’s with Ubuntu and Firefox lately?

There are two (actually there’s more, but these are the biggest two) camps of computer users in the world. Windows users and Linux users. They hate each other πŸ˜‰ I am not going to get into the details of everything – there are details to be found elsewhere. For a small sample, check the relevant sections on Ubuntu Forums. Suffice it to say that there are positives and negatives in both.

In short, Windows is more integrated and better supported by the leading hardware companies, it looks prettier, is stable, user friendly, and you can legally listen to music and watch videos on it, because they pay the codec companies. A lot of software that runs on Windows is clearly very polished and of a much higher quality than that in Linux.

Linux on the other hand, is more secure, more customizable, and if you are a programmer you pretty much don’t want to live without it – there’s absolutely no limit to stuff you can do in Linux, from customizing virtually everything to looking at the actual source code and changing it, to doing some serious hacking. Developers just feel more in control with Linux, and it doesn’t hurt that it is completely free and so is the bunch of software that you can use on it.

These were the positives of both these environments. One can compile a similar list of negatives too. Now, I desperately feel the need of both, and I dual boot between Vista and Ubuntu currently. Lately, however, I am having misgivings about the latter. See – FireFox 3 for all its fanfare is far from being stable on Ubuntu – open a Youtube flash video and you will see it lose strength and die right in front of your eyes. Ubuntu itself just freezes up randomly and totally locks up out of the blue, even when all I am doing is just browsing the Ubuntu forums (no pun intended). Then I have to do a hard boot, which at the very least is not good for the health of the hard drive. According to the Internet this is a very common problem, and people are working on it, but this makes the whole thing look less reliable and flimsy, you know.

For various reasons it is in my best interest to learn Linux as much as I can, and I am wondering what to do. I even thought of depending solely on virtual machines and getting rid of the dual boot, but then on second thoughts I’d much rather not isolate myself exclusively to just one OS, as the EULA of Vista is not exactly user friendly. So, my decision is:

  • Let the dual boot be and hope the huge Ubuntu community will come up with a solution soon. Nothing is perfect; shouldn’t just give up faith at the sight of a storm πŸ˜‰ I might even try a manual compilation of the latest kernel, which seems to be the source of the problem
  • Until then, run virtual machines (a whole lot of Linux flavors) right from inside Vista. Virtual machines are not as great as the real thing (because they won’t recognize nVidia and won’t run Compiz Fusion, and the display size is half the screen size), but they are the next best thing
  • Later, get another computer and make that Linux-exclusive (can’t be too cheap, otherwise I won’t be able to run Compiz Fusion, and what is Linux without Compiz Fusion?? πŸ˜‰
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8 thoughts on “What’s with Ubuntu and Firefox lately?

  1. The instability of Firefox with Flash on Ubuntu is a shame, but you shouldn’t have to do a hard reboot to fix the crash.

    killall firefox-bin or killall firefox should allow you to restart Firefox cleanly.

  2. Thanks for the insight, Ubuntucat. I guess I wasn’t clear – sometimes Ubuntu locks up completely – meaning I cannot do anything. The keyboard and mouse become unresponsive πŸ™‚

    So I can’t type ‘killall’ anywhere πŸ™‚ People have been saying it’s called ‘kernel panic’, and it is a widespread issue with the Linux kernel 2.6.24- series. It happens randomly, every time I log into Hardy.

  3. There’s talk about a real time version of the kernel, that can be installed pretty easily, and people who did it have reported that the freezings disappeared… so that’s the first thing I’ll try, or I will move to Fedora… I kind of can’t digest not using the latest version of software… it’s my thing πŸ˜‰

  4. Installed Xubuntu 8.04 on my GF’s rig the other night. Everything’s going great except for the issue you mentioned, firefox randomly causes kernel panics. Everything locks up, and 2 of the status lights on her keyboard will blink on and off. I’ll have her install this and see what happens.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  5. I hope that works, otherwise just install 7.10 again. Since you just installed it, hopefully she won’t mind doing a reinstall.

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