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Author Topic: Firefox abandoning legacy systems  (Read 5735 times)
Tigerwolf
Vectorite
***
Posts: 152



« on: January 15, 2011, 04:54:25 pm »

I just installed Firefox 4 Beta 9 which came out yesterday.   It WOULDN'T RUN! 

All of the previous versions of Firefox 4 betas, up to and including Beta 8, have worked, though with a number of new 'features' which seem to be annoying long time users.

When attempting to start, it fails immediately:

$ /usr/local/firefox/firefox
/usr/local/firefox/firefox-bin: /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6: version
`GLIBCXX_3.4.9' not found (required by /usr/local/firefox/libxul.so)

I filed a bug with Mozilla, and it's been reported in some earlier nightly builds. 

The answer basically is:  "We know, we don't care."   There are no plans to do anything about the issue.

As some on the forum know, I've got 40+ machines which run a massively customized version of Vector 5.8 which has so many tweaks and special stuff installed that I can't even conceive of starting over.  Not only would the work take forever, the later versions of Vector Linux that I've tried are just too slow to be usable on the legacy hardware we have. The 5.8 install has proven invaluable and is essentially perfect for our machines.

In desperation, I tried installing gcc and gcc++ packages from Vector 5.9 to get a later libstdc++.so.6: version  .   It seems go up through GLIBCXX_3.4.8, so that also fails.   I then tried packages from vector 6.  Those *SEEM* to work.  At least FFB9 now starts and runs.

Therefore, It appears that anyone with any Vector install prior to 6.0 is soon to be out of luck with Firefox 4.

While the newer gcc and gcc++ packages seem to work, I'm in the process of trying to compile some things with it to see if they work in the older environment.   

I'm not a programmer/developer, so I'd appreciate some insight from those who are.

My basic questions are: 

What gotchas are likely from installing the gcc and gcc++ packages from Vector 6 into an older 5.8 or 5.9 install?

Are there other packages which should be updated?

=^_^=  Tigerwolf


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=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006
bigpaws
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1857


« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 08:01:40 pm »

Sounds like you have a challenge.

You can run multiple versons on gcc:

http://gcc.gnu.org/faq.html#multiple

You will invariably be running into a wall ... sooner or
later. I suspect sooner.

You need to either sandbox these machines or upgrade the
distro or machines or both. Perhaps LTSP or some form of it
will help.

Bigpaws
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pierce.jason
Packager
Vectorite
****
Posts: 250



« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2011, 12:31:04 am »

With something as old as 5.8, do you have security issues with other packages? Kernel, sudo, openssh, and (probably most of the major) ftpd have had fairly serious vulnerabilities since then.

I would look at archlinux (or gentoo), to examine how they implemented early dual-GCC support when 3.4 was first coming out.

The firefox that you're installing that requires 3.4... is this from source, or a binary archive? If the later, give a source install a shot.

You might not be aware, but the later GCC versios implement some nifty security features that can be automatically applied to code they compile. It can help reduce the risks imposed by exploits within the target code its self. So if you do end up needing to upgrade GCC or dual-version GCC... it might be worthwhile to recompile some of the more critical system components as well.

pierce.jason
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pierce.jason
Email: $(echo -e "moc\x2eliamg\x40nosaj.ecreip" | rev)
Tigerwolf
Vectorite
***
Posts: 152



« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 09:29:33 am »

With something as old as 5.8, do you have security issues with other packages? Kernel, sudo, openssh, and (probably most of the major) ftpd have had fairly serious vulnerabilities since then.

Security is a concern, but not overriding, since they're not windoze and they don't do any Internet-facing server functions.  These machines are used in a mobile Internet Den setup where most users only do web browsing or other simple things.  They all sit on a private network behind a NAT gateway, so aren't fully exposed.  I've not had any issues with intentional malicious hacking by users, or even any adverse effects from hitting a malware spreading website.  The setup is supervised by an operator to help with doing any complex tasks users may require.  This forum article shows what we do: http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=4669

The kernel is newer, and highly tailored to the machine's architecture.  Many other utilities and programs have likewise been updated and/or customized.  The Guest account is kept in XFCE's kiosk mode to prevent tampering (which is why XFCE is the only window manager choice).  The machines are rsync'd to a master (which is not used by the public) before every deployment for updates, and if something gets hosed or hacked in the field, re-cloning is simple and cleans out any garbage..

Quote
I would look at archlinux (or gentoo), to examine how they implemented early dual-GCC support when 3.4 was first coming out.

My main concern is what experienced Vector folks might know regarding things that might break by just having the later GCC packages installed.   So far, I've managed to compile mplayer with the test install, and that seems to work just fine.  I've also tried some existing programs to see if they might barf, and all seems well so far.  I'm just wondering if anything is lurking, or if there's something specific I should try/look for that isn't obvious since I'm not a programmer and  the subtleties of how all the compilers and associated libraries inter-relate is beyond me.

Quote
The firefox that you're installing that requires 3.4... is this from source, or a binary archive? If the later, give a source install a shot.

Binary from Mozilla's beta download site.   I have not tried source compile because of the scope of the effort, and the fact that FF changes so fast that keeping up could prove a nightmare since the built-in update feature couldn't be used..

Quote
You might not be aware, but the later GCC versios implement some nifty security features that can be automatically applied to code they compile. It can help reduce the risks imposed by exploits within the target code its self. So if you do end up needing to upgrade GCC or dual-version GCC... it might be worthwhile to recompile some of the more critical system components as well.

That's interesting to know.   Is there some documentation someplace that tells how to invoke those features?
If the newer VL6 GCC now on the test box works out, a number of the programs often used would be recompiled in due course.  Things like pidgin, Xchat, and other common public-facing things that get periodic updates could benefit.  We have to manually compile those from sources since Vector's no longer actively supporting 5.8 packages.
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=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006
uelsk8s
Administrator
Vectorian
*****
Posts: 2504



« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2011, 10:28:41 am »

Tigerwolf,
Can you post the specs of your machines?
I would like to see if there is anything we can do to build VL7 version that will work on them.

Thanks,
Uelsk8s
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Tigerwolf
Vectorite
***
Posts: 152



« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2011, 10:30:34 am »


You can run multiple versons on gcc:
http://gcc.gnu.org/faq.html#multiple

I really don't care about running *multiple* compilers.  If the VL6 GCC works, and makes things that run on the boxes, then I'm perfectly happy using that.

Sometime back, I *tried* to just do a fresh compile of a newer GCC, because the stock 5.8 one had issues and bugs that prevented things like newer versions of mplayer and VLC from compiling.  In that attempt, I ran into dependency hell that eventually ended up hosing the system libraries and bricked the test machine.   

That's why I tried to just drop a later GCC in from VL6 to see if that would let FFB9 run.  I expected total disaster, but was surprised that it seems to work.

I'm waiting for some shoe to drop, which is the reason for the initial questions.  I'd like to find out *before* I commit changes to the master machine and end up with 40+ door stops.

Quote
You will invariably be running into a wall ... sooner or later. I suspect sooner.

Later would be nice.  With tablets, smartphones, and the proliferation of laptops, coupled with hotels and other venues having WiFi access and more people using 3g mobile connections, the need for what we do is dwindling.   However, people still find our service valuable, so I'm trying to stick it out while I can.   I've been doing this now for 17 years, which goes back to dumb text terminals connected via dialup modem, so at least on one level, I'd not mourn the loss.

Quote
You need to either sandbox these machines or upgrade the  distro or machines or both. Perhaps LTSP or some form of it
will help.

They're already sandboxed in a NAT isolated private network.  And distro upgrade's pretty much been tried.  The newer ones have just too much bloat, dependence on Gnome, massive numbers of extra daemons, etc. that they're just too slow on the hardware. 

Using a terminal server model could help, perhaps, but there's 2 main issues:

1. The setup would have a single point of failure with the server.   There's been a distinct advantage that every machine in our setup now is totally independent and self-sufficient.  Because there's no sever/client or master/slave relationship, and every machine can perform every function (including becoming an Internet access router feed to the others), there's extreme redundancy and flexibility that would be lost if there had to be one or more servers being critical to the overall function.

2. I've not found any non-proprietary scheme that supports sending audio to the individual client machines.   With the web becoming rife with video, flash, and other audio/video media, having just a terminal server without audio in our application would be pretty useless to most who use it.  Also, since this is a multi-user setup, the audio couldn't just be a network routing of the server's sound card....it would have to be *each* user getting *their own* specific audio stream.
This would mean an audio server akin to the video's X server.  If there is such an animal in the FOSS world, I'm unaware of it.

As for upgrading the machines, I'd *love* to do that.  But the cost would be in the thousands at least for anything reasonably modern.  The basic requirements are:

1.  All in one design to minimize the setup time and space requirements.
2.  Compact and rugged to allow packing 30+ at a time into a minivan for transport.
3.  Rugged keyboards/mice that are easily replaced and cheap enough to not worry about damage.
4.  Big enough and/or mechanically secureable to discourage theft.   This also implies using laptops or something new and shiny is NOT a Good Idea. 
5.  Identical hardware for all machines so that OS cloning for updates is practical without worrying about individual hardware differences.

Along with all this is, as mentioned, the expected decline in need in light of the fact everyone's getting the Internet in their pocket.

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=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006
Tigerwolf
Vectorite
***
Posts: 152



« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2011, 11:47:43 am »

Tigerwolf,
Can you post the specs of your machines?
I would like to see if there is anything we can do to build VL7 version that will work on them.

OH!!!  Cool!  Thank you!

They're Hitachi all-in-ones, model 1120.  Pictured here: http://forum.vectorlinux.com/index.php?topic=4669

This is what's in them:
  • AMD K6-2 CPU running at 450-500 Mhz (originally were Pentium 266)
  • 256 megs PC-100 ram (2x128Meg - max possible on the motherboard...all have that)
  • 10-20 GB IDE hard drives (gradually moving to 20)
  • 1.44Meg 3.5-inch standard floppy drives
  • ATI Graphics Rage 3D-G chip with 2 megs video ram integrated on motherboard
  • 1024x768 LCD flat screen (directly driven by motherboard graphics chip)
  • External VGA connector (sometimes used with a projector for group viewing and instruction)
  • Crystal Sound CS4237B audio chip on motherboard and front mounted stereo speakers
  • Regular PS2 keyboard and mouse ports
  • Standard RS-232 9-pin PC serial port
  • IRDA infrared on second serial port (not used currently)
  • Standard 25 pin Parallel Printer port
  • Standard PC joystick port
  • Intel Pro100 10/100 RJ45 Ethernet
  • 24x CD Rom Drive (some have dvd/cd/cd-writer combo drives)
  • USB 1.0 ports (2)
  • PCI slot - some have wireless cards, some have (unused) winmodems installed

All of the hardware (video, audio, IO) is built into the motherboard, which also contains the LCD hardware drivers.  So upgrades to hardware is not practical.  The board isn't a typical off-the-shelf sort.

The bus structure is 'legacy' type for power control and interrupts.  Thus the custom kernel we've got as most stock distros seem to guess wrong and the machine won't sleep or shut down properly.  The code is also stripped down to not bother with things and modules the machine would never have (raid, oddball peripherals, SMP, etc.) and hopefully wring any extra speed possible by keeping it minimal.

I'd be happy to work with testing and such.  I'd even be willing to ship a box for development if that would be helpful.  Vector's strength has always been its ability to deal with minimal resources, and as all the other major distros seem to be competing to see who has the most convoluted, interwoven, and bloated system that needs the latest hardware to run, I'm fully behind any effort to keep things lean and fast.
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=^_^=  Tigerwolf

Running: Vector Linux 5.8 Standard   12-16-2006
bigpaws
Vectorian
****
Posts: 1857


« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 01:24:54 pm »

Quote
This would mean an audio server akin to the video's X server.  If there is such an animal in the FOSS world, I'm unaware of it.

Well there is now. Take a look at:

http://www.spice-space.org/

Red Hat just open sourced this.

I am not sure if this helps  or not.

Bigpaws
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Darin
Member
*
Posts: 35



« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2011, 04:15:15 am »

I have the fix for the flash and java up to the beta 4.09 releases...really though the 3.6.13 version works alot better with the flash 10.2 beta..I am not going to redo the glib stuff again as it was a pain to get the first time and the forcing of the new glib is not very nice to say the least...in my testing I am actually using Swiftfox modified slightly with a stock libxul.so and it flies...I may be able to replace the libxul.so with a beta 8 and have the beta 9 work but I haven't tried that...just an idea...if there is a calling for the older packages I can put them up on my server and actually include a complete package for both firefox and the flash and java...my firefox package uses the newer glib which will be installed into the /opt folder and has a custom startup script to export and ld the libs...just let me know as I am going through testing on my project...you can either contact me though the supergamer.org forums or supergamer@supergamer.org as I have a few packages built for the old trusty 5.8
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