Monday Jul 21, 2008

Firefox 3.0.1 builds for Solaris/OpenSolaris are avaiable

The Firefox 3.0.1 builds are now available for download here. You can also join desktop dash discuss at opensolaris dot org to get the release notice.The printing should work for the builds.

Friday Jul 04, 2008

Update: Firefox 3.0 contributed builds for Solaris 10

Thanks all for the feedback. The updated version of Firefox 3.0 contributed builds for Solaris 10 have been uploaded to the Mozilla ftp server: pkgadd tarball.

There are some changes to these builds to compare with the previous:
1. Add "--enable-official-branding" to the build option. Now it's Firefox, not Minefield.
2. Update the font to make Firefox 3.0 consistent with Firefox 2.0 on Solaris 10.
3. Enable jemalloc on Solaris ported by Ginn. It'll decrease the memory footprint for Firefox 3.0.
4. Add "--with-system-jpeg" which should fix the crash issue related to jpeg images.
5. Update the startup script to store the configure files in $HOME/.mozilla/firefox. Now the tarball builds can run on a read-only directory.

Please note that all the glib/atk/cairo/pango/dbus/dbus-glib libraries stay the same in the new builds:
glib 2.14.4
atk 1.20.0
cairo 1.4.12
pango 1.18.3
gtk 2.12.3
dbus 1.1.20
dbus-glib 0.74
The pkgadd users can keep the old ones and just reinstall the Firefox package.

BTW, Ginn's performance patches have been applied:[1] [2]. The performance improvement on SPARC is obvious to me. And the latest Flash Player release has fixed the gmail crash issue.

Any problem, please feel free to raise it up.

Sunday Jun 29, 2008

Q/A: the Firefox 3.0 builds for Solaris 10

Got some questions about the Firefox 3.0 builds for Solaris 10. I think it's good to start a new post to explain it a little bit.
Would like to give some updates for the builds first. The tar ball builds were uploaded, totally four builds are available now(pkgadd: x86/SPARC, tarball: x86/SPARC). All of them were made on Solaris 10 initial release(FCS). So they are supposed to work on all the Solaris 10 and update releases.

Q: What's the different between these four builds and the first binary?
A: The first binary was made on Solaris 10U5 box. I got a suggestion that the builds should be made on the initial release to embrace more Solaris 10 users. So I rebuilt them and uploaded.

Q: I've installed Firefox 2.0 contributed package. Will 3.0 conflict with it?
A: No. The package will install to /opt/sfw/lib/firefox3 and won't conflict with 2.0, which is in /opt/sfw/lib/firefox. And /opt/sfw/bin/firefox is just a symbol link to /opt/sfw/lib/firefox3/firefox. You can always make one yourself.

Q: Some extensions don't work.
A: This is an known issues for Firefox 3.0 across all the platform. I think the extension developers will update their package soon.

Q: Why does the installation directory needs to be writeable for the tar ball release?
A: Please refer to the thread here.

Q: I feel that Firefox 3.0 runs slower on my SPARC box than 2.0.
A: There is an known issue for Firefox 3.0 on SPARC box without Xrender. Ginn has provided a patch to improve this(thanks a lot). My own experience is that the performance has been improved a lot. There might be still posibility to improve.

Q: Is there any FF3.0 feature that could not be made available to the current rel for solaris10?
A: From my experience, all the features should be available for these builds. Please refer to the feature list.

Q: Will this bundle work on OpenSolaris 2008.05?
A: No. All these builds can only work on Solaris 10. We've provided the builds for OpenSolaris and Solaris Nevada here.

Q: TJHSST provided another contributed builds. Are both packages basically the same?
A: It's obvious that all the glib/atk... version are different between this contributed builds and the one provided by Sun. So I assume that there are some difference. To know about the detail, we need to get in touch with TJHSST first. But I don't find any contact information. So anyone know about this, please feel free to let me know.

Q: Is Minefield a post-Firefox 3 beta release? Is it based on the beta nightly builds, and thus not fully tested?
A: Actually, the builds Minefield were made from Firefox 3.0 source directly, with only several branding patches(performance improvement for SPARC for example). The reason for switching off the option "--enable-official-branding" is because of the quality concern. I posted the builds before Sun's internal testing and hope for some community feedback. With some users' replies and my own user experience, and also some internal testing(not full functional testing yet), I think the quality is good. Kudos to the Mozilla community.

Q: Is the new Firefox 3 Solaris 10 build(TJHSST) the REAL FX 3 release, fully tested and stable?
A: TJHSST should the right source to get the answer for this.

Q: Has anyone compared these two packages with each other on Solaris 10?
Any opinions on relative stability/functionality? Which do you recommend?
A: No, we don't have a plan to compare these two. You might have a basic idea about the builds provide by Sun. Please raise the questions to desktop dash discuss at opensolaris dot org if you decide to choose it. We'll move the contributed builds to Sun's directory soon.

Tuesday Jun 24, 2008

Enjoy Firefox 3.0 on Solaris 10

The Firefox 3.0 contributed builds are finally available for Solaris 10 now(x86 and SPARC), about one week after its official release. Also what's new and a nice flash for the new features introduction.

Due to the dependency on some libraries not included in Solaris 10(legacy GNOME 2.6), the contributed builds have been missing for some time. The contributed builds contain the following list of libraries each besides Firefox 3.0 package:

glib 2.14.4
atk 1.20.0
cairo 1.4.12
pango 1.18.3
gtk 2.12.3
dbus 1.1.20
dbus-glib 0.74

The list above should be the minimal set of libraries that's needed for Firefox 3.0 on Solaris 10. Both of the builds were made on "Solaris 10 3/05 s10_74L2a" with SunStudio 12, CBE 1.6 and gnome 2.20 spec files(with some tweaking). They are supposed to work on all Solaris 10 and update releases.

To follow the contributed Firefox package convention, all the packages will be installed to /opt/sfw directory. Any interests, please download it to a local place, bunzip and pkgadd it. Run "/opt/sfw/bin/firefox" should be fine(or add /opt/sfw/bin to your PATH). I've tried the builds on my "Solaris 10 5/08 s10x_u5wos_10" x86/SPARC boxes here with several extensions, they work fine. Well, it's better to wait for a newer flash plugin release to avoid known crash.

I'm not sure how the qulity exactly is. So any problem, please raise it up. It'll be good to talk about this in desktop dash discuss at opensolaris dot org.

Thursday Apr 24, 2008

Integrate Songbird into Solaris

After some trivial changes to the source code, Songbird 0.5 has been built on Solaris SPARC b76 with Sun Studio 11 successfully by using the Songbird SFE spec. I've tried the tarball and pkgadd binaries on my SPARC b80 box. It works fine:) Thanks a lot to the Songbird guys(especially stevel and preed) on hosting the x86 builds and SPARC builds(tarball/pkgadd) for Songbird 0.5.

Is Songbird ready to be delivered into Solaris Nevada?

- The license issue has been sorted out. We won't link XULRunner with flash plugin by default. FYI, this is just a walk around for Songbird+XULRunner+flash plugin. We'd still hope that Songbird could re-license for this combination.

- Rhythmbox has just been re-licensed. That's to say, Solaris can ship it with mp3 decoder now. But we're still waiting for the status of sound-juicer and gnome-sound-recorder who also use gstreamer+mp3 decoder. Only when all of these are resolved, we can put mp3 decoder back into Solaris Nevada.

- Does it matter to put two media player applications to Solaris? How will users choose from them? Steve has given an introduction of Songbird. It's also mentioned that Songbird has plan to provide CD playback/ripping feature in the near future. That's great news! But I'm not sure there is interests to add sound recorder funtionality to it. The video part for Songbird works just fine after I built some extra codecses and installed into the system. Well, still need to have some improvement to it to compare with mplayer.

Indiana might be a good vehicle to host Songbird somewhere.

Thursday Apr 03, 2008

Songbird 0.5 build for Solaris Nevada x86

Songbird 0.5 build for Solaris Nevada x86 is now available for download here. It's built on Solaris Nevada b80 x86 box with Sun Studio 11. The release notes is here. Please file bug in Songbird bugzilla or get people on the Songbird IRC if you find any problem for it.

I also tried to compile the ffmpeg gstreamer plugin on the same Solaris box. It works well with Songbird for mp4/mov/mpeg/vob... Well, is there any plan for Songbird on the video part?:-)

Wednesday Mar 19, 2008

Porting Songbird to Solaris -- update

In case some guys are interested in this. Would like to give some updates for the porting efforts.

Songbird can be launched on my Solaris box successfully and playback view is correctly shown. The mp3 files can be played without problem. If you're interested in playing with it on Solaris Nevada, feel free to download from here.

This was built on Solaris Nevada b80 x86 box with Sun Studio 11, based on the snapshot of XULRunner 2008-02-21/Songbird 2008-03-05. Just extract it and run "./songbird" should be fine.

Good luck, guys!

Monday Mar 10, 2008

Porting Songbird to Solaris

Songbird is a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web, built on top of the XULRunner platform. I like the following words the best:

"Songbird promises to be the Firefox of media players."  —Aaron Boodman

Well, bad news is that it doesn't run on Solaris yet. A project has been created in OpenSolaris community for this porting effort: Nightingale. I like this project name a lot because I love Yani's Forbidden City concert a lot, especially Nightingale.

On the first ever OpenSolaris summit last year, Albert and I talked about the possibility of porting Songbird to Solaris. Since Stephen Lau now works in Songbird, I think it's a great opportunity to join the force and make it available.

I've put my porting status here in the Songbird forum. Thanks a lot for the response from Mig. Mook also joined this, started to hack around Solaris and also tried to build Songbird on it. The porting is still ongoing. We'd like to get help from whoever feel interested.

Then how to make the Songbird build on Solaris? It's pretty simple I think, with CBE installed on your Solaris box, a spec file here and a patch here. The instruction is as below:

1. Install CBE on your Solaris box.

2. Download the spec file(rename to SFEsongbird.spec) and patch(songbird-01-solaris.diff). Do remember to convert the spec/patch to unix format by using dos2unix.

3. Check out the SFEs: svn co SFE and put the spec and the patch in SFE directory.

4. run the command: . /opt/jdsbld/bin/; pkgtool --download build -v SFEsongbird.spec. Then just wait... the time depends on how fast is your machine.

Any further problem, please feel free to let me know.

Update: please get my latest spec and patches(1 to songbird-01-solaris.diff, 2 to songbird-02-staticstring.diff). The second patch has been checked into the Songbird trunk.

Thursday Sep 20, 2007

The Solaris Tinderboxes for Firefox

Tinderbox is Mozilla's automated build system. With so many Mozilla developers across the world, it helps make sure the source code in a good shape. Some related introduction documents: 1 2 3

Firefox is the default browser for SXDE. Sun Beijing Browser team provides two Solaris Tinderboxes(x86/SPARC) on the Firefox-Ports page to track the Firefox trunk status on Solaris, with accessibility enabled and the automated tests deployed. Sometimes, the patch that works well for the other three platforms(Windows/Mac OS/Linux) will break the trees on Solaris. With Mozilla community's help, a small view has been created on the left column of Firefox Tinderbox main page for Firefox-Ports page which includes the Solaris Tinderboxes. Hopefully these two trees can get some attentions from the Mozilla community.

Thanks for this great help, Mozilla community!

Wednesday Jun 27, 2007

The Solaris VMware images with Firefox DTrace bundled are available for download

The Solaris VMware images with Firefox DTrace bundled have been uploaded to the Mozilla community. For more information, you can check the Mozilla wiki page: Many thanks to Mozilla community on hosting the VMware images. That helps us a lot.

As the development of Mozilla DTrace, we found that it's really important to provide a pre-configured Solaris system for the Mozilla guys to have a try. By that way, we hope to get more feedback from the Mozilla community. For example, where should the user defined DTrace probes be inserted? What's the use cases from the community's point of view?

Some possible candidates:

1. Break down Tp times by modules. The probes can be inserted in some phases of the page load, such as:
\* loadURLStart/loadURLEnd
\* dataStreamStart/dataStreamEnd
\* parseHTMLStart/parseHTMLEnd
\* domConstructionStart/domConstructionEnd
\* rendertreeConstructionStart/rendertreeConstructionEnd

2. The statistics of Javascript usage in Web 2.0, specifically, in some Google applications.

Please feel free to give a shot. Any feedback or suggestions are welcome :-)

Sunday Jun 10, 2007

The Solaris talk in Tianjin University

Thursday night, a Solaris talk was given in Tianjin University for the OpenSolaris programming contest. The event was hold in the Tianjin University students' activity center, about fifth students showed up. John Rice and I presented the Solaris features to them.

As I traveled to Tianjin a lot, I had some great memory in Tianjin University. It's pretty exciting to be there again. Tianjin University is beautiful during the sunset. It's comfortable to walk along the lake with the breeze passing by. Some people were even fishing there.

It only takes 70min for the D-class train from Beijing to Tianjin. John and I arrived at the center at about 6:30pm. And the talk began at 7:00pm. Jason gave the introduction of the Sun's culture and technologies first. The students are familiar with Java, but not Solaris. All of them uses Windows, a few of them are with Linux. Most of them know about Firefox.

Since Java is well-known among the students, John demoed the usage of the Netbeans. Although I don't program with Java so much, I can see that the IDE is really convenient and easy-to-use for the Java developers. Then I introduced the Solaris features in Chinese, including JDS/DTrace/Virtualization/ZFS/Developer Tools, and also talked about the OpenSolaris community. DTrace/ZFS will be bundled in Mac OS 10.5(leopard). During the demo session, SunStudio 12 was the focus to help students to join the programming contest. This IDE has beautiful GUI interface. It integrates some tools such as the parallel computing, memory leak checking and profiling. All of them are easy to configure and use. I made several demos about these features. John used DTrace to trace the resource usage of "gnome-system-monitor", which is really a nice demo.

After the demo, we had a talk with a guy from Baidu. He was interested in Solaris and DTrace/ZFS matches his requirement for the server system. We exchanged the contact information. It's great to have this kind of conversation and hope to have further discussion later.

Goubuli is one famous food in Tianin. John and I went to the head restaurant together and had a lunch there. It's yummy! There will be some pictures from John about the Baozi:-)

Tuesday Jun 05, 2007

A wonderful day--Mozilla visit

The Mozilla visit to Sun Beijing office is really a nice event. The schedule is in the previous post. Following are some writeup about the wonderful day, with part of John Rice's summary included.

Thanks Sin-Yaw Wang(VP, Sun ERI site leader) for providing the Welcome session. Sin-Yaw gave an introduction of Sun ERI, especially the Sun Beijing Browser team.

Mike followed with a very interesting overview of Firefox, the current status and where it's going. Firefox adoption is at over 100 million users! And it keeps climbing higher and higher everyday. Tab browsing changed the life for users to surf the web. Then how about Firefox 3.0? Lots of interesting things happening in Firefox 3, such as Reflow Refactoring, Places, Offline application support, cairo, APNG... Mozilla 2 is underway to completely revamp the platform and will act as the basis for future releases of Firefox. It'll include a new version of JavaScript engine--Tamarin, based on the flash VM from Adobe--with many of the language features familiar to Java users to help support production of large scale Web 2.0 apps. The VM overview is available here. It's a browser war towards more open sourcing in the future. BTW, the Firefox flicks are really interesting:-)

Emily, Dave and I gave an overview of the Sun Browser team (developers, QE and RE) covering all of the work we are doing in developing to head with Firefox, porting of Flash 9/Breakpad onto Solaris, A11Y support, Bugday/Testday, test automation based on LDTP/Dogtail/Orca and Tinderbox support for Solaris. The Flash 9 for Solaris is in the beta release phase and will be finally released in the next several month. Breakpad is an ongoing project in the Mozilla community. It's an open source crash reporting tool to replace the current one--talkback.

Li Gong described to us what exactly Mozilla China is all about. The Chinese name for Mozilla China is "Mou Zhi"谋智(Seeking wisdom). It's clear that to be successful in China, there needs a local presence and an understanding of what unique features the product must provide to be successful in China. This is born out in both the Search engine and IM market in China where the world leaders, Google and Microsoft are only poor seconds in to local Chinese firms, and QQ. There are a lot of opportunities for Sun ERI and Mozilla China to work together to really help Firefox shine in the Chinese market.

After lunch, we went to visit the Mozilla China office. It's still under decoration and Johnny took some pictures there. If the weather is good, you can see the Summer Palace from the office. It's wonderful, isn't it? The Google's office is just in the next building across the street. And, Sun and MS's office are also nearby.

John gave a presentation on the Mozilla Dtrace framework and some of the sample probes we have integrated, both in the layout engine and the Javascript engine. To compare with the last time when John Lilly/Chris Beard/Gen were here, the DTrace demo was added to the session and it's absolutely much more interesting. Lots of feedback, with some clear directions on next steps and areas that we could help both in Firefox performance, testing and beyond into Web 2.0 development with DTrace. You can go to the Mozilla DTrace community to get more information. And several guys from Sun will visit Mountain View to give the demo to a broader audience. Please stay tune.

Johnny gave us a very useful overview of the Mozilla platform. Especially, the description of what happens during a load URI could be a use case for Mozilla DTrace. There are some useful videos that we should chase up on Mozilla Developer center. Johnny also described the new CycleCollector which will be used to help GC stale references across Javascript and XPCOM.

The dinner was at Peking Duck Restaurant(全聚德), built in 1864. The Duck serviced to us was about the no. 115 million. Hrmm, almost the same as Firefox users:-)

That's the day. Thanks for your coming! Hope that more and more Mozilla developers can visit Beijing, and China can host some Firefox developer conference in the future.

UPDATE: Related blog post from Mike Schroepfer and Li Gong

Friday Mar 02, 2007

A better Firefox/Thunderbird download experience for Solaris users

Solaris users now are having BETTER Firefox/Thunderbird download experience on!

What does that mean? For the past days, Solaris users had to know about the exact places/links to download the Firefox/Thunderbird Solaris builds from When the builds were available on the site, the notification email with the links would be sent to some internal and external mail aliases.

As for now, the Solaris users can go to or or Thunderbird download to have a try. Just click "Free Download" and it will bring you to the corresponding Solaris binary builds directly. Enjoy it, guys:-)

Another feature request is the automatic update for the builds. Let's take a look at the Linux situation first.

There are two different types of Linux binaries for Firefox and Thunderbird. One is supported by the Mozilla community, in the tar format, another is the bundled one with the Linux distros(Red Hat/Ubuntu...), and supported by different distros. The former has the automatic update functionality. That means if you get the tarball from the community, it will notify you about the latest update when it's available. If you're using the system bundled one on Linux, the distros will provide their own way to update, something like the system update manager.

We also have two different binaries(the bundled one and the contributed one) for FF/TB on Solaris(The blastwave isn't included here). They are both provided by the desktop browser team, no Mozilla community involved. Currently, the automatic update doesn't work with the Mozilla community update server. The update of the bundled one can be achieved by the Solaris update mechanism itself(Solaris patch or Solaris system upgrade). As for the contributed one, the users can only update it manually.

Then the question is can we get some help from the Mozilla community. And the Solaris contributed builds can enable the "Check for updates" mechanism to update automatically. Do we have other ways to update it?


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