All entries for Tuesday 17 June 2008

June 17, 2008

Firefox 3, GTK and a downside of Enterprise Linux distros.

N.B. On 6/8/09 Novell updated Firefox in SLED 10 to version 3.0.12. They packaged up newer versions of GTK etc and supplied them as packages with names like firefox3-gtk2. I guess they got tired of backporting security fixes in to Firefox 2, or it became too difficult or just impossible to do anymore.


So Firefox 3 is released today. This is a Good Thing but also highlights a downside of using an 'Enterprise' Linux distro. The Linux version of Firefox has a dependency on the GTK toolkit and Firefox 3 requires GTK 2.10 or higher. If you're using a Linux distro that has an older version of GTK then Firefox pops up a message about how it needs GTK 2.10+ then exits. Given that part of the point of Enterprise distros is that they don't change things like library versions for years at a time, (thus providing a stability lacking in distros that release a new version every 6 months or so), this leaves anyone using a version of an Enterprise distro that has GTK older than 2.10 with something of a problem if they want Firefox 3. I am one such person as my main work machine runs Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, which has GTK 2.8.

There is of course a solution. (Aside from hoping that someone will release Firefox 3 packages for the version of your distro you're using, which for an Enterprise distro seems unlikley.) Get a new version of GTK and point Firefox 3 at it. Except it may not be that simple since GTK depends on various other libraries, possibly newer versions of those libraries than a distro with a version of GTK older than 2.10 includes. Anyway, this is how I got Firefox 3 running on SLED 10. It should be useful as a guide for other distros though some adaption may be required.

Install some packages

You'll need the following packages installed: openssl-devel, libjpeg-devel, libtiff-devel, libpng-devel. The versions that are included with your distro should do. The names may be slightly different if you're not using SLED 10. Debian and Ubuntu tend to use -dev rather than -devel in package names for example. There's probably other -devel packages you'll need apart from those I've listed and which I already had installed, but you'll find out if that's the case when you try and build stuff.

Download source code for GTK and dependencies.

These are the versions I used.:

Glib - http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/gnome/sources/glib/2.16/glib-2.16.3.tar.bz2
Cairo - http://www.cairographics.org/releases/cairo-1.2.6.tar.gz
Pango - http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/GNOME/sources/pango/1.20/pango-1.20.3.tar.bz2
ATK - http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/gnome/sources/atk/1.22/atk-1.22.0.tar.bz2
GTK - http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/gnome/sources/gtk+/2.12/gtk+-2.12.10.tar.bz2

I used Cairo 1.2.6 because it's new enough that Pango 1.20.3 will use it and old enough that it didn't require me to also build pixman.

Set some environment variables

I found I had to set the following environment variables to get the build to work. Note that the paths reflect where I installed the libraries so change to where ever you decide to install stuff.

$ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/local/opt/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH
$ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/local/opt/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
$ export PATH=/local/opt/bin:$PATH
$ export CPPFLAGS="-I/local/opt/gtk/include"
$ export LDFLAGS="-L/local/opt/gtk/lib"

Build and install

In the order they're listed above, unpack the source code, build and install. The build command is the same for all:

$ ./configure --prefix=/local/opt && make && make install

I installed the packages in to /local/opt since obviously I want to keep it all separate to the libraries that come with SLED 10, that's somewhere non-root users can write to on my machine and not doing this as root eliminates the chance of a typo overwritting already installed libaries. You may of course find some libraries don't build because you don't have some package or other installed so you may find you have to install a -devel package and try again. Edit: If something fails to configure or build then read the errors. Look at what libraries are mentioned then see if you have the -devel packages for those libraries installed. If not install them then try again. If you get an error about cups-config not being present then install the cups-devel package. Also read the comments and see if someone else had the same problem and a solution is suggested.

Make a wrapper script to run Firefox

You'll need to run Firefox via a wrapper script. This is what I use. If you're not using SLED 10 remove or alter the MOZ_PLUGIN_DIR value as appropriate. Replace /path-to-firefox/ with where you unpacked Firefox 3 and /local/opt with where ever you installed stuff.

#!/bin/bash
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/local/opt/lib
export MOZ_PLUGIN_PATH=/path-to-firefox/plugins:/usr/lib/browser-plugins
/path-to-firefox/firefox

Edit: I've just realised the MOZ_PLUGIN_DIR doesn't have any effect. I could have sworn that it did. Will have to look in to that.

Edit: Sorted out how to make Firefox 3 uses plugins in /usr/lib/browser-plugins and updated wrapper script.


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