29 July 2010

No video for you

According with the latest thread of doom from the devel list, despite the expectation set in May when WebM was released, we won't have Firefox 4 in Fedora 14, so effectively no out-of-the-box support for web video, nor the other goodies coming in this release (how fast you can say "faster JavaScript"?)

At times like this I am happy I am not a (full) Ambassador, after GNOME 3.0 was postponed for more 6 months (don't get me wrong, I am happy my desktop will remain usable one more release cycle), from a desktop user point of view our feature list is very thin so at the release I won't have to look end-users in the eyes and say "sorry, we don't have anything for you". No wonder they perceive Fedora as a distro focused on "obscure server stuff" and defect to other distros, which do have desktop features and advertise them.

As for myself, I can't endure 6 more months without working web video support so I have two options: jump to Epiphany, something I try from time to time and return back since I find Epiphany a sub-par browser, or simply install a current Firefox from a 3-rd party and forget about dependencies and updates. Currently running without problems Firefox 4 Beta 2 from Remi on Fedora 13 (the only problem is it is installed in addition not instead of the old Firefox 3.6)

youtube webm

In the words of the release Nazi: no web video for you! Come back, 6 months! Next!


  1. Hey Nicu, don't over simplify things… There's not only epiphany – you should try midori, I use it currently as my main web browser in F12 (only openjdk java plugin is from time to time making me use firefox, but only on not-very-well-written java applets).

    And yeah, I also like that gnome 3 was pushed back again. Btw. I would much appreciate if they dedicated one or two release cycles to fixing bugs and making performance improvements instead of working on gnome-shell… But perhaps, that's only me. Looks like other people won't use anything that does not have loads of new features…

    But back to Firefox 4. We're leading way in areas where our people do the work – which firefox isn't. But we also want to provide stable distro people can rely on. And this does not align very well with the fact that first stable release of FF4 is scheduled around the same time as our next release… Anyway, as you pointed out, remi is packaging FF4 for fedora in his repo, so you can use that if you feel you need to be on the bleeding edge…

  2. Martin, I know you like Midori a lot, but I tried a few alternative browsers based on WebKit and didn't like any.

    We had in the past adopted such early versions of Firefox (FF3 in F9) and it went well. And is true we don't have anything in the advertised features targeted as "normal" desktop users. Nothing. And we want people to use Fedora?

    I do feel these days FEdora is too slow for me, I am running devel versions of GIMP, Firefox and probably soon Inkscape also... if the apps I use the most are not from stable then... something is wrong.

  3. Nicu, you have a point there. On the other hand, neither new GIMP nor Firefox4 are deemed stable by upstream yet. Plus, I don't think that lack of end-user-visible changes are needed by this point. If you asked me, I wouldn't probably list much new features that I'd like to see – for me linux desktop is almost feature complete. I know it's harder to advertise improvements "under the hood", but at this point, these are more important to me than new features (that I furthermore don't need).

    Btw. I didn't like the idea of having FF3 in Fedora 9 either so I'm quite consistent here with my opinion :-D

    And another btw: Yes, I'm still using F12. For the first time since I started using Fedora, I'm not using the latest stable version! And I don't feel like being "left behind" ;-)

  4. Well... GIMP 2.7.x is clearly NOT ready yet, so I don't have any expectations about it, the best expectation is "a release maybe in December or January", probably in time for F15 Alpha.

  5. As I could read and expect, Fedora 14 will not be as rich as expected. Everything has to evolve, including the "under the hood" stuff, and the visual stuff. As per Firefox 4, I'd like to see it in F14!!! The same applies to all the new stuff like Gnome 3. If FSC is pushing all these goodies for another 8-9 months, there's no point for me installing F14. F13 did some improvements on drivers and graphics, but it is unacceptable to pospone software just for stability reasons. Windows will have FF4 by the end of the year. I don't really understand why it cannot be done under Linux!!! Is is a Nazi release. I agree!!!!!!!!!

  6. The truth is the features list should be a lot longer, but we don't do a good job in advertising the features.

  7. According to me it's not a big deal as long as Remi (Merci d'ailleurs pour ça) is shipping a FF4 build in his own repository.
    I'm already using his builds on FF12 and FF13.

    By the way, this point out a major issue with Linux distro's way to handle software installation and dependencies. In a perfect world we should not have to rely on the good will of packagers to support our distro version. The current system has its advantages for sure, but it comes also with this drawback... :/

  8. Well, in truth we mostly advertise features we are developing ourselves, i.e. someone from fedora is directly involved in that. So most of the upstream stuff goes unnoticed, I'm pretty sure there'll be many features in new gnome worth advertising, even without gnome3. And this is probably one of the main differences between fedora and, say, ubuntu – we advertise mostly our work, while they advertise mostly work done by others…

  9. > the only problem is it is installed in addition not instead of the old Firefox 3.6
    It will remplace FF 3.6 in a "near" update (probably when RC and when current extension will be available).


  10. Remi, thanks for the package, it is useful

  11. First, I completely agree that the gnome3 delay is good. Go see how many apps are ported to gtk3 :)

    Second, if firefox won't DEFINITELY be available, by F14's release date, it's the right decision. Shipping beta-products is awful - especially if they make FF4 an optional upgrade in updates-testing.

  12. We are not talking about "beta" grade software but "late release candidate" and in the past for such things we used to track the development of a major new component in Rawhide, to ensure the RC which we will ship is good enough.

    Due to dependencies an conflicts, there is pretty much a guarantee FF4 will not be an optional upgrade in updates-testing.

  13. Sorry, I still have to disagree. Call it a beta, or an RC - the fact is, mozilla does not feel it's ready to be released, and fedora should not think otherwise.

  14. RC stands for "Release Candidate", something people think is release worthy, but just want to test it a bit more.

  15. I'm pretty sure Firefox 4.0 is still in beta, not in the RC phase. I think it would be a gamble to include any major application marked as beta at time of feature freeze, which is about now if I'm not mistaken. I sometimes wish we could have a rolling release of Fedora, even just for some of the main apps like Firefox that are so well maintained upstream.

    Regarding Gnome-Shell, they are still planning to keep the "Classic Gnome" desktop, if for no other reason than not everybody has decent 3D accelerated drivers. The behaviour in Fedora, at least for the forseeable future, will be defaulting to Gnome-Shell and falling back to Classic Gnome if Clutter isn't supported well enough with your graphics card/driver. Presumably you can also change to Classic Gnome manually using the same tool used in F12 and F13 to change to Compiz or the Gnome-Shell preview.

    Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic that the workflow will get tightened up by the time Gnome 3 is released, but I'm really glad they're not dumping the Nautilus desktop and gnome-panel in case I can't do without them. :)

  16. @Thub: but we do include GNOME, which is a major application, in Beta stage at feature freeze... any many others, that's the purpose of Rawhide, to track development.

  17. @Remi: so Fedora 14 users will be able to use Firefox 4 in, let's say, December?

    Regarding GNOME 3, I think there couldn't be something more horrible than the atrocity called gnome-shell. If only gnome-shell will be available in Fedora 14, I don't know what will I do. While XFCE and LXDE are pretty nice, I still prefer the classic GNOME with metacity and KDE is way too much for me.

    I notice that Thub says that the classic GNOME will be available in Fedora 14, but I doubt it will still be available in Fedora 15 :-((

  18. @Cristian: with Remi's repo you can use FF4 *now* in F12 and F13.

    Switching gnome-shell as default would be ain incredible hypocrisy with fedora following the upstream, so i don't think it will happen. for the future, when the shell will be default (>F15), expect the panel to still be present for a while but horribly unmaintained and aged.

  19. @Nicu: yeah, I got that part, but I was still wondering if it will be official or not.

    Your prediction about gnome-shell makes me think about Leonard Cohen's lyrics - "I've seen the future, brother: it is murder".

  20. IIRC I read some as-official-as-possible statements about the panel continuing to be available. But what will happen to it regarding development and maintenance... the best hope for it is the have the Seamonkey fate.