Wednesday, April 2, 2014

TenFourFox 29: sucks less

First, ObTenFourFoxNews. 29 is now substantially less crashy and many of the severe bugs are fixed. Although there will be some visual differences from Australis on 10.6+, mostly for performance reasons, it now looks much the same and themes based on it should just work. Major issues yet to be fixed include webcam support, which is totally broken right now; an issue with new tab thumbnails showing a blue tint which is obviously an endian problem; and doing some more work on missing window controls and traffic light buttons. You can track progress in issue 267. I'm hoping to migrate to the beta changesets and then issue an early beta pretty soon-ish so people can bang on it. No ETA yet but I'm hoping for end of the month. Please note that being unstable, there may still be some known minor to moderate issues that I will defer for later fixing.

One of our more interesting trouble tickets was one where SSL certificates came up bogus and certain style sheets wouldn't load. Eventually the user was able to determine that it was his clock that was to blame -- because the time was wrong, it would fail certificate validation because the SSL certificates appeared to be expired. 10.4 does have an issue staying synchronized to an NTP time source, which I've noticed on my always-on G5 and G4 server, and I do have a fix for my systems that involves a little minor surgery I'll put in a future blog post. However, in a way it's peculiarly reassuring because it means that TenFourFox's certificate validation does fail when it's supposed to.

This is also a good point to publicly thank Chris Trusch for all he does answering questions on our user support Tenderapp site and his work managing the localization team, whom we also greatly appreciate for faithfully translating our unusual strings into all our supported languages. You can help support our user base as well. Feel free to jump into threads if you've got something to add, and if you'd like to actually take a formal support staff role contact me in the comments.

The G5 liquid cooling surgery went fine without major issues, though the grounding screws fell into the power supply side, requiring partial disassembly of the case to get them out (grrr). However, it is now substantially cooler and quieter and passes thermal calibration like a champ. Heikke Lindholm, who maintains probably the definitive Quad G5 LCS servicing document available, and I have been conversing about best practices for keeping G5 systems running and I'll also make a blog post about how to do the LCS exchange if you are able to locate a Apple Certified Refurbished part (for the Quad, it's 661-3729 -- make sure you ask them if it's Apple Certified Refurbished, or at least verify it passes thermal calibration, and don't pay more than a couple hundred dollars). This will generally apply to other LCS G5s, but I'm primarily interested in the Quad, and that's what we will primarily discuss. If you don't want to buy a new LCS unit or can't, Heikke's instructions will help you with doing the work yourself.

The FirefoxOS review is next.

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