Wandering Thoughts archives


My weird problem with the Fedora 29 version of Firefox 67

On Twitter, I said:

So the Fedora version of Firefox 67 (or perhaps all versions of Firefox 67) have a little issue where starting Firefox with a URL, as 'firefox SOME-URL', will sometimes start Firefox without loading the web page properly. This is very irritating for me, so back to Firefox 66.

While the effect here is reproducible from the command line (well, for me), it comes up for me because I have a bunch of tools, dmenu setups and window manager automation that ends up doing the equivalent of this. One case is transferring a URL to my Javascript-enabled Firefox profile; the JS-enabled Firefox is not usually running, so the transfer process runs into this some of the time. As you can imagine, trying to open a URL and getting a blank page or some other failure is kind of annoying. I want things to work the first time around, not have to be repeated (occasionally more than once).

I also did some testing of the Fedora Firefox 67 with a completely new $HOME (by doing 'export HOME=/tmp/fox-scratch; mkdir $HOME') and I got some really weird results by repeatedly starting it with an URL, quitting, and repeating it. For a while at home, I could get the Fedora version of Firefox 67 to report that Environment Canada's website had an invalid TLS certificate because Entrust was an unknown CA.

Initially I wasn't sure if this was Firefox 67 in general or not, but yesterday I got sufficiently interested and irritated to fetch the official Mozilla build of Firefox 67 and try it instead ('installed', ie unpacked, into a non-system location). This official version of 67.0.2 works completely fine for me both at home and at work, with all of my normal profiles and extensions, so the problem seems to be in some way specific to Fedora's build of Firefox 67 (I saw it with both 67.0-2 and 67.0-4 on Fedora 29). On the other hand, the Fedora 29 Firefox 67 seems to work fine in my Cinnamon session on my laptop.

(I haven't tried the latest unreleased version of Fedora's Firefox that's available through the Bodhi page for Firefox or via the steps in Fetching really new Fedora packages with Bodhi. As I write this it's only 19 hours old, so I'll let the dust settle on those packages a bit.)

PS: I've not yet upgraded to Fedora 30 for various reasons, but certainly of them is this bug. I suspect it may be July before I make the leap.

PPS: For interested parties, the bug I filed with Fedora is Fedora Bugzilla #1713924.

linux/FedoraFirefox67Problem written at 22:18:46; Add Comment

An interesting Fedora 29 DNF update loop with the createrepo package

For a while, my Fedora 29 home and work machines have been complaining during 'dnf update' with a very peculiar complaint:

# dnf update
Last metadata expiration check: 0:09:16 ago [...]
Dependencies resolved.

 Problem: cannot install both createrepo_c-0.11.1-1.fc29.x86_64 and createrepo_c-0.13.2-2.fc29.x86_64
  - cannot install the best update candidate for package createrepo_c-0.13.2-2.fc29.x86_64
  - cannot install the best update candidate for package createrepo-0.10.3-15.fc28.noarch
========= [....]
 Package        Architecture  Version        Repository  Size
Skipping packages with conflicts:
(add '--best --allowerasing' to command line to force their upgrade):
 createrepo_c   x86_64        0.11.1-1.fc29  fedora      59 k

(Using '--best --allowerasing' did not in fact force the upgrade.)

For a while I've been ignoring this or taking very light stabs at trying to fix it, but tonight I got irritated enough to finally do a full investigation. To start with, the initial situation is that I have both createrepo 0.10.3-15 and createrepo_c 0.13.2-2 installed. DNF is trying to upgrade createrepo to createrepo_c 0.11.1-1, but this is naturally conflicting with the more recent version of createrepo_c that I already have installed.

I don't know quite how I got into the underlying situation, but I believe that interested parties can reproduce it on a current Fedora 29 system (and possibly on a Fedora 30 one as well) by first installing mock, which pulls in createrepo_c 0.13.2-2, and then the older and now apparently obsolete mach, which will pull in createrepo. At this point, a 'dnf update' will likely produce what you see here. To get out of the situation, you must DNF remove mach and createrepo (conveniently, 'dnf remove createrepo' will ripple through to remove mach as well).

To start understanding the situation, let's do an additional DNF command:

# dnf provides createrepo
createrepo-0.10.3-15.fc28.noarch : Creates a common metadata repository
Provide    : createrepo = 0.10.3-15.fc28

createrepo_c-0.11.1-1.fc29.x86_64 : Creates a common metadata repository
Provide    : createrepo = 0.11.1-1.fc29

In the beginning, there was createrepo, written in Python, and it was used by various programs and packages that wanted to create local RPM repositories, including both Mach and Mock. As a result of this, the Fedora packages for various things explicitly required 'createrepo'. Eventually the RPM people decided that they needed a version of createrepo written in C, so they created createrepo_c. In Fedora 29, Fedora appears to have switched which createrepo implementation they used to the C version. Likely to ease the transition, they made the initial version or versions of their createrepo_c RPM also pretend that it was createrepo, by explicitly doing an RPM provides of that name. This made createrepo_c 0.11.1-1 both a substitute for the createrepo RPM and an upgrade candidate for it, since it has a more recent version (this is the surprise of 'Provides' in RPM).

(The RPM changelog says this was introduced in 0.10.0-20, for which the only change is 'Obsolete and provide createrepo'.)

Over time, most RPMs were updated to require createrepo_c instead of createrepo, including the mock RPM. However, the mach RPM was not updated, probably because Mach itself is neglected and likely considered obsolete or abandoned. Then at some point the the Fedora people stopped having their createrepo_c RPM fill in for createrepo this way. Based on the RPM changelog for createrepo_c, this happened in 0.13.2-1, which includes a cryptic changelog line of:

  • Do not obsolete createrepo on Fedora < 31

Presumably the Fedora people have their reasons, and if I wanted to trawl the Fedora Bugzilla I might even find them. However, the effect of this change is that older createrepo_c RPMs in Fedora 29 are updates for createrepo but newer ones aren't.

So, if you 'dnf install mock', you will get mock and the current version of createrepo_c, which doesn't provide createrepo. If you then 'dnf install mach', it requires createrepo and the best version it can actually install is the actual createrepo 0.10.3-15 RPM that was built on Fedora 28. However, once that is installed, DNF will see the 0.11.1-1 version of createrepo_c from the Fedora 29 release package set as an update candidate for it, but that can't be installed because you already have a more recent version of createrepo_c.

(I suspect that if you install mach first and mock second, you will get only createrepo_c but will be unable to upgrade it past 0.11.1-1 without erasing mach.)

linux/FedoraCreaterepoUpdateLoop written at 00:51:43; Add Comment

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