My weird problem with the Fedora 29 version of Firefox 67

June 12, 2019

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.

Written on 12 June 2019.
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Last modified: Wed Jun 12 22:18:46 2019
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