Raising Mozilla on Linux Runtime Requirements Proposed

Monday May 14th, 2007

Mike Connor has written a weblog post proposing raising the runtime requirements for Mozilla applications on Linux. Historically, Mozilla on Linux has had fairly conservative requirements, employing runtime checks and workarounds to support older libraries or work around known bugs. While this means that Mozilla applications will run on older Linux distributions, it has led to some compromises and ugly hacks in the Mozilla code, making it harder to maintain.

Mike has discussed the issue with Christopher Aillon of Red Hat and Alexander Sack of the Ubuntu project to create an updated list of Linux runtime requirements. Maintainers of older Linux distributions will be able to make the necessary changes to keep Mozilla working with older libraries themselves but the Mozilla Corporation will not ship or test builds for older platforms.

If Mike's proposals are accepted, the first version of Mozilla Firefox to ship with these higher requirements will be Firefox 3. This version of Firefox will also drop support for Windows 95, 98 and ME and raise the minimum required Mac OS X version from 10.2 to 10.3.9.

#3 But this isn't the point, sorry.

by EyesOnly

Saturday May 19th, 2007 9:23 AM

You are replying to this message

Hi schapel, and thank you for responding.

But this isn't the point. I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd like to be able to run Firefox 3, TBird 3, and I would imagine SM 1.5 (since they all share the same coding) on a brand-new, major (and popular), Linux distro that may not even be a year old by the time these products arrive in their Milestone versions. And this was the point I was trying to make. I guess it didn't come across because I was rather upset at the time that here I'd installed four distros and as it stood they wouldn't run. (Thankfully one has been since updated via its GSlapt repo.)

Of course, those who are in the "Linux Know" could just download the source and compile Firefox, et al, and play around by turning off/on the various compiler flags. However, more and more are coming over into Linux who just use it, install software, and are happy with the way it runs---and know nothing of compiling. I'm one of those who has only compiled a few things myself and am not sure I could handle such a large piece of software.

I've always enjoyed the luxury of grabbing the binaries from's FTP servers and running those rather than waiting for some software programmer, who generally will take 3 to 4 months to compile what I specifically need, and place it in the repo. I guess that's a luxury others, and myself, will have to be giving up. I wonder what it'll do for beta-testing for these Firefox/TBird/SeaMonkey builds though? Many are people who download and test the stability, hunt for bugs, duly report them to bugzilla (I'm no longer one), yet once these versions will no longer run on their 6 month old to one year old distro of Linux they too will have to forego testing.

I don't know. I just think it's all too draconian schapel. GTK 2.10 at the least? I can see dropping GTK 2.4 or 2.6, but many are still on GTK 2.8 and writing for that. And Cairo 1.4.0? That's not been out all that long.

This is almost akin, in the Windows world anyway, of telling people that we're not going to support your last XP SP pack. You've all got to go out and get Vista now or you can't run Firefox 3 or any other Mozilla Product. It's about what it comes down to when you take this to its logical conclusion.

Thanks for listening schapel. It's much appreciated that someone did. It's just that I've been using these products since before Netscape even had a name and was a test alpha download which I picked up with my Mosaic browser. I'd hate to switch now.

Amicalement / In friendship,