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Bug 620354 - www-client/firefox[-bin] and pulseaudio
Summary: www-client/firefox[-bin] and pulseaudio
Alias: None
Product: Gentoo Linux
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Current packages (show other bugs)
Hardware: All Linux
: Normal normal (vote)
Assignee: Mozilla Gentoo Team
Depends on:
Reported: 2017-06-01 20:35 UTC by aditsu
Modified: 2017-06-08 20:34 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Package list:
Runtime testing required: ---


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Description aditsu 2017-06-01 20:35:09 UTC
I was updating my system and found that the new firefox-bin has "pulseaudio" enabled by default. "No problem" I thought, and swatted that roach by disabling the USE flag. But then after emerging it, I saw this terrible message:
"USE=-pulseaudio : audio will not play without pulseaudio installed"

First, I have some choice words for the "geniuses" at mozilla. Then, I think there are a few things that could be done to mitigate this problem in Gentoo (for people who don't want to use pulseaudio, but would still like to run a non-handicapped firefox):
1) Keep a decent version of firefox available in portage as long as possible. I was really dismayed to see that firefox-bin-45.9.0 was removed (so I can't downgrade easily), but at least firefox-45.8.0 seems to be there for now. If you could re-add firefox-bin-45.9.0, that would be great.
2) Provide some kind of alternative to installing pulseaudio. While researching this problem, I found out about apulse. If that is a feasible replacement for pulseaudio, then please make sure it works with firefox (as seamless as possible), and add a USE flag and/or a note about it.
3) When the user emerges firefox[-bin] with flags that will lead to having no sound, please add a warning at the *beginning*, in red text, with a 10-second delay to give the user a chance to stop it.
4) If possible, build firefox with ALSA support again? At it mentions an "--enable-alsa" config option. If that's all it takes, it should be easy to add an alsa USE flag for it.

Also see:
Comment 1 Mike Gilbert gentoo-dev 2017-06-01 20:55:19 UTC
The firefox/firefox-bin ebuilds already allow you to use apulse. The dependency is this:

    pulseaudio? ( || ( media-sound/pulseaudio
        >=media-sound/apulse-0.1.9 ) )

So, you should install media-sounds/apulse, and then *enable* the pulseaudio USE flag on www-client/firefox.
Comment 2 Mart Raudsepp gentoo-dev 2017-06-01 20:59:42 UTC
(In reply to Mike Gilbert from comment #1)
> So, you should install media-sounds/apulse, and then *enable* the pulseaudio
> USE flag on www-client/firefox.

On firefox-bin. www-client/firefox requires pulseaudio at build time for that and later use apulse instead; but for now also supports building the unmaintained alsa cubeb backend instead with USE=-pulseaudio (which misses features like surround sound and full duplex, latter probably needed for any proper webrtc echo cancellation; albeit running the pulseaudio cubeb backend via apulse might have similar missing features).
Comment 3 Mike Gilbert gentoo-dev 2017-06-01 21:23:31 UTC
(In reply to Mart Raudsepp from comment #2)
> On firefox-bin. www-client/firefox requires pulseaudio at build time for
> that and later use apulse instead

Ah, I missed that. apulse doesn't install headers or pkg-config files, so that makes sense I guess.
Comment 4 aditsu 2017-06-06 09:04:15 UTC
Thanks for the info. It would be helpful to add these details to the "audio will not play" message. Specifically:
- you can use pulseaudio or apulse
- source-built firefox supports ALSA (at least for now)
Comment 5 Mart Raudsepp gentoo-dev 2017-06-06 09:20:41 UTC
(In reply to aditsu from comment #4)
> - source-built firefox supports ALSA (at least for now)

.. at a crippled capacity (and not supported by official upstream beyond accepting patches of community maintainers)
Comment 6 Maciej Zielenkiewicz 2017-06-08 20:34:05 UTC
Ian's reasonable warning message was there for a moment(27dfc5592208b407bbaf26cbc780bfae5294c001 until fb070946c79bef8356e120983461a5099bb9085f):
 "USE=-pulseaudio : audio will not play without apulse or pulseaudio installed"
maybe it could be re used so that users could get to know thay don't have to live without sound on pulseaudio-free systems?