[lubuntu-devel] Needs feedback: Firefox and ALSA on Lubuntu 16.04 LTS

Simon Quigley tsimonq2 at lubuntu.me
Wed Mar 22 17:05:02 UTC 2017


You may be aware of a major bug[1] we have in Lubuntu that surfaced after
Firefox 52 was released into xenial-updates. Upstream Firefox no longer supports
the ALSA audio framework, which is what Lubuntu 16.04 uses as it's primary audio
framework. This is a major regression that needs to be fixed as soon as
possible. People depend on Lubuntu 16.04 LTS to be a stable release that has
long term support, and that won't break their audio in their web browser after
an update.

While I'm unsure there was anything that could have been done to prevent this
(practically, Firefox is a large package...), as I don't know upstream made this
change clear, it is something that needs to be fixed. But, since this is a
stable, LTS release, any change we do at this point needs to be carefully
thought out. Here are some options that we could explore:

 1) Re-enable ALSA in Ubuntu's Firefox package, and find somebody to maintain
it. This would be a large amount of work because it's essentially giving us a
lot of work maintaining something that only Lubuntu 16.04 users will use. I
don't think we should take this route.

 2) Change the audio framework in Lubuntu 16.04 to use Pulseaudio instead. This
would be a good amount of work guarding against any regression, and it would
have to be a seamless migration. This would take a lot of work, but I think it's
doable. I vote this solution.

 3) Switch off of Firefox in Lubuntu 16.04 altogether. This would probably make
many users angry, as they will have to migrate everything off of Firefox to get
working audio, but it would be the easiest solution for us, the maintainers.

Whatever solution we take, this will break a good amount of rules we have in
place regarding not introducing new things into stable releases. But unless we
can somehow reverse the version of Firefox in xenial-updates (which is also
doable but that would take some work as well), we have to do something.

Thoughts from anyone?

[1] https://pad.lv/1671273

Simon Quigley
tsimonq2 at lubuntu.me
tsimonq2 on freenode and OFTC
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