Firefox 3.5 startup problem (solved)

Firefox[1] 3.5 has been out for a while now, but I’ve only recently managed to switch due to the program not starting up unless I use a weird command line hack.

By using the strace command I found it was hanging on a futex call, starting in safe-mode and even deleting .mozilla didn’t fix it. I found a forum thread on the mozilla forum that shows I’m not the only one to come across this. There was a fix described in a post linked from there, but it only worked by editing the launch command, and I’m not prepared to dig through the OS and replace every instance of the launcher to make it work.

Yesterday though I found the real culprit, it was padsp! A long time ago I had set Firefox to use padsp in order to get flash sound to work correctly with pulseaudio. I had totally forgotten I had done this, because I had made the change in /etc not in my home folder.

So if you find Firefox 3.5 won’t start on linux even though 3.0 works fine then check if you have a FIREFOX_DSP (or ICEWEASEL_DSP if on Debian) set somewhere. For me the fix was this:

In file /etc/iceweasel/iceweaselrc:

# which /dev/dsp wrapper to use
ICEWEASEL_DSP="padsp"

See the ICEWEASEL_DSP line, delete it or comment it out and Iceweasel starts working. If you are using vanilla Firefox then obviously replace every instance of the word iceweasel with firefox to implement the fix on your system.

Hope this helps someone. Oh and flash now works fine with pulseaudio without the padsp thing too.

[1] I’m actually using Iceweasel but it is Firefox in all but name so I’ll call it that here