Today, I allowed my system to update to Kubuntu 8.04. While I can’t say I’ve noticed any dazzling improvements yet (KDE 4.0 wasn’t included) there were a few hiccups and impasses. I believe these to have stemmed from the inclusion of Firefox 3.0b5. Looking back over the past few hours, I realize that I should have just rolled back to a stable version from the 2.x tree.
The first problem came when I opened Thingamablog and updated my feeds. I prefer to read some of a post summary, and if it interests me, I’ll open the whole post in my browser. None of the links would open. Firefox was not being launched. I had a similar problem the last time I updated. This time, the problem was still with libjdic, but it apparently wasn’t because I wasn’t using Sun’s JRE. The expected version (5) of the libstdc++ library wasn’t found (having been updated along with the rest of the system) and was no longer offered through Adept Manager (Kubuntu’s package management system.)
I decided I’d rather not go through torment and suffering of trying to locate and install a past version of the library (and its dependencies, and their dependencies, and— oh, look, I’ve cut through a load-bearing column!) Instead, I’d export my feed from Thingamablog (as OPML) and import it into Akregator, KDE’s feed reader. That part worked without a hitch. Even a few feeds I thought were dead came blossoming back to life.
It was easy enough to configure Akregator to open links in Firefox (since embedded video, etc. still has occasional trouble in Konqueror.) It was far from easy to get Firefox let me subscribe to feeds with Akregator. I could click the little orange RSS icon easily enough. I could tell Firefox to make /usr/bin/akregator the default handler for RSS feeds. But Firefox would just not launch Akregator or any other program I’d point to.
After a lot of fruitless hacking of Firefox’s FeedConvertor.js, I happened upon two new pieces of information. First was an Ubuntu bug report for Liferea, another RSS reader. The person filing the bug had the same issue as myself. The fix in this case was to install the firefox-gnome-support package.
The second useful piece of information was that Firefox sends an oddly formatted URL to the external program. Apparently it sends http:/// instead of the usual http://. Writing a small wrapper script to remove the extra slash solved that problem.
Phew… that was a lot of work just to work around the difficulties arising from an update. At least nothing really bad happened this time (such as automagically messing up the bootloader.)