This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.
UPDATE: In Week 26, I revisit Firefox again, as the Raspbian repositories offer a current version of this web browser.
I’ve previously looked at web browsing on the RPI4 in Week 4 of my blog, recommending Chromium and Vivaldi on this tiny machine. Chromium offers the virtue of official Raspbian support on the RPI4 and it’s published under an open source license. On the other hand, Vivaldi is no-charge proprietary software. Both web browsers earned my recommendation. At the time, I was unable to recommend Firefox because the Raspbian repositories hosted a prehistoric version; version 60.9.0 ESR to be specific. Running a version of a web browser that’s 2 years behind the latest version is totally unacceptable, even from a security standpoint alone.
I’m pleased to report that Raspbian’s repositories now ship version 68.5.0 ESR of Firefox. This version was released in February 2020. As it’s the latest Extended Support Release, I’ve revisited Firefox to see if it’s a viable alternative to Chromium or Vivaldi on the RPI4.
Over the past few months, I’ve been using Chromium as my default web browser. For video streaming, Chromium is far from perfect. I’ve watched a myriad of streaming services including BBC iPlayer, Twitch, and YouTube. Frankly, watching these services in Chromium doesn’t come remotely close to replicating the experience of my main desktop. In fact, video streaming with Chromium is barely enjoyable. While it’s a big improvement over earlier models of the RPI, there is some tearing on videos, and panning is not smooth enough for my liking. It’s more noticeable when the video is played full screen.
So how does Firefox fare from a video streaming perspective? Overall, it’s slightly worse than Chromium. There’s noticeable tearing and other visual glitches when playing video, even when watching them in windowed mode. With Chromium I can watch videos using omxplayerGUI with silky smooth hardware acceleration. I’ll have to explore if that’s a viability with Firefox.
Firefox still interferes with other applications. For example, if I’m watching a video in VLC, and I scroll up and down web pages in Firefox, there’s a nasty bug. Even the simplest web page causes the video to momentarily pause. It’s not the CPU being maxed out. This behaviour doesn’t happen with Chromium or Vivaldi.
There’s more bad news. I don’t normally experience many stability issues with the RPI4. In fact, it’s rock solid. This includes surfing the net with Chromium and Vivaldi. But sadly that isn’t the position with Firefox. I experienced too many crashes when using Firefox in the past few days. Certainly too many crashes to contemplate writing this week’s blog with Firefox.
I don’t know what’s causing the stability problems. Maybe it’s my system. I’ll investigate this issue further.
I examine memory usage of Firefox, Chromium, and Vivaldi on the next page.
Read all my blog posts about the RPI4.
|Raspberry Pi 4 Blog|
|Week 36||Manage your personal collections on the RPI4|
|Week 35||Survey of terminal emulators|
|Week 34||Search the desktop with the latest version of Recoll|
|Week 33||Personal Information Managers on the RPI4|
|Week 32||Keep a diary with the RPI4|
|Week 31||Process complex mathematical functions, plot 2D and 3D graphs with calculators|
|Week 30||Internet radio on this tiny computer. A detailed survey of open source software|
|Week 29||Professionally manage your photo collection with digiKam|
|Week 28||Typeset beautifully with LyX|
|Week 27||Software that teaches young people how to learn basic computing skills and beyond|
|Week 26||Firefox revisited - Raspbian now offers a real alternative to Chromium|
|Week 25||Turn the Raspberry Pi 4 into a low power writing machine|
|Week 24||Keep the kids learning and having fun|
|Week 23||Lots of choices to view images|
|Week 22||Listening to podcasts on the RPI4|
|Week 21||File management on the RPI4|
|Week 20||Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) on the RPI4|
|Week 19||Keep up-to-date with these news aggregators|
|Week 18||Web Browsers Again: Firefox|
|Week 17||Retro gaming on the RPI4|
|Week 16||Screen capturing with the RPI4|
|Week 15||Emulate the Amiga, ZX Spectrum, and the Atari ST on the RPI4|
|Week 14||Choose the right model of the RPI4 for your desktop needs|
|Week 13||Using the RPI4 as a screencaster|
|Week 12||Have fun reading comics on the RPI4 with YACReader, MComix, and more|
|Week 11||Turn the RPI4 into a complete home theater|
|Week 10||Watching locally stored video with VLC, OMXPlayer, and others|
|Week 9||PDF viewing on the RPI4|
|Week 8||Access the RPI4 remotely running GUI apps|
|Week 7||e-book tools are put under the microscope|
|Week 6||The office suite is the archetypal business software. LibreOffice is tested|
|Week 5||Managing your email box with the RPI4|
|Week 4||Web surfing on the RPI4 looking at Chromium, Vivaldi, Firefox, and Midori|
|Week 3||Video streaming with Chromium & omxplayerGUI as well as streamlink|
|Week 2||A survey of open source music players on the RPI4 including Tauon Music Box|
|Week 1||An introduction to the world of the RPI4 looking at musikcube and PiPackages|
This blog is written on the RPI4.