Monday, August 02, 2010

64bit Browser Work Continues

I was pulled off of doing Admin work for a few days to help with some technical projects and assisting in getting some pieces together for our Integration Division. I had previously noted that a system was developed for taking citizens pictures for our recreation cards. I wrote a small ksh and perl script to create the new cards. (shot below). Integration staff will make final changes and add some colors and move the boxes around slightly to fit the perforated paper; but it's all essentially working. The Panther development toolkit we use has no runtime licenses at all on Linux. So that along with the inexpensive cameras and using perl to print the cards has kept the costs to a minimum.

So now I'm back working on the 64bit 'browser' server which will run our Citywide Firefox sessions. I got mplayer compiled natively and it's playing all of our media files correctly. Nice. Now I'll work on getting the multimedia plugins loaded into Firefox. We use the RealPlayer (Helix) to play our commission meetings, but sadly this too seems to be missing 64bit support. Will check for source code, maybe I can build it myself. I guess I have come to the realization that in the short term, I certainly won't have a nice clean 64bit implementation; I'll load as much as I can and upgrade as more packages are released in the future. It's all super fast, the users won't see much of a difference.

I tried loading Chrome as downloaded from Google and there were some dependency problems. I found a release from OpenSuse (11.3) and was able to get it installed natively. What is interesting is that I have found it to be very SLOOOOW. Firefox is very responsive on this server; cold starts in about 2-3 seconds and pages load quickly and spinning the mouse to scroll a page is crisp and works as expected...even over remote display. Chrome feels like page rendering is fighting mouse movement, and spinning the mouse wheel is slow and not very smooth. When you grab the scroll bars, they seem to be jerky and slow. Possibly no one is testing Chrome over remote display, but as it stands right now it's not even close to be usable in our environment.

Work will continue over the next few days with plugin testing and loading more software. I should be able to put on some beta testers in the coming week or so and begin testing printing and printers.

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