‘The half minute which we daily devote to the winding-up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels, its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours.’

Dockerised Firefox on GuixSD

Benjamin Slade

So GuixSD doesn’t currently package Firefox (though hopefully that is changing), but only IceCat (which is now EOL). On freenode#guix, pkill9 suggested that Firefox (and Chromium etc.) could be installed on Guix via the Nix installer (install as per instructions on their site and then nix-env -i firefox) with the following trick, create a file ~/.local/bin/firefox with the following content:

# Wrapper to run the Firefox built and packaged by Nix
MESA_LIB=$(dirname $(realpath /run/current-system/profile/lib/libGL.so)) #To get webgl working
#export FONTCONFIG_PATH="$(guix build fontconfig)/etc/fonts${FONTCONFIG_PATH:+:}$FONTCONFIG_PATH"
export FONTCONFIG_PATH="$(guix build fontconfig)/etc/fonts"
exec -a "$0" "/nix/var/nix/profiles/per-user/$USER/profile/bin/firefox" "$@"

And then add ~/.local/bin to your $PATH in ~/.profile.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get that to work, though I could be doing something daft.

I figured out the following (elaborate) alternative workaround for Firefox (no luck for Chromium):

  • 1. Install Docker via Nix. Launch with sudo dockerd.
  • 2. Create a Dockerfile for Firefox
# firefox in a docker container
# the following line will start firefox in the container, thus
# video and sound will be played on the host machine
FROM alpine:edge
MAINTAINER slade@jnanam.net

# add testing repo + install packages + add user and group
RUN echo "http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/edge/testing/" >> /etc/apk/repositories \
    && apk add --no-cache \
       xz \
       dbus-x11 \
       ttf-dejavu \          # a bunch of fonts; you may not want all of these
       ttf-freefont \
       ttf-ubuntu-font-family \
       font-noto \
       font-noto-extra \
       font-noto-emoji \
       font-noto-oriya \
       font-noto-tamil \
       font-noto-avestan \
       font-noto-gothic \
       font-noto-myanmar \
       font-noto-telugu \
       font-noto-deseret \
       font-noto-bengali \
       font-noto-kannada \
       font-noto-ethiopic \
       font-noto-armenian \
       font-noto-tibetan \
       font-noto-sinhala \
       font-noto-gurmukhi \
       font-noto-malayalam \
       font-noto-gujarati \
       font-noto-devanagari \
       font-noto-thai \
       font-noto-adlam \
       font-noto-nko \
       font-noto-lisu \
       font-noto-carian \
       font-noto-buhid \
       font-noto-osage \
       font-noto-hebrew \
       font-noto-arabic \
       font-noto-chakma \
       font-noto-gothic \
       font-noto-khmer \
       font-noto-cypriot \
       font-noto-kayahli \
       font-noto-mandaic \
       font-noto-olchiki \
       font-noto-thaana \
       font-noto-georgian \
       font-noto-shavian \
       font-noto-cherokee \
       font-noto-oldturkic \
       font-noto-osmanya \
       font-noto-glagolitic \
       font-noto-tifinagh \
       font-noto-adlamunjoined \
       font-noto-nko \
       font-noto-lao \
       arc-theme \
       hunspell \
       hunspell-en \
       firefox \
       libcanberra-gtk2 \
       pulseaudio \
    && rm -fr /var/cache/apk/* \
    && adduser -D -u 1000 -g 1000 user

# add user's work
WORKDIR /home/user

# switch to user
USER user

ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/bin/firefox", "--no-remote"]

Save the above out to a file Dockerfile in some directory. cd to that directory. Then create a Docker container with docker build -t someprefix/firefox . (with someprefix being whatever you like).

  • 3. Create in ~/.local/bin/firefox:
# Wrapper to run the Chromium built and packaged by Nix
xhost +local:docker@; \
docker run --rm -it -e DISPLAY=$DISPLAY -v /tmp/.X11-unix/:/tmp/.X11-unix \
-v /dev/snd:/dev/snd \
-v /run/user/$USER_UID/pulse:/run/pulse:ro \
-v /home/$USER/.mozilla:/home/user/.mozilla \
-v /home/$USER/.cache/mozilla:/home/user/.cache/mozilla \
-v /tmp/Downloads:/tmp/Downloads \
-v /home/$USER/.gtkrc-2.0:/home/user/.gtkrc-2.0 \
-v /home/$USER/.config/gtk-3.0/:/home/user/.config/gtk-3.0 \
-v /home/$USER/.nix-profile/share/fonts/truetype:/usr/share/fonts/truetype-nix \ # for nix fonts, if you have them here
-v /home/$USER/.nix-profile/share/fonts/ubuntu:/usr/share/fonts/ubuntu-nix \     # ditto
-v /home/$USER/.nix-profile/share/fonts/noto:/usr/share/fonts/noto-nix \         # ditto
-v /home/$USER/.guix-profile/share/fonts/truetype:/user/share/fonts/truetype-guix \ # for guix fonts, if you have them here
-v /home/$USER/.guix-profile/share/fonts/opentype:/usr/share/fonts/opentype-guix \ # ditto
 --shm-size 2g  --privileged someprefix/firefox  # substitute your prefix here for "someprefix"

Where again someprefix is whatever you chose before. chmod +x ~/.local/bin/firefox and then you can run Firefox with firefox. (You’ll have to make sure dockerd is running.)

Perhaps this could be useful elsewhere. It has the advantage of being a nice Alpine Linux musl-libc/libressl build of Firefox running inside your GuixSD (or whatever you’re using).

What doesn’t work:

  • Spellchecking - I don’t quite know why, hunspell should be available. Just disable spellchecking for now (otherwise everything will be underlined in red).
  • Wire’s web portal.
  • Saving or uploading from anywhere but /tmp/Downloads (but this is a feature really).
  • If you want CJK fonts, you’ll have to install them in Nix or Guix (Alpine doesn’t seem to have any); this is indicated in the Firefox launch script above.

If you have written a response to this, enter your response post's URL below.

Or, you can send a ‘comment’ webmention (it's OK if you don't know what that means:— just enter your name/email if you so choose, or click through as anonymous, and then write your comment).

Markdown Support**bold**, _italics_, ~~strikethrough~~, [descr](link), `monospace`, ```LANG\nline1\nline2\n``` (Yep, multi-line code blocks too, with syntax highlighting!), auto-hyperlinking.


(Webmentions #)