Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

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Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

Postby Mintstant Karma on Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:32 pm

I've been using Linux Mint live, and have encountered a number of Firefox crashes and/or shutdowns. At least once I was able to Ctrl-Alt-Backspace and when Firefox was relaunched all my tabs were still there. Another time Firefox refused to launch at all, but eventually did tell me I had the option to reset to "factory" settings, which I did, losing all my tabs but regaining web access. Then another time, which I believe is where I am now (I'm currently typing this from a Windows computer), I could not get Firefox to start at all. No error messages or anything.

Fast forward a bit, and I'm using a different live distro -- Pinguy OS -- just so I can get online. (Windows was long ago fried.) After several days of smooth sailing in Pinguy, Firefox crashed. I did Ctrl-Alt-Backspace and recovered my tabs. But then later, again while working in the browser, the whole screen went black, filled with rows of numbered, somewhat cryptic error messages -- apparently the equivalent of the dreaded BSOD in Windows. The only part I recall is that the first line began with "BUG..."

This time, after Ctrl-Alt-Backspace, the desktop environment re-appeared but Firefox will not load. In Pinguy OS (I know that's not what this forum is for), the Firefox icon just bounces a couple times (as designed) and nothing else happens. There is no error message, and all other programs and files seem accessible as normal. I also tried to use the Menu in Pinguy (and probably Mint), and though it seems to take a bit longer before the cursor indicates it has given up, Firefox still refuses to load.

Oh, and there were several times in Mint when the browser just closed spontaneously. At least a couple of those times were immediately or seconds after it had launched. Very strange and annoying. Relaunching it brought back all my tabs, but what in the world...?

My computer with the live distros, the useless Firefox on each, and the borked Windows is still turned on, because I was hoping I could still recover the important browser tabs I had open before that black-screen crash. But as of now, I believe I have broken Firefox in both Mint and Pinguy, with quite similar symptoms (most notably that it refuses to launch in either one). That makes some sense, since they're both Ubuntu-based. I seem to recall I even restarted the computer in the Mint situation, but Firefox still wouldn't load. I'm holding off doing the same with Pinguy.

Is this something peculiar and known about Firefox, at least from a live OS? Is there any way to recover my tabs before I shut down the computer? Why does Firefox keep crashing? And why will it not launch now?

Help!... and thanks.
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Re: Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

Postby gtsfer on Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:22 pm

No, Firefox and Linux are much better than this, honest. It shouldn't be crashing all the time. I see you're running "live" mode so far. That's a good idea.

First... the file /home/USERID/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxyyyyy.default/sessionstore.js has all the info from your last session. It's in a hidden directory (.mozilla) so "view->show hidden files" to get to it. The xxxxyyyyy.default is some directory name that you should be able to figure out. It's unique to each system. The sessionstore.js is not exactly easy to read but the tabs should be in there.

If there's some way you could save this file to a flash drive maybe, there's a chance you could look at it and get all those tabs back.

After that, can you get an idea what kind of system and hardware you have there? Run this command from the terminal window. Then just copy and paste it / post back here, that's a start.

$ sudo inxi -F

Firefox most likely won't launch now because of a still running process after the crash. You could try...
$ pidof firefox
$ kill PID#

And then it would probably restart.
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Re: Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

Postby Mintstant Karma on Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:10 am

Hi gtsfer,

First, thank you. Using your instructions I was able to locate the Firefox profile and copy the contents into a text file, which I saved to my external hard drive. You aren't kidding; it's hard to read. But it's a lot better than nothing! I'm so grateful both for your instructions and for my having kept the computer running in the hopes that data was in there somewhere. FYI, I didn't see "USERID" (is that a placemat for my name or something?) But I explored for a while and when I saw the .mozilla folder I followed the rest of your path and there was the sessionstore.js file! Nice. I thought I had done this before and found nothing, but possibly that was before I selected "show hidden files". So, mission accomplished on perhaps my top priority. :D

Now moving on to your next instruction, I first misread the $ for an S, and got the response...
S: command not found

Wow, that's a subtle difference between those two characters! I have to look close to tell them apart. I should have known, because even being a newbie I've seen the "dollar sign" precede many commands. However I also seem to recall reading somewhere that you don't have to type that symbol. (Is that true?) At any rate, I also tried the 'pidof' command without typing anything else and that also appeared to be invalid. Now I'm going back to my broken computer to use the proper syntax. I want to try those related to Firefox first because if I can get my browser back I can copy and paste the info you seek, rather than switch back and forth between two computers and hope I remember and copy correctly.

OK, several questions about what just happened. First, does it matter whether I launch the terminal by right-clicking the desktop or by using the menu? In the latter case the terminal opens with...
it@it:~$
and from the desktop it opens with...
it@it:~/desktop$

Next, I tried the line...
$ pidof firefox (from both locations) and got...
$: command not found

This would seem to answer my question; I probably didn't need to type that $, right? Is that because it was already displayed when I opened terminal?

Next I typed just...
pidof firefox
and the cursor moved down to the next line, blinked for a few moments, then stopped blinking, stayed as a solid black rectangle, and no information was displayed.

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to enter your second line here, the "kill" line, so I waited for maybe half a minute but after nothing happened I entered that line and (as I recall) got the same result... the cursor just moved down another line.

Next, after closing and reopening the terminal (from the menu) I entered...
sudo inxi -F
and got:
sudo: inxi: command not found

Am I doing something wrong? I'm intrigued by the idea that some process is running, preventing Firefox from launching; that sounds plausible to me. And I'm glad to hear this behavior isn't typical for Firefox on Linux (and live doesn't make it any more susceptible to crashes?).

Also, I was so relieved after reading, "I see you're running "live" mode so far" to read "That's a good idea." :) My gut was ready for another punch because it seems I'm often being told I can't do whatever it is I'm trying to do, or that something's not a good idea.

Any further help is appreciated. If you can give me some alternate commands -- and especially if we can first get my Firefox running again so I can go online from the broken computer rather than this awkward two-computer juggling thing I'm doing -- I'll be happy to report what I find.
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Re: Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

Postby gtsfer on Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:59 am

Yeah you don't need to type the $ sign. lol My fault. That's just how I show a command from the terminal window. And yes "USERID" was a placeholder for your login name for that folder. You should open up the "terminal" from the menu. So to summarize... you've got a "borked" windows PC. It doesn't run Windows at all. You're running "Live DVDs" and have been trying different distros for now in an effort to figure out what would be a good OS to install and revive the machine. Is that about right?

It LOOKS like (since $ pidof firefox) returned nothing that there's no Firefox process left over and still running. This was my first guess as to why it won't restart. I was wrong there huh? Forget the "kill" command for now. If "pidof firefox" has returned a numerical value (indicating a still running process and identifying it) this would have been useful. It was not.

I guess your live session of "Pinguy OS" doesn't have the stuff for the "inxi" command to execute. This command would list out what hardware your systems has. Processor, memory, graphics, etc. I think this is a place to start to see if you have enough resources to run whatever Linux OS you want in the first place.

All I can suggest now is that you reboot the thing. Use a live session of Linux Mint. (a current release if possible like Petra, Mate maybe). Get the 32-bit version for now. After reboot with Linux Mint try the command....
$ sudo inxi -F

It should work if you load Linux Mint. One way or another we should look at what you've got for hardware first. That way we can figure out what's causing your FF crashes.
Last edited by gtsfer on Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

Postby lymit on Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:21 pm

gtsfer wrote: After reboot with Linux Mint try the command....
$ inxi -F


Shouldn't that command have a sudo in it?
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Re: Firefox keeps crashing on live Linux

Postby gtsfer on Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:25 pm

Yes! :oops: Edited my post to correct.
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