Firefox segmentation fault on Asus Eee PC after update

I’m writing about Eee PC right now, and after updating a clean install (no added repositories) was surprised to find Firefox failing with a segmentation fault. Clicking the Firefox icon did nothing. Running from a console got this:

/opt/firefox/ line 131: nnnn Segmentation fault

Reinstalling Firefox and deleting the profile did not work, nor did safe mode. I found the answer here. Open a console (Control-Alt-T) and type:

sudo apt-get install eeepc-updatepack-20071126

What does this package do?

This update pack fixes SCIM for applications which were provided to ASUS as binaries. This includes Firefox, Thunderbird, Adobe Acrobat.

SCIM is the Smart Common Input Method platform.

All is now well, but I’m not impressed. Running apt-get update and then apt-get upgrade should not break important applications. Nor is it obvious how to fix the problem. This kind of thing will put new users off Linux; not good if Asus really wants to make the Eee a mass-market device.

Incidentally, if you are stuck without Firefox on the Eee and need to browse the web, typing konqueror from a console will fire up the KDE web browser.

20 thoughts on “Firefox segmentation fault on Asus Eee PC after update”

  1. Thank you for this post – ran update on my new eee (a Christmas present) and broke Firefox in exactly this way. Luckily, I have enough Linux experience to be able to resort to konqueror (or lynx, but not on the eee) when desparate!

  2. Bless you! I had the same problem. An alternative to the apt-get console, I found it in the Synaptic Package Manager. You might also put this on a couple of the eeePC wiki’s that are out there. I cannot imagine how many folks have this problem.

  3. Thanks so much for posting this! The update package you mention is available through Synaptic but the Package Manager would not allow the update (part of the overall update error I guess) so your steps helped get around that.

  4. “easy to break”

    Frankly, I’m appalled. The machine I was working with is intended to be a (late) Xmas gift. After upgrading the RAM to 2GB, installing a kernel patched to recognize it, and tweaking GRUB to access it, I turned my attention to enabling the “advanced” user interface. When I then discovered Firefox broken, my suspicions immediately focused on the update. While I might have “discovered” the recovery facility (eventually), it should not take Unix/Linux sophistication to dig one’s self out of such a hole.

    Thank you for taking the trouble to describe the problem and share a solution.

  5. Thank you sooo much for this post!

    I’m still a bit of a linux noob, and couldn’t remember the name of the default browser, so I opened amarok, switched to the artist info, clicked ‘open in external browser’, and up pops Konquerer!

    Cheers for the fix!

  6. Sweet man, thx… that update totally broke my firefox, so I fired up ole konqueror and started looking for a solution… did the trick quite nicely.

  7. Thanks for the information. Just marked all packages for upgrade in the Synaptic Package Manager and noticed that Firefox was broken. FYI, you can type a URL into the file manager window if the address toolbar is enabled.

  8. Pleas let me add my thanks to you. I was so sad when fierfox droped out yep got Konquer up did a search on the error then found you thanks again. I love my Eee PC but they droped the ball on this one. Asus owe you a free computer.

  9. And another “Thanks for that”. I updated it this evening, and completely stuffed firefox.

    Thanks for the tip wrt konqueror too.

  10. Thanks for this tip that fixes the problem.

    I had wasted almost 3 hours trying to find out what was wrong. The strange thing was that : if you become root, set DISPLAY=:0 and launch firefox from the console , firefox starts normally. The problem happens only for ‘user’.

    apt-get update&upgrade should leave the system in a perfectly sane status. More specifically: those commands should have installed the patch that fixes the bug. Especially since this article is dated 24-dec-2007 and today it’s 13-jan-2008.

    So it’s almost one month since the bug is known, so the patch should have been included on the package repository ages ago.
    Totally not impressed by the way xandros or asus is managing the package repository.

    The device is a true “jewel”: fully functional laptop, enough memory, running Linux. And -of course- truly portable (unlike the standard laptops that are unpleasant to carry around). If only the screen were 9″ …. 😉

  11. Thank you Tim. Your response came up high on the GOogle hit list 🙂 and it was clear and to the point. The very best in ’08 and I’m adding this blog to my daily watch list!

  12. Thanks for that. Broke my Son’s eeepc at bedtime … bad karma …. this got it back on air in a about 5 mins … no tears before bedtime.

    I’ve mailed xandros about this … since their mail address is in the package. I’d really like to know was ASUS are up to here … this feels like an elementary mistake

  13. You are a genius. There is a mountain of web material on this subject (it’s user permissions, your library is corrupted, just delete your profile, it’s scim &c &c) and it is all useless. Your solution actually works, no two ways about it.
    How on earth is the average eee punter supposed to cope? Shows why people stick with Windows.

  14. Tim, thanks for this great tip.

    I really like the EEE PC, but the whole update process (even using Synaptic) is not very user friendly. Having an update break a core function (Firefox) without the slightest notice does cast doubt on whether Linux is totally ready for prime time.

    This error would likely doom the average user.
    An average user will not think to find the firefox launch path, open a console, try launching firefox from the command line, observe the segmentation fault, and then google for the cause.

  15. Am I glad I found this post! Don’t get me wrong, I love the eeepc but I updated earlier this week and Firefox was knackered. I’m not a total noob but this really stumped me – your fix works a treat.

    I’m sure there are loads of average eeepc users that have had this problem – Asus have to address it directly.

  16. Just did a synaptic update everything and broke Thunderbird. Fortunately I didn;t break Firefox so was able to google for your posting.

    Many thanks

  17. ive done the above install but still to no avail.neither the web key or google ,mail keys etc are working still.any ideas?????

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