Firefox drops ALSA; apulse to the rescue

Once again I’m caught between a rock and a stupid place. Mozilla joined Harry Pottering and the eternal september of GNU/Linux, who carries on dead-set on tearing down everything simple and elegant in the userland, replacing it with crude immitations of the beast (MacOS X). So in an inspired move, firefox went bananas and dropped its ALSA audio backend with release 57. And everyone who doesn’t fancy spending 10% of their battery life on a byzantine audio contraption, is left with silent southpark, and kung fury without the awesome 80s synths and the buttery voice of David Hasselhoff.

I tried switching to chromium for a month, but I just couldn’t stomach it. Now I always maintained that if everyone switches to pulse audio, I can always make a pulse wrapper over alsa, but I really didn’t want to have to deal with that. Thankfully, I didn’t have to bother, because a guy called Rinat Ibragimov beat me to it, and wrote apulse: a thin libpulse replacment which works with ALSA.

So in theory running apulse firefox should be sufficient to have sound in firefox 57 again. Unfortunately I had to take some more steps, and since I’m certain I’ll forget all about them next time I’m trying to do the same on another computer, I’ll keep a note here of the extra steps I had to take, to make apulse work with firefox on my computer.

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Proper Oculus Rift DK2 setup on GNU/Linux

This is a quick post about the proper way to set up the Oculus Rift DK2 on GNU/Linux, which might not be obvious for users not deeply familiar with the X window system.

Introduction

(feel free to skip)

I remember discussing this a long time ago in the oculus forums, back when the linux version of the oculus SDK was doing absurdities such as relying on Xinerama to detect and use the oculus display. Setting up the rift display as an extension of the desktop, is wrought with peril and woe. Thankfully, the X window system is awesome, and used to deal with such diverse multi-display contraptions, back when burly men programmed computers made of pumps, grease, and steel… true story.

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