Integrate Firefox with the Plasma Desktop

Lately, I’ve been switching between Gnome and Plasma. Both are great desktop environments and, like all the other software in the world, both have some shortcomings. So, this is not a flamewar post, nor is intended to start yet another one.

Yesterday, I logged on a Plasma session and opened Firefox to check my email, social network accounts and read the news. Moments after firing up the browser, I got a Plasma notification about an integration with my browser of choice. I clicked on it and it opened the page for an add-on on the official add-ons website for Firefox.

The name of the add-on was Plasma Integration. On the description it read:

Multitask efficiently by controlling browser functions from the desktop, even while Firefox is in the background. Manage audio and video playback, check downloads in the notification area, send files to your phone using KDE Connect and more inside the KDE Plasma Desktop!

I was struck. This set of functionalities provided by the add-on are what I long wanted for Firefox on a desktop environment, especially the KDE Connect integration.

This means one less shortcoming in the Plasma Desktop. So, thank you, Plasma developers and community.

Is Facebook an anti-democracy tool?

Read The Autocracy App, published in The New York Review of Books, and draw your own conclusions. It’s a long, but well worth, text about the impacts of Facebook on our societies and the apparent inclination it has for favoring dictatorships and autocracies.

It gave me the chills…

Things to do after installing Fedora

WARNING

Third-party repositories will be enabled and it was only tested on Fedora 28. This could have an impact on your system ranging from none to destroying all cat videos on the internet. You have been warned.

Disable annoying AMD iommu warnings on boot

Only for some AMD CPUs, like mine, an AMD A9-9420

Edit the /etc/default/grub file and append the following to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX line:

iommu=soft amd_iommu=off

Full example:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="resume=/dev/mapper/fedora_localhost--live-swap rd.lvm.lv=fedora_localhost-live/root rd.lvm.lv=fedora_localhost-live/swap rhgb quiet iommu=soft amd_iommu=off"

Finally, generate the new GRUB configuration to take effect on your next reboot and any kernel update thereafter:

sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg

Enable Negativo17 multimedia repository

Negativo17 has more repositories. You can use them to install Steam, Spotify and more apps. Check their website for more info.

This repositories contains codecs and multimedia software (HandBrake and Blender with CUDA support, for example). A must have.

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo=https://negativo17.org/repos/fedora-multimedia.repo -y

Enable third-party repositories “supported” by Fedora

Refer to the Fedora Wiki for more info.

Enable Visual Studio Code repository

sudo rpm --import https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc

sudo sh -c 'echo -e "[code]\nname=Visual Studio Code\nbaseurl=https://packages.microsoft.com/yumrepos/vscode\nenabled=1\ngpgcheck=1\ngpgkey=https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc" > /etc/yum.repos.d/vscode.repo'

Install all codecs

sudo dnf install gstreamer1-{plugin-crystalhd,ffmpeg,plugins-{good,ugly,bad{,-free,-nonfree,-freeworld,-extras}{,-extras}}} libmpg123 lame-libs --setopt=strict=0 -y

Apps to install with DNF

Needs Negativo17 repos enabled (not only the multimedia one)
sudo dnf install -y snapd gnome-tweaks dconf-editor mpv gnome-mpv vlc dnfdragora gimp gimpfx-foundry gimp-luminosity-masks gimp-fourier-plugin gimp-focusblur-plugin gmic gmic-gimp inkscape flameshot vokoscreen kodi jpegoptim optipng micro steam qemu-system-x86 youtube-dl mplayer qbittorrent spotify steam pycharm-community pycharm-community-plugins code

Apps to install with Flatpak

First, enable flathub repo for Flatpak
sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://dl.flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
Then install the apps
sudo flatpak install flathub io.github.wereturtle.ghostwrhiter com.github.marktext.marktext io.github.Pithos

Blacklist radeon driver

For some reason, the system completely freezes randomly if I don’t blacklist the radeon driver. Maybe it interferes with the amdgpu driver that is needed by my GPUs or maybe it’s something related to Prime, but this are just guesses.

echo 'blacklist radeon' | sudo tee --append /etc/modules.d/blacklist.conf

(Optional) Install minimal Plasma Desktop Environment

sudo dnf install @critical-path-kde plasma-workspace plasma-workspace-wayland kde-settings kde-settings-plasma kde-settings-pulseaudio plasma-nm plasma-nm-openvpn plasma-nm-ssh plasma-applet-redshift-control plasma-browser-integration kde-l10n-pt kde-gtk-config dolphin konsole gwenview plasma-workspace kate-plugins kate konsole5 kde-gtk-config ksysguard -y

Thanks, /u/jflory7, for the tips to improve this “guide”.

New laptop

A few days ago I bought a Lenovo Ideapad 320-15AST. I had a budget of €400 and, after browsing a few stores for a couple of hours, I found this one for a bit less than €350.

At the hardware level, the computer has reasonable specs. They are (retrieved from inxi):

CPU: AMD A9-9420 dual core (1397MHz/3000MHz | boost: 3600MHz)
GPU: AMD Radeon R7 M260/M265
HDD: 1000.2GB 5400RPM
RAM: 8GB DDR4

This is the first time I’m buying Lenovo. I’ve always had a preference for Asus that dates around two decades, either in laptops or in desktops and components. Also, I haven’t used AMD for probably 10 years or more, but I have good memories of their CPUs at the time, so let’s see how this goes. The expectations are high.

Somewhat sadly, it came with Windows 10 preinstalled and the store clerk said they wouldn’t refund me for the license. I wasn’t that much disappointed (although it would’ve been nice to save a few dozen euros) because this will come in hand in the situations I have to give support to computers with this OS installed.

After completing the initial Windows setup, I downloaded and installed Firefox, proceeded to transfer Manjaro and wrote the ISO file to a USB drive. Don’t know why, but it got a kernel panic everytime I tried to boot it.

Next in line was Ubuntu and everything went smoothly. It’s still going. The computer has a good performance with this OS, even when I’m playing Football Manager 2018, browsing the web and listening to music on Youtube, all at the same time.

I do notice, however, the lack of performance of the hard drive, compared to the SSD I have in the old laptop. I have to switch it soon and get a caddy.