Browser still missing on ARM? Please provide some kind of viable workaround!

  • So, I am kind of confounded how I can't find any sort of solution, no matter how far fetched or crazy, to the "missing browser" issue.


    Is there really no viable web browser, or any kind of insane-ish workaround hack, to display normal modern websites like Youtube or Facebook?


    Maybe some alpha buggy stuff? No?


    How are people not tearing their hairs out over this?; considering how many other complicated big add-ons there are that work perfectly.


    I mean, in principle the box is running Linux and its just a matter of cross-compiling enough stuff to make Firefox run - even if that's not a particularly clean thing to do. Hasn't someone done this, or anything really? Something? Please ... I can't really express how important a browser is to any kind of modern media device. We all should know this?


    If nothing really works yet, then please which project in this direction is actively developed and promising and where to find it and help develop?


    I have only found dead ends in this direction.


    How can this be? What am I missing?

  • Is there really no viable web browser, or any kind of insane-ish workaround hack, to display normal modern websites like Youtube or Facebook?

    I think you're missing the point of the whole LibreELEC/Kodi application.

    If you want to do your social media during a video, use your smartphone.


    mean, in principle the box is running Linux and its just a matter of cross-compiling enough stuff to make Firefox run

    Well, if it that's easy... Why didn't we think of that?!?


    I can't really express how important a browser is to any kind of modern media device. We all should know this?

    I call social media one of 21th century's addictions.


    If nothing really works yet, then please which project in this direction is actively developed and promising and where to find it and help develop?

    Raspbian has some Chrome/Chromium-type web browser.

  • There is no x11 at any our arm builds.

    So none of the browsers are working. Shipping x11 is also no option.


    A real fix is the browser implementation in kodi. This was started but not finished. Then everywhere kodi runs a browser would run too. Maybe kodi 19, maybe not.

  • I don't know if that was supposed to be funny.

  • There is no x11 at any our arm builds.

    So none of the browsers are working. Shipping x11 is also no option.


    A real fix is the browser implementation in kodi. This was started but not finished. Then everywhere kodi runs a browser would run too. Maybe kodi 19, maybe not.


    I can code and do weird hacks.


    But I haven't even looked at the internals of LibreELEC. From what I have read it renders directly to the framebuffer? So its not possible to run X11 with serious hardware acceleration at the same time?


    Might it be possible to run it in X11 as a workaround, without really serious weeks of work involved?


    The device I have has all the gigaquads you need, to not care about anything memory. I could even run Windows XP inside qemu on this thing.


    But of course I can't install anything geared for the Pi since that would probably mean I could as well build Linux from scratch in terms of hardware compatibilities.


    From what I gathered, running X11 would be a huge advantage to people. Since you could then just port all kinds of applications in a blink.

  • running X11 would be a huge advantage to people

    nope, this has major drawbacks compared to the old method we are using today and compared to the latest technologies that are currently implemented (LE10)


    A browser at an RPi is kind of useless, the RPi is heavily under powered for a proper usage. But ofc if this is enough for you I won't stop you :)

    You could try to run an browser via docker - this was reported working. No idea what is really needed to do it.

    Everything that is needed to run an docker is shipped with LE.

  • Maybe, but I am not using a Rasperry Pi but some high-powered Android TV box with busted internal flash memory.


    At this point really, its doing everything I want it to do and quite nicely. Except for the browser of course. That is a really huge big giant gaping hole.


    Nowadays its so vital to run a browser on a media box, I still am not sure what to do... Maybe run the android ROM entirely off the SD card if that is even possible.


    As it is now with Kodi, sure you can provide plugins for some of the huge sites, like Youtube and Dailymotion. But there is still thousands of websites hosting videos and music off those sites that are rendered entirely inaccessibe. And that can never ever be fixed within some plugin mentality.


    And that is only from a media sort of perspective. Just looking stuff up or reading books and websites without powering on the PC or fiddling with a smartphone. Using libreoffice to edit and print documents. Real downloads and file management. Webassembly and WebGL, HTML5 games. I am not expecting that much.


    When you spent some $8 on a keyboard+touchpad remote, what is really keeping you from using normal websites?


    Consider the "Pictures" feature of Kodi: Who really, downloads a bunch of Pictures onto their TV box, probably from their own Camera, to view the stuff they already have seen over and over in a row? What people really expect nowadays by "pictures" on a mediabox is really a feed from a site like Instagram or 9gag, where constantly new pictures show up to view something new and interesting. Its not an issue of Kodi or LibreELEC, that this really can only be done in a browser in any meaningful manner. Its an issue of providing a browser in lack of any sort of alternative option.


    Regardless: Simply just, if I want to play some music off some site that doesn't happen to be Youtube (like Bandcamp, lots of stuff I like is on Bandcamp ...). Or play a video from someone's website. It just doesn't work. And that's just too much of "just doesn't work" all the time, if it comes to audio and video, for a media box.


    So I am desperate, and still unsure what to do.


    Can you theoretically flip some switches to compile X11/Xorg within a LibreELEC image on ARM, make Xorg the default and then compile Chromium as on x86 for Kodi?


    I would believe it works ... but then probably I end up rewriting half the operating system because of weird shiet?


    It would be nice, if someone clarified on this.


    And its really this, or using my notebook half the time and then all the time for media stuff, throwing that TV out of the window eventually, probably. Its still nice for guests to have DVB-C running without watching IPTV from the smaller notebook screen wi... but for me personally?


    Well sorry for bragging a lot, but I mean look at Chrome OS: its really just a browser and that is all you really need for a media device. Anything else is really not a primary feature. Yeah, Kodi has lots of Plugins to replace services that are usually provided by the browser ... but if it weren't for that? What would be left? Trading CD-ROMs and floppy drives, sort of. It doesn't fit the modern age.


    Btw. I hooked up a DVD drive to my box and Kodi couldn't play virtually any of them. Most of them were standard VCDs (back in the days, the most used format, but now not supported at all ...) and the originals had too much DRM shiet going so Kodi didn't play. So much for offline usability. I am not saying, "yay use floppy drives again people", but please consider modern times and thus modern solutions.

    Edited 2 times, last by C0NPAQ ().

  • To be honest... its not that it Can't be done, its more of a matter of finding enough of the right people to take a interest and give up their time to cross and fix all the bridges involved.


    I hate the word "can't" its just easier for some to use it because its beyond their own abilities.(not meaning that in a negative way) but my thinking has always been that if a person or group of people make something then someone else can always come along and make it do things it wasn't intended to do. In fact the firmware that this site was built to support and cultivate is based on that premise supporting Linux and a box that the manufacturer never originally intended it to be. Even Googles Android OS is a touch screen OS that until some smart none-google coders created and got working a remote control that enabled the reality of a box outputting to a tv as a usable appliance. Up tile that point most other methods of doing that were proprietary and not Android.


    They need to strike the word Can't from the dictionary.


    People have managed to get working browsers on boxes like this but it requires a fair amount of work to be done that is outside the whole premise of a stripped down Linux platform basically built to run Kodi. For the ones i know it was a personal or pet project that never went any further then the people involved. There is tons of private guys and groups constantly playing and creating things that never appear in the public and in a lot of cases its like that because the ones involved don't have the time or want the headache of dealing with the public and the stuff that goes with that part. Anyone thats been around long enough to go back to the days of XBMP and moving forward thru XBMC to Kodi know the social time and good and bad that lead to pretty much all of the original guys being gone because they had other things to do.


    just my 2 cents on the word "CAN'T" haha

  • LE has zero interest in supporting X11 on ARM hardware. In fact we're going to remove X11 from x86/64 hardware in the future too (which kills the current browser support there). So the remaining approach/solution which also works today is to run a browser like Chrome via docker. In essence you're going to run some kind of desktop distro (with X11 and the stuff it depends upon) in a container in the background. That probably doesn't do any favours for performance, but you get a working browser.


    Before you ask, there is no nicely typed up guide on how to run a browser in a container. It's been done before though.

  • I tried:

    - it works (Kodi or X11, not both)

    - it is not worth the effort


    Use Kodi for audio/video

    Use a full blown distro for anything else

    @

  • LE has zero interest in supporting X11 on ARM hardware. In fact we're going to remove X11 from x86/64 hardware in the future too (which kills the current browser support there). So the remaining approach/solution which also works today is to run a browser like Chrome via docker. In essence you're going to run some kind of desktop distro (with X11 and the stuff it depends upon) in a container in the background. That probably doesn't do any favours for performance, but you get a working browser.


    Before you ask, there is no nicely typed up guide on how to run a browser in a container. It's been done before though.

    I realized based on your origins from OpenELEC that there was no interest in any thing like that and since you guys started LibreELEC which i think was a great idea as OpenELEC became more routed in the WeTek product it was nice to see this place really take off and even inspire others like CoreELEC.


    my comments were more routed in the back and forth banter between a couple of the posters over what can or can't be done when the reality is whatever directions things go here is up to what you guys want to support, irrelevant of the reasons why one way or another. posts like that over technical issues make me want to point out that really no one is right or wrong as its a moot point.


    I also realize that sites like this attract a lot of people looking for information and some will have other ideas on things and coming to site like here is a good start to see whats going on and its easy for things outside the interests of the project coders and owner to come up.


    I think over time as you guys have excelled at moving forward theres so many things the project now supports that people start to expect other things that really are of as you say no interest to the ones running the show here, which is cool...


    I'm glad you chimed in and clarified the goals and forward looking intentions tho, it makes it easier for guys like me to know what not to waste your time on which is one of the reasons i recently crawled out of the hole to see what others are up to as an example i have aware of all the S912 issues since the SoC was introduced years ago when i got a sample from a factory, but by that time a few of us had already had to tackle all the issues with the S812's we were using at that point, and for me its been great coming here and seeing yours and others feedback on the current state of whats being worked on. Ive been off the planet for awhile and your info on Panfrost has been great and appreciated.


    In the end tho i agree with the sentiment if you want a browser then either stick with the native Android that comes on the box or install a fuller set of linux support then a basic busybox on steriods with graphics... lol

  • Get a Chromecast or an Nvidia Shield. Any browser that can give a remotely good experience will be external to Kodi.

  • LE has zero interest in supporting X11 on ARM hardware. In fact we're going to remove X11 from x86/64 hardware in the future too (which kills the current browser support there). So the remaining approach/solution which also works today is to run a browser like Chrome via docker. In essence you're going to run some kind of desktop distro (with X11 and the stuff it depends upon) in a container in the background. That probably doesn't do any favours for performance, but you get a working browser.


    Before you ask, there is no nicely typed up guide on how to run a browser in a container. It's been done before though.

    Are you really sure that this "docker solution" is actually working? Who did it actually, where is the evidence?


    I never used docker, but its no magic thing you know. And its not even one bit intended for such purposes.


    From my current knowledge and perspective, there is tons of reasons to believe why docker will just be a dead end. For example, that the regular docker can't do any hardware acceleration without direct forwarding to the host xorg server. Which I know for a fact.


    Also I googled a bit and it seems to me docker in LibreELEC isn't even used for anything but background apps (or not?).


    Thats how I just assume at this point, entirely contrary to what you said, that the Kodi docker service isn't even capable to graphical output, because Kodi renders directly to fb, and that docker in general can only do graphical output via standard methods (x11/wayland/maybe VNC like Qemu?). So that limits it to demon apps on ARM (or not? I am just guessing).


    Plus, I don't want a browser to read text. I want to play videos, play audios, view pictures. Its a media box. (Yeah, guess I am not considering playing any of the thousands of free Webassembly games on itch.io at this point ...)


    Suppose it all works and docker can run chromium, with the same speeds as qemu, its not usable at all in terms of media. Not even on a powerful machine. Maybe audio ... and text yes. But really its a media box. It should be able to access online media.

    Edited 3 times, last by C0NPAQ ().

  • Get a Chromecast or an Nvidia Shield. Any browser that can give a remotely good experience will be external to Kodi.

    My Box has no issues whatsoever running Chromium. Its just missing from LibreELEC, which is the big problem.


    Just buying more and more stuff doesn't seem to be any kind of acceptable solution.

  • Yes this works (see the post from awiouy in response earlier where he confirms) but as you correctly suppose, you cannot have Kodi active and the other distro active at the same time else both fight over the same hardware resources. This is also the case with the current Chrome addon for x86/64 (X11) where Kodi needs to be stopped while it's active - and it's one of several reasons why we regard the current "solution" as a bit of a hack and that something fully integrated into Kodi is real way forwards. However the exploratory work that's already been done in this area by Kodi developers has also shown that it's not a trivial capability to add, so while you are correct to be non-defeatist (it's not impossible and someone just has to do it) we're also correct to be realistic about the likelihood of it being done anytime soon (in the last 10-year period, nobody didi it).


    Casting would also be nice and a solution for many users, but that also requires Kodi support and the developers are really not fans for proprietary crap (a lesson learned the hard way) so the reality of there being multiple "standards" for casing depending on macOS/Win/Linux/iOS/Android means it's also a reverse-engineering/bad-code and political issue. So native casing isn't likely to be a fruitful way forwards either.


    So on this specific topic "get a chromecast" or dual-boot with Raspbian/Armbian/etc. are "sucky but sensible" options and IMHO chromecast would be the more practical to live with.

  • The reason I made the suggestion was merely because I don't think the investment in getting this feature in Kodi is worth it for most people, I may be wrong though. I'm not a big believer in devices that do everyting aka "Jack of all trades, master of none". I would personally use a phone/tablet and a simple PC for LE. If you want to do all of this on one box then you're best served using a distro that has a full-fledged desktop environment/window manager. Perhaps you could use something like Openbox and create a shortcut in Kodi that launches Chrome in full screen/kiosk mode. Alternatively use Android.

  • Yes this works (see the post from awiouy in response earlier where he confirms) but as you correctly suppose, you cannot have Kodi active and the other distro active at the same time else both fight over the same hardware resources. This is also the case with the current Chrome addon for x86/64 (X11) where Kodi needs to be stopped while it's active [...]


    That seems a bit weird to me, since I can install Kodi on a regular Linux PC (like, Debian or something) and it will just run fine alongside all the other programs inside X11. I believe the same is true for Windows and Android versions.


    I spent the last days (yes, days!) cross-compiling LibreELEC 9 RR with DISPLAYSERVER="x11", just like on x86, and now have xorg running with the fbdev driver. For Mali GPUs there is also an X11 driver with full DRI support and all that available, open source! Mali Drivers | Mali GPUs Linux EXA/DRI2 and X11 Display Drivers – Arm Developer . I will try that next. So far I made an X11 app run, and the colors are wrong and everything with the fbdev driver, too dark, no cursor only a square... gosh I hope the new driver fixes that.


    Anyway, the problem now is that Kodi is not using X11 ... its still using fb0 directly. Why is that?


    Isn't this the same kind of Kodi package as found on regular Distributions like Archlinux, etc? So why won't it simply open over x11?



    What I am guessing now is, that the LibreELEC Kodi is different somehow and always using --standalone i.e. the framebuffer, even on x86, it never uses x11, but xorg only runs alongside idle. Then to render x86 apps properly, Kodi needs to stop using the framebuffer. Is that correct?



    My goal here is really simple: Just to make Kodi run inside X11 like normal (on a desktop PC/distro), then maybe use fluxbox or something and bind F7 to open/close Chromium (which I also have to cross compile for another week ...). I am not sure if GLES2 will suffice to run Webassembly on the desktop version of chromium ... but that would be so great.


    Then I can provide my SYSTEM file, with minimal instructions to install, for all Mali GPU-ed boxes. It will be awesome.

  • Kodi on a full Linux install is either x11 or wayland depending on your compile choice but essentially Kodi is just another app sitting in a window that the already running server is providing. With the stripped down linux versions you see things like LibreELEC running on i think your probably running into issue with LibreELEC is not really a true server/client like a full blown install. instead you've kinda got a busy-box install with all the graphics extentions added to it for the hardware your installing and running on and Kodi itself is tightly intertwined in all the service startups and other stuff thats its hard to separate some things without heavily modifying some things which kinda defeat the whole intended idea behind LibreELEC and how its structure is laid out. I understand your interest in what you suggest but i think for the LibreELEC type of projects its just not the direction that their agenda is based on. Its been awhile but i used to use x11 on the boxes when running Jtag and other debug software while dumping cores and checking registers within the SoC and i had to setup kodi in a more real linux install to make it work, so i feel your pain.


    As some others have said tho for it be done properly so it works within the pervue of something like LibreELEC it really needs to be handled by the Kodi guys and good luck getting them to do anything outside whatever their direction is at any given time as there is always so much social drama between some of them its not even worth bring up. If its important to you then its something that i think you will have to take the bull by the horns and wrangle that one on your own. Years ago there were a few threads over on Freaktab by a couple of guys working at this but they eventually moved the group of them off to a IRC channel and i am not sure where it ended and that channel is now gone but who knows they may have just moved as theres always a ton of stuff going on in IRC at any given point in time, there and the news feeds (uucp). I don't have the time to go back and look at the subject anymore as all my S812's are fully supported and the only time i revisit them these days is to recompile and install the newest kodi versions. The other suggestion i would make is rather then going for a full blown current level browser if your just looking for basic surfing ability would be to find a simpler open source linux browser and start there.