Firefox

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Mozilla Firefox (once known as "Firebird") is a cross-platform, open source, free web browser available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other operating systems. Unlike the Mozilla Suite, which includes a chat client, mail functions, and web page editor, Firefox is just a browser, and is considerably faster than Mozilla.

Since the introduction of version one of Firefox in the fall of 2004, Firefox is considered a viable alternative to Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer. Thanks to features such as pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, security features, Firefox has gained a substantial market share and the expense of Internet Explorer.

History

Firefox was originally known as Phoenix but was later renamed to Firebird and then, in February 2004, to Firefox, because of confusion with FireBirdSQL.

Distribution specific information

Debian

Debian firefox packages for testing/sarge and unstable/sid users are available in the standard Debian repository, get them with apt-get install mozilla-firefox. Debian stable/woody users can get a backported version here. A list of available plugins and locales packages can be found with apt-cache search --names-only mozilla-firefox

Gentoo

GenToo users can instAll Firefox from a root prompt using emerge, ie:

# emerge mozilla-firefox

or

# emerge mozilla-firefox-bin

(to get the official binary build installed).

From the new Linux Installer

Download the latest Linux installer from ftp.mozilla.org. (Note: The installer ends in '-installer.tar.gz')

Extract it to a temporary directory, and go into the 'firefox-installer' directory. Now you must decide whether you want to install firefox system-wide, so that all computer users can use it, or whether to just install it for yourself. When you have finished the install you may delete the 'firefox-installer' directory.

Installing Firefox for Personal Use

Run the script called 'firefox-installer', in the firefox-installer directory. (If you are using a gui tool, you should be able to simply click on it) Click next until you are given a choice where to install firefox. You will probably want to install it somewhere like '/home/yourname/programs/firefox'. From there the install should be simple. To run firefox you must either run '/home/yourname/*/firefox/firefox', or make a shortcut to it (varies depending on your desktop environment).

Installing Firefox System-Wide

Open a terminal. Type in 'su' to login as the super-user. Use 'cd' to change to the directory where you extracted the firefox-installer (eg. cd /home/yourname/firefox-installer). then type in ./firefox-installer. Click next until you are given a choice where to install firefox. To keep in line with linux standards, you will want to install it to '/opt/firefox'. From there the install should be simple. Once it is completed, go back to your terminal, and while still logged in as root, type in ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/local/bin/firefox (assuming you installed to /opt/firefox). This will mean any user can run firefox by simply typing in firefox, just like they were running any other program.

From Their Binaries

Mozilla makes nightly binaries available at http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/, or get the latest release from http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/

Untar it somewhere in your home directory with "tar -xvzf whatever.tar.gz" you will have to run it with ./firefox from that directory, or you can create a shortcut to it.

Plugins

If you want browser plugins to work, symlink your main plugin directory contents to your new plugins directory. You will want to keep the existing libnullplugin, so rename it before doing so, and rename it back. Main plugin directories are often in /opt/mozilla or in /usr/lib/mozilla-version or similar.

The procedures for installing plugins such as Acrobat Reader are not well documented in the Firefox Help, but some good information is available at http://plugindoc.mozdev.org/linux.html for 32-bit systems and http://plugindoc.mozdev.org/linux-amd64.html for 64-bit systems. Note in particular that you need to use the program nspluginwrapper on 64-bit systems in order to utilize 32-bit plugins -- and 64-bit plugins don't yet exist.

To see what plugins you have installed, type about:plugins in the location bar.

Firefox tips

  • Type about:config in your location bar to get a complete and editable list of Firefox's preferences.
    • filter by:
      • error and set the resulting setting to be true for error messages that show in the browser page instead of a pop up
      • dom, then set all of the dom.disable options to true if you want to have control over the content in the web browser (these should work with all sites, no site should depend on using these features, they are all security hazards when off)
      • mouse set middlemouse.contentLoadURL to false, that way middle clickin on a tab will close it
      • autoscroll, set it to true, and you'll middle mouse button wont' paste personal information to a search engine everytime you accidentally click it, also does the autoscroll feature, which is an ergonmic feature, that will save you from finger strain. (IE on windows has this, and firefox on windows has it on by default)
  • Creating a shortcut under KDE
    • If you use KDE and would like a shortcut to firefox to appear under the "K" menu you can perform the following steps.
      • Right-click the "K" menu then select "Menu Editor". A "KDE Menu Editor" window appears.
      • Navigate to the location where you would like the shortcut to appear (ex: Internet>Web Browser). [Note: the default menu "folders" that appear in your K menu will differ depending on your linux distribution.] With the appropriate folder selected, right-click then select "New Item". Enter an appropriate name (eg: Firefox v1.0x) in the "New Item - KDE Menu Editor" dialog box then click OK.
      • With the new Firefox 1.0x menu item selected place your cursor in the Command field, then type in the proper path to the firefox executable. In the example provided above, this would be /opt/firefox/firefox
      • Select the proper icon for the FireFox shortcut by clicking on the Select Icon button (located just to the right of the "Name" field). In the Select Icon dialog box, select the Other Icons radio button, then browse to your /opt/firefox/icons directory and select the firefox .png file, click OK.
      • In the KDE Menu Editor dialog box, select FILE>SAVE, then select FILE>QUIT. Enjoy!

Adblock extension

Adblock (adblock.mozdev.org) is an extension to Firefox that does exactly what you would expect it to do: it blocks advertisement banners, as well as flash animations and other similar nuisances.

To install it, follow this link and click on the link that says "Install Now." If you have never installed an extenion before, you will most likely have to add update.mozilla.org to the list of sites that may install software onto your computer. To do this, click the button that says "Edit Options" and click the button labeled "Allow." Once the extension is done being downloaded and installed, restart Firefox to complete the installation.

In order to block the vast majority of internet advertisements, go to pierceive.com and follow the links to download a set of filters called Filterset.G. Right click on the latest version of the file and choose "Save link as" and save it to a suitable location on your hard drive. To install these filters, click on Tools, point to Adblock, and then click Preferences. Click on the button labeled "Adblock Options" and click "Import filters." Navigate to the location in which you saved the filter file and click "Open." This imports the filters.

There are some recommended settings for Adblock that will assist in enhancing your browsing experience. To active them, open the preferences panel (see above) and click on "Adblock Options." The option labeled "Obj-Tags" should be selected already. In addition to that, select the following three options, as well as "Keep List Sorted."

If an advertisement appears on a web site that is not blocked, it is very easy to block it for visits. Right click on the image and click the bottom option, "Adblock Image." A dialogue should open with the image's URL. You can click "OK" to block just that image. However, if you notice a pattern, for instance http://www.example.com/images/ads/banner1.gif, it may be beneficial to block http://www.example.com/images/ads/*.

Unfortunately, wildcard blocks like that can occasionally lead to accidental blocking of unintended images. For that reason, Adblock allows you to remove filters you've set previously. In our above example, if by blocking things using the filter http://www.example.com/images/ads/* made images disappear, you would want to delete that filter. To do so, open the Adblock Preferences (see above) and locate the filter on the list. It should be alphabetical, so locating it should not be difficult. Once you have found it, right click on it and either choose "Edit Filter" to change it and possibly correct it, or "Delete" to remove it outright.

Firefox troubleshooting

Profile in use after power off

Firefox uses a file called lock in its profile to determine if the profile is in use. If Firefox is running during a power failure, this file is still there, and Firefox will fail with profile in use message. To fix it, find the lock file and delete it.

Running as user, execute

user@linuxbox / $ cd ; find .mozilla -name lock -exec rm -f {} \;

The above command will first change your current working directory to your own home directory (in this case, /home/user), then it will find all files called lock that are located in your .mozilla directory and any other subdirectory below it, and delete them forcefully. Or you can do the same thing with a file manager such as Konqueror.

Now firefox should work again.

Restoring a tab deleted with Ctrl W shortcut

Simply type

Ctrl Shift T

Then, the last deleted tab will be recovered.

Moreover if you were editing some Html Form when you stroke Ctrl W, you will come back to the same state as if you did nothing wrong (this is very useful when editing a Wiki page)

External links