Firefox

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Firefox is an open source web browser from Mozilla. The Firefox package in Archlinux is compiled without official branding. This means when you start Firefox it will use a blue globe for it's icon and will be named after it's release series' codename. This has to be done because a distribution may only use the name "Firefox" and its artwork if there are no unofficial modifications (i.e. no custom patches).


Enable Firefox Branding

If you would like to enable branding or simply change the user agent there are a fews ways to do it. You can recompile, modify the browser with extensions, or use the advanced configuration. Please note that distributing such version would be against the law!

Recompile

We will use the ABS to rebuild Firefox. Make sure you have cvsup and wget installed. Now run

abs

If this is your first time running abs it may take awhile. Subsequent run will be much shorter. Before you make any custom package you should run abs. Now perform the following.

 mkdir /var/abs/local/firefox
 cp /var/abs/network/firefox/* /var/abs/local/firefox
 cd /var/abs/local/firefox

Now use your favorite editor and open the mozconfig file. Add the following line to the end of the file.

ac_add_options --enable-official-branding

Save and exit, then run

md5sum mozconfig

Copy the string and then open the PKGBUILD file. Now look at the source and md5sums arrays. You can match up the md5sum to the file by comparing these two. In the most recent version of Firefox, Mozconfig is second on the sources list. So we would modify the second md5sum with the string we obtained earlier. The md5sum order is read from left to right. Now scroll down and look for these two lines, they will most likely be the last two lines.

install -m644 ${startdir}/src/mozilla/browser/app/default.xpm ${startdir}/pkg/opt/mozilla/lib/firefox/chrome/icons/default/
install -m644 ${startdir}/src/mozilla/browser/app/default.xpm ${startdir}/pkg/opt/mozilla/lib/firefox/icons/

Replace them with the following

install -m644 ${startdir}/src/mozilla/dist/branding/default.xpm ${startdir}/pkg/opt/mozilla/lib/firefox/chrome/icons/default/
install -m644 ${startdir}/src/mozilla/dist/branding/default.xpm ${startdir}/pkg/opt/mozilla/lib/firefox/icons/ 

Save and exit then run

makepkg

This may take some time depending on your system. Once it has created the package remove your current version of Firefox if you have it installed.

pacman -Rd firefox

Then install the new version with

pacman -A firefox-*.pkg.tar.gz

You may also try upgrading your current Firefox with.

pacman -U firefox-*.pkg.tar.gz

Ofcourse replace * with your version number.

Extensions

  • CCK Wizard - Allows you to customize every aspect of Firefox. Title bar, user agent, icons, about graphic, and a lot more.
  • User Agent Switcher - Adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of the browser.

Advanced Configuration

Enter about:config in your Firefox address bar to access the advanced configuration. In the filter enter useragent.extra.firefox, you will see your current user-agent string.You may put whatever you want in there. If you want to make it appear as the default version of Firefox to websites enter: Firefox/2.0.0.1

Extensions

  • Adblock Plus - Surprisingly it blocks ads.
  • MediaPlayerConnectivity - Allow you to launch embed video of website in an external application. Good for those who have problems with media plugins.

Plugins

To find out what plugins you have installed enter about:plugins in the Firefox address bar.

  • Flash
pacman -S flashplugin
  • Mplayer - Mplayer's multimedia plugin is one of the most mature. This will generally cover everything you need.
pacman -S mplayer-plugin
  • Java
pacman -S jre

Tips

Fonts

DPI

Modifying the following value has been known to improve the way fonts looks in Firefox. Type about:config into your address bar. Type dpi into the filter, change layout.css.dpi to 0.

Font Replacement

Another way to improve how fonts look is to replace them with another. Add or a create a .fonts.conf with the following.

<match target="pattern">
    <test qual="any" name="family"><string>tahoma</string></test>
    <edit name="family" mode="assign"><string>Bitstream Vera Sans</string></edit>
</match>

The first font name is the one we would like to replace. The second is the one we will be replacing it with.

Font Configuration

For more information on font configuration please read the following: XOrg Font Configuration

Tip Articles

Firefox Derivatives

  • Iceweasel - The name of two different Firefox forks. One is a GNU project based on Firefox 1.5. The other is being developed by Debian and it is based on 2.0. At the time of writing the AUR does have the GNU version of Iceweasel.
  • Swiftfox - An optimized and processor specific build of Firefox. Currently available via AUR. It should be noted that considering Archlinux has ABS you could build your own optimized build of Firefox.

Firefox Alternatives

  • Opera - A very full featured web suite. Closed source but free (as in beer).
  • Epiphany - Gnome's default web browser. Uses the same rendering engine as Firefox.
  • Konqueror - KDE's default web browser. Uses the KHTML rending engine.
  • Dillo - A very light weight browser.
  • SeaMonkey - The continuation of the original Mozilla suite. Browser, email client, etc.

External Links