From ArchWiki
Revision as of 18:34, 13 March 2009 by Alex anthony (talk | contribs) (→‎Branding without recompilation: FF3=Gran Paradiso)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Template:I18n links start Template:I18n entry Template:I18n entry Template:I18n entry Template:I18n links end

Firefox is an open-source graphical web browser from Mozilla. The Firefox package in Arch Linux is compiled without official branding. This means that when you start Firefox it will use a blue globe for its icon and will be named after its release series' codename. This has to be done because a distribution may use the name "Firefox" and its artwork only 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 add-ons, or use the advanced configuration. Please note that distributing such a version would be against the law!


The following procedure is for the 2.x version of Firefox. A branded version of Firefox 3.x is available via AUR here. We will use ABS to rebuild Firefox. Make sure you have cvsup and wget installed. Now run


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

mkdir -p /var/abs/local/firefox
cp /var/abs/extra/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. Mozconfig is second on the sources list. So we would modify the second md5sum with the string we obtained earlier.

Replace this line:

convert ${startdir}/src/mozilla/browser/app/default.xpm ${startdir}/pkg/usr/share/pixmaps/firefox.png

with the following:

convert ${startdir}/src/mozilla/dist/branding/default.xpm ${startdir}/pkg/usr/share/pixmaps/firefox.png

Now scroll down and look for these two lines.

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

Replace them with the following

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

Save and exit, then run


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

Of course, replace * with your version number.


  • 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/ Modify accordingly if there is a newer version.

Branding without recompilation

To brand "Gran Paradiso" without recompiling the whole browser, you need to replace the Bon Echo icons with the official Firefox icons, and change the strings "Gran Paradiso" and "GranParadiso" in a few files. The firebrand script takes care of this. Run it (as root) after an upgrade or installation of firefox. To revert to the Gran Paradiso brand again, simply reinstall firefox. The script will by default download the icons every time it is run. To "cache" the icons locally for later firefox upgrades, set the NEWICONSDIR variable to a suitable directory, for instance



Before you try to install add-ons, make sure that your /tmp directory was created with the right permissions. If addons won't install, chmod 777 /tmp should fix it.

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


Useful plugins

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


# pacman -S flashplugin

In addition you may need to install ttf-ms-fonts (pacman -S ttf-ms-fonts) for flashplayer to render text properly.


MPlayer's multimedia plugin is one of the most mature. This will generally cover everything you need.

# pacman -S mplayer-plugin

Gecko Media Player

A good replacement of the now ageing mplayer-plugin, is Gecko Media Player. More stable combined with MPlayer 1.0RC2. (No more crashes with Apple Trailers.)

$ sudo pacman -S gecko-mediaplayer

(Note! Be sure to remove mplayer-plugin if it is already installed.)


If you need a gstreamer based plugin for firefox, you can use the the totem plugin.

# $pacman -S totem-plugin gvfs


(Hint: each java package described here contains java as well as the fitting browser-plugin for firefox.)

# pacman -S openjdk6

If you really need to do so you can also install the non-free version of java:

# pacman -S jre

Keep in mind that the free and non-free versions can't be installed in parallel. The free version is nearly perfect at the time of writing this and there's mostly no need anymore to install the proprietary version of java.


See Citrix how-to.

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader is only available in the AUR due to licensing issues.

# yaourt -S --aur acroread

Plugins are installed but not working

If you installed the plugins like above but they are not used by firefox (you can verify this with typing about:plugins in the adressbar and hitting return.) It's usually a permission problem. Just fix those with:

# chmod -R 755 /usr/lib/mozilla

Then restart firefox and everything should be okay.

If the above suggestion does not fix anything, and about:plugins still reports that no plugins are installed, run the following command

# ln -sv /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins /usr/lib/firefox-3.0/plugins

Restart firefox and about:plugins should list all of the plugins you have installed.

Another common problem is that the plugin path is unset. This typical occurs on a new install, when you haven't re-logged yet after installing firefox. You can test this with the command:


If it's unset, then either log out/in, or source /etc/profile.d/ in a shell and start firefox from the same shell.

Can't download plugins?

In some cases, people were not able to download (and install) any of the firefox plugins. The solution is adding the following line in /etc/hosts




Modifying the following value can help improve the way fonts looks in Firefox if your DPI is below 96 DPI. Firefox by default uses 96 DPI or the system's DPI if it is a higher value. To always use your system's DPI type about:config into your address bar and into the filter type layout.css.dpi and change to 0.

Font Replacement

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

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

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 Xorg Font Configuration.

Lighten, Speed-up Firefox / Fix fonts and controls issues

Also font fix for Mozilla suite

Try to add:


to /etc/profile and logout.

Why do I get this error when I click the middle mouse button?

! The URL is not valid and cannot be loaded.

You may also get unexpected behavior like looking up a random webpage.

The reason stems from the use of the middle mouse buttons in UNIX-like operating systems. The middle mouse button is used to paste whatever text has been highlighted/added to the clipboard. Also, there is a feature in Firefox which defaults to loading the url of the corresponding text when it is depressed. This can be disabled like so:

Open the browser, and type the following into the address bar:


search for middlemouse.contentLoadURL and set it to false.

Why my backspace doesn't work as 'Back'? -- How to fix it

As I found here, this feature was removed to fix a bug. But you can get it back!

Open the browser, and type the following address:


Search for browser.backspace_action and set it to 0 (zero).

Why Firefox doesn't remember my login information?

It maybe cause of a corrupted cookies.sqlite file in your firefox profile folder. In order to fix it you may just rename or remove the cookie.sqlite file.

Open your terminal of choice and type the following:

$ cd ~/.mozilla/firefox/xxxxxxxx.default/
$ rm -f cookies.sqlite

Note: xxxxxxxx represents a random string of 8 characters.

Restart your firefox and see if it solved the problem.

Tip Articles

Enable spell checking

Right click in any text entry field and add the dictionary for the language you need spell checking for. Restart firefox, and click in a text entry field again to enable spell checking.

Firefox Derivatives

  • Iceweasel - The name of two different Firefox forks. One was a GNU project; the name of this project has since changed to Icecat. The second is being developed by Debian and is based on 2.0. At the time of writing the AUR only has Icecat.
  • Swiftfox - An optimized and processor-specific build of Firefox. Currently available via AUR. It should be noted that, considering Arch Linux has ABS, you could build your own optimized build of Firefox.
  • Swiftweasel - Mostly like Swiftfox, but the binaries aren't under proprietary license. Some PKGBUILDs are available in AUR.

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 rendering engine.
  • Dillo - A very lightweight web browser.
  • SeaMonkey - The continuation of the original Mozilla suite. Includes web browser, email client, etc.
  • Midori - A webkit-based GTK+ browser. Lightweight and early-development but plenty of features already.

External Links