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04 July 2010

Debranding Firefox in PCLinuxOS

I'm not a huge fan of third-party branding. One of my (minor, when put into perspective) gripes about PCLinuxOS is that they sorta go nuts with it. One of the apps that's the target of their branding is Firefox. If you are equally bugged by this, debranding the default profile used as the template for new profiles isn't that hard.
  1. Download the official firefox-3.{whatever}.tar.bz2 archive from Mozilla's servers. Be sure to download the version that's the same as the one that is already installed on your machine.
  2. As root, deflate the archive. I am pretending we're in /opt and got a /opt/firefox directory:
    # tar -jxvf firefox-3.{whatever}.tar.bz2
  3. Again as root, replace /usr/lib/firefox-3.{whatever}/defaults/profile with /opt/firefox/defaults/profile
Now you can delete the profiles in ~/.mozilla/firefox. (This will of course wipe out all your old bookmarks, etc. Jump through the needed hoops now if you want to save anything.) When you restart Firefox you'll now get the profile defaults, links, etc. that the Mozilla upstream devs thought you would want. The same will be true for any new users or profiles you create from now on.

The downside to this is that to keep the PCLinuxOS branding at bay you'll need to repeat steps 1-3 every time a new FF update is installed.

2 comments:

Lucian said...

Why put it in /opt/firefox and not in $HOME/firefox? The advantage of the latter is that the user will be able to make use of the firefox built-in updater. And since most linux desktop systems are single-user it won't matter that the vanilla firefox is only usable by him/her.

Mithat said...

@Lucien

Just to clarify, I'm only using the downloaded FF to get the original profile defaults. I never actually run it. I use the original profile defaults to replace the ones provided by PCLinuxOS. When PCLinuxOS releases a FF update, the package manager will take care of it. (But then I will have to repeat the profile replacement if I add new users/profiles.)

IMHO the biggest reason not to use the official FF download is that the last several (all?) official Firefox 3.whatever releases do not respect (all of?) GNOME's font rendering settings. There's a little magic juice in PCLinuxOS' FF 3.6.6 that fixes this problem.

If it weren't for this, I'd do as you say and let new users download and maintain their own FFs.