I’ve had continual issues with Firefox on all my systems. It hogs CPU cycles and RAM like there’s no tomorrow. It crashes often when viewing Flash intensive pages such as Grooveshark and Photobucket. I’m almost missing Internet Exploder these days. ;)
Seriously, I’ve tried all the usual remedies: running FF in Safe Mode, checking/removing extensions, using up-to-date plugins, nuking it all and starting with a fresh profile, etc. Nothing seems to solve the issue. Even with the new profile, FF managed to begin its old (mis)behaviors within days. It’s frustrating. It was beginning to take the joy out of the Internet for me.
In a previous article here, I mention trying Pale Moon as a remedy to my FF problems. That went fine for a bit, but eventually Pale Moon began to display the hogging tendencies of FF. This is not to say that PM was the issue. It was most definitely the underlying FF browser functions that were causing these same issues in PM.
I’ve tried Webkit-based browsers like Midori. They’re fast, lean, and not at all greedy with resources; however, they’re also rather plain when it comes to features and customization potential. I like my FF. I like the way I had it set up. Unfortunately, the sleekest, coolest, most awesome hot rod car is nothing if it doesn’t run well enough to drive to the little store up the street for a pack of smokes. :(
I’ve had many folks jump up and down and recommend Chrome/Chromium to me. Well, I wasn’t going to compile the branded Google Chrome for my Slackware system for two reasons: it required too many dependencies that I didn’t want to have to search for/compile/install, and I don’t particularly care to be sucked (assimilated) into the Google Collective at this time.
So, what I did was grab a Chromium .txz package that had been compiled by dedicated Slackware friend, Alien Bob (Eric Hameleers), to whom I still owe a big donation one of these days. You’ll actually find the link to Eric’s Chromium build on Google Chrome’s download site under “community supported versions” download link. Anyway, downloaded and installed. Now the fun begins.
I had to first off find compatible extensions for Chromium that were at least functionally similar to the primary ones I use in FF. That wasn’t a major problem. There are loads of extensions available at the Google Chrome Web Store. I found ad blocking, flash blocking, script blocking, and other security and special function extensions there. So, I’m all set there.
One thing that I couldn’t find was a decent version of Speed Dial for Chromium. The ones that were advertised as equivalent to the FF Speed Dial were far from being the same. I worked around this by creating my own custom dial page(s) that I serve on my locally. I do the same for my custom home pages, so that all worked out fine.
My Chromium w/ custom dial page
My next BIG issue with Chromium was the fact that it SUCKS at rendering fonts. I’m used to those crisp, clean fonts in FF. Not so in Chromium. They’re ugly. I tried some of the extensions out there that are meant to improve the fonts, but none are actually for Linux, so they didn’t really have any effect. While searching for alternative solutions to sucky fonts in Chrome/Chromium, I ran across this little gem by Aatish Neupane on his blog, Linux Tutorials and Reviews. Now my fonts are pretty again.
I don’t know if Chromium will be my long term browser solution, but for the moment it’s my default browser on all my systems. We’ll see how things go from here.
Further reading: The Chromium Projects
Being able to have common profiles for my Mozilla products across operating systems on my main computer has been a dream for a few years now.
I tried this a few years ago between Slackware and my then secondary OS, Debian (stable). The way I had it set up then worked well until the day that Debian dropped FF and TB from their repos and started using their own IceCritters. Another problem I had back then was that Debian’s Mozilla apps were usually quite a bit older versions than the ones in Slackware. If the versions get too disparate, as they eventually did between Slack and Debian, the common profiles no longer function properly.
Later on, when I adopted Arch Linux as my secondary OS, I tried to run common profiles again. I had forgotten my lesson about needing similar versions of the Mozilla apps for the common profiles to work. Arch is much faster at getting newest versions into their repos than Slackware, so once again I had this version disparity issue. Since Mozilla’s recent change to the update-as-often-as-you-change-underwear schedule, I’ve learned to blacklist Mozila apps in Arch so they don’t get updated. Once Slackware puts out an update (I manualy download and install from current) for the Mozilla applications (Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey), I allow the Arch update to go through.
Now that I have my Slack and Arch Moz versions the same or very similar, the common profiles should work. Below is a look at how I did it on my system. It will, of course, be different on yours, but the principles are about the same.
First, I used a common partition on a separate internal hard drive for my common profiles directory.
This partition automounts within my /home/<user> directory at boot up. You could theoretically use a thumb drive for this, if you wanted to. You’d just have to make sure that it automounts with the proper permissions at boot time.
Next, I copied the firefox and seamonkey directories from my Slackware (main OS) /home/vtel57/.mozilla directory into my newly created /home/vtel57/vtel57_common/common_mozilla directory. I also copied the contents of the .thunderbird directory into a directory called thunderbird also in /home/vtel5/vtel57_common/common_mozilla. You can perform these operations from the command line or in your GUI file manager app, as you prefer.
Now, in the /home/vtel57/.mozilla directory, I renamed the old firefox and seamonkey profiles to inoperative. The old profiles had some random <number/letter>.default as their name. I just added “inop” to the end of that to deactivate them. I did the same with the /home/vtel57/.thunderbird profile. This will prevent the apps from trying to use these old versions.
vtel57_Slackware~/.mozilla/firefox:$ mv 3mvew7qq.default 3mvew7qq.default_inop
Back in the new common directory shown above, I renamed the <number/letter>.default profiles to names that made more sense to me: ff_profile.default, tb_profile.default, and sm_profile.default.
Once I did all of the above, I needed to edit the profile.ini in each original application directory (/home/vtel57/.mozilla/firebird and seamonkey, /home/vtel57/.thunderbird) to point to the newly created common profiles. You can open your favorite gui or command line editor and make these changes to each profile.ini file. Here is my profile.ini for Firefox, for example:
*change the items in red to the ones in green
So now, whenever I fire up firefox, seamonkey, or thunderbird in either Slackware or Arch, they will be running off the same profiles; meaning all data, preferences, etc. are synch’d. Ain’t it great!?
I’m sure there are easier ways to do this, but this is how I managed it. You can experiment to find what works best for you on your systems.
Mozilla has done a lot of good in this world of greed.
They could sure use a little help from you, though. If you can spare a buck or two to assist in the continuing efforts of this fine organization to create quality free software and make the Internet a better place for all, then for sure… drop some dough in their tip jar. They’ll appreciate it… and so will I. :)
From their recent email newsletter:
As 2011 comes to a close, we at Mozilla want to say thank you to all of our Firefox users, supporters and community members. Quite simply, we do what we do because of you.
Mozilla is the force behind Firefox, but we’re also a whole lot more than that. And the more people I talk to, the clearer it becomes that not everyone knows what Mozilla is and how we’re different. So today, I wanted to make sure you understand it because you’re such an important part of our story.
Read the rest of Executive Director Mark Surman’s article, and thanks for anything you can do to help out.
Are you part of the Open Source community? Do you favor Open Source products? Do you possibly contribute to Open Source?
You know, you don’t have to give money to contribute to Open Source. You can help by giving your time, your talents, your feedback; you even help by using the Open Source products. If no one used it, what would its purpose be? Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole world could be Open Source?
Mozilla is one of my favorite Open Source projects. Ever heard of them? Sound familiar, huh? Mozilla is the creator of the Firefox web browser, the only browser software to give Internet Explorer a run for its money over the last few years or so. Many of you reading this probably use FF on your own systems; be they powered by MS Windows or Linux. You can even run FF on Mac.
There are many browsers out there in the world. There are also many software projects. Some are closed source, like Adobe Reader or Photoshop. Many, however, are Open Source. Many are also created as “labors of love” by folks expecting no remuneration whatsoever for their labors.
I won’t sit here and harp about using Open Source only. Even I occasionally use a closed source piece of software. It’s not a sin. If you do use some Open Source stuff on your systems, try to remember to support the creators, hackers, coders, tweakers, and beta testers who made those great apps what they are. If there’s a donate button somewhere, drop a couple bucks in the tip jar. Every little bit is appreciated… and helps these folks to continue working on these fine projects.
Learn more about Mozilla from Mozilla coder Paul Rouget’s excellent blog post and video, Mozilla Openness Facts. They say nothing in this world is free. That may be true, but whatever you pay for free is a price worth paying.
Have a great weekend.
Tired of those mainstream browsers like Firefox and Chrome in Linux? You have other options, folks.
I’m going to briefly talk about a couple of my favorite options here today. Let’s get started, shall we?
From a Wikipedia article about Opera’s history:
I’ve had Opera on my systems for a dozen years. I used it in Windows 98SE and XP. I’ve used it in Slackware, Debian, Arch, etc. for the past 6 years or so. Granted, it is installed as a secondary browser because Firefox is actually my primary browser. That being said, though, Opera is by no means to be thought of as inferior to Firefox. Opera has always been a high quality application from a dedicated company. The browser has many modern features. Some of its original ideas were “borrowed” for other browsers like IE and FF over the years. Opera has been an innovator in the browser field.
Opera has a lot of features that make browsing the Internet a joy. It’s stable, safe, and very secure. For much more information, check out Opera Browser’s website. Download it. Give it a test drive. You might like it a lot. It never hurts to have it on your system as a backup browser.
What exactly is a sea monkey? Well, I dunno. However, I do know what a Seamonkey is. It’s my favorite backup browser on any operating system. A few eons ago, there was a browser known as Netscape Navigator. It ruled the Internet. There were no competitors in sight back then. Nothing is king of the hill forever, though. Along came a browser called Internet Explorer from a company called Microsoft, and Netscape’s days were numbered. That’s all ancient Internet history, though. Today, were here to learn a bit about a direct descendent of the Netscape Navigator browser. It’s called Seamonkey.
For someone like me, who uses Mozilla’s Firefox browser as my primary means to navigate the World Wide Web, Seamonkey is like an old and comfortable pair of shoes. FF and Seamonkey are cousins, you might say. Hence, they have a certain resemblance. If you like to customize your browsers like I do, you’ll find that Seamonkey is almost as customizable as Firefox. Many of your favorite FF extensions also work on Seamonkey. It’s also stable and renders webpages very well; using the same Gecko engine that FF uses.
One added feature that I love is Composer. It’s a full-featured WYSIWYG editor and webpage publisher application. Back in my Windoze daze, I used an app called MS Publisher to create custom HTML pages for different purposes. Nowadays, I use Composer. It’s a fabulous app, and comes free right along with the Seamonkey browser. For those of you using Linux who remember or have used KompoZer or Nvu before that, you’ll love Composer. It will look very familiar to you.
Give Seamonkey a try. I bet you’ll keep it on your system just for Composer, if for no other reason. However, even without Composer, it’s a fabulous little browser… fast, stable, easy on resources.
Image credits: Opera logo owned by Opera Software. Seamonkey logo owned by Mozilla Foundation.
Mozilla posted a list of the worst offender addons for its Firefox browser. These are the addons that really slow down that FF start up.
Mozilla actually labels them as “slow performing addons”. You can view the entire list by clicking HERE. See if any of your favorite extensions are on the list; a few of mine were, but they were down toward the bottom (minimal footprint) of the list.
You can’t get something for nothing. That’s just a universal truth. If you want your browser to do a boat load of extra tasks or jump through hoops like a circus animal, then you’re going to have to feed it. Your browser eats RAM and CPU cycles. That’s just the nature of the beast. Some are picky eaters; others are voracious monsters with bottomless pits for stomachs.
If you want your FF to be a lean mean browsing machine, you have to trim the fat a bit. Break the candy-coated addon habit. If you don’t really need it or use it, why have it installed? There are some extensions that, were they not available, would probably deter me from using FF altogether. These are my must haves.
However, I also have some fluff in there. I have a smiley extension that’s pretty cool. I also have one that adds “Go to top” and “Go to bottom” of my R-click context menu. Could I live without those? Sure, but I don’t wanna’, so I keep them. They both have very minimal footprints and seem to use next to nothing in resources within FF, so what the hell?
The beauty of FF for me is its potential for customization. You can truly make FF your own, should you care to put the effort into it. I could never do that with IE back in my Windows daze. I had to use addons for the Trident engine such as Crazy Browser and Avant to get IE to be what I wanted it to be. And even with those tools, there were limitations.
Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE Mozilla! If you have some spare change lying around, they could always use a buck or two to help defray the expenses of running that project. Mozilla creates so much for so many with so little. Help if you can.
Notes: Don’t forget to click on links within my articles, folks. They often lead to informational sites to help you in some way; be they definitions of an uncommon word, or Wikipedia articles about certain items.
Disclaimer: I was at one time involved with the Avant Browser Support Team. I’m now retired from that excellent group. If you decide to give Avant Browser a try, tell ’em Eric sent ya’. ;)