firefox

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Over the years I’ve written a number of search providers for Firefox and Chromium. Since most browsers now support the OpenSearch format, I only have to do this once. Here is a list of handy ones that you might want, along with the search keyword I use for fast searching in the URL bar.
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Philip continues to play devil’s advocate / script kiddie for my telnet URL handler. My input checker allowed host/port definitions to begin with a hyphen character. That’s an invalid domain name, so I ignored the possibility that someone might try it. Philip used it to pass a switch to the telnet/ssh command.

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After I wrote yesterday’s post, Philip reminded me of the dangers of not validating your inputs. Here is a better telnet/ssh handler which checks the URL passed to it.

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Firefox’s telnet protocol handler in Linux stopped working some time after version 3.0. I manage a network of switches, routers, and other devices with command-line interfaces. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to click on telnet:// or ssh:// URLs again?

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I’m an engineer. I understand SSL, public-key encryption, man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, and certificate chains-of-trust. I look carefully at the URL bar before entering login or personal data, I don’t allow javascript to change the status bar, and I mouse over a URL and read it before I click. I’m paranoid as all hell, and I do not fall for stupid fraud schemes.

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As of Ubuntu Lucid, the Sun Java JRE has been replaced with OpenJDK. Unfortunately, OpenJDK still isn’t a complete drop-in replacement for Sun Java. For instance, the Facebook “Upload Photos” applet doesn’t work correctly; the photos don’t have thumbnails and can’t be rotated before upload. The solution is to install the Sun Java JRE.

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Some time ago I released a simple Firefox extension, Open With Konqueror. In the time since I released it, a new version of KDE and the Crystal icon set have been released, as well as a slew of new “Open With X”-type extensions. Open With Konqueror is simply obsolete.

I recommend you install Open With, a generic extension capable of opening the current page or selected link with any application. KDE users can simply open the extension preferences, select the “Manual Entries” tab, select “Add”, and enter “/usr/bin/konqueror”.

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Firefox has a very annoying “feature” – it remembers any HTTP authentication tokens for as long as Firefox remains open. Any by “open”, I mean “the browser is running”, not “the tab/window is open”.

Why is this bad? For several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

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When I starting using WordPress on tolaris.com, I noticed an innocuous link in the admin interface entitled “Turbo”. This feature uses Google Gears to speed up working with the blog, and to work offline (!) by storing data (html, images, javascript) in my firefox profile and running javascript in the background. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t release Gears for 64-bit architectures.

Today I discovered that someone has patched Gears to work with Firefox 64-bit, and released a precompiled installer. Warning: after installation, when Firefox restarts, you will see a warning that the plugin could not be installed (‘”Google Gears” could not be installed because it is not compatible with your Firefox build type (Linux_x86_64-gcc3). Please contact the author of this item about the problem.’). However, it is installed and works just fine. Unfortunately this message is repeated each time Firefox restarts.

I can now browse my admin page with Firefox in offline mode. Sniffing proves that not a byte is passing. Now I can write blog posts on planes, without having to use an offline text editor.

Update 2009-05-29: My old colleague from my days at Greenpeace, Niels Peen, now provides the latest version (5.21.0) with proper build tagging. So you will no longer see the warning about Linux_x86_64-gcc3 being the wrong build type. Thanks, Niels!

Update 2009-07-24: 5.31.0 and 5.32.0 are now available here, also with build instructions so you can do it yourself!

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Finally, finally, FINALLY! The Sun Java plugin now works on Firefox amd64 in native 64-bit. It has already been included in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty, but the packages work just fine on Hardy as well, and probably on Intrepid.

Just download and install the Jaunty versions of sun-java6-bin, sun-java6-jre, sun-java6-fonts, and sun-java6-plugin. Install them, and remove the old icedtea plugin if you have it:

sudo dpkg -i sun-java6-bin_6-13-1_amd64.deb sun-java6-fonts_6-13-1_all.deb sun-java6-jre_6-13-1_all.deb sun-java6-plugin_6-13-1_amd64.deb
sudo apt-get remove --purge icedtea-gcjwebplugin

Then restart Firefox and Sun java will load natively 64-bit. Check it:

tyler@baal:~$ java -version

I’ve included them in the repository.

Update 2009-07-16: A more recent version is now available in the hardy-updates repository. I have removed the above copy from my repo. Intrepid users should upgrade to jaunty anyway, but can still download packages directly.

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