codeblog code is freedom — patching my itch

February 16, 2008

firefox trick and recovery help

Filed under: Ubuntu,Web — kees @ 10:05 am

To provide myself with slightly more safety through separation, I run two firefox profiles simultaneously. One is the “general” browser for day-to-day viewing of random (and unauthenticated) sites, and the other is the “authenticated” browser, which contains the cookies for known sites I authenticate against. The trick for this is having a launcher that runs firefox without attempting to request a new window from the currently running profile:

bash -c "MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1 firefox -ProfileManager"

And in a recent bug-hunting session, I had a firefox profile that just kind of didn’t load javascript correctly any more (“change_feedback_state is not defined” on facebook). I have no idea what was causing the issue (something not extensions — it didn’t go away in “-safe-mode“), and so I just reconstructed the profile one bit at a time, eventually leaving all of prefs.js out. I used the migration checklist I found at mozillazine.

© 2008, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License.
CC BY-SA 4.0


  1. firefox has a -no-remote flag. No need to use an environment variable.

    Comment by salty-horse — February 16, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  2. I used to use this but I ran into trouble occasionally with the -no-remote parameter. Instead I use a relatively unknown -a parameter to tell Firefox to use a specific application id. “man firefox” documents this parameter. Now I have created launchers for each profile as follows.

    firefox -a f1 -P default
    firefox -a f2 -P second
    firefox -a f3 -P third

    It works perfectly for me.

    Comment by beerfan — February 16, 2008 @ 11:24 am

  3. I used to use two profiles too. I have one alias for fun (this one :) ) and my personal one so logging out and typing in the new ID info got old. I use Epiphany now, but when I used firefox I discovered CookieSwap (a firefox extension) that would allow be to change profiles on the fly.

    Comment by Dirk R. Gently — February 18, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

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