If you use Linux you most likely use Firefox. And if you use Firefox on Linux you might know there are some differences than when using it on Windows. I know I have spent many an hour trying to figure out some of these issues. Hopeful, with the help of gHacks, you won't have to spend as much time and energy.
There are two main issues that come up with Firefox (one dealing with plugins and the other dealing with a "hidden" lock file). These two issues alone could be considered deal breakers with new users. As for plugins, I am going to show you how to install the Flashplayer plugin (as that is one of the most popular and widely used plugins) on Linux-based Firefox. So, without further adieu, let's see how to get past these issues. The solutions are very simple.
I have seen Firefox behave two ways: I have seen the browser automatically install the necessary plugins, and I have seen it demand manual installation of plugins. I would like to think the automated installation is where Linux Firefox is heading, but you can never count on automation 100% of the time. For those times when you will need to install Flashplayer manually here is how you do it.
The first thing you need to do is to download the appropriate version of the Flashplayer plugin. You can get the plugin from the Adobe Flashplayer Download Page. For simplicity sake download the source file which will be a tar.gz file. Once that is downloaded unpack the file with the command:
tar xvzf install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz
which will create the new directory install_flash_player_10_linux/. Change into that directory with the command:
and you will find two files:
The file flashplayer-installer is the executable installer. In order to actually execute this you will have to give the file executable permissions with the command chmod u+x flashplayer-installer. Once you have done this close your browser and issue the command ./flashplayer-installer. To complete the installation answer a few simple questions. Once the installer finishes, fire up Firefox and enter about:plugins in the address bar to check to make sure the plugin was installed. If all went well you should see a listing for Shockwave Flash.
That dastardly lock file can be a real pain some times. When Firefox is running it creates a special file called a lock file in the users Firefox directory. As long as this lock file is there another instance of Firefox will not open. If Firefox crashes and the lock file isn't automatically removed by Firefox, you will get an error message saying you need to close Firefox before it will run. There are two ways to do this. You can issue the command killall -9 firefox-bin and hope it takes the lock file with it, or you can remove the lock file manually.
To remove the file manually open up a terminal window and issue the command cd ~/.mozilla/firefox. Within this directory will be a directory unique to the user. To find out the name of this directory issue the command ls. The directory will be a random string of characters. Mine, for example, is u6n8y834.default. Change into this directory and issue the command ls. You should now see a file called lock. Issue the command rm lock to remove this file. Firefox should now start up.
The issue of this lock file shouldn't come up very often. But when it does, it's nice to know how to solve the problem.
Firefox is an outstanding browser. But no matter how good it is, it can still have issues. When these issues arise, it is reassuring to know you can get beyond them. Hopefully, however, your experience with Firefox in Linux will be bereft of problems.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.