Firefox 3.0.4 in Ubuntu Hardy Heron

After a clean Ubuntu 8.04 install, Firefox 3.0.4 web browser was not working quite right. Flash plugins and MMS videos were not working on some websites that use them. A prime example is the MLS or Major League Soccer website.

This post provides all the details to in order to get your Firefox browser working after a clean Ubuntu install. Just follow the steps below.

1. Install the latest Adobe Flash player. Download it directly from Adobe’s website. Select the Ubuntu 8.04+ deb package. Choose Save to the Desktop. Once saved, go to your Desktop and right click the file. Open it with GDebi Package Installer. Click Install Package!

2. Next, remove the SWFDEC plugin; the open-source replacement for Adobe Flash.

$ sudo apt-get purge swfdec-mozilla

Or you can also use the “autoremove” option.

$ sudo apt-get autoremove swfdec-mozilla

3. Finally, install MPlayer for sites running MMS videos.

$ sudo apt-get install mozilla-mplayer

There you have it. 3 easy steps to get your browser running in no time.

IE Explorer Losing More Ground

The latest web metrics from Net Applications, Inc. gave Internet Explorer a market share of just below 70%, a decrease of a few percentage points from last month’s numbers.

Meanwhile, Mozilla Firefox climbed above the 20% mark for the first time, while Safari increased to 7.1% and Google Chrome settled at 0.83%. The market share for browser use is available here.

I expect Internet Explorer use to diminish as the months go by as more and more home users will opt for Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari or Google’s Chrome which is currently in Beta mode.

A large percentage of the 70% market share for Internet Explorer is corporate use. Corporations can’t easily depart from Internet Explorer due to legacy applications that only work with Internet Explorer.

As more of these applications are phased out and new applications becoming more compliant to run on any browser – not just IE, you’ll see more companies turning over to Mozilla’s Firefox.

Another factor is the economy. Belts will tighten, more corporations will opt for open source solutions if and when available. The Internet Explorer market share can dip further down under the current recession.

With IE 7 having been out for a while now and IE 8 looming in the horizon, many corporations will not upgrade to the upcoming release of IE 8. At least not right away.

Expect the trend to continue for IE Explorer. It will lose more market share in the upcoming months.

Internet Explorer In Ubuntu

Why would somebody in their right mind run Internet Explorer in Ubuntu. Before you shoot me, let me at least explain the reasons why. I get many support questions from people regarding the themes I’ve designed. The questions oftentimes are IE related. I either have to power my laptop or go to another computer to view the irregularity.

To avoid the hassles of firing up another computer (my desktop is solely running Ubuntu), I installed Internet Explorer 6 which runs under Wine on my Ubuntu 8.04 desktop. I used a simple script I found from 64 bit Jungle. The script calls for Wine and cabextract to be installed, followed by downloading the program, untarring the file and firing up the GUI installer.

The installation script was straightforward and a breeze. No hitches whatsoever. The GUI installer gives you several choices. I’ve decided to install both IE6 and IE7 beta. IE6 worked out of the box without any problems, while IE7 beta choked. The IE7 beta program fired up, but the browser was not rendering any web pages. It seems to be stuck in forever land.

So, the whole reason for this exercise is having the ability to check how web pages are rendered in IE6 without ever leaving Ubuntu. Running IE6 for just a few minutes makes me appreciate Firefox more than ever.

Firefox 3.1 Private Browsing

The upcoming Firefox 3.1 release will have private browsing mode for users who do not want to leave traces of their online activity on their local computers. One caveat, it’s not a privacy tool to make you anonymous from websites or from your internet service provider. Others have coined private browsing mode as “porn mode.”

Nevertheless, its main function is to protect users from leaving cookies, cache pages, etc. on their local computers. It’s perfect tool for people who travel and use public computers, internet cafes or someone just borrowing a friend’s computer.

To begin a private session in Firefox 3.1, all you have to do is select private browsing from the browser’s tools menu. While in private browsing mode, there will be text notification added to the top of the address bar to indicate that you are in a private browsing mode.

To close the private session mode, all you have to do is is uncheck the same item in the tools menu and it will remove all the data in your private mode session.

Meebo

Meebo web interface: I recently started using Meebo, an online browser-based instant messaging. Meebo allows users to combine instant messaging on a single webpage. Meebo works with several chat networks: AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ and Jabber.

There is no software to install. Meebo will run on any computer with a browser and internet access. Meebo allows users to combine chat buddies in a singe buddy list. You can use your existing IM accounts, or get a free Meebo login to chat across all networks with a single id.

The Meebo interface is also capable of playing games, video conference, transfer files, and so much more, all from the web browser. There is another feature is called Rocket man, it’s a shiny rocket ship in the Meebo IM window which allows you to launch and select any application to launch with your buddy.

In addition to the web interface, Meebo has other products and offerings.

Meebo Me: is a piece of code that you place in your web page. It allows you to chat with anyone who comes to your blog or web page. Your visitors show up in your Meebo buddylist so you can strike up a conversation, answer questions, or just keep tabs on guests. You can also publish your online status so friends can see if you’re available when they visit your site.

Meebo for iPhone: Meebo brings IM to the Apple iPhone. Just point to www.meebo.com on the iPhone or iPod touch and chat on the go. Effortlessly flick through your buddies. The smart buddylist makes it easy to keep up with all your conversations. No downloads are required and it’s free.

Firefox Extention: Instant messaging across all the major IM networks is now built right into your browser. The Meebo Firefox Extension gives you a sidebar with a smart buddylist and visual notifications when your friends IM you. Drag internet links and images directly to your buddies, all while surfing the Web!

Meebo Repeater: Meebo Repeater is a software download for people who want to chat safely when their IM access is restricted. Just install the repeater on a computer that can access the Web freely, and then use that computer to bounce the signal to Meebo. It’s simple and secure.

Firefox Web Developer Extension

The Web Developer Extension is a plugin extension for the Firefox browser. It’s a great tool for web designers or for anyone who owns and manages their own website. Here are some of the Web Developer’s features:

Features

  • It has a Disable function to turn on and off cache, Java and Javascript, disable page colors, pop-up blockers, minimum font-size and referrals.
  • It has a Cookie function which allows you to clear, delete or view a cookie. It’s great for troubleshooting authentication. You can also clear session cookies, delete domain cookies and delete domain paths.
  • The CSS section allows you to edit CSS on the fly without uploading styles to the server. If there are multiple CSS regardless of type whether they be inline, print or embedded. You can enable or disable one type or several types or any other combination. You can also enable the CSS box model.
  • The Forms section has a feature which allows you to manipulate form elements, remove maximum lengths, view passwords, enable form fields, auto complete, clear radio buttons, populate form fields, etc.
  • The Images section allows you to disable images, display alt attributes, image dimensions, file sizes, image paths and find broken images. In addition you can also hide images, background images, make it full size, invisibile or replace images with Alt attributes.
  • The Information section allows you to display abbreviations, access keys, anchors, block sizes, div orders, element information, id and class details, link details and a whole bunch more. You can also display table depth and table information, title attributes, topographic information and a lot more.
  • The Outline section will display frames, headings, links, tables, block size elements, deprecated elements, positioned elements as well as outline current elements and custom elements. It can display element names when outlining.
  • The Resize section allows you to display different window sizes, e.g. 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×1024 or any custom size you want. You can display windows size or windows size in the title. In addition, it also has a zoom in and a zoom out feature.
  • The Tools section allows you to validate CSS, feed, HTML, links, section 108 and WAI. It has a DOM inspector, an error console and a Java console. It can display page validation, validate local HTML or CSS.
  • View Source allows you to display HTML source code, view a frame or from a generated source.
  • Finally, Options allows persist features.

Download

If you are running Firefox, you can download the Web Developer extension from Firefox’s website. Double click on the downloaded item and the Firefox browser will automatically add the extension for you. A restart of your Firefox browser is necessary for the extension to work. You can validate the extension is working by clicking Tools – Add-Ons form your Firefox menu. Check the Web Developer Toolbar on your Firefox browser.

Playing With CSS

The added benefit of having Web Developer Tool is the ability to edit CSS on the fly. If you want to try a different font, different size, different color, background, borders, margins, padding, practically anything to do with CSS, you can make the changes in the Web Developer tool and see the changes instantly. There is no need to upload your new CSS code to the server every time you want to try something new. The Web Developer tool saves you time when playing around with CSS.

Linux Kill Command

Occasionally, a Linux Kill command is what you need to terminate an application. This happened to me last night. I was trying to re-run Firefox 3.0 after it had crashed. I was getting an unusual error which I’ve never witnessed before. I wished I had taken a screenshot of the error since I can’t remember it vis-a-vis. It said something like this, “Firefox is still running, please close the application before running another one.”

It was very unusual error since I could not find a trace of Firefox running on my desktop. There were no minimized windows, no instances of Firefox running whatsoever in the current panel I was in or in any other panel (Ubuntu has multiple panels). Zilch. Absolutely nothing, but my system still thinks Firefox is running.

Force Quit

One way of killing an application is to use Force Quit. You can add a force quit icon to your Top Panel by right clicking your Top Panel and selecting `Add To Panel.` Look for the `Force Quit` icon (it’s the broken window icon) and click Add. You should see a `Force Quit` icon on your Top Panel similar to the snapshot I’ve taken below. It’s the last icon to the right, the one that looks like a broken window.

Kill Command

In my case, I could not use Force Quit. There were no traces of Firefox running on my desktop. Well, it is time for the Kill command. So, I thought about writing a tutorial for Linux newbies on how to terminate an application that will not start because another instance of it is running in the background.

The Fix

First things first, check if there is a process running in the background. Substitute the name of the offending application in place of Firefox. From the Terminal, type:

# ps -ef | grep firefox

The PS command gives you a snapshot of the current processes running on your system. I’m using the GREP command to display Firefox processes only. You should get a reply similar to the one below.

In this example, we are seeing one process with Firefox running. It has a process ID or PID of 4694. The second process is the GREP command we just issued. Just ignore this one. Based on the PS command, we’ve now determined the PID of the application that we need to KILL.

Going For The Kill

Now, for the fun part. Let’s kill this application. From the terminal, type:

# kill 4694

You can try it with -9 to ensure execution.

# kill -9 4694

That’s it. This application is now dead. You should be able to restart the application. To learn more about Linux commands, check out the following Man pages:

Firefox 3.0 Download Day

Download Day - English

Download Day - English Download Day - English

The official date for the launch of Firefox 3.0 is June 17, 2008. Join Firefox set a world record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours. Pledge now. Here are some of the new features of Firefox 3.0. Help spread Firefox. If you want to see a sneak preview of Firefox 3.0, you can download the Release Candidate 3 in your language of choice. Firefox 3.0 is also available in Windows, MacOS and Linux operating systems.