Locking Mozilla Firefox Settings


Note: If you need assistance on implementing these instructions, ask in the mozilla.support.firefox newsgroup. Not in a comment to this blog post.

Let’s say you are the administrator of one or more installations of Mozilla Firefox and you want to lock certain settings/options, so users cannot edit them. For instance you may want to prevent people from changing the proxy setting, the homepage, the ability to save passwords, etc.

It is possible, but it’s a little complicated.

First you need to find out what the names are of the preferences you wish to lock. The best way to do this is by entering about:config in the Firefox location bar. Every preference that has been used will appear in the resulting list. You can use the filter field to search for preferences that contain certain words. For instance, if you’re looking for the homepage URL setting, just type homepage in the filter field. For more info on preference names, and about:config see:
http://kb.mozillazine.org/About:config

Next, create a file anywhere on your hard drive, called mozilla.txt. Open mozilla.txt in a text editor (Notepad), and begin the first line with two forward slashes. The following lines will contain the preferences you want to lock, and their values. They should be in the same form as you see them in your profile’s prefs.js file, with one exception: instead of using user_pref, use lockPref. For instance, if you want to lock the proxy at “direct connection“, and lock the homepage at (forgive the ego) http://ilias.ca, the contents of your mozilla.txt file would look like this:
//
lockPref("network.proxy.type", 0);
lockPref("browser.startup.homepage", "http://ilias.ca/");

Here’s where it gets tricky. The file must be encoded, and renamed. The encoding is a simple “byte-shifting” with an offset of 13. You can download a program that will do this here, or use an online encoder here.

The resulting file should be named mozilla.cfg. Save that in the same directory as firefox.exe.

Last step: In C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\greprefs\ there’s a file called all.js. Open all.js in a text editor, and add the following line at the end of it:
pref("general.config.filename", "mozilla.cfg");

Save, close, and start Firefox to test it.

My #1 Thunderbird bug


If I get another duplicate item in any of the RSS feeds I subscribe to in Mozilla Thunderbird, I’m going to puke!

This is a known bug [Bug 258465]. What’s worse is there seems to be no pattern. At least something to help coders identify the source of the problem, so they can figure out how to fix it.

If any Mozilla Thunderbird users out there have any info on what the cause may be, please provide info on the bug 258465 page. (Please only comment on that page, if you have helpful info. No “me too”, or “I hate this bug” posts.)

Bug 258465 is marked as a Thunderbird 1.1 blocker. Thunderbird 1.1 isn’t planned to be released for a long time, but the fact that is flagged as a blocker should be an indication of priority.

Mozilla Firefox vs Netscape 8

This blog post is not a comparison of Firefox and Netscape 8.

I’ve been doing some prototype and pre-beta testing of Netscape 8, which is built off the Mozilla Firefox code. Netscape has recently released the Beta version, and made it available to the general public. When such a variation of the Mozilla code is made available, people want to know the differences between the variation, and the Mozilla code. In this case, we’re talking about the differences between Netscape 8 and Mozilla Firefox. Other than the obvious user-interface differences, the are many major differences. There should be a document that outlines all the differences.

The most popular page on my site, aside from the top-level page, is the Mozilla Application Suite vs Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird page. Second is The Relationship And History Between Mozilla And Netscape. Therefore it would be natural for me to be the one to write up something on the differences between Firefox and Netscape 8. . . . I’m not.

Netscape 8 is a product I have little interest in supporting. The plugin used to access Internet Explorer’s rendering engine opens Netscape 8 to the same security vulnerabilities Internet Explorer has, regardless of what rendering engine is being used.

Still, I feel a comparison page would be a good thing. I encourage anyone who is up to the task, to write one up.

UPDATE: Netscape 8 is now secure…at least when using gecko

Why Blog?

This being my first blog post, it begs the question, “Why blog?”
CNN and The Daily Show have been making a big deal about blogging; but I still don’t understand what the big deal is. When Homer Simpson was building his infamous MrX website, Lisa told him, “you have to offer people something.” What’s ironic is I want to know what the ability to blog offers me. (forgive me, I’m a Generation Xer)

From what I’ve seen of other blogs, it’s easily something that can already be done. Other methods to voice one’s opinion, publish news, or keep an online journal, are:
- create a website
- post to a newsgroup, web forum, or mailing list

What makes someone prefer a blog?

Most of my participation on the internet has been in the form of Mozilla and Netscape user support, which is usually done in a ‘forum’ format, not a blog. Heck, even my website is simply a resource of information to help people use Mozilla or Netscape. There doesn’t seem like much need for a blog. What, amongst what I can offer, is best suited for a blog? Now that I have a blog, what would I offer people with it?

I don’t have the answers just yet; but I do have a blog.