A reason

I wouldn’t make this a post simply claiming how Chrome beats over all other browsers I’ve used, cause it doesn’t do that entirely. Surely not the Chromium Linux build I use on a daily basis. But what I really loved in it is something that (I think) was derived from its OS-like architecture concept.

I download several files of the same type and the downloaded filenames aren’t quite the format I like them to be in (Say I want mm-dd-yy while its received as mm_dd_yy, my naming braincells are nitpicky just like yours). The great feature of Chromium is that it keeps track of the file even when under download. That’s to say you can move it around from folder to folder, rename it as you desire and it simply won’t complain, even when it is downloading that file. This is a great use-case for me, I start all these downloads and run my renaming script in the main directory of my download after I’m done clicking download for each of the needed file, every week. I later use these files from their proper directories as my script skillfully places them. Wishing Firefox could do this too someday (Or if it has done, I don’t know — I stopped using it on March 13th 2010).

The case of the non-exiting Mozilla Firefox

Being a KDE user has its ups and downs. The ups are that its beautiful, has a very wide and usable range of applications, updates often for bugfixes, and is generally very customizable. The downs are a few – with the Firefox+GTK integration being one of them. It makes your browser look UGLY! Of course, there are Qt-friendly browsers like Opera and Konqueror, even Arora, but these hardly work well with many sites, especially those of Google (Wave, for example). I’m not gonna delve into that subject, since this post is about using Firefox on KDE 4 (version 4.3.x).

You might have heard of the GTK engine that themes for Qt, known as gtk-engine-qt on most distributions (or with -kde4 suffix, if thats how they’ve integrated). This helps all GTK applications look great on KDE by providing *near* native look and feel. So I install that and smile, happy that my entire K Desktop is as I want it – dark, without gloss and perfectly usable with certain plasma widgets. That is until I notice my Firefox simply does not close itself when asked to, and hangs instead.

At first one would think its due to a plugin, or an extension, probably something added on that is causing it to hang when its supposed to terminate. Even the KB article at Mozillazine supports that fact. Perhaps its a popular reason, but I tried and it didn’t solve the issue for me. I jumped a few steps out of frustration and went on to move my .mozilla directory to a different name, just to see if it was a profile-related issue, and it still refused to close, driving me mad having to `killall firefox` it each time since it always hung at exit. So I switched to Opera and used it with horrible colors – Pages appeared normally as they would be rendered but the forms and other things just didn’t go well with my dark color scheme (Eclipse), making it appear like the image below, unreadable and thus untypable upon.

Unreadable, Unseeable - The form elements as they appear in my Opera (While using a dark color scheme in the DE)
Unreadable, Unseeable - The form elements as they appear in my Opera (While using a dark color scheme in the DE)

The browser’s great otherwise, its fast and very customizable, but I couldn’t make any changes to these colors. I suppose one can achieve it by writing their own userstyle.css file but that is too much work. Used Opera until today, when I finally found this (pretty old) bug in the gtk-engine-qt project tracker. Uninstalled gtk-engine-qt and lo, all was normal again, closed fine and opened fine. Re-installed all plugins and extensions, and said bye-bye to Opera.

All I now miss is a native-looking dark theme with Oxygen icons, as my K Desktop contains. I’m making do with the Black Stratini theme as of now, it’s beautiful but I like the Oxygen icons better. 440 words for just the choice of browser on a dark theme, tch.

Moving to Opera

Though I did move to opera as I’d said in my earlier post, I missed the extensibility of Firefox that I had much used. I had used the following extensions usually on Firefox:

Off the list, I do not care much about Adblock Plus or Google Gears except for the fact they made browsing easy to look at and faster respectively. Can do without them. (I know Opera has a way of blocking too, but am not interested in blocking ads for a while now, maybe when I get irritated by them again.). And Stylish like features is obviously well built into Opera, so 3 tasks done by default.

Coming to Gmail Manager and FireFTP, for Gmail Manager I looked for desktop packages called kcheckgmail and other widgets but some refused to work while the other required a dependency I was not willing to install. As always when this happens I headed to Qt-Apps and got myself QGmailNotifier. Built it with a [qmake – make and make install] and I was ready to launch qgmailnotifier and work well it did. Qt applications always ftw for me! For FireFTP, the existing Dolphin and Konqueror of my KDE sufficed. I created an FTP folder for my site and a WebDAV one for SourceForge and it were done, again too simply. 😉

The only thing missing now is a notifier for Google Reader. Maybe I’ll look into sources of some widgets and combine it with QGmailNotifier. But I guess that’d have to wait. Could there be an alternative way?

No Opera widgets please, they are just not how I need it. It has to be either a desktop tray software or a notifier within the browser in some toolbar as an icon.

Two more Firefox extensions

Don’t worry, both of these are just minor UI improving Mozilla Firefox extensions and not one of those heavy-weight resource hoggers. And you’d probably need the first one installed, its like a bug-fix. Read on … 😉

First one would be the Long Titles extension.

As you’d have noticed on Firefox at times that the title attributes (tooltips/titles) in various pages are never displayed fully and always end abruptly with a “…”.

Like this image below:

Tool tips aren't shown fully, so you might miss up on some text.

This is cause of certain bug in Mozilla Firefox. Though this has been fixed in the upcoming Firefox version 3.0, you can fix this partial-showing in Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 with this extension – Long Titles.

After fixing they’d look like below: (To get what am talking about)

Tooltips are now shown fully and wrapped as necessary. Opera and IE do this by default but Firefox had a bug.

The second extension is a rather personal pick of mine. Its called Hide Menubar.

Does what its named as, hides the menu bar (File, Edit, Favorites, History, Tools, etc …) and shows them only when you hit your ALT key.


Menu as normal Firefox has it.

And, after installing the extension:

Menu hidden, will show only at pressing the ALT key.

Just like IE 7 does, perhaps. I use this to get more viewing space since I don’t really use my menu bar that much.For bookmarks, I use the Ctrl + B sidebar feature instead, when required. (This plugin also auto hides your menu after a certain amount of time, neat!)