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HOWTO: Mozilla Firebird Plugins

by Gavin Henry


If you read my review on Mozilla Firebird last week, then you probably already have Firebird installed, and you are now looking at ways to expand it's already feature rich capabilities.

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to add:

  • Browser pdf viewing support
  • Java plugin support
  • Flash support


If you followed my HOWTO on apt, you will already be setup to download the necessary packages.


apt-get install mozilla-acroread
which will take care of Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.08 installation as well and
apt-get install flash-plugin
which will take care of the flash plugin and
apt-get install mozilla-j2re
which will take care of the java plugin.

Note: This presumes that you have Mozilla installed, as we are simply using the plugins for Mozilla with Firebird. If you do not have this installed, then you have to install the plugins by hand, which I will cover in a new howto for Firefox.


Now, if you can remember where you installed Firebird, all you need to do is navigate to that directory. Let's say you installed it with apt and can't remember the rpm name and need to search for it.

A quick way to search, as well as search for other things, is by using the locate command. locate is part of the slocate package and should be installed by default on most Fedora Core systems. A quick:

rpm -q slocate
should tell you, if not simply;
apt-get install slocate
to install it.

locate uses a database to store all it's info. So obviously you need to update it every once and a while. So, as root type:

which updates it.

This package when installed, also places a system cron file in /etc/cron.daily/slocate.cron so the database will be updated daily.

Now issue a

locate MozillaFirebird
and the command will show you all the locations this name comes up. This will remind you of the directory it is installed in. We could have also done a
rpm -ql mozilla-firebird
rpm -ql MozillaFirebird
depending on which package of Firebird you installed, but locate is a handy command to use.

Now we know the directory in which it is installed, navigate to the plugins directory. All we have to do now is create softlinks to the necessary files (if you install Firebird in your homedir, then you can do this as a normal user, if not you will have to be root). Once there, run these three commands (only if you have installed with apt and you are in the plugins directory):

ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/
ln -s /usr/lib/flash-plugin/
ln -s /usr/lib/jre/plugin/i386/ns610-gcc32/

Note: The reason we don't put a link name at the end, is because the file we are linking will automatically be used as the link name, but if we wanted to call it something, we could.



in Firebird's url field, will show you if they are installed. All that 's left now is to visit a site that require's Flash, PDF's and Java.


This should make Firebird work on everysite that has these features, however annoying they are :-)

Look out next week for an update covering the manual installation of all the above.

Well, that's it for now. For any comments or corrections, please e-mail me.

UPDATE 2004-02-04:
I have been reading around to find out why mailto: links don't work in Firebird. In order to use them, you need Mozex. Mozex allows you to specify external programs for most actions:

  • view page source
  • edit content of textareas (possibly utilizing a spell-checker in the text editor)
  • handle mailto, news, telnet and FTP links
  • download files

Simply go to the Install page and read the *NIX install instructions. Also read the FAQ for how to specify your favourite mail program to handle the mailto: links.

UPDATE 2004-02-03:
It was brought to my attention that the compat-libstdc++ rpm is needed for flash to be installed, as shown on Thomas Chung's Flash Page. I think that apt-get would take care of this when you apt-get install flash-plugin, but if not, simply:

apt-get install compat-libstdc++

Also, for PDFs, you may need to set the shell variable to LANG=C or acroread wont work (this is due to UTF-8 being default, which acroread cant do apparently). To do this type:

export LANG=C
At present mine is LANG=en_GB.UTF-8 and I have no issues. My systems are upgrades from RedHat 9.0, so this my play a part in it.

Thanks to Dan Meany for this update.