Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cheat sheet and notes for using Knoppix 6 or newer

This I initially made for myself, but then writing got out of hand :-)

For a full-page treatment, see here.


Knoppix 6.0.1 includes Iceweasel 3.0.6, which does not have support for HTML5 video, so you need to install Flash to watch multimedia. Granted, these versions of Knoppix and Iceweasel are rather outdated, so Knoppix 6.7.1 (or 7) is often a better choice on a new computer.

Another option is to download and install a newer version of Firefox. See below.

The version of Flash compatible with Knoppix 6.0.1 is 10.3. Download it, extract into the
/home/knoppix/.mozilla/plugins directory (the plugins directory must also be created). Restart Iceweasel.

02.05.2013. Update

Modern Firefox

By May 2013, Iceweasel 3.0.6 has become so old and outdated that it's not supported by major websites anymore. This includes Google and all its properties (YouTube, Google Drive/Docs, Blogger, and others). The same applies to Yahoo!, twitter, and many other major sites and services.

Using Synaptic in Knoppix 6.0.1 to upgrade to Iceweasel 17 is impractical on account of the Iceweasel 17 package having hundreds of dependencies that must also be upgraded, which really amounts to a whole operating system upgrade. Therefore it's simpler to get the Firefox Linux binary.

The latest official major version of Firefox that still works in Knoppix is version 17, specifically 17 ESR (Extended Support Release). Newer versions won't work.

Firefox 17 ESR can be obtained from Mozilla's FTP site, and I got the latest version here:
Since Firefox 17.0 ESR is in active maintenance (17.0.6 released on 09.05.2013., which is very recent), then Mozilla is likely to release newer patchlevel versions.

Since new patchlevel versions are placed in a different FTP directory, then...'s a beginner's "navigation how-to" for people unfamiliar with FTP

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is older than the web, and it has been very useful in facilitating large downloads. The content of FTP sites is structured hierarchically, as in folders in a computer file system. Files and directories are listed in alphabetical order UNIX-style: directories are not sorted first, but like all other files; items starting with capital letters are at the top of the list, then followed by lower-case items. In a graphical browser, file and folder names are linked and thus clickable.

Mozilla's FTP site
FTP URLs are given as examples
As Mozilla releases a new version of Firefox, then all files specific to a version are given their own directory. Genereally, all Firefox versions are placed in /releases folder of Mozilla's FTP site:
The latest version at this time is 17.0.6 and you can scroll down the list to enter that directory:

As Knoppix is Linux, choose /linux-i686

What you get in the /linux-i686 directory is a longish folder listing of different Firefox language versions (Firefox is released in many languages), listed in the format of ISO-639-1 two-letter language code followed by ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 two-letter country codes.

The respective code combination for English-United States is en-US

There you'll see the archived Firefox binary firefox-17.0.6esr.tar.bz2

Download this file to the Desktop. Once the tar.bz2 file is downloaded, go to the desktop, right-click on the file, choose the Extract > Extract To... command. You'll get a file/location picker and the default should be the Knoppix folder. Press OK to extract.

The Firefox executable is then in the /home/knoppix/firefox/ user directory (knoppix being the user account folder).

Even after Firefox is extracted, a shortcut won't be created to the Knoppix LXDE desktop environment menu.

Do keep in mind that since Iceweasel is code-compatible with Firefox, they both share the same user settings located at /home/knoppix/.mozilla/firefox

It is thus recommended to create a different profile for Firefox.

You can start Firefox from the command line:
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ ./firefox/firefox -P &

./ stands for specifically targeting a folder from within the current directory;
-P forces the start of the Firefox Profile Manager;
& (ampersand) makes sure that Firefox starts independently from the terminal window.

After that, the Firefox Profile Manager opens up and you can create a new Firefox profile. When doing so, assign a new and simple profile name.

If you close Firefox, you can start Firefox again from the command line using the new profile:
./firefox/firefox -P newprofilename &
Alternately, the easier way is to unset starting Firefox or Iceweasel in a profile automatically. That way it's slightly more user-friendly to choose a profile, at least when starting Iceweasel. Whereas with Firefox only the ./firefox/firefox command without can be used without having to invoke additional command-line options.

So much for now. I might continue and expand on this further.

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