Tag Archives: firefox

Containers for Firefox

Wooden Boxes – CC0 Public Domain

There is a new feature coming to Firefox which was discretely introduced in Firefox 50 Nightly and is getting improved with follow up releases. It is called Containers and is part of the of the Contextual Identity Project.

In short each container – or context – is a “colour-coded” tab with a dedicated environment to help one separate his/her online activities. So you can have tabs in a particular context and others in another context.

This increases privacy, so sites cannot spy on you outside of the context you use them. It allows separation of concerns, so you can use a website (e.g. GitHub) for work and personal use inside the same browser but with each a different account. It increases security so if you access your bank in a dedicated context, it would be harder to perform some attacks (e.g. cross-site scripting) to access your bank data.

To activate it you can go to about:config page and then set to true the entry privacy.userContext.enabled, you get the vanilla experience, still a bit rough in Firefox 60 and 61, already quite improved in Firefox 62 Developer Edition. A recommended alternative is to use Mozilla’s Addon called Firefox Multi-Account Containers which provide a nice icon and a walk-through. It works at least on Firefox for Linux, macOS and Windows.

This is how it looks like on Ubuntu (I’m using the default Dark theme). You can see that my Gmail is opened in a blue-coloured container, I have GitHub in a purple, a shopping site in a pink “Shopping” and finally a news site in no specific container. I could open another tab to my Grafana site in the same purple-coloured container as GitHub, and I would then be able to use GitHub OAuth to login to Grafana. If I would open Grafana in another or no container, I would not be able to use GitHub OAuth without re-authenticating myself to GitHub in this new context.

Firefox Containers illustration

Firefox Containers illustration

So I’m really looking forward to improvements on Firefox Container.

Surfing the web in 64 bit

Adobe Flash plug-in 64bit

Adobe Flash plug-in 64bit

The major problem faced by 64-bit Linux users is getting Flash Player to work properly on the platform. With the latest version of Ubuntu, it installs the 32-bit release of Adobe Flash Player along with the necessary 32-bit libraries so it can work.

However, using 32-bit Flash is sometimes buggy (when it is working). What about a 64-bit version of Flash Player?

Gnash, the free (libre) alternative is not enough mature to work on all web sites. But Adobe is currently working on a 64-bit version of its player. It is now available in the labs for download. This is still a beta, so using this plug-in could make your browser unstable (also see warning at the end of this post).

Before installing it, you should remove any previous installation of Adobe Flash Player, you can use Synaptic (System -> Administration) for this purpose.

The downloaded file has the extension .tar.gz, it is a compression format like ZIP. You can double-click on it and extract the file (libflashplayer.so) to your home directory, or use the command line: “$ tar zxf flashplayer11_rc1_install_lin_64_090611.tar.gz“. Now, you need to copy the extracted file to a system directory, close all internet browsers before doing so. It is assumed that the extracted file is in your home directory.

$ sudo cp $HOME/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

You can now launch Firefox or Chromium on your 64-bit system and watch Flash media content. My own experience is a more stable system! But do not forget, Flash is not a free software.

Updated 2010-06-08: Adobe issued a security warning for all Flash players (all platforms) covering 10.0.45.2 and earlier release. Which most probably means that it includes the 64bit version as well (this is not confirmed). The only safe version (recommended by Adobe itself) at the time of writing is Flash 10.1 RC which is sadly 32bit-only.

Updated 2010-09-16: Adobe released yesterday a new preview of its 64bit capable Flash Player. Links in this article have subsequently been updated.

Updated 2011-08-13: Adobe released a second beta of Flash Player 11 which as 32bit and 64bit implementation. This release includes also an Adobe Flash system preference. Just uncompress the .tar.gz file in a temporary directory and copy the uncompressed usr folder to your root ‘/’ directory.

Updated 2011-10-01: Updated for the first release candidate of Flash Player 11.