Firefox upgrade woes

Oct 13, 2004

Yesterday the FreeBSD ports tree unfroze and saw at least 250 commits in a day, among them an update of Firefox. I had really looked forward to that since I tried the new live bookmarks feature on Windows.

So, during the night I let my aging laptop compile the new version, and this morning I then tried to fire it up, resulting in some error messages that seemed familiar from earlier updates where I had had to remove ~/.firefox (backing up my bookmarks first) for it to work. So I did, including ~/.mozilla and ~/.phoenix for good measure. Now the browser would just exit silently returning ‘1’.

What the fuck!

After recompiling again (don't ask me why, it was a stupid idea) without any improvement I finally got the idea of ktrace'ing it, and towards the end there was several lines where it complained about not being able to open files in the ~/.mozilla hierarchy.

It turned out the ~/.mozilla directory was recreated by the startup script with too restrictive permissions which then fails to create the subdirectories. Simply changing permissions to 0755 fixed the problems. I still got a message complaining about not being able initialize a plugin directory, it was fixed by running Firefox just once as root. Ugly.

Last edited: May 1, 2016