hubertf's NetBSD Blog
Send interesting links to hubert at feyrer dot de!
[20081028] Outsmarted by "smart" software: Firefox
Last week I installed Firefox3 on my laptop, working from a remote machine with X redirection. After the installation, starting up the "firefox3" binary worked swiftly, and checking the version (Help-menu -> About) gave me:

Wait, what's that?! I've installed FF3, why is it showing FF2?!?

The problem remained, and reinstalling the FF3 binary package didn't work. After returning to the problem today, I moved away my ~/.mozilla directory, and starting up FF3 still had all my toolbars, bookmarks etc. Initial confusion led to quick enlightenment: The Firefox2 running wasn't actually from the remote (NetBSD) laptop, but from the local (desktop) machine! The machines do not have a common file system, but I have bookmarks etc. synchronized, that's why I didn't notice that I was using the local firefox.

So what happened? Apparently the remote FF3 is smart and recognizes that there's already some other instance of the browser running on the target display, and instead of starting a separate instance on the remove machine, it'll communicate to the already-running firefox to open a new window. This happens even if the versions differ.

After running "firefox --no-remote", I actually got a session from the remote machine, which was what I expected initially:

Lesson learned? Outsmarted by "smart" software. Doh!

[Tags: ]

Disclaimer: All opinion expressed here is purely my own. No responsibility is taken for anything.

Access count: 26543600
Copyright (c) Hubert Feyrer