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With a couple of changes in the settings, you can improve the performance of Firefox in Ubuntu or Linux Mint. These tweaks will make this fine web browser leaner and cleaner.
Firefox menu button (with the three horizontal dashes on it, top right) - Customize - Show/Hide Toolbars - check: Menu Bar
The price you pay is a small decrease in user friendliness, but it's not much. The privacy gain is huge, and outweighs this price by far.
You can do it like this:
Firefox menu button (with the three dashes on it) - Preferences - Privacy
a. Item Tracking: set it to:
Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked
b. Item History: change the setting to:
Firefox will: Use custom settings for history
c. for cookies, change the setting to:
Keep until: I close Firefox
d. Now tick the following setting:
Clear history when Firefox closes
e. Finally, click the button "Settings..." (on the right of Clear history) and tick everything, except for Site Preferences. Click OK.
Click Close and you're done.
Tip: sometimes it may come in handy to force a cleansing during your web browsing. Simply by closing Firefox and launching it anew.
Firefox menu button (with the three dashes on it) - Preferences
Tab Network - Cached Web Content:
- tick: Override automatic cache management
- set the cache to 50 MB, which is more than enough.
Click the button Clear now and then the Close button.
Type in the URL bar of Firefox:
Now you're being presented with an warning. Ignore it and click on "I'll be careful, I promise!" (which is probably an attempt at humour. Sigh...)
Double-click that line and change the value to 0.
Note: this is a user preference. Repeat it in each user account.
You can enable Java / openJDK for a short while whenever you need it (usually pretty rarely). That way, your ease of use is reduced only a little bit, while your system becomes a lot more secure.
Disabling of Java in Firefox can be done like this:
Firefox menu button (with the three dashes on it) - Add-ons - click on Plugins (left side of the window) - click "Disable" for Java (or for IcedTea).
Unfortunately most of this can only be done by a strange and unusual web based tool from Macromedia. This is how you do it:
a. Go to Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager
Note: that web page is the tool itself!
b. Now the settings manager opens with the tab Global Privacy Settings. Click here on "Always ask..." Or, if you prefer a higher degree of security, "Always deny...".
c. Now click the tab Global Storage Settings.
Put the slider at at 10 KB (otherwise it'll remember too much information in your cookies, which is bad for your privacy). This is a per-cookie maximum size.
d. Now click the tab Website Privacy Settings. Click "Delete all sites".
e. Finally, click the tab Website Storage Settings. Click "Delete all sites".
You may want to run this settings manager on a regular basis, in order to remove stored content.
But they have a couple of important disadvantages, because they are "applications within an application":
- they slow Firefox down, especially if there are a lot of them;
- they can cause malfunctions; both in each other and in Firefox itself;
- it has occurred: add-ons with malicious content. Don't trust them blindly.
So don't turn Firefox into a Christmas tree: don't adorn Firefox with lots of add-ons. Limit yourself to only a few add-ons, that are really important for you.
Strictly speaking, extensions and add-ons pollute the clean code of your browser. It's wise to keep the level of pollution down to an absolute minimum.
Note: watch out for add-ons that claim to make Firefox faster! Often they do more harm than good. Do not install them: even if one or two of them can really make Firefox run noticeably faster, they may damage the stability of your browser.
Click on the button with three horizontal dashes in the top right corner - Preferences - Advanced:
remove the tick for: Use hardware acceleration when available
Close Firefox and launch it again.
(continued in the column on the right)
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Press the Ctrl key and keep it pressed (don't release it). Now hit the plus key ( + ) for as many times as you wish, until the font size that you want is achieved. Minimize: keep the Ctrl key pressed and hit the minus key ( - ). Back to default: keep the Ctrl key pressed and hit the zero key ( 0 ).
This however enlarges both text and images. That often renders images ugly. Set the enlargement therefore to "Zoom Text Only". Like this:
First make the Firefox menu bar visible (not necessary in main edition Ubuntu, because there it's by default part of the global menu in the top of your display):
Firefox panel - right-click on the right of the green plus sign - tick:
In the menu bar: View - Zoom - tick: Zoom Text Only.
Note: even if you see no tick box, you can place that tick nevertheless!
On netbooks with small displays you can also use the nifty add-on NoSquint. You can install it in Firefox, like this: Firefox menu button (with the three dashes on it) - Add-ons - Get Add-ons
The default settings of NoSquint aren't right. So configure NoSquint like this:
Firefox menu button (with the three dashes on it) - Add-ons - click on Extensions (left side of the window)
NoSquint: click - Preferences - Tab Zooming - Primary zoom method: Text zoom (text only).
On a netbook with a small display, you may want to configure it like this (click on the image to enlarge it):
Note: be very reluctant to install add-ons in Firefox: the more add-ons, the slower Firefox becomes.
Type this in the navigation bar of Firefox:
Press the irritating button "I´ll be careful, I promise!" (sigh....)
....and double-click it.
Change the current string value about:newtab into the URL of your home page, for example: www.google.nl
Close the config window and open a new tab page.
Removing can be done like this:
Launch a terminal window:
Menu - Accessories - Terminal
Type (use copy/paste):
sudo apt-get purge mint-search-addon
Press Enter. When prompted, type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show, this is normal.
Press Enter again.
Note: that also removes two other packages, namely mint-meta-core and (dependent on your desktop) mint-meta-cinnamon, mint-meta-mate, mint-meta-xfce or mint-meta-kde.
But those are just meta packages that have become useless anyway. Meta packages are one-time use only. Namely for ensuring that (in this case) you get all the mint core and mint desktop packages on your machine, on first installation of your operating system.
They can be compared to a shopping list: once you've done your shopping, you can safely throw away your shopping list.
like this (item 8, right column).
a lot more of them on this website!
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