CAC with Firefox Tip – Selecting Certificates

A quick tip if using a smartcard reader (for things like CAC) with Firefox – some web sites may not work right if you cannot select the proper certificate.  Some sites want the signature certificate and others want the email certificate.  Internet Explorer offers you a choice – Firefox may not, unless you do THIS:

  1.  Open Preferences.
  2. Advanced menu, Certificates – “When a web site requires a certificate”, select the button “Ask me every time”.

This will then force all sites to present you with a choice of certs to use from the card.  A little clunky, but it works well.

Firefox Problem…

Had a weird issue with Firefox tonight – It would not open any bookmarks.  I could manually type in a URL, use the throbber, and use the Google search window, but clicking on a bookmark did not do anything – it just sat there with a single blank tab.

Google did not yield much, so I opened a konsole and tried it.  Same result, and no error messages.

Next, still at the konsole, I tried “/usr/bin/firefox -safe-mode”.  I could have used just “firefox” (running “which firefox” showed that it was /usr/bin/firefox), but I wanted to make sure nothing else was getting in the way.

Firefox opened in safe-mode, but first asked me if I wanted to disable all extensions, reset to defaults, etc.  I left all options unchecked.  The theme and all extensions were  disabled while in safe-mode, but the browser worked fine now.  So I restarted Firefox in safe mode and chose this time to disable all extensions.  Then I restarted Firefox normally, by clicking on my desktop icon.

Now it worked, so I began reenabling the extensions, one by one, each time restarting Firefox.  Along the way, I cleaned out (uninstalled) some old extensions I rarely used (related to media downloads).  I started with the important extensions, like No-Script and AdBlock.  When I got to Colorzilla, Firefox crapped out again.  So I went into safe-mode again, removed Colorzilla, restarted Firefox, and it worked fine.  I soon had every remaining extension reenabled without any problems.

I had not gotten a recent update to Colorzilla, so I have to assume that it just crapped out.  Luckily, I rarely use that one anyway, so no huge loss.

Japanese Input Support on Mandriva 2007 Linux…

I decided to try enabling Japanese input on my system this weekend. I did get it to work, and here is how:

  1. I first Googled it. ^___________^
  2. I then made sure the following language and font packages were installed:
    • fonts-ttf-japanese
    • fonts-ttf-japanese-extra
    • fonts-ttf-japanese-ipanoma
    • fonts-ttf-japanese-mplus_ipagothic
    • locales-ja
  3. I then made sure to install the following input packages and their associated libraries:
    • canna
    • scim-canna
    • skim-scim-canna
    • anthy
    • uim
    • prime
    • kinput2
  4. I made sure that canna and jserver services were running at startup: “chkconfig –add canna” and “chkconfig –add jserver” (run as root)
  5. I appended to /etc/sysconfig/i18n the following lines:
    • GTK_IM_MODULE=scim
    • QT_IM_MODULE=scim
    • XIM_PROGRAM=”scim -d”
  6. I restarted gdm, and got a keyboard icon in my tray area.
  7. I configured it and disabled all languages but English and Japanese, noting that CTRL + Space toggles it on and off.

Now, when either of us uses CTRL + Space and selects Japanese, we have a variety of methods to input Japanese, whether it is katakana, hiragana, or kanji. This is on a standard US keyboard (no Japanese keys). The method we like best is Prime, which allows hiragana and kanji input, a list of selections as you type, and other options. I also set the list to be verticle.  In a nutshell, I took a shotgun approach to packages, installing everything related to japanese, canna, anthy, uim, scim, skim, and prime, excluding those packages applying to other languages.

I did have a big problem after modifying the i18n file, however. Firefox would no longer open. After much digging, I found that the problem was that we were using the Mozilla build of Firefox, not the distro-supplied build. The distro-supplied build was compiled on a more recent version of gcc than the Mozilla build, and after I switched a few icon paths around, we were back in business. From what I read, this would also affect Thunderbird users in the same manner. So either use the distro-supplied version if you run into this problem, or compile from source (make sure to compile in SCIM support).

This method of enabling Japanese input seems to work globally across the desktop, regardless of the application. Remember, though, YMMV.

The pages that best helped me out for this are:

  1. Troubleshooting Firefox and SCIM: troubleshooting article
  2. Enabling Japanese input globally:

Firefox Bolt-On – Tab Mix Plus

I tried this out, and while it has a *lot* of configuration settings (making it easy to cause your browser to misbehave, but nothing you cannot undo), it is also extremely cool. I was able to ditch several other addons (fewer is better, in my book), all associated with tab preferences and opening closed tabs, and tweak Firefox until it works just the way I want it. I especially like the saved sessions and embedded progress indicators on each tab. Tabs can also be highlighted if unread. There is plenty more to fool around with, so go nuts.

Hats off to the Tab Mix Plus developers! Get it HERE.