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There are two things I really like about Opera (the browser, not the music): it's blazingly fast when you go forward and back a page in the history and it does a really good job of “zoom in” and “zoom out”. I have a 15" 1600x1200 display, and the default fonts when browsing are usually too small for my comfort. Firefox has always seemed to want to fully reload a page from the server when you go back a page in history. A major bummer. Opera, when you do Alt+Left-Arrow takes a fraction of a second, where Firefox could take 5 to 20 seconds to do the same.

With Firefox 1.5, they've added a new, fast, back and forward ability. However, it's going to be around 3 months before FC5 is released, so what's a guy to do? Particularly as it might wedge up my extensions… Here's how to get FC4 with Firefox 1.5, and my mini-review of how the upgrade process went.

I wasn't in a particular hurry to upgrade, even though I really wanted the fast-back functionality. The thing is, my Firefox has been working pretty well, and my plugins were all happy. In the past, even fairly minor numbered upgrades have totally broken extensions, causing mission-critical functionality (at least to me) to become unavailable. Not a process I was quick to want to repeat.

However, the upgrade to 1.5 went extremely smoothly. When I first started Firefox, it told me that (as I expected) my plugins wouldn't work with 1.5. However, it then asked me if I wanted it to check for updates to those extensions. A couple of them weren't available for 1.5, but most were. In the end, the only functionality that I no longer had was from the “slogger” extension (which logs pages I view, for later grepping). Slogger was a mixed blessing, because I didn't grep through the results that often, but any page which generated a non-200 result would cause a pop-up saying the page couldn't be saved. A real PITA.

My first attempts of just installing the FC5 RPM didn't work, nor would the FC5 SRPM build on FC4. However, Kevin used his web searching mojo and found instructions on how to build Firefox 1.5 on FC4 from the Fedora Devel list.

I've uploaded the resulting binary RPM to our FTP server at: ftp://ftp.tummy.com/pub/tummy/RPMS/binaries-KRUD-fc4-i386/firefox-1.5-1.i386.rpm. This is the FC5 development SRPM rebuilt on FC4.

I'd highly recommend that you take a backup of your ~/.mozilla directory before you do the upgrade. That way, if it is hopelessly broken for you, you can easily revert back. I had no problems, but YMMV. Note that ~/.mozilla is probably the number 1 directory I have to recover on my laptop, primarily when SessionSaver fails me.

Backups make a wonderful gift to give yourself or your loved ones this holiday season. :-)

I've been using it for about half a day now, and it seems to work pretty well. I also added the “Tabs Menu” extension, which gives you an extra menu on the browser that lists the tab names and allows you to select tabs from there. This is nice if you have enough tabs (as I do) that you can't see anywhere near the full text of the tab name. Of course, I can't live without “Session Saver”, which saves your set of tabs and restores them after a restart or crash. I also like “Image Zoom” and (of course) “Adblocker”.

There you have it. Enjoy.

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