Top 10 Firefox Add-ons for Linux Users

One of Firefox's greatest strengths is that it can be extended to provide additional functionality to the end user. However, the vast number of extensions available for Firefox can be a bit overwhelming. We look at that top 10 Firefox add-ons that can improve your productivity on Linux.

Xmarks

If you use more than one computer, keeping bookmarks and passwords synched between the machines can be a bit of a hassle. Actually, it can be a major hassle, unless you’ve got something like Xmarks at your fingertips.

Xmarks is an extension that provides the ability to sync bookmarks and passwords, backup and restore bookmarks, and provide access to your bookmarks from the Xmarks Web site. In addition, you have the ability to set up profiles, so you can separate your personal and work bookmarks if you want to.

As an added bonus, the Xmarks service should work with IE and Safari in the near future. If you use more than one browser for work or fun, you should be able to sync your bookmarks across all three browsers in the near future.

Nervous about saving your bookmarks and passwords with a third party? It’s possible to use Xmarks with your own server instead.

Evernote

The Internet puts tons of information at your fingertips, but organizing it — that gets a bit tricky. Even though bookmarks can be useful for some info you find online, sometimes you need more than a pointer back to a Web page. For that, you can use Evernote. Evernote can help you manage all the information you find online, plus personal files, notes, and much more.

The Evernote extension works in conjunction with the Evernote service. Basic accounts are free, so you won’t break the bank by signing up. (Though you’ll be limited to 40MB and have to put up with ads for the basic service.)

Use is simple. The extension comes with a toolbar button and adds an “Add to Evernote” item to the context menu.

The extension allows you to clip Web pages, or even just parts of Web pages. This is particularly useful when you stumble onto a site that has useful instructions for troubleshooing a problem or solving a thorny programming problem. Find a forum post that has just the solution you need? Highlight the part of the page you want to save and click the “Evernote” button or use the context menu.

In addition to saving the material from the Web site, you can add notes and tags to the raw text, so you can put material in context and save your thoughts on Web pages for later. (It’s handy feature for writers, too…)

Vimperator

The world is made up of two kinds of people: Those who’ve accepted Vim as the one true text editor, and those who have settled for inferior methods of editing text. While Vim users can enjoy perfection when working on code, config files, and the like, they have to settle for inferior shortcuts when using other programs — including Web browsers.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, at least not entirely. While plain vanilla Firefox doesn’t include Vim support, the Vimperator add-on allows you to bring the modal editing greatness of Vim to Firefox. This means you can add Vi-like keybindings to Vim and control the browser entirely, or very nearly entirely, from the keyboard.

What does that mean, exactly? Vimperator gives Firefox Vim-like keybindings, Ex-type commands, a more minimal GUI, count support for commands, marks for Web pages, and even the ability to set up Macros. Vimperator can be extended with scripts, too.

Vimperator initially hides the toolbar and navigation bar. If you prefer to have these available, you can re-enable them with :set go+=mTB. See the wiki and access Vimperator’s tutorial using :help.

Even for experienced Vim users, it can take a while to get used to Vimperator. This is one of the extensions that works best in a separate profile until you get fully used to it. Also, note that Vimperator’s keybindings may conflict with the keybindings for some Web sites, like GMail or Google Reader.

Comments on "Top 10 Firefox Add-ons for Linux Users"

tsujigiri

I know that everyone has their own favourite extensions that save them heaps of time and they’re usually different for everyone, but for productivity on a Linux box (especially with the kinds of users Linux users tend to be) I’d have thought that It’s all text would have to be up there in top ten (or the top twenty anyway). For those who don’t know, it takes any text entry field (the big ones, not the single line ones) like this comment box and let’s you load it up in your favourite text editor (mine is gvim, it needs to be a graphical one). Then when you save the file in the editor, it updates the text box. Simple but really useful. Especially for doing things like editing wiki pages or other things that benefit from full editor treatment.

Reply
digital_slack

actually it doesn’t need to be graphical — just use a shell script to launch a terminal with vim — i.e.:
#!/bin/sh
xterm -e vim $1
exit 0

Reply
digital_slack

“Also, note that Vimperator’s keybindings may conflict with the keybindings for some Web sites, like GMail or Google Reader.”
This is true — but you can hit Ctrl-Z and it’ll ‘pass through’ all keystrokes until you hit escape to go back to normal vimperator keymode.

Reply
jjmacey

http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/ef5f73c9f4dfd480d5ac2bed27ad6915?s=80 XMarks, formally Foxmarks, has me convinced in extensions. Forecastfox lets know the weather! Cool tool as to hot it will get in Phoenix, Arizona tomorrow.

I’m not sure how some of the site designer tools work.

JJMacey
Phoenix, Arizona

Reply
jjmacey

Hi All,

Oops, sort of made a mistake there. But, I hope that I’ve made my point.

Reply
tsujigiri

Funny, I was just reading in the help about the pass through. Ctrl-V also passes through just the next keystroke (i.e. it doesn’t set up a mode), so if you just need to send keystroke to a page in firefox, just hit Ctrl-V. (Since reading the article I decided to try vimperator again and I’m liking it a lot more now. I’m more familiar with VIM now too though!) Thanks for the tip on using VIM with “It’s all text” though. I’ll probably stick with gvim but it’s good to know.

Cheers!

Reply
m_rowshan

Thanks for Ubiquity! :)

Reply
craig73

Well I’ll toss my favourites on the pile :-)

Grease monkey script “Next page” (http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/27251) which allows you to use left/right arrows to “click” on next page / previous page. Makes navigating google results, comments, photos, any multipage result easy. (I have a small screen, it’s a pain to scroll down and click on next page, I can surf quite quickly with my arrow keys and pagedown)

Read it later and Tag Sifter … so much better than managing bookmarks.

Find Toolbar tweaks … close the “search box” when I click back on the page (saves time)

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