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Rolling Out Mozilla in an Organization?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the bringing-in-the-400-lb-lizard dept.

Mozilla 486

jdclucidly asks: "I am a network administrator for a small non-profit (about 50 employees). I would like to roll Mozilla 1.2.1 out to all of our desktops. We don't have a single ghost image because the computers on site are too varied. Yes, I did my Googling. The source for the installer is just huge and mind boggling. Is there something like a Mozilla Administration Kit that will generate custom Mozilla installers? If not, would people on Slashdot be interested in starting a new project to make such a kit?" If you were going to deploy a "branded" version of Mozilla, company-wide, how would you do it, especially if you had to worry about a mixed OS environment?

"Here's what I want to do:

  • Install everything but Quality Feedback Agent
  • Set Mozilla as the default browser
  • Disable 'Open Unrequested Windows' (kill pop-ups)
  • Install Elveraldo's Crystal-Classic theme as default
  • Set Google as the default search engine
  • Set 'Georgia' as the default Serif font for Western and Unicode
  • Enable HTTP Pipelining
  • Enable FIPS internal cryptography
  • Set toolbar to 'Pictures only'
  • Set Home Page to my organization's intranet site
  • Set start page to 'Blank page'
  • Disable 'Hide the tab bar'
  • Enable Middle-click for new tab
  • Enable control+enter for new tab
  • Default downloads to 'open a progress dialog'
  • Disable Javascript and Plugins for Mail & News
  • Enable quicklaunch
  • Create an additional shortcut on the desktop and in quicklaunch that uses chrome/icons/mailnew.ico as it's source and points to 'mozilla.exe -mail'
As you can imagine, doing this on 50 computers (and making sure I got each of these) would be quite tedious. Are, there others out there that want to do the same thing. I checked the Mozilla newgroups. I checked the CCK Project page at Mozilla.org -- it appears to be pretty inactive. I checked out the Netscape 7 CCK, which is pretty robust but doesn't do everything I want and it's proprietary -- plus, I don't want all the NS7 proprietary crap on my network.

I installed Mozilla on my machine using the stub installer and had it save all of the .XPI components to a folder. I went in and extracted the .XPI's and examined them. It seems possible to do these things but not without learning XUL, JavaScript, XML and Mozilla.org's own stuffings -- not to mention setting up a Visual C++/Cygwin compiling farm for every next Mozilla release. Can I:
  • Directly modify the defaults/prefs/all.js file to incorporate my preference defaults above and then recompress the .XPI?
  • Add to the installer Crystal-Classic.jar somehow? Where are those changes made?
  • Make the installer NOT allow the user to change any of this?
  • Make the installer create the above mentioned shortcut?"

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486 comments

holy carp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115361)

This post is frosty!

A rolled out Mozilla package (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115364)

Helped me get FP! So fast, Mozirra!

Dear Sir or Madam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115412)

I regret to inform you that you are teh sux. Don't feel too bad, there are a lot of posts here claiming to be first, and you beat all those losers.

In the end, there could only be one first post. I happened to get it this time, but I wish you nothing but luck in your first posting carreer.

Re:Dear Sir or Madam (0, Offtopic)

trans_err (606306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115435)

I regret to inform you that other then being a complete idiot, you were not first.

Dear Asshat or Moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115458)

Actually, I was the first. See that holy carp! post?

I regret to inform you that you are also the sux.

Learn the difference between then and than, by the way.

Re:Dear Asshat or Moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115490)

No, I was first. You're a fucking liar.

then we are at an impasse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115518)

Since neither of our claims can be proven, there can be no resolution.

I propose a mutual suicide.

Agreed?

Re:then we are at an impasse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115547)

Agreed! Shall we do it live via webcam?

Re:then we are at an impasse (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115570)

I will be sure to enter you two in the Darwin awards.

Re:then we are at an impasse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115583)

the funny thing is, there's three of us now.

Re:then we are at an impasse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115587)

Make that four. It's been a long day.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115365)

post ?
wow........

Oh great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115367)

As if kde-look wasn't slow enough already. Thanks a bunch, guys!

Re:Oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115415)

It sounds like there's one consistancy at least - Mozilla.

More accurately, it sounds like you're putting off managing your network properly. 50 machines - all with different software? Bollocks. I suspect you've just let the weeds grow.

Do you really think each bit of software should have it's own roll-out software? Obviously no - that's what there's network management software for.

NFC Champsionship Game Thread (-1, Offtopic)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115369)

Here's what I want to do:

Leave all the Eagles & their coaches inside the Vet

Let it all crumble to the ground

Re:NFC Champsionship Game Thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115519)

that is pretty funny no penis man!

First post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115372)

no message

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115373)

FP

hey i'm first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115376)

hey i'm first!

no you're not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115423)

i was quicker

Here's something that does what you want (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115377)

Totally free, too! [microsoft.com]

Only if you're running windows or macOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115401)

See subject

He IS running Windows, asshat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115453)

See subject

Lockout users (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115380)

Make the installer NOT allow the user to change any of this?


You really want to lock your users from making any changes to the browser? I seriously doubt you will be able to do this (and even if you could, what would be the point?)

Yeah, what a total n00b-ish asshole (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115397)

He babbles on about how he want's something free and "none of that propriatary crap" but wants to lock everything up and make it closed. Sounds like this idiot has quite an identity crisis on his hands.

Re:Lockout users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115536)

Sounds like you've never been a system administrator...

Re:Lockout users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115548)

On the contrary.

Here's an idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115382)

Use windows? It comes with free ie integrated

Well... (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115385)

With apt being built for Linux, apt for OS X, I would start by putting together some perl scripts for Windows to work like apt. Then build packages for each OS and use a package repository to distribute them.

just copy the directory (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115393)

just copy the directory, mozilla doesn't need registry entries.. it stores all its settings in some whacky xml files

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115459)

Well, I always wanted to post one of these MPU posts. It seems I finally found the really right post.

Re:just copy the directory (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115486)

Copying the directory is pretty much what I'd suggest. Configure one browser for each platform and make a tarball for Linux, a zip installer for Windows, etc and just copy your settings over. For 50 machines it wouldn't be worth the effort of using a client customization kit or anything like that. As far as keeping users from changing their settings that's easy enough in Linux but am not sure how you'd do it in Windows or MacOS. Just change the owner of the config files away from the user and give them read but not write permissions to those files.

Re:just copy the directory (5, Informative)

SnowDeath (157414) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115549)

Dont forget to copy the registry.dat when you copy Mozilla from Application data so that Mozilla knows where you are storing the Mozilla profile. As long as you are using 2000/XP (NT could work too, that's what I had have to use at work right now), just make all of your profile directories/files ready only *EXCEPT* the parent salted directory, they need read/delete to that for the lock file.

The way I have Mozilla set on our NT4 machines is to use the profile editor (name?), delete the default, create my own (named modlang, being that I run the modlang computer lab) profile, put it under mozilla.org in the program files directory, set everything to the way I want (popup blocking, default homepage, etc) and then simply copy mozilla.org directory (with mozilla already being installed on the profile creating machine) to each target machine.

The tricky part was figuring out that I needed to copy the registry.dat to default user's application data directory, after figuring that out it is cake.

Re:just copy the directory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115557)

It is possible to change permissions to readonly on Windows and MacOS (atleast 10th version) too. But I don't know how you can archive preserving ACLs on windows.

linux && mozilla (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115394)

linux looks like Bill G.'s Hemorroids when compared with FreeBSD5.x.
.
Linux is dying. Slashdot is gay.

Are you working at a daycare? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115396)

That's the only way I could accept wanting that Mozilla icon theme. Ugh.

How many first post attempts in this thread?

Don't use Mozilla (-1, Offtopic)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115400)

I would use its leaner & meaner cousin, Phoenix [mozilla.org].

Phoenix is a redesign of the Mozilla browser component, similar to Galeon, K-Meleon and Chimera, but written using the XUL user interface language and designed to be cross-platform.

I've heard nothing but good things about it, and you could even just leave a public folder with the executable in it and let everyone browse with ease.

Nothing beats a small lightweight browser that features tabbed browsing and automatic pop-up window blocking. IE can't come close, and your employees will thank you!

Re:Don't use Mozilla (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115430)

Phoenix doesn't need to be installed either. Just put it on a network drive and get everyone to share it (with each computer running a script to use their their profile).

Unfortunately Phoenix nightlies have dropped the pretty theme that they had in 0.1 - 0.5. They have a new and ugly theme.

Re:Don't use Mozilla (4, Interesting)

pavera (320634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115434)

everyone is always praising phoenix, however, on my machine it uses more RAM (about 26MB compared to 20 for mozilla) it isn't noticably faster, and there isn't an option to ctrl+enter in the location bar to open a new tab, ctrl+enter in phoenix does the same as in IE (adds http://www. to the front and .com to the end of whatever is in the location bar) which is a nice shortcut, but I'm too addicted to ctrl+enter creating a new tab, so phoenix's usability suffers for me, and I don't get alot of speed increases anyway...

Re:Don't use Mozilla (1)

child_of_mercy (168861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115493)

well dude,

you're running a very strange and different setup to the rest of the world.

Ctrl+t opens a new tab BTW.

Phoenix is the coolest thing since sliced bread in this small non-technical office.

Re:Don't use Mozilla (1)

nusuth (520833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115507)

Comparing Phoenix 0.5 and Mozilla 1.2.1 w/o quick launch and considering memory use with blank pages only, Moz's tab handling is slightly better while Phoenix beats Moz at both base mem usage and memory per new browser windows.

Easier transition... (2, Informative)

hendridm (302246) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115567)

I like Phoenix because I'm forced to switch between browsers a lot (thanks to my job). All the shortcut keys are similar between IE and Phoenix (unlike Mozilla). Alt-D puts me in the address bar (Ctrl-L in Moz), Shift-Click opens in a new window, and best of all, Ctrl-Enter in the address bar, as you said, works just like in IE. The consistency is handy if you use two different browser at the same time (like havign IE at home and Phoenix at work, as I imagine many of your employees will have).

Unstable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115465)

I've had Phoenix crash repeatedly, on a regular basis since 0.5 came out. Very annoying. Neither IE 6 nor Mozilla 1.0.2 exhibit this behavior.

HTF did parent get to +5? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115484)

Guy asks for info on how to *autoinstall* Mozilla on 50 machines. Somebody replies saying use Phoenix instead, *without* giving any input on autoinstalling. Is it that obvious how to autoinstall Phoenix?

Re:Don't use Mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115521)

I also reccomend Phoenix. I use it at work where I am forced to use a WinDoze box and can't run Knoqueror. It takes a while for it to load but has all of the good features of Mozilla without the kitchen sink problem.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115403)

THis is SOOOOOO easy. All you need to do is edit the prefs file to suit your needs. Then simply deploy the package in some sort of self extraction archive.

Priorities (3, Insightful)

trans_err (606306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115413)

Seems to me like you're just begging for large scale trouble. Take the time and make annnnnnnn image for all the computers, making the one or two neccesary for differences in platforms are still going to save you a lot of time in the long run. What happens when you decide you want to update to Mozilla 1.3 or roll out some other app? In the long run it seems like you could greatly increase stability, continuity, and prohibit a lot of headaches like this one if you just slow down and build from the ground up.

IMHO of course.

Re:Priorities (3, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115491)

He stated in his post that making images wasn't really going to reduce complexity because the systems themselves are too varied, images do not reduce the amount of time needed in this case. if you have 50 computers and they all have different hardware, you've gotta have 50 images, your average win2k image with no software is about 1 Gb, with stuff like office, and other software, easily 1.5Gb each, so, now you're looking at 75Gb of storage just to keep all of your images (not that 75Gb is some huge amount anymore really, but it is pretty big, I used to work in a 130 employee firm, and until about 1 year ago we only had 100gb of total server storage space, so 75 of that used up for images wasn't feasible at all). plus you have to keep track of which image goes to which computer, besides, you'd have to manually install all of the software on *each* computer anyway to create the initial images, images will not help in this case.

A few suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115427)

Fix the 1.2.1 installer for Linux (fresh install for RH8.0, bad startup script with bad directories). Fix the conflict with Palm software for Windows.

And please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, create a check box to remove *all* tabbed browsing crap (it's still in rt-click!) for those of us who don't want it. Bleck.

Re:A few suggestions (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115455)

your opinion of course. But what I want is a tree-tab browsing; where I can group my various pages in a logical ordering of trees, easier. This would be useful if i have 10+ pages open at a time

Automate It (2, Informative)

adrox (206071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115428)

I recommend Automate [unisyn.com]. It would get the job done and can be deployed over a network. Although it'll only work on windows machines. Alternatively a cheaper solution would be to copy over all the mozilla files and registry settings to each machine.

Use konqueror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115433)

Its got eveything you want, and before you ask, yes it does tabs in version 3.1.

Uhh... this is what you DON'T want to do (4, Informative)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115439)

This is 100% the wrong way to go about things, bud. What you want to do is use something like Microsoft Systems Management Server, [microsoft.com] Veritas WinInstall, [ondemandsoftware.com] or Novell ZenWorks SnAPPShot [novell.com] to monitor the install on your install test-bed PC (you DO have one, don't you?), make all those oodles of changes you want to, then redistribute it identically to your clients. If you don't have these, I would buy one of the packages -- the money you spend will save you $$$ in man-hours trying to come up with a hackneyed, crappy homebrew solution in the long run. Once you start using these distribution apps, they will become your next best friend.

Re:Uhh... this is what you DON'T want to do (1)

CounterZer0 (199086) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115479)

Yeah - mozilla can work with these systems EASILY.
IE is a different matter, because installing IE is different for every rev of windows (95OSRB,C,D, 98, 98SE, 2k, sp1/2/3/4/5/6etc).
But mozilla should run just fine from a Snappshot.

Re:Uhh... this is what you DON'T want to do (2, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115489)

Use the zip file. Just unzip right into program directory. Then run it, load additional XPIs to taste, xcopy the program folder up to a server. To install on each station, just xcopy or wrap into an .msi and deploy to workstations automatically via a GPO.

Mozilla is easy to deploy, but a bitch to configure. See my other note in this thread for that nightmare...

Re:Uhh... this is what you DON'T want to do (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115537)

Cross Platform?
I don't think any of these solutions support multiple OS's

Ok, I'll take a shot. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115444)

Why make it harder than you need to? How about this:

Make one install on your PC. Setup all of the preferences how you want them.

Copy the .mozilla directory (or whatever) to wherever you plan on installing this from. chmod a-w on it for *nix users, set permissions accordingly on it for Windows.

Put your .jar theme where it needs to be

Install on everyone else's PCs and just copy the preferences folder via a script or by hand.

Profit!

It such a small number of people, it should be painless to do it by hand anyways.

Tip of the Week (0, Flamebait)

chicagothad (227885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115447)

If you are running Windows as the standard within your company, don't do something dumb and introduce complexity by adding in another platform that you need to integrate and support. Go with IE. (Let the flames begin)

Re:Tip of the Week (1)

gr0ngb0t (410427) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115472)

And in what way is introducing Mozilla to a workplace "adding in another platform to integrate and support"?

Mozilla is software sir, not an OS.

Re:Tip of the Week (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115552)

It is a web borwsing platform. Just as desktop applications are built on an operating system, so are web sites built on browsers. All browsers do NOT work in the same way. So one cannot expect that a web site will work in the same way on all browsers. I must fully support and agree with the previous suggestion.

Re:Tip of the Week (2, Insightful)

dameron (307970) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115591)

I would expect the liability (not necessarily legal liability, but personal liability) would be far to great to standardize on IE. Would you install IE on 50 desktops if you knew your job was riding on IE's security and reliability.

Also, for the poster, I'd just have someone do it. Burn all the installer files for whatever platforms you're supporting to a cd and carry it from station to stations. Or share it on a network and do a network install. You'd be surprised how fast you can do them all after you've got the first ten or so done. Seriously, a good tech could do this in an afternoon, or a day at most. Plus it's good for the soul.

-dameron

The easy way... (5, Funny)

DaveOnNet (636006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115449)

Just prohibit the use of Mozilla in your organization and then make sure employees have access to the Internet. They're bound to set it up themselves that way.

It' won't be easy... (5, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115452)

I tried, went through hell. I assume you're doing this in a Windows environment. If so, be aware of some real killer limitations.

First of all, Mozilla doesn't understand UNC paths. If your GPO redirects %appdata%, you're screwed. Quit now. The mozilla registry.dat file goes in %appdata%\mozilla and if %appdata% is in a UNC of DFS share, it won't find it.

Then ... if you allow users to create profiles in the default location, below %appdata%\mozilla, expect profiles to go missing. Windows has a nasty habit of duplicating roaming profiles, like profiles\user, profiles\user.domain, profiles\user.domain.000, etc... Since your profile location is a hardcoded path in registry.dat, Mozilla will find it, but will try to load the profile in the stale profile location. If that doesn't exist now, it'll throw up a profile manager asking you to recreate one.

The solution to above is to create the profile manually via a command like:

mozilla.exe -CreateProfile "default z:\mozilla"

That will move the bulk of the profile (except registry.dat) to a fixed location out of the roaming profile.

For a lot more detail and my rant, read bug #162025, comment #28.

We have done a lot to get it working finally, including some logon vbscripts to create the profiles, repair prefs.js file, have some mandatory prefs.js entries that are replaced during logon if user changes them (like home page for us), etc...

We've been through hell but think we finally have it licked by working around mozilla bugs. We intend to post a page on our experiences, but not in the next 12 hours (the effective life of a slashdot story)

When it's ready, I'll e-mail you or feel free to contact me if you want the scripts as they stand now (we are still debugging some things).

Dont Bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115460)

Save yourself the time and the effort. Mozilla is crap and your staff will only complain that they can't use IE.

Been there, done that.

tabbed browsing (1)

timothy (36799) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115540)

Well,

- tabbed browsing, and

- type-ahead find

- decent mail client built in (now with spam filtering, albeit early stages)

- image blocking built in

And nearly 100 other things [xulplanet.com] that Mozilla has but IE does not.

I complain when I'm stuck at a computer with nothing better than IE.

However, since you're trolling, I'll stop here ;)

timothy

How about the Client Customization Kit? (0, Redundant)

mike_sucks (55259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115468)

How about the mozilla.org CCK [mozilla.org]? Or if it isn't sufficiently advanced, use Netscape's CCK [netscape.com] instead.

The CCKs exist to do exactly what you want - customize the browser. Why reinvent the wheel?

This is where some basic research could have helped you before posting yet another lame Ask Slashdot question. I find Google [google.com] works well for that sort of thing. Perhaps you could also start at Mozilla.org's project pages. [mozilla.org] RTFM, etc, etc, etc. /mike

Re:How about the Client Customization Kit? (1)

MetalHead666 (532749) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115505)

How about reading the article before committing yet another lame post? I find that eyes work well for that sort of thing...

Re:How about the Client Customization Kit? (2, Informative)

mike_sucks (55259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115582)

What part of the article didn't I address? Sure the Google bit was a duplication, but that's how I came acroos the CCK in the first place.

How about understanding what I posted? I find a brain works well for that sort of thing.

/mike

Re:How about the Client Customization Kit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115527)

Jesus, you really didn't even read the question, did you?

lisez l'article (1)

jpt.d (444929) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115539)

"I checked the CCK Project page at Mozilla.org -- it appears to be pretty inactive. I checked out the Netscape 7 CCK, which is pretty robust but doesn't do everything I want and it's proprietary -- plus, I don't want all the NS7 proprietary crap on my network. "

Re:lisez l'article (1)

mike_sucks (55259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115597)

Hmm, what didn't it do that you wanted?

I used to play around with the CCK for 4.x when it first came out and I found I could remove the the proprietary crap easily enough. I'd also be suprised if you couldn't substitute Moz in instead of NS7 with the current CCK.

/mike

MODS ON LARGEST CRACK EVER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115544)

I'll ignore for a moment that this is actually a useful post and, to the point, seems to be what the author was asking for, but modding it as redundant? No one else has even mentioned it further down the thread, let alone provide links and explain. I'd even give you flamebait (but that would be pretty weak). Geez folks. I hope I pick this one up in metamod.

Netscape 7 isn't completely proprietary. (1)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115481)

Just pull down the NETSCAPE_7_01_RTM_RELEASE Tag from the mozilla.org cvs.

I don't know of any way you can lock the prefs window (apart from removing it from the menu's.).

  • Download the Mozilla src tree. This gives you some insight of the files in the chrome/ folder before the are packed. You can still uncompress and recompess them from a binary Mozilla install though
  • Start off by creating a profile (install everything, e.g theme in user space so it doesn't invade the global chrome folder)
  • Remove the options you don't want from the prefs window. (Fonts and Colors might be the only one you need)

Question... (1, Insightful)

blixel (158224) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115488)

What's the point of forcing all the employees to set their user preferences to settings that are based soley on your own personal opinions?

Re:Question... (3, Insightful)

Alex (342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115528)

Its called a "corporate standard" for a reason.

Alex

Re:Question... (1, Insightful)

DavittJPotter (160113) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115553)

As an employee, it's not "your computer". It's the property of the company. I wish more end users would remember that. "Why are you messing with *my* computer? I've got it just the way I like it!" Sorry. Pink fonts in Monotype Corsiva on a light blue background makes it tough for me to troubleshoot. Don't put your kid's picture up as wallpaper (less of a gripe, I don't really care, but give an inch...). Don't install the "little program" you brought from home.

**These machines are not for your personal use.** Please reread that statement again and again when you feel like it's "Your Computer". If you didn't pay for it, it ain't. If you did, and you're accessing a corporate network, you are still subject to the rules of your employer/contractee. The computers you were provided as PART OF YOUR EMPLOYMENT are a tool you use to get your job done. Microsoft spent millions of dollars and countless man-hours on the multitude of color schemes you can pick from. Use one of those. If I find non-approved themes of software, it's gone. That's how it works, and makes less downtime for you and less headache for me.

Re:Question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115569)

There is a difference between a policy and locking down the software itself. Hmm with Windows I can change many settings on my machine at work. That is untill I stopped using a Windows box.

Doing it with IE (-1, Offtopic)

t0qer (230538) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115492)

Ya I know, it isn't mozilla but here's how you do it with IE.


Download the [microsoft.com]
Internet Explorer administrator kit IEAK


Customize it how you want, build the .exe, then you can either have the users
install it from a share or use software group policies to push it out to the
clients (if they're running win2k+) You can customize everything, from the
little spinny icon to the graphics used for the buttons.


The only thing that costs money in that solution is a MS server (if you do a
push install), other than that IEAK is free.



Web Browser Kiosk Build-Experience (4, Informative)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115496)

Ah, I used to do something similar at the Department of Networking Services & Information Technologies, at the University of Chicago, were I used to work. Setup up webkiosks and the like for the campus.

Your probably already know this, but I'll point out the obvious:

1. Set up a Ghost server for yourself. Maybe even look at a copy of Alteris LabExpert [altiris.com].

2. Backup often.

3. Set yourself a timeline with mile markers. Give yourself a few months, so you don't pull out your hair or have a mental break down. Plan a reasonable project timeline, such as 3 months.

4. Set up testing workstations. Get all of your networking issues out of the way before you start on Mozilla. TCP/IP or other protocol stacks should already be installed. All device drivers should already be installed.

5. Take the list which you've already made, and make the changes to the box. When you get the change to work, backup the box with your image server. Keep detailed notes of what you've just accomplished.

6. Repeat step 5 until all items are completed.

7. When step 6 is completed, backup the workstation, diff the image if needed, and push it onto workstations of similar hardware configuration. Either package the image as an application (tar, zip), an application image (ZenWorks, Active Directory resource, Ghost, etc), or an operating system image (SMS, Alteris, Ghost).

Once you get into the groove of the project, it'll go quickly.

Sorry for stating the obvious, but you're talking about a fairly complex network engineering task. Don't expect it to happen next week or even next month. Just make sure you have an imaging server and that you take good notes, and the project will go fine.

Re:Web Browser Kiosk Build-Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115568)

3 months?

What the hell.

That's 50 machines, not 5000. You should be able to image them all up in a day.

Some simple ideas. (4, Interesting)

The Creator (4611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115499)

First install mozilla on one machine. Then obtain the source, find where the signal handler(i think that is what it is called) for the meny ithem edit->preferences is set and comment that out, compile. Now you should have a version of mozilla that the user cannot configure.

Use the first installation(full version) to generate all the files that contain the settings you want for each machine. And copy them to each machine after installing the crippled mozilla on them.

You should be able to achiave your goals like this, if each machine requires uniqe settings(email and such) then you have some work to do, but it should'nt be impossible.

Sysprep for varying hardware (3, Interesting)

SiO2 (124860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115500)

You stated that the computers in your organization vary and that you can't have one standard Ghost image. Is this because the operating systems are different or because the hardware is different? If the problem is just hardware, I have a solution for you.

At the university where I am the network administrator, we use Microsoft's sysprep in conjunction with our Ghost images. If you run sysprep on your master machine before taking your Ghost image, Windows 2000 for instance will rebuild it's P-n-P database the first time it boots on a target machine and load all of the necessary drivers for the different hardware.

You can check out sysprep here [microsoft.com].

If, however, hardware is not your problem with deploying a single Ghost image, I'm sorry for the wasted bandwidth.

I feel so dirty. I'm a Mac guy giving advice for Windows. I'm going to shower now.

SiO2

I recommend... (2, Funny)

jpt.d (444929) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115561)

A cold shower, and burn those filthy clothes too, other macolites will be able to smell windows on them.

Dillo (-1, Offtopic)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115508)

This is totally offtopic.
I just wanted to plug Dillo [wearlab.de], a web browser totally unsuited to a corprate enviroment. Dillo is at version 0.6.6, and has almost no features. OTOH, it's a 200k download and is the fastest browser I've ever seen, launching in less than 1/2 sec on a 500mHZ-PII. It renders 95% of the pages I visit (almost) correctly.

The lizard is bigger than that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115524)

More like 400 tonnes.

Why? (-1, Flamebait)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115534)

For those of us that build web sites out there you, and such decisions are extremely frustrating to deal with. It is understandable if you are an end user wanting to choose a non-standard, frequently untested (from a site developers perspective) browser to use. It is something completely different to make such a decision for 50 other people and then ask them to live with the consequences of your selection. For example, most sites go untested on such a platform. This means that there is an extremely good chance that the web experience that your workers will have will be sub-standard. Simply put, user experience should be put before technological ideology.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115572)

Maybe because Mozilla is a (get ready) BETTER BROWSER than IE?

Maybe you should *gasp* make your web sites standards complient? Then you wouldn't have to worry.

Of course, I very very rarely run across a web site that doesn't work in Moz/Phoenix. Guess I don't go to your sites.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115595)

Doh! what do you think many browsers are based on? what do you think netscape have to do with mozilla? Or are you just pushing 'my non standard tags that work in ie don't work on other browsers'? No, I do not use any flavour of unix - strictly m$ - but it doesn't mean I have to use a browser with more holes than bush's iraq argument.

shut up, idiot.

Conversion of existing data (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115571)

would be your biggest problem. Exempli gratia the address books and http bookmarks that everybody have carefully created over many years. Loose the boss' address book and you are out the door, on your bum, faster than you can say export or import...

ah netscape modified installers keeps MS away (2, Interesting)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115577)

Netscape has a modify installer kit in whihc you modify netscapes installer to do most of the things you have asked for..

check http://www.netscape.com for details..

schools usually use this method because their needes are similar to yours..

in soviet russia.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5115580)

... we have gozilla invading us from ancient asia....

I was thinking of doing this (4, Informative)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115592)

I was considering starting this as a project for Evanglelmoz (http://evangelmoz.mozdev.org).

CCK and other items (5, Informative)

GarfBond (565331) | more than 11 years ago | (#5115593)

Don't ditch the Netscape 7 CCK so fast. It already does a lot of what you're looking to do, and it's not *that* bad. A lot of the Netscape 7 proprietary crap can be turned off while building with the CCK (ain't that nice?), for example, AOL On Desktop. It automagically sets the specified default home page, bookmarks, titlebar, mail/news settings, proxy settings, and others. If there's any reason to not use Netscape 7 (keeping in mind that AOD, Winamp, RP8, and HP plugin can all be turned off), it's because it uses the 1.0.1/1.0.2 codebase (a little dated but it does the job admirably). It should be noted that 7.0.1 uses 1.0.2 and has a nifty little PopUp manager (which isn't availble in Mozilla AFAIK). I am not aware if the 7.0 CCK allows you to use the 7.01 XPIs.

Most of the features can be edited with notepad in the prefs file, found in default/pref/all.js (and all-ns.js for Netscape builds). However, these are the few that I believe are not possible to change with those files:

  • default homepage
  • default browser
  • Default Theme w/ Crystal
  • Default Search Engine - Google
  • default font (not sure)
  • Quicklaunch (not sure about this one, see if something labeled "quicklaunch" is in the all.js file)
  • Shortcut file
These are the items that I believe require some XUL knowledge in order for you to change them. And, if you read the Netscape 7 CCK license, you'll notice that Netscape does not allow you to change the default theme or Search Engine (mozilla.org does not have this restriction of course...Netscape has their own reasons for making this admittedly minor restriction). You'll notice that the default theme/search engine/homepage is referenced in the prefs.js as a chrome:// address.

To change your setup options, you'll need to edit the SETUP.INI (or is it CONFIG.INI? i don't remember) file found with the install files. Note that if you use Netscape 7's CCK, you'll need to do this to expose the Instant Messenger option (and then disable that), since Netscape 7 only allows you to select both Mail and IM, not either/or.

I would also advise against not installing QFA. It's what allows the Mozilla/Netscape developers to figure out why crashes are happening and what they can do to fix it. It truly is the least you can do to contribute back to the project.

You CAN unzip the XPIs, edit the files, and rezip them. For more information on this, consult the CCK documentation that Netscape produces (it's actually helpful in this case). Using Winzip, all you'll have to do is make sure that you preserve the directory structure (Winzip doesn't make it immediately clear how the directories within a ZIP are organized...Winrar is better at this), and then rename the resulting .ZIP file to .XPI. (PDF LINK [netscape.com])

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