Using Prism on Ubuntu/openSuse Linux

Since there seems to be many people out there having problems with Prism on Linux, I’m writing this in English so  most of you can understand it.

With Prism you can make Web applications such as Zoho Writer,, Google Mail, your WordPress Dashboard… available offline. When working offline, your changes will be uploaded/applied the moment you go onlie. While working online, Prism is not much more than some kind of distractionless browser.
One great thing about Prism is, that you can integrate your webapps with your normal desktop. Like having a starter for Google Mail or Zoho Mail in your menu instead (or in addition if you like) of Evolution, Kontact or Thunderbird (whatever you use). This especially helps, if you’re working on different computers and want to use the same apps and the same documents everywhere without portable apps, a live USB or a USB, where you carry all your data with you (since both data and programs are in the cloud) and on old hardware (since Prism Apps do have a very small fingerprint).

Now as many have noticed, the Firefox Prism Plugin isn’t working the way it should. Even though you can create prism apps from within your browser, evreytime you want to start those apps, your normal Firefox opens up with your home page. Doh! Using the standalone Prism application isn’t the best solution since the one in the repos (at least the ubuntu repos, don’t know bout Suse) is outdated.

Now let’s have a closer look at the problem. If we open up the apps preference dialog, we see, that the command is something like:

„/usr/lib/firefox-3.0.4/firefox“ -app „/home/martin/.mozilla/firefoxXXXX//extensions/“ -override „/home/martin/.webapps/XXXXX/override.ini“ -webapp

The problem here is, that the version of Firefox that ships with ubuntu (I think they call it ubufox) does not accept the –app parameter so everything behind it ends up being ignored. Now of course the part after the –app is the crucial part!

Fortunately the origilan xulrunner is still there (and still accepts the –app flag). So everything you have to do in order for your Prism Apps to work again is to simply change the /usr/lib/firefox-3.x.x/firefox at the beginning to /usr/bin/xulrunner! Just make sure you do not touch anything behind the –app flag!

That’s all! Hope it helped!

    • Tshirtz
    • 31. Oktober 2009

    Where you say „change the /usr/lib/firefox-3.x.x/firefox at the beginning to /usr/bin/xulrunner!“ you should probably mention that you do not add the ! at the end of „/usr/bin/xulrunner“ and that the previous is posted within the quotes.
    I made the mistake of copying the „!“ at first attempt. otherwise..this was wonderful to know.

    Thank you very much !

    • Jason
    • 29. Dezember 2009

    I didn’t make the mistake about the ‚!‘ mark but it would be nice if it weren’t also bold. Also, for some reason on my system the hack didn’t work. :(

  1. changed it (finally)
    @Jason: What are you running? I just recently helped a friend on a ubuntu 9.10 box and it still worked. Don’t know about the current (open)Suse…
    plus: the ubuntu repos include preconfigured prism packages. just „sudo aptitude search prism“. think there are packeges for all google apps, facebook, twitter, and some other.

    edit: sometimes it helps to skip the –override-flag:

    „/usr/bin/xulrunner“ -app „/home/martin/.mozilla/firefoxXXXX//extensions/“ -webapp

    • Jason
    • 30. Dezember 2009

    I have a Ubuntu / Kubuntu system at work, prism works fine in KDE, but the shortcuts are dead if Gnome is chosen as a desktop… don’t really care as I generally avoid Gnome.

    Last night I finally found a page on how to update me from OpenSUSE 11.1 to 11.2 (was told it wasn’t possible with out a re-install originally). Your trick didn’t work on either system, but I haven’t had the chance to try removing the -override-flag. I did find that there’s something similar to apt-get on OpenSUSE systems called Zypper and that I can change my repositories using it. Further it turns out that there’s an OpenSUSE beta repository for Mozilla projects and that updating to it should fix my problem.

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