Saturday, March 12, 2011

HOWTO Create multiple chrome and firefox profiles on linux

I like using multiple browser profiles for security reasons. I keep my valuable cookies, such as those for email etc. in one profile, and do regular web-browsing in another. This means if I hit a XSS through regular browsing, the scope for cookie stealing is limited. When using firefox with the noscript plugin it also makes sense to have different whitelists for these two usage scenarios.

Creating firefox profiles is simple, just use the profile manager, which you can bring up with:
firefox --no-remote -P

Once you have created the profile, I copy the shortcut icon and change the target to point at the new profile like this:
firefox %u --no-remote -P browse

Chrome is almost as easy, but the doco can be a little harder to find. You just need to specify a new user data directory like this:

/usr/lib/chromium-browser/chromium-browser --enable-udd-profiles --user-data-dir=.config/google-chrome/Browse

and change your shortcut icon to run the same command.

On Ubuntu natty and oneiric this got harder with the new launcher. There are a lot of ways to get it done, but this seemed the simplest to me:
sudo apt-get install alacarte gnome-panel
  • Start "Main Menu" by searching for it in the dash.
  • Add an item for your application and close the editor.
  • Logout to refresh the dash (there must be a way to do this without a logout, but not sure what it is).
  • Start the application by searching for it in the dash.
  • Right-click on the icon and "Keep in launcher"

I also created a couple of (ugly) custom icons to keep my 'Browse' and 'Mail' profiles clearly marked.

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