Firefox Welcome Pages

For a long time in CentOS I have been annoyed when there are updates to Firefox. Opening the browser always redirects to the CentOS home page. This is a one-shot deal. The CentOS home page page does not display upon subsequent launchings of Firefox.

The thing about the CentOS web page is I already know I am using CentOS. Nobody needs to toot their horn for my sake. Because CentOS is a rebranding of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), the root cause of this Firefox behavior is upstream with the Red Hat folks.

This is not actually a RHEL/CentOS issue. The same thing happens with a default install of Firefox in any distro, even in Windows, although the welcome page is the Mozilla web site home page.

I understand rebranding. I get that a lot of free/libre software is supported by volunteers and they deserve some credit. I get that a lot of free/libre software are sponsored or under enterprise umbrellas. I get that much of CentOS is derived from volunteer labor and while the software source code is free, the time required to assemble everything is not.

The problem is me. I never have been warm and fuzzy about marketing and advertising techniques. Get in your face is the basic technique. The welcome page thing somewhat smacks of adware.

Recent events have me irritated with CentOS. This CentOS welcome page in Firefox is Yet Another Proverbial Straw.

The welcome page is caused by /usr/lib64/firefox/defaults/preferences/all-redhat.js:

    pref("startup.homepage_override_url", "");
    pref("startup.homepage_welcome_url", "");

I don't know the Firefox code, but I am guessing when the mstone version changes from what is stored in prefs.js, which is the case when Firefox is updated, then these two preferences are enabled.

To prevent this startup behavior, add the following to user.js:

    user_pref("startup.homepage_override_url", "");
    user_pref("startup.homepage_welcome_url", "");

Really. Just get out of my face already.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: CentOS, Firefox

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