Manage devices with legacy Firefox versions on MacOS

I still have a few old web-managed devices of which the web UI does not work (correctly) with modern browser versions. It found out that they worked fine with Firefox 17.0.9esr (yes I know that is really old) and for quite a while I kept an outdated VM available to manage them. Since the OS that runs on now also is way beyond EOL I worked out a way to use older versions of the FireFox browser (as they keep a great archive of their historic versions).

Yes, one shouldn’t use obsolete browser versions as it is not safe for normal browsing, but to access a web interface of an internal device (that otherwise can’t be managed) should be safe enough as long as one doesn’t visit other sites. In this post I will describe how I set this up and also how I ensured that the browser would not conflict with a regular installation of the Firefox Browser

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Firefox 4 Multi-Language

One of the features I really like of MacOS  X is that is is multi-language out of the box and, unlike M$ Windows, does not require a reinstall to switch language. For some people (like myself) English is the only language a computer should be, but or my kids having everything in their own language really helps them to find their way around (actually they are bilingual but that is no problem either as they can switch language as they like).

As we really got used to Firefox and really like its cross-platform availability, we also use that as our browser on our Macs. Unfortunately there is no multi-language version of Firefox. Since I don’t like to maintain multiple installed versions on the same computer (one for each language), I found a reall solution that was actually very simple.

Using the Quick Locale Switcher plugin for Firefox one can switch the locale of Firefox. One neat feature of it is that it will also change the language of Firefox if you have the right language pack installed. As it was not that obvious where to find these, I decided to document that here:

  • Go to the Firefox releases folder on the Mozilla website
  • Select the folder of the version you use (or the latest version)
  • Select the folder of the platform you are using (i.e. mac for MacOS X)
  • Scroll down the list of available installer languages and enter the xpi folder (direct link to the latest MacOS X xpi folder)
  • Next click on the language packages to install them.
    A popup may appear requesting permission to install from an untrusted location,which looks like this on MacOS X with Firefoxe 4:
    Screenshot showing Firefox4's popup for an untrusted installation location on MacOS X
    Click allow to proceed with the normal installation of the language pack
  • After the installation of language packs, Firefox must be restarted to install them and make them active.
  • Once Firefox has been restarted, you can now switch locale using the Quick Locale Switcher’s controls and/or preferences and Firefox will switch locale/language as well if the corresponding language pack is installed.

I hope this is clear, let me know if not.