Firefox extensions, Google Toolbar and FreeBSD

I’ve been a user of Firefox and the Google Toolbar for some time. Everything went fine until, last summer, I upgraded my Firefox. I discovered then that the recent releases of the toolbar refuse to be installed on FreeBSD, which happens to be the operating system I use. And, logically enough, FreeBSD is not listed in Google Toolbar’s FAQ on compatible systems. Yet previous revisions of the Toolbar worked just fine under FreeBSD!


Never mind that web platforms such as Firefox are interesting precisely because they are mostly OS-independent, allowing the distribution of almost totally portable software. To make a long story short, I contacted Google support in August (ticket #71966743) asking that they re-enable FreeBSD support and they replied that Although Firefox can run on BSD, the Toolbar currently doesn’t support BSD, which wasn’t very helpful.

So is this just a mere corporate support policy problem? Apparently it is, because I happen to have found a solution which works just fine under FreeBSD (and certainly others “unsupported” operating systems).

  • Read and accept the Google Toolbar license
  • It’s basically a ZIP file, so just unzip it in an empty directory
  • Edit the file install.rdf
    • Find the line that reads <em:targetPlatform>Linux</em:targetPlatform>
    • Change it to <em:targetPlatform>FreeBSD</em:targetPlatform>
  • zip the archive back as (for example) google-toolbar-freebsd.xpi
  • Load it into Firefox using a file:///yourlocalpath/google-toolbar-freebsd.xpi URL.
  • and voilà.

Ain’t that easy? It is, you only need to think of fetching the .xpi directly, which a friend suggested yesterday to me. Sorry, I can’t distribute the resulting .xpi file (yet?), because the license says I need to contact Google first to get permission. I will.

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6 thoughts on “Firefox extensions, Google Toolbar and FreeBSD”

  1. Thanks a lot. That’s what I was looking for. It works on my FreeBSD 6.2 i386 with firefox 2.0. Just brilliant! I’m a big fan of the gmail button..

  2. This fix doesn’t seem to work any more on FreeBSD 7.0 RELEASE with firefox 2.0.0.12_1 due to a signing error

  3. It still works on FreeBSD 6.3 RELEASE, which I am running, but it’s not working 100%. I can’t download my current Google bookmarks, and I can’t ‘bookmark this page.’ Having my bookmarks available everywhere is the main reason I use the Google toolbar. It would be nice if the toolbar officially supported FreeBSD like it used to.

  4. Yeah, I’m having the same problem with the toolbar not working with google bookmarks under FBSD.

  5. Sign problem can be solved by deleting two files in the directory META_INF, but next message : “Google Toolbar for Firefox” could not be installed because it is not compatible with your Firefox build type (FreeBSD_x86-gcc3). Please contact the author of this item about the problem.

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