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Custom Opensearch XML Search Engines On Firefox Quantum v67 2019-05-28


I liked Firefox v2.0.20 which was released in late 2008. It was the last time I felt like Firefox was a good browser. Since then, it has pretty much just been the least crappy browser, and that isn't so great. I was able to stretch out my use of v28 for a while, then v36, and finally ESR v52.9.0. Unfortunately I recently ran up against a web site that just wasn't working. There were some pre-filled form boxes that just wouldn't function. The site recommended using Chrome, so I temporarily installed Chromium and was able to get through what I needed to do. The bad news is that Chromium is even worse than Firefox and I decided it was time again to see if I could move on to a marginally more functional browser.

In my efforts to decrapify Firefox Quantum v67, I found that adding my custom XML search engines was going to be a royal pain. On ESR v52.9.0 I was able to use the Add Opensearch XML addon to add my custom search engines, but that won't install on Quantum v67 and the addon has been pulled from the Mozilla repository. I found lots of people with the same question, and a few answers that sounded like they might work. However, adding my XML files to a searchplugin subdirectory didn't work in my profile directory nor the firefox directory. I tried fiddling with the mozlz4-edit addon which is able to open the search.json.mozlz4 file but I couldn't get the custom engines to show up in the list with it.

Then I tried just copying the search.json.mozlz4 from my old ESR profile to my new one. Holy turdmonkeys it worked.

mgthere Are you serious right now?

So, what's my suggestion to people who want to add custome search engines to a recent version of Firefox Quantum? Well...

  1. Spark up a virtual machine (other other disposable box) and install FF ESR v52.9.0.
  2. Install the Add Opensearch XML addon (hosted here since original has been pulled)
  3. Go to your Preferences, add your custom XML search engines
  4. Close Firefox ESR on your disposable box
  5. Make sure Firefox Quantum is closed on the destination device
  6. Copy the search.json.mozlz4 file from your ESR profile to your Quantum profile
  7. Open Quantum, go to Preferences, and delete default engines that re-added themselves
  8. Close and reopen Firefox Quantum
  9. Return to your Preferences to confirm that only the search engines you want are present
  10. Backup your search.json.mozlz4 file to a safe place
  11. Copy search.json.mozlz4 file to any new install of Quantum you wish

Seriously? Adding crap like Pocket and Maintenance Service is more important than just letting people have control over their browser?

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