Friday, October 22, 2010

Migrating firefox bookmarks, and other Linux→Mac transition tales

Yes, a Linux® → Apple® transition is happening here. Why? Well, it's a bit of a long story. My desktop machine has been dying slowly and recently it decided to accelerate that process. The lovely Carol has been putting up with an aging IBM lease return running an old Linux distro and in particular firefox2.x. An annoying problem with this old firefox is that when she tries to print from certain websites, its javascript is sufficiently creaky that the printer doesn't.

Therefore the plan is: a mac mini for her. HDMI→DVI adapter and connect to this ViewSonic display (1440x900); I'll take the lease-return IBM and try to upgrade its OS; wish me luck. Meanwhile, she'll be using the mac mini, which first of all has the software on it already (well, I did download firefox and NeoOffice, but that was a piece of cake); it also can give her an experience similar to what she already has on her (2006) iBook.

But there is data migration. "rsync -av -e ssh" for her mi¢ro$oft word (well, mostly openoffice-generated) documents. Most of her mail is already in Maildir format; I figure she can run a local dovecot and use; more on this later.

Besides mail, the thing I wanted to tell you about was bringing the bookmarks from the Linux box to her browser on the mac. You can find bookmarks.html by typing something like this on your Linux box:

$ cd .mozilla/firefox/*default
$ pwd
$ ls *ookmark*html
You should change "default" to whatever the profile name is that you have for ffox on your Linux box. Copy that file to $HOME/Desktop on your mac (this will make the next step easier).
Now start firefox up. From the menu at the top of the screen, select Bookmarks→Organize Bookmarks... and you should see a window like that on the left (click for a slightly larger image).

Near the top of that pop-up window you'll see a button with a 5-pointed star. Click it and the little menu (the one with Backup, Restore, Import HTML... and Export HTML...) will appear. Select "Import HTML..." and it'll let you select a file to import. This is why I said to copy bookmarks.html under $HOME/Desktop/. I'm sure you'll know what to do from here on in.

More on mail setup later.

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