How to Use Personas on Firefox


According to Linux Today, Firefox 3.5 is now the world’s most popular browser. That means that there are millions of Linux users who choose Mozilla Firefox for their surfing needs. Although there are some very good reasons that Linux users like to use Firefox, the default skin is not one of them. Quite frankly, it’s quite boring! Just look in Figure 1 at how Firefox 3.5 looks on your Ubuntu 9.10 when you first open it up.

Default Firefox window.

Over eight million people currently use personas. Themes are another way to make your browser look better, but unfortunately, many theme builders fail to update their themes for new builds, which means that you can’t get the themes you like when a new build comes out—and you have to choose between a more secure browser or a beautiful one. Personas is a better way, because they are easy to create and that means easy to migrate to the new version. As a result, you can have most current and secure browser, and you can also have beautiful browser! This article will show you how to install a persona. It’s a great way to make your drab browser more colorful.

(Note: This article was written with Firefox 3.5 using Ubuntu 9.10. It should work for every Firefox 3.5, but this guide hasn’t been tested. If it works for you (or doesn’t) with a different setup, please make a comment!)¬†

Looking at the current Ubuntu 9.10, we see that it comes with Firefox 3.5 by default. As personas aren’t built into the browser experience until Firefox 3.6, the first thing that you need to do is install the personas extension. (Note: You can upgrade to the Firefox 3.6 beta if you prefer not to install the Personas extension or if you’d like to help test Firefox. One caution is that 3.6 is currently a beta!)

First, select Tools > Addons, enter personas into the search box and then hit Enter. You’ll see a screen like Figure 2.

Firefox Add-ons

Choose “Add to Firefox” and after a few seconds, you’ll see the Software Installation window.

Firefox will load the necessary files. Once that’s finished, a button “Install now” will appear. Click “Install now” when that happens. You’ll have to wait while Firefox installs the plugin.

When finished, click “Restart Firefox.”

Firefox should restart automatically. When it does, you’ll be presented with the Add-ons window.

Close the Add-ons window. From here, there are several different ways to use the personas extension to add personas. One way is to browse the Personas site for the personas you like. When you see one, just roll over it to preview the persona. It will automatically change the look of Firefox, but not permanently. If you want to keep the persona, then click “Wear it”. As you can see, I’ve selected the Lady Gaga persona (see Figure 3).

Personas for Firefox

That will take you to the page for the Persona. You can read what the creator had to say about their persona and also see how many people are currently using the persona.

Finally, there’s a faster way to access Personas. Click on the fox in the lower left corner of the browser, and it will bring up a menu. This menu (shown in Figure 4) gives quick and easy access to the 38,000+ personas that are available.

Accessing the Personas menu.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me, or you may prefer to take a look at the official Personas website.