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Latest revision as of 08:30, 17 January 2007

Course Resources

Removable Drive

Due to the complexity of the development environment necessary to develop, build, and test Firefox, we will be using removable drives in the lab. You must purchase a Drive Tray and Hard Drive (or reuse an existing one). You may also choose to use a laptop instead; but unless your laptop is very new (fast, lots of RAM, large hard drive), this is probably not a good idea--you’ll be building forever!

ACS is currently selling the hard drive trays for $5. If you want the complete Chassis and Tray (i.e., so you can use the drive at home too) it is $20 at the bookstore. The bookstore also sells hard drives, but you can buy any drive you want.

Operating Systems

Mozilla is a cross-platform product, and you will need to have both Windows and Linux installed on your hard drive. The best way to do this is to use Virtual Machines in order to host test operating systems.

Choose either Windows or Linux as your main OS (NOTE: you can also use a Mac if you have one already). Mozilla recommends the following operating systems:

Install your chosen operating system.

Hardware Issues

Be aware of some hardware issues when moving your drive between labs/machines. Most labs have been upgraded over the summer. The PCs are all the same, with the exception of the video cards and network cards. This will not stop the OS from booting but some configurations and drivers will need to be changed. Some machines have more network cards then others. All of the motherboards are the same: Intel D945 GTP with Intel Pro 100 S (NIC).

Here are the following labs with the different hardware:

  • ATI X1600 Rooms: T3073, T3074, T3132, T3136, T4042, T4044, T4046, T4048
  • ATI X700 Rooms: T3076, T3134, S2122, S2123


With Windows, there should be no issues. Heard that before? :)


If installing Linux, be aware of a few issues:

First, with lab machines having multiple NICs (usually one machine out of each 'pod' of four): if you configure Linux to start both eth0 and eth1 at boot, both using DHCP and not bound to a specific MAC address, then you'll almost always get a network connection at startup as you move from PC to PC. To repeat: do not bind the NIC to a MAC address

Second, remember that the video card is different in some labs. Most modern Linux distros will automatically pick up the change and run a configuration utility. To avoid having the driver-change utility popup, set the video driver to "vesa" in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. You'll sacrifice some video performance for universal compatibility this way.

Virtual Machines

Using virtual machine(s) will make it easier for you to test and develop for both Windows and Linux (and perhaps more than 1 Linux). Follow these steps to get a virtual machine (VM) setup:

  1. Download and Install VMWare Server: http://www.vmware.com/download/server/
  1. Register for a free VMWare License:


  1. Using VMWare Server, create a Virtual Machine on your removable drive
  1. Install the other operating system into the VM (i.e., if you installed Windows, install Linux into the VM). Note: you can download pre-made VMs for Fedora Core 5 and Ubuntu. You will have to install Windows manually due to licensing.
  1. Your system is now ready for you to install the necessary development tools, libraries, etc. See Assignment 1.