Unable to use Profile Manager

mozzz's Avatar


17 Dec, 2013 05:57 PM

I was trying to use the Profile Manager in order to run separate profiles with different versions, the 17.0.11 (in order to occasionally run Flash content) and the new 24.0.2 for most browsing purposes. I ran the following commands

cd /Applications/TenFourFox\ 17.0.11.app/Contents/MacOS

./firefox-bin -ProfileManager

The Profile Manager opened, but it was completely unresponsive and threw the same errors at the command line as noted here.


This user said, "I was eventually able to create a second profile with the command line parameter -CreateProfile...."

I'm not familiar with the -CreateProfile parameter or how to go about using that. Can someone perhaps give some more information about that.

I'm not seeing any work having been done for the bug related to issue 238.

Is anything possibly in the works? Is -CreateProfile a suitable workaround for this? Any other workarounds for this?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 17 Dec, 2013 10:40 PM

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    Although this is an annoyance and I want to fix it, there are higher priority things I need to do to keep the port viable. Anyone who has a fix is of course welcome to submit it; otherwise it's when I get down to it in my priority list.

  2. 2 Posted by mozzz on 18 Dec, 2013 02:10 AM

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    Sure, completely understand, and thanks for the really great work with TFF.

    Any idea what that guy who reported the bug meant about having been able to do this using "the command line parameter -CreateProfile?" Do you know how I would go about using this?

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 18 Dec, 2013 03:20 AM

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    Yes, it's a valid command line parameter. You would do it from Terminal.app. Here is a list of Firefox command line parameters that should almost all apply to TenFourFox:


  4. 4 Posted by mozzz on 18 Dec, 2013 01:58 PM

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    Thanks. I already have a profile established for the new 24.0.2, so, then, is there a way to use the -CreateProfile command to establish a profile to be associated only with the 17.0.11 (as described in my original post)?

    Until I discovered that the PM was broken in TFF, I was trying to achieve the goals, including the automatic linking of profiles to versions, as outlined in this article.

    Can the -CreateProfile command be used to accomplish this? And if not, can you tell me how it might be used? Since the Manager won't work, there won't be any way to select a profile from the Manager before opening a specific TFF version. In other words, can the -CreateProfile command be used as a workaround for this desired scenario?

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 18 Dec, 2013 04:40 PM

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    -CreateProfile creates a profile with a given identifier, as the name suggests. On the page I linked is the -P option, which starts the browser with a specific profile as identified.

    The method on the page you linked, however, is based on old versions of Firefox where the application bundle executable was actually a shell script that ran the main Firefox. This has not been the case in Firefox or TenFourFox since at least version 10. You could delete the Contents/MacOS/firefox binary and replace it with an executable shell script, but I really don't recommend that approach and I don't support it -- and neither does Mozilla.

  6. 6 Posted by mozzz on 18 Dec, 2013 04:50 PM

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    Bottom line then, is there any way I can get this done? Since my use of the 17.0.11 will be very occasional, I'd just like to have it on hand with its associated profile. Apart from that, I suppose I can just backup the 24.x profile, move it out somewhere, and stick the 17.x profile where it belongs and then launch the 17.x. But that's the awkwardness was trying to avoid.

  7. Support Staff 7 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 18 Dec, 2013 04:55 PM

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    If you want to do it exactly like the page you linked has, it may or may not work. You're on your own with that.

    Otherwise, you use -CreateProfile to create the profile, and to start the browser, you would have to start it from the command line with the -P option to indicate which profile you want. This is just like the Profile Manager, except without the GUI, which is the part that doesn't work yet. I can't give you the exact commands, because I don't know the names of the profiles on your system and where they are stored, and the paths to your TenFourFox installations. However, this should work.

    If this is simply a matter of needing to run Flash on certain sites, you may simply be better served by using a different browser entirely for those specific sites. OmniWeb would be my personal choice for that, or possibly iCab or Leopard WebKit.

  8. 8 Posted by mozzz on 18 Dec, 2013 09:33 PM

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    Seems I need a bit of help with the command.

    Testing from my 10.6 with Firefox and its current profile, doesn't look like this is understood with this mix of Unix for the path and the Fx command line.

    /Applications/Firefox.app -P ~/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox/Profiles/4xotrpre.default

    I get
    -bash: /Applications/Firefox.app: is a directory

    OmniWeb looks interesting, but it hasn't been updated since 7/12. I realize that the TFF 17.x will also become stale, but for now it's still recently patched.

  9. Support Staff 9 Posted by Cameron Kaiser on 19 Dec, 2013 01:11 PM

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    You don't run Firefox.app, you run /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox. (The same for TenFourFox; and yes, it's also called 'firefox' too.) Application bundles are not directly executable, which is why bash gave you that error.

    Similarly, -P is the profile name. In this case, it's "default". When you use -CreateProfile to create the profile, you give it a name; you pass that name to -P.

  10. 10 Posted by mozzz on 19 Dec, 2013 01:29 PM

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    OK, got it. I wasn't giving the executable. But still confused about the second part of the argument, where it tells which profile to open.

    you pass that name to -P.

    Not sure I understand that. It's -P default ?

    So, given that there's already a profile, default, established here, what does the full command look like for this test situation?

    Is it?

    /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox...and then what? ~/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox -P default ?

    Or is the second half

    -P default ~/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox ?

    Or none of those?

    Also, I already have a profile (from a backup of the 17.x) which I would use instead of creating a new profile. Where does that go? To avoid having to always open the 24.x from the command line, I would like to continue running the 24.x as is. If I were to stick the 17.x profile somewhere outside of its usual location in ~/Library/Application\ Support/Firefox, would the 17.x app be able to find it from the path I give, which would not be the usual location? Or do I have to run both versions now, specifying the names and path (which would be the same (if both are in /Firefox/Application\ Support) of their profiles, from the command line?

    EDIT: Sorry to be dragging this out and probably taking you away from more important work, but this may help someone else who needs to figure this out down the road.

  11. Support Staff 11 Posted by Chris (chtrusch... on 19 Dec, 2013 02:57 PM

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    Just for general understanding or to add a data point: I'm able to use
    /Applications/TenFourFox7450.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -p and then use the GUI profile manager without a problem to create new profiles (TFF 24 on 10.5). The problem seems to exist only on 10.4. Right?

  12. 12 Posted by mozzz on 19 Dec, 2013 03:16 PM

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    Yes, I'm having the problem on 10.4.

  13. 13 Posted by mozzz on 20 Dec, 2013 06:41 PM

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    Whenever anyone who can help with this has the time to reply, that would be appreciated. Right now, I'm stuck. Thanks.

  14. Support Staff 14 Posted by Chris (chtrusch... on 20 Dec, 2013 08:19 PM

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    [I edited this post to simplify the steps]
    I can't help you with the Terminal commands, but you can use a workaround to create a new profile manually. It's a bit complicated but it works on 10.4, I just tested it.

    1) close TFF (and backup the complete Firefox folder in Application Support just in case.)
    2) in the Terminal, type
    /Applications/TenFourFox7450.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox-bin -p
    (use the correct processor version of TFF, of course)
    3) The Profile Manager should open. Remove the tick "Don't ask at startup". This should work, it's only the "Create…" sheet that makes it unresponsive, which we don't need here. Then click "Exit".
    4) in the Finder, go to
    ~Users/[your username]/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles
    5) duplicate your existing profile folder (will be named something like "ldshksdjh.default") and rename the duplicate "blabla.test" or whatever you like.
    6) in the Firefox folder, there's a file called "profiles.ini". Open it with TextEdit (make sure it's set to open and save in UTF-8) and edit it to represent the second profile (see below for example), then save the file.
    7) start TFF from the Dock or Finder. You can now use the browser normally, and also use the Profile Manager normally to create or manage profiles because it's started from TFF and not from the Terminal.

    Good luck.

    -------- profile.ini example-----------



    -------- /profile.ini example-----------

  15. 15 Posted by mozzz on 20 Dec, 2013 09:08 PM

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    Thanks very much Chris, really appreciate the help with this. I'll get into this and see what it looks like the next time I boot up the old G3. But will this mean having to start up from the Profile Manager each time I open the TFF 24, which I'll mostly be using?

    I don't need the PM in order to create a new profile, since I've already got one backed up from the 17. Just need it to manage what version starts up with which profile. Anyway, maybe this will all become clear as I get into it.

  16. Support Staff 16 Posted by Chris (chtrusch... on 20 Dec, 2013 10:15 PM

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    If you have different profiles and different versions of TFF, you need to use the Profile Manager at every startup. You need to be very careful not to start a very old TFF version with your 24-profile and vice versa because the profile may become damaged.

    If you already have two profiles which the Profile Manager recognizes, you can leave out steps 4-6.

  17. 17 Posted by mozzz on 20 Dec, 2013 10:32 PM

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    Yeah, l'm aware of that. That's why I was interested in using the method I linked above, which would automatically set the correct profile to the version. But apparently that's no longer valid. I'd love to know if there's some other way. That's why I was asking if I could open only the older 17, which won't see much use, from the command line, placing its profile somewhere other than in the regular location in Application Support, and continue opening the 24 as is. That way the two profiles wouldn't get confused. Would Firefox, or TFF be able to find it outside of the Firefox folder, from the path in the command I would use? That is, if I could only figure out how to write the rest of that command in a way that Fx or TFF would understand--don't mean the path, that I know how to write.

  18. Support Staff 18 Posted by Chris (chtrusch... on 21 Dec, 2013 07:28 AM

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    As I said, I can't help you with the command line because I don't understand what the commands do or which arguments are required and what they do. I was mainly trying to give you a workaround to get a functioning GUI Profile Manager on 10.4 until our bug is fixed. As long as the Profile Manager isn't started from the Terminal, it's perfectly fine. For people who don't know what they're doing in the Terminal (which includes me) it's really the easiest to use the Profile Manager at every startup. I have several profiles (for 17, 24 and for testing) and do this as well.

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