Running Firefox with Different Profiles

This post tells nothing new but it’s something I must have tried a long time ago.

Firefox is the best browser I know…. but is not perfect. One of the major problems I experience with Firefox is that when you start installing some extensions and combine that with a lot of tabs opened at the same time, things stop being nice and you start feeling like you’re running the browser in your grandma’s computer.

Most of the extensions I use are for development purposes only, so one way to have a better browsing experience is to have separated profiles. A profile for normal browsing (email and blog reading, facebook, twitter, …) and another for development with all the nice extensions I use when working. Now you can get rid of your ¬†development stuff by closing the browser instance that is using that profile and keep surfing the web with the lighter profile, or viceversa.

To create a new profile, close all running instances of firefox and start it again from the terminal with the following command:

firefox -ProfileManager

A wizard will let you give a name to your profile and (optional) change its location. Then you can choose a profile and start Firefox. Everytime you start Firefox, it will use the last selected profile, if you want to change that uncheck the “Don’t ask at startup” option¬†in the wizard, now you will be asked to pick a profile before the browser starts.

Alternatively, you can create additional shortcuts to start different profiles. Here is how to do it in Fedora using a .desktop file:

[gist id=1055247]

The above code copies the system’s desktop file for Firefox, change the name of the application and the command to execute, and then saves the copy to .local/share/applications where will be read for your Desktop Environment (I tested it in GNOME Shell) and properly displayed.

For a Windows version of this process see