[tor-dev] How to run a headless second Firefox instance?

David Fifield david at bamsoftware.com
Wed Apr 9 16:17:33 UTC 2014

On Wed, Apr 09, 2014 at 04:31:57PM +0100, Ximin Luo wrote:
> On 09/04/14 07:29, David Fifield wrote:
> > It gets the job done, but it sucks because the first thing you see is
> > the dialog and you have to know not to close it. Is there a way to
> > accomplish the same thing (keep the browser running, but don't show a
> > browser window) without raising a conspicuous dialog?
> > 
> You could play further with this:
> $ nc -l -p 9999 &
> $ iceweasel -no-remote -p testing -chrome http://localhost:9999

That's an interesting idea. I didn't know about the -chrome option.

Maybe in order to avoid relying on a local port, we could use an
internal chrome:// URL that just doesn't define any UI elements, or
something like that. I don't know too much about how the XUL overlays
work, but it seems like it should be possible.

In fact, if I use the "-chrome chrome://inspector/content" from the page
linked above, it seems to do pretty much what we want.
	Browser/firefox" -no-remote -profile Data/Browser/profile.meek-http-helper -chrome chrome://inspector/content
It doesn't open any window. I don't know what
"chrome://inspector/content" does, but we can always define our own
empty UI file.

A downside, though, is that even though no window gets opened, you still
get an icon in the OS X dock, and if you click on it and then "File→New
Window", a naked proxy-bypassing web browser appears. It happens with
the local netcat listener, too. The modal dialog approach also creates a
second dock icon, but it doesn't have a menu.

David Fifield

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