Removing Firefox extension updates

Q Is it possible to remove certain Firefox add-on updates? I ask this as I prefer Yahoo toolbar v1.5.2, over 1.6 as there are many options missing from the menu bar in the later version. All my other updates for my add-ons are fine. I use Firefox 3.0.10 on Ubuntu 9.04.

A As with many Firefox questions, the answer lies deep in about:config. If you type about:config into Firefox's URL bar, you get a huge list of settings that should normally only be touched by wizards.Searching this list reveals an entry called extensions.update.enabled, which controls whether Firefox should check for updates to the installed extensions (extensions.update.interval sets the frequency of this check and defaults to 86,400 seconds, or one day to us humans). Setting extensions.update.enabled to false (the default is true) turns off update checks for all extensions. This is not quite what you need, but there are even more hidden, secret options in about:config. You can override this setting for individual extensions by setting extensions.{GUID}.update.enabled to false, where GUID is the Global Unique ID of the extension. You can disable checking for updates of that extension by setting extensions.{GUID}.update.enabled to false, or you can leave the checks enabled but extend the period between checks.

This means that you will still be notified when new versions come out, just not every day. For example, setting extensions.{GUID}.update.interval to 2592000 will cause this extension to be checked every 30 days, while everything else is still checked daily. When adding one of these settings, you need to create the correct type of setting, which will be a Boolean for update.enabled and an integer for update.interval.

So how do you find the GUID for the extension you want to affect? Each extension's data is kept in a directory named after the GUID in the extensions directory of your Firefox configuration directory. The name of the configuration directory is contained in ~/.mozilla/firefox/profiles.ini in an entry that looks like this:

Path=default.xyz

Now you can find the GUID of an extension from its name with:

grep -r "extension name" ~/.mozilla/firefox/default.xyz/extensions

Create a suitable setting in about:config and your extension will either never update or only bother you infrequently. It is possible to get the GUID for an extension with a single command, should you ever need to script this, although you normally only need this occasionally and the above procedure is fine. For maximum geek points, use this one-liner.

grep -ril "extension name" .mozilla/firefox/$(awk -F = '/^Path=/ {print $2}'
.mozilla/firefox/profiles.ini)/extensions/*/install.rdf | sed 's/.*{\(.*\)}.*/\1/

Who said the command line was cryptic?

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