How to Install Mozilla Prism in Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

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Prism is a simple XULRunner-based browser that hosts web applications without the normal web browser user interface. Prism is based on a concept called Site-Specific Browsers (SSB). An SSB is designed to work exclusively with a single web application. It doesn’t have the menus, toolbars and other accoutrements of a traditional web browser. An SSB also offers tighter integration with the operating system and desktop than a typical web application running through a web browser. Applications running in an SSB are therefore able to benefit from many of the advantages of the desktop and of the web at the same time.

Benefits

Separate process: Web apps can hog memory or processor cycles or even bring down the whole browser in extreme cases. By running each app in its own process, we minimize the impact of any mishaps. We can also benefit from operating system tools that less us view the memory/CPU consumption of a specific application.

Minimal user interface: A general-purpose browser UI is not necessary or appropriate for most web apps. It is more efficient to provide a UI that is specific to the application. This also cuts down on UI clutter (hence the term distraction-free browser).

Basic desktop integration: Support of desktop features can make using the app more natural and convenient for end users. This includes the ability to create desktop shortcuts, to place the application icon in the tray or dock and to display pop-up notifications.

Customization: Apps can be run using a shared browser runtime and customized using client-side script (similar to Greasemonkey).

Custom stylesheets can be used to tweak the UI.

Available Prism Packages in Ubuntu 8.04

prism-facebook
prism-google-analytics
prism-google-calendar
prism-google-docs
prism-google-groups
prism-google-mail
prism-google-reader
prism-google-talk
prism-twitter

Install Prism packages for google using the following command

sudo aptitude install prism-google-talk prism-google-mail prism-google-docs prism-facebook prism-google-analytics

You can install all the packages menctioned above.This will complete the prism packages installation.

You need to make sure that you have installed flash plugin for firefox otherwise google apps won't work.

sudo aptitude install flashplugin-nonfree

Using Prism in Ubuntu

If you want to use prism applications Go to Applications--->Internet open all the applications from here

For example if you want to open google talk it will prompt you for sign in

Enter your details

After login you can see similar to the following screen

If you want to open google docs go tp Applications--->Office--->Google docs

Sample google docs Screen

The same way you can sign in facebook also

If you want to open custom application Go to Applications--->Internet--->Prism once it opens you should see similar to the following screen here you need to enter your details

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7 thoughts on “How to Install Mozilla Prism in Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

  1. Where the heck are all of the other apps? Where are analytics, calendar, groups, reader, and twitter?

    [Reply]

  2. Cool howto, although you could also have mentioned that Prism still allows you some of your browsery UI needs – you can figure your individual webapps to accept navigation keys as well as to display the address and status bars.

    Dirk, I use Prism to access my Google Apps FYD sites. It’s based around firefox, so it works fine, although sometimes it seems not to be able to decide whether to open a link in the same Prism window, a new Prism window or an existing Firefox window.

    Travis, you can use ANY web service with Prism, just install the basic Prism program, run it and type in the URL of the Web Service you want. Prism will do the rest, just like it says at the end of the howto!

    [Reply]

  3. Is there any way each Prism app can run in it’s own process? Prism seems to crash decently often and when it does it takes all the prism apps with it. Very annoying. Obviously the crashing needs to be fixed but it would also be nice to segment the process into different runtimes so that even with a crash all your apps don’t go down.

    [Reply]

  4. Is it possible to change the fonts in prism? I have my fonts customized (both Hebrew and English fonts, as I surf pages in both) in Firefox, but they show up as what were the Firefox defaults when I use Prism.

    How do I change that?

    [Reply]

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