Installing older versions of Pentadactyl in Firefox

I’m an avid vim user, and try and make all programs I use behave like Vim. Usually this is painless. One exception, however, is Firefox: The extension Pentadactyl is splendid.

However, they have a TERRIBLE release schedule. The “latest” release was over two years ago – and won’t run on any modern version of Firefox. So if you upgrade Firefox and find Pentadactyl doesn’t work, try installing a nightly build. That worked fine for me until today.

The current nightly build (2014-02-18) doesn’t work on Firefox 24 (more precisely version 24.3.0esr-1~deb7u1 from Debian wheezy/updates. Finding a version that works is a bit painful. Since I anticipate having this problem multiple times, here’s a reminder for myself of what I did:

  1. Install mercurial, and get the source:

    $ hg clone dactyl
  2. Use hg blame to find a version that works:

    $ cd dactyl
    $ hg blame pentadactyl/install.rdf | egrep -i 'm(ax|in)version'
    6983:                 em:minVersion="24.0"
    6994:                 em:maxVersion="30.*"/>
  3. In theory this nightly should have worked for me (since I was on Firefox 24). But it didn’t. So I back-tracked to version 6982:

    $ hg checkout 6982
    $ egrep -i 'm(ax|in)version' pentadactyl/install.rdf
  4. Installing it is painless:

    $ make -C pentadactyl xpi

and open the file in your browser. This worked for me. If it didn’t work for you, then do hg blame again and backtrack further.


  • Official download now available
    GI (2014-06-22 16:22:15)

    As of 2014-03-15, it seems that an official download is available here. So far this seems to work fine with iceweasel-24.6.0esr-1~deb7u1. (xul-ext-pentadactyl-1.1+hg7904-0+nmu1 currently in debian/testing wants iceweasel 25 or later which is not yet (2014-06-22) in wheezy/updates.)

  • Switched to git
    GI (2015-09-11 23:19:32)

    Looks like they now switched to git. Clone with

    git clone

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