Afterr a couple of weeks I finally found the time to do a thorough test whether I could get a way to customize firefox 31 the way I liked (even with the Classic Theme Restored I could not), or whether I could do it with palemoon which I did and I have now changed and I will be working with it
I'd like to comment on the procedure I followed and the way I overcame my problems in case they may be helpful to anybody.
1) my original installation of firefox (3.6) was a Suse-bundled one (hence as root). My latest (ff 28) was done as a user (tar unpacked under my home dir. I hoped to do the same. I found that pminstaller.sh requires a "password" but does not specify
it is the root password (which indeed it is). Specifying the root password it says 'can't open display". If I run it from an xterm ssh'ed as root, with a valid DISPLAY (localhost:10.0) it runs fine. Only it does not tell you where stuff has been installed
(a "find" locates most of the stuff under /opt wiht a link in /usr/bin). It would help to have these stuff documented for the curious like me.
2) starting palemoon (as user) runs nicely. However the mentioned profile migration tool is only for Windows, and the link for the other cases leads to an unhelpful http://www.palemoon.org/troubleshooting.shtml
. So I had to find a way to migrate my customised configuration
3) I compared the content of .moonchild\ productions/pale\ moon/xxxx.default with .mozilla/firefox/yyyy.default but there were too many unobvious differences to make me trust just dumping the old configuration onto the fresh one. Actually some of the files (like the .ini) ones had firefox paths encoded, and I guess some could be old vestigial stuff.
4) A good news was that the mozilla plugins (not addons), the ones under .mozilla/plugins, the shared library for Flash and Java are automatically picked up by palemoon. Or perhaps are the system ones to which they are linked or from which they were copied ?
5) Therefore I decided to use FEBE on firefox to make a backup, and FEBE on palemoon to restore. A full backup hung forever, so I did selective ones. I excluded themes, which I do not care about. Also for some reasons FEBE saves only the bookmarks as html and not as json (it does not give error but does nothing). Apparently this is irrelevant.
6) I restored bookmarks, usernames and preferences, and verified it was OK. For preferences I got back things like my home, the fonts, the PAC used to access the proxy of our library etc. but not some of my UI preferences like text buttons instead of icons or absence of bookmark bar. I also copied user.js manually since I had one.
7) I restored cookies and history (though this is hardly relevant since for me they are session transients), form history and permissions (although I haven't an easy way to check).
8) then I restored the plugins one by one (just the ones not mentioned above as redundant). nogoogle and saved password were restored ok, for adblock and session manager I had to manually copy also the directories where they kept data (and I did also a couple of files which I suspect related to the session manager) and restore the adblock filters.
9) at this point everything was almost
back like I wished but some UI details. Still buttons were icons and not text, the bookmark bar was there, there were some unwanted items and some missing items in the menu bar and navigation bar, and some details to be set for the status bar (native in palemoon, but very similar to the status-4-evar preferences I was using before). All these things can be repristinated "graphically"
however I'd be curious to know in which files they are stored.
10) the preference in palemoon which links helpers to file types looks different and simpler. Would that be mimeTypes.rdf ? Actually I never liked tjhe way even old firefox handled it (I'd preferred things like .mailcap and .mime.types. So far I left it alone.
11) the final touch was to set up things to call palemoon (is there a man page with all runstring arguments for palemoon ?). Of course the alias in .cshrc to start the browser. Then the arrangements in the MUA (alpine) to display URLs from a mail message (these are trivial replacements of "firefox" with "palemoon"). A bit more tricky is the arrangement to start the browser within the window manager. I use fvwm, and that has an "event handler" and a "style" to force the browser to come out of a given size in a particular page of a particular desktop. But after all it was just a matter of replacing "Firefox" with "Pale Moon" (with capitals and blanks).
12) what I haven't yet checked is what happens when I click on an URL in a PDF document within acrobat (before it opened multiple instances of the web page in firefox, something I did not quite like anyhow.
At the end I am gald to have arramnged things very satisfactorily in just a few hours. Some sort of migration tutorial or tool for Linux would however be appreciated.