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20.12.09

When Firefox cannot open PHP pages 

Why can’t the Firefox people post this very simple solution?
   For years now, I will occasionally happen upon a bug where Firefox refuses to open a PHP page. Instead, it prompts me to save it:

Firefox cannot open PHP pages

If I attempt to open it, it is a tiny XML header file. The error is with Firefox’s file type handling.
   I can go back to 2006 and find this error being discussed, usually among Ubuntu users: it seems to surface more often with them than with Windows users. Nevertheless, it comes up often enough.
   You’d be hard pressed to find a straight answer. Most technical people prefer blaming the user, or the site, or the server, before they blame Firefox. I do not understand this, given that the error never surfaced in Internet Explorer and I have yet to see it in Safari. It is, as with the character set problem I encountered many years ago, a Firefox bug, but one that Mozilla does not seem to acknowledge.
   In all these years, I have only seen one non-Ubuntu geek discuss it as though it were real and not a product of the collective imaginations of certain computer users. That page is here. Sadly, Firefox has moved on since he wrote the page, so the tips about editing about:config do not work, and the browser no longer allows for the deletion of file types from the Tools–Options–Application menu (the successor to the Tools–Options–File Types–Manage page he writes about).
   However, one tip he gives still works, and I have managed to overcome the error.
   One needs simply to delete the mimeTypes.rdf file he writes about. There are indeed two copies of this file, so the one that needs to go is in a folder called something like this (in Vista and, presumably, in Windows 7):

C:\Users\********\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\********.default

The parts in asterisks will be customized to your details. A similar one is in C:\Documents and Settings on Windows XP.
   1. Find this, or use the search tool.
   2. Go into the folder.
   3. Close your Firefox browser.
   4. Go to the mimeTypes.rdf file. In my case, I renamed the file to mimeTypes-old.rdf.
   5. Restart Firefox.
   All being well, a new mimeTypes.rdf will automatically appear, and will probably be smaller than the original. Once it does, delete the old one. If it doesn’t appear, put the old one back to its original name—you are now in uncharted waters.
   The trouble has disappeared for the time being, so here’s hoping a few more of you, who find that Firefox cannot open PHP pages without prompting you to save it, can get a resolution with the above. It’s taken over a year for me to figure it out; hopefully, you will only need a few minutes! Jack 1, computer boffins 0.

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Comments:
I had the same problem with XP & Firefox.
My solution was to add "read & execute" permissions for the "everyone" account in the XP "sharing and security" settings for the folder.  
I'm having a similar problem on a Mac, but no mimeTypes file exists. Frustrating, to say the least.  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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