Description and Problem:
Google Gears is a plug-in that extends your browser to create a richer platform for web applications. There are many Web applications that currently make use of Google Gears. Some of these include Google Docs, Google Reader, MySpace, Picasa, Zoho and (the reason for this post) now even WordPress. Google Gears, or simply just Gears as it is now known, not only enables offline browsing of supported sites, but it can also greatly improve the performance of these sites and web applications like WordPress. This makes working with supported web applications much nicer.
Now, my problem (and many others of you out there) has been that I am running 64-bit Ubuntu (8.04 Hardy Heron) and Google has not made a 64-bit version of their Gears software. They cite lack of time and testing resources, but my guess is it’s not that important to them since there probably aren’t too many 64-bit users out there. Luckilly for us, Gears is an open source project. This is now a prime example of the beauty of open source software, in that some really smart people created an “unofficial” patch that allows you to install and run Gears on 64-bit Linux in Firefox. In my case it’s Ubuntu and Firefox 3.x, but I have read folk that have had success with SuSE and others as well. It only took me about five minutes once I found the patch.
Here are the steps I took to get this installed, up and running:
Grab the latest version of the Gears binary that has been patched for 64bit at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~swolchok/gears/, I used this command:
Open Firefox and choose File->Open File and browse to where you saved the file you just downloaded. It should open an install window, you want to press the “Install Now” button to start the install.
Once the install is complete, press the “Restart Firefox” button to restart Firefox and complete the installation.
For me, upon the initial restart, I got an error about this addon not being compatible with my architecture. Despite that it seems to work fine, and I haven’t gotten any more errors since then, so I would suggest you simply ignore that error.
Lastly, go to a site that is supported, add it to Gears and enjoy! If you have any questions or comments, post ’em below.