Zotero on FreeBSD


I am interested on running zotero on FreeBSD, perhaps on NetBSD.
Is there plans to release bundles for such systems? Does someone already knows how to build zotero for those and can give at least clues, at best a recipe?

Thank you!
  • Hi yarl!

    I am too very interested in this. There was a guy who had some build scripts for FreeBSD but those appear to no longer be available. It would be really nice to know where they are or if someone else out there has managed to get Zotero to build. Many of us still using Firefox ESR will be out of luck as Zotero will no longer function once it goes EOL.
  • I am using Zotero 5.0 on FreeBSD.
    I hope this would be of some help.

  • Good information tsukuda, thank you for re-posting it!

    However the reliance on FreeBSD's Linux compatibility later is unfortunately not a solution in my case. I wonder how it might be possible to get support for this to actually be formally ported over to FreeBSD, as in being included in the ports collection. The mozilla frameworks that Zotero is based upon, all build on *BSD so I wonder what is the challenge in getting the whole thing actually working properly without needing the Linux compatibility layer? If this is done, it would be possible to use it natively and very likely also on DragonFlyBSD which I also use.
  • (Since Zotero is generally in the process of switching away from the mozilla platform and towards Electron, I wouldn't invest any resources in a BSD port right now)
  • Thanks adamsmith, this is very good to know.

    Lately I've also given a second look at migrating to bibtex/latex. It is looking to be a good replacement. Especially since its possible to bulk convert doi numbers to bibtex using tools like doi2bib


    and kbibtex,


    while certainly not as feature complete as Zotero, can manage bib references rather well. It might make more sense to invest in those projects that actually try to make their software truly multiplatform.
  • 1. Zotero is not primarily a .bib manager (even if I personally use it that way)
    2. These tools are nowhere near feature complete with Zotero
    3. KBibTeX is from the looks of it Linux-only (so much for cross-platform)
    4. Zotero *is* truly multi platform. @adamsmith is only saying that given that Zotero is in the midst of a retooling from Firefox-based (cross-platform) to Electron (cross-platform), scarce time is probably better spent on the Electron port. But Zotero still runs on an ESR versions of Firefox IIRC (I think ESR 52 is currently used for their tests). You could try that.
  • Hi,

    I didn't manage to get Zotero Linux to run under FreeBSD (despite Linuxulator), but the windows binaries run just fine under FreeBSD/Wine. Actually, zotero runs faster than on my windows PC.

    Hope this helps.
  • Thank you very much for the good information, henningninneh.

    It's getting more and more difficult to build the old firefox-esr and hence Zotero on FreeBSD.
    I am now trying the windows binaries under FreeBSD/Wine.
  • Hi michzman. I am sorry for the late reply.

    It seems that 3 linux binaries are used in Zotero: pdfinfo, pdftotext, and updater.

    The updater seems to take care of updating Zotero and I think we may safely ignore this.
    I am not sure but probably one can disable auto updating via prefs.js?

    You may be able to build pdfinfo and pdftotext on *BSD.

    As I wrote, I am using the windows binaries under wine now.
  • edited March 19, 2020
    To disable auto-update:

    create a file defaults/pref/local-settings.js in the installation dir with contents:

    pref("general.config.obscure_value", 0);
    pref("general.config.filename", "mozilla.cfg");

    and a file mozilla.cfg in the installation dir with contents (or add if it exists):

    lockPref("app.update.enabled", false);
    lockPref("app.update.auto", false);

    The // on its own as the first line is mandatory. No idea why.
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