Profile Manager opening at startup

This discussion was created from comments split from: Available in preview: Zotero PDF reader and new note editor.
  • Thank you for this outstanding new facility!

    I am running the beta on Ubuntu 20.10. When it starts, I am asked to create a profile, which I do, leaving 'Use the selected profile without asking at startup' enabled. However, I am still asked to create a profile each time I start Zotero.
  • I will just add that I asked this originally in the thread regarding the new beta, as I had never been asked to create a profile before.
  • You're running Zotero straight from the tarball, or how did you/are you installing?
  • Not from the tarball. It is unzipped to /home/.zotero (same place I ran zotero 5, which is now moved). I followed the instructions at to make a launcher, and all is as usual apart from this profile dialogue (which I have never seen before).

  • It is unzipped to /home/.zotero
    Assuming you mean ~/.zotero, then no, this is wrong. ~/.zotero is where your Zotero profile folder is stored — it's not a place you should be storing the application files. Unless this is a shared system and you don't have permission to access /opt, you should use /opt as the instructions suggest and move your previous ~/.zotero folder back into place (and remove the application files that are there, leaving just your profile directory files under ~/.zotero/zotero).

    (Wiping out that folder would result in a prompt to create a new profile, because you moved your old one. I'm not sure why it would then ask every time.)
  • Thank you @dstillman. I was obviously very confused. I have now reinstalled as suggested, updated the path to my default linked attachment base directory, and all is well (and I was not asked to create a profile). Super.
  • Why /opt and not /usr/local?
  • So the upshot seems to be:
    /usr/local - old school
    /opt - new school
    which explains everything; I started with UNIX back around 1990!
  • Well, not really. (That answer doesn't have any upvotes for a reason.) Chronologically, yes, but it's mostly just about how the program is built and distributed, and that's usually more a technical question than one of trends. People have been putting packages in /opt for decades, and plenty of modern software goes in /usr/local.

    Generally speaking, if you compile the program yourself, it goes in /usr/local. If it's distributed as a single directory with a binary and other files, it goes in /opt. Because of how Zotero is built — from a Firefox binary distribution — it can only realistically be distributed as a package, so it goes in /opt.
  • Installing to /opt/zotero reminds me of why I stopped doing this. The only way I know of putting the extracted tarball there is using sudo. All works fine, but then zotero cannot update. Is there another way?
  • I have a couple of scripts I use. One moves the tarball from my Downloads directory into a system controlled software space and then expands it. I'd prefer not to use privilege for tar, but then there are issues with the username. The expanded directory is called something along the lines of zotero-5.0.96 and placed in /use/local (see query above). Trying to do this as a user results in the particular user owning the application and causing problems for other users.

    A separate script maintains the symbolic link from zotero to the version-specific subdirectory. That way I keep two or three past versions available and can switch back if there are problems.
  • Thank you: I'm not sure I fully understand this but I don't need to keep past versions available. I would, however, like zotero to update, and the only way I know how to facilitate this is to unzip the tarball into a folder in my home directory (which I don't like to do, as I prefer to keep only my documents etc. in home).

    Obviously there must be another way, but I just cannot see it!
  • edited March 8, 2021
    You can just change the permissions of the extracted folder to your own user so it can auto-update.

    If you don't want to do that, you can use the lightweight zotero-deb package maintained by a long-time community member.
  • Thank you: I will do some research on how to change the permission of the /opt/zotero folder. In the meantime, I have moved zotero to ~/bin/zotero so that I can use it and it updates.

    I am aware of the deb package, but would prefer not to use it, as I am now running the zotero beta.

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