Managing multiple Opera 11.01 installations on Mac OS
Friday, January 28, 2011 12:35:00 PM
Update 2011-11-01: for Opera versions newer than 11.5x.
Both the -pd (personal directory) command line switch and the PrefsSuffix file were deprecated in Opera 11.01. We have introduced a new method of manage multiple user-data and preference sets (bookmarks, mail, extensions, Unite services, …) in their place.
This is a very technical piece. A summary for non-geeks is available.
The portable single profile option (USB mode)
In single profile mode, Opera will save all user-data and preferences including the cache inside a single folder at the root of the volume.
To do a portable installation of Opera, you must follow these instructions:
- Copy Opera.app over to an external drive—including USB memory sticks, [encrypted] disk images, network drives (not recommended due to performance)
- Start Opera from the Terminal using the command /Volumes/external-drive/Opera.app/Contents/MacOS/Opera -csp
The command line switch -csp (-createsingleprofile) will create a hidden folder called /Volumes/external-drive/.operaprofile/. Opera will then scan for this folder on start-up and use it if it is present, or fallback to using the user-data and preferences in your Home folder.The local single profile option
Running the -csp switch on an Opera installation on your primary boot drive will create a single profile folder inside your Home folder. This works in almost the same way as single-user installations on Windows, and how user-data and preferences work on Linux/FreeBSD.
To do a local single profile installation of Opera, you must follow these instructions:
- Copy Opera.app over to the Applications folder
- Start Opera from the Terminal using the command /Applications/Opera.app/Contents/MacOS/Opera -csp
The command line switch -csp (create single profile) will create a hidden folder called /Users/you/.operaprofile/. Opera will then scan for this folder on start-up and use it if it is present, or fallback to using the user-data and preferences in your Home folder’s Library folder (normal installation).Multiple single user profiles
On both portable and local single profile installations you can maintain separate user-data and preference sets.
- Setup a portable or local single profile installation (using the above instructions)
- Copy Opera.app and rename it "Opera <suffix>.app"
- Start Opera from the Terminal using the command /Applications/Opera\ YourSuffix.app/Contents/MacOS/Opera -csp
This will put your user-data and preferences in a hidden folder called /Users/you/.operaprofile YourSuffix/.
This only works with single profile installations.Single user profile drawbacks / incompatibility with Mac OS features
You should add the following paths to your Time Machine (or other backup system) and Spotlight (or other disk indexer) exclusion lists:
Remember to exclude the same folders with any suffixes you may be using as well.
If you are using File Vault (which is effectively a user-transparent encrypted disk image) you must place Opera.app inside your Home folder for this to work. Otherwise it will be created at the root of your primary boot system.The preference suffix command line switch
Replacing the -pd <directory> command line switch is the new -ps <suffix> switch. This switch applies per session. To make the suffix sticky read the additional information on making a placeholder application below. It works by appending a suffix to a user-data and preference set in the user’s Home folder.
Starting Opera using the command Opera.app/Contents/MacOS/Opera -ps webdevtest will make Opera use the following user-data paths:
- ~/Library/Application Support/Opera webdevtest/
- ~/Library/Caches/Opera webdevtest/
- ~/Library/Preferences/Opera Preferences webdevtest/
The folders can be renamed if necessary.Shared resources
A few resources set and used by the system are shared between all user-data and preference sets:
- ~/Library/Preferences/com.operasoftware.Opera.plist OS centric settings including the last used folder and settings for the file chooser.
- ~/Library/Preferences/com.operasoftware.OperaWidgets.plist List of installed stand-alone widgets.
Read the blog post again, and then post your question in the comment section.