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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Following on from my previous guide to using Zotero in Ubuntu Natty, I am pleased to present, here, the guide for Ubuntu 11.10: The Oneiric Ocelot. The most crucial new addition is that, at the time of writing (September 2011), Zotero was unable to load in Firefox 7.0 beta. Update: As of 9th of September, this is fixed. Zotero 2.1.10 will load in Firefox 7.


Since writing this article, a new version of Zotero has been published which renders the advice below unnecessary! Install Zotero 2.1.10 and LibreOffice plugin 3.5b, use the openjdk java environment and all should work. This makes Ubuntu Oneiric the easiest environment in which to install Zotero since Lucid.

1.) Add the Maverick partner repository:

Software Center -> Edit Menu -> Software Sources -> Other sources -> Add:

deb maverick partner

2.) Drop to a command prompt:

sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin
    sudo update-alternatives –config java

If the last option prompts you to set a specific java configuration, ensure you select the Sun variant.

3.) Downgrade Firefox: at the time of writing, Firefox 7 is incompatible with Zotero. By this I don't mean that you can force it to work by disabling the compatibility check, I mean: it's *really* incompatible. Uninstall firefox:

sudo apt-get remove firefox

Visit Mozilla's site and install Firefox 6. Update: As per above: this is no longer necessary in Zotero 2.1.10.

4.) Install the Zotero plugin from

5.) Install the outdated OpenOffice plugin, not the most recent one: Update: As of 9th September, plugin 3.5b is confirmed working.

6.) After Firefox has restarted go to Zotero -> Preferences -> Cite tab.

In here, if needs be, change the OpenOffice parameters to the following:

UNO: file:///usr/lib/libreoffice/basis-link/ure-link/share/java/
soffice binary: file:///usr/lib/libreoffice/program/

It is possible that you won't need to do this and that Zotero will correctly identify your LO directory.

7.) Click “install plugin”.

If this fails, go into LibreOffice, Tools menu -> Extension manager -> Add

Navigate to your firefox profile directory which will look like:


and manually add the .oxt file from within.

With any luck, you should be set. Worth also checking in LibreOffice -> Edit menu -> Preferences -> Java that you are using the Sun interpreter in LibreOffice.