Using Firefox 1.5 with Ubuntu 5.10 - Quick Howto

Posted by tadelste on Oct 23, 2005 11:52 AM
LXer; By Tom Adelstein

Why would you want to use a beta of Firefox when you an have a more stable release? The version that comes with Breezy Badger has a bad memory leak - and 1.5 runs faster.

I started using Ubuntu 5.10 as my desktop about a week before it hit the final release state. At first, I didn't have any problems with it and it had a small and fast footprint. Then I noticed that the version of Firefox released with the Ubuntu desktop came to a standstill and I couldn't live with it.

One of the editors at O'Reilly reported having a similar problem. So, I decided to see how Opera worked. Turns out I liked Opera. It didn't freeze on me and it has a nice feel.

Unfortunately, Opera doesn't integrate well with Google and Gmail in particular. So, I started looking at what people had said about the new Firefox 1.5 beta2. I saw a lot of praise. Now I had to install it on this tightly built Ubuntu desktop.

Here's what I did (with the help of a howto on the Ubuntu Wiki - see below):

First, I used synaptic package manager and added libstdc++5

I then downed downloaded firefox-1.5b2.tar.gz

I didn't want to chance confusing my apt database. I usually install non-deb packages into /usr/local or /opt. I Installed firefox 1.5 to the /opt directory. First, I copied the downloaded tar.gz file to the /opt directory as superuser.

sudo cp firefox-1.5b2.tar.gz /opt/
cd /opt
sudo tar xzvf firefox-1.5b2.tar.gz
sudo rm firefox-1.5b2.tar.gz

Now create a symbolic link from your existing plugin directory to the Firefox 1.5 directory and remove totem.

cd /opt/firefox/plugins/
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/mozilla-firefox/plugins/* .
sudo rm libtotem_mozilla.*

Now move your existing .mozilla home directory into the background.

mv .mozilla .mozilla.bak

You'll want to use the firefox 1.5 beta as your default, so change the symbolic link in your /usr/bin directory

sudo dpkg-divert --divert /usr/bin/firefox.ubuntu --rename /usr/bin/firefox
sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

Create a launcher by right clicking on your desktop and put firefox as the command.

You'll find that the stock Firefox runs faster that the one that comes with the distribution and the Firefox Beta2 beats that. In the last Ubuntu release, people on the user-discuss list complained mightily about how slow firefox ran. It runs a little faster in Ubuntu 5.10 but the memory leak, until fixed is a major annoyance.

You might want to give this a try. I find that it works well. If you want to go back to the stock version at some point, then you must:

Restore the symbolic link

Restore your old profile

Delete the firefox directory in /opt

Ben Scholl's Howto at the Ubuntu Wiki provided the instruction for this article. Thank you.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Restore your old profile? jamesstansell 0 2,344 Oct 23, 2005 7:19 PM
relevant bug numbers jamesstansell 0 1,764 Oct 23, 2005 6:50 PM

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