Update: I think the following note that I made a while ago is no longer applicable. Please visit:
for a more streamlined installation via apt-get.
Caution: This note won’t work for a version >= Beta 8-1. Unfortunately the new release depends on newer versions of libraries than what Squeeze has. Installing those libraries on Squeeze might defeat the purpose of using Debian for its stability and not recommended. I think it’s best to use a precompiled binary from Mozilla directly.
Firefox 3.5 (a.k.a. Iceweasel in Debian) on Squeeze is a bit old, so I wish to install Firefox 4 (still beta) as well. I’d like to keep an option of running stable Firefox 3.5, so what I do here is to install version 4 as a separate install. Much of this note follows the information found in this article and its comments.
First, download .deb packages from a repository to a temporary directory:
$ wget http://mozilla.debian.net/packages/iceweasel_4.0~b7-2_amd64.deb $ wget http://mozilla.debian.net/packages/libmozjs4d_2.0~b7-2_amd64.deb $ wget http://mozilla.debian.net/packages/xulrunner-2.0_2.0~b7-2_amd64.deb
I’ll be installing Firefox under /usr/local/iceweasel4. Do:
$ sudo aptitude install libffi5 libevent-1.4-2 $ sudo dpkg –i libmozjs4d_2.0~b7-2_amd64.deb $ sudo dpkg –i xulrunner-2.0_2.0~b7-2_amd64.deb $ sudo mkdir /usr/local/iceweasel4 $ sudo dpkg-deb -x iceweasel_4.0~b7-2_amd64.deb /usr/local/iceweasel4/ $ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/xulrunner-2.0 /usr/local/iceweasel4/usr/lib/
That’s it. The application launch script is located at /usr/local/iceweasel4/usr/bin/iceweasel. I create a symlink in /usr/local/bin so that it becomes available system-wide:
$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/iceweasel4/usr/bin/iceweasel /usr/local/bin/iceweasel4
This way I can launch it via command
iceweasel4 from shell. It probably is a good idea to launch Firefox for the first time as
$ iceweasel4 -ProfileManager
to create a separate user profile for the beta. Otherwise the profile needs to be converted each time you switch between version 3.5 and 4 beta.
Making Incompatible Plugins to Bypass Compatibility Test
The biggest advantage of Firefox is plugins (a major reason that I haven’t tried Google Chrome yet). I cannot live without Delicious and Gmail Manager (among others that I don’t bother to mention), but most have not been updated to work with version 4 beta.
Some plugins are not tested on the beta, but some features actually work. In order to bypass version compatibility checks upon installing plugins, visit about:config in the browser, and right-click somewhere the preference list, New -> Boolean, and add a new preference with the name “extensions.checkCompatibility.4.0b” and set the boolean value to “false”. After relaunching, the plugin version checks will be bypassed.
Gmail Manager. The official release does not work, but somebody posted a modified version which works. Download the .xpi file, and open the file with Firefox to install the plugin. I’m not sure of its authenticity though. Use at your own risk…
Delicious Bookmarks. The official release works partially. What I lose on the beta is the Delicious toolbar in which I can make frequently used tags available, but the bookmarks are all available from the Firefox toolbar. I can live with it for now.
December 24, 2010 – Added a caution for beta 8-1.
April 3, 2011 – Added a note to obsolete this document.