Fedora has decided not to provide an update to Firefox 2.0 (FF2) for FC6. I personally want to use FF2 on my Fedora box and I set out to find a way. It’s not exactly straight forward, but it’s not difficult. There are many ways to do this. This is how I chose to make it work.
First, download the FF2 tarball from http://getfirefox.com/ to your home directory. Then extract the tarball to the /usr/local/firefox directory and rename it to firefox2 (to prevent confusion)
su -c 'tar -xzvf /home/[username]/firefox-2.0.tar.gz -C /usr/local'
su -c 'mv -v /usr/local/firefox /usr/local/firefox2'
You need to close any running instances of Firefox for the next step to work. If you’re viewing this with Firefox, you’ll need to print this page or copy the instructions into a file on your machine.
If you get errors complaining about libstdc++.so.5 when you execute the next command, perform a
su -c 'yum install compat-libstdc++-33' then run it again.
To prevent potential damage to your existing profile/plugins, we need to create an FF2 only profile. Start FF2 with the profile manager;
- Click Create profile, then Next to create a new profile
- Name the profile
- Click Finish
- Click Exit
There are now two profiles in your
~/.mozilla/firefox directory, the default profile will be used by Firefox 1.5, and we’re going to configure FF2 to use the one we just created.
su -c 'echo -e \#\!/bin/bash\\n/usr/local/firefox2/firefox -P FF2 |tee /usr/local/bin/firefox2'
su -c 'chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/firefox2'
echo command uses
tee to create a simple BASH script in
/usr/local/bin. I put the script there so that it would already be in my path and easy to run via the command line (CLI) or a run application dialog. The script will execute FF2 and specify that we use the FF2 profile. To view the script, perform a
chmod command made the script executable by all users on the system.
You now have FF2 running on your machine without mucking up your FF 1.5 install or the plugins. All of the dependencies were maintained so programs like yelp (which depends on FF 1.5) still work.
Your distro has no idea that you’ve just installed FF2, it doesn’t exist in the RPM database and therefore won’t be updated when newer versions of FF2 are released. You should run FF2 as admin (
su -c firefox2) and choose Help > Check for Updates on a regular basis. If you don’t usually follow FF releases, I would suggest picking a day each week and just performing that task.
Here’s the less than good news. Your bookmarks, plugins, history, etc will not sync up between versions. If you want to use a particular plugin in both browsers, you’ll need to install it to each version. To be honest, I haven’t looked back since using FF2, all of the plugins I care about have been released for it and I dig the changes to the program.
If you have multiple users on your machine, each of them will have to create an FF2 profile. Because I specified that profile in the startup script, they will be presented with the profile manager the first time they launch firefox2. Just make sure they create an FF2 profile, else they’ll be facing the profile manager every time they launch the browser.
Finally, to set FF2 as your default browser in Gnome, choose System > Preferences > More Preferences > Preferred Applications and change
firefox2. You could also answer yes when prompted by FF2 to make it your default browser.
If you want to create a “Firefox 2 Web Browser” menu item for all users on the machine, paste the command below into a terminal window.
su -c 'echo -e \[Desktop Entry\]\\nVersion=1.0\\nEncoding=UTF-8\\nName=Firefox 2 Web Browser\\nGenericName=Web Browser\\nComment=Browse the Web\\nExec=firefox2 %u\\nIcon=firefox.png\\nTerminal=false\\nType=Application\\nStartupWMClass=Firefox-bin\\nMimeType=text/html\;text\/xml\;application\/xhtml+xml\;application\/vnd.mozilla.xul\+xml\;text\/mml\;\\nX-Desktop-File-Install-Version=0.10\\nCategories=Network\;Application\;X-Fedora\; | tee /usr/share/applications/mozilla-firefox2.desktop'