Ubuntu 9.04 comes pre-installed with Firefox 3.0.x. This was the current version of the browser at the time the Ubuntu version was released. Based on the development model of six-month releases, Firefox won’t be updated to the 3.5.x version until Ubuntu 9.10. Security updates for the 3.0.x branch are supplied, but major revision upgrades won’t happen until the next release.
I have recently discovered that there is a package available for Firefox 3.5.x in the universe repository, which will install the latest version of the browser alongside the default version. I know how important web browsing is for most of us, and having the latest browser with the latest features is a requirement. This article will outline how to install the Firefox 3.5 package from the default repositories, as well as update the user-agent string as needed.
Install the package
To install the package you’ll need to make sure you have the universe repository configured. This should be enabled by default, so unless you’ve manually removed it you should be fine. Once this is verified you can install the package using the command below (or click the link):
sudo aptitude install firefox-3.5
Once this package is installed you should have a new menu entry in Applications > Internet called “Shiretoko Web Browser”. This is named after the development codename (I believe) of the 3.5 branch.
Required tweak : User-Agent
I’m unsure the reasoning behind it (probably the Mozilla license issue regarding redistribution using the name & logo), this version of the browser identifies itself with its development codename and not the known “Firefox” name. This will break functionality on a number of sites that verify the user-agent string. There is a simple way to fix this, which I’ll outline below.
In your address bar, enter the url:
Accept the notice that tinkering with the settings in this section might catastrophically break things, destroying the world and all mankind.
In the field at the top, enter the string:
Double-click on the result and change the string from “
Shiretoko/3.5.2" to “
At this point you should have a working copy of Firefox 3.5 installed alongside your default copy of Firefox 3.0. You may notice some oddities based on the Firefox vs Shiretoko issue, but at least the user-agent string is reporting what you’d like it to. Remember, the latest version will be the default in Ubuntu 9.10, so just wait a few more weeks and you can get it with the next release!