Sunday, June 26, 2011

firefox 5 on Ubuntu Lucid LTS

This household has at least ten installs of GNU / Linux on 5 computers.

In the mix are two older installs of Ubuntu Lucid LTS.

( End of life for Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 is April 2013 for Desktop and April 2015 for Server )

Doing security updates on a Laptop Dual Boot the other day, my Firefox was automatically updated to Firefox 5.

...what puzzled me was that another Desktop in the lounge was updated but still sits at Firefox 3.6?

The key appears to be an extra entry in /etc/apt/sources.d which exists on the laptop:

the entry of interest is shown below:

deb lucid main

This entry might have appeared on my system in preparation for Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS point release, which is scheduled for July 2011.

( Failing that it might have been created by my using the Ubuntu 'alternate' cd in preparing a blog post, and hinting to my system that I might want to update to Maverick / Natty )

Firefox 5 is not on my system and I want it:

Just edit your source entry (using a text editor or the updates manager gui) to include a new entry for the mozilla team.

You can copy / paste the entry directly from the line above beginning deb http://

Firefox 5 is not on my system and I want to stick with Firefox 3.6 thanks:

It is not too difficult to 'hold' / 'lock' a package using dpkg / synaptic

The wording 'Lock Version' might be more familiar for graphical types, but a screenshot helps:

...and how to Package -> Lock Version...

System Administrators deploying to many machines, might prefer to issue the following using a deploy tool:

echo firefox hold | sudo dpkg --set-selections

Command line apt-get upgrade and complaints about key:

As a non-root user (aren't you always) run the following:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys CE49EC21

The above will stop you receiving the command line complaint:
W: GPG error: lucid Release: The following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 9BDB3D89CE49EC21

( The observant will notice that the argument following --recv-keys is the trailing 8 digits of the NO_PUBKEY message, rather than the full measure )

My company has an upgrade policy - we schedule this with 200 users:

System Administrators deploying to many machines, can hold off on firefox version bumping, by issuing the following using a deploy tool:

echo firefox hold | sudo dpkg --set-selections

Perhaps you might want to arrange a quick training session, covering the minor changes since Firefox 3.6

If you are a company of 500 or a 1000 Ubuntu desktops, you probably run your own Ubuntu Mirror, and do a weekly review of new packages to aid upgrade planning. If you don't then hire me

( In this scenario, you are choosing the updates and timing and it really is worth the effort. )

Err .. we haven't got round to the mirror thing - can I rollback Firefox5?

Systems Administrators: The transitional package firefox-3.5 is your friend here, just select it using your deploy tool.

echo firefox-3.5 install | sudo dpkg --set-selections

...and later once everything is reverted, you place a hold...

echo firefox-3.5 host | sudo dpkg --set-selections

If you have just 5 or 10 machines to revert, then you might be quicker just running around each, and selecting the firefox version you want.

Quoting from Synaptic Package Manager:
Note: To install a version that is different from the default one, choose Package -> Force Version... from the menu.

What are the exact version numbers on your machine at time of writing?

...command line...

Notes and Further Reading:

I think of 'Transitional' packages as navigation aids or bump tools to help with renaming of packages / other packaging changes.

Sometimes when a package becomes too large or can no longer be distributed under a unified license, the packager might split things off.

Using transitional packages, is one way of helping your system remain logically the same despite the package split.

Of course if you have decided to upgrade to a non LTS version of Ubuntu (Wheezy / Natty), then firefox 3 is considered a little outdated, so you probably will not have the choice in that case.

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