Tips: Firefox Upgrade Script for Ubuntu

by Christopher Paul on July 27, 2006

So the other day, the Mozilla Corporation released Firefox for all operating systems and Windows XP.  Being the good geek that I am, I downloaded the build to patch those vulnerabilities and to say I’ve got the most recent version of something running on my computer.  The last time I upgraded Firefox was when I downloaded Ubuntu for the first time and, although not difficult, was not he easy install script that most Windows and OS X users are used to.  But this time, I found a better way of upgrading.

Before, I uncompressed the .tar file’s contents into a temporary folder somewhere on the hard drive.  Then, I followed someone’s instructions on how to backup the build’s original location and move over the new one.  I then was asked to follow some other commands that either linked the existing shortcuts to the new directory or something.  I didn’t really understand it but I followed it on blind faith knowing I could just rebuild the OS at any time.

But with some upgrades and some personalization already completed, I didn’t want to risk this (too much).  So I downloaded the new version and proceeded to uncompress it like I did the last time.  But foolish me couldn’t just overwrite the current directory; I forgot about those superuser permissions that get in the way.  And, because I haven’t figured out all the nuances of Ubuntu and Linux in general yet, I couldn’t get anything I tried to work – even using the sudo command to become the superuser.

After 5 minutes of this, I just about gave up.  But I did one last search for upgrade tips and found this script that automatically downloads the most recent version of Firefox for your local (and it asks you for your language), extracts it, and handles all the install bits that I don’t know yet.  Even though I couldn’t trust the script, I did it anyway.  If it failed, it failed.  If it destroyed my browser, I could always try to fix it or rebuild the OS (something I would hate but not as much as having as OS without a browser).  And if it worked, well I’d write about the script and give it praise.

Well, you can imagine that it work because it did.  Although the script said it failed (I think because my previous upgrades may have broken something) it did, in fact, upgrade Firefox without any adverse effects.  It still launches from the launch pad on top and the version checks out.  All in all, I’m really happy with it.

I’m going to read the script to see what the developer (or someone using this space) did so next time I might not need it.  But until then, all 1.5.0.x Firefox releases are going to be installed with this.  If you need to upgrade, make your life easy and run it.

Previous post:

Next post: