Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Debian Mozilla team creates a Release archive for Iceweasel

The versioning of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, and the rebranded Iceweasel browser in Debian, going from 3.6.x to 4.x and now 5.x and 6.x has Linux users (and Debian users in particular) constantly messing with their sources to make sure they’ve got the version of Iceweasel they want.

As I explain below, the Debian Mozilla team APT archive has got you covered. But first a little more informational whining:

Almost as soon as the Firefox/Iceweasel 4.x series started, it abruptly ended in favor of 5.x. This is going to keep happening. It’s not that changes in the software are that radical. It’s just version-number-creep on the part of Mozilla. I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but I could care less. I just want a recent, patched version of the browser (and the Thunderbird/Icedove mail client) on my Debian Squeeze system.

Good news for Debian Squeeze users is that Icedove is in Debian Backports. But not Iceweasel (to the best of my knowledge anyway).

So I’m still using the Debian Mozilla team APT archive.

A check there today shows that they no longer recommend use of the Iceweasel-5.0 portion of their archive, though it’s still there on the server.

Now for Squeeze (and presumably other Debian) users, there is a Release archive for Iceweasel. Add (or substitute) the following to your /etc/apt/sources.list (or in my case /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mozilla.list) file:

deb squeeze-backports iceweasel-release

This presumably brings in the most recent, patched, non-development release of the Iceweasel web browser, which is exactly what I want.