installing older firefoxes
October 20, 2009 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I need to put an older version (2.x) of Firefox onto my computer. I am using the latest Kubuntu version (Karmic, still in beta for a few more days). How do I do this?

I was able to download a tar.gz file of Firefox but, beyond extracting, I can't get anywhere with it.

Is there a repository I can add that still supplies older versions? Or is there a way to get the one I already downloaded installed?

btw, this isn't for preference or anything, just the fact that the Canadian government is outdated and require an older version in order to access a secure site.
posted by mannequito to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You might not actually need to go to all the bother of actually installing the older version. I doubt that the Canadian government is doing extensive script-flavour tests to determine your browser version; they're probably just checking the user agent, and if you install User Agent Switcher you should be able to lie to them sufficiently convincingly.
posted by flabdablet at 4:22 PM on October 20, 2009

If the User Agent Switcher flabdablet mentioned (which I recommend trying first) doesn't work, don't bother installing an old version of Firefox system-wide just to get to one site.

Once you extract the .tar.gz file, in a terminal cd into the directory it extracted into. You can then start Firefox with the command: ./firefox

If there are any other Firefoxes running it will only pop up a new window of the running version, so make sure you quit before starting the old version.
posted by zsazsa at 4:29 PM on October 20, 2009

Portable Firefox is an easy way to run an old version without conflict with your current version.
posted by Zed at 4:53 PM on October 20, 2009

If it came as a tar.gz it's more likely to be the source (which will need compiling) rather than a pre-compiled binary for the distro you're using. You'll probably need to
sudo aptitude install build-essentials
to build it, so the User Agent Switcher workaround mentioned above is a much simpler solution.
posted by dirm at 5:00 PM on October 20, 2009

This thread in the Ubuntu forums is for Xubuntu Jaunty, but the same commands should work in Kubuntu Karmic. However, I agree with zsazsa that you should try User Agent Switcher or just run the binary from the extracted archive without altering your existing Firefox installation.
posted by reegmo at 5:12 PM on October 20, 2009

Thanks for your help everyone. flabdablet's suggestion got me past the first hurdle (browser requirement) and I spent a half hour following complicated instructions to get a Java Virtual Machine running in the browser. After all that, I was told by the site that neither was meeting requirements, but would I like to try to proceed anyways? I clicked yes ... and it worked.

So to sum up, I hate the Canadian government.

ps Zed, that portable firefox is a great idea. Too bad it's only Windows compatible currently.
posted by mannequito at 5:34 PM on October 20, 2009

Yeah, I saw later you specified Linux. It is reported to work with Wine.
posted by Zed at 6:51 PM on October 20, 2009

The instructions they put on websites to get Java going in browsers are almost always far, far too complicated for Ubuntu. All you should have needed to do was quit Firefox, use Synaptic to install the sun-java6-plugin package, and restart Firefox.
posted by flabdablet at 3:02 AM on October 21, 2009

dirm: the main .tar.gz download from is not the source; it's a binary.

And it's basically the same thing as Portable Firefox on Windows: you can extract it and run it in place with no installation needed.
posted by zsazsa at 12:01 PM on October 21, 2009

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