Installing Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) on Ubuntu 12.04

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We all know that browsers change more often than is really necessary. Firefox are pumping out new versions at the speed of light and with every version comes a new set of challenges. While general web browsing is often unaffected, enterprise applications designed for the web more often than not have compatibility issues with the latest and greatest browsers.

The solution – Use the Firefox Extended Support Release (“Firefox ESR” in short) version and you get to use a single version, with only bug-fixes in the updates, for 54 weeks at a time. Unfortunately, the apt repositories don’t have anything you can use to install the ESR version of Firefox (weird, especially on the LTS versions) at this stage.


At the time of this writing, ESR 17 has been released. For compatibility with some of our own software though, I want to use ESR version 10. The latest stable version in this iteration is currently v10.0.12.

Here’s how you install it on Ubuntu 12.04.

Step 1 – Download it:
Check out ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/ for a list of available releases and substitute below as neccesary
For 64-Bit users:

wget ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/10.0.12esr/linux-x86_64/en-ZA/firefox-10.0.12esr.tar.bz2

For 32-Bit users:

wget ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/10.0.12esr/linux-i686/en-ZA/firefox-10.0.12esr.tar.bz2

Step 2 – Untar/bzip it

sudo tar -xvjf firefox-10.0.12esr.tar.bz2 -C /opt

Step 3 – Move/Backup the old Firefox executable and create a new soft link. This will ensure that you don’t have to recreate your shortcuts

sudo mv /usr/bin/firefox /usr/bin/firefox-old
sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

Done! Now you can use your old shortcuts to access Firefox ESR.

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