FireFox-ESR and 16.04

I have always thought that FF-ESR should be default in a LTS release. Makes perfect sense to me :slight_smile:

How is it compared to the normal Firefox?
What are the disadvantages?
I, for example I like the kernel and Ubuntu release to be LTS, but not the software
Especially VLC and Firefox
Firefox is already behind Chromium on supporting the newest web standards like HTML5 and I’m afraid the ESR will mean that it will get only security updates

Fair point @Danny3. It can’t simply be included because it’s a long term release, You evenetualy have to upgrade your system and then It won’t matter either you run normal or ESR.

PS => you can’t distro hop with the browser

Now that Firefox 52 no longer supports NPAPI plugins, should the ESR be reconsidered? There is a short term work around provided by webupd8

type “about:config” (without the quotes) in the address bar, then right click, select New > Boolean, enter “plugin.load_flash_only” (without the quotes) as the new Boolean value and set it to false. Once you’re done, restart Firefox.

I think I would be more interested in an ESR PPA.


Firefox ESR PPA would be nice indeed. Strange it doesn’t exist because there is a PPA for most software.

Whats the problem of just getting the ESR from by yourself?
Just download it, unpack it to /home/… , setup a quickstart icon , use it.

btw how can you manifest a programm to the system?
For example if you download the TorBrowser it will only run in its seperate folder directory.
So the system won’t know there is a new Browser.
However if you install Tor via PPA, you can set it as the default browser, because it was “really installed”.

How can I do that manually?

Laziness. Because then I have to do the exact same thing every time it’s updated.

I also read you should use a separate profile with ESR, which you have to create yourself. Firefox and Firefox ESR cannot run simultaneously if you don’t do this.

And as you point out yourself, setting Firefox ESR as default can be tricky if it isn’t installed on the system.

I tried the instructions at Firefox ESR and installation of ESR failed. Is there a method to install ESR that is updated by PPA?

No, there doesn’t seem to be. The PPA you linked to doesn’t contain any packages so nothing will be installed.

I tried to figure this out, but then I noticed how slow Firefox is compared to Pale Moon so now I just use Pale Moon instead. The only reason I kept using Firefox was the brand, but Pale Moon is all I want and has improved web compatibility lately. Except for corner cases Pale Moon will do everything Firefox does but faster.

Pale Moon also caters to Linux users. You can download their Linux installer which can install, update and remove the application. This installer has worked flawlessly since I first tried Pale Moon a couple of years ago.

I don’t know why I was clinging on to Firefox. I haven’t encountered any web compatibility issues with the latest version of Pale Moon.:thumbsup:

1 Like

Thanks. Seems to work fine. Definitely faster. Not compatible with some ad-dons and I do get a few warnings about my FireFox being out of date. Otherwise, I like it. Thanks.

1 Like

It’s best to use native Pale Moon add-ons. Here you can find extensions, themes etc. (menu at the top):

Where do you get warnings about “Firefox” being out of date?

In Pale Moon preferences>Advanced you can change user agent. Firefox compatibility is normally the best because web sites are too lazy to check html capabilities and assume it’s either Chrome, (IE/Edge) or Firefox. Some websites are “Chrome-only” and not even Firefox works correctly.

Pale Moon developer bumped the version number of FossaMail just to stay compatible with Thunderbird. So maybe he will do the same with Pale Moon. However I think they are probably tired of mimicking Firefox because there won’t be another rebase on Firefox code, only security patches and support for new standards.

Heya @anon42388993,

This old thread is taking on a new life with the last significant FOSS browser jerking around their most loyal users with even more upcoming changes.

I for one want no part of Australis but Classic Theme Restorer will be going away. Firefox ESR 52 delays this tragedy but is a pain to keep updated.

Not to mention the large number of other extensions soon to bite the dust.

With the lack of repositories or PPAs to update I’m curious what others would do. Manually update by extracting over the old version? I saw some running Firefox as root just to use updating I didn’t even know existed in Linux versions - doesn’t excite me as a solution.

What do others do for Firefox ESR?

I imagine supporting a firefox-esr package in a repository may not be an easy task or it’ be done? @Wimpy or @lah7 comments?

All Comments Welcome.

Chris Coulson was the maintainer of Firefox packages for Ubuntu back in 2012. He had this to say on the topic of “Why Ubuntu is not using the Firefox ESR”. Still relevant, IMHO.

I’ve noticed that more and more “basic users” (=not computer enthusiasts) have learned the importance of keeping their browser up-to-date, it’s been in the news so much. They know how to check the version they are currently running (Help -> About) and can check what is the latest version with a quick google search (or it’s mentioned in the news).

I’d hate to be explaining to people I give support to why they are running version 45 when the latest version is 51 (this was the situation before this week’s ESR branch update). They may not be computer enthusiasts but they understand numbers.

All of the above assuming Ubuntu MATE is still meant to be “an easily supported Linux distro for family and friends… for not super technical users” (paraphrasing), as Mr Wimpress has stated in interviews. This was the very reason I took a look at Ubuntu MATE in the first place, being in the same situation as him; converting friends and family from Windows to Linux and wanting them to have a stable system that allows them to get stuff done (and minimum amount of support calls for me).

Interview With Ubuntu Mate’s Martin Wimpress:
(first 4.5 minutes are about why and how Ubuntu MATE came to be):

I wouldn’t propose Firefox ESR as the default - but rather as an option which would probably conflict with the regular version and uninstall it automatically, etc. It really is strange no repository or PPA exists for it.

The basic users looking for some particular version is a good point. Reminds me of examples like HeartBleed patching. Sure, it was fixed at some current ssl version but that was NOT the way Ubuntu patched the old versions at all. People were convinced sites were vulnerable when they were not.

Oh wow. I didn’t even know that, and now I was just browsing threads and found this one… :open_mouth:

Indeed, CTR page states:

This add-on will stop working when Firefox 57 arrives in November 2017 and Mozilla drops support for XUL / XPCOM / legacy add-ons. It should still work on Firefox 52 ESR until ESR moves to Firefox 59 ESR in 2018 (~Q2).

Good that my Debian systems have ESR version (it’s available from the repos). Maybe I’ll try building the package from Debian locally.

1 Like

For reference, here’s a bug report by CTR author in his own repo:

It’s marked as wontfix, so don’t hope for anything. It’s there to provide more details about this breakage for those interested.

With the most recent Firefox update, we now have the first divergence of Firefox with the ESR version and I’m still wrestling with the good way to setup/install/maintain ESR for the next year.

Anyone got a better way than just untar to /opt/firefox, change the executable links and manually update?

No, I don’t have a better way. I just want to ask if this is all that needs to be done?
Will ESR use the same Firefox profile as normal Firefox so you don’t have to customize Firefox again?

To my knowledge, it will do exactly that. But NOW is the time before the 2 versions diverge substantially. I locked my Firefox version for now and will look in more detail this weekend.

I tried it. Firefox ESR 52.1.0 (64-bit) on Ubuntu MATE 14.04.

In /opt/firefox it doesn’t pick up your default Firefox profile.

If you unpack it in your home folder and start it from there it will pick up your default profile and look just like your regular Firefox. All my settings and even Sync settings were intact.

It’s nice to have ESR, but to be honest I don’t know if I will use it.

EDIT: In /opt/firefox I started Firefox from Caja superuser window so maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe it was using default root profile. Theming looked off.