Using UbuntuZilla

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Back up current settings (optional but recommended)
Add UbuntuZilla Repository and Signing Key
Install Mozilla Builds of Firefox, Thunderbird, or SeaMonkey


UbuntuZilla gives you an easy way to install the latest stable Mozilla (as opposed to Ubuntu) release of Firefox, Thunderbird, and/or Seamonkey. More importantly, since it uses a software repository, after you have set it up, you will get updates for new releases just as you would for any new Ubuntu software package.

If the words repository and package confuse you, I highly recommend you read my guide to installing software in Ubuntu. It gives you the basics on how software installation on Ubuntu is quite different from Windows and Mac OS X, and how it is in many ways easier, once you get used to it.

By far, the simplest way to use UbuntuZilla is to follow the instructions on the UbuntuZilla website, which involve copying and pasting (with your mouse if you'd like) four terminal commands. The whole thing can be done in less than a minute.

For some strange reason, many new users are intimidated by the terminal, though, and so I have provided step-by-step point-and-click instructions below (which take a lot longer than one minute).

Back up current settings (optional but recommended)

In theory, nothing bad will happen to your current Firefox (or Thunderbird or SeaMonkey) settings if you decide to use the Mozilla (and not Ubuntu) build. For years, I've been switching back and forth between Mozilla and Ubuntu builds of Firefox and Thunderbird and have never experienced a corrupt profile.

Nevertheless, it never hurts to back up settings (which include downloaded emails, remembered passwords, rearranged toolbars, cookies, etc.).

Go to your home directory (Places > Home Folder if you don't know where it is).

Show hidden files and folders (you can press Control-H to toggle).

Find either the .mozilla (for Firefox or SeaMonkey) or .mozilla-thunderbird or .thunderbird (for Thunderbird) folder and copy it.

Find an empty space and paste a copy of the folder.

Rename the copy to something that makes sense for you. If, for some reason, you experience a problem with the Mozilla build, you can uninstall it, delete the settings folder, and restore the backup copy of it.

Add UbuntuZilla Repository and Signing Key

First, go to the key server for UbuntuZilla.

Highlight the text from the beginning to ending block and copy it.

Open up the Gedit text editor.

Paste in the previously copied text.

Save the text document as ubuntuzillakey.txt on your desktop.

(Really, it could be any name and any place, as long as you can find it later.)

Go to System > Administration > Software Sources

If you're prompted for your password here, enter it.

Under the Authentication tab, click Import Key File and then find the text file you saved earlier (which I suggested you call ubuntuzillakey.txt) and then click OK to select it.

Keep that Software Sources window open while you switch back to your web browser.

Go to the UbuntuZilla webpage and click on the link to the installation instructions.

Highlight the line after the repository to add is and copy it.

Now return to the Software Sources window.

Under Third-Party Software, click Add, and then paste in the previously copied line, and click Add Source

Finally, click Close on the Software Sources window and, when prompted, click Reload.

Wait for the software package information to refresh.

Install Mozilla Builds of Firefox, Thunderbird, or SeaMonkey

Now that you have set up the UbuntuZilla software repository, you can install the Mozilla (not Ubuntu) builds of Firefox, Thunderbird and/or SeaMonkey.

Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager

Click Search and then search for mozilla-build and then click Search again.

The search index filter will probably not work to find new software packages, so make sure you actually click the search button or press Control-F.

Double-click whatever build(s) you want to install and then click Apply.

Click Apply again to confirm.

Wait for the new build(s) to download and install.

Now you can use the Mozilla build of Firefox, Thunderbird, and/or SeaMonkey!

Last updated 10/13/10 10:08

If you have suggestions or corrections for these tutorials, please post in this Ubuntu Forums thread or leave a comment on my blog.

I will not give help to people posting in the above places. If you require technical support, start a support thread on the Ubuntu Forums. That is the appropriate place to ask for help.