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Old 05. Apr 2010, 04:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Firefox on Linux Mint 8

I have installed Linux Mint 8 Helena on my older PC.

I observed some points about software on Mint, and I will talk with reference to Firefox in this post.

Several software come bundled with Mint, and Firefox was among them. I noticed that Firefox was Mint-customized, like the search bar of Google, and other things. I also noticed that the version of Firefox that is bundled with Mint, is 3.5.8, whereas the current version of Firefox is 3.6.3. I have updated Mint twice or thrice via its updates, but still, Firefox has not been updated to the latest version. Why is this? I would like my software to be updated to the latest version. The software repository still holds version 3.5.8, whereas in 3.5 series too, version 3.5.9 is the latest.

I downloaded Firefox 3.6.3 from the Firefox website. Interestingly, it does not come as an installer. It comes as a zipped version. I unzipped the contents to a directory, and I run it from there. So, it runs independently of Firefox 3.5.8, which I am thinking to uninstall.

But question is, when the latest version of Firefox is 3.6.3, why are they still having Firefox 3.5.8, and why do they don't release its update, via the Mint updates?
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Old 05. Apr 2010, 04:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Regarding performance, I think that Firefox 3.6.3 on Linux definitely feels faster than the same version on Win XP, even with P-III and 348 MB SDRAM on this older PC. I think this can be because I don't have any antivirus or firewall installed on Linux, and therefore there is nothing to interfere with the traffic. Whereas on my Windows PC, I have Avast and PC Tools Firewall, both of which check the internet traffic.

The slow startup of Firefox still remains an issue though.

Also, I have not installed NoScript. Is NoScript even necessary on Linux?

I also noticed, that the position of response buttons in Firefox is different from that of Windows version.

There are two utilities on Linux Mint to install software. One is the Synaptic, and other is MintInstall. MintInstall seems to be Mint's own choice of software, which the user can install, whereas Synaptic is the usual software manager, which offers much more wider choice. What will be difference though, in installing a particular software from Synaptic, or MintInstall?
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Old 05. Apr 2010, 05:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Anupam I am going to answer these questions to the best of my knowledge.

1. The reason that Mint 8 only has 3.5.8 has nothing to do with the mint team, but rather with the Ubuntu Mozilla development team. They are always behind Mozilla's own releases as they work to make Firefox perfectly stable.

Be careful about running two versions of Firefox like the way you have yours now. They claim that some problems can arise because they will both default to using the same profile. If you set them up to each use a different profile then they say there should be no problems.

You can install the Ubuntu teams latest "pre" releases by adding their daily release repository below to your software sources. It will not be called Firefox when it is installed though, as each pre release is given a code name. In this case Namoroka. By adding the right repository you can even play around with 3.7 already.

[http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mozi...ily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main]

More on this can be found here https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FirefoxNewVersion

2. I don't experience any slow start up at all on Firefox on my Linux Mint 8. In fact it faster than on my XP install.

3. As far as I know there is absolutely no difference between installing software through Synaptic, MintInstall, or Apt-get via the terminal. I believe Mintinstall was created to make it a little easier for people who don't know program names and what the programs do, as they include more extensive descriptions of the programs. I always use Synaptic, so I am not really familiar with Mintinstall. The reason Synaptic includes more, is because the Mint team can not possibly go through all the available programs themselves to add more accurate descriptions.

4. I don't think Noscript is all that necessary on linux but a lot of people still use it. Some even claim it makes their browsing experience considerably faster. You may want to google this one for a more definitive answer.
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Old 05. Apr 2010, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot for the answers Ritho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritho View Post
1. The reason that Mint 8 only has 3.5.8 has nothing to do with the mint team, but rather with the Ubuntu Mozilla development team. They are always behind Mozilla's own releases as they work to make Firefox perfectly stable.

Be careful about running two versions of Firefox like the way you have yours now. They claim that some problems can arise because they will both default to using the same profile. If you set them up to each use a different profile then they say there should be no problems.
It was not clear to me first, what you said in the first paragraph. Because, I saw on Firefox site, that setup for Linux was available. And I thought why not just make it available straight away? But then, I had thoughts that there are so many Linux distros available, and every distro will have to make sure that the latest Firefox version ran perfectly on their distro. So they check it. Is that what was meant? If yes, then I get it .

But still, I feel they are quite behind. The latest version has got to 3.6.3, and they are still stuck with 3.5.8. That's quite some lag IMO.

I do not want to install the daily builds. That would be quite adventurous and risky. However, from the link you gave, I found out, how to install the latest Mozilla builds. Here is the link :

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Fi.../MozillaBuilds

One is the manual installation... which I did... although, I did not make any changes to preserve profiles, as described on the page.
The other method is to add repository of Ubuntuzilla and get the builds from there.

I am using Firefox by manual installation, and so far, I have not faced any problems with it.

You were right about the point of problems being caused by having two versions with the same profile. I did ran into that problem, when I had installed the newer version manually. I had made the new version the default browser, and so I thought that next time I would open Firefox from the "Web Browser" link in the menu of Mint, the new version would open. But, I was wrong... what happened was that the version 3.5.8 opened. I was quite bewildered by this, because all the add-ons that I installed were taken successfully, but the version opened was different. Now, I understand that it happened because they both use same profiles. Thanks for telling that .

Now, I think I will uninstall the version that came bundled with Mint, and keep using the latest builds from Mozilla. Anyways, it will not be an issue, if it does not work right, because I am running Mint just to get hold of Linux, and it won't be my main system. Also, I am thinking to install Crunchbang instead of Mint, because I feel my system's specs are not made for Mint... things feel slow.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritho View Post
2. I don't experience any slow start up at all on Firefox on my Linux Mint 8. In fact it faster than on my XP install.
Yes, its not as slow as XP, but still its not fast as Chrome/Iron either . Means, its not instantaneous. I think the RAM might be an issue too, in my case, since I have only 348 MB... and things really feel slow, even if I have only 4-5 tabs open.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritho View Post
3. As far as I know there is absolutely no difference between installing software through Synaptic, MintInstall, or Apt-get via the terminal. I believe Mintinstall was created to make it a little easier for people who don't know program names and what the programs do, as they include more extensive descriptions of the programs. I always use Synaptic, so I am not really familiar with Mintinstall. The reason Synaptic includes more, is because the Mint team can not possibly go through all the available programs themselves to add more accurate descriptions.
Your answer makes sense. MintInstall contains limited programs and are meant to be simple, quick, and easy choice for the user. Only selected, and good programs are there. So, a new user should check there first. It has a clean, and easy to use interface too. And you are right, Synaptic contains a whole lot of software in the repository, and it can be quite overwhelming to make a choice for software of a particular category. MintInstall is an good alternative from that point of view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritho View Post
4. I don't think Noscript is all that necessary on linux but a lot of people still use it. Some even claim it makes their browsing experience considerably faster. You may want to google this one for a more definitive answer.
You are right about this too. I will try to find out more about this. Thanks .
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Old 05. Apr 2010, 09:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Mint-install makes it slightly easier than Synaptic to install applications. It is meant to install applications not packages as in Synaptic. So while a newbie may find different packages in Synaptic and may wonder what those packages do or whether they're 'runnable' applications (the vast majority aren't), he will always find a 'runnable' application though the Mint-install repository (also only high-quality software are listed). Also when you install a app through Synaptic all related dependencies also get selected which may confuse the newbie. However Synaptic is a vast resource and MintInstall comes nowhere close to it.
apt-get can be very powerful for users who can use them in a script to automate things but is hard to recommend for a newbie.
Also running scripts will always have a performance impact even if it is slight so NoScript will make things faster. But considering there's hardly any security benefit(at least on Linux though imo its the same for a windows installation with a firewall), clicking around to enable things when you find the web pages broken will actually slow you down.

Last edited by sa1; 05. Apr 2010 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 06. Apr 2010, 01:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
I do not want to install the daily builds. That would be quite adventurous and risky
I think it is actually less risky to use the daily builds than the Mozilla release. If you think about it, the first pre release is going to be almost identical with the Mozilla release, then with each subsequent release bugs will be worked out of what Mozilla has already made. At least I think that is the way it works. It is not like it is in beta or something. I use the daily builds and have not ever had a problem.
Quote:
but still its not fast as Chrome/Iron either . Means, its not instantaneous.
Well I compared Iron with Firefox, and Firefox took just one second longer. About 3 seconds to launch FF and 2 seconds to launch Iron. FF has several more plugins installed, but I would hardly call 3 seconds a slow startup especially since I only launch it about once a day. How long does it take on your mint installation?
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Old 06. Apr 2010, 06:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritho View Post
I think it is actually less risky to use the daily builds than the Mozilla release. If you think about it, the first pre release is going to be almost identical with the Mozilla release, then with each subsequent release bugs will be worked out of what Mozilla has already made. At least I think that is the way it works. It is not like it is in beta or something. I use the daily builds and have not ever had a problem.
I think you may be right here. I had forgot that the build they would be working on, would already be a stable release from Mozilla's point of view. So, yes, it will not be that risky. You are correct .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritho View Post
Well I compared Iron with Firefox, and Firefox took just one second longer. About 3 seconds to launch FF and 2 seconds to launch Iron. FF has several more plugins installed, but I would hardly call 3 seconds a slow startup especially since I only launch it about once a day. How long does it take on your mint installation?
I did not note the timings like that . I just noticed that it took longer. But, I attribute it to the less amount of RAM I have on my system. Anyways, I do not have Chrome installed on Mint, so I will not have any thing to compare it to.I can just note the timing of Firefox. Also, the startup time really does not matter to me, I can wait . And once it starts, it performs its job very well.

I read somewhere that installing AdBlockPlus made startup of Firefox longer. True?
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