Staying relevant: FF7 on EL5

Awhile back I wrote about updating to the latest (then 6) Firefox on Enterprise Linux 6 (in my case, Scientific Linux — but it would apply to CentOS or Red Hat as well). As of Firefox 7 you can do the same on Enterprise Linux 5.

Back when I did the EL6 upgrade article I tried unsuccessfully to get FF6 to work on EL5. But as of FF7 things look much better. There are some plugins that won’t work. You’ll get an ELF library mismatch error for nppdf.so, the Adobe Reader plugin, for example. You can (and probably should) still configure Firefox so that it will open .pdf documents using the Adobe Reader fat client rather than the plugin.

Builds for all platforms are still found here. I used the tree labelled “7.0” rather than “latest”. Call me a wimp, but the being on the bleeding edge got old for me a long time ago.

To install just tar -xjf firefox-7.0.tar.bz2 and move the resulting firefox folder to /opt. I finish up by making a symlink from the 64-bit plugins directory into my new firefox folder:

ln -s /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins
/opt/firefox/plugins

The last step is to reconfigure the Web Browser in my Preferred Applications to Custom, setting out the following in the Command window:

/opt/firefox/firefox %s

Postscript: The only major issue I’ve found so far running FF7 on EL5 is with the 64-bit Adobe Flash plugin. Basically it hangs up the browser on some sites to the point that the process has to be killed. That’s disappointing, but a good reminder of just how awful Flash is and a continuing incentive to rid the world of it.