Saturday, January 23, 2010

Firefox 3.6 in Ubuntu

One problem with Linux is that it's common that the latest releases of cross-platform applications aren't easily available or as easily installed as on Mac and Windows computers, as Preston Gralla recently observed. Although I would dearly like to have disagreed with him, I have to say that after two unsuccessful attempts to install the recently released Firefox 3.6 using two different sets of instructions, I have to agree he's got a point. Although I succeeded with the directions here, I didn't know that I had without logging in and out, something I guessed at rather than was told. Other than that it was, as promised, "super easy": three simple steps with a few "y"s and a password.

My consistent experience is that Ubuntu is excellent for most purposes for "ordinary" users if you don't want to do anything unusual, including installing the latest versions of some software (Firefox and TeX Live among them). If you do, you may get lucky and be able to find instructions that will work the first time around; if not, possibly the second or third. But — and this is something I think about both Mac OS X and Windows — it really doesn't seem like it should be this hard. There are certain things I prefer about Ubuntu's software installation: Opening up a Terminal window and typing sudo apt-get install [whatever] works surprisingly often and is even easier than the process of finding and installing new software in Mac OS X and (in my very limited experience) Windows. But why can't it always be easy?

In my work as de facto tech support where I work (the one-eyed man among the more-or-less blind) when I look at what I have to do to fix even some simple things, things that I do so commonly they've often become second-nature to me at this point, I realize that to ordinary users they're entirely unintuitive. Admittedly complexity is a price that must be paid for power, but does so much have to be that complex? Well, maybe someday; here we are in 2010 and I still don't have my jet pack, after all.

3 comments:

Simon said...

The canonical way to install applications such as Firefox 3.6 on Ubuntu 9.10 (Ubuntu 9.10 comes with Firefox 3.5.x), is to use a 'PPA' repository.

You add a PPA repository in your system and then you can install using apt-get.

Have a look at instructions for one of those Firefox 3.6 PPAs.

http://www.webupd8.org/2009/10/install-firefox-36-beta1pre-in-ubuntu.html

The way of installing in Windows is more of a bad habit, and it is the source of all those trojan and virus infections. While Firefox is OK to install, getting into the habit of downloading and installing a wide range of executable files make your system less secure.

vaisamar said...

Hello,
My name is Emanuel Contac. I hail from Romania. You left on the LXX group a message about getting around the Google Books regulations which prevent Europeans from seeing books on Google Books. I have tried searching the Google for advice on this, but I am lost. Could you please supply me some more concrete hints? I discovered a lot of important books which I need to quote, but alas, they are not available. I cannot see even a snippet of them. My email is vaisamar@gmail.com

vaisamar said...

Hello,
My name is Emanuel Contac. I hail from Romania. You left on the LXX group a message about getting around the Google Books regulations which prevent Europeans from seeing books on Google Books. I have tried searching the Google for advice on this, but I am lost. Could you please supply me some more concrete hints? I discovered a lot of important books which I need to quote, but alas, they are not available. I cannot see even a snippet of them. My email is vaisamar@gmail.com