Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 5, hopefully the final beta, was released on Wednesday, April 2nd. Changes since beta 4 include better web compatibility, stability, OS integration, performance, and improvements to the bookmark manager. Beta 5 scores 71 on the Acid3 test versus 68 on beta 4.

Eager to give it a spin in Ubuntu or another Linux distro? You can easily install it alongside your existing version of Firefox. But remember: this beta is intended for testing only. If you’re running Ubuntu 8.04 this will work, but you can just wait a few days for Firefox 3 Beta 5 to arrive in the repositories instead. [update] It’s now available in the 8.04 repositories.

Firefox 3 Beta 5

Backup your profile
Before you run Firefox, you may want to backup your profile from Firefox 2. I haven’t had any problems sharing the profile so far, but don’t let Firefox 3 update update your extensions when it starts to avoid incompatibilities. This command will backup the Firefox profiles folder to firefox_profile_backup in your home folder:
cp -r ~/.mozilla/firefox/ ~/firefox_profile_backup

If you need to restore from the backup, do so by replacing the hidden .mozilla/firefox folder with your backup.

Install Firefox 3 Beta 5
Let’s install Firefox now. This one command downloads the Firefox archive, and extracts it to a folder called firefox in your home directory. Copy and paste it (one line) into your terminal to install.
wget -O – http://releases.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/3.0b5/linux-i686/en-US/firefox-3.0b5.tar.bz2 | tar xj -C ~

Run Firefox 3 Beta 5
Before running Firefox 3, close Firefox 2. Double-click the firefox file inside the firefox folder in your home directory, or run this command:
~/firefox/firefox

You can add Firefox 3 to your GNOME Applications menu using the menu editor in System->Preferences->Main Menu.

Missing plugins?
Firefox 3 may not see browser plugins like Flash. If you’re missing plugins, you can copy them from /usr/lib/firefox/plugins to ~/firefox/plugins.

Incompatible Extensions?
Beta 5 seems to have broken compatibility with a lot of extensions. I’ve been using Nightly Tester Tools to run older extensions. It doesn’t work with all of them, but it’s worth a try. If you’re looking for a compatible version of Adblock Plus, the latest development build will work with Beta 5.

If you have any problems with the installation, feel free to leave a comment on this post.


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