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I have the firefox package (Firefox 3.6) installed in Ubuntu 10.04. I'd like to install Firefox 4.0 from the Mozilla PPA but keep 3.6? The instructions look like they'll replace the current firefox package with the new firefox. Is it possible to install both using apt-get? Is there a way to name the executables firefox-3.6 and firefox-4.0 and have firefox point at one of them?

If you can't use apt, what's the best way to install multiple packages with the same name that will automatically update themselves (or at least be easy to update)?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you use ubuntu-mozilla-daily ppa from mozillateam, it won't replace your 3.6. However, you won't get stable versions. For instance, that ppa is distributing Firefox 7.0a1 now.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox-trunk

If you want Firefox 5 Beta, use ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next.

For more info see http://www.webgapps.org/tutorials/firefox/general/installing-other-versions and the Firefox 4 Mega Thread.

If you want to test multiple versions, then check my FoxTester extension:

http://www.webgapps.org/add-ons/foxtester

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/foxtester/

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Great tip, +1! Question: is mozillateam an official PPA? Will it be maintaned/updated for each upstream release? –  MestreLion Apr 7 '11 at 23:37
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I had to split my reply, because it was too long: Ubuntu has an update policy that only includes security patches. So when some application developer releases a new major version, which usually includes new features and possibly GUI changes, it only gets into the official repos when Canonical releases a new Ubuntu version, which happens every 6 months. –  lovinglinux May 28 '11 at 4:58
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With the release of Firefox 3.6 Canonical opened an exception, because Mozilla stopped providing security updates for the 3.0 series, which was the default on some Ubuntu versions. So Canonical decided to push Firefox 3.6 into all Ubuntu repos, even those using Firefox 3.5. It wasn't an easy transition and the upgrade caused several problems, specially on those Ubuntu versions that were still using Firefox 3.0. –  lovinglinux May 28 '11 at 4:58
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So, is not common and not very likely that Canonical will push another major version of Firefox into the official repos, unless Mozilla stops providing updates for the versions currently being used (3.6). Since the development schedule of Firefox now predicts a new major release every 6-12 weeks, is more likely that Mozilla won't support Firefox 3.6 for as long as it supported Firefox 3.0. When that happens, then you might see the latest Firefox being pushed to the official repos, but it probably won't be Firefox 4. –  lovinglinux May 28 '11 at 4:59
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@MestreLion - I just read an article that says Mozilla won't be providing security updates to older versions, since Firefox will be performing silent upgrades in Windows. This will definitely affect Ubuntu and we might see new versions pushed into the repositories, besides the Ubuntu upgrade policy. –  lovinglinux May 28 '11 at 14:44
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