Firefox and Thunderbird in Debian

The real ones, not the Debian versions, Iceweasel and Icedove. Obviously, one way is to get them straight from mozilla, but I’d like auto updates without much fuss. There’s Linux Mint, which is basically Debian, but kept up to date and without all the trouble that comes with using only free software. So one could add their repo in Debian.

After using this for some time, they tend to fall behind on updates. Kinda defeats the whole purpose. I’d use Debian’s versions or the originals as user, they update just fine.

Add this line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb debian import

Get the keyring and install it.

# wget
# dpkg -i linuxmint-keyring_2009.04.29_all.deb 
# rm linuxmint-keyring_2009.04.29_all.deb 

Now, there’s a problem. The linuxmint repo also has some packages that do not belong in a stable Debian, like a newer version of aptdaemon. That’s where ‘pinning’ comes in, it tells apt which versions to install. Edit /etc/preferences to include the following lines:

Package: *
Pin: origin ""
Pin-priority: 250

If /etc/preferences doesn’t exist, create it. From ‘man apt_preferences’, a priority of between 100 and 500 “causes a version to be installed unless there is a version available belonging to some other distribution or the installed version is more recent”. So basically any package that exists on another repo will have priority over the ones from linuxmint. You can use ‘apt-cache policy ‘ to check how a package will be processed.

That’s it, now use aptitude or apt-get to install thunderbird or firefox. You need to specify the language package too, otherwise it will install the first one it finds and that’s likely not the one you want.

# apt-get install firefox firefox-l10n-en-us thunderbird thunderbird-l10n-en-us

will install thunderbird and firefox in american english.