Monthly Archives: June 2012

Downgrading Iceweasel on Debian Wheezy

Preamble

By default, Debian Wheezy installs Iceweasel (Firefox) 10.x. This can break a lot of extensions so, for those who would rather stick with version 3.x, this is how I reverted to the older version. Note that there may be alternative, ” official” method, but this is the quick-and-dirty that I came up with.

Disclaimer: this worked for me, your mileage may vary. Use these instructions at your own risk. (If you do come across any issues, please get in touch – especially if you find solutions – so I can amend this article.)

Get The Packages

At the time of writing, the current, stable, version of Debian is Squeeze – which installs Iceweasel 3.x by default. We will, therefore, make use of Squeeze packages:

Download packages appropriate for your architecture, install using dpkg -i, in the order given above. I think this is the correct sequence to solve all dependencies. Other dependencies may be unmet due to different software configurations. Simply note what’s missing from the messages given by dpkg and find the packages through packages.debian.org.

Footnote

Due to the rather onerous process of creating XUL-based extensions (and for other reasons) I am in the process of migrating to the Chromium browser. I went through this exercise because I can’t commit the time to either writing the Chromium extension or fixing the Firefox/Iceweasel one. With Chris Pederick’s Web Developer Toolbar now being available for Chrome/Chromium, my one little extension is the only remaining reason to be using Firefox/Iceweasel as my main browser.

Recent Versions of the Chromium Browser in Debian, Ubuntu

Preamble

I'm a big fan of the Debian Linux distribution but one thing that can be a problem is the age of some packages, especially web browsers. Needing to work with a recent version of the Chromium browser, this is how I managed to get it installed without going through the horrendous process of building from source.

Looking for Google Chrome?

If you are happy to trust Google's assertion about not being evil, you might be happy to use a build of Chrome. Betas and development versions are available through the Chrome Release Channels page.

Chromium Builds for Debian and Ubuntu

Recent Ubuntu builds are available from the Personal Package Archives (PPA) at launchpad.net. Ubuntu users can get instructions on how to use PPAs on the How do I user software from a PPA? page.

As the Ubuntu add-apt-repository tool is not available under Debian, Anant Shrivastava has a solution here. Once you have this tool installed, the rest is simple:


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chromium-daily/beta
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Already having an old version of chromium-browser installed, this got me:


The following extra packages will be installed:
chromium-browser-l10n chromium-codecs-ffmpeg
The following NEW packages will be installed:
chromium-browser-l10n chromium-codecs-ffmpeg
The following packages will be upgraded:
chromium-browser

Which, so far, is working just fine. Note that this is not guaranteed to work. Whilst it worked without problems on my Squeeze AMD64 installation, your mileage may vary.

Where's WebRTC?

My reason for installing a recent version of Chromium was to play with WebRTC. Unfortunately, the Chromium build from the PPA does not have the necessary components enabled at compile time so, at this point, the Google Chrome build will be required. I will, however, be experimenting with Chromium for other purposes, including writing extensions, which appears to be a trivial process compared to battling Mozilla's XUL.

As WebRTC is new and scary, whilst it is enabled at compile time in Chrome builds, it needs to be enabled in the New and Scary, This May Wreck Your Browser controls, which may be found by navigating to chrome://flags/ Further information may be found on the not-very-up-to-date Running the Demos page at webrtc.org.