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Install Firefox on RHEL 5

Yes, it sounds impossible - install a next-gen Browser on the legacy OS RHEL 5 that features limited repository possibilities. We all have heard it, install remi repos or install rpmforge and then install the latest Firefox RPM to your RedHat Linux.


However not only are both Repositories conflicting each other, also obviously nobody ever considered looking into the Remi's repos - surprisingly there is no Firefox availabe for RHEL 5. Have a look yourself at Remi's Repos or if you have one of that Repos installed, do a

yum --enablerepo=rpmfusion-free-updates-testing list firefox

yum --enablerepo=remi list firefox

So even if RHEL is some kind of pre-3.0 Kernel OS, it is still Linux, and as such we can achieve virtually anything, because - as you are certainly aware of - with Free Software there are no boundaries enforced by any bogus corporate licensing or versioning constraints.

Install Firefox

In order to install Firefox on your RedHat system, follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest Firefox mozilla.org build as bz2 archive from the official page: http://www.mozilla.org/.

  2. Remove any old Firefox versions with

    sudo yum remove firefox

  3. Unzip with

    tar xvj filename

    (where filename is the firefox archive you downloaded)

  4. According to the Linux File System Hierachy Standard, we should put the contents of the package into /opt/.

The use of /opt for add-on software is a well-established practice in the UNIX community. The System V Application Binary Interface [AT&T 1990], based on the System V Interface Definition, provides for an /opt structure very similar to the one defined here. The Intel Binary Compatibility Standard v. 2 (iBCS2) also provides a similar structure for /opt. Generally, all data required to support a package on a system must be present within /opt/, including files intended to be copied into /etc/opt/ and /var/opt/ as well as reserved directories in /opt.

Source: http://www.pathname.com/fhs/pub/fhs-2.3.html

Now let's move the content of the extracted Firefox tarball over to /opt/ with

sudo mv Downloads/firefox /opt/firefox

You should create a symbolic link to the firefox binary in a directory that's in your PATH variable, e.g.:

sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

Now you should be able to start Firefox by simply typing firefox in your terminal.


Adobe Flash Plug-In

  1. Install the RPMs from the Adobe Web Site

  2. See where your flash library got installed, issue

    locate libflashplayer.so

    cd /home/USERNAME/.mozilla/plugins

    sudo cp /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/libflashplayer.so .

    sudo chown USERNAME:users libflashplayer.so

Please note: Above may not work for you, because from my experience installing Flash on Linux is a pain, and depends on multiple factors. So in my professional opinion it's great to see this crap company called Adobe abandoned Flash on Linux. I hope they abandon their business altogether and the Web can move towards Open standards without greedy click-monkeys like Adobe holding us back.

Install Firefox on RHEL 5
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