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How to install the Firefox Release version on OpenSUSE LEAP

OpenSUSE Leap comes with the Firefox web browser pre-installed, like most Linux operating systems. However, unlike a lot of other Linux operating systems, Leap doesn’t have the release version by default. Instead, it ships with the “Extend Support Release,” which is several releases behind the version you get on other Linux distros.

The Firefox ESR release on OpenSUSE Leap is pretty modern; it’s not ancient. However, it’s considerably slower and lacking new features that most users come to expect. Luckily, you can install the Firefox Release version on OpenSUSE LEAP.

To transition from Firefox Extended Release to the latest version of Firefox, you’ll need to utilize third-party software repositories. Also, keep in mind that this tutorial will only work with OpenSUSE Leap version 15.0 and 42.3. If you’re using an older version of Leap, please upgrade to the new version.

Update OpenSUSE packages

Before installing a new version of Firefox from a separate software repository, it’s a good idea to update the packages on your OpenSUSE Linux system. Updating your system is essential and will ensure that your system has the latest packages and patches, which make the Firefox app run better.

Updating software on OpenSUSE happens in two parts. The first part involves refreshing all of the software repositories on the system to check for any pending updates. The second part consists in acknowledging that updates are ready and installing the new packages through the update command on your Linux computer.

To refresh the software sources on OpenSUSE Leap, launch a terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, run the zypper refresh command to tell your system to check for the latest updates.

sudo zypper refresh

Once all of the packages on your OpenSUSE Leap system are fully refreshed and ready to go, we can use the zypper upgrade command to install any pending upgrades. Don’t worry if you see a notice that specific updates “will not be installed.” This notice appears when you have multiple software repositories with different versions of the same packages, and won’t affect your system negatively if you ignore it.

To install the pending updates on your OpenSUSE Leap system, enter the following upgrade command.

sudo zypper upgrade

When all upgrades are done installing, it’s safe to move on to the next step.

Add official Mozilla software repository

Mozilla doesn’t release any standalone RPM files to download for OpenSUSE users looking to get the latest version of Mozilla Firefox. Instead, they require using their software repository. To add the third-party software repo, launch a terminal window. Then, gain root access with the su command.

su -

Now that you’ve got Root access, you can quickly add the new software source using the addrepo command.

LEAP 15.0

zypper addrepo http://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/mozilla/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/ mozilla

LEAP 42.3

zypper addrepo http://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/mozilla/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/ mozilla

With the new software repository added to OpenSUSE Leap, it’s time to install the newly recommended packages from it, using the inr command.

zypper inr

Let the recommended packages install themselves. When done, move on to the next step in the guide.

Transition Firefox ESR to latest packages

By adding the Mozilla software repository to OpenSUSE Leap, you’ve made it possible to install two different versions of Mozilla Firefox, and if you attempt to install Firefox, you’ll have both Firefox ESR and the latest version of Firefox at the same time. While it isn’t a big deal to do this, many people don’t like having two versions of Firefox on a single computer at the same time. Thankfully, it’s possible to fix this issue.

Fixing the issue of having multiple versions of Firefox is done by using the dup command with the “–allow-vendor-change” switch.

Note: before entering the command below, make sure your terminal session still has root access.

zypper dup --allow-vendor-change

When the dup command runs with the “–allow-vendor-change” command-line switch, it will transition the Firefox ESR packages to newer ones from the Mozilla software repository we just added. It’ll also ensure that all updates from now on come straight from Mozilla, rather than the OpenSUSE.

Downgrade to Firefox ESR

Decided you don’t want the newest version of  Mozilla Firefox on OpenSUSE Leap and want to go back to the ESR release? Here’s what to do. First, remove the Mozilla software repository from your system.

su -

LEAP 15.0

zypper removerepo http://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/mozilla/openSUSE_Leap_15.0/

LEAP 42.3

zypper removerepo http://widehat.opensuse.org/opensuse/repositories/mozilla/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/

With the Mozilla repository removed from LEAP, run the refresh command to check for updates.

zypper refresh

Next, update and do a vendor change back to OpenSUSE’s software repositories.

zypper update
zypper dup --allow-vendor change

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