Talk:Moving from Windows to Linux

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Linux file name conventions

I didn't make the following changes (yet) because they happen in many places in this article and I thought a discussion would be useful:

  • On Linux, unlike on Windows, filename. (with a dot at the end) is not the same as filename (with no dot at the end).
- Good point. I'll add that. Tanstaafl
  • The name of the top script is not (or or but just firefox or thunderbird or seamonkey. If it were, typing firefox at the shell prompt wouldn't find it, even if it were in the $PATH.
- I'll fix it. Tanstaafl
  • Linux (and Unix in general) have a "clear screen" command, only it is called clear instead of Windows's cls. But Ctrl-L works so I don't know whether mentioning clear would be useful. You can even use cls itself, if you add alias cls='clear' in one of the shell's startup scripts; but I guess this is not the place for that info (or is it?).
-Describing how to add an alias for cls seems beyond the scope of the document. Mentioning both clear screen and Ctrl-L seems reasonable. I mentioned Ctrl-L because thats what my searches found and the linux newbie forums mentioned. Tanstaafl
In my bullet item above, "clear screen" is what the command does, clear is its name (by which it is invoked). I didn't know about Ctrl-L until you mentioned it, but clear is what I had learned to use, then aliased cls to in my bash startup script.
  • There is no .mozilla-thunderbird directory in the $HOME directory. Profiles are stored in ~/.mozilla/firefox (for Firefox), ~/.thunderbird (for Thunderbird), ~/.mozilla/<profilename> (for the —obsolete— Mozilla Suite and for SeaMonkey 1.x) and ~/.mozilla/seamonkey (for the as yet unreleased SeaMonkey 2.x). (The tilde represents the $HOME directory, of course, but maybe the fact would be worth mentioning in an article targeting users who know Windows better than Unix/Linux.) Or maybe just link to Profile folder and save us the duplication here.
- I have a .mozilla-thunderbird directory in my home directory . Please keep in mind that the text is talking about three different installations - where Ubuntuzilla installs it, where the Ubuntu package manager installs it, and where its installed if you download it from the Mozilla web site. Since the majority of the readers will be running a distro whose package manager supports Thunderbird I do not think we should focus on what the download from the Mozilla web site does. We should encourage them to install it using the package manager rather than the knee jerk response that they should download it and then try to figure out how to install it. Please also keep in mind that this article is deliberately Ubuntu-centric (due to its popularity in the forums), though it shouldn't ignore other distributions.
I'm on SuSE, but I get Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey from Mozilla, not from the distro (because the upgrades on the distro lag behind by what is to me an unacceptably long delay), so I don't know by how much the "distro build" differs from the "Mozilla build" in my case. I would expect, though, that the differences might be larger in Debian-based distros (such as Ubuntu) than in RH-based distros (such as SuSE). -- Tony 10:34, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
There is an openSUSE build service which provides current releases, frequently on the same day or a day after the Mozilla releases. Those worked fine for me for considerable time now. Apparently they don't go through the usual QA process that SUSE has, thus coming out faster, and won't be provided as delta-RPM's like the ones in the official YaST Online Update repositories. Just add the respective path of your version as Installation Source in YaST and update them manually in Software Management when another release comes out. --Rsx11m 18:13, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
They don't distribute nightlies, do they? (I'm using Firefox2 "branch nightlies", SeaMonkey2 "trunk nightlies" and, before I switched mail clients, Thunderbird2 "branch nightlies" -- meaning I get Fx bugfixes the day they are ported to the branch, and Sm bugfixes the day they land.) Yes, I know nightlies are supposed to be "less stable" than releases but that's my choice, you don't have to follow me. -- Tony 18:56, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
No, those are for the regular branch releases only, but with customizations specific to SUSE/openSUSE distros. --Rsx11m 19:21, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
-I remember initially being very confused trying to deal with multiple copies of Firefox and Thunderbird, how to know which one I was running etc. , and also fighting with the package manager trying to get it to rollback from a broken build (it would, but would then reinstall the bad one) and finally giving in and installing a second copy from Mozilla.... These are some of the issues I think we should deal with.
-Good point about the tilde, I'll add it. Tanstaafl
  • IIUC, the "release file" includes a locale and a platform. It would thus be firefox-, not firefox- Please check this though, I use only Fx2 branch nightly builds, not release builds.
-I just downloaded firefox- from . I also downloaded the German build from, it has the exact same name (though stored as firefox- on my hard disk). I used the archive manager to look at its readme.txt to verify it was really a German build. The latest nightly build is firefox- I think we should continue to document the naming standard for release builds. Tanstaafl
Ah, I see: the naming convention is different for releases and nightlies then. Yes, I agree: we should mention the "releases" name.
  • Wouldn't firefox- (or its equivalent, of course) be worth mentioning? Or doesn't it exist?
-I couldn't find any mention of it using Google or by using the archive manager to browse the latest tarball from mozilla's web site. Tanstaafl
It doesn't exist then. For some SeaMonkey versions (but not the trunk nightlies I'm using) there has been (or still is?) an .installer.tar.gz build besides the .tar.gz -- Tony 10:34, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

-- Tony 18:37, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Good list. Please add any more you might think of later on. I added my comments to each of the points you raised. Tanstaafl 08:23, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

These are all the ones I noticed. If I find any more, count on me to act on them (either here, or on the main page if the action is obvious). -- Tony 10:34, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
— I've removed a couple of "dots at the end of filenames" that you missed, corrected a typo, and added a "cultural differences" item about paths syntax. Feel free to "edit mercilessly", of course, as they say below the edit form. -- Tony 11:01, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Since this article is somewhat Ubuntu-centric, shouldn't there be another article somewhere giving a general overview on preferred installation sources for all Linux distributions? --Rsx11m 18:13, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Nope. Do you really mean "all"? Thats not practical, and even trying to do that would create too long an article. This article is meant for users switching from Windows to Linux, which means it should focus on the most popular distributions and/or the ones that attract the most converts from Windows. I'd suggest trying to keep it to something like Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, Red Hat/Fedora, Gentoo and Mandriva . [1] [2] Why don't you add information for openSUSE since you're using it? I'll try to reorganize the article to make it easier to add info for specific distributions. Tanstaafl 08:33, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, "all" in the sense of "most" :-) I've added the necessary information to install openSUSE RPM's from both the regular and the build service repositories. --Rsx11m 00:31, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

64-bit builds

Under Using a build from the Mozilla web site it is said (about two paragraphs above the first subtitle) that all Mozilla builds for Linux are 32-bit. This information is obsolete. There are now (and have been for some time) "official" Linux x86_64 builds for Firefox and (I think) Thunderbird and Lightning. For SeaMonkey, they are built on Mozilla machines but they are still regarded as "contributed" (i.e. unofficial). The difference matters if you want to download a release build but not for a trunk nightly or (I think) an Aurora or beta build.
Note: The 64-bit builds are not listed on the "All systems and languages" page for Firefox or Thunderbird and only in small type at the very bottom of the equivalent page for SeaMonkey. But you can download them from for release builds, and from for beta (listed under "candidates" for each application), Aurora and trunk. Beware that when there is a * next to the *.tar.bz2 it usually means that Breakpad/Socorro won't be able to find the symbols for this build (but this is also the case for "linux-i686" 32-bit builds). — Tony 21:32, 1 August 2012 (UTC)