Firefox/Mozilla-firefox package conflict in Ubuntu

This post contained incorrect information and has been modified.

Ubuntu (Hoary Hedgehog) wanted to upgrade Firefox from version 1.0.6 to version 1.0.7, but the upgrade barfed with errors like this: dpkg: error processing /var/cache/apt/archives/mozilla-firefox_1.0.6-0ubuntu0.1_i386.deb (--unpack): trying to overwrite `/var/lib/mozilla-firefox/extensions.d/00classic', which is also in package firefox dpkg-deb: subprocess paste killed by signal (Broken pipe) After that, firefox would no longer start. Apparantly, I somehow had both the "firefox" package and the "mozilla-firefox" package installed. Additionally, they seemed to have cross-dependencies, and simply uninstalling firefox would also affect the packages "yelp", "ubuntu-desktop", and "language-support-en".
  1. Remove all firefox packages. In System:Administration:Synaptic Package Manager, do a search for "firefox" and mark all packages there for removal. Click the "Apply" button, and make note of any other packages that will also be removed. On my system, they were "yelp", "ubuntu-desktop", and "language-support-en".
  2. Reinstall Firefox. In the package manager, mark "firefox" for installation, along with "firefox-dom-inspector" (optional, but I recommend it) and "firefox-gnome-support". If you use a non-US locale, reinstall that as well (it will be something like mozilla-firefox-locale-xx). Apply changes. You should now have the latest version of Firefox, and it should be functional.
  3. Reinstall the affected dependent packages. Search for and install those dependent packages you wrote down two steps ago. Your system should now be essentially unchanged, other than the Firefox upgrade. In the future, only the "firefox" will need upgrading -- this is a one-time bug.
When the Firefox project split off of Mozilla, there was some trickiness in the package naming. The result is a legacy package (mozilla-firefox) that interferes with upgrades -- they share files. Once you kill both and reinstall one, there's no conflict. Incidentally, as long as your settings are stored in the default location, they should carry over to the new install. Make sure to use "Mark for removal", not "Mark for complete removal"; the latter destroys your settings.
Original solution in an Ubuntu support thread.

Responses: 1 so far Feed icon

  1. Anonymous says:

    A point to note that if you want to do this on the command line all you need to do is type:

    sudo apt-get remove mozilla-firefox firefox

    sudo apt-get install mozilla-firefox ubuntu-desktop

    don't worry when you uninstall and it removes other packages, the ubuntu-desktop package is a sweet thing that depends on all the base packages that are installed, so it should reinstall all the ones that got uninstalled. If that doesn't fix it you can type

    dpkg --get-selections | grep deinstall

    that will list all of your packages that have been uninstalled but not purged. then you can decide which ones need to be reinstalled.

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