I looked around for more current Debian packages but ultimately decided the easiest way to update is manually. Most of the files from the official version do not need to be changed. Here are step-by-step instructions for installing a new version. They worked for me and should work for anyone else using a Linux distribution that employs the Debian packaging system. I assume here that you already have the "official" version of JabRef installed. Do not uninstall the old package, since we're going to retain a lot of its files.
- Download the latest version (stable or beta, your choice) from the SourceForge project page. Henceforth I will refer to the file (whose name should be JabRef-<version information>.jar) as <new jar>.
- Open a terminal in the download directory.
- Run the command
sudo mv <new jar> /usr/share/jabrefwhich will install the new version in parallel with the old one.
- Optional but recommended: run
java -jar /usr/share/jabref/<new jar>just to make sure the downloaded version works. Once you're sure it works, exit JabRef.
- Still in the terminal, run the commands
sudo rm /usr/share/java/jabref.jar sudo ln -s /usr/share/jabref/<new jar> /usr/share/java/jabref.jar
- Test JabRef by running it from the application menu and/or by double-clicking a .bib file.
- Optional: run
sudo rm /usr/share/jabref/<old jar>to delete the old version.