There are various ways you can go about getting a newer Firefox and installing Thunderbird but honestly, I don't think it's worth going to to them. You should either buy a subscription for SLED or stop using it.

SLED is great if you want a stable version of Linux with long term support and are willing to pay for updates. If you are not going to buy a subscription it just isn't sensible to use it. By running SLED without a subscription you're subjecting yourself to all the risks that come with running an OS that never gets updates installed. If you had a subscription you wouldn't have Firefox ESR 17.

If you're not going to buy a subscription for SLED, switch to openSUSE. 13.2 gets released tomorrow.

Regarding GNOME 3, look at the GNOME Classic variant. It gives you the benefits of GNOME 3 without the frustration of there being nothing familiar on the screen. (Last I checked, GNOME Classic isn't installed by default on openSUSE but you can get it by installing the gnome-shell-classic package.) If you really can't get on with GNOME 3 even in Classic, check out XFCE which is included in the main openSUSE repos. There's also MATE which is a continuation of GNOME 2 but requires adding additional repos.

The openSUSE forums are at and you can use the same username and password you use to post here to post there. Info about Bumblebee, which I see you've previously asked about is at