How to install Firefox 42 on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora…

… or any other Linux distribution.

This panda (Firefox) has not much to do with installing Firefox on Linux

This how-to explains how to install Firefox 42 on Linux, with or without replacing an existing Firefox installation.

Firefox 42 was released on November 03, 2015.
Firefox 43 will be released on December 15, 2015.
More information on Firefox release dates, beta, aurora and nightlies can be found on the official releases wiki.

A. Install Firefox in 5 easy steps

1. Download

Download the release from the official page of the channels:
A 64 bit build is also available in the x86_64 directory of Mozilla’s FTP.

This how-to supposes that the downloaded file is saved in the “Downloads” directory located in your home directory.

2. Extract

The downloaded file is a compressed .tar.bz2 archive. In case you want to learn more on these extensions: tar, bzip2. To extract this juicy archive, open the Downloads directory. Look for a file named firefox-42.0.tar.bz2, right-click on it and select “extract here”.

Alternatively, you can extract the archive from the command line:
cd ~/Downloads/
tar xjf firefox-42.0.tar.bz2

For those interested, here are the tar arguments used in the command:
x : eXtract
j : deal with bzipped file
f : read from a file (rather than a tape device)

The firefox-42.0.tar.bz2 archive can now be deleted.

3. Move to /opt

External programs like LibreOffice, Google Chrome, the defunct Adobe reader, … are all installed in the /opt directory. If you want more info about why /opt is the right place to install programs on Linux, check out these two links:
Where to install my products on Linux?
Filesystem Hierarchy Standard

If you already had a previous Firefox version installed in the /opt directory, remove it with the following command:
sudo rm -r /opt/firefox

Now move the firefox directory (which was created in your Downloads folder during extraction) to /opt:
sudo mv firefox /opt/firefox42

4. Set up symbolic links

Depending on your usage pattern, follow the instructions for case 1 OR for case 2.

Case 1: you want to use Firefox 42 as your default browser:

“Backup” the old Firefox launcher:
sudo mv /usr/bin/firefox /usr/bin/firefox-old

Create a symbolic link pointing to the new Firefox version:
sudo ln -s /opt/firefox42/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

There is no need to update your icons/shortcuts; they should now launch the new version of Firefox.

Your old Firefox version is still available. If you want to use it, run firefox-old in a terminal or create shortcuts/icons referring to firefox-old.

Case 2: you want to keep using your “old” Firefox by default:

Create a symbolic link pointing to the new Firefox version:
sudo ln -s /opt/firefox42firefox /usr/bin/firefox42

Launch the newly installed Firefox by running firefox42 in a terminal, or create shortcuts/icons referring to firefox42.

5. Updates

Firefox will manage its own updates independently of your system’s package manager, an download subsequent releases. There will be no need to repeat the whole “procedure”… Enjoy Firefox!

B. Ubuntu’s case, Linux Mint and Debian

1. Ubuntu: no ubuntu-mozilla-daily ppa!

Many howtos on this subject will tell you to install Firefox pre-versions through Mozilla’s ppa ubuntu-mozilla-daily. Using this ppa will not only install the latest Firefox 44 daily build, once called “minefield” – updated daily! It will also update your current Firefox and Thunderbird to test versions.

These testing versions are not meant to be stable or usable.
→ Avoid this ppa unless you know exactly what you’re doing!

2. The official Firefox Beta ppa: mozillateam firefox-next

The firefox-next ppa will replace your current Firefox installation with the current available version in Mozillas Beta channel. Simply run these two commands in a terminal:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

You may also have a look at the Firefox Aurora ppa.

Note: you can use only one of these three channels (Aurora, Beta, and Daily) at the same time!

4. Official Ubuntu updates for Firefox (automatic)

Since Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu is automatically updated to the newest stable Firefox version a few days after the official release.

5. Linux Mint 17.2 “Rafaela”, Debian 8.x “Jessie”, CentOS 7.1, …

This howto has been tested with success on the following distributions, with Firefox 4 to 41 and Firefox Beta/Aurora:

CentOS / Scientific Linux / RHEL 6.7 & 7.1
Debian 6 “Squeeze”
Debian 7 “Wheezy”
Debian 8.0/8.1 “Jessie”
Linux Mint 13 “Maya” LTS (support until April 2017)
Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” LTS (support until April 2019)
Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” LTS (support until April 2019)
Linux Mint 17.2 “Rafaela” LTS (support until April 2019)
Ubuntu 12.04 LTSPrecise Pangolin” (support until April 2017)
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS “Trusty Tahr” (Long Term Support, until April 2019)
Ubuntu 15.04 “Vivid Vervet” (support until January 2016)
Ubuntu 15.10 “Wily Werewolf” (still in development, release on October 22)

This installation procedure is reliable and should work with a wide range of distributions. Please share your experience with OpenSuse and Fedora in the comments.

C. Uninstall/remove Firefox (non-ppa installations)

Remove the Firefox directory:
sudo rm -r /opt/firefox42

You should also consider changing back or removing symbolic links which pointed to the old Firefox directory. Use this command:
sudo mv /usr/bin/firefox-old /usr/bin/firefox

Or remove the firefox42 symlink:
sudo rm /usr/bin/firefox42

D. Run multiple Firefox profiles and instances simultaneously

Problem: it is possible to run different Firefox versions with the same profile (profiles are compatible through major versions). However this is not very convenient, as Firefox will check the profiles extensions and plugins every time you start a newer or older version.

Solution: create a profile for each Firefox version. Create new profiles with:
firefox -no-remote -ProfileManager

The -no-remote option starts a new instance of Firefox even if there is already a Firefox instance running. Use the -no-remote option to run Firefox 42 and Firefox 43 instances at the same time.

Let’s say that you’ve created two profiles: ffox42_profile and ffox43-profile. You can start one instance of Firefox 42 and one instance of Firefox 43 with the following commands:
firefox -no-remote -P ffox42-profile
firefox43 -no-remote -P ffox43-profile

E. Create desktop shortcuts / launchers / icons

Now you may create desktop shortcuts / icons / launchers (Gnome: Custom Application Launcher) for each of these Firefox versions with their respective profiles.

By Johannes Eva, December 2010 – September 2015

Read also:
How to install LibreOffice 5.0 on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Debian…
How to set default programs on Linux Mint or Ubuntu


This article has been translated to Serbo-Croatian language.

This article has been linked on Tuxmachines,, Linux Today and some more…

Posted in Firefox.


    • Ubuntu will take care of Firefox upgrades automatically, you don’t have to do it manually. It may take a few days after the official release for the Ffox upgrade to show on, because the Ubuntu folks have to test the new release with Ubuntu.
      There is no Firefox install in /opt by default, as this is where admins/users are supposed to install optional software. If you did not install anything in /opt manually, nothing show up there, which is normal.
      Hope this helps!

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