… or any other Linux distribution.
This how-to explains how to install Firefox 78 on Linux, with or without replacing an existing Firefox installation.
Firefox 78 was officially released on June 30, 2020.
Firefox 79 will be released on July 28, 2020.
More information on Firefox release dates (including beta, nightly and ESR versions) can be found on the official Firefox Release Calendar.
Warning for inexperienced Linux users: stick to the Firefox version included with your Linux distribution! Firefox can be installed or uninstalled through the package management system (aka. Software Center, Software Manager, Synaptic, apt…) of all major distributions. Concerning updates: they will appear automatically in the package manager. It may take a few days after the official Firefox release for the update to appear, because each release has to be tested with each distribution.
A. Install Firefox in 5 easy steps
Download Firefox from the official Mozilla Firefox page:
Download alternative versions (beta, developer edition, nightly) from the official channels page:
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.
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-78.0.tar.bz2, right-click on it and select “extract here”.
Alternatively, you can extract the archive from the command line:
tar xjf firefox-78.0.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-78.0.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
You may need to create /opt first:
sudo mkdir /opt
On the contrary, 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/firefox78
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 78 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/firefox78/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
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/firefox78/firefox /usr/bin/firefox78
Launch the newly installed Firefox by running
firefox78 in a terminal, or create shortcuts/icons referring to
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 80 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
Note: you can use only one of these channels (Beta or Daily) at the same time!
4. Official Ubuntu updates for Firefox (automatic)
Ubuntu updates its repositories to the newest Firefox version only a few days after the official release – so does Linux Mint. Here are a few examples of how many days Ubuntu and Linux Mint need to push the update:
- Linux Mint: Firefox 73 was released on February 11, 2020. MintUpdate dispatched the update on February 15, only four days after the official release. Ubuntu was even faster and made the new Firefox available on February 13 (for Eoan and Bionic).
- Firefox 74 was released by Mozilla on March 10, 2020. Both Ubuntu and Linux Mint made the new release available on March 12, only two days after the official release.
- Firefox 78 was released by Mozilla on June 2, 2020. Ubuntu users were asked to update on June 5 (Focal Fossa), whereas Linux Mint users received the update on June 6, 2020.
5. Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia”, Debian 10 “Buster”, Manjaro Linux, …
This howto has been tested with success on the following distributions, with Firefox 4 to 78 and Firefox Beta:
CentOS / Scientific Linux / RHEL 6.10 & 7.8 & 8.2
Debian 9.x “Stretch” (support until 2020)
Debian 10.x “Buster” (support until 2022)
Linux Mint 18.x (support until April 2021 for all 18.x releases)
Linux Mint 19 “Tara” LTS (support until April 2023 for all 19.x releases)
Linux Mint 19.1 “Tessa”, 19.2 “Tina”, 19.3 “Tricia”
Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana”
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS “Xenial Xerus” (Long Term Support, until April 2021)
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” (support until April 2023)
Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” (Long Term Support, until April 2025)
Manjaro Linux 19.0 “Kyria”
Manjaro Linux 20.0 “Lysia”
C. Uninstall/remove Firefox (non-ppa installations)
Remove the Firefox directory:
sudo rm -r /opt/firefox78
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
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
-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 78 and Firefox 79 instances at the same time.
Let’s say that you’ve created two profiles: ffox78-profile and ffox79-profile. You can start one instance of Firefox 78 and one instance of Firefox 79 with the following commands:
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 – July 2020