How to install Mozilla Firefox on Linux (Ubuntu, Linux Mint or any Linux distribution)

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How to Install Firefox on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian or any other Linux distribution

Last updated on June 11, 2024

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

Firefox 127 was officially released on June 11, 2024.
Firefox 128 will be released on July 9, 2024.

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 for the update to show up, because each Firefox release has to be tested with each distribution.

A. Install Firefox in 5 easy steps

1. Download

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 available in the linux-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-127.0.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-127.0.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-127.0.tar.bz2 archive can now be deleted.

3. Move to /opt

External programs like LibreOffice, Google Chrome, Skype, Zoom, … 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/firefox127

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 127 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/firefox127/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/firefox127/firefox /usr/bin/firefox127

Launch the newly installed Firefox by running firefox127 in a terminal, or create shortcuts/icons referring to firefox127.

5. Updates

Firefox will manage its own updates independently of your system’s package manager, and download subsequent releases automatically. There will be no need to repeat the whole installation procedure for every new Firefox release… Enjoy Firefox!

B. Firefox PPAs, Beta, Updates, other distributions

1. Be careful with the “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 129 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

The “Official PPA for Firefox Beta” (firefox-next) 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!

3. Official Ubuntu / Linux Mint 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:

  • Firefox 83 was released by Mozilla on November 17, 2020. Both Ubuntu and Linux Mint made the new release available on November 18, only one days after the official release.
  • Firefox 89 was released on June 1st, 2021. Ubuntu and Linux Mint dispatched the update on the same day.
  • Firefox 103 was officially released on July 26, 2022. Ubuntu and Linux Mint repositories were updated the same day.
  • Firefox 114 came out on June 6, 2023. Linux Mint users were able to update one day later.
  • Firefox 121 was released by Mozilla on December 19, 2023. Linux Mint users were asked to update two days later, on December 21.

4. Linux Mint 21.3 “Virginia”, Debian 12.x “Bookworm”, Manjaro Linux, ...

Firefox running on Ubuntu
Firefox running on Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo)

This how-to has been tested with success on the following distributions, starting with Firefox 4 and up to version 127 (and Firefox 128 Beta):

RHEL/Oracle Linux 9.4, 8.9 & 7.9
Debian 10.x “Buster”, 11.x “Bullseye” and 12.x “Bookworm”
Linux Mint 20 / 20.x (support until April 2025)
Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa”, 21.1 “Vera”, 21.2 “Victoria” and 21.3 “Virginia” (support until April 2027 for all 21.x releases)
Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” (support until April 2025)
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS “Jammy Jellyfish” (support until July 2027)
Ubuntu 24.04 LTS “Noble Numbat” (support until May 2029)
Manjaro Linux 22.1 “Talos”

This installation procedure is reliable and should work with a wide range of distributions. Please share your experience with MX Linux, Pop!_OS, EndeavourOS, OpenSuse or any other distribution in the comments.

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

Remove the Firefox directory:
sudo rm -r /opt/firefox127

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 firefox127 symlink:
sudo rm /usr/bin/firefox127

D. Tips & tricks for Firefox on Linux (or Windows)

Just installed or upgraded Firefox? Here are a few setting you might want to change to get the most out of Firefox.

1. Speed up the mouse wheel scrolling speed

The default mouse wheel scrolling speed in Firefox is fine for Laptops, but on modern computer monitors with a respectable vertical resolution, mouse scrolling feels super-slow. Tweaking the scrolling speed is fast and easy:

  1. Open a new tab in Firefox, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter. Click on “Accept the Risk and Continue”.
  2. In the Filter box, type or paste mousewheel.min_line_scroll_amount
  3. Change the value from 5 (default) to any integer value you like, depending on your screen resolution, mouse, sensitivity, … The value is neither an quantity of text lines nor a number of pixel. A value between 10 and 60 seems to be a good choice. I use 50 on a 32″ Monitor with a 2560 × 1440 resolution.
Firefox on Linux post-installation – Minimum scroll line amount

Changes are immediate, you can open another tab or window to test and fine-tune.

Increase the mouse wheel acceleration

On higher resolution displays, increasing min_line_scroll_amount may not be enough. Mouse wheel acceleration, though disabled by default, is extremely useful for scrolling through long documents. Repeat the steps described above, but this time search for mousewheel.acceleration.

After installing Firefox on Linux – Mouse wheel acceleration for faster scrolling
  • mousewheel.acceleration.start: The mouse wheel “click” number at which acceleration begins to take effect. This value determines whether or not acceleration computations are applied to a given scroll event.
    Suggested values: 2 (accelerations kicks in really fast) to 5. To me, 4 is a sweet spot.
  • mousewheel.acceleration.factor: The multiplicative factor used to determine the rate of acceleration. The acceleration computations create a constant acceleration effect, but this value can control the level of acceleration. Default: 10, suggested values: 6 to 16.

There are a few more variables which influence the vertical scrolling speed and can be changed safely, for example:

  • mousewheel.default.delta_multiplier_y
  • mousewheel.system_scroll_override_on_root_content.vertical.factor

2. Disable the built-in PDF reader in Firefox

The built-in PDF viewer in Firefox has progressed continuously since its introduction in 2013, but I still prefer using the distribution’s document viewer (Evince/Xreader/…). Here is how to disable the built-in PDF viewer or use the system viewer:

  1. Click the hamburger menu button and choose “Preferences”. Alternatively, enter about:preferences in the address bar.
  2. In the General panel, go down to the Applications section.
  3. Find PDF in the list and change it to the desired value.
Firefox installation on Linux – Disable the built-in PDF reader

Disable Firefox PDF viewer (pdfjs) completely

If you want to disable the built-in PDF viewer entirely, follow these steps:

  1. type or paste about:config in the address bar
  2. search for pdfjs.disabled
  3. click on the toggle button to turn the value from “false” to “true”.
Firefox on Linux post-installation guide, disable pdfjs PDF reader

3. Run multiple Firefox profiles and instances simultaneously

Problem: if you run different Firefox versions with the same profile (profiles are compatible through major versions), Firefox will check the 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

Fresh Firefox installation on Linux - Profiles (Fedora)

The -no-remote option starts a new instance of Firefox even if there is already a Firefox instance running. Use -no-remote to run Firefox 127 and Firefox 128 (beta) instances at the same time.

Let’s say that you’ve created two profiles: firefox-stable-profile and firefox-beta-profile. You can start one instance of Firefox 127 and one instance of Firefox Beta with the following commands:
firefox -no-remote -P firefox-stable-profile
firefox128 -no-remote -P firefox-beta-profile

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29 thoughts on “How to Install Firefox on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian or any other Linux distribution”

  1. I was wanting to update Firefox on my Ubuntu Trusty (14.04). I finally came across this article and … tahdah. Now I have Firefox 83 installed and working perfectly. Thank you so much for this article. One question – can I also install the latest Thunderbird in the same manner?
    And please folks, no comments like – just upgrade to the newest Ubuntu. Trusty works perfect. I have Apache installed and it works perfect also. So why should I update/upgrade to a newer version when I have perfection now. You know the old saying – If it works don’t fix it.

  2. Hello, I’m French.
    It’s hard to me to understand English so when it’s electronic language, it’s very very hard. But I tried (even if I doesn’t understand, even while translating). And when I tried, I succeed to extract the file (yeeaah!) but I can’t move Firefox to /opt, it says “no such file or directory” like Kurman (an other user). But how am I doing now ? I search a lot of solutions and nothing works. Netflix doesn’t want to work with my old Firefox (the 66.0.3 version). Am I going to get there someday? After Netflix, it will be some important things…

    Please, help me. (Once I could watch Netflix…)

    Thanks for the article!

  3. Note: When the default version of Firefox is upgraded by the system, the symlink /usr/bin/firefox is overwritten and you will either have re-create it or just lock the currently installed version in Synaptic to prevent that from happening altogether:

  4. Great article. In the case of Firefox newer is better. Every update since Quantum debuted has brought it closer to perfection. Oh, I think it may be ‘inexperienced’, rather than ‘unexperienced’. Regardless, the advice is sound.

    It’s always best for newbies to practice caution. Then again, it took a few self inflicted system meltdowns to really start getting the hang of this Linux thing.

    1. @Rafael: no, you won’t loose your Firefox settings. These are stored in your profile folder. On Linux, you profile folder is in your home directory, in the .mozilla/firefox sub-folder. You may need to show hidden files and folders (use Ctrl + H or the “View” menu) to navigate to the profile folder.

      If you only have one profile, its folder has “default” in the name. The complete path of the Firefox profile folder will be something like:

      This folder allows for an awful lot of flexibility, for example you can:

      • backup it,
      • copy it to a new system, and even
      • share it between a Linux and a Windows system (if it’s located within an NTFS file system).
    1. Thank you, this is indeed useful. Installing Firefox from .deb packages is also a viable option. Keep in mind that the recommendation is the same as when installing from the tar.gz archive: “it is strongly suggested to use a package manager like aptitude or synaptic to download and install packages, instead of doing so manually via this website.”

  5. Geoffrey Morrison

    Make friends with the terminal!

    Sure, it’s been quite some time since 2015: Users must extract from the “tar” archive and use a password-enabled (root) terminal (or sudo) to perform the subsequent file actions. Simply invoking a file manager and then copying/pasting won’t work.

    The reason Debian users end up here:

    Note that Debian’s repository version of Firefox still is named “firefox-esr,” not simply “firefox” (Before, it was “iceweasel” – a legality, still in effect with firefox-esr): Debian proves perhaps the most conservative distro in the Linux realm. As was noted in an old saying: “They wear both a belt and suspenders!”

    The problem is that institutions performing secure transactions (say, global financial corporations) – along with many still-perplexed users (who generally aren’t bare novices) – dislike legacy browser versions. Debian purists dislike the corporate bent of Mozilla’s Firefox development. (After all, it’s, not

    1. Kumar, you’re probably in the wrong directory when running the move command – or using the wrong file name. Using the TAB key to autocomplete the file name helps to know if you’re right: if it autocompletes the file or directory names, it’s right, else it’s wrong. Of course, listing files with the ls command also shows if you have extracted the archive correctly.

  6. Pingback: Install the latest FireFox in CentOS 7 - UncleNinja

  7. Pingback: Upgrade Firefox di Linux Mint | Catatan dan Wiki Personal

  8. FF 45 in Mint does not open groups of tabs anymore. So that seems broken.
    I went back to a former version. The repository only offered FF 28… But this one still works.

  9. I have other problem 🙂 I unpacked firefox (did same with thunderbird), created symbolic links and everything, but still, when I run firefox or thunderbird, it said it is not default browser/email client and I can’t turn it off. It is not really functional problem, but it is reaaaaaally annoying 🙂 in preffered applications is set firefox and thunderbird (the original mint firefox and thunderbird don’t have this problem), is there any way (and I am sure there is) how to set unzipped TB and FF as default? BTW I am using common profiles for windows and for mint 17.3 in both applications. THX 🙂

    1. I figured out something, I turned off check for default application in settings (during start of application, it ignored it 🙂 ) I hope it will work

  10. I really do try to like Linux… but I just can’t understand why I can’t just UPDATE my firefox in one click? The version is there – why do I need to start entering commands and copying folders for something as trivial as that?

    1. Well, in fact this tutorial is for advanced users, most of which are installing Firefox on their own on custom Linux systems. Or trying Firefox Beta/Aurora or other special versions of Firefox.

      In your case you’re probably using mainstream distributions such are Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, OpenSuse, Fedora, … The package manager of your distro will take care of updating Firefox by itself, when when the new Ffox version has been tested for compatibility with your distro, so that it doesn’t break anything. On Ubuntu or Linux Mint, for example, it takes just a few days after the official release.

      Please do NOT use this guide to update Firefox by hand if you’re just a “normal” user or a Linux beginner. Just apply the normal updates (as you should always do) for your distribution and you’ll get the new Firefox version. I’ll try to make a version of this guide for beginners and normal users soon, as it seems to be really confusing. Sorry for that.

    2. You state here, and I’ve seen in other places, that Debian-based package managers will release firefox updates “just a few days after the official release”. That has not been my experience. I run Linux Mint 17.3, and as of today (4/30/2016), my firefox from the package manager is version 42.0. The following version (43.0) was released 4.5 months ago on December 15th, and version 46.0 was released this week. What am I missing?

    3. I also run Mint 17.3, the Firefox version is 45 and it should be updated to 46 very soon. I can’t explain why you’re stuck with an older version. I suppose you ran sudo apt-get update? If nothing else works, I would suggest to install the newest Firefox version manually as described in this guide.

      Update: The update to Firefox 46 just showed up in the update manager. It took 4 days to the Linux Mint team to check and distribute the update, which is fine.

  11. Pingback: How to install Firefox 43 on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora - Free Networking Tutorials, Free System Administration Tutorials and Free Security Tutorials

    1. 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 Firefox 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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