How to Install and Update Firefox in Linux

Firefox is the most popular web browser among Linux users. In this article we are going to cover topics like Firefox installation, uninstall and update. We will also discuss what kind of problems we can get during mentioned processes.

Depending on type of Linux distribution we use the process of installation Firefox in Linux is different:

Using apt-get

If you are using Debian based system (Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 18.04), you need to use apt to install packages. Firefox isn’t an exception and to install it from scratch you need to type the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install firefox

This will install the latest version of Firefox. If you want to install specific version of Firefox, you need to download it from Mozilla website (open this link, choose version, OS and language). Downloaded file will have tar.bz2 extension. Once file is downloaded, extract it using the following command:

tar xjf firefox-*.tar.bz2

where instead of * you must type the version you’ve downloaded

Now you can open Firefox by running ./firefox/firefox from the download path. You can create icon on your Desktop which will open this file for more convenience. Also don’t forget to turn off automatic updates for this version of Firefox, otherwise it will be updated to the latest one.

Manually installed Firefox will work as well as the default one (if you have one). Thus, you can have as many versions as you wish.

To update Firefox on your Debian based system, type the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-get update

which will update all packages or

sudo apt-get install firefox

this one will try to install firefox and will do nothing if you are already using the latest version
To uninstall Firefox which was installed using apt, make sure Firefox is closed and then type the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt remove firefox

In order to remove specific version of Firefox which was installed manually, you can simply delete the folder in which Firefox files have been extracted.

Using yum

If the Linux distribution you are using is Hat based (Fedora 21 and below, or CentOS) then your default dependency resolver for the underlying package manager is YUM. Yum syntax is very simple and apt users shouldn’t face any problem using it.

To install Firefox using yum, you can type the following command in the terminal:

yum install firefox

This command will install Firefox 52.7.2. If you want to install latest version of Firefox, you need to do it manually as described in apt section above. At the time of writing this article latest stable release of Firefox was 59.0.2.

Change your directory to home

cd ~

Download tar.bz2 file of the latest version from Mozilla’s website.

wget https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/59.0.2/linux-x86_64/en-US/firefox-59.0.2.tar.bz2

Modify 59.0.2 if you want to download another version.
Extract the downloaded archive

tar xjf firefox-59.0.2.tar.bz2

Now you can open Firefox by typing in the terminal:

~./firefox/firefox

To be able to open Firefox from anywhere just by typing “firefox”, you need to create symlink

sudo ln -s /home/linoxide/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

Updating firefox can be done either from browser itself or by reinstalling manually a newer version. To do this just remove the folder where firefox has been extracted and install newer version in the same directory. In this case there is no need to create symlink again.

To remove Firefox which was installed via yum type:

yum remove firefox

Using pacman

Pacman is the default package management system for Arch Linux. To install Firefox using pacman you must open terminal and run the following command:

sudo pacman –S firefox

This will install latest stable version of Firefox, which was 59.0.2 at the time of writing this article.

The process of installing specific version of Firefox is the same as in other distributions mentioned above.

To remove Firefox from Arch Linux type the following command in the terminal:

sudo pacman –Rs firefox

This will remove Firefox and its dependencies which are not required by any other installed package.

Possible problems while uninstalling/reinstalling or updating Firefox

While uninstalling Firefox, first make sure it’s not running. You can do that by typing the following command in the terminal:

ps ax | grep [f]irefox

If Firefox is running, just quit it. If it appears in the output of the command above, but actually it doesn’t running, type the following command to kill Firefox process:

killall firefox

After this command check again with ps ax command and if output contains firefox, type

killall -KILL firefox

If this doesn’t help too, try to execute this command with sudo privileges:

sudo killall –KILL firefox

If this doesn’t help as well, reboot your machine and start from scratch.

While updating Firefox to a newer version you can get problems related to your profile. In that case you need to clear out your profile. You can do that with this command

mv ~/.mozilla ~/.mozilla.old

Read Also :

Installing Firefox via terminal isn't much harder than to install it from GUI package manager with several clicks. Vice versa, it is much faster.

Hayk Gevorgyan 4:27 am

About Hayk Gevorgyan

Technical Support Engineer experienced in Linux servers administration of production environments. Exploring DevOps culture and tools. Interested in containerization and open source monitoring tools.

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