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Flatpaks are sandboxed, therefore [[https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Add-ons/WebExtensions/Native_messaging|native messaging]] is unavailable, which is why some third-party add-ons such as [[https://github.com/keepassxreboot/keepassxc-browser|KeePassXC Browser]], which connects Firefox to [[https://www.keepassxc.org|KeePassXC password manager]] currently don't work in the flatpak.

Translation(s): English - Español - Italiano - Русский


  • Mozilla Firefox, or simply Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, Mozilla Corporation. Firefox is available for many Operating Systems, on desktop and mobile.

https://screenshots.debian.net/screenshots/000/015/790/large.png

Installing Firefox

From Debian packages

On DebianStable, Install the firefox-esr package.

This installs the Extended Support Release of Firefox. ESRs are not updated with new features every six weeks. They are instead supported for more than a year, updating with major security or stability fixes.

Support for languages other than English is available in packages named firefox-esr-l10n*.

On DebianUnstable, to install the Release version of Firefox, install the firefox package.

From Mozilla binaries

Mozilla distributes ready-to-use Firefox binaries for Linux on their website:

To install any of them on DebianStable:

  • Download the Firefox version you want directly from the official website
  • Uncompress the archives:
    • in the /opt directory (system-wide installation - requires Root privileges)

    • in your home directory (install only for the current user)
  • Create a file firefox-stable.desktop (replace stable with beta or nightly if needed) with the contents below:

    • in the /usr/share/applications directory (system-wide installation - requires Root privileges)

    • in the ~/.local/share/applications directory (install only for the current user)

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Firefox Stable
Comment=Web Browser
Exec=/opt/firefox/firefox %u
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Icon=/opt/firefox/browser/chrome/icons/default/default128.png
Categories=Network;WebBrowser;
MimeType=text/html;text/xml;application/xhtml+xml;application/xml;application/vnd.mozilla.xul+xml;application/rss+xml;application/rdf+xml;image/gif;image/jpeg;image/png;x-scheme-handler/http;x-scheme-handler/https;
StartupNotify=true
  • Replace /opt/firefox with the path to the directory where you extracted the archive.

  • If you want to be able to launch Firefox from a CommandLineInterface, create a symlink to the firefox executable in /usr/local/bin/. For example: sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/local/bin/firefox

  • If you want to use your manually installed Firefox as the default DebianAlternatives browser (x-www-browser), run sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/x-www-browser x-www-browser /opt/firefox/firefox 200 && sudo update-alternatives --set x-www-browser /opt/firefox/firefox 

Using flatpak

The official Flatpak can be installed from Flathub's beta channel:

# Install flatpak
sudo apt install flatpak

# Install firefox
flatpak install https://flathub.org/beta-repo/appstream/org.mozilla.firefox.flatpakref

# Run firefox
flatpak run org.mozilla.firefox

Flatpaks are sandboxed, therefore native messaging is unavailable, which is why some third-party add-ons such as KeePassXC Browser, which connects Firefox to KeePassXC password manager currently don't work in the flatpak.

Unofficial builds are provided by Fedora at https://firefox-flatpak.mojefedora.cz/

# Install flatpak
sudo apt install flatpak

# Add flatpak repositories
sudo flatpak remote-add --from gnome https://sdk.gnome.org/gnome.flatpakrepo
sudo flatpak remote-add --from org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo https://firefox-flatpak.mojefedora.cz/org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo.flatpakrepo

# Install and run "beta" (aka "developer edition"):
flatpak install org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo org.mozilla.FirefoxDevEdition
flatpak run org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo org.mozilla.FirefoxNightly

# Install and run "nightly" (aka "alpha"):
flatpak install org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo org.mozilla.FirefoxNightly
flatpak run org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo org.mozilla.FirefoxNightly

Using snap

Mozilla provides an official Snap package for Firefox:

sudo apt install snapd
sudo snap install firefox
snap run firefox

Profile

Firefox user data (your home page, toolbars, installed extensions, passwords, bookmarks...) are stored in a profile folder. (See this Mozilla support page).

  • ~/.mozilla/firefox/: location of profile directories

  • /etc/firefox-esr/default/profile/: Files to copy to newly created profiles. Use this location to preconfigure Firefox.

  • ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.*/user.js: firefox preferences for each profile. These preferences can also be set from the browser interface, or from the about:config page.

  • /etc/firefox-esr/firefox-esr.js: default Firefox system-wide preferences. Each profile/user can override these preferences.

  • You can start the Profile Manager from Firefox or from the command line: firefox --no-remote -P

Disabling automatic connections

Firefox makes a number of automated connections to Mozilla's (and other's) servers without explicitly asking the user for approval. Mozilla documents that list in the How to stop Firefox from making automatic connections page. Here is a table of the above parameters and how Debian diverges from the upstream default:

The table below may be out of date. It was created on 2018-09-23 from the upstream page by looking at an empty profile on Firefox ESR 60.2.1esr-1. Mozilla's documentation itself may be missing some parameters as well.

Feature

Parameter

Mozilla

Debian

Auto-update checking

app.update.enabled

true

false

Auto-update search engines

browser.search.update

true

true

Blocklist updating

extensions.blocklist.enabled

true

true

Anti-phishing and malware protection lists

browser.safebrowsing.downloads.remote.enabled

true

true

Tracking protection

privacy.trackingprotection.enabled

false

false

Secure website certificates (OCSP)

security.OCSP.enabled

1

1

Link prefetching

network.prefetch-next

true

true

DNS prefetching

network.dns.disablePrefetch

false (means enabled)

false

Speculative pre-connections

network.http.speculative-parallel-limit

6

0

Add-on list prefetching

N/A (can't be turned off)

enabled

enabled

Extensions update check

extensions.update.enabled

true

true

Live Bookmarks updating

N/A (user-enabled)

none by default

none by default

Downloads restarted

N/A (user-enabled)

N/A

N/A

Search plugin icon loading

?

?

?

Firefox Sync

? (needs user to opt-in)

N/A

N/A

Snippets

browser.aboutHomeSnippets.updateUrl

enabled

enabled

Geolocation for default search engine

browser.search.geoip.url

enabled

enabled

"What's new" page

browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone

enabled

enabled

Add-on metadata updating

extensions.getAddons.cache.enabled

enabled

enabled

Telemetry

browser.selfsupport.url

N/A?

N/A?

Telemetry

toolkit.telemetry.enabled

false in releases, true in nightly

false? there are other parameters

Telemetry coverage

toolkit.telemetry.coverage.opt-out

not present (means enabled)

not present

?OpenH264 plugin download

media.gmp-gmpopenh264.enabled

true

false

WebRTC

multiple

enabled

enabled?

Send Video To Device

browser.casting.enabled

false

N/A?

Captive portal detection

network.captive-portal-service.enabled

true

true

Loopback connection

can't be disabled

disabled on Linux

disabled

Other projects aim at improving security and privacy in Firefox:

Plugins

The only plugin supported by Firefox is FlashPlayer (NPAPI version). Other plugins are no longer supported.

Plugins are found at /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins (system wide) or  ~/.mozilla/plugins (current user only).

Troubleshooting

Firefox is consistently crashing on a website:

  • Run firefox in safe mode (extensions and themes disabled): firefox --safe-mode

  • If this fixes the problem, one of your extensions is the root cause, if not:
  • Create a new firefox profile: firefox --no-remote -P (or from the about:profiles page)

No sound:

Go through the general Sound troubleshooting steps. If this fails, reinstall alsa and pulseaudio:

sudo apt remove --purge alsa-base pulseaudio
sudo apt install alsa-base pulseaudio

Iceweasel

From Debian Etch through Debian Jessie (9th June 2016), Mozilla Firefox was not available in Debian with the official name or branding. Instead, Debian shipped a free-software version rebranded by Debian, named Iceweasel. This fork was maintained because of a disagreement with Mozilla regarding backporting of the security fixes to DebianStable, and as the result could not use trademarked Mozilla artwork.

Starting from DebianStretch, the iceweasel package has been made a transitional package for firefox-esr. Normal Debian support policies, including patches for bug fixes, apply to the package.

Iceweasel used to require gstreamer1.0-libav gstreamer1.0-plugins-good packages for good video playback support.


CategoryWebBrowser | CategorySoftware | CategoryNetworkApplication | CategoryRedundant: merge relevant info from Mozilla