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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:

[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

Using flatpak

Unofficial Flatpak 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

There are no stable builds for Firefox in Flatpak yet, see this bug report for details.

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 (1).

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:

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, a free-software version rebranded by Debian, named Iceweasel was provided. This fork had the following goals:

Starting in DebianStretch, the iceweasel package is now 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