Install Firefox on Linux

Getting Firefox installed on your computer is your first step to using it. This article will show you how to install Firefox on Linux. For other operating systems, see How to download and install Firefox on Windows and How to download and install Firefox on Mac.

Many Linux distributions include Firefox by default, and most have a package management system - a preferred way to install Firefox. Package management system will:

  • Ensure that you have all the required libraries
  • Install Firefox optimally for your distribution
  • Create shortcuts to launch Firefox
  • Make Firefox available to all users of your computer
  • Make removing Firefox work the same as removing any other application

Package management system has downsides:

  • It may not give you the latest Firefox version
  • It may give you a version without Firefox branding

Installing from a package manager

To install Firefox using the package manager, please refer to your Linux distribution's documentation.

Installing outside of a package manager

Check your distribution’s support website for complete instructions on installing Firefox outside the package manager. For example:

  • Before you install Firefox, make sure that your computer has the required libraries installed. Missing libraries will cause Firefox to be inoperable.
  • The installation file provided by Mozilla in .tar.bz2 format has pre-compiled binary files as opposed to sources. There is no need to compile the program from the source: simply unpack and run the binaries.
  • The following instructions will install Firefox into your home directory. Only the current user will be able to run it.
  1. Download Firefox from the Firefox download page to your home directory.
  2. Open a Terminal and go to your home directory: cd ~
  3. Extract the contents of the downloaded file: tar xjf firefox-*.tar.bz2
  4. Close Firefox if it's open.
  5. To start Firefox, run the firefox script in the firefox folder: ~/firefox/firefox

Firefox should now start. You can then create an icon on your desktop to run this command.

libstdc++5 error

As noted above, you need to install the required libraries for Firefox to work. Many distributions don't include libstdc++5 by default.

"firefox not installed" message or wrong version of Firefox starts

If Firefox is installed following the instructions given above, it must be started (in a Terminal or in a launcher on the Desktop, for example) using the command: ~/firefox/firefox

If you try to start Firefox in a Terminal with the command: firefox, it will either start the package-manager-installed version of Firefox or will tell you the program is not installed.

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