Installing Firefox Quantum on Debian Stretch

Debian only provides the ESR (Extended Support Release) line of Firefox. As a result, currently, the latest version of Firefox available for Debian Stretch is Firefox 52, which is pretty old. Lately, Firefox 57, also known as Quantum, was released as Beta. It provides many improvements over older Firefox releases, including both security and performance.

Begin by downloading the latest beta (for Firefox 57) and extract it to your home directory:


$ wget -O firefox-beta.tar.bz2 "https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-beta-latest&os=linux64&lang=en-US"
$ tar -C ~/.local/ -xvf firefox-beta.tar.bz2

This installs Firefox to your current user. Because Firefox is installed in a user-specific location (and without root-priveleges), Firefox will also auto-update when new versions are released.

If you prefer using the stable version of firefox, simply replace the first step by


$ wget -O firefox-stable.tar.bz2 "https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-latest&os=linux64&lang=en-US"

Next, we take care of desktop integration. Put the following in ~/.local/share/applications/firefox-beta.desktop:


[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Name=Firefox Beta
Exec=/home/guyru/.local/firefox/firefox %u
X-MultipleArgs=false
Icon=firefox-esr
Categories=Network;WebBrowser;
Terminal=false
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;

7 thoughts on “Installing Firefox Quantum on Debian Stretch

  1. Shalom

    In the .desktop file the path (/home/guyru/.local/firefox/firefox %u) needs to be adjusted per user

  2. Sudarshan Kakoty

    Wow, great article. But is it that unsafe to run ESR, that comes by default in Debian Stretch, say for home use?

  3. Guy Post author

    Running ESR should be relatively safe as Debian backports the security fixes. However, newer Firefox versions have improved security using better sandbox and other mitigations which are not backported.

  4. Joe Bftsplnk

    I’ve installed firefox quantum 60.0.6-esr on armv7 using the instructions from a lost website. I recall the instructions involved ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox and something to do with /usr/share/applications or perhaps /usr/local/share/applications but I can’t locate that specific website. Can anyone shed some light on this? I’d like to install this same browser on another armv7 distro.

  5. Guy Post author

    The steps you’re describing sound like putting the binary in $PATH and installing a .desktop file.

  6. Joe Bftsplnk

    Good news is I installed firefox-esr60.6.1-8u1.tar.deb using dpkg – i and shows up as Quantum 60.6.1. So now I’m happy I got rid of the pre-installed chromium browser and replaced it with FF.

  7. Joe Btsfsplnk

    One issue I find strange is that chromium appears as installed package but is unlisted in internet menu. Why is that and how do I expunge it from the record?

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