Though Debian stretch is the latest version, it lacks one thing i.e., Firefox Quantum. However, it comes pre-installed with Iceweasel which is an ESR version of Firefox. Today, I’ll demonstrate through step by step instructions on how to download the latest version of Firefox from its official website (Mozilla) and then set it up as the default web browser on your computer. And succeedingly remove the ESR version of Firefox; if it bothers you.
Download Firefox Quantum
In case you are browsing from Iceweasel, you will get a prompt to download a *.tar.bz2 file (aka tarball file), first tick Save the file and select OK to start downloading.
Once you’ve downloaded the Firefox tarball, it’s time to head over to the file manager (Nautilus) and browse to the Downloads folder. Double click the tarball to extract it on your current directory. Then move that extracted folder to your user root directory i..e., /home/<user>.
Open the firefox folder and double-click on that cog-like icon labelled “firefox” to launch the web browser.
You’re all done and you can start browsing the web from the latest Firefox Quantum you’ve just installed. You might even be asked to set it as the default web browser on the first launch. Select the checkbox to set Firefox Quantum as the default web browser. Next time you click on the shortcut web button on your keyboard, Firefox Quantum will be the browser that launches.
Display Firefox Quantum on Applications list
You’ve just set up Firefox Quantum on your computer, but you might be wondering why there is no icon for it on the Applications list. That’s because we didn’t install Firefox Quantum using package management tool such as apt. We downloaded the web browser from the website and then extracted it to our home directory ourselves, which is totally different from how apt does the installations for any packages.
Anyway there is a solution to that, open gedit text editor and copy the below texts:
Then replace <user> with your actual username on your computer. If you don’t know what that is, key in whoami in a terminal program and it’ll print out your username.
Save the file as firefox-quantum.desktop to .local/share/applications/ directory. If hidden folders do not appear visible on save dialog box, press CTRL+H to make them visible. Once saved to the desired directory, hit the same key combination i.e., CTRL+H to make hidden folders and files invisible.
It’s not really necessary to uninstall Iceweasel (or Firefox ESR) but I’ve encountered issues on rare occasions when I launched Iceweasel on Applications list (because of its Firefox logo!) add-ons tend to break and the browser starts popping up weird dialog boxes informing some add-ons just don’t work right. Certain add-ons that work on Firefox Quantum won’t work on Iceweasel and if you happen to fall on the same pithole as I do, you might start considering uninstalling it. Open terminal emulator program and key in the command below:
sudo apt remove iceweasel
Hope the steps have been helpful in successfully setting up Firefox Quantum on your computer. In case you run into issues let me know in the comments section below.