How to install Firefox Developer Edition on Linux [Guide]

Firefox Developer Edition is a robust, developer-centric web browser for web developers. It includes a “next-generation CSS engine, “the entire suite of “Firefox DevTools,” a “Shapes Editor,” “Fonts Panel,” and much more! Still, for as excellent and as feature-filled as the browser is, it’s not that easy to install Firefox Developer Edition on Linux, and this makes it incredibly difficult for web developers new to Linux to be able to get their web environment up and running.

Due to how difficult installing Firefox Developer Edition on Linux is, we’ve decided to make this in-depth guide. In it, we’ll go over how to download the app, decompress it and set it up on your Linux PC!

Before we begin

Firefox Developer Edition can often conflict with a traditional Firefox installation if both are set up at once.  Before going through this guide, please uninstall Firefox. If you intend to return to it at some point, consider backing up your Firefox profile before you uninstall it.

Unsure of how to get rid of Firefox on your Linux PC? Open up a terminal and follow the instructions below that match your Linux OS.

Ubuntu

sudo apt remove firefox

Debian

sudo apt-get remove firefox-esr

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -R firefox

Fedora

sudo dnf remove firefox

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper remove firefox

Install Firefox Developer Edition

Firefox Developer Edition works on Linux however, you probably won’t be able to find a copy of the software in your Linux distribution’s software sources (unless you’re on Arch Linux). Instead, if you want to get your hands on this version of the browser, you’ll have to download it and install it manually.

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The developer release of Firefox is a pre-built binary. You won’t have to worry about compiling any code. Just follow the instructions below and get it working!

Download Firefox Developer Edition

Step 1: Firefox Developer Edition needs to be downloaded from the official Mozilla website. To get a copy, click on this link to head over to this page.

Step 2: Once on the page, you’ll see a few different releases of Firefox (Beta, Developer, and Nightly). Scroll down the page, look for the download button and click on it to start the download for Linux.

Step 3: When downloading is complete, close your browser window, as you won’t need it. Then, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T, or by browsing for it.

Extract Firefox Developer Edition

Now that the FF Developer Edition TarBZ2 archive is done downloading, it’s time to gain access to the files inside. To do this, you must CD into the ~/Downloads folder. Then, run the tar command to extract the TarBZ2 archive.

cd ~/Downloads tar -xvf firefox-*.tar.bz2

Moving files

Once the files are fully extracted, it’s time to move them. In the case of Firefox, it needs to be put in the /opt folder. However, before we can move the files to this directory, you’ll need to elevate your command-line session from a standard user to Root, using the su or sudo -s command.

su -

or

sudo -s

Now that there is Root access in the terminal use the mv command to place the Firefox system files in the /opt directory of your Linux PC’s filesystem.

Note: please change “username” in the command below with the username on your computer, or the files will not move.

mv /home/username/Downloads/firefox /opt

Set up Firefox binary

Firefox Developer Edition’s files are in place in the /opt directory on your Linux PC. Still, you won’t be able to launch the browser app or use any of its functions, as the binary isn’t in the right place.

To set the binary in the right place, you must make a symlink from the /opt/firefox/ folder to the /usr/local/bin/ folder using the ln command.

Note: be sure your terminal is still using Root!

ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/local/bin/firefox

Create desktop shortcut

After putting the Firefox binary in the /usr/local/bin, you’ll need to set up a new desktop shortcut by using the touch command.

touch /usr/share/applications/firefox-developer.desktop

With the new desktop file made, we can start editing the shortcut. To modify the file, you must open it up in a text editor. In this tutorial, we’ll edit the file in Nano, as it’s easy to use for most users. Don’t like Nano? Feel free to use your favorite instead!

nano /usr/share/applications/firefox-developer.desktop

With the desktop shortcut open in Nano, paste the code below inside of the editor.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Firefox Developer
GenericName=Firefox Developer Edition
Exec=/usr/local/bin/firefox
Terminal=false
Icon=/opt/firefox/browser/chrome/icons/default/default48.png
Type=Application
Categories=Application;Network;X-Developer;
Comment=Firefox Developer Edition Web Browser

Save the edit with Ctrl + O and exit with Ctrl + X. Then, update the permissions of the file with chmod.

chmod +x /usr/share/applications/firefox-developer.desktop

With the permissions updated, you’ll be able to access Firefox developer edition in your application menu under “Internet.”

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