HowTo Install firefox-4.0.tar.bz2 in Linux

by on March 23, 2011 · 9 comments· LAST UPDATED June 6, 2012


How do I install latest Firefox version 4.0 in Linux operating systems?

You can easily install Firefox version 4.0 in Linux and the best part is you won't lose any of your bookmarks or browsing history created by Firefox 3.x. However, some of your extensions and other add-ons might not work until updates for them are made available. I strongly recommend that you backup existing your $HOME/.mozilla/ directory. Open a command-line terminal (select Applications > Accessories > Terminal), and then type the following commands:

Step #1: Backup ~/.mozilla/ Directory

Type the following command:
$ mkdir ~/backups
$ cp -avr ~/.mozilla/ ~/backups

Step #2: Download Firefox v4.x

Visit the official site and save firefox-4.0.tar.bz2 in /tmp directory.

Step #3: Install Firefox v4.x in /opt

Type the following command as the root user, enter:
$ cd /tmp
$ sudo tar -jxvf firefox-4.0.tar.bz2 -C /opt/

Or you can switch to the root user by typing su - and entering the root password, when prompted:
$ su -
# cd /tmp
# tar -jxvf firefox-4.0.tar.bz2 -C /opt/

How Do I Start Firefox v4.0?

To start the Firefox version 4.x, type (please shutdown running Firefox v3.x):
$ /opt/firefox/firefox &
Sample outputs:

Firefox version 4.0 Running under Linux

Fig.01: Firefox v.4.0 in Action (click to enlarge)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Al Biheiri March 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

for the new firefox to become default browser I had to.

update-alternatives –install firefox4 /usr/bin/firefox gnome-www-browser /opt/firefox/firefox 30
update-alternatives –config gnome-www-browser


2 TryME March 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Thanks for sharing the info.


3 parsilinux March 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

hi. thank you for your tip.
but when i run your first command i get this error :
update-alternatives: priority must be an integer

whats wrong?


4 Creak March 29, 2011 at 10:36 am

Thanks for the HOWTO. Installed Firefox 4 under Ubuntu and it seems to work fine. Still have the old version of Firefox installed, which was obtained from Ubuntu reps. Is it OK to uninstall this using apt, or will this remove my profile too?

Also, what’s the best way to update the symlink /usr/bin/firefox ?


5 TryME March 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

No profile is not removed (but make a backup as suggested in this tutorial). I’m using with LTS 10.4 and I’ve got rid of older version and currently using FF4 /opt/firefox/firefox. update-alternatives is suggested by many to update symlink but you can use ln -s command too ;)


6 chimera March 31, 2011 at 5:42 am

It worked fine in backtrack 4 r2 thanks a lot for the hint keep it up


7 mark April 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

ok…but about flashplayer?


8 saifullah September 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

i need to backup my history profile of mozila firefox on ubuntu 10.4 to reinstall the O.S. can some on explain how to make backup and re-use this backup to save my important history of firefox.

kindly mail me at


9 Elazuly January 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thank you for this very guide to installing firefox manually. Worked magic for me :)


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