HowTo Install firefox-4.0.tar.bz2 in Linux

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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)

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


9 comment

  1. 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

    1. 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?

  2. 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 ?

    1. 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 ;)

  3. 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

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