Running The Latest Firefox Version On Debian Squeeze

Version: 1
Author: Jair Bolivar
Last edit: January 21 2012 15:30 CST

We all know that Debian is a production like GNU/Linux operating system, thus the software available by default in the repository servers is not always the newest version. I created this tutorial to help those interested in running the latest version of the graphical Internet browser Mozilla Firefox.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you! but if you run into problem you are welcome to send me your questions in the forums, best of luck!


1.Install Dependencies

Make sure you have all these dependencies installed in your system; as root run the following command:

apt-get install g++ libgtk+2.0 libnotify-dev libasound2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libidl-dev libiw-dev mesa-common-dev yasm libxt-dev


2. Get The Latest Version Of Firefox Source Code

Go to the following url and download the latest source file version of Firefox, at the time of this tutorial /9.0.1/source/firefox-9.0.1.source.tar.bz2 firefox-9.0.1 was the latest version of Firefox. Then select a directory for the Firefox source code to be downloaded - in my case /home/user/firefox-source where user is my username on the Debian system.


3. Create The Required Configuration File

In the home directory of the non-root user - in my case user - create a new file using your favorite text editor, save it and name it .mozconfig - don't forget the dot in front, it's very important. Once done type or paste the following settings to it:

mk_add_options [email protected]@/obj-firefox
ac_add_options --prefix=/opt/firefox
ac_add_options --enable-application=browser
ac_add_options --with-system-zlib
ac_add_options --with-system-jpeg
ac_add_options --enable-optimize
ac_add_options --enable-official-branding
ac_add_options --enable-canvas
ac_add_options --enable-strip
ac_add_options --disable-tests
ac_add_options --disable-installer
ac_add_options --disable-accessibility
ac_add_options --enable-xinerama
ac_add_options --with-default-mozilla-five-home=/usr/lib/firefox-9.0.1


4. Uncompress Firefox Source Code

As root unpack the content of the firefox-9.0.1.source.tar.bz2 using the following command:

tar xjf firefox-9.0.1.source.tar.bz2


5. Start The Compile Process

The result will be the following directory: mozilla-release

Go inside the directory just created, and run the following command:

./configure --enable-application=browser --disable-libjpeg-turbo

If the system complains about dependencies missing install them and re-run the command:

./configure --enable-application=browser --disable-libjpeg-turbo


6. Run make

Once the command finishes without reporting dependency errors, run the command:



7. Then Run make install

Wait for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, if make finishes successfully it is time to run the command:

make install


8. Test If Firefox Works

Now go to the directory /mozilla-release/dst/firefox and run the command:



9. Change Ownership On Firefox Directory To Non-Root User

To make sure it runs and that you can browse URLs like successfully once validated close Firefox, change directory to /mozilla-release/dst and run the command:

chown -R user:user firefox


10. Copy Firefox Directory Into Non-Root User Home Directory

Notice we are still root and we are running this command against the directory firefox , exit root user and become in my case user and copy the full directory firefox into your home directory /home/user/firefox - you can use this command:

cp -rvp firefox /home/user/


11. Obtain Firefox Icons

Next, it is time to get the icons for Firefox and create a launcher in your graphical desktop, in my case I am using gnome.

Point your browser to the following URL and download the Firefox 48 or 64 pixels size icon and place it somewhere you can find it easily, in my case I use the same firefox-source.

Firefox icons


12. Create Firefox Launcher Desktop Icon

Finally do a right click on an open space in your gnome desktop and select "create launcher". When the window appears fill in the following information:

Name: Firefox 9
Command: /home/user/firefox/firefox-bin
Comment: Mozilla-firefox

Gnome launcher

In the left side upper corner of the launcher window, click on the icon and browse to where the Firefox icons are, select one of them and press OK. Now you should be able to open Firefox using the icon launcher you just created.


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12 Comment(s)

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By: Anonymous

or you could just do this, unless you just absolutely need the firefox branding. This also handles the updates and dependencies. 

By: Jairzhino

Well, good luck with that.  The only versions available on that site you posted are still pretty old compared with the latest version of Mozilla Firefox (today 10.0)

If you follow the tutorial you can quickly upgrade to the latest version, and it's new features. The same procedure can be follow for a fresh install.

 Thank you for the feedback.



By: XenGi

The version of the firefox release channel on lacks only 2 or 3 days. So 3 days after Firefox 10 was official I got the version from that repository.

 Who can't wait 3 days?

By: Anonymous


By: Anonymous

Instead of criticize, and bitch about the tutorial which accomplish something some users specially newbies in Linux would like to see, why don't you all create a better version of the step by step of the very secure and efficient way to maintain the latest version of Mozilla Firefox in Debian Linux 64bit.


By: Raymond Pettersen

Agree. The guide above is low quality. Especially the part about copying it into your home directory and so on. Actually im surprised to find this on howtoforge which rarely/never have guides that are close to useless... 

Now if this guide was rewritten to support deb creation... I`d give it a thumbs up. 

By: Alberto Molina

Another option could be using the packages provided by the Debian Mozilla Team [1]


Following the instrucctions of that link, it is possible to upgrade Iceweasel  with apt-get update && apt-get upgrade.

I've tested this way successfully from Iceweasel 8 to 10.

By: Anonymous

I subscribe to the idea of my previous fellow poster (above): you will get into more trouble if you follow this article.

Go to and follow the instructions there.

That will keep you on the stable channel of Firefox and you won't have to download, compile and install everytime you want to update your system.

By: istok

it's an interesting method. i wonder if i'm a very bad person for downloading the binary from the firefox website, unpacking it in /opt, and then symlinking the executable to /usr/bin. from there on it notifies me of updates and it's quite straightforward.

also, of course, firefox is never in debian repositories, old and new versions alike.




I have been having problems with strange compilation issues and files missing where I expected the compiled binaries to be.


I finally got a proper Firefox. 






make (with no parameters) 


worked out. 

By: Anonymous

does this works with debian 7 (wheezy)?


By: Shadow IT Ninja

Is there a way to install the latest Firefox and have it auto update in a reliable way? Just installing some version as a one-off isn't that big a deal and not really that helpful.