Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

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Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby Hralgmir » 2012-07-17 02:57

Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze) integrating it into the Gnome 2.30.2-2 desktop and making it the default browser.
The objective is to install Firefox, downloaded directly from the Mozilla Firefox website, as the web browser in place of Iceweasel, and install it so it works as smoothly within the desktop environment as Iceweasel did. Epiphany is left in place as an alternate free open source web browser. Iceweasel is removed completely from the system.
The installation of 3rd party software, not within the Debian package system, is required.
A familiarity with using Bash in the terminal is recommended, although I have tried to include the required commands as completely as I can, your installation of Debian will almost certainly differ from mine, as I have numerous backports, additional packages, one off modifications and packages compiled from source. If you arrived at this version of Debian by upgrading from previous versions you could also have packages still installed from that version which are not included in the current version. In most cases this should not be relevant for the instructions below. If any problems or errors occurred it would be necessary to have an understanding of what was happening in order to make any corrections. Read the entire how - to before commencing any code input and ensure you understand the commands, researching unfamiliar elements when required.
If Debian has been installed without sudo, use su / exit as appropriate.
This how - to has been written for Debian 6 with the Gnome 2 desktop only, and I have only tested it using Debian with the Gnome 2.30.2-2 desktop which was included with my original installation of Debian. Other versions and desktops may differ to some varying degree.
This how - to is free as stated in the "GNU Free Documentations Licence" insofar as my input is concerned and I believe that the details included here are similarly 'free'. The links for 'further info' represent my most useful and significant sources, please refer to the documentation for the relevant sites for their respective licensing information. Many internet searches and perusals of the results could be said to have contributed to some degree. Any code I have personally written here is made available under the GPL.
Download the latest stable release of Firefox and save somewhere.
man iceweasel, copy and paste contents into a text file - or copy the .gz man file if you locate it - some useful info for Firefox here.
sudo apt-get remove iceweasel
sudo mkdir /opt/firefoxx (or just put the files directly in /opt if you prefer, modifying the relevant commands below accordingly)
sudo mv /path/to/firefox-11.0.tar.bz2 /opt/firefoxx
cd /opt/firefoxx
sudo tar -xjvf firefox-11.0.tar.bz2
cd /usr/local/bin
sudo ln -s /opt/firefoxx/firefox/firefox
cd /usr/local/share/applications
(You may need to create the /share/applications bit, and reboot after creating the initial .desktop file for the first time only, so the Gnome desktop finds the new directory)
sudo nano
(Enter / copy & paste this following text or modify it to suit)

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Web Browser
X-GNOME-FullName=Firefox Web Browser
Comment=Blaze through the web
Exec=/opt/firefoxx/firefox/firefox %U

(Ctrl + o)
firefox.desktop (and enter, to save under this name)
(Ctrl + x)

cd ~/.local/share/applications
nano mimeapps.list
(Under [Added Associations] ensure these entries are in place, the first xx.desktop; application is the default - if it's installed)

[Added Associations]


(Ctrl + o, enter)
(Ctrl + x)
(The last four gedit.desktop entries correct gedit.destkop in /etc/gnome/defaults.list, but note these may possibly have been 'destkopped' as a security feature, rather than a typo, so could be omitted if you are unlikely to want to open these file types in the desktop environment.)
Close and re-open Nautilus if Firefox is not yet shown as the default browser.
(Click on the drop down menu) Applications > Internet > Firefox Web Browser
Drag and drop Firefox Web Browser to the top panel which makes a launcher with a Firefox icon.

The Firefox tar.bz2 file name will differ according to which version it contains, alter this as appropriate to your circumstance.
Firefox will only happily co - exist with Iceweasel if different profiles are used, but this creates some other small difficulties, due to the "-no-remote -P myprofilename" argument required after this has been created. -no-remote had side effects, so if Firefox was showing one .html file, another .html file could not be opened from Nautilus as a new Firefox would try to start but fail, and could not communicate with the first one to allow the file to be shown in a new tab. If Firefox is to be the default browser it is much easier to remove Iceweasel. Another possibility would be to create a new profile for Iceweasel instead. Epiphany does not cause any conflicts so can be left in place.
The firefox.desktop file is modified from epiphany.desktop, without the multi - lingual translations. It's creation places Firefox in the Applications > Internet menu.
%U is for .desktop files, it is meaningless in BASH, it allows URL's and .html files to be opened, rather than just starting the browser on it's home page.
There is no need for a -new-tab argument as this can be set within Firefox in the Edit > Preferences > Tabs menu.
~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list is for the users account and takes precedence over the system wide /etc/gnome/defaults.list, which probably should be left unedited, as other parts of the system probably edit it automatically.
In /etc/gnome/defaults.list, text/xml=gedit.desktop ; however, you may note the MimeType= definitions in the firefox.desktop file includes text/xml as well. This could also be defined in mimeapps.list if required, but I have not needed to open .xml files in Firefox rather than Gedit so have let this stay as the defaults.list setting. These mime type definitions set up the applications used in the desktop and Nautilus to open files, so should not affect what happens if Firefox encounters xml content online for example.
Before upgrading to a new version of Debian, backup ~/.mozilla as Iceweasel will probably return and if started accidentally, will trample on the profile xxxxxx.default in ~/.mozilla/firefox so the backup could be used in this case. The Firefox installation should be safe through upgrades as it uses /opt and /usr/local.
To upgrade to a new release of Firefox:
Download the new tar.bz2 package.
sudo mv /path/to/firefox-13.0.1.tar.bz2 /opt/firefoxx
cd /opt/firefoxx
sudo rm -r firefox
sudo tar -xjvf firefox-13.0.1.tar.bz2
All the other links etc. should work with the new version.
Keeping the previous tar.bz2 in /opt/firefoxx allows a quick return to the old version if there were any problems. I have not had any difficulties myself, I would think the stable versions can be relied on to work well, for the non-commercial individual users purposes.
New version notification preferences can be set from within Firefox under Edit - Preferences - Advanced - Update. I have not set it to automatically download updates, so I do not know if this feature would provide a fully automated update, as I set to Check...but let me choose... to avoid unwanted interruptions. Following the update prompts takes me to the latest version download link, to be upgraded manually.
The official Debian recommendation is to use Iceweasel through the packages.
No disrespect is intended towards the Iceweasel developers, who undoubtedly do a great job, but hopefully this may be of some assistance to Firefox users who are looking for a nicely integrated installation that works as it should.
Further info: ... illaBuilds
Ubuntu??? Well it is Debian - based and uses Firefox. This page provides a useful discussion of profile management.
Johannes Eva has a regularly updated general Linux Firefox installation guide, easily located with a search online for the latest version.
This information from Gnome is available online to browse as well, if the whole manual was not required. Very comprehensive. ... tions-spec
There are various pages on the site which clarify issues mentioned in the Gnome guide. Also very comprehensive.
If you follow these instructions I recommend saving them to remind you what you have done.

Appendix 1
Reasons to use /usr/local
The PATH variable in the terminal provides a good example of how this works:

$ echo $PATH
$ sudo su
# echo $PATH

You will note that the /usr/local locations appear before their /usr or / equivalents. This means if you type a command e.g.


in the terminal then it will look for the first instance of firefox as it searchs each location in turn. Even if there was an old Iceweasel firefox link left in place, /usr/bin/firefox, it would not be used as /usr/local/bin/firefox would take precedence and be executed instead.
A possible (but not likely) exception would be if the PATH variable had not been set correctly, or had been altered. Anything set can be unset or not set in the right circumstances of course. It may be possible to find these sort of situations if you changed the normal boot sequence and started an unorthodox login shell or were doing things in Grub terminal perhaps, but it is not that likely in the normal course of events and you would be unlikely to be able to use Firefox in these situations anyway. If you changed the PATH variable then presumably you would realise you had done so, unless some application did it for you!

In similar fashion, the Gnome desktop has it's own version of PATH which fortunately includes /usr/local addresses for it's configuration files hence the use of:
The reboot is required when this is created because it checks for the existence of these directories at startup then uses the ones it has found during that session. Creating a new .desktop file here will not be registered if the directory also has to be created, but adding more of your own .desktop files to /usr/local/share/applications on subsequent boots after it has previously been created will see them added to the drop down desktop menu without a reboot.
/usr/local has the advantage that it is not affected by the system installing or altering things. Unless you are personally in charge of what appears in Debian, you need to be prepared for any system directory to appear or disappear, and files with any possible name or location behaving likewise. Some locations may be described as being for configuration purposes though.
/usr/local/share/applications/firefox.desktop is safe from interference.
/usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop could be potentially overwritten at any point when updates, upgrades or new packages are installed using the apt-get system.
It may not be overwritten of course, but it could happen - as /usr/local will work exactly the same in all other respects then if it is possible to use this rather than system locations then that is the preferred method according to Debian recommendations.
Another reason to avoid altering system files is that sometimes when upgrading to a new version of the OS the process may stop midway to ask if you want to overwrite the file in question, so you will need to keep checking on the upgrade process. This could possibly occur with files that could be classed as configuration files as well, if they are going to be replaced with updated versions. If you created a configuration file yourself in a recommended location then this would be less likely to be a problem though.
/opt is a directory reserved for the system administrator as a system wide location to install software.

Appendix 2
"update-alternatives" and "update-menus"
These have no apparent connection with the current Gnome desktop.
update-menus is used for other desktop environments, e.g. FVWM, FVWM-Crystal. update-menus creates menu entry files for desktop environments that have a method file which appears in /etc/menu-methods. The Gnome desktop menu format does not seem to be currently supported. There is no reason a method file could not be written for the Gnome desktop which could be placed in /etc/menu-methods although the menu files update-menus uses do not seem to be as detailed as .desktop types.
In FVWM it is apparently possible to configure it to use the relevant parts of Gnome menu files and show the entries in the menu lists. FVWM-Crystal may do this as initially installed from the Debian package.
It would probably be advisable to set update-alternatives for a fully compliant installation, to provide compatibility with any software that may refer to it.
Altering these will have no effect on which applications open files in Nautilus or on the desktop. It will not affect the Applications menu either. The exception to this would be if there was a .desktop file created or otherwise in existence which pointed to one of the browser links set by update-alternatives such as:
With the Gnome desktop gnome-www-browser would be configured and a gnome-www-browser.desktop file created e.g.:

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Web Browser
X-GNOME-FullName=gnome-www-browser Web Browser
Comment=Browse the web
Exec=/usr/bin/gnome-www-browser %U

Creating such a file would enable update-alternatives to operate if the gnome-www-browser.desktop file was made the default browser program in ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list, but I think it is preferable to use the current system with seperate .desktop files for each browser as it allows comments, icons and similar to be set for each one individually. Also if for some reason w3m (the browser which runs in the terminal) was set as the default browser, Terminal=false would have to be changed to Terminal=true.
That is not to say of course that a system could not be written whereby the update-alternatives preference was checked and the respective .desktop file for the application selected by update-alternatives was automatically made the default in Gnome, but that is not the case in my version of Debian/Gnome. This would not allow the preferred application to be set for each mime type (file type: .txt .jpg etc.)

Setting Firefox as the default browser for gnome-www-browser using update-alternatives

:~$ update-alternatives --display gnome-www-browser
gnome-www-browser - auto mode
link currently points to /usr/bin/epiphany-browser
/usr/bin/epiphany-browser - priority 85
slave gnome-www-browser.1.gz: /usr/share/man/man1/epiphany-browser.1.gz
Current 'best' version is '/usr/bin/epiphany-browser'.
:~$ update-alternatives --query gnome-www-browser
Link: gnome-www-browser
Status: auto
Best: /usr/bin/epiphany-browser
Value: /usr/bin/epiphany-browser

Alternative: /usr/bin/epiphany-browser
Priority: 85
gnome-www-browser.1.gz /usr/share/man/man1/epiphany-browser.1.gz
:~$ sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/gnome-www-browser gnome-www-browser /usr/local/bin/firefox 100
update-alternatives: using /usr/local/bin/firefox to provide /usr/bin/gnome-www-browser (gnome-www-browser) in auto mode.
:~$ update-alternatives --display gnome-www-browser
gnome-www-browser - auto mode
link currently points to /usr/local/bin/firefox
/usr/bin/epiphany-browser - priority 85
slave gnome-www-browser.1.gz: /usr/share/man/man1/epiphany-browser.1.gz
/usr/local/bin/firefox - priority 100
Current 'best' version is '/usr/local/bin/firefox'.

In this example gnome-www-browser has been left in auto mode and /usr/local/bin/firefox was given a priority of 100, so it has automatically been set as the default as it is higher than /usr/bin/epiphany-browser at 85. Manual mode can also be used to set an alternative as the 'best' version regardless of it's priority.
See $man update-alternatives for more detail.
If you saved the actual .gz compressed Iceweasel man page file you could put that somewhere convenient and use the --slave option to set that as well.
This would allow the command:
$man gnome-www-browser
to work. The .gz files for the man pages contain various code along with the text it displays so 'man' displays them properly.
will now open Firefox instead of Epiphany.
See post below for Appendix 3: Setting gconf keys (quite useful for added functionality)
Last edited by Hralgmir on 2012-07-27 00:29, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby craigevil » 2012-07-17 03:43

no need to remove iceweasel, actually it is a good idea to leave it installed so the plugin directory is in the proper place.

Tech Patterns :: Switching from Debian Iceweasel to Firefox, permanently :

Personally I am lazy and since I am the only one that uses my laptop, all I do is
create a new profile and copy my iceweasel profile to the new firefox profile
copy the iceweasel.desktop, rename it and edit the Exec= and Icon= lines
copy my new firefox.desktop to /usr/share/applications
add firefox to the alternatives system, run update-alternatives --config x-www-browser and set Firefox as the default browser
open System Settings>Default Applications and set Firefox as default browser

Code: Select all
# update-alternatives --config x-www-browser
There are 7 choices for the alternative x-www-browser (providing /usr/bin/x-www-browser).

  Selection    Path                                   Priority   Status
  0            /usr/bin/google-chrome                  200       auto mode
* 1            /home/craig/Downloads/firefox/firefox   100       manual mode
  2            /usr/bin/google-chrome                  200       manual mode
  3            /usr/bin/iceweasel                      70        manual mode
  4            /usr/bin/konqueror                      100       manual mode
  5            /usr/bin/qupzilla                       70        manual mode
  6            /usr/bin/uzbl-browser                   10        manual mode
  7            /usr/bin/xlinks2                        69        manual mode

my firefox.desktop
Code: Select all
#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Comment[en_US]=Browse the World Wide Web
Comment=Browse the World Wide Web
Exec=/home/craig/Downloads/firefox/firefox '%u'

[Default Applications]

BTW the current version of Squeeze is 6.0.5
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby dasein » 2012-07-17 03:57

craigevil wrote:BTW the current version of Squeeze is 6.0.5

Also from the BTW department, Firefox is not non-free software.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby Hralgmir » 2012-07-18 02:51

Thank you for your helpful additions, it is always dangerous to put this many details into print and hope to get everything correct :) I detailed the exact release of Debian I have installed as it is a constantly evolving creation, so it would provide a better reference, although I keep it updated of course. I am not sure how long these methods will apply, as there are always constant code revisions of the software which comprises Debian, however it would be reasonable to hope it will still apply at least until Debian 7.
I note craigevil's code listings includes a mention of konqueror.
This would suggest that the desktop in use here is KDE. Other Firefox how - to's I have seen referring to KDE also use update-alternatives. This is included in Debian as part of the specifications for compatibility with other desktop environments (correct me if I am wrong here!) but is definitely not used in the Gnome desktop, as there are different methods used by Gnome which bypass these other conventions which are the methods used in the how - to. The Gnome desktop simply does not check update-alternatives or update-menus to see what they have configured to be the default. I believe this is part of the system that allows multiple desktops to be installed without conflicting with each other, because some programs would only work in one particular desktop environment.
In my edition of Debian the graphical interface for setting default applications does not function correctly, hence the manual editing of the files concerned.
It is also much better to use /usr/local/share/applications rather than /usr/share/applications for the .desktop file (although this does work) as it is then safe from automatic system operations. In fact I initially used /usr/bin and /usr/share/applications myself but refined it further using /usr/local as this follows Debian recommendations, and works just as well but without the risk of conflicting with some other application or process. /usr/local is a system - wide location too, taking precedence over any equivalent files in the system directory tree where a file in /usr/local/equivalent/path/to/file exists, so these parts of the installation would still apply for all users on that system.
Apologies for the erroneous free/non free statements, which I have now amended, as I had written the general how - to initially as part of my personal notes for reference, and thought it may be helpful to share these. As I read the requirements for posting a how - to I realised I needed to add these details, and they did not get the same level of research that the actual installation process did. (A late - night last minute add on, always a bad recipe for saying something on a forum.)
I have been successfully using my Firefox installation for a few months now without any problems.
I have not had any problems with missing plugin directories - you may note I used apt-get remove iceweasel, not apt-get purge iceweasel, a critical difference as the configuration files are left in place. There are several possible plugin directories I recall from using Ubuntu, although in Debian I currently only have /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins which suffices. I have amended the how - to to highlight this - how easy it would be to change a single argument to a command and find all manner of potential pitfalls.
I also note craigevil's mention of being the only person using his laptop - that is a similar situation with myself. If the above instructions were followed, an installation with multiple users would need to create the sections in home ~/ for each user individually and likewise create a launcher for each user individually. There are ways around this in the Gnome System Administrators manual, but I cannot remember all the details offhand. I have not amended anything related to this aspect as it is too complicated to look up at this point, and in any case I could not easily fully test the results as I have a single user, single account sudo setup.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby craigevil » 2012-07-18 03:14

n installation with multiple users would need to create the sections in home ~/ for each user individually and likewise create a launcher for each user individually.

No the entire point on putting Firefox in /opt as the tech Forums howto does, Firefox works system wide on a multi-user system that way.

update-alternatives is the default way of setting default applications, and yes both Gnome and KDE settings can screw with it.

update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby Hralgmir » 2012-07-25 01:00

I have added some amendments and edited my original post to try and address some of the issues you raised, hopefully without adding more inaccuracies. I will try to add a bit more subsequently. I hope this may be helpful to some degree, there are other ways to do this and if you prefer them then that is fine!
Incidentally, looking carefully at the :
link, my suspicion would be that the CPU usage change could have been due to Iceweasel having working Java and Flashplayer plugins, and these plugins not working in the resulting Firefox installation. As this dates from 2010 maybe this just was a problem with an old Iceweasel version. Iceweasel worked quite acceptably for me but when I tried to add extras from the Mozilla site it asked me to create an account, while with Firefox it added them without this requirement. There are instructions around to 'spoof' websites into believing Iceweasel is actually Firefox, but I installed original Firefox instead. A trivial reason to change perhaps, but I liked the Firefox film from the 80's too.
Flashplayer especially uses a lot of resources, it can be temporarily disabled, and only enabled when needed, or Adblock plus stops most of the problem. On newer machines with good graphics it is not a problem anyway.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby craigevil » 2012-07-25 01:53

Iceweasel and firefox on my system have the exact same add-ons and plugins. The only time you run into add-on problems is when using the old version in Stable. That can be easily fixed by using the ESR version from backports or the current release version from repo.

apt-cache policy iceweasel
Installed: 14.0.1-2
Candidate: 14.0.1-2

Code: Select all
My Firefox Information

Last updated: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 00:22:08 GMT
User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:14.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/14.0.1

[b]Extensions[/b] (enabled: 28, disabled: 1; total: 29)
[*][url=]Adblock Plus[/url] 2.1.1
[*][url=]Add-on Compatibility Reporter[/url] 1.1
[*][url=]BetterPrivacy[/url] 1.68
[*][url=]CoLT[/url] 2.5.7
[*][url=]eCleaner[/url] 1.4
[*][url=]Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus[/url] 1.2.3
[*][url=]feedly[/url] 10.2
[*][url=]FlashGot[/url] 1.4.6
[*][url=]GoogleSharing[/url] 0.22
[*][url=]Greasemonkey[/url] 0.9.20 [disabled]
[*][url=]Hide My Ass Proxy Extension[/url] 1.2.7
[*][url=]HTTPS Finder[/url] 0.85
[*][url=]HTTPS-Everywhere[/url] 2.1
[*][url=]InfoLister[/url] 0.10.4a3
[*][url=]Konquefox[/url] 1.8.2
[*][url=]MAFIAAFire Redirector[/url] 0.9d
[*][url=]MAFIAAFIRE: Gee! No evil![/url]
[*][url=]Movable Firefox Button[/url] 1.4
[*][url=]Nightly Tester Tools[/url] 3.3
[*][url=]NoScript[/url] 2.4.8
[*][url=]Open in Private Browsing Mode[/url] 0.1
[*][url=]Oxygen KDE Options[/url] 3.9.1
[*][url=]Pocket[/url] 3.0.0
[*][url=]QuickProxy[/url] 2009.07.19
[*][url=]SPDY indicator[/url] 2.1
[*][url=]Stylish[/url] 1.2.6
[*][url=]User Agent Switcher[/url] 0.7.3

[b]Themes[/b] (3)
[*]Firefox B [selected]
[*]Oxygen KDE [selected]

[*]DivX Browser Plug-In
[*]Java(TM) Plug-in 1.7.0_05
[*]KParts Plugin
[*]mplayerplug-in is now gecko-mediaplayer 1.0.6
[*]QuickTime Plug-in 7.6.9
[*]RealPlayer 9
[*]Shockwave Flash
[*]Windows Media Player Plug-in

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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby traveler » 2012-07-25 02:58

sudo isn't configured by default on debian systems. Since this is a debian forum, perhaps simply using a # in the commands to show root would suffice. If not, explaining how to configure sudo properly would probably be a good idea. Personally, if I read a how-to here and it even mentions sudo, I immediately distrust the author. For this I blame the old cranky debitard inside me.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby Hralgmir » 2012-07-27 00:31

Appendix 3
Setting gconf keys.
Shortcuts on the desktop itself, and files in Nautilus should already be opening with Firefox.
This deals with situations where you may click on links in other circumstances, such as in Gnome Terminal, or an 'About' window
Some applications (especially non - Gnome ones) might possibly still need to be set by their own methods.
To see the gconf preference keys that can be set: (ensure there are sufficient scrollback lines set in the terminal)
$gconftool-2 --recursive-list /
I think you won't need to worry about the schemas section in the resulting output. Look for references which set a browser - but not settings FOR a browser, such as Epiphany.
nremote = true
exec = epiphany
needs_term = false
One of these keys, which is originally set to Epiphany, viewed with gconftool-2 --get:
$ gconftool-2 --get /desktop/gnome/applications/browser/exec
An example of an actual file where two keys are set in $HOME (from the above entry, the 'needs_term' key is unset here and exists as a system default elsewhere):
$ cat ~/.gconf/desktop/gnome/applications/browser/%gconf.xml
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<entry name="exec" mtime="1333159504" type="string">
<entry name="nremote" mtime="1333159504" type="bool" value="true"/>

To set the keys I needed to set, and probably this would apply for others with a similar OS:
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/applications/browser/exec" --type string "firefox"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/applications/browser/nremote" --type bool "false"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/about/command" --type string "firefox %s"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/chrome/command" --type string "firefox %s"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/ftp/command" --type string "firefox %s"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command" --type string "firefox %s"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/https/command" --type string "firefox %s"
$ gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/unknown/command" --type string "firefox %s"

The %s is copied from the original "epiphany %s" entries. I believe it is a gconf device similar to %U in .desktop files and allows a file or web address to be appended to the command. The first key set did not originally have a %s so neither does my replacement entry. I don't want a 'no remote' option with Firefox so I set nremote to equal false.
Now if I right click a link in the terminal, like when one appears at the end of a man page, and select Open Link then it opens in Firefox instead of Epiphany.
Instead of firefox as the command one could equally have /opt/firefoxx/firefox/firefox to go directly to the firefox executable rather than going to it through the link in /usr/bin/local. If you had created a variant on this installation that might be useful in some circumstances.
The Debian package 'gconf-editor' provides a graphical interface to set gconf preferences, viewed as a directory tree.
It is not installed by default in Debian, the command gconftool-2 gives the same result. Most gconf settings are made by ticking checkboxes or similar in preference dialogues within applications, so do not need setting like this.
These settings are made in the $HOME directory so would need to be repeated for each user if there is more than one. As the default settings might already exist in $HOME and this location takes priority, unless the settings are made 'mandatory' then this may be the simplest way to do it from the possible methods. An exception would be if you had yet to create the user(s), as their .gconf file could then include your altered system defaults. The Gnome system administrators manual contains these details if required.
Epiphany will still open if selected by the drop down applications menus or launcher icon, or using the command:
in the terminal.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby nadir » 2012-07-27 00:38

It was more easy to read the how-to if you would use code-tags.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby Hralgmir » 2012-07-27 01:39

Regarding Traveler's interesting point, 'sudo' is one of the options in the Expert Text based installation method. I simply installed Debian with this option selected - use 'sudo' and not create a separate root account - or words to that effect. This is convenient especially when you are using Debian as a single user. There is no major difference. 'su' gives root authority until the user types 'exit', while 'sudo' gives root authority for the appended command only. 'sudo su' is the same as 'su' and the user types 'exit' to relinquish this. If you type 'exit' again the terminal closes! I have tried to show the commands that I used and which worked for me, copied from the terminal when testing them whenever possible and pasted into a text file for accuracy. If I rewrote them for 'su' I could not test them.
$ aptitude show sudo
(if you have aptitude installed) for details of the Debian package 'sudo' which is installed on my system.
The firefox.desktop file is copied from the file I have installed. I must confess I have not tested the gnome-www-browser.desktop file, which is why I referred to it in the conditional tense. I included this as an example of how update-alternatives could be made to work in Gnome. You were right not to trust a sudo user!
If you don't trust me then look at the links and work out your own version, as there are limitless ways to do anything in Debian, after all that is the great thing about an open source OS. I posted this guide because I had not been able to find any succinct guides online which really integrated Firefox into the Gnome desktop, and it took a long while to research the methods required. It helps to at least know what elements may need configuring too, as you can then direct your attention so perhaps this may be of use for that.
The resources at and are much more complete than my simple guide and written by people who wrote the software and it's conceptual structure.
If anyone wants to write another how - to on this subject then I will not object. This method works very well for me though, and I think that the various elements of the procedure are useful to be aware of even if you decided not to follow this guide.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby craigevil » 2012-07-27 14:14

for xdg-open edit /.local/share/applications/defaults.list and add
Code: Select all
[Default Applications]

You may also want to edit mimeapps.list

KDE System Settings>Default Applications>Web browser >click in other browser and add firefox

Also a good idea to run update-alternatives --config x-www-browser and make sure to set Firefox as default browser

Code: Select all
 update-alternatives --config x-www-browser
There are 7 choices for the alternative x-www-browser (providing /usr/bin/x-www-browser).

  Selection    Path                                   Priority   Status
  0            /usr/bin/google-chrome                  200       auto mode
* 1            /home/craig/Downloads/firefox/firefox   100       manual mode
  2            /usr/bin/google-chrome                  200       manual mode
  3            /usr/bin/iceweasel                      70        manual mode
  4            /usr/bin/konqueror                      100       manual mode
  5            /usr/bin/qupzilla                       70        manual mode
  6            /usr/bin/uzbl-browser                   10        manual mode
  7            /usr/bin/xlinks2                        69        manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number:
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby BLTicklemonster » 2012-08-07 17:38

I know this isn't the way to do it, but I kept all my /home/me stuff from a prior debian based system on a partition so I could get to whatever I needed later, and installed Debian Last night (I've been searching for something better, and decided why not just use what all the other stuff I tried were based on..).

Ice weasel was a bit bare, and I couldn't just flat out sudo apt-get install firefox, so I just put my .mozilla folder into my new /home/me directory, and clicked on firefox in the /firefox directory, and voila.

Of course it'll probably crash something later on, but it works as well as before. It helps I guess that it was used in debian in the first place.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby vbrummond » 2012-08-07 17:49

Considering Iceweasel is just firefox with different branding I fail to see how it would cause issues with a correct .mozilla folder. Unless the folder was from a newer firefox.
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Re: Installing Firefox in Debian, (Squeeze)

Postby BLTicklemonster » 2012-08-07 19:17

Ice Weasel was just bare bones, that's all. I hadn't put firefox in yet when I decided to try dropping the folder in and trying it.
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