Install Firefox 3 Beta 4 in Ubuntu with One Command

Update: Firefox 3 Beta 5 has been released, click here for updated instructions.

Mozilla Firefox Beta 4 was released on Monday, March 10th. Want to try it out today in Ubuntu? Here’s an easy one line command that will install it in Ubuntu (or another Linux distribution) alongside your existing Firefox. Please note: the Firefox 3 Beta 4 release is intended for testing purposes only.

This post is an update to my previous instructions for Firefox 3 Beta 3.

Firefox 3 Beta 4 robot

Backup your profile

Before you run Firefox, you may want to backup your profile from Firefox 2. I haven’t had any problems sharing the profile so far, but don’t let Firefox 3 update update your extensions when it starts to avoid incompatibilities. This command will backup the Firefox profiles folder to firefox_profile_backup in your home folder:

cp -r ~/.mozilla/firefox/ ~/firefox_profile_backup

If you need to restore from the backup, do so by replacing the hidden .mozilla/firefox folder with your backup.

Install Firefox 3 Beta 4

Let’s install Firefox now. The command below does two things: it downloads Firefox to your home directory using wget, and extracts the Firefox folder there. Copy and paste the command (it’s one line) and run it in your terminal:

wget -P ~ && tar xjf ~/firefox-3.0b4.tar.bz2 -C ~

Once that command has completed, you can delete the firefox-3.0b4.tar.bz2 file in your home directory.

rm ~/firefox-3.0b4.tar.bz2

Run Firefox 3 Beta 4

Before running Firefox 3, close Firefox 2. Double-click the firefox file inside the firefox folder in your home directory, or run this command:


You can add Firefox 3 to your GNOME Applications menu using the menu editor in System->Preferences->Main Menu.

If you have any problems installing Firefox, feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Archived Comments


Thanks for the howto. One question, how do I point FF3B4 to my flash?

Thanks Tom!


Tom, I figured it out. Thanks again!


Hello, I know this is about Ubuntu but just to be informative, thought I’d dropped by to say that FF 3 b 4 does not work in Debian Etch yet. It requires Gtk+ 2.8.


BTW . if you have already installed firefox 3 beta 3 in the same way , then it is easier to install firefox 3 beta 4 . you just have to click ‘check for updates’ in the help menu.

Landon how did u point firefox 3 beta 4 to flash?


I’m still getting Firefox 2 after running these commands. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong as the instructions are super simple.


Firefox 2 is probably still running in the background. Try closing it with System Monitor prior to launching Firefox 3.



I just copied the plugins from the FF2 folder to my /home/firefox/plugins folder.

I am not on my Ubuntu machine right now so I can not tell you where the plugins for FF2 are located.


landon - how did you change the profile directory for ff3? i would like to use a separate profile from my FF2 install…


Thanks Landon u solved my problem.


I get the following:

$ ~/firefox/firefox
Error: in guard: symbol required but got: Error: fatal: looped fatal error

Any ideas?




why not use curl instead of wget?

curl | tar xj

And you are done!
It’s even faster as the archive has not to be written to hdd first.


You’re right that curl would be better, but it doesn’t seem to be installed by default in Ubuntu.


Very nice. Thank you! Worked like a charm and now I can benefit from the reduced memory footprint required.

damien hunter

It’s even easier than copying over your folder to use the Flash plugin. Just open up “Preferences” >> “Applications” and switch “Shockwave Flash file” from its default value to “Use other…” When the file viewer pops up, just navigator to the flash plugin (, which can be found in ~/.mozilla/plugins/


To enable flash plugin, i think this command will work:

$sudo cp /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/* ~/firefox/plugins/


Instead of curl, you can use wget with “-O” opton to form a pipe:

wget -O - -P ~ | tar xj


this may be silly of me to ask, but how do you uninstall the previous versions of firefox? or does the newer version completely overwrite the older version?


i did all the commands you said..but wen i double click on firefox in the home folder/firefox

its asks if to run or stuff..
i press run but nothing happens..
in terminal i do the command..this is the result
even if i closed firefox..i wen

amd@amd64:~$ ~/firefox/firefox
/home/amd/firefox/ 442: /home/amd/firefox/firefox-bin: not found

what can u do to help me sir!! fed up with tihs excess mem usage!!


I went through the same process as everyone did above, but got the same error message as aditya:

foremank@Aquinas:~ $ ~/firefox/firefox
/home/foremank/firefox/ 442: /home/foremank/firefox/firefox-bin: not found

Checking to make sure that the file is there and that all is well, I see:

foremank@Aquinas:~ $ file ~/firefox/firefox
/home/foremank/firefox/firefox: POSIX shell script text executable

foremank@Aquinas:~ $ file ~/firefox/firefox-bin
/home/foremank/firefox/firefox-bin: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), for GNU/Linux 2.6.9, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), stripped

…will this not work on AMD64 machines, only Intel 80386 machines? Looking at aditya’s hostname and knowing that mine is an AMD64 as well, are us AMD64 users left in the dark?

Thanks in advance for any help.


Hey, i did this and it installed fine, but both flash and mplayer were not functioning, so i was wondering if you could help at all? It says no plugin to play and it won’t do anything when i ask it to install it. I fixed the flashplayer somehow (i forget how, i think i twas just creating a link from the old to the new firefox pertaining to the flash), but using google i’ve been unable to find a resolution to my mplayer problem.


# Get the newest release instead of the beta
wget -P ~ && tar xjf ~/firefox-3.0.tar.bz2 -C ~

# Cleanup
rm ~/firefox-3.0.tar.bz2


I have a similar problem as aditya. but when i try to ./firefox-bin it still output not found. May be aditya is correct abount 64 bit, since i am using 64 bit ubuntu.

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