Install Firefox 3 Beta 5 in Ubuntu with One Command

Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 5, hopefully the final beta, was released on Wednesday, April 2nd. Changes since beta 4 include better web compatibility, stability, OS integration, performance, and improvements to the bookmark manager. Beta 5 scores 71 on the Acid3 test versus 68 on beta 4.

Eager to give it a spin in Ubuntu or another Linux distro? You can easily install it alongside your existing version of Firefox. But remember: this beta is intended for testing only. If you’re running Ubuntu 8.04 this will work, but you can just wait a few days for Firefox 3 Beta 5 to arrive in the repositories instead. [update] It’s now available in the 8.04 repositories.

Firefox 3 Beta 5

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 5

Let’s install Firefox now. This one command downloads the Firefox archive, and extracts it to a folder called firefox in your home directory. Copy and paste it (one line) into your terminal to install.

wget -O - | tar xj -C ~

Run Firefox 3 Beta 5

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.

Missing plugins?

Firefox 3 may not see browser plugins like Flash. If you’re missing plugins, you can copy them from /usr/lib/firefox/plugins to ~/firefox/plugins.

Incompatible Extensions?

Beta 5 seems to have broken compatibility with a lot of extensions. I’ve been using Nightly Tester Tools to run older extensions. It doesn’t work with all of them, but it’s worth a try. If you’re looking for a compatible version of Adblock Plus, the latest development build will work with Beta 5.

If you have any problems with the installation, feel free to leave a comment on this post.

Archived Comments


did anyone notice that the font of “official” firefox3 is a bit different from the “ubuntu” version firefox3……
the official one is much blur…….
i think it maybe the cairo issue if ubuntu……if i m wrong please correct me…


Thanks Tom ,
Just like to add one more tip that if you have already installed firefox 3 beta 4 before then you just have to click ‘check for updates’ in the help menu.


Is it just me or does the new beta hang occasionally on Linux? When I load a site like GMail for example, the whole browser stops responding for 1-2 seconds. As for now, I’m back to Beta 4.


It’s sad that official plugin is not supported by Firefox 3. I can’t live without that…


after updating from beta 3 to 5 I noticed that all form input (where earlier input is available), dropdown menus, as well as the Firefox search box and location bar has some new behaviour - it “zoomes / flashes in” and “fades out” when I give it input. this is similar to how Opera behaves.

isolated it looks kind of cool, but in daily use I’ve found it to be really annoying as it keeps flashing in my face all the time. is this new for this beta, or is something else going on with my computer..?


I can’t see no fonts in there, just straight lines :S

Anoop Engineer

@Regina: Pls see this link to install delicious addon in FF3 beta


Nope it doesn’t work for mine … Your tutorial about FireFox 3.0b3 was fine, but i can’t run beta 4 and beta 5 …


I cannot update my addons it says fails to install in the end


I have some problems with plugins and addons. Addons fails to update after downloading citing some error.

Even though i copied plugins i had some problem with mplayer plugins for playing embedded sound files, it plays sound but no way to return from its interface and i had to kill X.


Ok I installed firefox 3b5 but I am unable to install some of my favorite add-ons so how do I uninstall it to go back to 3b4. Thanks in advance.


I ran your command, then the 2nd command and here is the error i get.

todd@Ubuntu:~$ ~/firefox/firefox
/home/todd/firefox/firefox-bin: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory


I have 2 questions, the former more important for me:

1) I cannot use Flash in Fx3b5 in my Ubuntu 7.10. I made symbolic links to file:

/usr/lib/firefox/plugins/ (it exists, of course, as I installed Fx2 before)

in the following locations:


as advised at many websites, but it changed nothing. Does anyone know where Fx3b5 searches this flash file? Or, at least, where to look for such an information?

2) Fonts in Fx3b5 looks terrible in my Ubuntu 7.10 - they don’t use system settings where I set hinting of fonts. Is there any way to change these sharp fonts to those I used to see in Fx2?


m_gol, I am having the same problem with Flash… only mine’s weirder. On some sites it works just fine, on others it tells me I need to install it, so I click the link to install and it then continues as though it’s never been installed. I’ve done this a dozen times I bet… and yes, I know to restart firefox after installation



if I understand the how-to correctly, you should never install it the way described above!!!!

For security resons execution and ownership should be separated. That means a program could be excecuted by a user but not owned by him. Otherwise you have a heavy security issue.

You should install ff to /opt!!! Therefore you need root rights, e.g.

sudo mv /home/user/firefox /opt

And respectively create a starter to /opt/firefox/firefox.

Barry Ogus

Umm, thanks.

Can you give instructions for going back to Firefox 2? IT was much more stable, and I’m not really sure what benefit FF3 brought?


I just download the firefox 3.5. I have tried the above command ./firefox at the directory. but it output ./ 399: ./firefox-bin: not found. I just can’t solve this. look like there are no other people are having this similar problem


@JackV - same problem here :(


Or can install it with one small script (with automatic updates)


thanks with you help i have firefox 3.6 :D


thanks & regards

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