Latest Chrome & Firefox on Linux

How install the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox on our Linux System


Linux distributions usually came with a version of Mozilla browser renamed, in Linux Debian its called Iceweasel, or with other open source browser due copyright issues.

These browsers are fully useful but if we want the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox we can get those.

This article is about how to install the latest version of Chrome and Firefox. We are going to do this on a Debian Linux distro, so this comments are identical on any Debian derivate distros like Ubuntu which are APT-based systems, and easily adapted to others distros.

Google Chrome

The are tree versions of Google Chrome for Linux and all are updated by Google. Great! They are called stable, beta and unstable (these are the names on Linux and are important to remember: google-chrome-stable, google-chrome-beta, google-chrome-unstable) depending on what stage of development it is.

To install the browser Google Chrome on a Linux first we need to check if the easiest way if available, so let’s check if it is on our repositories:

In a terminal, we access Root Privileges with Super User Access:

antiax@debian:~$ su
Password:
root@debian:/home/antiax#

Check if Chrome is in our repositories:

root@debian:/home/antiax# apt-get update
…
root@debian:/home/antiax# apt-cache search google-chrome
google-chrome-beta - The web browser from Google
google-chrome-stable - The web browser from Google
google-chrome-unstable - The web browser from Google
root@debian:/home/antiax#

Great news, Debian Stretch (testing) has Google Chrome in its repositories, so we only need to install the version that we want (here we need the name given above):

root@debian:/home/antiax# apt-get install google-chrome-stable

That’s all.

But, what happens when we don’t have Chrome in our repositories:

root@debian:/home/antiax# apt-cache search google-chrome
root@debian:/home/antiax# 

This occurs for example on Linux Debian Jessie (stable), Google fortunately is updating an official repository so, we only need to add this to our system. But first, we need to set up the key for the verification of the new repository. We do that with this line:

root@debian:/home/antiax# wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | apt-key add - 

Now, we add the repository adding the following line to our sources.list file to get access to Chrome:

deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main

We use the in-line text editor vi:

root@debian:/home/antiax# cd /etc/apt/
root@debian:/etc/apt# vi sources.list

Our final sourses.list file looks similar to this:

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free 
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free 

deb http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free 
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free 

deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main 

We can change the word stable for the version we want: stable, beta, unstable. Now we sould be able to install Chrome after updating our repository.

root@debian:/home/antiax# apt-get update
…
root@debian:/home/antiax# apt-get install google-chrome-stable
…

GNOME Chrome

Firefox

Debian Distros came in their repositories with Firefox-ESR a version for organizations. It has its own update time line.

Here we are going to install the latest full Firefox version. In this case the installation needs to be done manually.

First we download the latest Firefox from the Firefox download page. If we need a different system operative or language we have to access to Systems & Languages download page instead.

This would download a compressed file with the extension .tar.bz2, now using a terminal we move it to the installation directory, for example the system directory optional (/opt/) and then uncompress it.

antiax@debian:$ cd ~/Downloads
antiax@debian:~/Downloads$ su
Password: 
root@debian:/home/antiax/Downloads# mv firefox-*.tar.bz2 /opt/
root@debian:/home/antiax/Downloads# cd /opt
root@debian:/opt# tar xjf firefox-*.tar.bz2

To start Firefox, we run the firefox script in the firefox folder:

root@debian:/opt# cd firefox
root@debian:/opt/firefox# ./firefox

Firefox should now start.

Finally we need to do a launcher on the GNOME desktop, so first, need to get an Firefox Icon.

A launcher is a text file placed in the /usr/share/applications directory so that it is accessible by everyone.

The file is called with the extension .desktop, so the full name would be for example: firefox.desktop, and its content would look like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Firefox
Comment=Access the Internet
Exec=/opt/firefox/firefox
Icon=/opt/firefox/firefox-logo-2017.svg
Terminal=false

Finally, we have the latest Firefox installed in our system:

GNOME Firefox