How to Install Firefox Next (Beta) or Firefox Quantum (Nightly) on Ubuntu Desktop

Mozilla Firefox is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation. Firefox utilizes the Gecko rendering engine to display web pages, which implements current and future anticipated web formats and standards.

For the most part, Firefox is often up to date with the latest stable release on Ubuntu-based desktops, however non-stable builds such as beta or the more bleeding edge nightly builds can be installed and tested the new features or test your websites before its hits the stable repository.

For the most part, the beta build is what curious users should be installing, and the nightly build should never be used by anyone other than sysadmins or developers looking to test a particular feature.

In the tutorial, you will learn how to add and install the beta and nightly build for Firefox using a PPA maintained by the Mozilla team.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Ubuntu 20.04 or higher
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.

Update Operating System

Update your Ubuntu operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@ubuntu ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Ubuntu.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su
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Firefox Next (Beta)

Install the FireFox Beta

The first option and the most recommended if you want to try a non-stable release is to install the beta build. To do this, you will need to import the ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next.

Before you begin, check to see what the browser version of Firefox installed is.

firefox --version 

Example output:

Mozilla Firefox 94.0.1

Next, open your terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and add the Firefox Next PPA.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next -y

Once imported, update your APT repository listing.

sudo apt update

Now, make sure any existing Firefox browser windows are closed and execute the following command.

sudo apt install firefox -y

DO NOT UPGRADE EVEN WITH FIREFOX INSTALLED. USE THE INSTALL OPTION.

Once installed, check the version of Firefox.

firefox --version

Example output:

Mozilla Firefox 95.0b3

Remove Firefox Next & Roll back to Firefox Stable

In the future, if you no longer wish to have the beta build from Firefox installed, first remove the installation.

sudo apt autoremove firefox -y

Next, remove the Firefox Next PPA by adding the –remove flag onto the previous add-apt-repository command.

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:mozillateam/firefox-next  -y

Now update your APT repository listing to reflect the changes.

sudo apt update

Re-install the stable default version of Firefox.

sudo apt install firefox -y

Once installed, check the version of Firefox.

firefox --version

Example output:

Mozilla Firefox 94.0.1

And that’s it. You have successfully removed the nightly build from your Ubuntu desktop.

Firefox Firefox Quantum (Nightly)

Install the FireFox Nightly Build

The second option for those wanting to test the bleeding edge developer build of Firefox, which is named Firefox Quantum Nightly, you will need to install it from the ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa. The one benefit about these nightly builds is that Firefox Quantum is installed separately from the stable and beta builds.

First, open your terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and add the Firefox Quantum Nightly Build.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa -y

Once imported, update your APT repository listing.

sudo apt update

Now, make sure any existing Firefox browser windows are closed and execute the following command.

sudo apt install firefox-trunk -y

Once installed, check the version of Firefox.

firefox-trunk --version

Example output:

Mozilla Firefox 96.0a1

The Firefox Quantum Nightly build icon will look a bit different from the standard Firefox icon. Even the colors are vastly different.

Example in show applications menu:

How to Install Firefox Next (Beta) or Firefox Quantum (Nightly) on Ubuntu Desktop

Example when opened:

How to Install Firefox Next (Beta) or Firefox Quantum (Nightly) on Ubuntu Desktop

Remove Firefox Quantum Nightly

In the future, if you no longer wish to have the beta build from Firefox installed, first remove the installation.

sudo apt autoremove firefox-trunk --purge -y

Next, remove the Firefox Quantum Nightly PPA by adding the –remove flag onto the previous add-apt-repository command.

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa -y

Now update your APT repository listing to reflect the changes.

sudo apt update

And that’s it. You have successfully removed the nightly build from your Ubuntu desktop.

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Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to install Firefox Next (Beta), and the Firefox Quantum (Nightly) builds on your Ubuntu desktop. Remember, while testing new features is fun, they will often be unstable, and no doubt have some bugs that may cause some security issues.

The beta would be the best bet for the average power user to install and leave the Quantum version to the professionals.

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