How to Install Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20

Linux Mint users seeking a unique and efficient web browsing experience will find the Waterfox Browser to be a compelling choice. Unlike mainstream browsers like Chrome, Firefox, or Edge, Waterfox provides a distinctive set of features tailored to those who value privacy, customization, and performance. This guide will demonstrate how to install Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20, showcasing why this browser might be the superior alternative you’ve been searching for.

Key Features and Advantages of Waterfox:

  • Privacy-Centric Approach: Waterfox stands out for its commitment to user privacy. It eschews the collection of user data and incorporates robust features like tracking protection and a built-in ad-blocker, ensuring your browsing remains private and secure.
  • Wide Range of Add-ons: Built on Mozilla Firefox’s source code, Waterfox is compatible with a plethora of Firefox add-ons and extensions. This compatibility empowers users to enhance their browsing experience with ease and familiarity.
  • Enhanced Performance: Tailored for speed and efficiency, Waterfox is optimized to deliver a swift and seamless browsing experience, a characteristic particularly appreciated by Linux Mint’s performance-conscious community.
  • Open-Source Nature: Mirroring the ethos of Linux Mint, Waterfox is an open-source project. This transparent, community-driven approach guarantees that development focuses on user benefit rather than corporate interests.
  • Regular Updates for Security and Features: Staying abreast of the latest developments, Waterfox is regularly updated with security patches, bug fixes, and feature enhancements, ensuring a secure and modern browsing experience.
  • Choice of Versions: Waterfox offers two distinct versions – Current and Classic. The Current version is based on the latest Firefox release, while the Classic version offers a more traditional experience, providing users the flexibility to choose according to their preferences.

Import Waterfox APT Repository on Linux Mint 21 or 20

Step 1: Update Linux Mint Before Installing Waterfox

Begin by updating your Linux Mint system. This step is crucial as it ensures that all your existing packages are current, which helps prevent any conflicts during the Waterfox installation.

Execute the update process with this command:

sudo apt update

Following the update, it’s advisable to upgrade any packages that are outdated. This can be done using the command:

sudo apt upgrade

This step maintains your system’s stability and security, making it ready for new software installations.

Step 2: Install Required Packages for Waterfox

Certain dependencies are required for a smooth installation of Waterfox. These dependencies, or packages, might already be present on your system. However, to confirm their installation, or to install any that are missing, use the following command:

sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl -y

Should you face any installation issues later, it’s a good practice to revisit this step to ensure all necessary packages are installed.

Step 3: Import Waterfox GPG Key

The next step involves importing the Waterfox GPG key. This is an important security measure, as it verifies the authenticity of the packages you are about to install. Depending on your version of Linux Mint, the command to import the key varies.

For Linux Mint 21 users, use this command:

curl -fsSL https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:hawkeye116477:waterfox/xUbuntu_22.04/Release.key | sudo gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/home_hawkeye116477_waterfox.gpg > /dev/null

For those on Linux Mint 20, the command is slightly different:

curl -fsSL https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/hawkeye116477:/waterfox/xUbuntu_20.04/Release.key | sudo gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/home_hawkeye116477_waterfox.gpg > /dev/null

Step 4: Import Waterfox APT Repository

The final preparatory step is to import the Waterfox APT repository. This is similar to the previous step, but instead of importing the GPG key, you are importing the repository itself. Ensure you use the correct command for your specific Linux Mint version.

For Linux Mint 21:

echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/hawkeye116477:/waterfox/xUbuntu_22.04/ /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:hawkeye116477:waterfox.list

For Linux Mint 20:

echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/hawkeye116477:/waterfox/xUbuntu_20.04/ /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:hawkeye116477:waterfox.list

After importing the repository, finalize the setup by updating your package lists with the newly added repository:

sudo apt update

This command syncs your system with the Waterfox repository, making the software available for installation.

Install Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20

This section provides a detailed walkthrough on installing the Waterfox browser on Linux Mint. Whether you prefer the latest iteration or the classic version, these steps will ensure a smooth installation process.

Understanding Waterfox Current vs. Waterfox Classic

Waterfox offers two distinct versions: Current and Classic. Here are the main differences:

  • Waterfox Current (G-4):
    • Modern Features: Includes the latest web standards and features, ensuring compatibility with most contemporary websites and web applications.
    • Enhanced Security: Regularly updated with the latest security patches, offering robust protection against new vulnerabilities.
    • Performance Optimizations: Engineered for speed and efficiency, making it a good fit for newer hardware and operating systems.
  • Waterfox Classic:
    • Legacy Support: Ideal for users who need support for older web technologies and extensions no longer supported by modern browsers.
    • Familiar Interface: Retains the user interface and functionalities of older Waterfox and Firefox versions, appealing to users accustomed to these layouts.
    • Extension Compatibility: Perfect for those relying on specific add-ons and extensions that are not compatible with newer browser versions.

Choosing between Waterfox Current and Classic depends on your specific requirements. If you prioritize modern web standards, security, and performance, Waterfox Current is the way to go. However, if you need support for older technologies and extensions, Waterfox Classic will be more suitable

Install Waterfox Browser Current (G-4)

After successfully adding the third-party repository to your system, you are ready to install Waterfox Browser Current (G-4). This version represents the most up-to-date release of Waterfox, offering the latest features and security updates. To install, execute the following command in your terminal:

sudo apt install waterfox-g

This command initiates the installation of Waterfox G-4. During this process, your system may prompt you to confirm the download and installation of additional packages required by Waterfox.

Install Waterfox Classic

For users who prefer a more traditional browsing experience, Waterfox Classic is an ideal choice. It maintains the legacy features and user interface of earlier Waterfox versions. To install Waterfox Classic alongside the modern version, use this command:

sudo apt install waterfox-classic

This command will install Waterfox Classic on your Linux Mint system. It’s designed to cater to users who need compatibility with older web technologies and extensions no longer supported by newer browser versions.

Launch Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20

This section guides you on how to launch the Waterfox browser on Linux Mint, utilizing both command-line and graphical user interfaces. These methods offer flexibility in accessing Waterfox, depending on your preference for CLI or GUI.

CLI Methods to Launch Waterfox Browser

Launching Waterfox from the command line is straightforward and efficient. Open your terminal window and enter the command corresponding to the version of Waterfox you have installed:

  • For Waterfox Current (G-4):

Type the following command and press Enter:

waterfox-g

This command opens the Waterfox Current browser, providing you with the latest features and updates.

  • For Waterfox Classic:

If you are using Waterfox Classic, use this command:

waterfox-classic

This will launch the Waterfox Classic browser, suited for users who prefer the traditional interface and legacy support.

GUI Method to Launch Waterfox Browser

For those who prefer a more visual approach, launching Waterfox through the graphical user interface is a simple process:

  1. Click on the Taskbar at the bottom of your Linux Mint desktop.
  2. Navigate to the Internet category.
  3. Look for Waterfox or Waterfox Classic and click on it.
Waterfox Browser icon in Linux Mint taskbar UI
Access Waterfox Browser from the Linux Mint Taskbar

First-Time Tips with Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20

Now that you have successfully installed Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint, here are some first-time tips on getting started with the web browser.

Tips for Waterfox Browser Current (G-4) on Linux Mint

Explore Customization Options

  • Themes and Appearance: Waterfox Current offers a variety of themes that can change the look and feel of your browser. You can find these under Menu > Add-ons and Themes. Experiment with different themes to find the one that best suits your style.
  • Toolbar Customization: Tailor your browsing experience by customizing the toolbar. Right-click on the toolbar and choose Customize.... Here, you can add, remove, or rearrange toolbar items, including extensions, for a more efficient and personalized interface.

Manage Privacy Settings

  • Tracking Protection: Privacy is a paramount concern in today’s digital age. In Waterfox Current, enhance your online privacy by navigating to Menu > Options > Privacy & Security. Enable Enhanced Tracking Protection to effectively block a range of online trackers.
  • Private Browsing: Get familiar with Private Browsing mode (Ctrl+Shift+P), a feature that allows you to browse the internet without saving your browsing and search histories or cookies. It’s a great tool for maintaining privacy, especially when using shared computers.

Utilize Developer Tools

  • Access Developer Tools: If you’re involved in web development or curious about the inner workings of web pages, Waterfox Current’s developer tools are essential. Activate them with Ctrl+Shift+I. These tools offer insights into the page source, network performance, and more, aiding in website development and troubleshooting.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Shortcut Mastery: Learning keyboard shortcuts can significantly enhance your efficiency. Commonly used shortcuts include Ctrl+T for opening a new tab, Ctrl+W for closing a tab, and Ctrl+Shift+T for reopening a closed tab. Mastering these shortcuts can streamline your browsing experience.
Waterfox Browser G Current version on Linux Mint desktop
Waterfox Browser G Current Ready for Use on Linux Mint

Tips for Waterfox Classic on Linux Mint

Extension Compatibility

  • Legacy Add-ons: One of the main attractions of Waterfox Classic is its support for legacy Firefox add-ons. Visit Menu > Add-ons to find extensions that bring additional functionality to your browser, especially those no longer supported by newer versions.
  • Customize Add-ons: Many add-ons offer customization options, allowing you to tailor their functionality. Explore these settings to optimize your add-ons to better suit your individual needs and workflow.

Configure Classic Features

  • Tab Preferences: In Waterfox Classic, you can customize how tabs behave. Access these settings in Menu > Options. Adjust tab widths, set behaviors for closing tabs, and configure other tab-related preferences to enhance your browsing experience.
  • Status Bar: Unique to Waterfox Classic is the inclusion of a status bar at the bottom of the browser window. Customize this bar to display useful information or add quick-access tools, enhancing your browsing efficiency.

Explore Classic UI Elements

  • Familiar Interface: Waterfox Classic maintains many user interface elements from older Firefox versions. If you’re transitioning from an older browser, take some time to explore these elements. They might offer a more comfortable and familiar browsing experience.

Bookmarks and History Management

  • Organize Bookmarks: Efficient bookmark management is key to a streamlined browsing experience. Use the Bookmark Manager (Ctrl+Shift+B) in Waterfox Classic to organize your bookmarks. Create folders, sort bookmarks by various criteria, and manage them to suit your browsing habits.
  • History Searches: The History panel (Ctrl+H) in Waterfox Classic is a robust tool for accessing your browsing history. Use it to quickly find and revisit previously viewed pages. The comprehensive history log makes it easier to track down websites you’ve visited in the past.
Waterfox Classic Browser on Linux Mint desktop
Waterfox Classic Version Launched on Linux Mint

Managing Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20

Update Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint

To keep the Waterfox Browser up-to-date on Linux Mint, it’s essential to regularly update your system. Since Waterfox is installed through the APT package manager, it will receive updates along with other system packages.

To initiate the update process, open your terminal and execute:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

This command first updates your package list (sudo apt update) and then upgrades all your system’s packages to their latest versions (sudo apt upgrade). This includes the Waterfox Browser, ensuring you have the latest features and security patches.

Remove (Uninstall) Waterfox Browser From Linux Mint

Uninstall Waterfox Browser

If you decide that Waterfox Browser no longer meets your needs, uninstalling it is straightforward. The removal process depends on the version of Waterfox you have installed.

To remove Waterfox Current, use the following command:

sudo apt remove waterfox-g

To remove Waterfox Classic, use this command:

sudo apt autoremove waterfox-classic

Cleaning Up Repository and GPG Key

After uninstalling Waterfox, it’s good practice to remove the repository and GPG key associated with it. This keeps your system’s repository list clean and up to date. Use the following commands to remove the repository and GPG key:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:hawkeye116477:waterfox.list \
sudo rm /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/home_hawkeye116477_waterfox.gpg

Conclusion: Installing Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint

In conclusion, this guide has led you through the installation, management, and customization of the Waterfox Browser on Linux Mint 21 or 20. From selecting between the Current and Classic versions to suit your browsing needs, to updating and, if necessary, uninstalling the browser, we’ve covered the essential aspects to enhance your internet experience. Our final recommendation is to regularly update Waterfox for optimal performance and security.

As you continue to use Waterfox, don’t hesitate to explore its rich customization options and privacy settings, ensuring a browsing experience that’s both efficient and tailored to your preferences.

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