How to install Firefox Developer Edition in GNOME on Debian Stretch

Josh Sherman
3 min read
Linux GNOME Debian / Ubuntu

Haven’t said much about it, but I’ve recently moved back to Firefox on all of my devices. Nightly on my phone, and Developer Edition on my computers.

The installation on Arch was a piece of cake (as expected) but on my iMac running Debian 9 (Stretch) I had issues with being able to pin Firefox as one of my favorite apps.

Start up the Fox, right-click the app in the dash and there was no option to add to favorites. Tried dragging it to add as a favorite, no dice.

Pulling up the application list and right-clicking did yield the add to favorites option, but even with it pinned, my favorite extension would AppKeys would simply open a new browser each time instead of switching to the running instance.

Thing is, AppKeys is one of my favorite productivity boosters. I can jump through my top apps fast as hell and this issue was more than enough to keep me from switching to Firefox if I couldn’t get it resolved.

Oh wait, I was going to tell you how to get Firefox Developer Edition installed!

First thing you’ll want to do is download Firefox Quantum: Developer Edition.

That will get you a file named something like firefox-60.0b14.tar.bz2 that can easily be opened and extracted with GNOME’s Archive Manager.

You can extract the firefox directory where ever you’d like. I prefer to throw it in $HOME/.local and rename the directory to firefox-developer-edition as I do run the plain Jane version of Firefox as well.

Now that that’s extracted, you could very well just run the firefox binary by double-clicking on it. That’s all well and good but having it show up on GNOME’s launcher would be even better.

To get GNOME to pick up on your newly installed Firefox, you will need to create a .desktop file.

Said file can be placed in $HOME/.local/share/applications. So go ahead and open up $HOME/.local/share/applications/firefox-developer-edition.desktop with your favorite text editor.

In that file you will put the following, making sure to swap out YOURUSERNAME for your username. If you put the extracted directory somewhere else, you’ll want to adjust the paths as well:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Firefox Developer Edition
GenericName=Web Browser
Comment=Browse the Web
Exec=/home/YOURUSERNAME/.local/firefox-developer-edition/firefox %u
StartupWMClass=Firefox Developer Edition

[Desktop Action new-window]
Name=New Window
Exec=/home/YOURUSERNAME/.local/firefox-developer-edition/firefox --new-window %u

[Desktop Action new-private-window]
Name=New Private Window
Exec=/home/YOURUSERNAME/.local/firefox-developer-edition/firefox --private-window %u

That’s all there is to it! After a moment or two Firefox Developer Edition should start showing up on the GNOME app menu.

To circle back on the issue I was having. I had used the .desktop file I had created for my Firefox Quantum install and it just wouldn’t act as desired.

I ended up running though a bunch of other blog posts and tried their .desktop files to no avail. As my laptop running Arch Linux was just fine, I went through that .desktop file and modeled the aforementioned after that.

Just a friendly reminder that sometimes it’s good to look outside of your own distro for solutions ;)

Join the Conversation

Good stuff? Want more?

Weekly emails about technology, development, and sometimes sauerkraut.

100% Fresh, Grade A Content, Never Spam.

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

Currently Reading

Parasie Eve

Previous Reads

Buy Me a Coffee Become a Sponsor

Related Articles