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I am not much familiar with Linux and cannot find the default directory where the Firefox stores downloaded files. Firefox' Preferences window says just "downloads" without any path to the directory.

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That should be in your home with the name Downloads unless otherwise changed by yourself or another user using your account.

That is a direct reference to Ubuntu default folders and can be changed by editing the file ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs with a text editor, using for example leafpad:

leafpad ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs

# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update
# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run
# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an
# absolute path. No other format is supported.

This functionality is provided by the package xdg-user-dirs installed by default in any Ubuntu flavor.

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I found that firefox doesn't actually use the Downloads folder. Instead it puts everything in /tmp/mozilla_username0

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+1 because this is true, if the user selects the option "Open with:" in the dialog window that appears when downloading a file. This way, Firefox will download a copy in the /tmp directory, then allows target application to open the file from there. Hence, a "temporary" default. – clearkimura Feb 6 at 9:12

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