The Waterfox web browser is a 64-bit-only open source project based on Firefox.

I would like to see how is the performance compared to Firefox, apparently its better.

Being new to Linux, it's a challenge when it comes to packages that are not .deb. On the official site, Waterfox is provided as a .tar.bz2 file. How can I install Waterfox on Lubuntu 17.04 and also add an entry for it in my menu, under Internet, alongside Firefox?

  • extract the archive. there should be a readme file inside. what you need to do depends on what is in the archive. – ravery Jul 12 '17 at 14:22
  • 4
    This should not have been closed. There is a way to install Waterfox using apt, but there is no way to leave an answer. – gracious1 Aug 29 '17 at 20:36
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    The OP expressed concern about installing from tarball, probably because he thought that was the only way to do it, but there is in fact a repository that he could use. – gracious1 Aug 29 '17 at 20:45

There is an unofficial repository from which you can download and install Waterfox using apt.

  1. Add the repository to your sources:

    sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/hawkeye116477:/waterfox/xUbuntu_Next/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/home:hawkeye116477:waterfox.list"
  2. Add the public key:

    wget -nv https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:hawkeye116477:waterfox/xUbuntu_Next/Release.key -O Release.key sudo apt-key add - < Release.key

Replace xUbuntu_Next with xUbuntu_19.04 or whichever version as needed.

  1. Now update packages and install:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install waterfox

    If you have problems, you may need to install some dependencies because the developers used the latest version of the GNU Standard C++ Lib, which isn't available on some systems. (I had to do this manually in 14.04. YMMV.)

    Possible step:

    sudo apt-get install libgcc1 libstdc++6
  2. Run waterfox at the prompt. Voila!

  • 2
    The repository was recently changed; I change the URLs involved to reflect this. – gracious1 Sep 2 '17 at 18:47
  • I've updated this once again to reflect current state of the repository and instructions. – RolandiXor Jun 28 '19 at 22:59
  • Ok, some formatting issues appeared; I tried to fix them. – gracious1 Jun 30 '19 at 22:24
  • Is this still the way to go? When I start waterfox now I get a notification that my version is out of date and could not be updated by waterfox itself. – flawr Feb 10 '20 at 8:35
  • This worked fine on Ubuntu 19.10 too – rubo77 Apr 30 '20 at 13:52
tar -xvjf ./waterfox.tar.bz2 
cd ./waterfox

Using this method Waterfox is running now and it imports all of the settings from Firefox, Great!

Will do some benchmarks later to see how it compares to FF although it feels faster.

Now to figure out how to add shortcuts to the Lubuntu menu...

  • I usually launch applications like . waterfox which doesn't work for some reason. – PJ Brunet Jan 19 at 5:10
  • bash: ./waterfox: cannot execute binary file: Exec format error – br4nnigan Apr 23 at 15:19

Download the file, extract using the gui, and link it to the menu.

Unzip and run

  1. Download the latest Linux version of the file from the Waterfox website.
  2. Open Caja or another file manager to the folder where the file was downloaded to
  3. Double-click the file to open the file in a archive manager
    For example Ubuntu Mate has Grampmpa
  4. Extract the folder Waterfox to a location in your home folder
    You could create a new folder in ~/ called Programs to put this kind of software in or put it under the /home/username folder.
  5. Open the folder in a file manager and double-click 'Waterfox' to run the browser and test that it works

Create a link to the Internet menu

  1. Open a terminal window
  2. Edit the new waterfox.desktop file and add the configuration lines for Waterfox

    To open an edit session in vi:
    sudo vi /usr/share/applications/waterfox.desktop

    Content to add to the file:
    [Desktop Entry] Name='Waterfox' Exec='/home/username/waterfox/waterfox' Terminal=false Type=Application Categories=Network;WebBrowser;Internet Icon=/home/username/waterfox/browser/chrome/icons/default/default48.png

Use :wq to save and exit vi. Use :wq! if you opened vi without sudo and need to force exit.

Check that the Exec points to the Waterfox executable. This assumes it was unzipped in the user's home folder. Use the ls command to find and check that the Exec and Icon paths are correct. Refer to the existing Firefox .desktop file for an example.

Have a look at the existing shortcut files, and in particular the one for Firefox to see what the syntax looks like: ls /usr/share/applications/*firefox* then cat /usr/share/applications/firefox-esr.desktop

You could copy the an existing entry to tailor to make a new one for Waterfox. Delete the lines that are not needed and edit the lines from Firefox to make Waterfox: sudo cp /usr/share/applications/firefox-esr.desktop cat /usr/share/applications/waterfox.desktop

  • this should be accepted answer – Qazi Fahim Farhan Dec 4 '19 at 4:50
  • The update feature is broken and we have to manually download new updates :( – mchid Jul 1 '20 at 15:19

copied the existing firefox file, [Desktop Entry] /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop to waterfox.desktop (requires sudo -s)

altered the content:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Waterfox Web Browser
Comment=Browse the World Wide Web
GenericName=Web Browser
Exec=waterfox %u

[Desktop Action new-window]
Name=Open a New Window
Exec=waterfox -new-window

[Desktop Action new-private-window]
Name=Open a New Private Window
Exec=waterfox -private-window

I installed waterfox to /opt/waterfox and created a link /usr/local/bin waterfox -> /opt/waterfox/waterfox as ln -s /opt/waterfox/waterfox waterfox

This works on my system and the icon showed up under Applications

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