Using Pre-release Firefox on Linux

Every committed Mozillian and many enthusiastic end-users will use a pre-release version of Firefox.

In Mac and Windows this is pretty straightforward, you simply download the Firefox Nightly/Aurora/Beta dmg or setup tool, and get going. When it is installed it is a proper desktop application, you could make it your default browser, and life goes on.

In Linux, we rely much more on packagers to prepare an application for the distribution before we could use it. This usually works really well, but sometimes you really just want to use an upstream app without any gatekeepers.

The pre-release versions of Firefox for Linux comes in tarballs. You unpack them, and could run them out of the unpacked directory. But it doesn’t run well. You can’t set them as your default browser, the icon is a generic square, and opening links from other apps is a headache. In short, it’s a less than polished experience.

So here is a small script I wrote, it does a few things:

  1. It downloads the latest Firefox from the channel of your choosing.
  2. It unpacks it into a hidden directory in your $HOME
  3. It adds a symbolic link to the main executable in ~/.local/bin .
  4. It adds symbolic links for the icon’s various sizes into your icon theme in ~/.local/share/icons.
  5. It adds a desktop file to ~/.local/share/applications.

It doesn’t require root privileges, and is contained to your home directory so it won’t conflict with the system Firefox installation or touch the system libxul. Typically, you only need to run the script once per channel. After a channel is installed, they will get automatic updates through the actual app.

Nightly running in Fedora 22
See the nice icon?

So, here are some commands you could copy to your terminal and have pre-release Firefox installed:


curl  | python - nightly


curl  | python - aurora


curl  | python - beta


curl  | python - release

Using Pre-release Firefox on Linux

Stop The Coal Train

The United States in some respects has come to terms with it’s dead-end consumption of fossil fuels. A watershed moment happened a couple of years ago when Bush informed us all that we are “addicted to oil”, as if his administration reached that conclusion before the rest of us. Even global warming is not the same politicized issue it was a couple of years ago, today it could be regarded as fact without a partisan chip on the shoulder.

It is really sickening to watch the resurgence of coal energy, and it’s labeling as the energy source of the future. It isn’t. It is amazing that certain industry and interest groups could get away with such a corny mindfuck.

  • It doesn’t just warm your house – While just over half of the electricity generated in the US is from coal, coal sources account for over 80% of CO2 emissions, the main greenhouse gas. Yes, they talk about clean coal technologies, but as of today that is still science fiction.
  • Extraction methods are environmentally devastating – It absolutely amazes me that mountain top removal is a legitimate practice in the 21st century. The latest administration streamlined the process and relaxed regulations allowing coal companies to fill thousands of miles of waterways with toxic sludge.
  • It is destroying communities – Mountain top removal was developed as a mining technique that negates the need for a large (unionized) workforce. As such, coal-rich communities don’t get the same employment opportunities as they used to. But they still pay a heavy price in loud blasts, sludge, floods, dried or contaminated wells, etc. Often the homes in these areas are rendered unlivable and people are forced to leave. The mining companies are rarely held accountable for any of this, while families see the price of their home drop to nothing, and their children’s health compromised. This is happening here, in America. Some of the poorest communities in the states are demonized as being backward, inbred, and unsavable, while mining companies rob them of the little they have on this earth.
  • It is not renewable – When we finally deplete coal, rape our environment, poison our water, and pillage Appalachia, we will remain with the same hippie energy options we face today.

So I decided to do my blogger’s duty and get the word out, I also added a badge to my site which is very not like me. Sign it!

Stop The Coal Train

Russian Tea Biscuits

This recipe is my grandmother’s. These cookies are extremely nostalgic to me. About 10 years ago I asked my grandmother to write down her recipe for me. She would usually use margarine instead of butter. But everything is better with butter right? Anyway, margarine could be substituted if you are vegan or lactose intolerant and would like to make a non-dairy variant, or as we say, parve.


  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 3/4 cup of finely chopped nuts

Chill dough. Roll into 1 inch balls and put in the oven at 325F for 12 minutes. They are ready when they show slight cracks on top, before they brown!

Russian Tea Biscuits