Web browsing with Firefox

The powerful and secure Mozilla Firefox web browser is included in Ubuntu. Firefox features tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, built-in search, and live bookmarks. Also supported are popular plug-ins such as Java, Flash, and RealPlayer.

Firefox can be launched by clicking ApplicationsInternetFirefox Web Browser.

Alternative web browsers

As well as the default Firefox Web Browser, Ubuntu also provides a large selection of alternative browsers. A list of some of these is given below:

  • Epiphany Web Browser

  • Konqueror

  • Mozilla Web Browser

  • Opera

See Add Applications for help on installing new software.

Get plugins for your web browser

A plugin is a small program which extends the capabilities of an existing program. In the case of web browsers, plugins typically allow the browser to play different types of multimedia or to run small web-based programs.

To view a list of currently-installed plugins in the Firefox Web Browser, type “about:plugins” into the address bar and press Return.

Quickly install common plugins

It is possible to install a whole set of commonly-used restricted plugins at once, by installing the Ubuntu restricted extras package.

Restricted plugins are those which cannot be distributed with Ubuntu because of legal issues surrounding their use in some countries. Check that you are allowed to use this software before installing it. See the Ubuntu website for more information on restricted software.

  1. Install the Ubuntu restricted extras package from the “Multiverse” repository (see Add Applications).

  2. Restart the Firefox Web Browser to make the included browser plugins available.

As well as plugins and multimedia codecs, Java and a set of Windows fonts will be installed.

The following plugins and codecs are installed by the Ubuntu restricted extras package:

  • flashplugin-nonfree

  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly

  • gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse

  • msttcorefonts

  • sun-java5-jre

  • sun-java5-plugin

Audio and video plugins

Many different multimedia formats are used on the Internet and you may find that you are unable to play some audio and video files without installing an appropriate plugin.

See the following articles for information on installing and using multimedia plugins with the Firefox Web Browser:

Flash multimedia plugin

Flash is a proprietary plugin which allows you to watch videos and animations on the Internet.

To view Flash graphics from the Firefox Web Browser:

  1. Install the flashplugin-nonfree package from the “Multiverse” repository (see Add Applications).

  2. Restart Firefox to make the plugin available.

A copy of the Flash plugin is not actually included in the package, but is automatically downloaded from the Adobe website when you install the package. This is due to legal restrictions on the redistribution of the plugin. As a result, you must be connected to the Internet for the plugin to be downloaded successfully.

Java browser plugin

Some websites use small Java programs, which require a Java plugin to be installed in order to run.

These instructions are for i386 and AMD64 computers only. The plugin is not currently available for other computers.

  • If you are using an i386 computer install the sun-java5-plugin package from the “Multiverse” repository.

  • If you are using an AMD64 computer install the j2re1.4-mozilla.plugin package from the “Multiverse” repository.

See Add Applications for help on installing new software.

For a more complete Java installation, see Java.

Changing the default font size

If you find that the size of text in Firefox is too small to read comfortably, you can increase the default font size.

  1. Press EditPreferences and select the Content tab

  2. Under Fonts & Colors, change the Size to a larger number (around 20 tends to be quite comfortable to read)

  3. Text on web pages should immediately look larger. Press Close

To temporarily increase the size of text on a web page, press ViewText SizeIncrease. Alternatively, hold down the Ctrl key and scroll down with your mouse's scroll wheel, or press Ctrl++.

To return the text to its normal size, press ViewText SizeNormal.