The most popular web browser under Windows is Google Chrome, so that’s probably what you are familiar with. It’s a free download available for Linux but it’s not released under an open source license.
Many Linux distros and, to a larger extent, the Linux community in general are huge advocates for free and open source software. Many people are attracted to Linux for this very reason.
Firefox is the default browser on many distributions including Ubuntu. It’s free and open source software.
When it comes to browsing experience, you’ll be perfectly at home with Firefox. The menus are different to Chrome, but functionality is very similar. But Firefox doesn’t integrate with a Google account in the same way as Chrome does.
As Firefox is already installed in Ubuntu, you’re ready to break away from proprietary software.
If you don’t like Firefox, we recommend Chromium as an alternative open source browser. Google’s codebase for Chromium is used to make Chrome.
The Ubuntu Software app provides a snap for Chromium which makes installation straightforward. If you try to install Chromium with the command:
$ sudo apt install chromium-browser
you’ll still install the Chromium snap rather than a traditional Ubuntu package.
It’s possible to install a package from Debian’s repositories if you want to minimise snap usage, but we don’t recommend following that route.
Another alternative is Tor Browser. This web browser lets you avoid surveillance, tracking, and censorship.
Tor Browser really does offer an extremely private browsing experience preventing websites from “fingerprinting” you. The software doesn’t keep any browsing history, and cookies are only valid for a single session. There’s multi-layer encryption to boot.
You won’t find Tor Browser in the Ubuntu Software app. Instead, we’ll install the software from a shell. Start up the Terminal program, and enter the following command at the shell.
$ sudo apt install torbrowser-launcher
This command will install all the dependencies required. But unlike most packages, it then launches a window to actually download Tor Browser itself before proceeding to install the software on your computer.
Chrome is available in Linux but not from the Ubuntu Software app. If you must use Chrome, you’ll need to download the Chrome Linux installer by using Firefox and visiting the Google Chrome download page. Select the 64 bit .deb (For Debian/Ubuntu) option and click the Accept and Install button. Firefox will open up a dialog box offering you to install the .deb file with Software Install. However, this will not successfully install the software.
While there are workarounds, it’s easier just to choose the Save file option. Once the file has been downloaded, start a Terminal. Change to the Downloads directory.
$ cd ~/Downloads
Install Chrome with the command:
$ sudo dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Office Suite
Page 2 – Web Browser
Page 3 – Media Player
Page 4 – Email Client
Page 5 – Image Viewer
Page 6 – Photo and Image Editor
Page 7 – Audio Editor
Page 8 – Video Editor
Page 9 – PDF Viewer
All articles in this series:
|Linux For Starters|
|Part 1||What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?|
|Part 2||Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.|
|Part 3||Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.|
|Part 4||We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.|
|Part 5||Things to do after installing Ubuntu.|
|Part 6||Navigating your way around the Desktop.|
|Part 7||Updating the system, install new software.|
|Part 8||Recommended open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.|
|Part 9||Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.|
|Part 10||We cover the basics of files and permissions.|
|Part 11||Getting help from your system.|
|Part 12||Learn all about the file system.|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.