How do I install the IceCat web browser

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GNU IceCat 🇬🇧 is a variant of the Firefox browser and, like Debian's former Iceweasel browser, is "real" free software. The program is based on the ESR version 🇬🇧 of Firefox (comparable to LTS in Ubuntu).

The source code of Firefox is also freely available, but the binary files of the Firefox browser combined with non-free components are offered for download. IceCat, for example, does without the integration of DRM or Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).


Furthermore, additional extensions are preinstalled with IceCat, which increase the security and privacy of the user, but can impair practical use:

In addition, IceCat contains protective mechanisms against fingerprinting, which prevent the user from being clearly identified (similar to the Tor browser).


The program is not available in the official package sources. But you can use precompiled binary files for the installation.


To do this, download the compressed archive file from the mirror server Seite to match your own system architecture:

  • 32-bit: icecat-VERSION.en-US.linux-i686.tar.bz2

  • 64-bit: icecat-VERSION.en-US.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2

and unzipped [1] this in the home directory.

If you want to use IceCat system-wide with this installation method, you unpack the archive with root rights instead [2] to / opt / and then creates a symbolic link [3]:

sudo ln -s / opt / icecat / icecat / usr / local / bin / icecat

Create program launcher¶

A program starter [4] enables a more comfortable start of the program. To do this, you create the file ~ / .local / share / applications / icecat.desktop in the home directory (please adjust paths):

[Desktop Entry] Version = 1.

and makes them executable [5]. In the case of system-wide use, the file name is /usr/local/share/applications/icecat.desktop.

Language packs¶

If a German program interface is required, you have to go to the mirror server page â®· to find the language package that matches your own version download (the language pack is located in the subfolder long packs / the respective IceCat version) and install it as described in the article Firefox / Extensions.


Depending on the installation method, IceCat can either be accessed via the entry "Internet → IceCat" (if you have created a program starter) or start it from the terminal using the following command [6]:

Since IceCat is a free Firefox derivative, there are practically no differences to Firefox when configuring and using IceCat. So you can for the most part stick to the information in the articles linked under Firefox.

It is also important to know that the IceCat configuration folder under ~ / .mozilla / icecat / can be found in the home directory.


IceCat can be adapted to personal needs via extensions or add-ons. A corresponding list can be found in the Links section at the end of the article. We recommend, for example, a German dictionary (new spelling) 🇩🇪.


Check signature¶

For all files offered for download on the FTP server. Of the GNU project, there is a file of the same name with the extension .sig. This signature file can be used to check the authenticity of a download.

To do this, you need the appropriate key ring and the GnuPG program. The following commands show the process schematically:

wget gpg --verify --keyring ./gnu-keyring.gpg FILE.sig FILE


  • gpg --verify --keyring ./gnu-keyring.gpg icecat-45.5.1.en-US.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2.sig
  • gpg: the signed data are probably in 'icecat-45.5.1.en-US.linux-x86_64.tar.bz2' gpg: Signature of Fri 02 Dec 2016 02:09:55 CET using RSA key ID D7E04784 gpg: Correct signature from "GNU IceCat releases " gpg: WARNING: This key does not have a trustworthy signature! gpg: There is no indication that the signature really belongs to the alleged owner. Main fingerprint = A573 69A8 BABC 2542 B5A0 368C 3C76 EED7 D7E0 4784

The warning of an untrustworthy signature is another topic.


To install a newer program version, delete the IceCat folder (the program launcher and personal settings are retained) and repeat the steps described under installation.


Here too, the IceCat folder is deleted. In addition, the possibly created program starter and the personal settings are in the folders ~ / .mozilla / icecat / and ~ / .cache / mozilla / icecat / to remove.


This revision was created by tuxifreund on April 30, 2021 20:24.
The following keywords were assigned to the article: Firefox, Browser, Internet