How to replace Chromium with Firefox in Lubuntu 12.04

Chromium may be included by default in Lubuntu 12.04, but there’s nothing stopping you from swapping it out for Firefox if you’d like.

If you’ve recently installed Lubuntu 12.04, you’ll notice that the distro comes with a bunch of applications included by default—enough to cover all your basic web browsing, e-mail, media player and word processing needs. Chromium, an open-source version of the popular Google Chrome browser, is included as the default browser in 12.04. Chromium is fast, elegant, and feature-filled, and most users will probably find it perfectly suitable for them. (In fact, according to some reports, it has recently surpassed Internet Explorer as the most popular browser on the planet.)

However, if you want to use something besides Chromium, there are other options out there. My browser of choice for the past seven or eight years has been Firefox. Mozilla’s popular open-source browser is fast and has a ton of useful add-ons you can download and install. Plus, you don’t have to worry about Google tracking every move you make—a key feature for those of us who are concerned about privacy in the digital arena.

If you prefer to use Firefox, it’s very simple to replace Chromium with another browser.

First, open up Lubuntu Software Center, an application that allows you to conveniently find and install new software. You can launch the Software Center by going to the main menu on the bottom panel, mousing over the System Tools menu, and selecting Lubuntu Software Center from the list of applications.

You’ll be challenged for your password—enter it and press “OK.” The window that appears next is the main screen for the Software Center. From here, you can browse different categories of applications that are pre-packaged for Lubuntu. We’ll take a closer look at the Software Center in a future post. For now, select the “Installed Software” tab at the top of the window.

The resulting alphabetical list displays all the software packages installed on your system. You can remove a package by selecting an entry and clicking “Remove from the system” at the bottom of the window. In this case, we want to find the entry for Chromium. You can scroll through the list until you find Chromium, or you can simply start typing the word “Chromium” in the search bar at the top right corner of the window. After entering a few letters, Chromium should appear. Click on it.

At the bottom right corner of the window, click “Remove from the system.” You’ll need to enter your password once again, and then the system’s package manager will remove Chromium from your computer. At the same time, it will download Firefox automatically—a feature I assume the developers included to ensure that users don’t accidentally find themselves without a browser. After the download and installation is complete, you’ll be notified by the package manager. Click “OK,” and you’ll find yourself back at the Lubuntu desktop.

To launch Firefox, click on the main menu, then mouse over the “Internet” subfolder. Firefox should appear in the list, having replaced Chromium. You can launch Firefox from here at your convenience.

However, you might notice that the application launch bar on the bottom panel has not been updated; an empty icon (think of it as a broken link) fills the spot vacated by Chromium. I really like having Firefox a click away in the launch bar, so in order to get it to display, we’ll need to manually edit the launch bar’s settings.

Right click on the launch bar (any of the icons will do) and select “Application Launch Bar settings.” The menu that appears enables us to add any program to the launch bar for easy access. First, though, we need to get rid of the broken Chromium icon. Select the “Chromium Web Browser” icon, then click “Remove.” In order to get Firefox to display, we’ll need to find the program in the menu on the right side of the window. Click the “Internet” submenu to expand it, then select “Firefox Web Browser.” Click the “Add” button, and Firefox will be added to your launch bar. Close the window when you’re done.

At this point, Firefox is installed on your machine, and you have an easy way to launch the application from your launch bar. If you ever want to swap Chromium back in to replace Firefox, simply repeat the same process, substituting Firefox for Chromium and vice versa.

As an additional note, you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two browsers. To install Firefox alongside Chromium, simply skip the removal process for Chromium and find Firefox in the Lubuntu Software Center, then click “Install.” Both browsers will coexist on your system—all the while badgering you about which gets the distinction of being the default browser—and you can use them both at your convenience.

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Posted on August 5, 2012, in Getting Started with Lubuntu and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on How to replace Chromium with Firefox in Lubuntu 12.04.

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