Firefox-esr on the Librem 5

Current version: Mozilla Firefox 91.9.0esr

Firefox is a nice web browser on the Librem 5 and is, in my opinion, superior to Epiphany overall. However, there are some caveats using firefox-esr with firefox-esr-mobile-config:

  1. Surfing the web usually makes the phone run very hot while draining battery rather rapidly
  2. Some websites seem to think the Librem 5 is a desktop computer and not showing the mobile version (which can be fixed by the addon ‘MobileView Switcher’)
  3. Url input field is very narrow on an active tab, because it has to share the width with tracker, security and cookie tracker icons as well as the … menu to the right. Makes it difficult to hit the minimal “http…” to enter a new address or search.
  4. Starting Firefox is rather slow, about 20 secs before a single tab with Duckduckgo has loaded (13-14 secs starting in ‘safe-mode’). As I usually close Firefox when turning screen off due to 1) above, this makes it somewhat inconvenient when just wanting to do e.g. a quick web search etc. In comparison, Epiphany starts in about 7 secs.

But, as I said early on, I still prefer firefox over epiphany when I want to do some more serious web surfing. I also like the ability to integrate keepassxc with firefox, although firefox has the habit to automatically start keepass every time I start firefox (don’t know how to prevent that).

With that said, I would like to hear about other people’s experience with firefox in particular and other browsers in general on the Librem 5. I also welcome any tips and tricks to make firefox work even better.



Yes, as stated above.

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FF opens for me in 3 to 4 seconds, and my home page (Startpage) is ready for use in about 13 seconds.

Mine is not too far off that figure, but that means little when loading a relatively lightweight web page takes another 10-15 secs. It totals to 15-20 secs before I can actually use the browser (slightly faster in safe-mode though). Epiphany is certainly a lot faster, but lacks in many other aspects to FF.

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Just started using firefox-esr today on my librem 5 and it seems to work ok for most general browsing. But, one of my primary use cases was to get to my bank’s website since they didn’t like the built-in browser. Problem now is that the panel to enter the username and password for the sign-in page isn’t loading at all. So i have a sign-in button but no place to enter my credentials is getting rendered by the browser. I’ve been chasing down all the “block the things” type settings I can find to disable them for this site but, so far i’m still stuck.

There was something about this here: Firefox mobile config


Thanks! I may give that a shot later. Probably easier than asking the bank to change their web architecture. :slight_smile:


They wouldn’t be the first bank that needs to :wink:


No kidding.

I tried the suggestion from @JR-Fi about the firefox mobile config which helped make things more like the mobile version on my android phone but, alas, still can’t see the logon box. :thinking:

I’ve resorted to digging into the web developer console on my laptop to inspect all the elements for clues. (think falling down the rabbit hole)…

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Did you already try the default gnome browser and making the bank/login page a web app? Can that see the text boxes? How about screen size (not FF zoom size - but try that too)?

Yes to your first question. Their site rejects it and displays a message saying “We no longer support this brower” and “Please see our list of supported browsers here” at a link.

It’s definitely not a scaling issue, the boxes are roughly the same width and size as the “Signin” button. However the web-fu they use to build that part of the page just is not getting rendered by this browser. My next step is to try some less desirable browser but, I may turn to Anbox and the android app the bank puts out before doing that as a last resort. I also emailed support because the Librem 5 brochure site clearly shows this bank’s logo as an app on the section of the page where they discuss “native apps” giving the impression that it’s been done and worked for someone at some point. I really hope they didn’t just assume it would and grab bunches of app logo’s for that page… :man_facepalming:

I found that using Chromium gets around that problem for some sites:
sudo apt install chromium
You can also try changing Firefox’s user agent, so the site thinks that you are using mobile Chrome.

I think I’ve narrowed down the problem… Maybe. I got past the user agent string issue but, the login box appears to be some fancy use of CSS to present the input boxes for username and password which isn’t getting rendered by the browser. So, I get a “Sign In” button with no place above it to enter the credentials.


The new Mobile Settings (phosh-mobile-settings) app has one setting to help with browser window size. Maybe some help?

I’ve noticed that the FF is not rendering everything right. Not sure why. I use NoScript extension and the small selection window that comes under the menubar icon is/stays so small, that there is no way to conveniently select anything. Rotation makes no difference. Only a small chance that these are related, but still.

Yes, I suspect that the CSS that adjusts FF for a mobile screen doesn’t take every extension into account. I’ve found sometimes I need to switch to another window, then switch back to FF and then I can tap Noscript icon and see settings. Other times I need to long tap it to open the full noscript window.


Also in terms of viewing sites that don’t have responsive web design, I’ve found in addition to the config that our firefox-esr comes with on the Librem 5, that adding the Mobile View Switcher plugin really helps. When toggled on, it presents a mobile browser user agent to sites, which helps with sites that don’t adapt simply based on screen size, but based on user agent instead. It also removes a lot of the bloat which makes web browsing more enjoyable, as many sites remove a lot of their extra ads and other bloat when they see a mobile user agent. To the point that I would even suggest folks try the plugin on desktop computers.


Odd thing is it loads just fine in chromium…

Not surprising, web developers these days always test at least against Chrome and if it doesn’t work there it’s considered a bug. Any browser beyond that who knows. That said, if the site is reading your user agent and deciding it isn’t supported based on Firefox version, you may try updating your Librem 5 as a recent firefox-esr package did just show up late last week for security fixes.

Already did that. And yes the devs at chase are probably not testing on ff esr but, it works fine on my windows laptop with the regular version of ff too. I’m just mostly annoyed that I can’t seem to pinpoint the library that’s missing or whatever.

I’ll figure out how to get some screenshots to help show the issue later.