Some time ago, I spent some time trying to configure scrolling in Firefox on Ubuntu 20.04. At the time I discovered Pavel Fatin’s recommendation to launch Firefox with the environment variable MOZ_USE_XINPUT2=1 set. This was a good start, but scroll acceleration was still wonky, and kinetic scrolling was non-existant.

Recently, I updated to Ubuntu 22.04 on Wayland, and discovered a couple of about:config tweaks which render the previous workaround redundant, and result in a much closer approximation of Mac-like scrolling, including both smooth scrolling and kinetic (inertial) scrolling. The one missing feature is a hold gesture to instantly stop the inertial scrolling, but a quick scroll in the opposite direction works almost as well.

There is one caveat: This only works in the traditional .deb package version of Firefox. If you’re using snaps, you can have the smooth scrolling, but not the kinetic scrolling. :(

Show me the configs already!

  1. Make sure you’re using the .deb version of Firefox. (Instructions adapted from OMGUbuntu:

     sudo snap remove firefox
     sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
     echo '
     Package: *
     Pin: release o=LP-PPA-mozillateam
     Pin-Priority: 1001
     ' | sudo tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/mozilla-firefox
     distro_codename=$(grep UBUNTU_CODENAME /etc/os-release | cut -d = -f 2)
     echo 'Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins:: "LP-PPA-mozillateam:${distro_codename}";' | sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/51unattended-upgrades-firefox
  2. Go to about:config in Firefox and enable the following options:

    • apz.gtk.kinetic_scroll.enabled=true
    • apz.overscroll.enabled=true
    • And… one more setting that I don’t recall, because Firefox restarted when I installed the deb version, and I lost all my recent tabs! It was something that encouraged Firefox to use the built-in GTK scrolling, rather than reinventing the (scroll)wheel. I think it might have been:

And… I think that’s it! If three-finger drag gets implemented in libinput, I’ll be running out of excuses for staying on Mac!

Update 2022-11-22:

The following tweaks make it even better:

  • general.smoothScroll.mouseWheel.durationMaxMS=500
  • general.smoothScroll.mouseWheel.durationMinMS=250
  • mousewheel.acceleration.start=1
  • mousewheel.default.delta_multiplier_x=10
  • mousewheel.default.delta_multiplier_y=10
  • mousewheel.default.delta_multiplier_z=10

Thanks to Nitesh Kumar from Linux Hint for the general.smoothScroll.mouseWheel.duration* suggested values.


You can also set most of these tweaks in Thunderbird using the Config Editor.