Some time back, Firefox started trying to open PDFs in the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which is a dreadful way to read PDFs. The only alternative was to save the PDF and open it from the command line -- clicking it in the downloads list also launched the photo editor.
This is apparently a known Debian bug: see this report. To fix it, edit /usr/share/applications/mimeinfo.cache and make sure that the line for application/pdf does not include any image editors.
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