Install Firefox as DEB App on Ubuntu 22.04

How to Install Firefox as Classic DEB App on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

This guide will show you how to remove Firefox’s Snap and install Firefox as a regular application from a DEB file in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

As we informed you, long waited, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS ‘Jammy Jellyfish’ was released recently, packed with exciting new features to give a better user experience, performance, and speed. And as you know, Firefox is the default internet browser. 

However, a decision by Canonical to provide Firefox preinstalled only as a Snap package has caused controversy among Linux users. So even if you want to uninstall it and use another browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, you’ll have to deal with it for a while.

Furthermore, even if you try to install the Firefox using the apt command as a regular DEB package, it simply reinstalls the Snap version since it is an empty package that links to Mozilla’s official Snap.

Setting aside the fact that Firefox running as a Snap package takes longer to run, another major factor leads users to seek the option of installing it as a standard DEB package.

We are talking about the installation of GNOME extensions. Because Firefox as a Snap is isolated from the rest of the system and thus cannot access the chrome-gnome-shell native connector, it is no longer possible to install GNOME Shell extensions from the extensions.gnome.org website.

Fortunately, there is a way to remove the Firefox Snap package and replace it with a standard installation from a DEB file. So let me show you how to do it in a few easy-to-follow steps.

Step 1: Remove Firefox Snap Package

First, let’s check the list of currently installed Snap packages on our Ubuntu 22.04 system.

snap list
Listing Snap packages in Ubuntu 22.04

As seen in the image above, Firefox is installed as a Snap package. To remove it, first, open the terminal app, and then run the command:

sudo snap remove --purge firefox
Removing the Firefox Snap package

So far, so good. The Firefox Snap package has been removed from our Ubuntu 22.04 system.

Step 2: Add Mozilla Team PPA Repository

You can install Firefox as a classic DEB app by adding the unofficial “Mozilla Team” team PPA to your Ubuntu 22.04 repos. So as a next step, run the command shown below to add it to your system.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
Adding Firefox's PPA to Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Step 3: Install Firefox from a DEB Package on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Finally, we are ready to install Firefox from the DEB package as we will use the newly added PPA repository as a source. Run the command below:

sudo apt install --target-release 'o=LP-PPA-mozillateam' firefox
Installing Firefox from DEB package on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

In the command above, the --target-release option lets you control where the installation packages are downloaded from. Hence we say the apt command to use the mozillateam repository as the source.

Now Firefox is installed, but we are not done yet. We need to make an additional adjustment to the mozillateam repository, described in the next section.

Step 4: Change PPA Priority

As you can see, in Ubuntu, we can install software packages from different sources. But if more than one repositories have the same package, which is the case with the Firefox package, the higher priority repository will be used by default.

Ubuntu’s official repository has version number 1:1snap1-0ubuntu2, which is always higher than the PPA package version. Therefore, the very first time you try to update the packages on your system, the result will be:

List upgradable packages

The system wants to replace the installed Firefox version with the one that has a higher priority in its default repository. The result of which will be to restore Firefox as a Snap.

So, to avoid this from happening, we need to change the priority of the packets in the mozillateam repository. To do so, run the command below:

sudo nano /etc/apt/preferences.d/mozillateamppa

The command creates and opens a new file for editing. Insert the following three lines:

Package: firefox*
Pin: release o=LP-PPA-mozillateam
Pin-Priority: 501
Change the Mozilla Team Firefox PPA priority

Save the file (Ctrl+O) and exit (Ctrl+X) the Nano text editor. Finally, update the packages list for the changes to be applied.

sudo apt update
Updating the packages list on Ubuntu 22.04

Now that you have Firefox installed from the DEB package on your Ubuntu 22.04 LTS system launch it and enjoy using it.

Firefox installed from a DEB file on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Conclusion

In this guide, you have learned how to remove currently installed Firefox’s Snap package and instead install the Firefox as a classic DEB app on your Ubuntu 22.04 ‘Jammy Jellyfish’ system.

I hope you found the guide helpful. Thanks for reading! Your feedback and comments are most welcome.

4 Comments

  1. I have used the ubuntuzilla version of Firefox for years with no problems. You install their repository and then can install their version of Firefox, Firefox ESR, Thunderbird and Seamonkey. It can be found at SourceForge for anyone interested.

  2. Followed these instructions to the letter in Ubuntu MATE 22.04.1 LTS. Now, the only way I can launch Firefox is by terminal. Terminal output:

    $firefox
    [GFX1-]: glxtest: VA-API test failed: failed to initialize VAAPI connection. ATTENTION: default value of option mesa_glthread overridden by environment. Missing chrome or resource URL: resource://gre/modules/Updatelistener.sys.mjs ATTENTION: default value of option mesa_glthread overridden by environment. [GFX1-]: Couldn’t sanitize RENDERER device: ATI RV370.

    So now What?

    • Hi Bill,

      Strangely, we tested the entire process again on the fully updated Ubuntu 22.04.1 system, and everything went without issues.

      In your case, the problem seems to come from the Video Acceleration API of Firefox. So, try disabling hardware acceleration in the browser.

      1. Type “about:config” in the address bar and press Enter.
      2. Enter “webgl.disabled” in the search box.
      3. Click the toggle button to switch it to “true.”
      4. Close Firefox
      5. Try to start it again.

      Best,
      Bobby

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