In this guide I detail how to install Mozilla Firefox as a .deb package on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and not as a Snap app.

Ubuntu’s latest version includes Firefox as a Snap app by default. This Snap package is the only version of Firefox included ‘out of the box’. If you run apt install firefox on Ubuntu 22.04 it won’t install a .deb version as before, but instead fetch a transitional package that installs the Firefox Snap.

Which isn’t ideal if you don’t want to use the Firefox Snap package.

Don’t get me wrong Snap apps have their pluses, but also a few incumbent negatives:

  • Snap apps update automatically in the background
  • Snap app startup times are often slower than repo software
  • Some third-party integrations are (currently) broken

All of these are surmountable; there are command line options to adjust, pause, or delay Snap app updates; slow app start up times are being looked at, says Mark Shuttleworth; and the issue regarding broken desktop integrations (e.g, GNOME extensions, third-party password managers, etc) is open and active on Mozilla’s bug tracker.

Installing Firefox via Apt (Not Snap)

image showing a deb package with a tick, the firefox logo, and the snap app icon with a cross

The good news is that you can install a Firefox deb on Ubuntu 22.04 using a couple of commands. You add the Mozilla Team PPA, install the Firefox deb, then ‘pin’ both to ensure that the Firefox Snap is not reinstalled at a later date.

Before you go any further you may want to backup/export any important browser settings, bookmarks, and other data.

Step 1: Remove the Firefox Snap by running the following command in a new Terminal window:

sudo snap remove firefox

Step 2: Add the (Ubuntu) Mozilla team PPA to your list of software sources by running the following command in the same Terminal window:

 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa

Step 3: Next, alter the Firefox package priority to ensure the PPA/deb/apt version of Firefox is preferred. This can be done using a slither of code from FosTips (copy and paste it whole, not line by line):

echo '
Package: *
Pin: release o=LP-PPA-mozillateam
Pin-Priority: 1001
' | sudo tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/mozilla-firefox

Step 4: Since you’ll (hopefully) want future Firefox upgrades to be installed automatically, Balint Reczey shares a concise command on his blog that ensures it happens:

echo 'Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins:: "LP-PPA-mozillateam:${distro_codename}";' | sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/51unattended-upgrades-firefox

Step 5: Finally, install Firefox via apt by running this command:

sudo apt install firefox

As soon as the Firefox installation completes pop open the app launcher and click on the Firefox icon to launch a de-Snapped version you can pin to the Ubuntu dock.

Sidenotes…

If your main reason for wanting a .deb version of Firefox is so you can install GNOME extensions I will point out there is a simpler workaround: install the (fantastic) GNOME Extension Manager app from the repo using sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-manager.

Want to install GNOME extensions? Try the new extension manager app instead!

That tool renders the need for browser integration totally moot which is why it’s on our list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 22.04. It lets you search, browse, update, install, and manage your extensions within an app not a browser.

Also, keep in mind that the “bug” that means you can’t install GNOME extensions using the Firefox Snap will be fixed at some point in the future — so consider hanging tight for a solution!

Finally, the Mozilla Team PPA was initially designed to provide Extended Support Release (ESR) versions of the browser. I haven’t been able to locate any statement to say whether the PPA will get new builds of Firefox ASAP (as with the Snap version) or merely at a later date, volunteer dependent. Keep this in mind.

But hey: I know many of you have been asking how to replace the Firefox Snap with a deb version and, short of downloading and linking the Firefox binary — not the worst way to run it; it was my workaround during 21.10 — this method is arguably the most analogous drop-in for the (now gone) old apt build.

Apps How To Firefox ppas snap snap apps