It’s surprisingly easy to enable WebP support in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, letting you see image thumbnails in the file manager and open WebP images in the default image viewer.

It’s made possible but the wonderful open source webp-pixbuf-loader library. You install it, restart any/all apps that can use it, and bam: WebP images appear right in front your window peepers (aka your eyes – I could’ve just said eyes).

see webp in nautilus on ubuntu
WebP images showing in Nautilus file manager

I wrote a post on how to enable WebP Linux support on omg! linux but that guide was tailored towards folks on Fedora, or Arch-based distros —no, not because I’ve turned against Ubuntu, but because, at the time, it wasn’t easy to install webp-pixbuf-loader on Ubuntu without building it from source

And ain’t nobody got time for that.

Thankfully, since then, a few things have happened.

First, a dedicated third-party PPA containing the webp-pixbuf-loader package has popped up. This PPA does the hardworking for us, making the webp-pixbuf loader library available for simple installation on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

You add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:helkaluin/webp-pixbuf-loader

Then install the library:

sudo apt install webp-pixbuf-loader

And then restart Nautilus, Eye of GNOME, and other GTK apps and —ta dah— working WebP support.

And secondly…

WebP Support is in Ubuntu 22.10+

This WebP-toting sandwich library this post concerns is included in the Ubuntu archive for 22.10 and later meaning a PPA is not required to install it.

But it gets better.

Ubuntu 22.10 and later includes WebP support out-of-the-box, meaning you don’t have to install anything to see thumbnail previews for WebP files in Nautilus, et al.

Now that’s progress.