Install Firefox in a Snap on Linux

Mar 20, 2018

Mozilla has picked the Snap package system to deliver its application to Linux users.

Linux desktop has an app fragmentation problem. Each distribution has its own application distribution mechanism, which ends up duplicating maintainer resources and is almost always a bottleneck when it comes to delivering updates to apps.

The Linux desktop communities are trying to solve that problem with solutions like App Image, Flatpack, and Snaps. While Flatpack is backed by Red Hat/Fedora developers, Snaps is backed by Canonical. App Image is relatively independent. Once again there is fragmentation which means either app developers ‘waste’ developer resources and create a package for all three formats or choose one. Eventually the Linux world may settle down on one, but for now we have to deal with all of the three.

Mozilla has officially picked Snap to offer Firefox browser for Linux. According to Canonical, by launching as a snap, the Firefox Quantum browser is available to an increased amount of Linux users with the snap working natively on Ubuntu, Arch, Linux Mint, Fedora, Solus, Debian and other Linux distributions that support snaps.

“Mozilla has long been a leader in the open source space,” said Jamie Bennett, VP of Engineering,  Devices & IoT at Canonical. “As such, we are very happy to announce that they are joining the community of applications already available as snaps. Through their unique format, snaps can help bring some of the world’s most popular apps to almost any Linux desktop, server, device or cloud machine, allowing users to select the right distro for them without having to worry about updates, security or compatibility issues further down the line.”

There are a lot of advantages of using Snap like mechanism over the traditional method as you get updates as soon as the vendor releases it, no need to add 3rd party repositories or wait for weeks for official packages to land in official repositories.

If you want to grab a snap of Firefox, visit this link: https://snapcraft.io/store.

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