PSA for Firefox users in Feren OS — here’s what’s going to happen in 2022
This is just a short announcement to let users know about what will happen with Firefox in Feren OS in 2022.
As some may know, our upstream, Ubuntu, has confirmed plans to, as per Mozilla’s request, turn the Firefox package in their repositories into one that, like Chromium before it, install the version of Firefox on the Snap Store instead.
This announcement will go over how this will affect you, Feren OS users using Firefox, and what will happen when updating to the upcoming Major Update in 2022.
How this will affect Firefox users in Feren OS
In short, it literally will not affect you if you installed Firefox the normal way (through Web Browser Manager, or, formerly, through Store).
That is because the Firefox you are installing through normal means is through the Flatpak on Flathub, rather than Ubuntu’s Firefox package. Additionally, if you installed Ubuntu’s Firefox package before November 2020 Snapshot, it is highly likely you have been switched over to the Flatpak during the (currently latest) Major Update automatically. You can check if you are using the Firefox Flatpak using these telltale signs:
- The theme uses Adwaita (not your, or Feren OS’s, theme choice)
- Firefox’s About window will mention ‘mozilla-flatpak’
- Firefox will have policies in effect disabling ‘automatic updates’
If all these tell-tale signs are present in your Firefox copy, it means you’re on the Flatpak.
Why switch to the Flatpak?
These are the reasons the switch to the Flatpak was made:
- Flathub’s Mozilla Firefox is, reportedly, an official release of Firefox, and one Mozilla recommends on their own guides
- A desire to lock its theme to the intended GTK+ theme, Adwaita, over Firefox’s janky GTK+ implementation
- A desire for Firefox’s intended experience to be pure — straight from Mozilla themselves
It was purely coincidental, however, that this would prepare Feren OS for what is now known to be happening with Firefox next year.
How this will affect Firefox users who installed Ubuntu’s package in Feren OS
Furthermore, for those who installed Ubuntu’s version of Firefox instead in the latest version of Feren OS, the upcoming Major Update will, just like the Major Update before, transition people to the Flatpak version of Firefox that’s available on Flathub.
Therefore, people using Feren OS will not end up on the Snap Store version of Firefox unless they have explicitly obtained Firefox from the Snap Store beforehand, irregardless.
Ultimately, to make this change a little more worthwhile, I’d like to announce something I’ve been working on in conjunction with the upcoming Feren OS Store update:
To make the Flathub version of Firefox a little more enticing, I have been working on optional bonuses that can be installed alongside Firefox to improve your Firefox experience.
The bonuses currently planned for Firefox include:
- Using the Firefox GNOME theme to make it feel more native in Feren OS
- A pre-configured Firefox experience where changes are made to the experience to address user feedback (while still keeping a vanilla feel)
- A pre-configured Firefox experience designed to harden the browser for the most part
If you would like to make more suggestions for bonuses generally, including Firefox bonuses, you can submit your ideas to https://github.com/feren-OS/Feren-OS-Meta/discussions/10.