The “Software Updater” utility in Ubuntu MATE 21.10 tries to remove native Firefox package and install the SNAP version instead. If you’ve done that, here’s how to revert to Firefox DEB package and prevent the misbehavior.
As you may know, Ubuntu is switching Firefox from native DEB to the universal SNAP package. Ubuntu 21.10 now has Firefox SNAP out-of-the-box, while its flavors are still having the classic deb package.
However, in Ubuntu MATE 21.10 the “Software Updater” has a bug. It tries to remove pre-installed Firefox package by marking it as “Duplicate packages to be removed”.
Software Updater Tries to Install Firefox SNAP
If you clicked “Install Now” button without attention. The default Firefox web browser will be replaced with the SNAP app:
Revert to pre-installed Firefox DEB:
By going to the app “menu -> Help -> About Firefox” will tell if you’ve done that mistakenly.
The Firefox SNAP app
And, you may press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal, and run command to remove the Snap if installed:
sudo snap remove --purge firefox
Then install the native Firefox deb package by running command:
sudo apt install firefox
Prevent Software Updater from installing Firefox Snap:
Thanks to N0rbert, run the single command below in terminal to do the trick until the upstream fixed the bug.
sudo apt-mark manual firefox
The command will work on all Ubuntu flavors, though I found the issue only in Ubuntu MATE so far.
Mozilla Firefox 93.0 was officially released today. The release features AVIF image support and further security improvements.
The AV1 image format (AVIF) is an image file format for storing images or image sequences compressed with AV1 in the HEIF file format. It offers significant file size reduction compare to JPEG, PNG and WebP. Google Chrome added it support since version 85. By releasing v93.0, Firefox now has AVIF image support.
Some PDF files have interactive fields to fill in data. Since Firefox 83, the built-in PDF viewer supports filling fields such as text, check boxes, and radio buttons. In the new release, it adds more forms (XFA-based forms, used by multiple governments and banks) support.
Firefox PDF viewer filling forms
To protect against potentially malicious or unsafe downloads, Firefox now blocks insecure HTTP downloads on a secure HTTPs web page, and blocks downloads in sandboxed iframes, unless the iframe is explicitly annotated with the allow-downloads attribute. Though, an option is available to select download anyway.
Other changes in Firefox 93 include:
Automatically unload tabs on Windows, when system is running out of memory.
Prompt to finish installation for macOS users first time running Firefox from a mounted .dmg file.
Improved SmartBlock and new Referrer Tracking Protections.
Fixed working with Orca screen reader.
And various security fixes.
How to Get Firefox 93.0:
Ubuntu will build and publish the latest Firefox packages through the security & updates (main) repository in next few days (check the launchpad build page). The best choice is just wait and upgrade Firefox using “Software Updater” once available.
For the release note, as well as download link for the portable tarball that contains non-install executable file to launch Firefox, go to:
Mozilla Firefox 92.0 was released today with new features and various security fixes.
The release will use HTTPS resource record (HTTPS RR) as Alt-Svc headers to make connections more secure.
The full-range color (0-255) levels are now supported for video playback. Though the limited color range (16-235) is ideal for movies and TV, the source can be switched to full-range color to match PC monitor.
For Mac, users can now access the macOS share options from the Firefox File menu. And it enables support for images containing ICC v4 profiles.
Other changes include:
Firefox performance with screen readers and other accessibility tools is no longer severely degraded if Mozilla Thunderbird is installed or updated after Firefox.
macOS VoiceOver now correctly reports buttons and links marked as ‘expanded’ using the aria-expanded attribute.
An open alert in a tab no longer causes performance issues in other tabs using the same process.
The bookmark toolbar menus on macOS now follow Firefox visual styles.
Certificate error pages have been redesigned for a better user experience.
How to Install Firefox 92:
Usually, Ubuntu will publish the new Firefox package in next few days. The best choice is just wait!
You’ll see the packages in Software Updater once published:
Or see the release note & download the Linux portable package from this page.
This tutorial shows how to enable hardware video acceleration (VA-API) for Firefox, so it uses the video card to decode/encode video to save power.
Hardware video acceleration is a computer technology to make the graphics card to encode and decode video, thus offloading the CPU to save power. And compared to CPU, GPU are normally more efficient at the job.
There are a few ways to achieve this on Ubuntu Linux, including:
Video Acceleration API (VA-API) – an open source API developed by Intel.
Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) – open source API developed by NVIDIA.
NVENC/NVDEC – NVIDIA’s proprietary API.
The VA-API supports Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA (via open-source Nouveau drivers) GPUs. And it is widely supported by software, such as MPV uses va-api hardware acceleration for video playback by default if available.
The VDPAU API supports both AMD and NVIDIA, but has no support in Firefox or Chromium. And while NVENC/NVDEC is used for NVIDIA GPU only, we usually use VA-API for hardware video acceleration.
Firefox pop-up video encoding/decoding via Intel GPU
NOTE: VA-API does not work on NVIDIA via proprietary drivers as mentioned above. If you installed NVIDIA proprietary driver via ‘Additional Drivers’ utility, this will only work when you choose ‘Intel (Power Saving)’ mode in NVIDIA Prime settings.
The VA-API may work out-of-the-box in Ubuntu. You can firstly open terminal from start menu (click ‘Activities’ and search terminal).
Next install vainfo package via command:
sudo apt install vainfo
And run it to check VA-API info:
It outputs the driver as well as supported profile. VAEntrypointVLD means decoding support for this format, VAEntrypointEncSlice means encoding support.
If the command outputs an error, you can try to install drivers via command:
For NVIDIA nouveau and AMD, run command:
sudo apt install mesa-va-drivers
For Gen 8+ Intel hardware, install via command:
sudo apt install intel-media-va-driver
And for old Intel hardware, install i965-va-driver instead via apt install command.
By setting the environment variable, you can choose which driver to use. For example, set “export LIBVA_DRIVER_NAME=i965” to use i965 driver. The value can also set to “nouveau” for NVIDIA, or “radeonsi” for AMDGPU.
Enable VA-API in Firefox:
Firefox added VA-API support since version 80, though it’s not enabled by default. You can enabled it manually by doing following steps one by one.
Firstly, open Firefox and go to about:config in url bar. Click on “Accept the Risk and Continue”. Then search for following keys, enable or disable them one by one:
media.ffmpeg.vaapi.enabled set to true
media.ffvpx.enabled set to false.
media.rdd-vpx.enabled set to false.
media.navigator.mediadatadecoder_vpx_enabled set to true.
If you experience page crashes, try setting security.sandbox.content.level to 0.
Secondly, set environment variable (for current user only). Open terminal and run command to edit profile file:
When file opens, add following lines to the end:
(Optional) Specify va-api driver as mentioned above (replace iHD accordingly):
You can SKIP this if vainfo outputs without error!
Diable RDD sandbox:
For Xorg session, default in Ubuntu 18.04/Ubuntu 20.04:
For Wayland session, default in Ubuntu 21.04 & higher:
Finally, log out and back in. Open Firefox and play a video and see result!
Check if Hardware Video Acceleration working:
During video playback, you can use top command to see CPU usage before and after enable VA-API. For Intel GPU, there’s intel_gpu_top command that monitor it continuously.
Open terminal and run command to install the tool first:
sudo apt install intel-gpu-tools
Next, run command:
Start playing video in Firefox and you’ll see the video bar is busy (above 0%) if VA-API starts working.
For AMD GPU, there’s another command line tool “radeontop” available to monitor GPU activity.
NOTE for YouTube videos, the video codec may sometimes not supported by your hardware. To workaround, try h264ify or enhanced-h264ify extension to make YouTube stream H.264 videos instead of VP8/VP9.
Mozilla Firefox 91.0 is available with more than 1200 bug-fixes, new major privacy enhancement, and other features.
The release introduced more comprehensive logic for clearing cookies. With Firefox Strict Mode, you can clear a site data including embed content, such as images, videos and scripts, from other websites. This “cross-site” content was previously left behind.
You can now clear cookies and site data for current page by clicking the SSL lock icon in url bar. Or by right-clicking on sites under History menu and select ‘Forgot About This Site’.
For all sites, go to Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Cookies and Site Data. There you can click on “Manage Data” to search a site or remove all sites.
Firefox 91 now https first in Private Browsing windows. Even by clicking or entering http site in url, it tries to connect https first if available.
Other changes include:
Supports logging into Microsoft, work, and school accounts using Windows single sign-on.
Add Simplified option back in print settings.
New locale: Scots (sco)
The address bar now provides Switch to Tab results also in Private Browsing windows.
Automatic High Contrast Mode when “Increase Contrast” is checked on MacOS
10-20% improvement in response time to most user interactions.
Various security fixes.
How to Install Firefox 91:
Usually, Ubuntu publishes the new Firefox packages through the security & updates repositories. So just wait and keep your system updated. It’s will be available in next few days.
Alternatively, see the release note and download the portable package from Firefox website.