Update of .deb packages

In Lubuntu 21.10, Firefox is provided as a .deb package and I have also installed Thunderbird via Muon, which I believe is also a .deb package.

I’ve read that Ubuntu is leaning more towards using Snap packages. Is the plan to continue to provide Firefox and Thunderbird updates via .deb packages, or will something change over time that will have Muon pull them in as Snap packages automatically?

I looked at the Snap packages for both Firefox and Thunderbird and both are on their latest versions, where the current .deb packages are not, as of today.

Thanks in advance.

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Your firefox will remain as deb package during the life of impish or 21.10.

The firefox snap is packaged by Mozilla; the deb packages are packaged by Canonical so the updates will occur, and there will be times when Mozilla & Canonical package at slightly different times. You can switch to snap now if you wish.

I would expect the change (deb to snap) to occur when you release-upgrade to 22.04 next year… I’m already on jammy but my firefox has so far remained a deb package; but that’ll change before (freeze or) release time I’m sure.

Will they become Snaps through Muon, or would it be best to use the command line, instead of waiting?

Thanks again.

As for firefox deb package becoming snap; I don’t know, and haven’t taken that much notice in communications about it (it’s somewhat heated like it was with chromium), but I’d expect the change the same as occurred many cycles ago with chromium (eoan cycle from memory).

In Muon, there is a dummy package named chromium-browser, indicating it has been replaced by the Chromium snap. snapd is listed as a dependency, but it doesn’t indicate how it’s installed (Muon, or snapd directly). I have used snaps with other distros previously, but installed those via command line.

Firefox and Thunderbird are still listed as regular (.deb) packages.

I think it’s safe to assume that both Firefox and Thunderbird will eventually default to Snaps (everywhere in Ubuntu), as Snaps increase in popularity and usability.

As you know, right now one is maintained by Mozilla and the other maintained by Canonical. In an ideal world, I think that Mozilla would maintain both. Mozilla may eventually do so and, if not sooner, that’d probably be the tipping point where Canonical (happily) defaults both applications to Snaps - where they don’t have to devote time and energy into packaging.

The above is speculation based on what we’ve seen so far and I don’t think anyone can yet give a precise time. Like @guiverc, I’ve not noticed anyone talking about it.

There. I think I’m done editing. I suspect you’ll still be able to find .deb and PPA sources for a while afterwards, as some folks aren’t terribly fond of Snaps.

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Here is a problem that I have been able to duplicate with Lubuntu. First discovered with Debian.

Removing the Firefox .deb package and replacing it with the Firefox Snap package, ‘breaks’ LibreOffice. It uses Firefox to display its help pages. If I open L.O. and then select the Help feature, Firefox opens and displays a message that the file cannot be found:

File not found

Firefox can’t find the file at /tmp/lu200412ltx5k.tmp/NewHelp0.html.

Check the file name for capitalization or other typing errors.
Check to see if the file was moved, renamed or deleted.

In Debian, Synaptic reported both LibreOffice and GIMP as broken packages. If I removed the Firefox Snap package and reinstall the .deb package (which was actually Firefox ESR), it displays the Help files as expected and it cleared the broken package status of both L.O. and GIMP.

This is something the developers are going to have to look at, if they’re going to push the Snap packages.

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A number of such issues have been reported, some impacting only non-english speakers living in the EU but as I don’t live in the EU, aren’t responsible for it, that’s all I remember.

If you’ve found a bug on a Ubuntu system, please file a bug report for it on launchpad or https://forum.snapcraft.io/ so it can be seen by developers and dealt with before it’s critical (ie. 22.04’s launch).

Using ubuntu-bug has been a little problematic recently on live jammy systems due to issues with firefox as a snap; so a number of issues are known, and are being worked on (some by Mozilla & not Canonical). Your description though reads to me like it needs a Canonical fix.

We at Lubuntu don’t manage firefox, thus have no special powers to fix issues there that you don’t already possess; ie. we can only file bugs & report for maintainers to fix.

You didn’t provide specific details as to your release; your system; these would be filed easiest with ubuntu-bug (even if you need to use a text-editor to get around links; Canonical worked on issue, & then have to fight with ‘bad bot’; Mozilla regression, though you may not have those issues too if lucky :slight_smile:) . If ubuntu-bug becomes a hassle; reporting it on a discourse (snapcraft or ubuntu hub) would work too.

Addendum: You shouldn’t get bad bot anyway; it’s reported as fixed.

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ubuntu-bug didn’t work, could not get past the selection to report the type of issue. Selecting 10 (Other) brings up an error that no package was specified. Well, that prompt doesn’t actually ask for a package, only the type of problem. :roll_eyes:

So I posted the issue to Snapcraft’s Discourse.

Whether removing the Firefox, Thunderbird, Libre and GIMP .deb packages (as this was also an issue with GIMP on Debian) and replacing all four with their respective Snap packages, fixes this issue, I do not know.

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Thanks for reporting it on snapcraft.io and helping make Ubuntu/Lubuntu better :slight_smile:

I did some QA-testing today & since I had a jammy ISO running (Ubuntu too, not Lubuntu, which can help get Ubuntu dev attention even if only via confirmation) I tried what you suggested and it’s thus reported. It provides confirmation of what you said, and is now tracked as reported on the QA-testing tracker

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You’re welcome, happy to help.

I added a comment to the bug report indicating I was using Lubuntu 21.10 and indicated it also affects me.

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I’d have mentioned you added the firefox snap on your Lubuntu 21.10, and wasn’t using the default deb packaged firefox on the lp bug report with your Lubuntu 21.10 (we can edit comments now on lp)

FYI: Your bug report I consider the primary report; mine was on launchpad as I need a lp.report to report bugs on the QA tracker; my subsequent comment on your report was made for tracking purposes (ie. so devs don’t waste time evaluating & deciding if they’re linked). I forgot to link lp back to snapcraft.io; but I’ve now noticed & fixed that.

Thanks again.

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This is going to happen, yes, in a future *buntu firefox will be a snap and the .deb turned to a ‘install the snap’ debian file like Chromium browser was turned into - I believe in Jammy, but I can’t guarantee any specific answer - this is entirely under the Ubuntu Desktop Team / Foundations Team purview for this one.

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OK. I installed the Chromium snap using the command line. Should I have installed it via the Muon package manager instead, or would it not really matter at this point?

It wouldn’t really matter. The .deb that muon installs is a transitional package that would install the snap. Muon doesn’t manage the snaps you have on your system only .deb's. Discover on the other hand can manage both snaps and .deb's.

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I looked at Discover and noticed the options. Between Debian and Lubuntu, I’m now used to installing snaps via the command line anyway. :slightly_smiling_face:

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