Linux News Today: Mozilla Firefox Web Browser to Be Available as a Snap Package for Ubuntu 16.04
Mozilla today, April 21, 2016, announced the availability of future releases of their popular Firefox web browser in the snap package format for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
Earlier today, Canonical unleashed the final release of the highly anticipated Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, bringing users a great set of new features and improvements, among which support for installing packages in the snap format used until now only on the Snappy Ubuntu Core OS for embedded and IoT devices.
Also today, it looks like Canonical has renewed their partnership with Mozilla to offer Firefox as the default web browser for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and upcoming releases of the Linux kernel-based operating systems. As part of the new partnership, Mozilla is committed to distributing future versions of Firefox as a snap package.
“Today, Mozilla and Canonical are renewing their partnership to make Firefox the default browser for Ubuntu users. We are proud to have been a partner of choice for Ubuntu for over a decade,” said Nick Nguyen, vice president of Firefox Product, Mozilla. “Canonical and Mozilla share a similar heritage as open-source and community-supported organizations.”
What does this mean for the regular Ubuntu user?
Canonical always offered the latest version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser on supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems after only a couple of days from the upstream release; sometimes even on the same day, but rarely. Having Firefox distributed in the snap format means that you’ll have 0-day releases in Ubuntu 16.04.
Yes, just like Windows and Mac OS X, users are enjoying their 0-day releases of Mozilla Firefox and don’t have to wait for package maintainers of a particular GNU/Linux distribution to update the software in the main repositories. For Mozilla, having Firefox as a snap package means that they’ll be able to continually optimize it for Ubuntu.
“Like our rapid engineering release cycle, snap format will allow us to provide Linux users the most up-to-date features, in particular security patches, even after major Operating System ship dates,” said Nick Nguyen. “With the snap format, new features can be released to users of older OS versions too.”
When will Firefox be available as a snap format for Ubuntu?
According to Mozilla, it looks like the first ever version of the Firefox browser to be offered as a snap package for Ubuntu Linux will be available later this year. Of course, Mozilla will still offer Firefox as 64-bit and 32-bit binaries, as well as a source archive for users of other GNU/Linux operating systems.
The current version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser available in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and other Linux kernel-based operating systems is 45.0.2, and looking at the official release schedule, the next major version, Firefox 46.0, will ship next week, on Monday, April 26, 2016.