Why Firefox isn't on Flathub?


who thinks in categories like “competition” has - imho - nothing to do with “free - software” (something that can only be understood as an infinite approximation to an absolute, never to reach “ideal”).

if one is aware of this adversity, an “ideal” is only strengthened.

therefore: ideals over competition & money - that should be motivation enough. it’s possible. one example, one person, much influence : raymond hill/gorhill.

should mozilla be “motivated” by a google (let’s call the it by it’s name) chrome flatpak, then it depends on whether a product is further developed on the basis of actual ideals or on the basis of a competitive idea. there is a difference here which also affects the product.

people (“companies” are just constructs) without actual ideals and driven by money make bad software … which damages the end-user.

nailed it (- company term)

Firefox and Thunderbird are now available in the Fedora Flatpak repository: https://registry.fedoraproject.org/


At the risk of going insanely off-topic, I’d argue:

  • Firefox started improving performance because they saw Chrome’s increasing market share.
  • Competition does bring improvements: for ages GCC had terrible errors, pretty much until the more liberally licensed Clang came out.

With both proprietary software and with Free Software, competition creates
better products. With any software that is for sale, it is in the developers’
best interest to make the best possible software, in order to get the customer
to buy their product over another.


The only reason GNOME Web isn’t on Flathub at the moment is because @mcatanzaro is not satisfied with the maintainance of the runtimes (though this is mostly resolved with Freedesktop 18.08 / GNOME 3.30+ runtimes). There’s an ongoing work to have automatic notifications for CVE issues in Freedesktop and GNOME runtimes, after that it should be fine.

For now there are nightly builds (a.k.a. Epiphany Technology Preview) and it’s trivial to build your own flatpak of the stable versions.


Yeah, also saw Firefox in GNOME Software now from registry.fedoraproject.org:

Although I wonder why the installed size is so much smaller than the downloaded size…
(in Fedora 30)

However, on the package site for Firefox it currently only lists some awkward master branch for “Fedora 29 Flatpaks”:

So this confuses me a little.

So what is this about?

And https://registry.fedoraproject.org/ does not have a page of (Flatpak) apps it offers, as it seems, so searching for Firefox does not help.

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  • Software’s sizes are usually a bit off.
  • You can search via flatpak search from the command line.

Yeah flatpak search finds it, too.

$ flatpak search firefox 
Description              Application      Version Branch Remotes
Firefox - Browse the Web …mozilla.Firefox         stable fedora
Firefox Developer Editi… …refoxDevEdition         master org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo
Firefox Nightly - Firef… ….FirefoxNightly         master org.mozilla.FirefoxRepo

Then which command can I use to show detailed information about a found item? (I mean, things as sizes or so gnome-software shows)

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Check out flatpak remote-info.

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Thanks, I tried, but well… sorry if it gets off-topic, but this output is not expected, is it?

$ flatpak remote-info fedora org.mozilla.Firefox
zsh: correct 'fedora' to '.fedora' [nyae]? n
error: Unsupported URI scheme “oci+https”

(Yeah, ignore the zsh of course, it wanted to be helpful.)

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It seems like the fedora flatpak’d firefox doesn’t support the h264 codec, even if you install the ffmpeg flatpak runtime, unlike the nightly one…

Okay, maybe you can report this as a bug on https://apps.fedoraproject.org/packages/firefox/bugs/?

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Will do, I am having trouble logging in to the bugzilla instance, so I’ll try again later today.

Because the ffmpeg extension extends the GNOME runtime. The Fedora Firefox flatpak uses Fedora runtime. The only way to make it work is to make an ffmpeg extension for the Fedora runtime and put it on Flathub.


@eischmann Do you known if someone try to fix that ?
Currently I’m using the non-official nightly flatpak, but I would prefer to use the stable flatpak when codecs problems will be solved.

Afaik this would mostly require rpmfusion to build Flatpak extensions, for which I’m not sure if the infrastructure is set up. That being said, if the Firefox Flatpak adds an extension point upstream you could probably try to build the codecs yourself or somehow base it off of the fd.o ones from Flathub.

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@Iakano @eischmann Quite funny that a format meant to solve fragmentation in linux packaging actually makes things worst in ways we didn’t anticipate :joy:
@refi64 Woudln’t just settling for flathub for the main extension repo at least makes more sense?
Though I suppose this discussion won’t move the needle that way or the other.

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I would argue that this isn’t worse. Needing to have work duplicated to have different extensions for different runtimes is definitely a problem, but you can also install these runtimes and extensions on any distro that supports flatpak. I don’t think that duplication of work is as big of a problem as the packaging fragmentation of years past, and I imagine its a much easier problem to solve.

I’m not up on the internals of flatpak, but is there any particular reason why there can’t be a generic ffmpeg extension that can work with all runtimes. Or would it be at least easy for Fedora to fork the ffmpeg extension for the Gnome runtime and adapt it easily to the Fedora runtime? Or are the same licensing issues that prevent Silverblue from just shipping with Flathub enabled preventing that from happening?

What exactly are you referring to as “fragmentation in linux packaging”? Who
didn’t see this coming? We solved package management over two decades ago.
This is a reversion.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think the main problem is just that they might follow different ABIs? Also, due to licensing, Fedora wouldn’t be able to ship the codecs themselves, and I think rpmfusion would have to be the one setting up their own Flatpak repo and such.

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