Firefox snap lacks gnome extension integration

Ubuntu 21.10 now has the firefox snap seeded as the default browser. Firefox snap gives “native host connector not detected” warning if you attempt to enable and use the gnome shell integration extension.

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This is bug #1741074.

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OK. So it sounds like we can forget about using firefox for installing gnome shell extensions starting with Ubuntu 21.10
Honestly that always seemed like a strange approach for installing software anyway.
Is there some other alternative short of manually installation?

Mozilla would still provide a binary distribution of Firefox you can download aside from snap. Infact, for 21.10 there’s still a firefox apt package available too, it’s only discontinued from 22.04.

Obviously it’s not the most amazing answer, to recommend having a second copy of the browser purely to solve this one issue, but it’s still an option that’s available.

well, one could also argue that GNOME extensions are not actually “software”, they are javascript snippets that patch your running desktop system on the fly :slight_smile:

GNOME Tweaks can be used to manage your shell extensions. I know this isn’t a fully featured replacement to managing them in firefox, but it is worth mentioning.

Interesting. Still sounds like software to me.

I was hoping to hear that this capability would be added to Ubuntu Software or some other program like “Extensions”

GNOME Tweaks no longer has the extension tab in Ubuntu 21.10

My bad, this has been replaced by the GNOME Extensions app (gnome-extensions-app).

Thanks for the clarification @oSoMoN. I should have assumed that was what you meant. However, as far as I can tell the GNOME Extension app doesn’t install a new extension for you. It would be nice if after you download the extention you want from the GNOME Extension app would find and properly install it.

Yes, that’s why I wrote earlier « this isn’t a fully featured replacement to managing them in firefox ». I haven’t been able to find a roadmap for the extensions app, so I don’t know whether searching and installing new extensions from the app is planned, but it would certainly be a good addition.

In any case, the lack of native messaging support in the snap affects many other use cases, so this is something that needs addressing, one way or another.

For Ubuntu 22.04 LTS the best thing to get GNOME Shell Extensions integration back is to install Firefox ESR from the Mozilla Team PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install firefox-esr

Then remove the pre-installed Snap version of Firefox:

sudo snap remove firefox

quoting from the Release Notes

The Firefox snap does not support the NativeMessaging protocol yet but this feature is planned to be added soon. This means for instance that installing GNOME Shell extensions from Firefox won’t work. As a workaround, you can try the gnome-shell-extension-manager app.

This is clearly easier than adding a PPA to then get an ancient version of the browser …

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It turns out that installing gnome shell extensions without NativeMessaging enabled is relatively easy. Just download the zip file from the gnome shell extension website. Then using the terminal:

$ gnome-extensions install "path to zip file"

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