Mozilla has announced a new apt repository to make it easier for users to install Firefox Nightly builds on Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux distributions.

The Deb packages in the new repository are said to offer ‘multiple benefits’ compared to Snap and Flatpak builds.

First, the Deb packages are compiled with optimisation to improve performance. Second, the binary is “hardened” with all security flags enabled. Third, updates are delivered directly from source, which is faster than waiting for them to be packaged via other channels.

For those unaware, Firefox Nightly builds are mainly intended for developers as they contain the latest code, features, and enablements. They’re not stable and may include bugs but nonetheless are a great way to try new features and stay ahead of the curve.

Linux builds of Firefox Nightly (from Mozilla) traditionally been distributed as binaries in a .tar.bz2 archive. Users would then have to extract the files from the archive and manually run the binary inside.

Many users (?) would then move that folder to a system location and hand-craft a custom .desktop file to ensure a launcher for it would appear in app menus, docks, taskbars, etc.

The new Mozilla APT repository makes all of that effort unnecessary.

To install Firefox Nightly on Ubuntu you now just add the Mozilla APT repo and install it. You then receive future updates in a timely manner alongside all your other software updates (or sooner if, like me, you compulsively run apt update in every spare moment).

How? Read on, compadre!

Add Mozilla APT Repo on Ubuntu

To add the spangly-new Mozilla APT repository and install the latest Firefox Nightly build as a deb, run the commands below, which are the same ones listed in the Firefox Nightly blog post to announce the new repo.

To set up the APT repository and install the Firefox Nightly .deb package, simply follow these steps:

First, import the APT repo key:

wget -q -O- | gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/ > /dev/null

Next, add the repo itself:

echo "deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/] mozilla main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mozilla.list > /dev/null

Finally, update and install Firefox Nightly:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox-nightly

That’s it.

Overall, this new Mozilla APT repo sounds handy for those who need or want to run bleeding-edge builds of the browser on Ubuntu and related distros. Convenience, improved performance, better security, and faster access to updates – what’s not to like?