Firefox 122 snap temporary native messaging breakage for Ubuntu 22.04 users (fixed since)

Hi folks,

Summary: The recent Firefox 122 stable snap (version string "122.0-2") released this week caused a breakage in the native messaging support for users on Ubuntu 22.04. New Firefox snap builds with fixed native messaging support have been released to stable, with version string "122.0-2.1".

Yesterday, 25 January, we received bug reports of support for native messaging in Firefox snap being broken for Ubuntu 22.04 users. The culprit was found to be a recent change to the native messaging patch we currently carry in the Firefox snap, where the updated patch assumed the availability of the GetManifest DBus method in the web extensions portal (from xdg-desktop-portal), but that is a newer method and the version of the portal currently included in Ubuntu 22.04 does not have it.

I failed to notice this earlier, as I had done the development and testing work for that change on an Ubuntu 23.10 system, which has a newer xdg-desktop-portal package that does include that method, so I never ran into the issue, and I unfortunately forgot to also test my changes on Ubuntu 22.04 to be sure. My apologies to folks who use extensions that need native messaging support for functioning correctly, for any inconveniences this issue may have caused.

Once we identified the issue, we asked the snap store team to temporarily halt automatic updates for the Firefox snap to avoid rolling out the problematic version to more users, while we worked on preparing a fix. To work around the issue, I reverted my recent changes to the patch, and instead applied the changes kindly proposed by lissyx from Mozilla, which does refresh the patch to bring it up-to-date with the changes in Firefox, but does not make it depend on GetManifest being available. I then prepared candidate builds with this fix, which the Mozilla folks kindly verified and promoted to stable earlier today. With the fix in place and ready to be rolled out, we then asked the store team to lift the emergency hold on automatic Firefox snap updates, so that users would start receiving the new version with the native messaging support fixed and working again. I will be working on similarly fixing this issue for the Beta (beta) and Nightly (edge) channels of the Firefox snap as well.

Going forward, we are prioritizing the work to update the web extensions portal implementation in Ubuntu 22.04 to add the GetManifest method, so that we could use the latest development version of the native messaging patch currently in review on Mozilla’s Phabricator. We are also working towards getting the patch merged into Firefox itself, allowing it to receive much more thorough testing as part of Firefox’s regular testing processes, helping to avoid and catch earlier any similar potential issues in the future.