Firefox ESR package is really needed

Dear Ubuntu developers!

With this message I plan to reopen the last discussion on Ubuntu maillists.
I’ll summarize main points here.

For enterprise Ubuntu users Firefox ESR is needed.
It does not change too fast and support old “LEGACY” extensions.

Some days ago Mozilla released Firefox 57 which completely disable classic (“LEGACY”) extensions. I think that real enterprise users are not happy with this new feature.
The current status of porting LEGACY extensions to WebExtension are located in Google Spreadsheet. The percentage of WebExtensions is not too high.

For example in Windows my organization uses Firefox ESR.
We do not need bells and whistles, we need to do our work with stable user experience and without security vulnerabilities. Firefox users can’t repair car while driving it.

Please add these packages to all supported Ubuntu versions.
You may want to use bleeding edge version as default, but please add firefox-esr package too.

According to this fresh AskUbuntu question “How do I downgrade Firefox v. 57 to v. 56?” - the problem is critically actual nowadays.
We have 9550 views of this question for 24 hours.
The accepted solution is mine: it suggests to install Firefox ESR from PPAs (jonathonf or mozillateam).

But stop and read it again. Why users should use PPAs for most common software such as web-browser (Firefox is actually default web-browser in Ubuntu)?
What will happen if these PPAs become compromised?

Debian already has Firefox ESR for all supported versions.

So I (and other users from AskUbuntu) kindly ask you (Ubuntu developers) to make official ESR package and put it alongside bleeding-edge version. You can make partnership with Mozilla Team here, I think.

With best regards,


Completely support this. My bank is using signtextjs extention to sign payment orders. With Firefox 57 I am not able to transfer money to nowhere. I can only use the mobile app but if I reinstall this app I need to sign an autorization for the app to be able to perform payments. So I need the old extentions.


Here’s the problem I have with repeated mentions of this proposal, and what needs to be done in my opinion.

I want this too. It would be an extremely useful package that Lubuntu would ship by default. But as I see it, here are the problems with that:

  1. Who is willing to maintain this package? I would help, but I don’t want to be the only person that has archive upload access that would be maintaining it, as I’m not very familiar with the Firefox codebase. The Desktop Team has already said multiple times that they don’t have the resources…
  2. I don’t remember who said it or what list they said it on, but I remember when you put this to the mailing list that a Canonical employee responded that Debian had an agreement saying that they were allowed to ship the package in Debian and only Debian. That’s the blocker for this – I think someone in Canonical has to have an agreement with them.

So while I appreciate the enthusiasm, and I support what you’re doing, I don’t think it’s possible quite yet. Reproposing this will do nothing until those two problems are dealt with.


Hi All,

I’m writing because this change forced me to switch to FF ESR on Windows, but I need a secure and trustworthy way (like official repo/ppa) to get FF ESR to my Linux/Ubuntu systems too.

I totally agree with the comments about the Corporate use case, as a person supporting FF on corporate systems.

I’d also like to stress the Personal use too. I used to be a fan of FF, now fan of FF ESR. The web I like is the web with my addons working - and not without my addons. This is not the web I like! The advertising of the new version made me think - “Are you really serious? The web I like? This is not the web I like. The web I like used to be with my addons working…”

I’d also like to ask you to consider the situation of users without the knowledge/skills required to do the switch to ESR or an other platform. They are the loosers of the change.

Also consider the situation of the addon makers, who made the addons primarily for themselves, then generously shared it with others. Some of these guys lost when the certification became mandatory, now this one.

Will they really have enough free time, funds and enough enthusiasm to re-write their addons? For the sake of FF and my use case, I hope so! But we can never be sure…

Please consider all of this and help us at least have an ESR for Linux too!

BR, Levi

PS1: There is an official ppa for FF ESR now.

PS2: It looks like others have a similar opinion about the direction FF is heading to… (Warning: strong opinion and language)


Gentle reminder to everybody:

Piling on “yes, this is a good idea” feels good, but does not achieve much. Nobody is disagreeing.
That is what the ‘Like’ button is for.

It is usually a waste of time to ask ‘somebody else’ to adopt or maintain a package.
This is a community driven by volunteers.

@tsimonq2 has said what needs to happen next:

  • A community volunteer must to do the research
  • A community volunteer must maintain the package

Of course one can always grab the application from the Debian Stable Backport repos. They keep the ESR up-to-date. They also have a LTS distro. Just saying.


These packages from Debian have different dependencies. They can’t be installed on for example Ubuntu Xenial Xerus 16.04.3 LTS directly.


Well I don’t usually have too much problem installing single apps from Debian repos. Mind you I haven’t installed Firefox ESR. Don’t use it myself.

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BTW Norbert, are you the Debian maintainer of TeX?

No, I’m not maintainer of TeX. Why you think so?

Sometimes I use it indirectly when I compile RMarkdown to PDF through TeX with Pandoc.

Well, one of the TeX maintainers in Debian, has the same 1st name. Packages Screengrab

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I just repost this here NoScript’s rating drops after Firefox Quantum release = “bad news”.

The “good news”: 20% percent of most popular addons are ported to WebExtension (NoScript included since yesterday) - see Google Spreadsheet.

So official FIrefox ESR packages is still needed.

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If the effort for the ESR is mostly around Legacy Add-ons that will be a moot point by March 6th 2018 (~4 months) as that’s when the first ESR release of FIrefox 59 comes out - which won’t have legacy extensions either. The previous ESR will be supported for one more release per the plan -

I fully understand that this can be a painful switch- some will never port, but Mozilla did provide a helper to find recommended replacements:

This is likely the biggest userbase on ESR ever, but for many users that will just be a stopgap measure.

What bank is this? Please let them know you’d like Firefox to be officially supported! That extensions adds back crypto functionality Mozilla found reason to remove in Firefox 35 - and they removed it because of a significant security risk (among many other issues).


People are using the addons because of functionality.
If the new/replacement addon can not provide that, the addon and the browser itself will lose it’s significance.
FF ESR, then later WaterFox will do the trick.

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There is already a java applet present with official Ubuntu support which signs documents outside of the browser. So for me the case is closed. I personaly don’t like the extensions approach since it is too unreliable. Firefox is just an examle. I am a long term Opera presto user. Now I am on Vivaldi. I was using Firefox just for the bank account. Now I don’t have reason to use it.

For me too the case is closed. I am using Opera.

Just tried FF 57 on personal laptop (27 workstations with ESR at $dayjob). Skype is incompatible. Back to ESR. Case closed.

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I know this is an old thread but thanks to Snaps - Firefox ESR is now a bit easier to install option (and it’s straight from Mozilla).


ESR 60 is not an option for me.

I’ll stay on Firefox 52 ESR from JonathonF PPA to have all my useful LEGACY EXTENSIONS such as SiteDelta, TableTools2, Show Parent Folder, Manage Folders, Wired Marker in place. I do not care about such “security” which remove useful features from software. See complete explanation on this AskUbuntu answer.