Ubuntu Linux grants Firefox a stay of execution -- for now
Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions. According to DistroWatch, it is the number two most popular, second only to Linux Mint (which is based on Ubuntu). So when Ubuntu makes a change to its default software, the Linux community takes notice.
There has been much speculation that Firefox would be replaced by Chromium as the default web browser on the next version of the operating system. However, Firefox fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Canonical announces the browser will remain as the default in the 13.10 version of the operating system.
Unfortunately, the last minute reprieve was not due to a renewed love for Firefox but instead trouble with Chromium. According to Jason Warner, "...there have been issues keeping up with Chromium changes. The big issue was with Web Apps integration and some changing APIs. Since we've introduced Web Apps changes like this have always caused us some grief. Web Apps have always been an interim step until we were able to get a more self contained web apps container".
Sadly, it looks like Firefox is still on the chopping block. "Lastly, I do want to consider Chromium by default for 14.04 once the above is no longer an issue. I sincerely believe Chromium is the better experience for general users and should be strongly considered for our next LTS", says Warner.
While Firefox's future as the default Ubuntu web browser is in serious doubt, all is not lost. Users will still be able to download it after installation if and when it is no longer the default. However, there is no doubt that Firefox usage will be impacted by the decision.
While the technology community seems to be going "all in" on Webkit (or Blink), Firefox remains the last major holdout. Hopefully, this decision will not be its undoing.