Linux Mint sells out for Mozilla money -- Google becomes default search in Firefox

So, you decided to get rid of Windows and switch to Linux because you have strong beliefs about free and open source software, eh? Well done! That is quite the noble action, and you should be proud that you are following your morals. You could have chosen a Chromebook but you didn't, as you didn't want to support Google. Fair enough.

Maybe you instead went with Linux Mint because its developers are not beholden to anyone. Well, if that is the case, I have some bad news. You see, Linux Mint has officially sold out! Sadly, the developers of the Ubuntu-based operating system have agreed to accept an undisclosed amount of money from Mozilla in exchange for making significant changes to Linux Mint. This includes removal of modifications to Firefox and a big change for search...

The Linux Mint developers explain, "For Mozilla, the goal is to make Firefox work the same way across all platforms to ease maintenance and simplify development and bug fixing. With these changes Firefox will give the same experience in Linux Mint as it does in other operating systems. For us, this change means a tremendous simplification in terms of maintenance and development. We used to build Firefox ourselves using Ubuntu’s packaging (which is set to be discontinued as Ubuntu is moving towards snap). We now package the Mozilla version of Firefox instead."

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The devs share the upcoming changes to Firefox in Linux Mint 19 and higher.

  • The default start page no longer points to https://www.linuxmint.com/start/
  • The default search engines no longer include Linux Mint search partners (Yahoo, DuckDuckGo…) but Mozilla search partners (Google, Amazon, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ebay…)
  • The default configuration switches from Mint defaults to Mozilla defaults.
  • Firefox no longer includes code changes or patches from Linux Mint, Debian or Ubuntu.

Apparently, this "partnership" also resolves some intellectual property concerns Mozilla had with how Linux Mint was altering the Firefox icon. The most controversial change being made in the operating system, however, is Google now being the default search engine in Firefox. Even worse, the Linux Mint developers are now being paid when users use Google! The developers say, "In Firefox the only engine which generates an income for Linux Mint is Google."

What a sad day for Linux Mint users and the Linux community overall.

Image CreditPressmaster / Shutterstock

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