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Linux Mint Announces Mozilla Partnership

Posted January 11, 2022 | Linux | Mint Linux | Mozilla Firefox | Windows


Linux Mint announced that it will keep Mozilla Firefox as its distribution’s default web browser, but with some major changes. It describes the deal as a “commercial and technical partnership.”

“Linux Mint signed a new partnership with Mozilla,” the announcement post explains. “It’s a real pleasure for us to join forces with Mozilla and to start this partnership.”

I’m not fully versed in the politics behind this new partnership, but it goes something like this: Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and is one of the more popular Linux distributions. It has offered Firefox as the default browser for years, but with Ubuntu switching to a new container-based Snap app packaging format that Mint is not a fan of, it needed to find a different distribution method. And it had been packaging Firefox itself using the .deb packaging technology.

Going forward, Firefox will continue to be distributed through the official Linux Mint repositories, using .deb, but this work will be done by Mozilla. And that means there will be some changes to how the browser is configured. Instead of Mint’s highly customized install, Mint users will now get the Mozilla defaults.

And that could be controversial to some users. Now, the default start page will no longer be a Mint website; the default search engine will be Google and it will include Mozilla, not Mint, search partners; the default configuration will change to Mozilla’s defaults; and Firefox will no longer include code changes or patches from Linux Mint, Debian, or Ubuntu. It will be stock Firefox, in other words.

“For Mozilla, the goal is to make Firefox work the same way across all platforms to ease maintenance and simplify development and bug fixing,” Mint explains. “For us, this change means a tremendous simplification in terms of maintenance and development … We now package the Mozilla version of Firefox instead.”

Mozilla will also support the Windows 11-like rounded window corners Mint offers starting with Firefox 96. Which was just released.

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