Clement lefebvre has announced a agreement between Linux Mint and Mozilla that will affect how Firefox is served to users of the well-known derivative of Ubuntu. The project leader has made it clear that this alliance is both commercial and technical.
The core part of the agreement is that the Firefox build supplied through the Linux Mint repositories will start using the default settings used by Mozilla and not the Linux Mint one. This means that the default page will no longer be ‘https://www.linuxmint.com/start/‘and the default search engines will be those of Mozilla’s partners (Google, Amazon, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc) rather than those used by the distribution (Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc). Another issue affected is that the code changes from Linux Mint, Ubuntu and Debian will no longer be incorporated, although the package format will remain Deb.
For Mozilla, the goal of its alliance with Mint is to make Firefox work as equally as possible across distributions to facilitate maintenance and simplify development and bug fixes. This strategy is by no means new on the part of the foundation, but it is a path that it began to follow many months ago to improve the development of Firefox for Linux, since most of the users of the open source system do not use the browser builds provided by Mozilla, but rather those offered by distributions. That, for many years, made the resolution of bugs extremely difficult.
For Linux Mint the situation is not very different as Clement Lefebvre explained that “this change means a tremendous simplification in terms of maintenance and development. We used to compile Firefox ourselves using the Ubuntu package (which is scheduled to be discontinued as Ubuntu moves towards Snap). Now we package the Mozilla version of Firefox instead “. Lefebvre has also mentioned the foundation’s requests to comply with its intellectual property.
The sentences published by Lefebvre show that this alliance has been somewhat forced by circumstances because the Firefox compilation offered by Linux Mint was based on that of the Ubuntu Deb package. With Firefox being supplied in Snap format since Ubuntu 21.10 and seeing that Linux Mint does not feel much appreciation for Canonical’s package format, those responsible for the well-known derivative only had to take as a base the application directly served by Mozilla or resort to the Flatpak package .
The transition to the configuration established by Mozilla would have to take place between January 11 and 12, 2022 for versions 19, 20 and Debian Edition of the distribution, when users should start to receive Firefox 96. For the recent Linux Mint 20.3 the transition started with the Firefox 95 beta.
The configurations established by the users themselves should not be affected, but any configuration that has not been “canceled” may be susceptible to being modified after the transition is made. Other benefits Linux Mint users will see are somewhat higher performance and better support for window decorations with rounded corners, which has come with Firefox 96.
In short, starting today, users of Linux Mint versions 19, 20 and Debian Edition should receive a Firefox compilation in Deb format via standard update that conforms to the parameters established by Mozilla, in instead of employing the various modifications carried over through the Deb distributions.