Mozilla and Linux Mint sign a partnership agreement

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 11, 2022
Linux Mint

Linux Mint, developer of the popular Linux distribution, and Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client, have signed a partnership agreement.

linux mint 20.3 release

The Linux Mint team announced the partnership on the official blog. According to the information published there, the partnership is commercial and technical in nature.

Some things will change for Linux Mint users who use Firefox as a browser on the system. Linux Mint shipped Firefox with a custom set of settings and configurations in the past, and most of these will be dropped to go back to the defaults.

The team mentions the following changes in particular:

  • The default start page will no longer be
  • Default search engines of Firefox are restored, Linux Mint search partners are no longer included (unless they match the default list of search engines in Firefox).
  • Mozilla default configuration switches are used by Firefox.
  • Firefox won't include code changes or patches from Linux Mint, Debian or Ubuntu anymore.

For Linux Mint, the change means the freeing up of development and maintenance resources. The team used to build Firefox using Ubuntu's packaging, but will package the Mozilla provided version of Firefox instead.

For Mozilla, it is mentioned that the organization wants Firefox to work identical across all supported platforms. Not mentioned but probably as important is the commercial benefit that Mozilla may be getting out of this, as the company's search partners and Firefox's default startpage are displayed to Linux Mint users going forward.

One FAQ entry points out that Linux Mint is getting a share of the income that is generated when Linux Mint Firefox users use Google Search. Other details are not mentioned.

The transition took already place in Linux Mint 20.3, which the team released last week. For all other supported versions of Linux Mint, Linux Mint 19.x, 20.x and LMDE, it will take place with the release of Firefox 96. Firefox 96 will be released on January 11, 2022.

Custom user settings should not be affected by the change according to the announcement. If a user has changed preferences in Firefox, they should remain changed. The team notes that defaults may change however, and that users may want to check the preferences after the upgrade to Firefox 96 to make sure that these defaults have the right values set.

Closing Words

The Linux Mint and Mozilla partnership should benefit both organizations. Linux Mint is freeing up development and maintenance resources, Mozilla is getting more users to use its search partners and other offers. While specifics have not been mentioned, it is likely that Linux Mint is going to see an increase in revenue that is coming out of this partnership. Whether it is limited to a revenue share agreement between the two parties, or money that Mozilla paid the organization directly is unknown.

Now You: what is your take on the partnership?

Mozilla and Linux Mint sign a partnership agreement
Article Name
Mozilla and Linux Mint sign a partnership agreement
Linux Mint, developer of the popular Linux distribution, and Mozilla, maker of the popular Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client, have signed a partnership agreement.
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  1. confia said on January 21, 2022 at 3:13 am

    because the before Linux mint default search engine browser (yahoo) is deprecated.

  2. DDearborn said on January 14, 2022 at 11:20 am


    I do not wish to offend anyone. But quite frankly, I find the notion held by so many that somehow “Linux” offers any more “security” or “privacy” for end users from the usual suspect than Windows to be prime facie evidence that mass indoctrination, aka “brain washing” via the “Internet” is incredibly effective.

    As some people have realized, the “Internet” has long since replaced the “Television” as the primary weapon of choice of said usual suspects to control and manipulate the masses. And like the Television before it, the only sustainable defense against that weapon is to SHUT IT OFF. If that is not possible, one can limit its use to as few hours/minutes per day as possible…

    Put aside the usual embedded spyware/malware issues because red herrings are not just rhetorical devices. I am curious, has anyone done any recent in-depth analysis of the incoming “data” streams they are subjecting themselves to on their internet enabled devices? Ahem…

  3. Disgruntled Troll said on January 13, 2022 at 5:26 am

    Linux Mint have a few rude donkeyhole developers who reply to bug reports with arrogant remarks and placing the blame on anything else than Mint, even when the evidence says otherwise. Then some other developer with a brain steps in and actually sees the problem and may eventually even start to fix it. Maybe. Eventually. Then when that happens, the rude idiots usually delete their initial responses so no one can see what f***tards they are. I understand they are overworked with their superbuggy garbage OS but it doesn’t help when your staff are very unprofessional.

  4. Peterc said on January 12, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    Firefox has not been my primary/default brower in either Linux or Windows since Firefox switched to the Australis interface in … 2014? But even if it were, all this change would mean would be that I would have to do the same extra work to “privacy-harden” Firefox in Linux that I would have to do in Windows. And since I used to “sync and tweak” my browser user profiles between OSes, it wouldn’t be that much extra work (for me). But if Firefox were my preferred browser, and if I used Linux Mint only, and if I used to trust that the Mint version of Firefox did all of the privacy-hardening for me, I would definitely be miffed at having to do the extra work myself, possibly to the point of switching default browsers.

  5. Trey said on January 11, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    Good. Mint’s own version of FF was an odd choice. Anyway, anyone capable enough to use linux can reconfigure their browser of choice even if it is stock FF.

  6. just an Ed said on January 11, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    For those who might be interested, a new blog post was made detailing the changes and what one may wish to do before the next FF update.

  7. anonymous (another one) said on January 11, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    Be advised that the Firefox changeover (to Mozilla default version) will change some of your settings. For example, Google will be set as the default search engine (even if you had a privacy-respecting engine set, and even if you had previously deleted Google from the options entirely), and the other usual search engine options (Bing, etc.) will be there, too.

    Telemetry will get re-enabled, even if you had it set to off.

    I’ve read that some about:config modifications will get reverted back to default as well, including the preference to check for your userChrome preferences.

    Clem explains on the Linux Mint blog why the defaults behave this way (allegedly for this one time only), for what it’s worth.

    Upgrading the distro to 20.3 will trigger this Firefox replacement.

  8. ULBoom said on January 11, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    How’s this any different than now? One bit at a time.

    Run from Windows to Linux! So you can use the same browsers, but don’t worry Linux protects you with Magical Thinking.

    Still need about: config changes for anything resembling privacy in FF. Forget it in Chromia or Chredge.

    Linux CLI browsers rock!!! Learn how things “really” work. Yep.

  9. anonymous (another one) said on January 11, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    You’ll have to complain to Mozilla directly about that.

  10. Anonymous said on January 11, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    Could we get an proper tab interface now rather than those silly pill buttons? Also, could we get compact mode back without having to dig through about:config?

  11. motang said on January 11, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    Good I really disliked the customization that Linux Mint put on top of Firefox. Often times those dumb customization would get integrated into my profile and that would get synced up with all the systems I have Firefox on.

  12. Honorius said on January 11, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    > The Linux Mint and Mozilla partnership should benefit both organizations.
    Yeah… but not users.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 11, 2022 at 6:14 pm

      @Honorius: +1

  13. Paul(us) said on January 11, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    Best news this year yet!
    Linux distribution Mint has always been my personal favorite.
    Especially now with the latest release 20.3 bringing so many improvements.

    That now two outer favorites Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird moving forward together will ensure, in my case, that I will experience even greater pleasure and ease.

  14. just an Ed said on January 11, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    I find some of the commentary amusing and a bit puzzling. You could always add Google to your list of search providers. Sometimes, believe it or not, I got better results when looking for something particular. Not often, I admit, but sometimes. I have customized FF and those customizations did change on 1 computer. Oddly, it was the only one I did NOT upgrade via command line.
    For those complaining about FOSS, Mint always had the option to install non-FOSS codecs and drivers (NVIDIA anyone?). As regards the comment by Sol Shine, I don’t believe that will happen given that Clement has removed the snap.d framework completely; or has Sol forgotten that controversy?
    @ Klaas Vaak; I’m curious as to how much you’ve contributed to the Mint project. I’m fortunate enough to have the financial resources to contribute a small amount every release, but I’ve never received a request from them at any time. The code is also open to the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge. You are free to replace Mint; I doubt that they’ll notice. I also doubt the changes will provoke much outcry from most of the user base. Any changes are quite easily reversed, and going forward it will be no different than any other update you would get from FF.

    @ Neutrino: You can’t truly escape the 5 EYES. I certainly can’t given that I live in NY. Everything is compromise. Eventually the American Empire will collapse; every empire does. With a bit of luck Western civilization will continue, though. To do the best one can with the resources available is not necessarily “selling out”.

    Be well all. :-)

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 11, 2022 at 6:13 pm

      @just an Ed: financial contribution is irrelevant. They pretend to give you freedom which runs counter to putting Google Search as a default. But, like you, I also occasionally need to use Google to find what I am looking for, although that happens less and less frequently.

      No, they won’t notice if I leave, they would not notice even if you left because I doubt you are among the top 10 donors. And in any case I am not leaving to make that mark, I am not so naive to believe I could.

      I also agree that these changes will provoke an outcry from the user base, many people believe (experts included) they cannot do without GS.

      Anyway, enjoy the new Mint, and thanks for your feedback.

      1. just an Ed said on January 11, 2022 at 7:22 pm

        @Klaas Vaak: A most courteous reply, thank you for that. My comment about financial support was only meant in reference to “free, as in free stuff”. In many ways we are circumscribed in our actions, and some do not even believe in free will. This was my intent when commenting about contributions.

        As regards GS, I can understand a desire not to “dance with the devil”, as such. What I found upon upgrading to 20.3 was that my default search engine did not change in any of the 3 systems I have Mint on. It was odd to me that on one system only my home page changed, although telemetry was reactivated on all 3. One thing in the distro’s favor (to my mind, anyway) is that they warned us about the changes, which is one reason I doubled checked everything. I found that none of my ‘about:config’ changes were altered; whatever that may be worth. :-)

        I agree, they won’t notice if I left either. i still find it the most palatable distro for my use case; at least so far (and admitting I’ve only checked out 3 at this point).

        Again, thanks for a most courteous reply. May this new year treat you well.

      2. Klaas Vaak said on January 12, 2022 at 12:15 pm

        @Just an Ed: you’re welcome, it is no problem for me to be courteous with someone who is courteous with me. What I have a problem with is rudeness, and if someone is rude to me or someone else, that really gets my heckles up and I find it hard to restrain myself, you are stronger than me on that. ;-)

    2. Gerard said on January 11, 2022 at 5:28 pm

      Good points, Ed. I’ve always wondered how users can assume that substantial free open source projects, such as Firefox and various Linux distros, can continue without sufficient funding and how much fanatical, persistent and often unreasonable critics are willing to contribute to FOSS (or other freeware projects), financially and/or time/workwise.
      Having said that, I’m not very happy with the Mint-Mozilla agreement. However, I can live with it as long as Firefox remains as configurable as it is now and user settings are not restored to defaults after an update.

  15. Chris said on January 11, 2022 at 11:59 am

    For the last year or more Mint has provided its own version of the Chromium browser, I wonder what the implications are for that?

    A possible incentive to discontinue doing that, which also must take significant Mint resources?

  16. Rager Rabbit said on January 11, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Not surprising at all, both are bloated dinosaurs with a plummeting userbase due to them being bloated dinosaurs. This is both a sad an entertaining drowning to watch. You thought Firefox was bad before, just you wait when it gets deeply integrated into Mint just like Edge is on Windows. We WILL get ads in Mint, 100%. Karma is indeed a bitch, since absolutely no one on the planet is forced to use or tied to services by either Mint or Mozilla, so the “freedom” will bite them in the kazoo pretty bad. Just as well, both have overstayed their welcome, by turning their backs on their fans that actually put them where they are now. In 2022 no one in their right mind in linux-land will use Mintzilla for anything. Who saw THIS coming 10 years ago?

  17. Pedro said on January 11, 2022 at 11:43 am

    Great news for both! If this led to Mint reintroducing Mint KDE, it would be great.

  18. Neutrino said on January 11, 2022 at 10:38 am

    In this world, “free and open” is but an advertisement. And a bait.
    So much for all the “decentralized” BS mantras. It’s just a matter of time for those “freedom fighters” to sell out. Everything has a price, don’t forget that!

    But maybe you’re thinking: that’s just Mint, the others will never do that.

    Just consider the “members” (read: sponsors) of the so-called “Linux Foundation”:
    BlackRock, Google, and Microsoft to name a few.

    Now go to your FF and search Google for FOSS…

    1. MdN said on January 11, 2022 at 1:21 pm

      The “sponsors” all depend on Linux. Google is running on it entirely. Of course they will provide developers, money and contributions so that their stuff works correctly. Or – they get left behind. So, if they want money, they have to play nice.

      Check out contributors to the Linux kernel – IBM, Samsung, Google, Huawei, AMD, Nvidia, Red Hat (which provides – paid – education to the NSA guys which will probably scare you) etc. Linux is not something developed by amateurs underground.

      As for freedom, no one will hold your hand and give it to you. You have to do something yourself – settings and choices are all yours. With Linux it’s easier if that’s what you want. In Linux “freedom” means you can inspect and edit and re-use the code. As a curiosity, North Korean Red Star OS uses KDE – nothing “free” about it, and they certainly don’t contribute. But they are free to use it.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on January 11, 2022 at 6:07 pm

        @MdN: setting Google Search as a default is a smart move because a lot of people won’t bother to change it, thinking they cannot live without GS.

        So, Mint took the freedom to impose this on users, while Google takes the freedom to collect info about the users and sell it on.

      2. JoSi said on January 15, 2022 at 11:40 am

        How interesting language can be. How ‘took the liberty’ means an overreach of one’s freedom over another’s. So I interpret ‘took the freedom’ as pointing to it not being that, but the commercial (free will) choice.

      3. Neutrino said on January 11, 2022 at 2:54 pm

        I don’t think you get what “freedom” actually is. And maybe that’s why you’ve misunderstood me.
        Freedom is an illusion, a bumper sticker, a tiny drop of dopamine for the slave mind to get through the day – just like alcohol. People who “do something” for freedom are already slaves.
        So, what we’re talking about here is just the digital expression of it. The illusion that you need to have a certain software, which then to give you the “tools” to get free. And all that is a lie – a lie that the slave mind repeats to itself for the reasons I mentioned above. People think that what enslaves you is out there, and then instinctively look for freedom in the same place. Like a hooked fish that holds the fishing rod, but hates the world for it.
        And that’s why all that talk about software is ridiculous. Every time I read FOSS or “free” this, or “free” that, I laugh. Because I know that in the world’s digital, or otherwise history, tyranny would always come in a package with “freedom” stickers on it.

      4. JoSi said on January 15, 2022 at 11:47 am

        I’m interested in what one with your mindset uses and does, for safety, but also for (or instead of?) ‘privacy’. ISP DNS and vanilla Windows or full VPN-onion-PGP-BSD, or indeed a slightly schitz-mix? (no offence innuended)

  19. microfix said on January 11, 2022 at 10:04 am

    I’ve always removed linux distro default browsers and email clients post OS installation in favour of the PPA versions, irrespective of whether it’s Linux Mint or anything else. That approach has worked flawlessly here over many years.

    1. Anonymous said on January 11, 2022 at 2:03 pm

      I like to use PPAs as well, but I have found that in some cases, the administrators of the PPA start with big promises, and after an interval, just drop the PPA, leaving me and others scrambling to find another, or continue to use an outdated version. Sometimes, I have had to revert to a snap to keep current.

  20. allen said on January 11, 2022 at 9:21 am

    So, basically I can continue to not use Firefox and Thunderbird on Linux Mint, and it won’t affect me at all. OK, good deal.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 11, 2022 at 10:19 am

      @allen: what do you use instead of Thunderbird?

      1. TelV said on April 15, 2022 at 4:39 pm

        Good alternative to Thunderbird is Tutanota which includes a desktop client and mobile version for both Android and IOS.

        All free by the way, but there’s also a premium version available for just €1/$1 a month billed annually.

      2. Murdock2525 said on January 23, 2022 at 10:32 pm

        Mailspring, of course

      3. allen said on January 14, 2022 at 5:16 pm

        It’s been a long while since I bothered with any locally-installed clients at all. I just access email via browser. Thunderbird was the last one I used regularly, but that was a long while ago.

    2. Anonymous said on January 11, 2022 at 9:45 am

      What’s the point of commenting about something if you don’t even use it in the first place and never wanted to?

      1. allen said on January 14, 2022 at 5:10 pm

        I’m suggesting that this partnership has no real effect on users as a whole (not just me).

  21. Klaas Vaak said on January 11, 2022 at 8:47 am

    Yes, the benefits to both organizations are obvious. What is also obvious, at least to me, is that it opens the door to the king of telemetry, snooping, spying, censorship: Google.

    FF will not be the Mint version anymore but the out-of-the-box version, with the reinserted telemetry with each update. And now Google Search is introduced as a default search engine too. Absolutely great.

    Linux for the computer end user is in no small part about freedom. Huh? Freedom and censorship in 1 and the same distro is an oxymoron.

    I have Mint 19 on one of my laptops and will not upgrade to 20.3. Instead, I will uninstall it and install a different distro.
    Goodbye Linux Mint.

    1. LipoSuction3 said on March 18, 2022 at 5:35 am

      I totally 100% unconditionally, unquestionably, sadistically, irreversibly, agree with Klass Vaak.

      I am doing exactly the same.

      One more thing: Make it a loud voval promise to the idiotic Mint management team that we will never come back to Mint, even if they reverse course. That is the most effective method for Mint developers to push their foolish management and for all similar entities that follow the sickening self-destructive mentallity of the Mozilla management.

    2. what-a-joke-of-a-poster said on January 11, 2022 at 9:48 am

      Stop being a drama queen. The only difference between stock Fx and Mint Fx was a shittier default search and home page and having to wait for security patches much longer, to the point where the first I did anyway was remove it and replace with the stock version.

      1. wolfkin said on January 12, 2022 at 5:36 am


        Here here.

      2. Rex said on January 14, 2022 at 4:11 am

        Where where?

  22. Sol Shine said on January 11, 2022 at 8:24 am

    I think in time Mozilla may ‘force’ Linux Mint to ship Firefox as a Canonical snap package.
    Mozilla is already working with Canonical do do this on Ubuntu.

    1. Murdock2525 said on January 23, 2022 at 10:31 pm

      ‘ziller is garbagewarez.
      I’d focus on Brave and Mailspring

    2. crapsnap said on January 13, 2022 at 1:08 pm

      Firefox updates in snap package comes very quick, one knows it when the browsing session just crashes out of the blue…
      It’s also full of small annoying bugs, it never remember last saving folder for instance, instead it creates a new random folder.

      Funny thing it always resets services.sync.engine.creditcards.available to true although one have them services.sync* all disables.

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