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.

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?

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