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Ubuntu Moves To Yahoo For Default Firefox Search 370

An anonymous reader writes "Starting in Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx release, Firefox's default search engine will be switched from Google to Yahoo. The switch was made after Canonical 'negotiated a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo.' Google will still be available as a choice. Since Yahoo search is now powered by Microsoft's Bing, this would seem to mean that Microsoft will be paying people for using Ubuntu."
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Ubuntu Moves To Yahoo For Default Firefox Search

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  • Doesn't matter (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 )

    It only takes a couple of clicks to change it to a different engine. Hopefully they won't do anything cute and change it back everytime I upgrade (I'm looking at you Microsoft).

    • Re:Doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

      by mejogid ( 1575619 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:31AM (#30916212)
      All they're doing is changing the system defaults - your user profile will remain exactly. It gives them the potential for a positive cash flow and the only cost is that people who need their Google will have to add 2 seconds to their system set-up process. I'm tempted to go Yahoo anyway due to their better privacy policies, and if doing so helps Canonical then that's pretty tempting. It's good to see a couple of underdogs team up like this, even if Yahoo is semi-backed by MS.
      • Simply use https://ixquick.com/ [ixquick.com] since it searches Yahoo! and many search engines. It has no logs, no IP, nothing! In this way, you can use your precious Yahoo! while truly being protected.
        • Where's the catch?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Per Wigren ( 5315 )
            They show you ads unless you are running adblock.
          • by Bragador ( 1036480 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:40AM (#30917090)

            As of yet, none.


            European Privacy Seal: On July 14th 2008 Ixquick received the first European Privacy Seal from European Data Protection Supervisor Mr. Peter Hustinx. The Seal officially confirms the privacy promises we make to our users. It makes Ixquick the first and only EU-approved search engine. Both EU Commissioner Viviane Reding and Dr.Thilo Weichert, German Privacy Commissioner complemented Ixquick on its privacy achievements.

            Certified Secure, a leading Certification Authority, has certified Ixquick's Privacy procedures. The CS Privacy Certificate has been awarded after an extensive audit.

            Ixquick has been registered with the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) under number M 1346973. This Authority supervises the fair and lawful use and security of your personal data, to ensure your privacy today and in the future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jvillain ( 546827 )

        What they are doing is pushing aside a company that has done huge things to support Linux and open source in general in favour of a company that is all about closed proprietary formats and killing off Linux. How long till they start to take the money to force Silverlight down your throat as well?

        Of course you aren't ever allowed to say any thing wrong about Ubuntu or Canonical after all the times they have virtually claimed to have invented Linux from scratch.

    • That's literally a couple of clicks, ie. two. On Ars Technica the comment thread was full of nerd rage about a change that takes a single second to undo. Even if they did change it on every upgrade it wouldn't be a big deal (though annoying).

      Note that the engine WILL change to Yahoo when you upgrade to 10.04 IF you are currently using Google, ie. if you are using the 10.04 default provider. In that case it will upgrade from one default to the next default. Once you are using a custom search provider, it sup

      • I'm nerd raging about all the people who don't have the technical prowess or common sense to not use Bing. Not the people like me who can change it.
        • I don't know; if I had more common sense, I'd probably switch to anything BUT Google since they know decidedly too much about me.

          • Re:Doesn't matter (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Useful Wheat ( 1488675 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @11:21AM (#30917698)

            The OP has this backwards. The money microsoft is paying for this service doesn't come from thin air. They get paid for each and every search thanks to advertisements. What the OP really should of said is, "Ubuntu users provide revenue to Microsoft."

            That's right, you're now supporting microsoft by choosing to not use windows, or internet explorer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by duguk ( 589689 )

        about a change that takes a single second to undo

        There's around 8 million Ubuntu users [internetnews.com]. Google has approximately 72.1% (vs 17% for Bing) [blogspot.com]

        This means 5,768,000 users will have to change their setting, meaning nearly TWO MONTHS (66.8 days) of lost time overall.

        The old way would mean about 15 days of lost time

        • You're assuming that everyone who uses Ubuntu will switch it back to Google.

          I personally continue to use Google for things but mostly out of habit. I'm very impressed with a lot of the things Bing is doing though especially the new recipe search they unveiled and I bet a lot of other used don't care either way.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by moonbender ( 547943 )

          There'll be a lot less Ubuntu users if Canonical doesn't find a way to make money. Besides, there are many, many, many ways to optimise a default Ubuntu install in order to safe users one second. Shaving off a quarter second from the boot time will easily offset the time to change the search engine.

      • by tyrione ( 134248 )

        That's literally a couple of clicks, ie. two. On Ars Technica the comment thread was full of nerd rage about a change that takes a single second to undo. Even if they did change it on every upgrade it wouldn't be a big deal (though annoying).

        Note that the engine WILL change to Yahoo when you upgrade to 10.04 IF you are currently using Google, ie. if you are using the 10.04 default provider. In that case it will upgrade from one default to the next default. Once you are using a custom search provider, it supposedly won't touch it later.

        How technically savvy can these nerds be if they are up in arms with this change?

    • So will this be enough of a change for Mozilla to revoke Ubuntu from using the name Firefox like they did to Debian?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by natehoy ( 1608657 )

        A change in the default from one of the supported search engines to another of the supported search engines?

        This isn't a material change to Firefox at all. It's a change to one of the many defaults.

        This is actually less invasive than changing the home page to Ubuntu's landing site, or adding all the Ubuntu shortcuts to the bookmarks toolbar. And Firefox has not, to my knowledge, said "boo" about either of those.

  • Wow!! Amazing.. just the very thought! Long may it continue...

    • by u38cg ( 607297 )
      Sadly, it's nonsense. Microsoft are providing a service to Yahoo, which Yahoo are paying for. Yahoo are also paying for Yahoo to be the default in Ubuntu. In short, no money is flowing from Microsoft to Ubuntu.
  • Great gauge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:21AM (#30916112)
    Seems like a decent way for MS to track Ubuntu's growth.
  • Delicious! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by headkase ( 533448 )
    Microsoft paying when people use Ubuntu! Oooooh, my morning just became deliciously enriched. *Thank you* slashdot, these are the moments I know why I come here! =D
  • Question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mewsenews ( 251487 )

    Does this affect the Ubuntu - Firefox deal? Debian's version of Firefox is named Iceweasel because Debian legal felt that the Firefox branding was too encumbered to users wishing to redistribute, but Ubuntu reached some sort of compromise that allowed them to keep the Firefox branding.

    Will screwing with Firefox's default search affect Ubuntu's relationship with Firefox? I'm expecting "no" but wondering if anyone is able to explain why.

    • Well amongst several things. Yahoo/Microsoft is no more or less open source than Google. So the change should um make a total of "0" difference...
    • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NorbrookC ( 674063 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:39AM (#30916304) Journal

      I doubt it. Firefox has always given users the ability to change the default search engine. While Google was paying Mozilla to make Google the default search on those products, it doesn't necessarily affect other deals made.

      This is interesting, but I don't think it's all that big a problem. Although it's fun to get all paranoid about Microsoft - with some justification - I don't see this as an attempt to "take over" Ubuntu.

    • Firefox has a revenue sharing deal with Google. However, I don't know if the searches generated by an Ubuntu Firefox were part of this deal, since Ubuntu ALSO has one (which is now being replaced) and a Google search from the Ubuntu Firefox contains an URL parameter "rls=com.ubuntu:en-US:official." If Mozilla didn't get any money from Ubuntu searches in the first place, I don't see why this would affect anything.

      I think the Debian/Iceweasel thing was a Debian issue rather than a Mozilla issue; they could ha

      • I think the Debian/Iceweasel thing was a Debian issue rather than a Mozilla issue; they could have had the Firefox name,
        My understanding is they could but only if they

        1: took the firefox branding (which was an issue due to the fact it's not available under a free license)
        2: gave mozilla veto power on patches (including security updates)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by socsoc ( 1116769 )
      I'm confused. I thought it was named Iceweasel because Mozilla told Debian that they couldn't redistribute a non-official binary and use the logo and name it Firefox.
      • Re:Question (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mejogid ( 1575619 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:52AM (#30916462)
        Canonical brokered a compromise with Mozilla, something about authorising their patchset, whereby they were also allowed to keep the branding. However, if a user makes further changes to Firefox and distributes it they would have to remove the branding. These terms were unacceptable to Debian but Canonical decided it was worth it to draw new users with the Firefox brand.
        • by socsoc ( 1116769 )
          Ah, thank you sir.
        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Almost right, but also that Debian themselves could not update a Firefox-branded browser without getting permission from Mozilla first. I think particularly the security team had a problem with that.

      • Re:Question (Score:5, Funny)

        by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @10:18AM (#30916784) Homepage

        Not quite. It was actually more like this:

        • Mozilla: Hey, dudes, all you have to do is to ask "Can we use your trademarks on our modified distribution? [mozilla.org]. It'll totally won't be a problem for you guys, we're cool with you. Love your work!
        • Debianz: Graaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
        • Mozilla: Errr....?

        You know, just so we're clear.

        • Did you actually read the mailing list threads in question?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Minwee ( 522556 )

          Then again, it may have gone something like this:

          • Mozilla: Listen carefully, Debian. Mozilla controls everything it rests its eyes upon. It holds a trademark so massive it shakes the ground with its registration, so vast it drinks the coke machine dry. All the God-King Mozilla requires is this: a simple offering of signing an agreement. A token of Debian's submission to the trademark on the Firefox name.
          • Debian: Submission. Well, that's a bit of a problem. See, rumor has it that signing an agreement
        • Re:Question (Score:5, Informative)

          by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @12:09PM (#30918480) Homepage Journal

          Funny, but for anyone who wants to really understand the issue, it's much more nuanced and more sensible than that.

          Mozilla told Debian that Debian could not distributed modified versions of Firefox with the Mozilla trademarked names and images. Debian developers habitually patch upstream software in various ways to make it fit into the Debian system better, to fix bugs, etc. One solution would have been for Debian to ship only the exact versions released by Mozilla. Another solution would have been for Debian to get Mozilla to approve each modified version that Debian wanted to release. A pain, but doable.

          However, the discussion highlighted another, deeper problem: If Debian can't modify FF and redistribute the result without infringing on Mozilla's trademarks, that means neither can anyone else. Under Debian's Free Software guidelines, it must be possible for users of Debian to modify and redistribute software at will, [i]without[/i] needing to acquire any additional permissions, or else the software is non-free. That meant that FF is non-free software.

          That's not a huge problem; Debian distributes lots of non-free software. So a solution to the problem might have been to get Mozilla's permission to distribute the modifications, and then put FF in the non-free repository. Per the Debian Social Contract, however, non-free software cannot be essential to the operation of the system. So FF couldn't be the default browser on the system.

          But Debian [i]wanted[/i] FF to be the default browser, and so did Mozilla. It's a fine browser, perhaps even the best around, free, non-free or proprietary. And Debian really didn't have another good option -- Seamonkey is in the same boat, Dillo sucked, Konqueror is tied to KDE, etc.

          Debian's other option, obviously, was to simply ignore their own rules, and ship non-free software as a core system component. That would have been a huge compromise to their principles, and would have opened up all sorts of questions about why *other* non-free software couldn't be in the base system as well. Big can of worms there.

          So, what Debian did was to recognize that it was only the trademarked names and artwork which were non-free. The code was under the MPL, which is a Free Software license. Their best option, then, was to distributed the code without the trademarks. Iceweasel, Icedove, etc. are Free Software, per Debian's guidelines, but they have all the functionality of the Mozilla products, and are fully compatible with them.

          It wasn't a perfect solution, but it was the best available.

    • iirc Debian changed the name and icon of firefox to iceweasel, because Mozilla told people to not change the icon when redistributing altered versions... Debian is quite strict about free software and that demand violates the 4 essential freedoms (even if it violates them only peripherally), so they forked firefox...

      otoh they keep up with the versions - it seems they fork every version again or so - i don't know...
      • Debian has had realtively large patchsets for mozilla software for a long time for various reasons. The branding changes are just one more relatively trivial change to forward port (and don't forget that there would have been branding changes before since the combination of firefox name and free icons wasn't supported by the standard build process).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      Well Debian goal is to be Pure GNU at all costs even if it effects the end user. That is why they made the Iceweasel name. As they feel because the trademark firefox name makes it unpure.

      Ubutnu is a bit lax on this and its goal is to be more focused on its users, and less on being Pure... Hence it allows you to install off of apt the "Non-Free" code, after giving a scary lecture to make people who say yes feel like evil criminals. But in terms of Firefox they are ok with using the trademark. Changing the

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by swillden ( 191260 )

        Well Debian goal is to be Pure GNU at all costs even if it effects the end user. That is why they made the Iceweasel name. As they feel because the trademark firefox name makes it unpure.

        More precisely, Debian's goal is that their core system, including the desktop and the default applications, should be Free Software (which is not the same as GNU software).

        Mozilla's enforcement of trademarks on the Firefox name and artwork make the software non-free, in the sense that it is not legal for anyone to modify and redistribute the software at will. Anyone who wants to distribute unmodified copies of FF may do so. Anyone who wants to distribute modified versions must get permission from Mozil

  • Semantics (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bicx ( 1042846 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:26AM (#30916156)
    So by "revenue sharing," this guy really means "Yahoo! is shoveling over the cash for a minor feature change on Ubuntu."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

      Or alternately, "selling access to our user base to a corporation". I can guarantee you that's how Yahoo management is thinking about it.

      Frankly, this was not what I signed up for when I used Ubuntu to create a largely MS-free environment at home. If need be, I'll roll my own desktop Linux to keep out of this sort of thing. I'm happy to donate time and cash to worthwhile projects, but not if they're going to turn around and get corporate sponsorship.

      • Re:Semantics (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mejogid ( 1575619 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:58AM (#30916530)

        Or you could make *two clicks* and change it back. This is a significant opportunity for Canonical to become profitable and could potentially see a minor, insignificant revenue increase for MS. If they were dealing directly with MS you could argue they're asking to be screwed, but with Bing/Windows on the one side and Google/Chrome OS/Android on the other Yahoo appears to be the least self-sabotaging search engine at the moment. Particularly with Chrome OS, Google is looking to make the desktop ecosystem on which Canonical depends an irrelevant commodity in the face of a closed, in-the-cloud system.

        If you'd rather use Google then take the two clicks to change it, but don't act as if you're making an ethical stance against corporatism. Google's end goal is you being locked into their webapps, just as MS' end goal is you being locked into their OS and apps.

        • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
          Yeah, Ubuntu has always been a "compromise" with the world of proprietary software and the "regular" software businesses. It accepted to make easy integration with proprietary drivers, with flash plugins, etc... This is one more little modification that will make them profitable. People have all the right to protest about this practice and switch to Debian.
          Ubuntu has no lock-ins. It provides an easy-to-use system at the cost of compromising certain principles. Everyone place his one's bar where he sees fit
        • millions of users wont change it back. some wont even know they can change it back.

          some people who see that guy use ubuntu in his house and get inspired will start using ubuntu, and wont change back.

          its about supporting philosophy. we are supporting free software, for freedom. software that becomes less free by getting entangled with determinedly anti freedom stance corporations are bad for us to support for future. it may be just the mono and yahoo/bing search change now, but it is just for now. if this is

  • by ausoleil ( 322752 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:29AM (#30916190) Homepage

    If someone thinks that Microsoft has changed their stripes, they are being foolish.

    In 1996, John Markoff said, "Rather than merely embrace and extend the Internet, the company's critics now fear, Microsoft intends to engulf it." Bing and putting Bing everywhere, including a major Linux distro is just a continuation of that strategy.

    In other words, this is just more of the same for a company trying to leverage the Internet and in their most grandiose scheme, somehow come to dominate it.

  • by v(*_*)vvvv ( 233078 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:34AM (#30916254)

    Products don't magically sell themselves and make their creators wealthy or even put bread on the table - the lesson of open source.

    But if the ultimate goal of the open source movement is to eventually overtake closed source software, this is damning evidence such a scenario will never happen. At the end of the day, closed source is funding much of the open source initiatives. One could say this also includes those of us working closed source jobs by day and open source projects by night.

  • Given the way they would have to track this, I suspect Ubuntu only gets money when you actually USE it.

    If you switch the search back to Google, Ubuntu won't get paid.

    If you don't, you have to actually use Bing.

    What a dilemma.

  • I've used Ubuntu for a few years now and always though it was great. Using a clearly inferior search engine as a default is pretty bogus. I guess I'll just go back to using Debian. Can't say I blame them though they need to make money somewhere.
    • I've used Ubuntu for a few years now and always though it was great. Using a clearly inferior search engine as a default is pretty bogus. I guess I'll just go back to using Debian. Can't say I blame them though they need to make money somewhere.

      So if I have this straight you think Ubuntu is great and now you're going to Debian because you're too lazy to switch the default search engine? Your nerd-fu is weak.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... Ubuntu's default browser is Lynx!

  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:46AM (#30916382) Journal

    Dear Friends; Please do not take this for a junk letter. Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later. Microsoft and Google are now the largest Internet companies and in an effort to make sure that Bing remains the most widely used internet search engine, Microsoft and Ubuntu are running an e-mail beta test.

    When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will track it (If you are a Ubuntu user) For a two weeks time period.

    For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check.

    I thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks after receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and withindays, I receive a check for $24,800.00. You need to respond before the beta testing is over. If anyone can affoard this, Bill gates is the man.

    It's all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many people as possible. You are bound to get at least $10,000.00. We're not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without getting a little something for our time. My brother's girlfriend got in on this a few months ago. When i went to visit him for the Baylor/UT game. She showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4,324.44 and was stamped "Paid in full"


  • All - I am writing to apprise you of two small but important changes coming to Lucid.
    I have asked the desktop team to start preparing
    these changes to make them available in Lucid as soon as reasonably
    possible. Probably on the order of weeks.

    Change #1 In Lucid, the desktop background will now feature Google AdSense.
    This will aid users in finding sites closely related to the personal information harvested from their home directory.

    Change #2
    Change #1 will be unoptional.

    I am pursuing this ch
  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan ( 757476 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:58AM (#30916528) Homepage Journal

    I've switched to using

    It's a meta search engine that focusses on privacy by not logging your IP address and your searches. On the technical side, it's nearly as good as the big name search engine I used previously.

    Here's a plugin for GNU IceCat / IceWeasel / Firefox: Ixquick [mozilla.org], or the https version [mozilla.org] (which I haven't tried, but I guess is the same to users).

  • Thank Goodness For (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shock1970 ( 1216162 )
    Tools -> Options -> Main -> Homepage
  • Am I the only one reading this and asking, "WTF is Canonical?" Neither TFS nor TFA give much of a clue here. Ubuntu's corporate overlord, maybe?
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @01:03PM (#30919328)

    Yep, they sure are, making money off of someone elses work ... thats the true spirit of OSS.

    Fortunately for Ubuntu, its entirely acceptable from Mozilla's standpoint, but it certainly qualifies them as fucking douche bags.

APL hackers do it in the quad.