back to article Ubuntu Firefox shuns Google for Yahoo! search

The next release of Ubuntu will scrap Google as the default search engine on its Firefox browser in favor of Yahoo!, thanks to a new revenue-sharing deal between Yahoo! and commercial Ubuntu backer Canonical. With regulators set to approve Yahoo!'s search pact with Microsoft, this means that Redmond will power the future of …


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  1. mlo0352

    Free Software

    I see this as wrong. Linux is about freedom. Linux is about giving the best experience, and using the best tools for every job. If they are going to use Yahoo, they are going to make the main choice a second rate one. Google is better. Period.

    Oh, and 90% of people are going change it to google anyways. So FAIL.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Ubuntu is "free" software (for a given value of "Free")

      Oh, Sure, you can get it for zero expenditure but Canonical have to make money to continue developing the distribution. Therefore if Yahoo! is offering the best deal they will use them. It's nothing personal, it's just (Sorry FOSS Fans) good BUSINESS

      Unless you compile your own Kernel and write your own drivers from scratch the software you are using isn't "free" it just didn't cost you anything at the time you installed it. The distributor still needs funds from somewhere to keep delveloping this. It might be in the form of a PayPal donate button for a really smal distro or it might be Advertising driven but be sure, Canonical isn't a group of sandal wearing benevolent beardies (Ok, they probably are), they still need to make money to continue development

    2. Rob Dobs

      Disaggree with your conclusion

      Everything you said is true, but why the fail?

      Linux = Freedom

      Google is better

      90% of people are going to change it

      Sounds like Ubuntu gets money to continue to provide their FREE browser,

      and their users have the freedom to keep using Google, and M$ gets to foot the whole bill.

      Sounds like a big win for the Linux community, but a loss for Google not offering more money.

      Bing will get a decent bump in their numbers from this.

      Okay so maybe Google is better is true, but not so absolute these days, my Google searches take longer each day it seems. I really don't think the 10% or so of users who won't change this will be so dis serviced.

      I also don't think re-signing with Google is a good idea, they aren't too different from Microsoft these days, just their motto seems to be embrace and extinguish, but do it with a smile.

      I expect that like other situation Google will pull the rug out from under Ubuntu the day they are ready to release their own OS (and yes just like MS they will not be able to stop their creep into other markets). I really see Google more like a Heroin dealer these days, they give you enough free to get you hooked and reliant, and then they find the ways to make you pay for whay you have to have. Everyone using google E-mail will be sorry when google knows owns all of their corporate IP, and keeps beating them to opportunities. Google doesn't even have to go criminal to do such a thing. Rather than reading a CEO's email to find out insider information they can just use their analytics.

      Try this scenario: Buzz technology "FOO" hits the tech scene. It would take Google days or hours to find out which sites people are talking about in reference to :"FOO". Google could use analytics of key words (anonymously of course ;-) in E-mails, and combine this with search queries. Google can easily and quickly identify the top two vendors in the field, and start buying one out. Or they can invest in Vendor A, and short sell Vendor B. There are countless ways they CAN abuse this information, and no information on record to show they won't.

      And with the way Google is cross-referencing and building data pools on everyone, I for one only use them when necessary. I'm glad to see they will collect a little less information form linux users now.

    3. markp 1


      Doubt it. The amount of unused and sometimes competing search bars (still don't really know what the point is) I see wedged in various people's browsers that got there when some kind of update ran and they couldn't even be arsed to untick the "also install?" button suggests they'll just see "search" and type in there.

      I do often change the IE one from Live Search to google, but I am geeky like that and haven't had cause to since bing came along. Might not bother in future.

  2. Doug 3

    divide and conquer

    Ubuntu is not a very large threat to Microsoft but Google no only has the money to back some impressive non Microsoft hardware and software but is even making them look more worthless every day( ie web apps not desktop apps ). So if cutting down Google by purchasing eyes away from them and at the same time reducing funding for the Mozilla project helps Ubuntu a tiny bit, it is a non issue for Microsoft because of what they gain from it. They can deal with Ubuntu years from now if they need to. After all, Microsofts patented .Net stuff is being shipped via Mono so no only can they just drop the funding deal Yahoo search provides, they can drop the IP bomb too.

    Microsoft is going after Google using the technique of death by 1000 cuts. And isn't this what they used to win the first browser war?

    The grenade because with Microsoft, things always blow up in your face.

  3. criscros

    What on Earth...

    ...are they thinking??

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Its just an initial preference....

      You can change it to Google, Scroogle, Bing, Ask or whatever you fancy... BUT some people wont change it and those few while cause some extra coins to be thrown at the Ubuntu overlords.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Oh yeah

        And change your default home page at the same time. The idiots are taking a page out of the manual from M$. Why the hell would the home page (about:blank forever) in any way depend on which of the eight currently installed search engines I last used? Way to go...

    2. Ivan Slavkov

      Same thing I am thinking

      After the latest several rounds of tweaks to Google search and ad machine the revenue on my websites has dropped 10 times.

      I was not making any real money on them anyway and I keep it as a barometer so I can see what's going on and use the data from time to time in my day job. The drop was while they still generate roughly the same amount of impressions as before. So the change is only in pay per impression for pics and in click-through rates.

      If you depend on this money the way Canonical, KDE and Mozilla do, you definitely start thinking. So this does not surprise me in the slightest.

  4. Craig 2

    Re: Free Software

    It does seem that they are not choosing the best option, just so they can pocket some (extra) cash. It begs the question: What other functionality compromises could they be persuaded to take if you threw enough cash at them?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    If 10.4 will be "Lucid Lynx"..

    Will the next one after that, 10.10, be "Mortified Microsoft"?

    1. markp 1
      Gates Horns

      they missed a trick there

      huh ... I read that as "Lucified Linux" first time round. appropriate?

  6. Petey
    Paris Hilton

    Thanks Microsoft

    ... for persuading me to dump ubuntu and go back to my Debian roots instead.

    I don't want Microsoft NEAR my distro.

    Paris because she wants everyone to stick a Yahoo! in her box too.

    1. Ben Ruset

      Re: Thanks Microsoft

      Do you strip out the 20k lines of Microsoft code included in the Linux kernel for Hyper-V support, too?

      1. Petey
        Gates Horns

        Hardly affecting the commercial side

        The Linux kernel is fairly bloated anyway because of the support for virtually everything on the market, no pun intended.

        Given that Ubuntu is essentially Debian for those who aren't comfortable with complete root access, 99% of users won't be aware that there is hypervisor support nor does it act as an active revenue stream for Microsoft.

        The branding involved when Yahoo is the default search IS a revenue source.

        That's what I do not agree with.

      2. Rob Dobs


        No I haven't, but I have to say this does sound like a really good idea :-)

        I don't trust M$.

        Can anyone vouch that there is not a trojan weakness, or backdoor of some time burried in those 20k lines?

        Yeah, I know probably not, but rather than take the time to check or verify myself, I would think it easier to rip it out.

        On that note. How safe is Open Source Software really?

        Can anyone take the time to review all of the code included?

        How hard would it be to inject a rootkit into a 3rd party app?

        Does Ubuntu (or anyone) install package after package, and set the machine up on a DPI sniffer network, and monitor for days or months even to see what kind of communications it burps out to the network on its own?, or what it may be sitting listening for.

    2. Rattus Rattus

      I've been really happy with Ubuntu

      for quite a while now, but this is another in a string of choices made by Canonical that's getting me thinking the same. Next upgrade, I might just dump Ubuntu and install Debian again.

  7. The BigYin


    MS have been at the forefront of democratising IT and empowering people to leverage their hardware. If it wasn't for MS we'd be back with IBM and only six computers worldwide! MS "funding" Linux is just an extension of MS's drive to bring quality, affordable IT products to a world audience. MSs browser is goog enough for Google to take into markets like China, what more prrof do you want?

    [The above may be a pathetic attempt at irony, verging into sarcasm]

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could Ubuntu be the next Suse?

    Some are already sceptical to Ubuntu because of their strong preference for Mono-based applications over other alternatives, and now this. Maybe Ubuntu/Canonical is falling in the same trap as Suse/Novell. Many people have already ditched Suse because they disapprove of Novell's dealings with MS. There are several decent alternatives ready to take over Ubuntu's position.

  9. Eddy Ito

    Maniacal Monkeys

    Did these Yahoo!s ever think that I don't want my homepage to be the same as my default chrome search? Great, I've got search functionality built into the chrome / fascia, why would I want my homepage to change to one with the same search functionality? Please, please, please oh crafty canonical coders, have a heart and don't hack my homepage!

    1. Steven Raith

      Standard home page at the moment?

      It's a customised Google page. How is this different to what the Yahoo page will be?

      Also, Tools, Preferences, set homepage.

      Honestly, other than dribbling fucktards banging on about the [incredibly loose and vague] Microsoft entanglement, I can't see a practical downside to this wee change, and if it shores up the coffers of Canonical [who have done a lot to help expand the popularity, or perhaps more accurately, the accessability of Linux] then I don't see what the problem is.

      Have I missed something?

      I might switch from Ubuntu to Debian though, but that's only because I feel I have outgrown Ubuntu and fancy using what's traditionally seen as a more 'proper' distro. I'm too pussy to touch Slack though, arf.

      Steven R

  10. mikebartnz

    @Eddy Ito

    Well said. I can't think of anything so brainless as having the homepage the same as the default search.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess

      it's an attempt to do by 'stealth' what they don't think they would get away with, i.e. including a Yahoo! toolbar?

  11. John F***ing Stepp

    My homepage is on my computer.

    Because, well, the homepage can be used to harvest browsing history.

    (At least I could so I must assume that anyone else could.)

    'cause there are a lot of people smarter than me on the internet.

  12. Tim Bates
    Thumb Down

    Mixed thoughts

    My thoughts go something like:


    Not too bad




    Maybe time to switch back to Debian

  13. Jack 4

    Please, please...

    ...please tell me that this is April first.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Commenters Fail...

    I don't know if it's dawned on anyone but this company is a business, one which I believe has thus far failed to make any money... Making a business out of giving software away is a tough battle.

    If this brings money into them, then fair play to them. It's not like it's difficult to change the homepage to what ever you want.

    Making money means they can continue to improve the product and employ people. Is that a hard concept to grasp?

  15. SynnerCal
    Thumb Down

    What's the big deal?

    Seriously, I can't see what the big deal is - as "lee_cow" points out, the settings that are put in are only defaults, and as such very easy to change. E.g. the 8.04/64 that I'm using at the moment defaults to a local website and Bing as the search (don't laugh - but it suits what I need better than Google at the moment).

    Second "meh" - Microsoft partially funding Yahoo, Yahoo funding Canonical, so in effect MS funding Canonical. Big effing deal, and it makes me laugh to see all the bozos busy scanning the skies for the MS black helicopters. It's not like Shuttleworth and co are talking to Ballmer. I'll switch from Ubuntu when it's not the best fit for what I need, and then I'll probably go to Fedora, CentOS, or maybe 'raw' Debian - all pretty good distro's.

    Personally I was expecting a browser-related change like this, but was expecting Mozilla to do the switch away from Google.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu - falling apart before our very eyes ...

    sorry, but if Ubuntu is aiming to be a grown-up desktop system it needs to grow up ... forget tinkering round the edges, what about the real stuff ... fixing that ****ing mouse bug that is well reported, and making the out-the-box version more useful with a full set of codecs, repositories, and drivers[1]

    [1] comes without Flash, Java, and MP4 codecs ... I *know* the "philosophy" behind this, but it's a PITA.

  17. Lu

    doesn't bother me

    I use Opera.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Thank you.

      I always wondered who it was.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Every new Ubuntu release lately brings me something else to change back upon installation.

    Yahoo! back to Google

    Ehaterber it's called back to Pidgin

    Evolution back to Thunderbird

  19. HansG
    Thumb Down

    @Mr ChriZ

    You beat me too it! Well said.

    Comments here also make this story sound like a big deal, which, well, it really isn't!

  20. TheMD

    Ubuntu Business

    Ubuntu is a business built on OSS - doing this sort of thing goes so far against the spirit of that that it is laughable. They loose all credibility - for ever.

    The primary reason most people even bother experimenting with Ubuntu is the ethical aspect - which has just gone completely out the window.

    I can change the search provider on IE too.

  21. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Whining maggots!

    Bloody Linux people, bang on about getting some attention, then as soon as they get a chance at some, they're still sodding whining!

    It's just a browser setting, they haven't ripped out the kernel and put the base O/S on Win32/64 for flips sake! Alright so it may be the beginning of the end, but let's cross that bridge when come to it, eh?

    I use Ubuntu as my main desktop to work on very critical systems, 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it damn good. To stay good costs money and Mr Shuttleworth is not worth millions by simply giving it away. He's a businessman he needs to ensure his business can keep going, if that means getting some new sponsorship, so be it!

    Oh look up there, the sky is still up and the sun is still out ( your region may vary on that one! ) and the earth is still back to moaning about this naff, new thing from Apple!!!

    1. Jeremy 8

      Yeah, those bloody Linux people!

      Yeah, its just one little browser setting. Tomboy is only one little Mono dependent app, oh and F-Spot is just one more, nothing to worry about. Oh and Banshee is just one more, don't worry about those patent traps its nothing at all... Rick is just one little Microsoftie inside Canonical... nothing to be concerned about. Microsoft money always has strings attached but I'm sure its nothing to worry about. The black knight's arms and legs aren't off, its just a flesh wound... No, nothing to see here, these aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along...

      1. Old Marcus

        Paranoia Extreme

        To sound credible you need your tin fil hat on.

        Or just remember that the world isn't out to get you, you're not worth it.

  22. Jeremy 8

    History repeating...

    Well, now we have Rick Spencer at Canonical (he's from Microsoft in case nobody was paying attention), we have increasing Mono dependencies with F-Spot, Beagle, Tomboy, and most worryingly, Banshee which implements Mono bits that are definitely in Microsoft's zone of, "I can haz patentz monnies!". Rick likes that, so does Miguel and his pals in Redmond. Implementing changes that users have made very clear they don't want (have a look at polls on Ubuntu community forums). And we have Yahoo! which is now tied up with Microsoft like dominatrix porn... Microsoft money ALWAYS has strings attached.

    I told people many months ago to watch carefully for Microsoft strategic moves aimed at making Canonical either part of the Microsoft Borg cube or the subject of new 'death spiral' internal emails in Redmond. It looks increasingly to me like Canonical has chosen the path of assimilation.

    Seriously, hasn't ANYBODY learned ANYTHING from decades of Microsoft's unethical, and very often unlawful anti-competitive monopoly tactics? It certainly doesn't look like Canonical is paying attention... Time to play some Radiohead, specifically 2+2=5...

  23. Misoriented

    Focus, people

    Everyone, can we please get some perspective here? It's one meaningless detail out of thousands, in something that's given away for free. It's not worth the time it took to read the article. This has no bearing on real life. Here, I'll give you a real topic to get pissy about: Vegemite, the Aussie conspiracy. Discuss.

    Nothing to see, here, citizens. Return to your homes or places of business.

  24. Sceptical Bastard

    Yes, "What's the big deal?"

    Quote: "As is typical with Firefox, users will have the option of changing the search box default. This means they can change it back to Google"

    So not much of a story really?

    FWIW, I get better faster results from Google than I do from Yeehaw so I use Google. However, though I always found MSN/Live piss-poor, I now find Bing Maps (especially the aerial function) slicker and more to my taste than Google Maps. Horses for courses: use whatever works for you.

  25. James Hughes 1


    One tiny (and easily reversible) change to a browser, and immediately it's the end of Ubuntu as we know it (and even if it isn't - the number of people who are going to spend days changing to a different distro!! Ha Ha - enjoy that, boys. Or spend 10 seconds changing the default back)

    Jesus Christ people, get some perspective.

  26. Colin Critch

    No default search engine

    Ubuntu should have no default search engine! The user should have to choose on first launch. I for one have has second thoughts about Google as they seem to becoming too powerful. Don't get me wrong the Google search is very good ( but then there is the issue of what searching habit data you give them). I hate Bing too. I think the user should choose.

    With regards to making money; Canonical just don't do it! As soon as it starts turning commercial it will turn into a pile of poo. Just fund it out of Mark's pocket money.

    (kubuntu user, work and play)

  27. mhenriday

    Not a good move !

    I've been using - and propagating for Ubuntu for years - but this development gives me pause. The only adequate reason for changing the default search engine would be to improve users' search experience - is there anyone who seriously suggests that Yahoo offers a better search experience than Google ? It looks as if Jeremy Spencer is right - former (?) Microsoft employees now seem to be calling the shots at Canonical. Time to change to Arch ?...


  28. markp 1

    i know i made this sort of comparison in the other yahoo thread...

    but it does sort of smack of RBS throwing money at Kraft to nick Cadbury's.

    (um, except it'd be Kraft paying RBS to do the deed in this case... so maybe not :D)

  29. Anonymous Coward


    Providing a broken search engine as the default is just silly....its stupid little things like this which make it unworkable for the general consumer. Search and browser settings are probably more central to OS usability than any other app right now....and Joe Consumers won't have a clue how to switch back to Google, however easy you think it is.

  30. Steven Raith

    Jesus fucking christ

    I've read all these comments, and it appears there is a lack of a big picture.

    The link to MS is tenous *at best*.

    The changes to Firefox are restricted to the home page and the search engine - both changed with barely a couple of clicks.

    You'd think Shuttleworth had sold Canonical and Ubuntu lock, stock and barrel to Microsoft.

    If you want a fully open distro, then fuck off and install Debian. And feel free to suggest to your friends they try it, rather than Ubuntu, where they'll last five minutes before going back to Windows and telling all their mates that "linux is too hard/shit/doesn't play films" and all the usual, old problems.

    Even better, roll your own distro with a different search engine, browser, etc.

    I'd *much* rather have wider adoption and exposure for the Linux and Open source ecosystem than get caught up in this frankly embarrassing debate about detail changes to FF search and homepage details - people like you are the reason that people think Linux is for tragic, lonely geeks - something that Canonical/Ubuntu have been trying [with some degree of success itmust be said] for the last few years to push back.

    Seriously, get a grip, and some fucking perspective - the open source community has far, far bigger problems worth worrying about than this.

    Steven R

  31. wsm

    Strange, but not unexpected

    That Ubuntu would step on the search provider deal that provides Firefox with 80% of its income is typical of somewhat open-source companies trying to profit from "relationships." Even though easily reversed, the Google default has been lucrative for Firefox, but now Canonical expects to benefit from the faltering Yahoo?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Ubuntu vs Mac

    Having used Windows for donkeys years then dabbling in Redhat, Suse and then Ubuntu for the last few years I was blow out of the water when I bought my first Mac. Mac and Linux have a similar foundation but boy does Linux look like a cobbled together mess compared to OS X.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      In what way would that be OSX is based on the work of BSD (distinctly closer to Unix than GNU/linux) and why was it chosen?

      1) the apps are tightly ported to the hardware unlike linux (unless you build not package)

      2) the BSD licence lets you do what you like with it without having to make the code changes freely accessible unlike the likes of GPL2.

      This is why Jobs went with BSD and not GNU/Linux. Not necessarily any better just different

  33. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Steven R

    Oh, and what's so wrong about being a tragic lonely geek? ;)

  34. cuna

    Don't worry

    No doubt Goobuntu will come along, where Google is the default search engine ;)

  35. M Gale

    Grumpy, Mikebartnz: Agreed.

    So.. what if my browser's default home page is or similar?

    Bloody "clever" software is what's wrong half the time. Just make it useful, please.

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