More Proof Firefox is Bad

Often, the path toward tech freedom frustrates those who choose to follow it. Along the way, the traveler will find many pitfalls, surprises, shills, and frauds.

Today, one such frustration that arose for me was from one of Google’s most popular projects, Mozilla Firefox.

For years, Mozilla has been primarily funded by Google, and while it has pretended to compete with Chrome, its true function has been to stave off antitrust allegations against Chrome by being “another option.”

As one would expect from a Google project, Mozilla Firefox undermines freedom and privacy. For example, today, on a fully-free OS (PureOS) and a privacy and security-oriented phone (Librem 5), while using an “open source” browser (Firefox) I was served an AD based on typing into Firefox’s address bar. Funnily enough, my default search engine is not even Google, Amazon, or anything related to Firefox, but instead is Brave.

So somehow Mozilla (Google) thinks it is okay to analyze what I am typing into an address bar with Brave selected as the default search engine and to serve me ads at the same time based on that information. That is outrageous. If I wasn’t motivated before to stop using firefox, I certainly am now.

Sure, I can probably turn off these ads, but this abusive behavior has gone far enough.

We need better technology. We need technology built to respect our freedom and dignity, not technology built to abuse and exploit us.


You keep saying “Mozilla (Google)” and asserting that Mozilla is a Google project. Mozilla is not a Google project and Mozilla and Google are completely different corporations. Just because Google is Mozilla’s biggest source of revenue doesn’t mean that Google and Mozilla are the same or that Mozilla is Google’s project.

FYI: Approximately 80% of Mozilla’s revenue is from Google. This revenue is attributed to being the default search engine in Firefox.

Furthermore, “Mozilla” is really two corporations: The “Mozilla Corporation” and the “Mozilla Foundation”. The “Mozilla Corporation” is a subsidiary of the “Mozilla Foundation” and the “Mozilla Foundation” is a 501.c.3 (charitable non-profit) and all profits from the “Mozilla Corporation” are dedicated to the Mozilla project.

Personally, I trust a non-profit company to a far greater extent than I trust for-profit companies … like Purism … since their actions are not necessarily guided by profit. The Mozilla Foundation is guided by their “Mozilla Manifesto” ( Mozilla Manifesto - Wikipedia ):

  1. The internet is an integral part of modern life—a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
  2. The internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
  3. The internet must enrich the lives of individual human beings.
  4. Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.
  5. Individuals must have the ability to shape the internet and their own experiences on it.
  6. The effectiveness of the internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.
  7. Free and open source software promotes the development of the internet as a public resource.
  8. Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability and trust.
  9. Commercial involvement in the development of the internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical.
  10. Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.

I don’t find it outrageous. I don’t like the fact that the URL line is confused with the Search line. But given that it is, the browser is really the owner of what to do with what is typed there (go to a URL or hand it off to your search engine … or something else). IMO for search, you really should be searching from your engine’s home page. e.g. You should bookmark and go to to enter any search text. That’s just me. But that’s why I don’t find it outrageous.


It amazes me how people can look at the same facts and draw completely different conclusions. You say that Mozilla is 80% funded by Google, apparently in support of your assertion that Mozilla is not a Google project.

If I was paying 80% of the expenses for a project, I would feel justified calling it “a weirdnerd project”.


While using an “open source” browser on my own computer? That is a terrible principle to accept, in my opinion.


See also:

My stance:


I can’t duplicate that in FF or FF-ESR. Maybe it’s because I removed all those bad search engines in the Preferences page, or unchecked “Suggestions from Firefox” [and from “sponsors”], and limited search suggestions to my bookmarks.


On the other hand… Firefox Suggest can be turned off.


LibreWolf’s settings for “suggestions” are even better in this regard.


Sure, for now, Firefox provides a convenient option on the preferences page to turn this off, similar to how they used to provide a convenient option on the preferences page to turn off javascript, but they no longer do. That fact does not make this behavior acceptable.

If a company supposedly has a mission to promote digital rights, relying on a portion of people to not fight hard against that company’s own exploitative practices is disingenuous.

These ads are an anti-feature, and Mozilla’s (Google’s) inclusion of them in a supposedly free software is deplorable.


That’s what Opensource does like Abuse… I hate Opensource.

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If I was paying 80% of the expenses for a project, I would feel justified calling it “a weirdnerd project”.

Suppose your employer is the XYZ corporation and you had a private project called CoolProject, would we be justified in calling CoolProject an XYZ project? Just as you are not the same thing as your employer, Mozilla is not the same thing as Google.

Another example. Flatpak was a project done by Alex. Was Flatpak a Red Hat project? No.

If I was paying 80% of the expenses for a project, …

But that’s just not the case. Google is not paying for the project. Google is paying to have their search be the default search in Mozilla’s project. Do you really not understand the difference here???

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Yeah – it’s the URL and/or search box in the Firefox browser, so they get to decide what happens before they hand it off to your search choice. If you don’t like it, you can bring up and use the brave search box … at which point Brave is making the decisions.

Disagree. If you don’t like it, you can change the code or go to the search engine of your choice instead of having firefox pass of the search to your search engine.

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Firefox is under a Free license. Technically it is a Free license and a weak copyleft license. The MPL is not really too different from the GPLv2.


Despite your insulting tone, your arguments remain unconvincing. A human employee does not equal an organization.


Or as they say: he who pays the piper calls the tune. :musical_note:

Plus also this topic: Firefox search by default

There are so many different settings it is no wonder that we see different behaviour.


But you can still easily turn it off. For example, and again showing why firefox “owns” the URL bar … if you type “about:config” in the URL bar … you can edit/change just about any parameter. e.g. search on javascript and set javascript.enable to false. And if that’s too hard, you can run an extension like “noscript”. Your complaint, to me, sounds like something from an entitled user.

It’s not that hard.

It’s not Google, no matter how many times you insist. That’s a fact. I view your repetition of this as simple disinformation.

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This is the conundrum we live in though. No end-user will pay for a browser (yes SOME will but they’re a drop in the bucket). Aside from valiant efforts like Ladybird , it takes resources to develop and maintain a web browser (which is an operating system running on top of your OS, at this point).

Nevermind all the commercial shenanigans that unfortunately are part of the “browsing experience” – the regular end user will want to watch Netflix or Disney+ or whatever. Mozilla needs to negotiate or maintain this DRM ability (as unfortunate as that is).

So, they take money. Who’s paying right now? Google. The end users won’t pay enough. Nearly every attempt Mozilla has tried to make some money has fallen flat (and for good reasons!), so they are still stuck on the Google life support tether.

So what’s next? Who knows. I hope they (and we, collectively), figure it out…

This is not an excuse or endorsement of what is going on, btw. They are some observations about the state of the browser and the world. Things that have to be dealt with one way or another.


On my L5 (not daily driver) and on my PC with Debian, I’m using with success gnome web :wink:


If only it had remained the “URL” bar, the address bar. Who ever thought that it was a good idea to combine entering a URL with entering a search? I guess it could make sense on space-constrained UIs e.g. small screen. On a desktop / laptop not so much.

Of course, when you write the code, you own every single bar, button, …, widget.

For some definition of “easy”. Finding the right config parameter is not always easy. Finding documentation about what a relevant config parameter actually does is not always easy. Sometimes you can guess. Sometimes you make a mess.

I don’t think it has been established how much influence Google buys with its 80% share of the funding. What transparency is there on this question?

I’m wondering though … which value for this setting is the default?

Search suggestions are “off” for me and I don’t have a record that I turned them off but that could be procedural fail on my part. (I think the latter.)

As everyone here knows, one of Purism’s messages is about “the power of defaults”. As difficult or as easy as it may be to turn something off, a certain percentage of users will never make a change, for example because they don’t even know bad stuff is happening or don’t even know that bad stuff can be turned off - so they don’t reach the threshold of trying to find out how.

The default matters.


Yes, related:

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