Firefox snap adds "canonical" parameter to web searches

I’m using Ubuntu GNOME 20.04. When using the snap version of Firefox, the browser still adds the “canonical” parameter to web search URLs, as the deb version does. I understand that the deb was built by the distro maintainers, who are Canonical employees, and Ubuntu or Canonical has a deal with some search providers (maybe just DuckDuckGo ?). But the snap says “publisher == Mozilla”. Who built the snap ? What does “publisher” mean ? How did the “canonical” parameter get into there ? Thanks.

The Firefox snaps are built on Mozilla’s infrastructure using a snapcraft.yaml managed in the Mozilla source code repository.

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Okay, thanks for that. I see:


in which I guess means Mozilla is building with Canonical parameters.

Who does the actual building, Mozilla or Canonical ? Who “owns” the snap ? Is Mozilla aware that this tagging is happening ?

As James said, it’s built on Mozilla’s infra using a yaml in their repo, and the snap is owned by Mozilla.


If you a look at, there are two people that have committed to the configuration file; both are Mozilla employees. Seems pretty “aware” to me. Couldn’t find a definitive answer as to where the snap is built to double-check if it builds with the same source, but I guess not all build farms are public (or locatable through a quick web search) :slight_smile:

Edit: The linked distribution.ini is identical to the file in the current stable revision.

Edit 2: Revised section on committer affiliation per this post

Okay, maybe this is not an issue, but I find it surprising.

I predict at some point it will blow up into a PR issue for Canonical. Some Canonical-hating user of Arch or Debian or something will install the snap of Firefox, see that word “canonical” on their DuckDuckGo search queries, and whip up an internet mob against Canonical. “Why is my software from MOZILLA sending money to CANONICAL ???”

I’m not party to any commercial arrangements that may happen between Mozilla and Canonical, that’s way above my pay grade. We get flak for all manner of things. Getting flak for “earning money for doing work and providing services” seems an straightforward “PR issue” to counter, in my humble opinion. I’m sure we can cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

Given we’ve already established this is a Mozilla snap, maintained by their excellent community of developers. Maybe this is a question best addressed there, not here.

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I’m a Mozilla employee too. :).

The Snap build is a partner build that we are building on behalf of canonical, so it includes their attribution for search. It is primarily intended to be used on Ubuntu.

As far as Arch or Debian goes, they have their own versions of Firefox so I’m not sure why they would use the Snap.

We do provide a Flatpak as well which is more distro agnostic.

Hope that answers the question.


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Ubuntu also has its own deb package… I don’t really understand the argument.

If we look at some basic Firefox snap statistics it is clear Firefox snap is used in 20 Linux distributions and if counted all of the distribution&versions it gets to 65, so it is far from Ubuntu specific.

I also don’t understand this argument. The main point of snap packages from developers point of view is to make developer package software in the way distribution package maintainer is removed as middle man. Package ones and run everywhere without every single distribution to create there own package, that must be conformed with particular distro system libraries. In case of argument, I expect we should see more “canonical” branding in all kind of snaps, but I can’t find it in no other and I am using plenty of them.

Why? From what point of view? “Political”?

P.S. Don’t understand me wrong. I don’t really care about “partner branding”, I just like good argument. Also I don’t like that snaps are viewed as Ubuntu only package.

I can’t figure out quoting, apologize for that.

When we created the Snap, the primary purpose was for Canonical. I can’t go into details, but that was the original intent. I understand folks are using it on other platforms (since it’s a generic package), but it was primarily intended for Canonical.

“We are building on behalf of canonical” was not an argument, it was a statement of fact. Currently, the Snap is a Canonical branded version of Firefox, similar to how we have branded versions of Firefox with other entities. As the Snap gets wider adoption, this might be worth revisiting.

We do provide a Flatpak as well which is more distro agnostic.
Why? From what point of view? “Political”?

No, purely from a branding/code point of view. The Flatpak is a stock version of Firefox with nothing distro specific. By distro agnostic, I meant it it built by us for use on every distro.

We’re not in this for political reasons; we want everyone to have Firefox in every format they need which is why we did the Snap and the Flatpak. The Snap ended up unique in that it was done in partnership with Canonical.


Apologies Mike! Wasn’t sure after glancing the bio on your website :sweat_smile:

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