LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

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Deuxis
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LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by Deuxis » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:14 pm

Greetings, I've recently switched to Firefox because of Quantum. I discovered that search suggestions (from StartPage and Google) aren't working, and furthermore that the search engines JSON is heavily modified and Google's entry claims "_loadPath: "[https]www.linuxmint.com/google.xml" and has no suggestions URL.

[attachment=0]mintengines.png[/attachment]

Am I right in assuming that in trying to persuade users to use only the search engines that pay you in an effort to extort money from said engines you've betrayed our trust and not only (probably unintentionally) broke some features related to searching, but you're also actively tracking and controlling our use of Google? All via system repositories we trust and need to keep the system up to date?

I expect answers. If this thread gets silenced in any way, I'm ready to start a shitstorm of proportions previously unseen in this community.

PS: If I'm horribly mistaken, sorry, but please do explain how. I like Linux Mint and would be very disappointed if it turns out it uses Microsoft-level business tactics.
Attachments
mintengines.png
cropped screenshot of Firefox displaying uncompressed search.json.mozlz4

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xenopeek
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by xenopeek » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:43 pm

May I request you assume good faith when next entering conversations on this board? You don't need to issue threats to find help here from us other Linux Mint users. We strive to keep this a friendly and welcoming place to all. Please help us make it so. Thank you.

As to your question, I assume you've unpacked the search.json.mozlz4 file in your Firefox profile and that is where the screenshot is from?

The _loadPath just says where the search engine definition was loaded (installed) from. If you look at the other search engines in that list of yours you'll see a _loadPath like "jar:[app]/omni.ja!browser/wikipedia.xml" which means that search engine definition was loaded from Firefox' omni.ja file that has the default configuration for new profiles (when a user starts Firefox without a current profile). The _loadPath is used by Firefox to query for updates to the search engine definition. It's not passed to the search engine when doing a search.

The actual search is done through the URLs found in _searchForm and _urls. For some search engines you might find a parameter in those URLs that is the referral code for Linux Mint, so that those search engines know to share their ad revenue with Linux Mint. This helps fund the development of Linux Mint and would otherwise go into the pocket of the search engine itself.

Which search engines help fund the development of Linux Mint this way is indicated on: https://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php. That's also the page from where one would install additional search engines like you did. To others reading this: you can find this page also easily from within Firefox by opening Preferences from your menu, going to Search in the left sidebar, and then clicking on the "Find more search engines" link at the bottom of that preferences page.

Linux Mint does not track its users, collect information about the searches its users do, or sell or share such information with anybody. What you search for in Firefox is shared with your search engine.

Edit: As to not having suggestions, that used to be the case but currently https://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php offers a Google search engine plugin that does include search suggestions. So that part of your question is no longer an issue.

For completeness sake, you can also install search engines from: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search-tools/. Google (default) installed from there does have search suggestions. For even more search engines you can also use http://mycroftproject.com/.
Last edited by xenopeek on Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Google search engine plugin from Linux Mint has been updated
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Deuxis
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by Deuxis » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:19 pm

Thank you, that explains everything. And I'm sorry for being hostile, I was angry after some hours of wrestling with things like that to make my firefox at least match the abilities of my Chrome.
On a side note, do you know why Startpage search doesn't show suggestions either, even though it does have the URL for them, which when manually pasted into the search bar correctly gets me to a list of suggestions?

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MintBean
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by MintBean » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:29 pm

Swearing is against forum rules, and yes they apply to you no matter how angry you are.

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xenopeek
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by xenopeek » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:34 pm

Deuxis wrote:do you know why Startpage search doesn't show suggestions either
I don't know. Also the StartPage search plugin installed from StartPage itself ("Add to Firefox" link in the sidebar of StartPage search results) doesn't show search suggestions.
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xenopeek
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by xenopeek » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:10 am

As of today https://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php offers a Google search engine plugin that does include search suggestions.
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Lucap
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by Lucap » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:16 am

Does Ubuntu do anything like this to their version of Firefox and Mint was just following suit?

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xenopeek
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Re: LM's modified Firefox version's search engines - questions and hopefully answers

Post by xenopeek » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:43 am

I don't know. We implemented a user's feature request.

Edit: just checked and no, Ubuntu doesn't provide information on which search engines respect your privacy and/or support the project. Or has a quick installation of additional search engines. At least not like Linux Mint does with its https://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php page accessible from the "Find more search engines" link on the search settings of Firefox. (On Ubuntu this just links you to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/search-tools/)
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