[Editor's note - This post was written by Chris Soghoian, the PhD student, and in no way reflects the opinions, thoughts, or policy of any of my sponsors/employers]
Firefox is now distributed by the Mozilla Corp - a for profit corporation, who, while supporting the open source development of the browser, has recently been flexing a bit of muscle.
In particular, their lawyers want linux distributions to start submitting patches to them for approval before they can be rolled out to their customer base. For critical things like security updates, this is just not possible. Distros want to roll out patches as soon as possible, and waiting for the Firefox team to OK something is just not possible.
Note, that no other open source project has tried to implement such a requirement. The Mozilla/Firefox guys are unique in this.
And essentially, what they've done is told the Debian team to fall in line (as Redhat and Novell have done), or to stop using the Firefox name and logos.
More info on this is available here http://lwn.net/Articles/200857/
Now, one interesting thing is that the Mozilla Corp makes millions of dollars per year through the google search bar in the top right hand corner of the browser. In fact, so does Apple through its Safari browser.
If you go to www.google.com, and then enter in the search, Mozilla earns nothing at all. If you use their search bar, they make a couple cents (I have no direct knowledge of the actual numbers, but they get something - and it adds up to millions of dollars when spread across all those users). This fact is public knowledge, and has been mentioned in many places: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6048377.html
Now, I'm far too lazy to start going to google's homepage when I search.
So, instead, I whipped up a custom search engine for Firefox.
Simply go to this webpage http://www.dubfire.net/ffirefox, and you'll be prompted to install a new search engine for your search bar. The only difference between this custom one and the one that ships with Firefox, is that it won't identify itself to Google as coming from the Firefox toolbar. It'll look like any other search going to Google. And thus the Mozilla corp will be denied my one or two cents per search.
Sure, I like firefox. It's a great product, and far better than IE. However, it's an open sourced product, and I don't approve of them taking advantage of free community resources, debugging and code-contributions only to point their evil lawyers at Debian.
So, suck it Mozilla Corp.