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Unfortunately they have also yet again changed things internally that break plug-ins, apparently including various popular ones used for privacy and blocking purposes. So in reality, since I don't habitually browse in Private Browsing mode, the more private browsing I've experienced with the recent Firefox updates has involved more ads and trackers than I've seen in years, followed by a lot of frustration searching for replacement extensions that actually work and then still more frustration configuring things manually that used to just work a few months ago.

I really wish Mozilla would get back to promoting the add-ons model that once made Firefox so attractive, and prioritising flexibility and stability accordingly. Some of the other features they've added directly might be useful, but the price of the constant change is too high, and in just about every case I can think of the add-ons community already had good, working solutions.




Which add-ons are you referring to? AFAIK the big 3 are AdBlock (Plus? There's so many jeez), uBlock (and Origin), and, in a distant third, Privacy Badger.


Adblock Edge was discontinued a little while back but had effectively replaced the not-fully-blocking Adblock Plus of recent months. ABE's UI integration broke in another recent FF update, but the blocking itself continued to work usefully until FF42, at which point apparently it ceased doing anything useful at all.

uBlock Origin is apparently now the blessed alternative and is OK for blocking most ads, but I immediately found a few potential tracking issues with its default lists, and its UI is awful.

Ghostery also isn't blocking various trackers effectively now, even though its UI still claims it has detected and blocked them. I can't 100% guarantee that's FF42 if Ghostery also updated its lists at almost exactly the same time, but that's when I saw things like Facebook Connect start hitting FB servers even though it's supposedly blocked.

This is almost a brand new machine, BTW, which just happened to update FF and lead to changes in the plug-ins a few days after initial set-up. There's relatively little chance of odd things going on or historical baggage distorting these results.

Bottom line: The day I bought the machine and installed FF and my usual set up add-ons, my browsing experience was fine, and then a few days later FF updated to 42, and my browsing experience immediately sucked.


> I immediately found a few potential tracking issues with its default lists

I am curious: what are these "few potential tracking issues" specifically?

Whatever default lists uBO is using, unlike with ABE (which is essentially ABP filtering engine), users have the last words in what is blocked:

- The `important` filter option can be used to override exception filters.[1]

- Dynamic filtering override all static filters.[2] For example, you do not need a special filter list to block Facebook everywhere, it's a matter of a few point-and-click to block it everywhere without any way for any static filter to counter it.[3]

* * *

[1] https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Static-filter-syntax#...

[2] https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Overview-of-uBlock's-...

[3] https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Dynamic-filtering:-to...


Some specific examples I've noticed on the privacy side are pinging a Facebook server when a page uses Facebook Connect, and allowing the various web font services.

It's certainly possible to customise uBlock Origin to prevent these things. However, I couldn't immediately see any of the other suggested lists that would have blocked some of these potential privacy/tracking issues either, which suggests that not only do I need to manually block them if I want to stop the tracking, I also need to manually update those lists.

In contrast, with a couple of fire-and-forget plug-ins I've been installing as standard for years until recent FF updates broke them, I very rarely had to customise anything manually. They just worked as standard, and I trusted them to keep working and never noticed any significant problems, until now.


> I couldn't immediately see any of the other suggested lists

Fanboy's Anti-ThirdpartySocial is right there in the list of lists, under the Social header.

> In contrast, with a couple of fire-and-forget plug-ins I've been installing as standard for years until recent FF updates broke them

Ok, my answer was meant to address your point that uBO was no replacement for ABE, as you stated "uBlock Origin is apparently now the blessed alternative [to ABE]".


Fanboy's Anti-ThirdpartySocial is right there in the list of lists, under the Social header.

And it doesn't block any of the things I mentioned. The domain connect.facebook.com isn't in there, for example, and I ran into a page running a script from there within five minutes of switching to the new plug-ins.

Ok, my answer was meant to address your point that uBO was no replacement for ABE

Sorry, I'm not sure where I said anything like that. I explicitly noted that uBO was apparently being promoted as the successor to ABE, as you seem to have noticed. I just also noted that the plug-ins I've got running now aren't as good in some respects as the ones that worked just fine for a long time until recent FF changes.


> The domain connect.facebook.com isn't in there, for example

"Anti-ThirdpartySocial" aka "Anti-Facebook List‎" list https://www.fanboy.co.nz/fanboy-antifacebook.txt

> ||connect.facebook.com^$third-party,domain=~facebook.net|~fb.com

> ||connect.facebook.net^$third-party,domain=~facebook.com|~fb.com

> ||facebook.com/connect/$third-party

Is that not what you are looking for?


Yes, you're right, apologies to you and to 'gorhill.

I misunderstood before and at the time I read "Fanboy's Anti-ThirdpartySocial" as "Fanboy’s Social Blocking List" not "Anti-ThirdpartySocial (see warning inside list)", perhaps because the latter sometimes seems to change its name to "Anti-Facebook List" for reasons I haven't identified. The former does block numerous Facebook addresses, just not that one.

I'm not sure any of this really invalidates my original point, though. Two weeks ago my Firefox had a couple of privacy/blocker extensions installed, and with no real configuration beyond ticking the "everything" boxes in the Ghostery wizard, they blocked pretty much everything that bothered me. Today, with FF42, neither of them works any more.

Apparently the new version involves figuring out which of the almost 50 lists that are suggested but not active by default in uBlock Origin are needed to get a reasonable level of blocking. I dare say almost no-one is actually going to get that right reliably even if they want to. And while I might have guessed to just activate everything under the social heading to block Facebook Connect (at least if I'd realised something related to Facebook wasn't already blocked by default), I have no idea which of those lists to even check to see if I can disable the various web font resources that involve tracking.


> I'm not sure where I said anything like that

Here (my emphasis):

> Adblock Edge was discontinued a little while back [...] uBlock Origin is apparently now the blessed alternative [...] but I immediately found a few potential tracking issues with its default lists [...]

"but", implying Adblock Edge somehow did not have the "few potential tracking issues" you said you found in uBO.

Hope it's clear.


You're reading things into my posts that aren't there. Please note that the context for my original comment that you selectively quoted was the add-ons (plural) I had used before. My full comment on uBO was that it was OK for blocking most ads but didn't block some of the trackers. The next part of the comment was about Ghostery, which was what did previously block (but no longer appears to block) those trackers.




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