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I cannot continue working on my add-ons (fasezero.com)
235 points by vacri on Jan 27, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 212 comments

There seem to be a lot of people that are saying "oh, without XUL based extensions, Firefox is just a (worse) Chrome clone, so I might as well just use Chrome."

I think what they might be missing is that Mozilla's conclusion is a lot like the people seem to be thinking here -- even though Chrome doesn't have the fancy extensions that are possible in Firefox, many many more people are using Chrome than Firefox, because they see it as a better Firefox.

Clearly, that has something to do with either security or performance, where Firefox has a perceived lag.

Mozilla is actively working to improve performance, and you may not want to switch to Chrome after all, because Chrome may instead be the poor man's Firefox (I personally think this is already the case, simply because with my 679 open tabs, Chrome would simply kill itself [44 loaded]).

This video is one of the most exciting I have seen with regards to web browser performance, and it's Mozilla:


More info on what this means for Firefox:


TL;DR: What if even with the missing XUL extensions, you wouldn't want to switch to Chrome, because Firefox was just plain faster?

>>Clearly, that has something to do with either security or performance, where Firefox has a perceived lag.

This is completely false

It has something to do with MARKETING and the fact the Google is largest marketing company in the world and has the ability to market chrome far far far more effectively than Firefox

IE is crap, so Windows users seek a replacement for IE, use to their only option was Firefox. Once Chrome came on the market with a HUGE marketing push people started to migrate

It was 80-90% marketing, not technical

Even if Firefox is better preforming people are not going to switch as only Technical people give a shit about performance numbers.

Edge on windows 10 is starting to eat into Chrome partly because MS is bringing back the IE6 marketing and integration tactics that got them in Anti-trust hot water in the 90's

No Firefox, absent Google Discontinuing the chrome Browser, will never break 20% market share again, I do not care how must better it preforms.

Mozilla needs to focus on Power Users, and Privacy. They are failing at both with these moves IMO

>>you wouldn't want to switch to Chrome, because Firefox was just plain faster?

They they take away my TreeStyle Tabs and a few other Extensions I dont care how much faster it is, FF will be removed my all my systems

TreeStyle Tabs is the the Main reason I use FF today. I dont understand why browsers have tabs horizontally across the window, it looks stupid and is unusable once you get above 20 or 30 tabs open So you talk about have 100's of tabs open, it is pointless if I do not have TreeStyle or some kind of Vertical Tabs. And no the Stupid Dock style of doing it on Chrome and other WebExtensions based hack is neither desirable or usable

They they take away my TreeStyle Tabs and a few other Extensions I dont care how much faster it is, FF will be removed my all my systems

TreeStyle Tabs is the the Main reason I use FF today. I dont understand why browsers have tabs horizontally across the window, it looks stupid and is unusable once you get above 20 or 30 tabs open So you talk about have 100's of tabs open, it is pointless if I do not have TreeStyle or some kind of Vertical Tabs. And no the Stupid Dock style of doing it on Chrome and other WebExtensions based hack is neither desirable or usable

I came to say pretty much the same thing.


> They they take away my TreeStyle Tabs and a few other Extensions I dont care how much faster it is, FF will be removed my all my systems

This is what I don't understand. What would you use instead? Do you see another vendor attempting to recreate XUL-like extensions? Built in functionality like the stuff in Vivaldi doesn't count, since those aren't extensions.

>>This is what I don't understand. What would you use instead?

Does not matter, Likely Vivaldi, or Chrome.

I will not reward FF or Mozilla, it may seem petty but I will not continue to use FF after mozilla ignored its users in this manner.

From day one Devs, users and the wider community has been telling mozilla we do not want these changes.

Clearly they do not want me as a user of their product so I will oblige them and stop using their product

I expect to be ignored by a large for-profit corporation like Google, if Mozilla is going to act like google I might as well just move to Chrome.

> Clearly they do not want me as a user of their product so I will oblige them and stop using their product

Got it, spite.


Chrome never tried to cater to users like you, so you'll reward that browser because they never bothered to try.

>>Chrome never tried to cater to users like you

That is right, and that is the point. If you do not understand why or how that makes a difference I likely will be unable to explain it to you.

I may not go to chrome, Vivaldi, the new Opera, Some Fork of the good firefox, we are still a little ways away from the the day Mozilla commits Suicide so....

Also I do want to add, my problem is not them removing XUL, my problem is them removing FUNCTIONALITY, if they come up with something else that REPLACES feature for feature XUL fine, if they take everything people are losing and build it in as not an extension that would be fine to, if they Add a option in the Configuration for TreeStyle Tabs with out an extension that would be grand

I am not beholden to extensions, I am beholden to the FUNCTIONALITY.

> Got it, spite.

Even if that's true, isn't it a pretty poor reflection on a product if its users dislike its direction so much that they are willing to abandon it in spite?

I don't think so. The product is the binary, which can perform better or worse, or have more or fewer features than the competition.

The direction of the product isn't the product itself, and reflects more upon the people who direct the "direction" of the product. This feels more like damage to the brand -- but as usual, I don't know whether the opinion on HN actually translates to the overall population of web users.

I mean, the new Macbook Pro is certainly a failure [doesn't go to 32gb ram], and hell wasn't that iPod a total failure [no wireless, less space than a nomad]? (I know, I know, that was Slashdot.)

I agree, perhaps that's more about the brand than the product per se. But in a market where you have to convince your users to replace the pre-installed browser that more or less works pretty well already with your alternative implementation, it seems like brand perception is a pretty important thing. And while a community like HN might not be accurately representative of users at large, it does tend to have a disproportionately high percentage of "trend-makers" who influence other people's decisions on technical subjects.

> But in a market where you have to convince your users to replace the pre-installed browser that more or less works pretty well already with your alternative implementation, it seems like brand perception is a pretty important thing.

Yes, but now we're talking about people who (likely) moved to Chrome because it just felt so darned snappy, not because it had great extensions (it didn't) -- or just had Chrome preinstalled.

If Firefox is faster, people who are after speed might just move over from Chrome. If the Firefox brand represents "faster than Chrome" rather than "it doesn't do tree style tabs anymore", they might still be okay. If they had Chrome preinstalled and had never used Firefox, they wouldn't miss the extensions, and probably wouldn't care that tree style tabs doesn't exist.

> And while a community like HN might not be accurately representative of users at large, it does tend to have a disproportionately high percentage of "trend-makers" who influence other people's decisions on technical subjects.

Meh. I think people just use what they want to use. How else do we explain why the Rio Karma didn't destroy the iPod? I mean, it's pretty obvious to me that technical, music loving "trend-makers" required gapless playback. How else do you listen to live albums/mixtapes/DJ mixes? The iPod is "just" an intuitive UI/UX and good branding! It makes you use Musicmatch/iTunes!

(Yes, I had a Rio Karma and I later switched my iPod over to Rockbox -- guess how much luck I had "recommending" people to switch to their iPods to Rockbox?)

>>Yes, but now we're talking about people who (likely) moved to Chrome because it just felt so darned snappy,

I think you confuse why people move to chrome over IE on windows. The normal every day user uses chrome for 1 of 3 reasons

1. They hit upon a chrome ad today or years ago when Google was heavily advertising chrome even when you searched now that is their browser and they stick with it

2. A person that works on, setups, or services their computer installed it

3. They are heavily in the Google Eco System and want all of the features and conveniences that come with using Chrome with google account (bookmark sync, alerts, hangouts, etc)

None of which has anything to do with Chrome's or firefox's speed, or security.

None of which Firefox can overcome or change by removing functionality.

People that use FF today generally fall into 2 groups. People concerned with Privacy, and people that want functionality that the other browsers do not offer

FF is rejecting 50% of their user base with move.

> If Firefox is faster, people who are after speed might just move over from Chrome... If they had Chrome preinstalled and had never used Firefox, they wouldn't miss the extensions, and probably wouldn't care that tree style tabs doesn't exist.

Maybe, but I'd hesitate to throw an existing user out in hopes of wooing a new one. You're right that it might work, might even pay off in the end, but it's a risk that I'm not convinced they have to take.

> Yes, I had a Rio Karma and I later switched my iPod over to Rockbox

I only used the earlier solid-state Rio's, and never knew much about the Karma, so can't really comment there. I did try Rockbox and at least for me was a pretty dismal failure due to bugs and crashes...not something I would have recommended to anyone.

I don't give a damn if the functionality I want is in extensions or the main product. I give a damn that it exists. If Vivaldi has the features I want and Firefox can't have them I will use Vivaldi.

Personally, for me, I'll just stop updating firfox until someone makes treestyletabs again (chrome or firefox, or edge, doesn't matter to me).

Security be damned

I personally would likely stick to an older version of Firefox until some other browser on the market offers similar functionality. Tree Style Tabs are the one killer feature of the Firefox ecosystem versus other major browsers, at least for my use.

>TreeStyle Tabs is the the Main reason I use FF today. I dont understand why browsers have tabs horizontally across the window, it looks stupid and is unusable once you get above 20 or 30 tabs open So you talk about have 100's of tabs open, it is pointless if I do not have TreeStyle or some kind of Vertical Tabs.

I don't see why people like vertical/tree-style tabs. To me it's always seemed extremely messy. Tab groups, searching, and a scrollable context menu at any mouse position, to me, is a much smoother and faster workflow.

Ctrl+Shift+E opens up tab groups and I can begin typing to search. When both my hands are already on the keyboard, this is most convenient [0]. When my hand is already on my mouse, however, I can right click and scroll to open up a context menu of all tabs within my Tab Group [1]. I also have a mouse gesture for opening Tab Groups so that I can switch groups if necessary. I frequently have 300+ tabs open, organized into tab groups of 20-40 related tabs (mostly research/tutorials/google docs for various MMOs I play)

I was actually frozen at FF44 until the Tab Groups add-on functioned properly. And I'll likely be frozen at FF57 [2]. Sadly, my way of tab management never seemed to catch on and the add-ons that enable it soon won't be supported.

For those interested in my tab management, I use Tab Groups and Fire Gestures (almost entirely for the '[Popup] List All Tabs' feature). I bind List All Tabs to both scrolling up and scrolling down, as scrolling up is originally Tab History.

[0] https://my.mixtape.moe/tukpwo.webm

[1] https://my.mixtape.moe/gqlawp.webm

[2] http://fasezero.com/lastnotice.html

> >>Clearly, that has something to do with either security or performance, where Firefox has a perceived lag.

> This is completely false

> It has something to do with MARKETING


Perception can come from marketing.

Jesus from the rest of the comments, you'd think Mozilla was removing the XUL interface just to spite people. It's being removed because it's incompatible with making Firefox multi-process and sandboxed. Firefox is literally the only major browser that hasn't moved to a multi-process and sandboxed model yet, and it shows hard in performance and in security vulnerabilities. I'm very excited to see Firefox finally catch up.

The "XUL Interface" is largely a misnomer. Firefox has had extension interfaces that are compatible with multiprocess firefox for years. Yes, you can break compatibility, but if you do it right it will keep working. Also the browser will tell the extension that it's not allowed to do that so the extension developer will know to fix their extension.

Don't get me wrong. I love the webextension idea. But it doesn't replace the ability to have extensions with the same power as the browser itself. I would love for Mozilla to promise compatibility for webextensions and say "you are on your own" for traditional extensions. They can mark them as bad in the store, even refuse to fully review them so that I know that they are why my browser is broken. But sometimes that power is incredibly useful, and I would hate to see that taken away.

Like many others the only reason I use firefox over chrome is because of a couple of extensions and if they were gone I would switch because internal sites at my work tend to break less and internal extensions generally only support chrome.

>>Firefox is literally the only major browser

and I view that as a good thing, not a bad thing.

Being a clone of "every other browser" is not desirable to me

>and it shows hard in performance and in security vulnerabilities. I'm very excited to see Firefox finally catch up.

I care less about performance and more about functionality.

I can overcome performance with larger processors and more memory, I have 12 core system with 64GB of memory, FF is not hurting my system.

great! multi-process firefox will better utilize your 12 cores and 64GB of memory

It would except the user interface will be stripped so bare you can't actually have more than a dozen or so pages open at once! I know there are many people in the same position as me. They open a lot of tabs. When Google killed off vertical side tabs (which were only ever a hidden option you had to enable manually anyway), they went back to Firefox. And now Firefox is taking the vertical side tabs out in the street and shooting them too.

If Firefox included vertical side tabs and committed to supporting many-tabbed browsing as it went pseudo-Chrome-mode, I imagine many fewer people would be irritated.

You are offering an alternative that will be made obsolete by the same change:


this link keeps posting this link

1. No that is not a Replacement for TreeStyle Tabs, far from it

2. It uses XUL as well and will be killed in 57 unless new API;s are made

this link is not the solution to the Extensions problem we are complaining about

The OP asked for:

> If Firefox included vertical side tabs...

> > If Firefox included vertical side tabs...

> […] as it went pseudo-Chrome-mode

The problem is Firefox is killing that and other addons as it goes pseudo-Chrome-mode.

Wow, I actually like all of those features. Really hope they get implemented into the stable version!

It wont, it is already deprecated the the Dev is already saying devolvement will already stop soon

After vertical side tabs are impossible in Firefox because Chrome banned them because someone at Google "didn't like how they looked", I want to see you run 679 tabs on Firefox.

What do you mean? They are running this experiment: https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments/tab-center/

Does that do collapsible tree structures of tabs?

Does that allow me to bookmark a whole tree and reload it later?

Can that auto hide and auto reveal?

Or is it a shitter half copy of tree style tabs that will never actually be released because it would "confuse normal users".

I'm not a normal user I don't want a crippled product. Normal users use Edge, Safari, IE or Chrome anyway. They won't use Firefox because it doesn't come pre-installed or get advertised on google.com. There is no point in Firefox chasing normal users. They need to chase power users and importantly web-developers.

No, it won't do trees: https://github.com/bwinton/TabCenter/issues/498

But I found this: https://github.com/bwinton/TabCenter/issues/868

"I've been talking with the people implementing WebExtensions for a while now, and they are committed to adding the APIs necessary to support something like TabCenter (or TreeStyle Tabs, or any of the other side-tabs add-ons). I don't know their final timeline, but I would be very surprised if the new APIs weren't available before we turned off old-style extensions, and I have already started working on a new branch that implements TabCenter as a WebExtension."

So TreeStyle Tabs can be ported to the new system or an equivalent addon can be built.

I personally use TreeStyle Tabs. I have not tried this Tab Center thing and did not know about the tech behind it.

anything "can" be ported once mozilla creates a API, even TreeStyle

The point is there is no API to do it today, and unlike the dev I do not believe the new API;s will be in 57, I see no evidence to support such a claim.

Further if you continue to read on the issue, you see the developer has clearly said this is an expermint that will never be mainlined and development will likely stop

"Having said all that, it's likely that at some point in the future, TabCenter will no longer be developed, and at that point, we'll recommend people switch to one of the other side-tabs add-ons."

he continues

"TabCenter isn't something that will live forever."

So no TabCenter is not a replacement for TreeStyle, and never will be

OK what about Vimperator?

I didn't know about that. I'm liking it a lot, even more than Tree Style Tabs, because I just wanted vertical tabs, not the rest of it (the tree, etc). But as someone else has said they will just abandon this because it'll "confuse users" so it's like I'm using a feature with an expiration date :(

Is it weird that I prefer Firefox? The only time I use Chrome is when I'm debugging some code.

Chrome gained a lot of market quickly because of perceived faster speed. Note that perceived is in great part because they took effort to make it seems faster that it was (it was faster that FF at some point though, there's no denying that).

Firefox is now working on well-designed speed upgrade, which will very clearly overtake Chrome. It just takes longer, due to design, and available manpower.

Chrome gained a lot of market because it was marketed well as an IE replacement. Speed was one of the features in the marketing material, yes, but speed alone is doubtful to be the reason why Chrome exploded in popularity the way it did.

I'm excited about things like Servo, too, but not if critical (to my use case) features are removed. I switched from Chromium to Firefox solely because of the existence of Tree-Style Tabs. I really hope Mozilla has a plan to preserve that workflow.

plain faster is still slow if you don't have tabs on the side like with Tree Style Tab :/

Firefox has three APIs: XUL, Jetpack, and WebExtensions. XUL has been on the way out for years, and never worked in mobile Firefox anyway. (Almost nobody runs mobile Firefox, so that turned out not to matter much.)

Jetpack was introduced in 2013, and by 2014, it was actually usable. It's not clear when and whether Jetpack add-ons will stop working. Mozilla's developer documentation is so confused that you can't tell. WebExtensions and Jetpack are essentially the same functionality with different names.[1]

The trouble with Firefox chasing Google Chrome compatibility is that, once they get there, Google will probably change something so some Google service is essential to an add-on. Like Google did with Android. Then compatible add-ons stop working on Firefox. Nobody runs add-ons on Chrome much, anyway; I have the same add-on on both platforms and its 50:1 Firefox over Chrome. But usage is declining, along with Firefox.

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/WebExtensions/Co...

> The trouble with Firefox chasing Google Chrome compatibility is that, once they get there, Google will probably change something so some Google service is essential to an add-on.

I'd be more concerned that, once they get to Chrome compatibility, they've simply sacrificed one of the key things that differentiates them from Chrome. Firefox's die-hard adherents use extensions heavily, and many of the most popular, particularly those that are on Firefox and not elsewhere, depend on the old XUL layer or other APIs that have no replacement.

I don't think users are going to see it as a great improvement that they have access to Chrome extensions they didn't want in the first place. Instead they're going to focus on the fact that they're losing the functionality that's been keeping them using Firefox.

I don't think you'll need Google to act maliciously or really do anything at all to have this end poorly for Mozilla.

the fact that they have no replacement for removed [and much-used] functionality seems completely nuts to me. their market share will plummet. i understand that old stacks must be removed at some point for security/performance/ergonomic reasons but leaving so many extension devs and users out in the cold with no alternatives is unthinkable.

i really believe they are signing their own death certificate. neither google nor yahoo will pay much for search traffic of a browser no one uses. i say this as a long-time fan, nightly firefox user and bug submitter (since v1.5). everything since Australis has been an unmitigated trainwreck :/. When Classic Theme Restorer [1] stops working, i'm sorry but i'm out....probably to https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium for the time being.

my hope is that someone builds out a nice cross-platform browser around servo, or at least i can hack on https://github.com/browserhtml/browserhtml

http://electron.atom.io/ is an option, too

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicthemer...

> Almost nobody runs mobile Firefox, so that turned out not to matter much

Well. The number of installs of Firefox for Android is a nine-digit number.

Depending on your perspective that can be thought of as a big or small number.

But it certainly is not "nobody".

Most or all stats will show mobile FF browsing usage at about IE6 levels, and I don't think you'll find anyone caring much for the later market any longer.

We [web developers] owe a lot to FF, Firebug, etc, but the writings on the wall for mobile and desktop. Chrome is going to have to screw up really bad, and likewise for the base installs of IE/Edge and Safari. These days, I'm more likely to suggest Brave over FF, if someone really requires a Chrome alternative.

> These days, I'm more likely to suggest Brave over FF, if someone really requires a Chrome alternative.

Brave is just a reskinned Chrome.

> We [web developers] owe a lot to FF, Firebug, etc, but the writings on the wall for mobile and desktop.

Where I work developers have mostly switched to Firefox over the last few years. Firefox is just a better browser (faster, less bloated) under the hood. Yes, Firefox will have a difficult time sine they don't have their own proprietary walled-garden ecosystem as a distribution channel, but the technical product is solid.

Do you mean chromium? And it's much more than a skin, lol.

And it's not the experience for many to have a faster browsing experience, but I'm not going to argue how anyone quantities that -- really don't care what others use.

On desktop, I find the tooling much worse and sluggish. But the thread was about mobile, and there are a vanishing number of users of mobile FF.

> Brave is just a reskinned Chrome.

No, see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13534564.

If you [web developers] ignore mobile Firefox, you do all of us a disservice. Having a choice of browsers on mobile is important to me; Firefox is one way on Android you can avoid being fully locked in to Google's ecosystem and a crucial piece of the puzzle for anybody who wants a Google free Android device.

I understand business realities, and why Firefox mobile would rate a lower priority than many browsers. But I think competition in this space is incredibly important and I urge you not to ignore us [Firefox mobile users] completely.

I have hundreds of apps installed on my phone I never use.

Per https://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qpr... it doesn't look like the usage numbers are 9 digits.

That sub-9 digit number includes me though, hard to understate the importance of this fact.

(that said after reading tfa, if there's really no tab groups after next year i'll be really upset, especially after the whole "it's ok that we're removing it because now it's just an add-on" thing)

It's not "chasing chrome compatibility", it's sharing the same base.

Firefox wants to add its own APIs to webextensions. Chrome will too. They may not always match with each other with the newest APIs. It cuts both ways here, it's wrong to characterize it as something where only Chrome will be adding features and Firefox will play catch-up. Firefox is "copying Chrome" only as far as copying the base API.

See https://wiki.mozilla.org/Add-ons/Contribute/Triage#Bug_Queri... for the current list of APIs that are planned or being decided on.

> Almost nobody runs mobile Firefox, so that turned out not to matter much.

FWIW, I love mobile Firefox and I really don't understand why folks use Chrome instead.

Also use Mobile Firefox because Chrome is 'sticky' on android, 'oh you signed in by clicking the dialog when you where tired, let me sign you into everything else and re-enable sending your web history to us as well', I disable it then accidentally turn it back on and they don't have a 'I want to turn this feature of permanently' option its always 'suspend' not 'disable forever'.

So I switched to Firefox on Android, it's not 'quite' as smooth but Ublock Origin works great so on balance I like it better.

As a die-hard FF mobile user....

FF is slow, pages rarely load the first time and I constantly have to manually reload, the interface for making config changes are requires sooooo many clicks. I have no real experience if chrome is better because I never use it, but FF mobile has some real warts

most sites that are slow are also slow on chrome. so doesnt even bother.

the only solution is installing noScript. the only version available is in beta. but it works fine.

you will be suprised how few sites I have to whitelist to see the content I want. and usually besides faster, they get much more usable without Javascript!

I do use noscript. By default on every site. This slowness is different than your typical js-bloat slowness

I use Firefox for Android on a Moto E 2013. It's faster than Chrome. Ditto for my other phone, a Galaxy S3.

Because Firefox is slow and pages are sometimes broken because nobody uses Firefox mobile. I also used Firefox Mobile for the sake of using uBlock Origin. But since I discovered Adguard for Android I can keep using Chrome (beta) which is way faster and it also supports web compression for http content (also speeds up).

Exhibit A: You can't tell the GMail app to use anything but Chrome (at least on iOS).

I'm sure there are more such examples. Even if a default was changeable the initial setting (as we saw in the Microsoft vs. Europe over IE) is very powerful.

and for whatever reason (i'll give benefit of doubt its a bug), every time i open a link it asks me which browser to use, no matter how many times i set the default to firefox.

How do you set firefox as the default? I didn't think that was possible.

i dunno, whenever i open a link it had radio button that says "use this to open links every time?" and i click yes then select firefox. but ya doesnt work so apparently you can't.

Because it syncs with my desktop Chrome install and especially the password manager.

If there's one thing that sucks it's typing secure passwords into a phone.

Mobile Firefox syncs too. For years.

But most important: addons like ublock work on FF mobile as opposed to Chrome. Huge time, functionality and bandwidth saver!

That does not help if you're using Chrome as your main browser, there's no cross-synchronization. Which I do because it's just way faster, and especially rogue tabs can't shoot down the entire browser including its UI.

e10s might be the thing that could save FF, but I fear that it's way too late.

There actually are some cross-sync addons out there, IIRC. Or at least there were; I used to use one when I was still in the process of migrating from all-Chrome to all-Firefox.

Encouraging all of your addon developers to create addons for your biggest competitor?

How is that a good idea?

Having more addons available for more browsers is good for the open web, even if these browsers aren't specifically Mozilla's.

It isn't. But, you know... open-source. Developers make stupid decisions all the time.

> nobody runs mobile Firefox,

I'm here :(

I use it to play YouTube in the background.

Reading this on mobile Firefox with > 100 tabs open. We're out there! ;)

except mobile firefox is the future.

and most extensions are making do with xul. I use noscript and stylish and httpsEverywhere. life is good.

Once this happens I will leave Firefox after being one of its strongest supporters for years. What makes Firefox worth it is the level to which I can customize it and this will knock out 5 of my must-have add-ons in one shot. When you do that you have nothing but a Chrome clone left and why use a Chrome clone when you can use Chrome. I hate Chrome because I feel locked in on UI design (old-school user here). Once FF takes away my options guaranteed I'll abandon it.

If the only reason you hate Chrome is being locked into the UI, you should switch to Vivaldi. Sure, it's a Chrome clone, but the UI is super configurable (and as far as I'm aware, it doesn't do any opt-out user tracking).

Is Vivaldi free software (as in speech, not as in beer)? Last time I gave it a serious go, it didn't seem to be (and it was buggy anyway, but that was when it was first made publicly available, so I'm sure that's improved, right?).

> why use a Chrome clone when you can use Chrome

If every browser looked exactly like Chrome, I'd still choose the one that contained the least amount of Google.

> When you do that you have nothing but a Chrome clone left and why use a Chrome clone when you can use Chrome.

Why use Chrome when you can use a Chrome clone that better respects your privacy, is open source, and gives you more freedom to configure it? Because it's more secure or faster? It won't be for long: that's exactly what Mozilla is working on. At the expense, yes, of some configurability.

Security is debatable. Sand boxing was just introduced. Customizable maybe, but between the australis, xul deprecation, and the limited theming API I don't think Mozilla really cares.

Also for a open source browser. Are you aware the is chromium? Or hell any number of electron based web browsers (which is also chromium).

Edit and loss of configurability is not the issue. Loss of Functionality is.

If Tree Style Tab doesn't work anymore. What are the reasons to use Firefox? Also what are the alternatives. I tried Chrome but the Tree Style Tab-like plugin is clumsy.

Should I just not update firefox and wait until devs realize tabs were meant to be on the side? Honnestly as a power user I can't browse the web without tree style tab anymore.

I'm the same, I think I'm going to stop updating and secure the last version that support them.

Between auto-update, security patches and new web standards support, how long will this approach be viable though?

I might just have to give up on using the internet if treestyle tabs stops working. I'll get a job on a farm or something and lead a simpler life.

Mozilla created Tab Center, which is similar to Tree Style Tabs: https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments/tab-center.

It is far far far far far way from replacing TreeStyle, as it has no Tree.... It just moves the tabs from horizontal to vertical, which has similar usability problems

It is better than Sidewise on chrome though, however TabCenter is XUL as well I believe, there are no APIS currently for it to be moved to Extensions,

rubbish, will also be incompatible after this change. https://github.com/bwinton/TabCenter/issues/868

Furthermore, "showing tabs on the side" is not "similar to Tree Style Tabs"

To be fair, "showing tabs on the side" is still leaps and bounds better than "yet another browser that squeezes them into the top, end to end, like a god damn maniac". :)

But yes, the "tree" part of Tree Style Tabs is essential, too.


This is going to kill pentadactyl, which is currently the only reason I'm using Firefox.

For those who aren't familiar, pentadactyl is a Firefox extension that transforms the user interface to make it more minimal and vim-like. You get to use standard vim bindings to navigate the web and it even gives you a vim-like command line interface to the browser's functionality.

Horrible news. I use Vimperator, used to use Pentadactyl. The latter forked from the former, but they are still very closely related. Like Emacs and XEmacs.

They are addictive. They turn Firefox into a different kind of thing. I rely so much on custom commands like:

command -nargs=1 proxy set! network.proxy.type=<args>

command -nargs=+ -complete=url site open google site:<args>

map s :site<space>

I'm really afraid of Firefox breaking Vimperator long term. Alternatives are not that nice, and niche browsers tend to be brittle and insecure.

Vimperator is one of two things that keep me on Firefox.

The other is not having a single process per tab. I typically have 40-50 tabs open at any one time. On chrome that chews through memory. On Firefox it chews through significantly less.

I sympathize.

For those who don't mind, or prefer, a less comprehensive vim experience in the browser, I'm very happy with VimFx https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/vimfx/

It has a ton of vim commands, but I only use hjkl, g and gg. I never can remember whether search with / comes via VimFx or plain FF.

Firefox says it's compatible with multiprocess, but I don't know if it will survive through the switch to WebExtensions. It works fine now.

There's currently a feature freeze and plan to switch to WebExtension after the necessary APIs are added to Firefox: https://github.com/akhodakivskiy/VimFx/issues/860

Give Qutebrowser a try (with the WebEngine backend): https://www.qutebrowser.org/

I switched from pentadactyl a while back and never looked back.

The recent 51.0 update killed Vimperator, so I switched to Firefox ESR to gain some time while I search for a replacement.

Ditto! Unfortunately, it appears that there will be no replacement any time soon, if ever. I am not 100% certain on the details, but apparently, the new WebExtension APIs make certain browser window manipulation impossible. So looks like we're stuck with ESR in short-to-mid term future.

Sadly, I mean a replacement for Firefox altogether. The only plugins I use are Vimperator and uMatrix. I'm posting this from Qutebrowser and I'm very impressed. I just hope I can get uMatrix functionality.

vimfx is the closest replacement at this moment in time.

And it's going to kill TabGroups too. And a lot of other addons from other authors will probably suffer the same fate.

The author of the posted article is the author is TabGroups.

I know, which is why this is doubly sad.

I use vimperator, and I decided to switch to Firefox ESR (which is v45.7.0) - you get security fixes and none of the jazz.

There are ways to run both versions side-by-side, but I will let you figure that out.

Unfortunately neither pentadactyl or vimperator support multiprocess firefox IIUC. The being said adding support for multiprocess is possible, whereas porting to a webextension doesn't appear to be.

Similarly, Conkeror (which provides Emacs rather than vi bindings) is implemented as a XUL application, so it's very likely that it, too, will die.

After discovering cvim for Chrome, I switched and never looked back. Vimium, on the other hand, is a bit different from pentadactyl/vimperator experience.

If this WebExtensions move makes Tab Mix Plus stop working (I use multi-row tabs extensively) then I will no longer have any reason to continue to use Firefox. I put up with it's poor performance and instability merely for this one feature.

Nobody needs a clone of Chrome; we already have Chrome.

Tree Style Tab for me. I remember reading that it is not a matter of someone porting it to chrome but that the chrome UI does not support such tab flexibility. Sad times..

I also wish chrome would stop prepending http:// everytime i copy an ip from the url bar.

But by the standard of a url, it has to contain the http:// (or whatever protocol/scheme). Otherwise it's not a url.


I am not arguing against that fact.

But if I copy a specific part of the url I expect nothing to be added when I paste it

Is it prepending it on copy, or hiding it for display in the url bar?

It's both.

Firefox does the same though?

> I put up with it's poor performance and instability merely for this one feature.

Ah, but performance and stability is exactly what Mozilla is improving with WebExtensions, Electrolysis and Servo/Quantum, so you won't need to put up with the poor performance and instability any more! What's more, it will still respect your privacy more than Chrome, be open source unlike Chrome, and allow you to configure it more than you can configure Chrome.

Baby / Bathwater

Firefox's primary distinguishing feature is the powerful plugin system. With that gone, it's just another browser.

for me it's Tab Groups (actually one of the Extension the author wrote). If that is gone, there is no good reason for Firefox over Safari

I would use the last version of Firefox that supported Tab Mix Plus until it no longer worked with the web in general. At that point I don't know what I'd do.

Looks like ESR 52 will continue to support XUL addons, and get regular security updates, well past the release of version 57 which is the estimated version for the cutoff. We can "vote with our feet" somewhat. If a large number of users switch from 56 back to 52 ESR instead of "upgrading" to 57, we will have some actual numbers to show.

Just curious will the new Web Extensions style allow add-ons like Classic Theme Restorer [1] and Tree-style Tab [2] that change the Firefox UI?

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/classicthemer...

[2] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tree-style-ta...

Previously the WebExtensions wiki mentioned that they were planning to support functionality for TreeStyle tabs. As of https://wiki.mozilla.org/index.php?title=WebExtensions&diff=... it no longer does; no idea how much to read into that though.

the webextensions/future[1] page tracks the new APIs needed to support existing "interesting addons"

[1] https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebExtensions/Future

That page hasn't been updated since 2015. The linked uservoice site[1] for feedback has also been shut down (most of the activity was protest).

[1] https://webextensions.uservoice.com/

The Classic Theme Restorer page says "CTR will stop working on Firefox 57 (release) when Mozilla drops support for XUL / XPCOM / legacy add-ons, but it will still work on Firefox 52 ESR until Firefox 59 ESR replaces it in 2018 (~Q2)."

It sounds like Tree-style Tabs will stop working then as well. That will be a sad day. Tree-style Tabs and some form of mouse gestures are pretty much all I need.

The only plugin I really care about is ublock origin. If that stays, I'll keep ff otherwise I'll go back to chrome. I suppose there's no way of knowing whether a given plug in is possible in future without having access to the source.

most of those will end up with webextension versions. I don't know what they all do, so i can't say all.

I do know that ones like ghostery and lastpass have financial incentives, while others (like vimfx) are already planning on it. Others don't seem to rely on many (if at all) XUL/XPCOM features

It's just incredible that they're going to do away with XUL. Imagine if Google somehow decided to remove all the Android apps in the Play Store and told everybody to rewrite their apps or die. And what's even worse, most addon writers don't even receive money for that.

This is going to kill the addon community but I guess they don't care at all.

It's really sad to see how far Mozilla has taken Firefox from its roots. Extensions are really the only reason I still continue to use Firefox and now Mozilla has set the date that I'll be moving on to Chrome into stone for me.

Chrome it is then. I hate every single change to the Firefox UI since Firefox 2. The only reason I can still stomach using Firefox is Classic Theme Restorer, oldbar, etc which make it look and behave like it used to.

I'm only sticking to Firefox because there's a specific set of extensions I want to keep using. If only one of my key extensions breaks, my last reason to use Firefox vanishes, and I will immediately switch to Chromium/Iridium and never come back.

Same here, if tree style tabs stop working then I'm off to Vivaldi.

Same. I guess Mozilla's stubborn decision makers -- who will never admit being wrong -- can comfort themselves by thinking of all the people who decide to quit using Firefox, when their cherished extensions break, as idiots. It's so sad.

It's sad, but I am seriously worried that this could be the end for firefox. Add to that the recent refocus/re-prioritization on firefox within mozilla, it could be a first death knell for the organization entirely.

I know in my own case, and it seems from comments here and other anecdotal experience, that a significant chunk of remaining firefox users depend on at least one extension that has no migration path, as there simply aren't equivalent APIs implemented or even planned. I really don't understand how they think they are going to maintain a userbase when they remove the last remaining feature that differentiates firefox from the other common browsers. Mozilla starts out in a tough competitive position, as they don't have an OS or platform to bundle a browser with. Alienating the users with the most reason to seek out an alternative seems to just be digging themselves deeper into the hole.

The developer of the ePubReader add-on for Firefox is looking to raise $26,685 in funds in order to rewrite the add-on for WebExtensions.



I've been praying that Mozilla would rethink this, but that looks increasingly unlikely. I guess switching to a LTS release will tide me over for a time, but this really does feel like the end of an era.

This was my thinking as well. I'll probably move to the last ESR ('extended support release') before the cutoff period, just so I can keep using Tab Groups.

This makes me curious - does Mozilla's new Tab Center experiment use Web Extensions? Or are they refusing to take their own medicine, and using inaccessible internal APIs? https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments/tab-center (Edit: Deprecated, not inaccessible.)

From a quick look at the source[0] it uses the deprecated Add-On SDK[1].

[0] https://github.com/bwinton/TabCenter/blob/master/main.js

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Add-ons/SDK

There is a rough version [0] based on the sidebarAction API [1], this is probably going to improved when it actually lands in Firefox Nightly, which should hopefully be soon.

[0] https://github.com/bwinton/TabCenter/tree/webext [1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1208596

It uses very inaccessible internal APIs currently (including XUL), but there is an effort to use it to create the necessary APIs so it can be ported to a Web Extension.

I am not familiar with Web Extensions, but I am familiar with the fairly common event in which application vendors severely change functionality, with significant downstream effects. Such behavior seems more common amongst open-source products. Consider Python 3. Asterisk's scripting language. Perl 6.

Incompatible version changes drive away users and developers. The uncertainty that comes along with a planned update in which compatibility is not guaranteed makes us all shy away from developing in that application at all, not just on the old version.

Microsoft always seemed to do a good job at maintaining compatibility over its versions. Most applications that used to run on Windows still do, although there are a lot of exceptions. Python's change to the print statement broke everything, though the fix was easy; most of the time the fix is not easy - and even when it is, nothing works until someone gets around to the fix.

I appreciate the need to move forward, and sometimes you have to break stuff to make it better, but these incompatible changes just destroy momentum. It's a shame to see it happen.

It's not merely an incompatible change, it's an incompatible change that removes significant functionality. People seem to be coming around to Python 3 eventually, as it does offer a much improved experience. I can't see that happening with subsequent versions of Firefox unfortunately.

>>I am not familiar with Web Extensions,


Mozilla is turning Firefox into just another Chrome Browser...

Firefox 57 will like see me stop using FireFox it will be no different than chrome so I might as well just use chrome

>>and sometimes you have to break stuff to make it better

It is yet to be seen if it will be better, so far everything they are doing in firefox to make it more like chrome I am 1000000% opposed to.

> Firefox 57 will like see me stop using FireFox it will be no different than chrome so I might as well just use chrome

Firefox probably won't phone google.

Yea that is not a concern for me... I am logged in to Google services all the time anyway and I have a Android Phone sitting 3 ins from my computer.

I use Firefox for a few Productivity Extensions that will likely stop working in 57, as such there is no reason for me to continue to use FireFox.

Just today I was unable to access a modem configuration site (at with Chrome, because without internet it couldn't phone Google to decide wether to use it as an address or a search term.

I have never had this problem with chrome.

And I'm logged out of Google services all the time, except for in, use and out. Because it's Google. Man. :)

1. Moz://a is paid millions by Google so that they're the default search engine in Firefox

2. Firefox just became a little bit more like Chrome, at least as far as some of its users here are concerned

Google has been slowly consuming Firefox, so don't be surprised if any phoning home is happening.

>>Moz://a is paid millions by Google so that they're the default search engine in Firefox

That has not been the case for a few years(2012? or 2013 I believe), Yahoo is currently the Default Search and pays the bulk of Mozilla budget, With the Verizon Deal Mozilla is likely worried that will change when the contract is up for renewal


> Verizon must pay even if Mozilla walks from Yahoo search deal

Yes Verizon must honor the Contract, all contracts, Yahoo committed to, that is standard

That contract however I believe was for 5 years, I am talking about what happens after the 5 years is over, which I believe will be in 2019 or 2020. After which Verizon has no contractual obligation to continue paying Mozilla for anything and likely will cease the partnership

That's not the point. There's a poison pill in the contract. Mozilla can walk out of the existing contract, get all of the money in lump sum, and sign with another search partner (while still being paid by Verizon). There are other search engines waiting in line, Mozilla's not married to Verizon.

>>There are other search engines waiting in line, Mozilla's not married to Verizon.

Who?? I know of none

MS will never support Firefox, They want people to use Edge.

DuckDuckGo do not have the cash to do it.

Google has the market share and does not need FF anymore that is why they dropped them

So Who....

>>That's not the point.

Actually it is the point, by 2020 Mozilla's IMO mozilla revenue stream will dry up, they need to find a way to survive with out the Search money. This is why they are taking these risky moves which IMO are doomed to fail.

Search competition is different from browser competition that mainstream media likes to hype up. A few hundred million for 10-15% of the search market is nothing, Bing and Google would gladly offer a bit of money. There are also partners around with world (Yandex, Baidu).

I don't think Perl 6 is (yet) considered "the way forward," to the extent that Python 3 is.

I believe that, early on, Perl 6 was intended to be the next version of Perl in a more traditional sense, with an upgrade path and compatibility mode and so on, but with the time lag before the 1.0 release and increasingly radical design changes, at this point Perl6 and Perl5 are different languages, which share a name for historical reasons.

Classic Theme Restorer, Tree Style Tabs and Tab Mix Plus are the three extensions that add up to differentiate Firefox from Chrome for me.

Unmodified Firefox is just an inferior clone of Chrome. Firefox is pointless without its UI-altering extensions.

Quite amazing.

Oh no! I've become dependent on Tab Groups over the past year or so; even kicked in a donation. Thanks Luís for all your hard work.

Am I the only person here who was considering switching away from Firefox a few years back because I didn't think they had a plan to really move their efforts further?

Honestly, I'm really impressed with their plans for Servo, WebExtensions and other recently active projects.

I plan on sticking it out for the long haul.

EDIT: qualified when I wanted to switch.

Aw snap, Beyond Australis and its slim chrome is one of the best way (along with tree style tabs) to regain some vertical space with sub optimal resolution (namely, the 1368x768 of my x220t).

mozilla is pulling a nokia here.

greasemonkey and add-ons are why people continue to use FF beyond the brief evaluation phase.

now mozilla are clearly in the thrall of Abstraction Astronauts and know-nothing UX Design 'gurus'.

just like Nokia before the iphone

I don't expect much from the leadership who brought us FirefoxOS, and indeed the WebExtension migration is being mismanaged - BUT: the hard truth is that the Chrome extension ecosystem is already on top and growing, while the Firefox one has been waning for a while.

If you build a browser extension today, you build it for Chrome; if you have a Mac, you also get a Safari version almost for free; and then eventually, if you have time, if you can be bothered, you port it to FF. This could not go on, something had to be done. And they did it: JetPack/Webextensions, despite the uber-confused documentation, is an almost-complete compatibility layer that makes porting extensions from Chrome much easier. If they'd left it at that, nobody would have complained.

Unfortunately, the next step is to gut the old infrastructure. They might have their technical reasons for that, but it seems a suicidal move from a commercial perspective. They are throwing overboard almost 20 years of competitive differentiation and community engagement. It's like Microsoft told people to rewrite their .Net apps in ObjC.

I completely rely on Firegestures, the premiere mouse gesture addon.

Mouse gestures are in my muscle memory. I can't live without them, and every single Webextensions Chrome mouse gestures addon either:

a) Sucks. Doesn't work at all on internal pages including new pages (which is not a blocker, but sucks), and more importantly doesn't work _well_ ANYWHERE. Inconsistent behavior, poor performance. Just unacceptable.

b) Is actually literally malware. Once Chrome extensions get popular, a shady Chinese or Russian consortium buys them up, adds user tracking, and silently updates the extension so your every move is followed.

Chrome has been around for almost 10 years now, so I'm absolutely convinced that Webextensions are unable to support _GOOD_ mouse gestures.

Now that Firefox will shortly become hot stinking Chinatown garbage, my only hope will be Vivaldi, a browser using Blink (Chrome's backend). Its mouse gestures are really close to being usable-- it only lacks configurable mouse button chording.


I'm with you. I was hooked on mouse gestures after using Opera 12. They came built into the browser, and you could tell. Gestures worked everywhere-- on a new tab, on a loading page, even on the browser window outside a tab.

Now I'm using Firefox plus a dozen extensions to poorly replicate a base Opera 12 installation. The e10s update already broke some FireGesture in some minor ways (e.g. wheel gestures scroll the page content now). Other extensions stopped working completely.

Time to give Vivaldi another shot...

Personally, I use Firefox because Mozilla is a non-profit organization with a mandate to support a free and open Internet, which includes protecting the privacy of Internet users. That sounds like very fine words, but they do the technical work to make these things happen, such as their collaboration with the Tor project: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-heart-firefox

I use Chrome as well, but ultimately Chrome belongs to Google, just as Edge and Safari belong to rival corporations. Using a corporate Web browser is a reasonable choice, but it's not something that I would do for UI reasons.

I think there is a niche for a programmer's browser. I often think something half-way between a web browser and the old Lisp and Smalltalk machines.

Oh, it's called Emacs (being half-serious here)

Emacs can already embed a webkit widget, but much more work would be needed to make interaction with the widget "emacsy". At the moment all you can do with it is send JavaScript snippets to it to make it change internal state. It would be great to intertwine this more with Emacs so that e.g. completing-read could be used on the DOM.

It would be rather fun to download a webpage in "BrowserEmacs" and have a REPL available with the page turned into a S Expression for you to manipulate at your or your plug-ins leisure. Throw in the tools to make plug-ins have there own UI and you have a developer's browser.

Ubiquity https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquity_(Firefox) (now defunct) had natural-language commands with localization including subject/verb/object order. It supported subscribing to commands too, so you could keep up with changing APIs automatically. It even understood pronouns, so you could write "email this to Dave" and it would email your selected text to your gmail contact named Dave. The only thing it was missing was a permissions model to limit what untrusted command code could do.

On a fully serious note, Emacs born out of a web browser would be a pretty good goal.

Yes please!

Tree Style Tabs is a true differentiator for Firefox and it is a perfect expression of Mozzilla Mission: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/mission/ "Our mission is to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. An Internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent."

Seeing Tree Style Tabs continuity halted and more importantly a developper motivation deeply affected is not a good sign for the community and users who engaged with Mozzilla's goals and with its addon community.

Tree Style Tabs empowers the user browsing activity at a level rarely seen. It brings to awareness constant history (tab tree) and allows the user to mature its browsing profile with structure.

An deeply thought addon that really shapes the browser into a navigation tool that empowers its users and allows building more mature browsing focus and improves the individual's independence.

Mozilla should review carefully the resulting loss of differentiating value by letting a valued and committed add-on developper go and how this diffuse into impacting its mission.

Firefox has literally been kicked by its userbase and Chrome to get into its current semi competitive state. One understands the need to evolve but change just for the sake of change and activity can just be spinning your wheels. We don't need another Chrome clone. Firefox and Chrome's objectives are completely different.

We definitely need more browser competition but growing complexity rules out one person or small team efforts like before all over the open source ecosystem.

Untill open source users can get their act together and find a way to fund development they will find projects increasingly less accountable to them than their corporate sponsors.

Sad, but hardly unexpected. The truth is, the mozilla leadership has never had much vision. In the early days of Seamonkey (and then Firefox) there was a slavish devotion to chasing Internet Explorer, and far too much rationalization of feature selection based on "IE has it" or "but IE doesn't support that." Later, with the ascension of Chrome, Firefox began to try and mimic Chrome the same way.

Other than MathML support, I'm having a hard time thinking of anything truly unique about Firefox, as compared to Chrome these days.

> The truth is, the mozilla leadership has never had much vision

I'm not sure I agree there. I feel like they've had at least a few pretty strong points of vision. The failure has been more on the execution of producing and maintaining useful software in support of that vision.

FWIW, I created a petition here to see if we can get Mozilla to reconsider this decision: https://www.change.org/p/mozilla-save-mozilla-firefox-s-best....

May be a Hail May, but worth a shot if we as Firefox users really care.

For now I prefer Vivaldi. As for tabs I don't require anything more fancy than vertical tabs, pinned tabs, and tab stacks. And Vivaldi's is the only UI I can customize to my liking, and I really like it's quick-command dialog.


Ok, so, the only way I seem to be able to vote against this is by not using firefox anymore. Then that's what'll happen.

Guess I'll have to use an outdated version of Firefox forever. Tab Groups is absolutely indispensable add-on, and Mozilla was idiotic to remove this feature in the first place. And now they're making it impossible for add-on authors to keep working on their add-ons.

I use Tab Groups constantly, I switched from Chrome to firefox almost entirely for Tab Groups. Runs terribly on my machine, I'll be back on Chrome the second Tab Groups are gone, unfortunately.

I've been worried since web extension only announcement we were heading for something like this.

Can someone explain me in a simple way the "xul prevent us to switch to multi process" argument ( when i'll naively think - just use one more dedicated process for xul. ?). Xul design & gecko

There isn't one. The actual argument is "multiprocess can break some /classic/ extensions". Then they lumped in "existing extensions can cause bad performance". And now they are using that bandwagon to remove tons of power from extensions.

I wish we had both, because I would prefer webextensions (proper permissions) but when I needed to I can still use a powerful /classic/ extension.

Would those add-ons still work with SeaMonkey? That might be a way to keep them

When vimperiator, Zotero and tree style tabs stop working I will need to find another browser.

What a clusterfuck Mozilla is becoming.

Isn't Firefox open source? Can't you just fork the project and start your own browser, where all these changes don't get made?

Is the real concern about forking the userbase and ecosystem, and the fork won't have the critical user base to become self-sustaining?

Edit: added paragraph for clarity.

In principle, yes. But maintaining a browser is, as a understand it, a LOT of work. So it would take a sizable contingent of volunteers to take on a project like that and keep the forked version current.

The real concern is that browser is a hugely complex piece of software with lots of security, stability, and compatibility concerns. You could fork it, but now you have to constantly ensure you maintain all those things between your fork and the mainline. That will become increasingly difficult as they diverge more and more.

I wonder how vetting of Certificate Authorities will happen. I suppose that if your OS has a sufficient number of trusted CAs, then any browser can rely on those.

But consider this, from Debian's ca-certificates package:


This package includes PEM files of CA certificates to allow SSL-based applications to check for the authenticity of SSL connections.

It includes, among others, certificate authorities used by the Debian infrastructure and those shipped with Mozilla's browsers.

Please note that Debian can neither confirm nor deny whether the certificate authorities whose certificates are included in this package have in any way been audited for trustworthiness or RFC 3647 compliance. Full responsibility to assess them belongs to the local system administrator.


So as long as Mozilla allows OSes, and presumably other browser forks, to benefit from their CA vetting and monitoring activities ...

There really is a lot that does, or should, go into browser development and maintenance.

Maintaining a fork of a large browser is extremely difficult, especially for coordinating and merging vulnerability fixes.

Forking brave browser [1], or one of other electron based browsers may be a good way forward, as it will allow easy customizability of the ui, and get all the hard to maintain native parts from chromium.

Mozillas browser.html project may be helpful too, but it seems to be a bit too experimental for now.

[1] https://brave.com

No need to fork Brave, we will collaborate on extensions APIs as we scale. We're supporting tested chromium extensions that we curate and fetch from our own S3 (essentially a cache backed by the Chrome Web Store).

For an extension to get support, we need to rank it as in-demand, and then try adding it to Brave to see what missing chrome.* APIs it might need. https://twitter.com/bravesampson is leading this charge, using https://github.com/brave/browser-laptop/projects/1 to keep track and engage with developers.

For future extension APIs that go beyond the chromium ones, we won't support XUL, but I'd like to take advantage of our Muon (https://github.com/brave/muon - we forked Electron, because security) React.js-based front end.

In 2Q2017 I'll hope to have more to say about extensions and where we'll go. Interested extension developers are welcome now to join our https://community.brave.com/ discourse. Thanks.

Great to hear you are interested in colaborating on this issues. muon and react based ui is exactly why i was suggesting to use brave as a base for experimentation.

I was not talking about the type of extension that allow to do some common things based on small api created specifically for that.

I am more interested in extensions that get full access to existing react components, and can modify the browser ui in arbitrary ways, e.g. by adding splitview similar to what cloudy has, or adding proper tabs on mobile instead of carousel.

I was chief architect of Mozilla back in the 1998 October roadmap period and onward, when we created XUL. Indeed we wanted powerful extensions, and got them. Problem is they tied Mozilla down for too long, without anyone stepping up to find a way forward that didn't just seem to signal "XUL going away... <angry dev feedback>. Oh never mind; or maybe later".

Brave UX will evolve but slowly and without big changes that break too many users (Australis). Still, we need to be able to change our UX. So if we have powerful extension APIs into that UX, we can't promise never to break extensions that use those APIs in ways that become unsupportable.

All we can do is try to co-evolve nicely and cooperate better. I don't see a silver bullet here, but I do see how Mozilla has burned a lot of add-on developer good will -- and we won't make that mistake at Brave.

Do no other extension developers have this issue?

The EPUBreader extension now notifies you on each relaunch that they need donations to fund a complete rewrite to work in future Firefox versions.

There have been a few articles submitted to HN that indicate some extension developers are giving up.

Yes, I've faced similar issues in the past, and had to update my add-on to get it working again.

Now it looks like it will once again break (this time permanently).

I'm in the same boat with other folks. Why use Firefox if it's just a poor man's Chrome clone?

There's already a fork, pale moon.

Their security story is laughable. It won't be multiprocess. It won't have sandboxing. They deleted every test directory from the source tree.

Has pale moon ever moved past their "windows first, foremost (and practically only)" attitude?

I seriously looked at it when australis happened before classic theme restorer was stable, but at the time they seemed to have no interest in anything but desktop windows. I suspect a single-platform browser (especially when the platform is windows) is a non-starter for most people.

This is how Firefox dies.

Do you want a fork? Do you want to drive more people to Pale Moon? Do you want to become even less relevant relative to Chrome? Do you want to make the web even less user-centric?

A change like this is how you do that. Good job, Mozilla.

Heh. Funny that I just updated to Firefox Developer Edition 53 and now Tree Style Tab (one of the addons that will go when XUL stuff does) has severe theming issues and weird flickers.

It'd be nice if a mod could change the title to "I cannot continue working on my Firefox add-ons"

It's time for me to try and deploy everywhere some small WebKit-based browser, like dwb or its clones. Not very sad, but waste of time.

Came to say this. Vimperator cannot operate within constrained add-on sandboxes. Chromium already demonstrates how it works -- you get your vi keys on the page but as soon as you open a new tab and start entering your URL, nothing familiar works as Chromium takes ownership for the new tab.

I dabbled with DWB a few years back. It shows a lot of promise but it wasn't worth the hassle back then. If firefox is sure to go down, then all bets are off.

(Btw, dwb is deemed dying too, on the account of using webkit. uzbl is more maintained but uses webkit as well.)

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