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Firefox 62.0 Released (mozilla.org)
315 points by l2dy 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 268 comments



Coinciding with this release, Firefox 52 ESR is no longer supported, so no supported versions of Firefox support the legacy extensions.

I'm mentioning this here just so I can tell Vimperator / Pentadactyl / VimFx users that there are loads of options you can replace your old extensions with, some of which are... okay.

Links follow in increasing order of user-friendliness:

https://github.com/tridactyl/tridactyl [^]

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/surfingkeys_f...

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/vim-vixen/

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/vimium-ff/

[^] Disclaimer: I develop this one. If you've tried it before in the past, now might be a good time to try it again. We've just pushed out a release that moved quite a lot of code around, hopefully eliminating a whole class of bugs, especially relating to ignore mode and multiple windows.


Thank you for your work. I'm currently a tridactyl user. However I'd like to point out that none of these replacements can currently compete with the previous extensions in term of usability.

Simply put, you cannot count on the keyboard shortcuts to work consistently throughout Firefox. They do not work in built-in pages (such as errors). They do not work when inside an input field in GTK. There's no way to consistently override built-in FF shortcuts that simply get in the way.

It's pretty sad for users which expect the keyboard experience to be consistent. I now mostly use FF's own shortcuts for most of the tab-management actions, since those are the only ones that work most of the time when an error page is generated.


Relevant WebExtensions metabug: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1215061 "Better keyboard shortcut support"


Have you looked at xkeysnail [1]? I've heard it's OK but I haven't got around to trying it myself.

Personally I just hit Ctrl-W to close tabs when I get to somewhere I can't use it. `fixamo` and `set csp clobber` mean that I only really ever get trapped in PDFs (as I rarely open about: pages except to do a specific thing and then immediately close them).

[1] https://github.com/mooz/xkeysnail


> They do not work when inside an input field in GTK.

I feel like this is a symptom of a larger issue: if Firefox is a GTK app (in Linux), why is it up to Firefox to decide how to resolve these inputs? Shouldn't it be GTK doing that? Ergo, shouldn't the "vi-ization" be occurring at the GTK level, and so apply to all GTK apps loaded by the user?

> They do not work in built-in pages (such as errors).

That's certainly dumb, though.


Worse is the unreliable working of vi-keys. Often enough focus ends somewhere on the page, and the vi-extension just stops working. I've yet to find a reliable way to gain input-focus again in those cases.


Sometimes this is our fault - there's a bug with our command line where it doesn't close properly and can steal focus (particularly `tabopen about:addons`). I am sorry about that. We're working on tearing it out and starting again as the command line has lots of problems.

Otherwise, it's usually YouTube. I just only interact with the videos using the mouse (or MPV via `;v`) and make sure to click outside them afterwards.

I do have a trackpoint on all of my keyboards, so I don't really notice having to click the mouse because it's just another keyboard button, so I might not be the most representative person here.


I don't think it's just that bug. I have a userstyle to mark the displayed element, so I sometimes see when something is grabing the focus, and neither tab nor ESC or Alt-l helps in those cases. But after some reseach I found out F6 can help there. Till now I thought it's just the same as Alt-l and only focus the addressbar, but turns out it can also unfocus it and switch focus between the different areas of firefox. I tested it in the last hour and it really worked in several cases where I was stuck in focus-hell.


Another Tridactyl contributor here! :wave:

I'm on a phone and it looks like bovine3dom is fielding questions so I'll just chime in with my pitch.

If you're willing to get your hands dirty in the name of power, please do give Tridactyl a go - the new webextension model limits add-ons pretty sharply, but I feel that Tridactyl pushes those limits much harder than the alternatives. It's one of the main reasons I'm on Firefox instead of Chrome. Tridactyl is also under more active and aggressive development ([1] vs. [2]); for example, I think that one of our other contributors is in the process of pushing a fix to Firefox's permissions API so we can get even closer to the line. If you want features or fixes, come on over to our issues page or chats and let us know!

1: https://github.com/tridactyl/tridactyl/pulse/monthly 2: https://github.com/philc/vimium/pulse/monthly


Hey. First I would like to thank you for the awesome work. I really enjoy using your plugin. Being a avid vim user it just makes it more easier right now. I do like to point out few issues that I have noticed so far.

1. key n used to traverse through all the found elements doesn't work properly.

2. The add on doesn't work when I am using pdf preview.

I believe I am using the most updated version of the plugin (last checked yesterday as of this comment).

I hope you look into this. If I am missing something please let me know.

Again thank you for the awesome work. If you have some time I would love to pick your brain about a few things.


1. is probably because you're using a Firefox feature. We don't have a find mode (well, we do, but it's terrible so I left it unbound). Ctrl-G/Ctrl-Shift-G cycle results in the Firefox feature. There are some function keys you can press too but I can't remember them.

2. Yeah. The annoying thing is it used to but apparently that was an oversight and there is some security hole there that Mozilla fixed. Amusingly, they have a secret god-mode permission that they give to their own Screenshot extension that makes it work on PDFs. A chap from OneNote was complaining about lack of PDF access the other day so maybe Mozilla will find some sort of solution.

We could bundle pdf.js with Tridactyl, hijack requests to PDFs and send you to our own reader, but I haven't been annoyed enough to resort to that as I personally just use Okular which is far better at rendering anyway.

Happy to chat in this thread or on Riot.


> Firefox 52 ESR is no longer supported

That is a bummer. I have pinned FF to 52 ESR so that the extensions I use keep working. I am running out of viable browsers.

Your addons look quite impressive. I use vim all the time. I had no idea that addon existed.


I've been on vacation, but right before I left, I read news to the effect that Mozilla would be removing legacy extensions from their extension listings "by early October" (seemingly, at the latest).

Is anyone backing up these things, both for continued use, e.g. by Pale Moon users or whomever else, and for history / the public record / study / etc.?


I am not aware of any such endeavour.

Pale Moon already has its own extension page [1], so if you care particularly strongly you might want to talk to them about it.

[1] https://addons.palemoon.org/extensions/


Have you considered Pale Moon? Do you thing it's usable/dependable?


I actually keep it installed because it's the easiest way of using Pentadactyl; I use it to compare behaviour with Tridactyl (e.g, looking for prior art for what a bind should be). As such I literally run it side by side with new Firefox. Honestly, it's just kind of slow. Mozilla have done a fantastic job in the last few years.


Have you tried Waterfox? I find it to be as good as FF 52


I did but a) 57+ is much quicker than 52; b) I couldn't actually get Vimperator to work, so I gave up and used Pale Moon for all my idea stealing needs.


Thanks!


With all these posters complaining, am I the only one who is totally satisfied with Firefox? I never had many issues using firefox. I did use Chrome briefly, but came back to firefox. If it matters, I mostly use firefox on Debian Linux and am also not a web developer.


Complaining, criticising, two different things. The latter is what's being done, and that is quite useful. Loding and complimenting is nice, but useless. I have a love/hate relationship w/ Firefox, but it's the best trade-off for a privacy-aware power-user that also wants a relatively stable browser which does not want too much fiddling. But too many negatives are present and if we do not point them out they wont be fixed. Fixing them is good for Firefox, and good for all of us FF users.


> complimenting is nice, but useless

Some people will base their decisions on which software to try/use, based on the general sentiment of discussions on Hacker News. For example, suppose you suddenly had the need for Email As A Service. Which of the plethora of services will you choose to use? I believe a lot of Hacker News users will weight their decisions at least in part on HN comments discussing those services.

The same goes for Firefox. If all people ever see is criticism, that is likely to drive people away from Firefox. That means less revenue for Mozilla, which means a worse browser for us.

Basically I'm saying that compliments, positive comments, are not useless. Quite the opposite.

(Don't get me wrong. I completely agree with you that criticism is necessary. I'm not saying those comments are bad. I'm saying positive comments serve an important function too.)

And besides, suppose you were a Firefox developer reading these comment threads. Don't you think the positive comments can provide a bit of encouragement?

Mozilla should know not only what it is doing wrong, but also what it is doing right. And that goes for any software and any company.


> Some people will base their decisions on which software to try/use, based on the general sentiment of discussions on Hacker News [...] If all people ever see is criticism, that is likely to drive people away from Firefox

By that measure, they will completely turn off their computer because every single product is primarily criticism here. I also think substanceless praise is mostly useless in this forum (not in life) and I appreciate everyone here that points to specific points and issues instead of needless bloviation. I think encouragement, praise, etc can/should occur elsewhere and we can get to the meat of the product. It's like complaining that your QA team never opens JIRA issues saying you did a good job...that's not the best use of that communication platform.


> I also think substanceless praise is mostly useless in this forum (not in life)

What is different about "life" that makes substanceless praise useful?


Well I actually agree you, I've exaggerated. Compliments are less useful than criticism here, but indeed not totally useless. I guess I overreacted to the comment that starts with a false blanket statement and overgeneralises.


> Loding and complimenting is nice, but useless

I hope that your manager doesn't think that way. :)


I'm a webdev and I'm totally satisfied with Firefox. Dev tools aren't perfect but good enough to get shit done and the included tracking blocker and containers are a must-have for any browser I'll consider from now on.


I also remained loyal to Firefox but I think there's a mentality aspect to it: when a website loads slowly I'm quicker to blame the website than the browser. As such when I'm frustrated by my web experience I tend to think "man, I need to stop using this garbage website" rather than "well, time to use a faster browser". Because surely my octocore gaming PC with 16GB of RAM should manage to display text and images just fine without needing bleeding edge technology?


> when a website loads slowly I'm quicker to blame the website than the browser

You'd probably be right, too: the current browsers are marvels of technology that keep getting better, whilst the Websites are getting worse.


The difference in my experience is that hangups while I'm using Firefox usually happen within the viewport while moving tabs and accessing menus remains snappy, so it's easier to attribute that slog to the website. When I was using Chrome before, it would frequently lock up entirely.


I used Chrome exclusively for a very long time. I’ve since moved back to FF and have been much happier with it.


I'm also very happy with Firefox, and I usually keep FF, Safari, and Chrome all open all the time. I use one Firefox for work, Safari for random browsing, and Chrome for certain special-browsing or special-web-app cases where it either works better in Chrome or I just want keep it more available via alt-tab.

My only real complaint is that `about:config` preferences have no descriptions, despite their names not always being descriptive. Chrome's `about:flags` is much better in this regard.


It's a little hard to believe a Firefox power user over any real length of time would be totally satisfied with it; they've been ripping out much-loved features right and left and stuffing it with mandatory sponsored add-ons.

Still, it doesn't force report megabytes worth of data per day to the mothership, unlike Chrome...


May be it's because I come from a different culture, I am not so entitled. Firefox is free, as in speech and beer. It also doesn't phone home with your private data as a payload. That Is good enough for me to be happy. If something doesn't work for me, I find a workaround or a plug-in and am happy again. If there's something needs to be fixed, I write bug reports.

So it might seem to you that no power user could possibly be totally happy, I am happy to prove you wrong.


So in your culture one is supposed to be grateful for free things unquestioningly? Why does culture need to be brought into this? If, one day, churches started handing out rat poison to the hungry instead of food; are the hungry entitled to happily eat that rat poison because it is free?

The problem is that Firefox makes these promises and builds a platform (in this case, old-school XUL-powered extensions), builds a profitable user-base from said platform, and then yanks features at a whim. It is almost like a classic bait-and-switch but played in slow motion. In the case of Firefox there simply aren't suitable replacements available for many add-ons because the APIs and underlying features they relied on are being pulled. And they are being pulled because of managerial decisions, made to metrics that only highlight majority use-cases, in the name of "saving programmer bandwidth". As a result, a popular, powerful, useful program more and becomes more like a disposable appliance and less like an extension of the mind.

"Who cares about nice ideals like mind extensions blah blah blah" you think? Well, a lot of users do (especially us old nerds), many of us who have stuck by Mozilla and will willingly dance to their beat in exchange for the company's historical sense of economy in its asks and respect for its userbase.

If Mozilla were making Firefox out of the kindness of their hearts, maybe you would have an argument. But Mozilla is a million-dollar business and much of what has become of their flagship browser lately is a result of business decisions to bring in more money, so I have a hard time understanding how legitimate user complaints could be considered "entitled".


Mozilla Foundation is actually a non-profit organization, not a profit-making business. Due to US laws, the work is done by "Mozilla Corporation", which is totally owned by the Foundation, but this is a non-profit that promotes the open Web.

Increasingly, that means having a Web browser that is secure and fast, even at the expense of taking out features that some users really wanted. I've been using Firefox since the start (you can find my name on the famous NYT advert), and they have not removed a single feature that I care about.

On the contrary, I am now happier with Firefox that I have been for many years.


Some is never enough in software any more to keep anything. Development always has to cater to the majority case and lowest-common-demoninator. Users don't want sophisticated tools and platforms, they just want stupid appliances! Optional features? Forget it. Things that might take some study to learn? Axed. Who would ever want that?!

It really makes me sick. Tyranny of the majority writ large. (And while I write this from within Firefox, I am definitely not a very happy user of it any more.)

You're right about Mozilla's nonprofit status -- but it is easy to forget about with all the various business partnerships they seem to enter. It makes me wonder just how much of this nonprofit is really spent funding development/advocacy...


You don't have to wonder, their budgets are public.


Sorry, but your analogy doesn't make much sense.

Firefox is fast, modern, feature rich, and, free browser. Your grievance is about missing some feature that you use.

The right analogy would be that the church is providing perfectly nutritious food that majority of the people eat, but a homeless guy is griping about not having wine with the meal. After all the homeless guy is old now and he is used to having wine with meals.


I wasn't aware that Chrome did that, but I'm generally wary of Google anything and always have been. I'm a longtime Firefox(/DDG) power user, since it was Phoenix. I never left even when Chrome was hot, of course I've done testing on and off over the years but was never impressed with Chrome. I'm one that if just accepting anything, would use a platform's native browser (Edge, in my case) before Chrome, as native browsers have performance/power advantages due to their non-crossplatform nature.

I'm not happy with the changes they've been making but it's still the best browser by a longshot. If you're just taking defaults, Chrome is acceptable but it's not flexible enough for me.

Even with the bad decisions (removing native RSS support was a huge blow for me), Firefox is still better than it's ever been. They need to be careful though as paradoxically as it is, they're also on a knife's edge of ruining it with the face of that being this Pocket thing.


Don't run desktop Chrome on any kind of embedded environment with a metered connection ;)

We had to blacklist google in the devices' firewalls to make all the transmissions stop


That's crazy. I've often simplistically categorized the interests of each browser as such.

Edge/Safari- designed for the best interests of the machine.

Chrome- designed to operate in the best interests of Google.

Firefox- designed for the best interests of the user.

I can see an argument for Firefox, and Edge/Safari until we have better battery technology. I can't explain why anyone informed would willingly choose a browser designed to further the interests of a publicly traded, vulture capitalist corporation. Marketing is powerful on mediocre minds.


As much as I don't like Firefox with each new release, the alternatives are worse. So I've settled for FF until it falls far enough to lose the title of "least worst browser".

But I've quit suggesting it to others. They can use Chrome all they want.


> suggesting it to others

When majority of power users stop suggesting it to users around them, Firefox has no future anymore.


Ironically enough it might be a good recommendation for everyone else even if it annoys us.


I keep trying to switch. The thing that stops me is it chokes on big single page apps. Arguably the problem is the sites being choked on (too much javascript) but there's not much I can do about that.


I use Chrome for big apps, especially Google apps (GMail, Google Music).

But yes once in a while I still have to restart it when its memory usage and responsiveness become a problem (used to have an extension to have a restart entry in the menu, killed as many others by the new system, yeah for progress).

In fact I use Chrome more since Quantum, ironically.


I realized that for me most of these sites:

- don’t use browser navigation

- need a specific login to have any use

- they are pinned,and I never close them, ever

With that in mind, I stopped thinking about them as web sites, and use chrome windows as application containers, while doing all my browsing and search in firefox.

I wish there was a simple way to have dedicated chrome windows acting as independant applications, like Gears was. For now it’s just too much friction to my taste to have each site in an electron style wrapping.


What would be an example of a "big single page app"?


Google Calendar crushes FF for me. I can't leave it open very long or it slows down FF, eats CPU cycles, and drains my battery.


If you're on OSX and not using the "default for display" resolution, that may be the cause of the issue. Don't have the bugzilla handy, but I stumbled across it at one point and confirmed that that was the culprit for me. Unfortunately, I'm unwilling to use default display res, so I'm hoping that gets fixed soon. Would love to standardize on Firefox for my every day browsing.


> Don't have the bugzilla handy

Here you are: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1404042


That's on purpose. It is apparently Google's policy that every Google website must be accessed with a Google browser, or else. Be thankful it works at all unlike, say, Google Hangouts.


Honestly, 'new' gmail is substantially worse on FF than chrome. Which sucks, because I don't want to use chrome.


Can’t speak for OP, but Slack is the first that comes to mind.


I have Slack open all day in Firefox and it's fine. Much better than the desktop app for me.


Stop trying to do things in your browser that should be their own independent programs.


I believe the future is with powerful web apps. They're cross-platform & often easy to use. I don't have to worry about downloading & installing. In the future, they'll be able to run as efficiently as non-browser applications.

What should be its "own independent program"? Where do we draw that line? Why should we be constrained to our own offline system, when the web enables millions of (more) user-friendly use-cases?


>What should be its "own independent program"? Where do we draw that line? Why should we be constrained to our own offline system, when the web enables millions of (more) user-friendly use-cases?

I'm an edge case, but nearly everything. I prefer to not only "own" the program so that I may use it beyond the lifespan of the creator or hosting company supports it but I also prefer to own my files (cloud storage is prohibitively expensive for me). At $0.02 per GB per month I would be spending in excess of >$4,000/yr - and that's just my photos. It would be in excess of $10,000/yr if I also wanted to store videos.

For me to move into an "online, cloud-based software" world online storage would have to be price competitive with purchasing my own local storage for the TB's of data I have and the software would have to be fast enough to work on the files and work with whichever cloud storage I was using. (Let's also pretend that internet is always-present and always-fast-enough.)

On the note of expensive cloud storage... non-affiliated shout-out to Backblaze. I'm probably a borderline "abusive user", $5/mo is an absolute steal to backup the huge amount of data I backup with them.


For me, I want to download and install everything. I want every small thing I do to be its own program, with its own name.

I want to be able to remove my network card and still have programs which work. I want to own everything about my own PC and all the data that enters or leaves it. When everything's in the browser, that's not possible, because you're essentially turning a PC back into a network terminal. I want my computer to be mine. I want my data to be mine. I do not want anyone or any program to have the authority to edit data on my PC over a network without my clear consent. And if you say that installing and/or activating the browser executable means I'm giving consent to it to edit data freely on my machine, then I think I'm going to need to go a different way than the Web.

We need the freedom to have our own computers, our own thoughts, our own data. We need to be able to say at a user level that we wish to interact with this data in our way, rather than "the Web way". Not every piece of data needs to be viewed or manipulated in a way that works in a Web browser. And the processor load should absolutely be a concern. A well-written and optimized program written in asm will always run faster and better when compared to a "program" written in a web-deployed JavaScript on top of a browser.

Why should we be constrained by the lowest common denominator of the Web, when having the ability to use our own offline system enables the use of millions of more user-focused use-cases?


Well they are a user and not the programmer so they may not have that option.


I'm also a user and not a programmer. There are things I use a browser for, and things I use proper programs for. There is some overlap, in the space of email, video watching (I'm entirely too lazy to stream every video I watch through VLC), and to a small degree gaming (i.e. Flash). There are a great many things I do not do because I hold to my beliefs. Overall, I don't feel I lose anything. If anything, I gain peace of mind that my browser doesn't have more data leaking out to servers than I'm willing to accommodate.


I stopped using most legacy extensions a while back when I found Firefox was faster and more stable without them. So, this change only affects me for the better - ditching years of crufty "oh we have to do this super-kludgey thing because a couple big extensions rely on it" code so the whole thing can go multi-process and keep improving.


Another satisfied user, but it comes with the caveat that my habits let me use it. Firefox really knows how to make memory leak and if I weren’t the type to aggressively close windows/tabs I don’t need and not keep the browser going 24/7 I would probably end up switching to Safari as my default.


I currently have 76 tabs open and last closed Firefox approximately 2 days ago. Firefox sits at about 5GB RAM usage and 3% CPU, which I find very acceptable.

In my experience Firefox handles a large amount of tabs very well, while Chrome tends to eat a lot more RAM in the same situation (while doing its best to hide that fact).

On the other hand there are some websites that will easily demand a gigabyte of RAM on their own, or that use excessive amounts of CPU time. Chrome handles those cases much better than Firefox. But those are outliers, and if I have to visit them I just open them in Chrome.


I've been using Firefox since 1.5, I've accepted memory leaks as a fact of life.

For comparison, I currently have two browser windows open and zero tabs. One is this comment box, the other is a GitHub page. Firefox is using a grand total of 3GB RAM, about 700MB of which is for the WebExtensions process so figure about 2.3GB for a grand total of two pages.

This is actually an improvement on the way things used to be, but if I quit the browser now (as I probably will soon regardless), these same two pages would take up only about 200MB, which is still a lot for what it is displaying and running, and the WebExtensions process would reset to about 200-300MB. I have Waterfox running in the background too, basically Firefox 56, which I use for a single website with exactly one extension taking up over a gig by itself with a single page open.

I'm not complaining, again, it's a fact of life that I've accepted and it doesn't hurt me any, but if I changed my habits I have doubts about how much I would actually use Firefox. Maybe I still would after considering my other options, but the web isn't as interesting as it used to be and I have other means of getting what I want off it now so I don't really require a web browser I can throw a million tabs at since tabs themselves are pretty harmful.

That said, if there are browsers that do a better job nowadays, and I stopped looking a long time ago, I'm not convinced they would do much better than Firefox currently does.


Funny, I have around 200 tabs open and FF is using around 2.5GB. Thats with close to a dozen add-ons. Chrome would’ve choked and died long before reaching 100 tabs. Memory-wise, I'm quite happy with FF now. Now they just need to make their session API less garbage.


What OS are you on?


Linux and Win10


Two things at play here: First, browser engines intentionally hold onto memory to re-use (they are allocating large-ish chunks at a time) until there is a Memory pressure Event. It‘s not leaked memory.

Second, it sounds like you have quite a few addons running that each hold quite a bit of data in memory (like ad blockers). Try safe mode and see if behavior changes (though ads may now swallow quite a bit of memory now).


I'm curious: what does about:memory have to say about the breakdown of that 2.3GB?


By the browser you're comparing Firefox to, I'm assuming you're not using a Mac, while the parent is.

Every single performance complaint I've seen post Quantum release has been from a Mac user.


Meanwhile I have an HN tab and a Slack tab and I am sitting at 45% CPU and 1GB RAM...


what happens if you close the slack tab?

don't really think a bloated spa is ff's fault..

my standalone slack on macos takes ~500M


About 100 open tabs and 10 days of uptime and firefox hasn't leaked memory over here (about 5GiB used).


Hi. Could you please add more on how the memory leak might happen in Firefox ? It appears really interesting to me.


I love Firefox! The performance is great, it feels zippy, and I love their reader mode and straightforward ui.


I've been very happy with firefox, with one exception. For whatever reason, I can't log into gitlab without getting a '422'. On chrome it's not an issue, but on firefox I can't log in to gitlab despite lots of trying different things.


Absolutely satisfied with Firefox. I wanted to use FF for years, mainly for ideological reasons, but didn't because next to Chrome, the performance wasn't there.

But the changes Mozilla did in recent years convinced me to come back and it has been great!


you're not alone. I'm quite happy with Firefox, and it's my #2 browser on my Mac (I use Safari first) and my #1 browser on Windows and Linux.

The only reason that I have Chrome installed is for the occasional website that absolutely requires something in Flash, and that's usually some online training thing.


You're not alone :)


Its pretty slow for me on macOS, at least compared to Safari.


> Removed the description field for bookmarks. Users who have stored descriptions using the field may wish to export these descriptions as html or json files, as they will be removed in a future release.

Does anyone know if there's an explanation for this somewhere? Between removing live bookmarks (a simple feed reader) and this, it seems like they're paring down user-facing features.

I don't think these are the features being referred to when people complain about "browser bloat", Mozilla. I expect Chrome to push me to use remote services, but I don't want that from Mozilla. I know it's a trope to complain about Firefox becoming a Chrome clone, but it feels truer every release.


The Firefox bookmarking implementation is unnecessarily complicated and I'm guessing very few features are actually used. It's a maintenance burden, I'm not surprised they want to slim it down.

To give you an example of a maintenance burden in the bookmarking system, the bookmarking system uses a bunch of synchronous APIs. Mozilla is trying to cut down or eliminate use of those APIs, to reduce UI hangs among other reasons, and in order to do that a bunch of bookmarking code needs to be rewritten.

You may have decided that you don't care about this particular kind of bloat, but all unnecessary maintenance burdens distract developers from doing work I'm sure you do care about.

Here is the bug for removing descriptions:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1402890

Here is a sub-bug that discusses issues with synchronous APIs.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1467996


It is true that some features can be maintenance burdens for software projects.

But bookmark descriptions? Really? That's ridiculous. WebGL, or WebVR, or Pocket, maybe, those could be a burden. But BOOKMARK DESCRIPTIONS?

Maybe the existing bookmarking system is crap and you need to re-implement it. You can put descriptions in the new implementation, in a few minutes - it's just another optional text field/property. Unless the goal is just to remove all bookmarking whatsoever. And instead of being honest about that, you're passive-aggressively trying to get people to stop using them first, by crippling them in various ways for obviously bogus reasons.


The relevant comment from Bugzilla thread

> Nonetheless, I'd argue that it's a matter of PR among the subset of users most likely to champion Firefox.

> When the reading list functionality just vanished on me one day and I rushed to make a backup of reading-list.sqlite in case it got deleted later, it did not leave me with a very good impression of Mozilla. (rather than, for example, seeing that it had been migrated to a folder in the bookmarks store.)

> (In fact, I'm currently working on an external utility, to be integrated via WebExtensions, to store all persistent state which I don't feel I can trust Firefox to preserve when 52 ESR drops away. This approach to retiring bookmark descriptions only leaves me feeling more justified in the view that I can't trust Mozilla with my data.)


Add to that rant the fact that for a while mozjs was the choice javascript engine for various projects that wanted a JS interpreter. Then one day they decided to literally break the API, every couple weeks, and its been going on for years. The language bindings aren't even the same now, and projects like gnome end up with these rather large patch sets every few months just to keep up.


mozjs was a pretty old codebase with some design decisions that made sense in the mid-90s but don't make sense now baked into the API.

The API needed to change to support things like a generational garbage collector. The set of needed API changes was quite large.

Now the project had two options: Make the changes incrementally or all at once. The incremental option would mean API changes with each release until all the changes got made. The all at once option would mean you'd need to do a complete rewrite of all the relevant mozjs code and all the relevant Firefox code all landing in a single release. Since the time needed for that rewrite was measured in years, that would mean maintaining a branch and dealing with all the merge conflicts from other ongoing work. In practice, it would have meant a much slower pace of web-facing JS feature development at best; more likely a complete stop to that.

Given those choices, the JS team went for the incremental route. Yes, it was painful for API consumers who needed to be running against current versions. But in this case, I expect it was the right tradeoff.

I should also note that V8 breaks API compat regularly, though not to the extent that SpiderMonkey had to, due to being designed 15 years later with many benefits of hindsight.

[Disclosure: I work on Firefox, closely with the JS team but not on the JS team.]


Thanks, I appreciate the explanation and links, and I can definitely appreciate the fact that it's a maintenance burden that's taking away from other important work.

But it's still hard to swallow -- given the really, truly amazing engineering work that's been coming out of Mozilla (Rust and Servo are what I'm thinking of), and the gargantuan effort going into those -- that the APIs involved in the bookmarking system couldn't be improved. Looked at from another angle, if Mozilla can afford to put some resources into keeping Thunderbird alive, surely it can afford some resources to improve bookmarking code to avoid axing some fairly basic features.


I've read somewhere that Firefox telemetry showed that hardly anyone used the bookmark descriptions.

In that case, understandable they chose to remove them.


That's how I expect Google to make decisions, not Mozilla. I would like to say that I trust Mozilla to appropriately weigh pros and cons and make unpopular decisions when necessary, but it seems like the entire deliberation process was a few individuals in one of the bugzilla threads that jaas linked above: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1402890 (and I don't see any mention of how widely used it is, from telemetry or otherwise).


> That's how I expect Google to make decisions, not Mozilla

Exactly. There is no point to compete with Google for "browser for Uncle Joe", Google won that battle. The power user browser niche is what Firefox could take instead. But no, let's chase after the leader by his rules, look at how good is Blackberry doing.


> Exactly. There is no point to compete with Google for "browser for Uncle Joe"

Yes there is.

For Firefox to be useful, websites need to work in it. That means web developers need to test in it. And that means that the demographics that they target need to have enough Firefox users to justify testing it. That means there needs to be a sizable portion of Firefox users in every major demographic.

Otherwise it'll be right back to where we were with IE6, except unlike back then, Google Chrome isn't abandonware that just happens to ship with Windows.


Can you explain how exactly the description field for bookmarks was a relevant feature for a significant share of power users?


> a significant share

I don't know what is 'a significant share' when we are talking about power users. Not to say a significant share of power users disabled telemetry completely so we can't say anything about their share using this feature.


> I don't know what is 'a significant share' when we are talking about power users.

It basically means: worth tailoring to, given precious UI space and limited developer resources. Of course there's no fixed share that "worth tailoring to" can be translated to universally. It's a judgement call.

Do you think 50% of power users used this feature? How about 10%? 5%? 1%?

I doubt this one even met the 1% bar. Would you agree that it's reasonable if not necessary to draw a line somewhere?

> Not to say a significant share of power users disabled telemetry completely so we can't say anything about their share using this feature.

What we can at the very least do is reason about features and why and how people would use them, and we can collect anecdotal evidence.

I consider myself a power user. I have never used this feature in more than a decade, and have a hard time imagining what important thing people would do with it.


> It basically means: worth tailoring to, given precious UI space and limited developer resources.

How much precious developer time is required maintain a user-facing text field on an entity with only a handful of other fields? Certainly not enough to properly justify a feature regression with user-data loss.

> Do you think 50% of power users used this feature? How about 10%? 5%? 1%?

IMHO, you're thinking about power users incorrectly. Power users aren't as cookie-cutter as regular users, so you shouldn't expect them all to use an identical set of features. For instance, say you have 100 power user features. It wouldn't surprise me if none of those features passed 1% usage, but 90% of power users use at least one of them. Get rid of them all due to "low usage according to telemetry" and you've just created regressions for 90% of your power users.


> How much precious developer time is required maintain a user-facing text field on an entity with only a handful of other fields?

The description removal blocked improvements to bookmarking that will actually affect a significant share of users:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/showdependencytree.cgi?maxdepth...


How is that supposed to be sustainable?


Are you saying it's unsustainable to maintain an application suitable for power users?

It'll definitely take more effort than maintaining a restrictive, dumbed-down app; but it's certainly not impossible and I think the benefit is worth it.


I'm saying that it's unsustainable to maintain a hundreds of features for the benefit of different slices of 1% use.


> I'm saying that it's unsustainable to maintain a hundreds of features for the benefit of different slices of 1% use.

There isn't one kind of "power user," especially for something like a web browser. If you want to support power users, you probably will need to support hundreds of specialized features, many of which won't be used my everyone. If you don't do that, then I think it's very unlikely that you support power users [1]. Apps with feature-sets like this exist, so I think it's wrong to make a blanket statement that it's unsustainable.

I'm not saying it's always sustainable either: if you're a two man team at a small company, you probably can't manage to support much more than the core user group. However, Mozilla's big and I think they need to offer something unique compared to Chrome and Safari.

[1] As opposed to developers or extension-writers. My definition of power user excludes people who extensively modify the software themselves.


> Mozilla's big and I think they need to offer something unique compared to Chrome and Safari

Mozilla is tiny compared to the size of the Chrome team.


> I've read somewhere that Firefox telemetry showed that hardly anyone used the bookmark descriptions.

> In that case, understandable they chose to remove them.

It's not understandable. That logic leads to dumbed-down, point-and-grunt products because the "telemetry" shows most users aren't power users.

Anyway, how much effort does it really take to maintain a text field on a bookmark entity?


I do kind of wonder how many power users are opting out of telemetry for privacy reasons...

Unrelated, but dear god that bug tracker was infuriating to read. As in I had a strong desire to reach through the screen and shake a few by the shoulders asking "What the FUCK is wrong with you people?!"

Concern over data loss nearly dismissed out of hand, a smug "you should have backups" response to intentionally caused data loss, and all this over what amounts to a property field on a bookmark... It's like I was reading the GNOME tracker!

All this over "maintenance burden". Is the "maintenace burden" of a non-searchable field that's only visible in a single context really that high? Really? It seems like this is quickly becoming the go-to excuse to eliminate power user features in a way that those users will not see until its too late. "Developer" is already a subset of "power user", and "developer who reads the bug tracker for unwanted future surprises" is an even smaller subset.


>Anyway, how much effort does it really take to maintain a text field on a bookmark entity?

My thought too! Legacy extension APIs are one thing. An extra DB column / key:value pair is nothing.


If you think about, how this simplifies anything, you will start to understand the mess that is the FF codebase (not that chrome is noticeably better, particularly if you try and build it anywhere outside of ubuntu/x86_64).


It's not a mess, it's just a case of "not used by me, so remove it". Instead of improving the feature they let it rot away, like so many others, and then ignore that people still used it. Really sad.


No, it's not understandable at all. It might be understandable to have an option to display descriptions or not, but not remove altogether. Frankly, Firefox was, for a long time, the only major privacy-respecting browser. Heck, Tor Browser is still built on FF. By only caring about "telemetry" (i.e. random information sharing without the user having the ability to audit data prior to any transmission), and not caring about providing the best and most robust privacy-focused feature set, Firefox is actively cutting off a major part of its old user base, telling them that Firefox is not the browser which they originally installed anymore. Now, if the description data was being stored in plaintext and that data was being leaked, by all means, say that outright so we know that the devs screwed up again, remove the dangerous function, leave the data to the user (that part really kills me, btw - Mozilla is trying to delete information from my PC without my explicit consent), and put it in roadmap to reimplement in a more privacy-driven way.

That means, do not reveal information to any server - and I mean any - if I have a server on my network, don't let my user settings leak there. Do not rely on an external, insecure, website to do what your browser should. And all websites are insecure - I am not the only person to deal with the server from bare metal up, that means there are twice as many security risks as there are abstractions from me plugging my computer directly into that computer.

If you want "telemetry", give me a button in my options menu to compile the report, in human-readable plaintext, and then, only after I approve it, ask me to send that text file through sFTP to a server I can log into with a one-time username and password, with 1024bit encryption minimum. I would be okay with sending a monthly report, after having confirmed that it does in fact contain no information whatsoever that could be used to deanonymize me. Anything more than once a month per user is extreme, and means that the devs are being overloaded with data so they don't have time to manually code.


> Their usefulness is very limited, since we don't even search on them

How about instead making them more useful and searching the field?

> they are fetched from the page at the bookmarking time

That I wouldn't mind removing, but not having a proper place to add some notes about the bookmark seems silly.


Searching among descriptions would be "unnecessarily complicated and I'm guessing very barely are actually used" I suppose.

Oh if only there were some engine inside, like SQLite or something.


"The Firefox X implementation is unnecessarily complicated and I'm guessing very few features are actually used" is exactly the same attitude from Firefox developers for any X since long ago.


That was really dumb "to reduce UI hangs " Instead of removing the ability for fetching site descriptions(that no one care about, and probably the core reason of "UI hangs" ), they remove the entire field(that is actually a useful feature) that could be used to add site info by the user.


That's really bad. Deleting user data is one of the most loud ways to declare that "we're bad at software development!" I guess I should consider trying Ungoogled Chromium or maybe Pale Moon. I worry the former will be a menace to build because I don't have lots of RAM and CPU. Edit: I don't use the feature but still...


They are not deleting already existing data, they removed the user-facing features and the collection of new data.


They will remove the data in a future release. I.e. if you don't read the entire release notes for all the software you use, there's a chance that your data will be removed inadvertently, if you happen to use the feature.

Firefox has problems with data loss. I have lost my open tabs on multiple occasions in scenarios where it's totally possible to recover the entire data (just using atomic writes). Recently, I mistakenly opened FF 52 instead of FF 61 (Debian has 52), and all my bookmarks were deleted. Luckily I had a backup of the user profile so that I survived that. I like FF, but I cannot trust it with my data one bit. And now it's no more only mistakes but it's intentional, user-hostile design decisions.


No, they said they intend to remove the data entirely in the future and that you should back it up yourself if you want to keep it.


They're also paring down user-facing settings. It makes no sense to, e.g., send people to about:config for disabling web service workers.


They've been actively hostile to friendly user settings for years. They constantly reduce what's exposed through the settings page, forcing users into about:config.


And I feel like that's the first step towards using their telemetry to decide that feature is unused and can be deprecated (because only the people who really care about something will go through with Googling to find whatever hidden setting needs to be changed to fix their browser).

And yes, I'm still salty about no longer being able to set showOneOffButtons to false :)

(I've stopped using FireFox since the new extensions model doesn't allow this misfeature to be fixed with extensions anymore)


Forcing users to default settings actually, they would happily remove about:config if they could.


If they remove tags supports later on, that will be the last useful feature I'm hanging on.

The bookmarking system is being downgraded to the point of uselessness, at this point I'd switch back to Chrome.


As long as Chrome is maintained by Google I'd never go back. Heck, I'd even start using IE before I'd turn to Chrome ...


Bromite [1] is promising, especially if someone begin to build it for desktop platforms.

[1] https://www.bromite.org/


What does it have over Falkon (previously, https://qupzilla.com, which supported a whole pile of platforms), or for that matter any of the chromium based browsers, which all seem to be "de-googled"?


Is the Falcon actively developed recently? By the way, Bromite is available in F-Droid, is there any plans about Falcon for Android?

> any of the chromium based browsers, which all seem to be "de-googled"

Are there many of them?


The Falkon fork was just made a few months ago although the latest release is from May, so that is fairly old in browser update land, but being just a few months old is pretty decent WRT browsers that aren't FF/Chrome. OTOH, QupZilla was one of those just a few releases a year projects anyway. So a few months between releases wasn't unusual.

https://github.com/QupZilla/qupzilla/blob/master/CHANGELOG

Looking at the Falkon repo (https://phabricator.kde.org/source/falkon/) there were commits made just a couple days ago. So, it looks like its being actively developed. There is also a fair amount of mailing list chatter.

Yes, there are a ton of chromium forked browsers: (random link with a long list of alternative browsers, almost all of them have some tie to ff or chrome) http://www.canadiancontent.net/tech/downloads/Internet-Brows...

As far as android versions, I don't know what the plans are, you could ask them. AFAIK, Qupzilla didn't support any mobile platforms, although QT does iOS & Android. I'm sure they would take a pull request <wink>


While I do tag my bookmarks I barely use that feature. Some tag cloud for my bookmkarks would be awesome though.



If anyone relies on bookmark descriptions, look into my Static Marks tool [0]. It goes beyond descriptions: every bookmark may include multiple notes and other bookmarks. There is no import feature yet, though (but the latest move by Mozilla makes me want to implement this soon).

[0] https://staticmarks.com/


Came here with exact same quote in clipboard, ready to grumble. Not that this is in any way an essential feature to me, but the trend is one way, and one way only: The paring down of choice and useful public features. Firefox of ten years ago was UI-wise a far superior product to the sorry quasi-Chrome of today. I no longer use it with any kind of joy or excitement because it's somehow best. I use it because everything else is even worse. No, please, spare me the recommendation: I do not use Google products. Period.

[Edit: typos]


> the trend is one way, and one way only: The paring down of choise and usefuls public features.

...and creating APIs so that extensions can handle the functionality instead.


Creating XUL, really?

You cannot create an restricted API for everything, the very point of extensions, plugins, addons is community is always bigger than your developers team, and much, much more diverse. The 'long tail' effect is what extensions community is about, not '90 per cent of users'. 90 per cent of users might need just a couple of the same extensions, the other 10 per cent of users need a thousand of different extensions.


Well, we had XUL (which was awesome), now it's gone


I need to say at least one relatively good thing about Firefox - it has extensions on Android. I don't know for how long but still.


The community still has XUL thanks to Pale Moon.


Not really. I stuck to Pale Moon for a while, but it gets untenable: Stuck with dead extensions, or ancient versions of live ones. Left behind with no support for essentials like grid-view display, which the Pale Moon maintainer seems to consider a kind of personal affront. And knowing with close to absolute certainty that you are setting yourself up with a variety of gaping, unpatched security holes.


I haven't found it to be untenable. Then again, it seems that you're worried about maintaining the bleeding edge, and I'm, well, the exact opposite of that. My mantra in terms of technology has been "If it ain't broke, stop trying to fix it" for the last, oh, 4 years or more.


XUL the platform should still live on, unless Mozilla pulled the devkit

Hmm, now to check up on xulrunner....


You can't create a UI that makes everyone happy either.

For example, extensions that use the tabs WebExtension API are significantly more varied than the removed Panorama feature.


> You can't create a UI that makes everyone happy either.

That's why every software project having a user community has theme support.


Browser themes change appearance, not functionality.


> ...and creating APIs so that extensions can handle the functionality instead.

If they were actually doing that, I'd be first in line for their defense, but they aren't. Additionally, they keep shoving in features that should be extensions.


They're definitely actively working on giving WebExtensions as much power as they can.

There's a number of new APIs in the pipeline[1] with additional experimental prototypes in various stages of progress[2].

1. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Add-ons/Projects#New_WebExtension_A...

2. https://github.com/mozilla/libdweb


I'm a die-hard Firefox fan. While all my colleagues develop in Chrome, I'm the weird one who uses Firefox and always catches some problem in rendering when testing.

But recently I installed an 4K monitor. I use the Latest Windows 10 and have an GTX 1050 graphic card. The Firefox on this resolution is VERY slow. I have no problem in Edge or Chrome. Please, if any dev is around, check this use case.


Hi, dev here. :)

Can you capture a profile using steps from [0] and send them to us/me?

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/7knnn4/firefox_qua...


Thanks for chiming in!

I have a question. Where are you guys at with this issue?

The thing is, literally every retina resolution Macbook I've tried this on (3 different machines) resulted in massive CPU hog with 4 tabs open on a few basic websites. Let's say they are reddit, hn, and youtube.

The Awesome bar is slow, switching tabs is slow, computer warms up in 15 seconds. Fans kick in, the rest is history. New profile, existing profile, it doesn't matter.

That goes for every single release after 57, including Developers, Beta, and Nightly builds.

15 inch ones are worse than 13.

This doesn't happen when I use external screen.

My feeling is in order to reproduce the issue one has to - Find a Macbook Pro released after 2012. - Open Firefox with aforementioned websites - Try to interact with the websites

Are there any active issues for it?

I remember this one: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1404042

All dependent bugs are fixed, but alas, it made no difference.

Is there's anything I could do to help resolve this?


There's some mention of improvement for this in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1265824#c221 -- scheduled to be released in Firefox 63.

You might try the nightly and see if it's already fixed.


1. Nightly has some profile incompatible database changes 2. That bug is OS X only. The parent is on Windows 10.


Pro tip: Windows users can try out Nightly (or Beta or ESR or Developer) without impacting their main install with the portable packages from PortableApps.com: https://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox-portable-nigh...


I thought this was maybe just a Mac-specific issue, but apparently not! Chrome and Safari are fine, but Firefox is horridly slow.

I'm kinda hoping more Quantum / Webrender stuff will fix things in the future.


I recently switched back from Chrome to FF and I'm running in 4K under Ubuntu. Same graphics card as you (or Intel integrated graphics). No performance issues to report.


I have performance issues on Mac OS when it wakeups and attached to external monitor. Some tabs start to eat memory and CPU, until I kill process... it look like very old issue with scaling but it's not fixed


Do you have a link to the issue? I encounter similar problems regularly. I restart Firefox regularly because of the memory use. Also, it chews on the CPU more than other browsers when seemingly idle.


Could you file a bug report?


Exactly! Firefox is very rough and slow compared to Safari on my 2016 MacBook Pro, with or without an external 4K monitor. I'd like to use Firefox, but I tend to just open Safari instead because it just feels better.


I’ve read in places that using the “More Space” options for Retina Displays (essentially any higher resolution than the default), causes Firefox to slow down. I was in the process of moving from chrome to Firefox and realized mine was slow and I read some responses indicating what I mentioned above. I abandoned the effort then and there. It was unbearable.


I'm also using Windows 10, 4K monitor, Firefox and GTX 1060 and have no issues. So your issue might not actually be related to resolution.


Are you running any new software packages related to the monitor, e.g. LG's software for screen rearrangement and split screen use? I didn't dig into the actual cause and what was being hooked, but I was seeing enormous lag with no apparent cause when it was running.


I have the exact opposite issue. Firefox is zippy, and chrome slows my whole computer down. Switching between discord and chrome often incurs a 10-30 second lockup of my machine, where I basically just have to wait for the two to battle it out. No such issue with firefox.


++ This was my experience, too, running FF on an older Mac (2014, I think) with a big retina screen.


When FF 52 first came out scrolling felt considerably laggy on my 4k monitors (Arch, i3 window manager, GTX950). It seems to have improved somewhere in the last year. I'm now using Firefox as my daily driver on all my devices.


"Firefox Home (the default New Tab) now allows users to display up to 4 rows of top sites, Pocket stories, and highlights"

Yay, I always wanted to see more spam in it!

(had the "fun" experience of needing to figure out again how to disable new spammy things from new tab page on mobile despite having already done so before)


"Highlights" is not "spam", it's pages you willingly opened and browsed through for long enough. or something. It's not useless if you're prone to rummaging through recent history trying to find that site you looked at 4 hours ago and closed, but want to find and reopen now. I wish I better understood the criteria to highlight, though.


Are you sure? Here is what "recommended by pocket", which automatically appeared recently, shows for me [edit: this is non-personalized as mentioned in a comment]:

"buzzfeednews: Teachers are moonlighting as instagram influencers to make ends meet" trending

"vox: a history of happiness explains why capitalism makes us feel empty inside" trending

"theguardian: chanel shoes, but no salary: how one woman exposed the scandal of the french fashion industry" trending

I have never visited those pages before. I had clean new tab pages showing only most commonly visited pages before, and suddenly automatically this stuff appeared in it now. I consider this spam, yes.

Also, for most commonly visited pages, all it gives me is an orange square with only an "R" in it for reddit or a green square with an "N" in it for hacker news, but for the spammy stuff above it gives full titles!


"Recommended by Pocket" is not "Highlights". Yes, I do disable the "recommended" stuff.

When I enable "Highlights" on the new tab page, I see pages I spent a lot of time on lately: e.g. OpenWRT recommended hardware page, Coney Island water temperature page, and a page about the Graphwiz format. None of them are related to anything in Pocket (which I also actively use), or, thank goodness, buzzfeed.


I disable absolutely everything on the home page/new tabs.

My home page is ~/home.html in all browsers. Thus it's the same in Chrome, FF, w3m, whatever. Much easier than remembering how to set bookmarks/favorites in different browsers and keep them all in sync.


Last time I checked, loading local files as a new tab page required either installing a third party add-on/extension or creating your own[0] in both Firefox and Chrome.

Is that still the case? Did you find an easier option?

[0] Way easier than one would assume, you just need a manifest file next to your HTML file.

EDIT: A local web server instead of loading the HTML file directly also works and avoids the need for add-ons/extensions.


Well that can't be very personalised - those 4 links are exactly what I'm getting too!


I don't think it gets personalized unless you "login" to the your firefox account.


Which account, as I've documented before, is insecure; you should not have a Firefox account and should not store passwords, browsing history, bookmarks or any other privacy- or security-related data with Mozilla's system.

(short version: Mozilla can target you with a small piece of JavaScript to steal your password, then use it offline to decrypt your data)


I remember tour comment at the time, but cannot find it right now.

Do we know if Mozilla is planning anything to fix this?


> Do we know if Mozilla is planning anything to fix this?

Nope, so far as I can tell they are invested in their current approach. In fairness, I will admit that it trades security in order to get a slight improvement in usability.

If they'd just make it impossible to log in via JavaScript, and only through the browser UI, then they could increase the security. But they won't do it.


source/explanation?


Firefox Accounts encrypt user data with (a function of) a master key; that master key is encrypted with a key derived from the user's Firefox Account password. It would be completely insecure for Mozilla to know the user's password (because then they would be able to use the password to decrypt the master key & the master key to decrypt each private datum), so they have set up a protocol in which the user enters his password in his browser, and the browser performs some one-way operations on the password to authenticate. Sounds secure, right?

The problem is that this happens in JavaScript which is downloaded from Mozilla's site. It would be trivial for Mozilla to target a single user with a piece of JavaScript which boils down to:

   if (username === 'target') { sendPlaintextPassword(); }
The solution is for user login to be impossible through web pages, and only available via the browser UI. This would mean third parties would have the opportunity to audit the Firefox source code (e.g. Debian, Red Hat and other distros could check to see if the source they build is malicious). It would also mean that silently targetting a single user would be far less possible (they could still try to send that user a malicious browser if he automatically installs updates — but a security-conscious user gets his updates from a distro, not from Mozilla directly).

It's a really nasty flaw, and the fact that they refuse to address it worries me: why don't they care about the security of their users? Why do they insist on maintaining a backdoor?


>why don't they care about the security of their users? Why do they insist on maintaining a backdoor?

did you report this to them? if there was a bug report and they marked it as WONTFIX or something that would give more credence to your theory. otherwise, Hanlon's razor.


You're right: Firefox is showing you these even though you didn't visit them. Sadly, many of these "recommendations" are from politically charged sites. Vox is notoriously far-left, Buzzfeed is leftist and often features sensational, click-bait headlines.

Disappointed these are showing up on my Firefox homepage.


I have disabled all the Pocket stuff on my Firefox so I didn't see this, but it does not surprise me (even though it disappoints me) that the Mozilla Corporation is using the Firefox home page to push left-wing news.


What's the left-wing news that they are posting?


What a progressive company from Mountain View, CA, would be sticking to? I believe it's sort of hard to be right-wing in a place like that, at least publicly.

I also suppose that this may be the default for a particular audience / geolocation. That is, maybe they'd show a different thing in Russia (sorry, I don't have a Russian VPN), and maybe even a different thing in Texas. Or maybe something based on your previous browsing history (e.g. if you read something like zerohedge a lot, they might show you a different, more aligned site).

I don't know, and am not inclined to thoroughly experiment. But the complete source is there, and it must be a relatively recent addition, so anybody interested could just dive in and find out. Yay Mozilla!


First, they could be sticking to neutral news. Those exist.

Second, I don't believe the source code of the algorithm that picks which news to show you is available... If there's an algorithm at all, because chances are it's curated by humans.


Neutral news? I'd appreciate a few examples (unless it's the paid news agencies feeds).


The closest thing to that is trying to go back 30 years ago. Find sources that are not sensationalizing the news. That's the best indicator IMO for "news". Meaning, things that are happening, not what people are saying or doing (what Trump or someone else is saying etc).

My recommendations for this are the BBC RSS feed, PBS NewsHour for nightly news / video (Youtube or OTA antenna) and a local paper RSS feed (Chicago Tribune for me). Though that paper has long been considered politically biased (to the right), local events are probably more important than national or worldwide news coverage so one has to bite the bullet at a point.

BBC/Tribune/PBS are simply exceptional reporting, regardless of any leanings, and I'd put that ahead of worrying about a lack of total neutrality. It's a little overblown. It's been clear for some time now that there's a bit of a struggle for right-wingers on being able to mentally muster their way through biased reporting (real or perceived). There's a lot of weak and fragile people around today, can't even watch or read something that doesn't cater to their sensitivities. It used to be that a right-winger aspired to be John Wayne. Now they're all-in on victimhood culture. If they did anything in their life at all, like get off the couch to join the military (which is a government dependent of the worst kind- one that leads to people getting killed, rather than an unpaid, sacrificial service), they're deeply offended if you're not constantly kissing the ring.

Maybe checking just the AP releases would be the best way to get "neutral news", but I think if you just hunt for sources that explicitly do not sensationalize the news, something Fox News brought into popularity, you'll get most of the way there.


Many news agencies have free content as well.


...there's a little cog wheel at the top right?


Defaults matter. Firefox has this annoying habit of constantly devising new “interesting” things on the new tab page. It’s to the point where you need to install an add on to override it to avoid constant surprises.


Yes, but Firefox doesn't save the changes you make here to your account sync. Every time you install Firefox somewhere new, you have to change it again if you don't want to see sponsored content.


That this was the the first thing listed did not make me very interested in reading on.

Favorite browser modification: set default page to about:blank


about:blank is my favorite web page.

I can add any content I want there.

Then if it phones home I have only myself to blame.


You can put custom html into about:blank? How do I do that please?


What I mean is adding content dynamically after about:blank loads. You can set contentEditable to "true", inject some innerHTML, use the terrible DOM interface, or make a little JQuery to suit your needs.

You can probably also style about:blank to have whatever you want in it when it loads. I'd imagine that is done differently depending on the browser you're using.

On the other hand, I'm not sure why you'd want to when you can just set your new tab page to a custom page of your choosing.

Edit: clarification


In the current FF there are regular settings to tweak or disable all of that. Similar to what you’d see in Chrome, but with more control.


Nothing against FF, I really like its control and the mobile app. But this particular behavior is out of character for it imho.


Not related to this particular release, but I wish Mozilla implemented tree-style tabs as core feature (or at least provided core API). The current "Tree style tab" plugin in indispensable for me, but has to be a hack, however exquisite, especially around tab context menus.


I'm still baffled at the number of people who have no idea that tree style tabs exist. If more education was given to people about this plugin, it would probably be a core feature of Firefox.


I have to check this out now. I'm one of those who haven't heard about tree style tabs until now


This is the primary reason why I'm able to use FF. Tree style tabs make a huge quality of life difference


Agreed, and I'm confident to say that every power user would benefit from vertical tabs. After all you can still read the title text when having more than 10 tabs open.

I'm experiencing the retina macbook performance issue, hence I can't use FF + tree style tabs anymore, which was frustrating. Until I recently discovered the Vivaldi Browser (https://vivaldi.com/) which has it as a native option - plus it's built on Chromium. Most Chrome extensions work.

Good setup for me so far!


Whoa I am trying this now and it looks amazing!!


It is amazing, and is a huge productivity boost for me.

It has a few irritating quirks, though, and I suppose these quirks have little chance to be removed without some support from browser core.


Been waiting for “Reopen in Container” for awhile. It's very annoying when I Ctrl+T to open a new tab for a site and it takes me awhile to realize I forgot to open it in the right container tab. Glad to see the feature finally added!


Also a huge fan of this feature, I lit up when I read it. I hope there is a way to turn it into a keyboard shortcut.


This is the feature I'm most excited about this time:

> “Reopen in Container” tab menu option appears for users with Containers that lets them choose to reopen a tab in a different container

This is going to make containers even more useful.


If you are using containers, New container tab [0] and Switch Container [1] were essential add-ons. Now with this feature built-in, the latter is unnecessary.

[0] Add Alt+C shortcut to open a new tab in current container: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/new-container...

[1] Reopen current tab in container: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/switch-contai...


Now all we need is something to let us map shortcuts to open specific containers, e.g. alt+s to open a new tab in the shopping container. (I tried using Application Shortcuts on OSX, but a. they stop working after restarting Firefox and b. they don't work if a tab has full screen video because that hides Firefox's menu bar on all monitors.)


When are containers going to graduate to a built-in feature rather than an extension?


All the heavy lifting for containers is built-in. It's just the mapping of tabs to containers, the creation/disposal of containers and UI parts that's managed through the extensions because users do have different preferences and use-cases in that area. E.g. they may want automatic rule-driven assignment of domains to containers except when either blah blah holds or when manually overridden.

The built-in minimal and completely manual UI can be enabled with privacy.userContext.enabled = true


I would love a way to sync my sites defined in containers, so that site A opens in the correct container on all my computers running firefox.

I would really love tabgroups to magically start working again, but I have been making due with containers. (and it does have some nice features)


Containers used to be the other way around, baked into Firefox and then moved to an extension last year. It's better that a power user feature is not a part of the default installation.


Containers are the killer feature of Firefox over Chrome and the reason I recommend it to family and friends. In my opinion they're not a power user feature at all, everyone and anyone can get instant obvious benefit from them. Multiple logins on the same service, controlling how you are tracked, just to name a couple.

Attention and effort are expensive and 'install and just use' gets you a material percentage more users than 'install and then click through this menu system and install something else'. Containers should absolutely work out the box.


I am not sure if that'll be the case. The Multi Account Container (https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers) seems like it's dead. No new commits since end of March and according to https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers/issues/3..., it's only going to get bug fixes and maintenance patches. No new development.

I have a feeling that they are relying on extension developers to add features/functionality.


You can turn it on, it's called First Party Isolation.


I really want to change to Firefox but a while ago it was a huge battery drain on my mac. It had something to do with it not using CoreAnimation, I think. Does anyone know if this is still the case?



I've been using FF on my 2015 MBP as my daily driver for at least 2 years and haven't had any problems. I mean, it's a battery hog for sure, but no more so than Chrome or any other modern browser with dozens of tabs open. Every once in a rare while flash will cause CPU usage to spike like crazy, but that isn't much of a problem anymore for obvious reasons. YMMV though I guess, it seems like a lot of people are still having performance issues, probably depending on which extensions are in use.

Not sure on the use of CoreAnimation.


What do you mean by daily driver?


It usually means the main, default or preferred application.


I think everyone sees different results based on their hardware and browsing habits. I haven't seen anything recent directly comparing Firefox/Chrome/Safari on Mac to Firefox/Chrome/Edge on PC using the same exact websites.

For me, it isn't always in the "Using significant power" list.


Do you use a Retina display by chance? In certain setups, Fx is known to use more energy in HiDPI mode. Try disabling it and see if it fixes your issue.

To what I know, this issue is known to Moz and will be fixed in a few versions (it appears to be a complex issue that takes time to solve).


> In certain setups, Fx is known to use more energy in HiDPI mode. Try disabling it

"Hey, your laptop is too good, please cripple it!" is not a good answer, especially considering retina displays have been out for 6 years now (and I bet loads of Moz employees use them too).

I use Firefox almost exclusively, and still I wonder, sometimes, what the %$#%@ the "leadership" is thinking. They keep messing with crap like Pocket instead of concentrating on fundamentals like these.


I was merely pointing out troubleshooting steps, not suggesting you take that as a solution to the issue. As I said, it‘s been worked on and latest nightly seems to improve that situation a bit.


Pst, Moz and Mozilla are not the same thing.


Why remove descriptions from bookmarks? I know they're not the most useful thing, but I don't get the benefit of removing them.


I suspect it's simply "one less thing to worry about when we sync with the cloud".


I suspect the long game here is eliminating user bookmarking altogether. Why would you want to use something as archaic as a saved URL, when there's a service that knows where you want to go to on the Internet better than you could ever decide for yourself?


They spent lots of money on Pocket and are increasingly pushing people to use it. Making the built-in bookmarks worse is an easy way to make Pocket look better by comparison.


One thing I still miss from Safari is 'Show all Tabs' which would give you thumbnails of open tabs. There is nothing built into FireFox that is equivalent. I have looked at some of the extensions, and they are in various states of support or waiting for FF to implement some API. The dropdown menu showing the tab titles becomes pretty useless after a certain number has been reached.

I'm amazed in 2018 it seems tab management (> 20 tabs) is still so awful.


With each new Firefox release, it gets farther and farther away from what the browser once was. I started using Firefox over a decade ago, now it's become just a different version of awful. I don't know exactly happened when Mozilla lost their perspective, but I do know when - the first introduction of Australis. And they should have figured out, when you name it after something upside-down, you should seriously wonder if it's upside down. WebExtensions is just piling error upon error.

And with each new release, more control is taken from the user, more decent features are removed. I swear, Firefox peaked at 4.0.


I think it really went downhill earlier than that; somewhere around 4 was when they stopped trying to work with the ecosystem and just started blocking things instead. Perhaps I've accidentally got rose-tinted glasses on though…


My take on how Firefox is better than Chrome: https://fiatjaf.alhur.es/entulho/firefox-vs-chrome.txt

(No politics, just the raw browser features. Also, I'm a long time Chrome user, switched to Firefox an year ago, then back to Chrome for a week and now permanently on Firefox.)


I really like Firefox but unfortunately it doesn't run well on my machine. I have Ryzen 2700X, geforce 1080 Ti, running current Ubuntu but firefox is using 1 full CPU at 100% (load is moving from one core to another) and constantly lags. Researched a lot for any similar problems but couldn't find any solution.

Has anyone seen anything like this and maybe even solved it?


Have you considered submitting a bug report? That's likely to get more attention than complaining on some random internet forum.


I really love Firefox, and I’m still holding out for HiDPI support on Wayland. Currently it is a little awful to use...


Is it just me or does the HSTS preload list not work in Firefox 62 (macOS 10.12)? I see a plaintext HTTP request when opening http://www.google.com instead of an immediate https connection to www.google.com.


Youtube on Firefox for me is awful. I get constant buffering on 1080p+ content. Chrome is flawless. I have the same extensions on both browsers, curious if anyone else has experienced the same recently?


Are you running an old version of FF? I used to have issues with YT about two years ago but they made fixes and it has been fine since then.

I watch a lot of YT content through FF and it has worked fine on both Windows and MacOS / OS X for a long time.


There was an article on HN about this recently. I'm on phone so can't search easily, but something about it using a polyfill for a chrome specific feature. There was a way to get the old behavior in the article I think.


You install the "YouTube Classic" Firefox extension to force YouTube to use its old (non-Polymer) layout. This extension won't help with video buffering issues, however.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/youtube-class...


Yes, I notice this on my mac (mac book pro, 2015?): I'll even often open Safari just to watch youtube videos. It's fine on my Linux machine (X1 Yoga thinkpad) though.


YT recently got choppier for me too, but I put it down to the layout changes rather than FF.


Try out the 264ify extension. Forces h264 instead of vp9, can block 60fps videos too.


It was discussed some time ago on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17606027

TLDR: YouTube uses some obsolete technologies that aren't supported in non webkit browsers.


Is Pocket the only bookmarking service available? Seems a bit off that there is no public interface to this and the Mozilla seem to have some kind of agreement with Pocket?



not sure about addons, but builtin FF sync should work and also allows you to self host if desired last I checked


If the status bar is still missing, I'm not interested in Firefox 62. They should never have taken that option away in their pathetic "make it look like Chrome" weakness of product strategy.


There is no non hacky way to make chrome not close window when you close the last tab. That's enough for me to drop it as my main browser. That's like literally the only thing I look for in a browser


> Added Canadian English (en-CA) locale

Not bad, Eh?!


Some thorough translator finished translating all the strings for a project of mine into en-CA, which triggered the build error for having two exactly identical files in the tree (since en-CA was entirely identical to en-US). Nothing is free! This is why we can't have useless things!


Yes but don't you think it's skookum (BC) and aboot time for Newfie-speak to be recognized, eh? But after awhile multiple locale files do appear more like vanity metrics in apps like LibreOffice, with 18 possible English locale settings. Even the OED simply incorporates regional variations in its inventory so the need for redundancy does seem questionable. And in spell checking or grammar, illustration of possible regional variations may be useful to authors. EG, a Brit writes to a Yank 'I am going to shop', with 'shop' treated as a noun. But to the Yank 'to shop' would be an infinitive so a grammar check could point out that ambiguity.


Some words are different though, for example armor vs armour. Although that should be similar to en-gb.

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