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Does not support any addons, and is therefore useless until it does.

(uBlock Origin is a prerequisite for me.)

It's a preview release. Addons are coming as well as ad blocking.

It's not the same thing, but the built-in tracking protection incidentally blocks a portion of ads.

I would love to know whether Mozilla has resources available to port Firefox to SailfishOS (SFOS) and other non-iOS & non-Android mobile platforms. We could really use a good native browser here. I'm currently running it through SFOS' Android emulation but that has issues.

Lacking a port I would be interested in a solid, maintained Firefox-without-the-GUI base so people could port it somewhat easily.

That's good to hear. Can you point to where Mozilla says they will support addons and ad blocking in Fenix?

This seems to be the relevant issue on GitHub: https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/fenix/issues/574

There's not much solid or explicit info in it, but it does seem to be planned eventually.

Per Barbara Bermes, senior product manager in firefox mobile, addons are not part of the minimum viable product. They're in the "backlog"

Right, but existing Firefox for Android users aren't going to be switched over to Fenix until it does.

Not to be mean, but that statement demonstrates a frankly shocking level of cluelessness. Extensions (mainly adblockers) are the critical feature that distinguishes FF mobile, and are the only reason I have ever been able to convince anyone to switch. I would almost consider adblockers functionality more critical than Javascript support, they should certainly be part of a minimum viable product. I know it's a preview version, but why would anyone in their right mind run this?

Possibly someone in their right mind would run it because they read TFA where it says "primarily aimed at developers and early adopters who want to help us improve Firefox on Android".

I would say that adblock/extension support is a pretty big deal breaker for "developers and early adopters". How are you going to get them to use a crippled browser for any significant period of time?

You're not supposed to use it for an extended period of time, that's why it has "preview" in its name.

I'll be happy to use their other browsers (mainly, Firefox Focus, my default browser) until this one gets more polished, but the moment this one becomes a bit more stable and adds a few more features (adblock support is certainly on top of that list) will be the moment when I not just switch over, but delete every other browser I have installed on my phone. I can't believe a browser (any browser) makes me feel excited in 2019, but this one does.

This is a great thing to hear!

Indeed, it's very disappointing to see such a long article without any mention of their plans for addons.

It isn't even clear that they're not going to replace Android Firefox with Fenix before getting extensions working.

As far I know this issue is the most recent source of information: https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/fenix/issues/574

It says «We are currently finalizing the transition plan».

It's not comprehensive, but I prefer the strategy of publicly releasing the information as they have it available, even if it means it often raises more questions.

Even if they don't have the entire transition planned out, I think it was important for Mozilla to communicate their Android dev focus was gonna shift to GeckoView, from existing apps, to allow external devs, and customers to have a better plan, even if they don't have the add on strategy and timeline fully fleshed out.

The alternative is waiting a few months to know any of this was happening.

> I think it was important for Mozilla to communicate their Android dev focus was gonna shift to GeckoView, from existing apps

Focus has already shifted for quite some time, though - the current Firefox for Android ("Fennec") code base has already been in maintenance mode since the end of 2017, i.e. over 1½ years, including a few months at the start of 2018 were almost nobody was regularly working on it at all other than watching Bugzilla for any immediate priority bugs and reacting to those in case any happened.

They said they were "currently" finalising their transition plans in February, so I think it's reasonable to assume that the plans have been finalised by now.

Same here. I do not know why the heck Mozilla is tiptoeing from just hiring Raymond and making uBlock an integral part of firefox.

Note that they already included something similar, which is SafeBrowsing(TM), that is maintained by google. Technically, it is exactly the same concept. But uBlock is actively request by 99% of their users, while safeBrowser(TM) fingerprinting is mostly disabled by half.

I think the better comparison than SafeBrowsing for uBlock would be Firefox's Enhanced Tracking Protection, which is on by default. This uses data maintained by Disconnect.

(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla)

Not really. Advanced users can selectively disable Javascript/frames/media etc on a per-site basis. Also the user has the control to allow trackers on site they care about and know the consequences.

I am sorry but tracking protection on mozilla as it is now (only enabled by default on private windows, and hapening with no user knowledge/information/learning oportunities) is a lame clutch.

It's actually on by default now as of this month.

uBlock Origin and uMatrix in particular are fantastic addons, but I think the UX is still too much for the average casual non-technical user.

I wish they'd focus more on getting the UX of containers up to snuff. They are almost there, but still far enough away to make addons like Multi-Account Containers (MAC) something I cannot recommend to my parents.

Here is what I mean: Suppose I want to keep my use of example.com separate in it's own Example container. How do I do that?

1) Click the MAC icon in the toolbar, then click the "+" button.

2) Enter 'Example', pick an icon or color, then click okay.

3) Open a new Example container.

4) Navigate to example.com in the Example container

5) Click the MAC icon in the toolbar, then check "Always open in Example"

6) Close the tab.

7) Open a new tab, and browse to example.com

8) Click "Remember my decision"

9) Click "Open in Example container"

This is nuts. I can't recommend this workflow to anybody.

I'm pretty sure the main reason is that all websites with block them and tell you to install Chrome if they ever did.

Outside of that I'm sure turning ad blocking on by default would break several sites.

Also publicly, they've said that ads are an integral part of the web.

Fine. ship it off. This is not a valid excuse.

What's the difference of shipping a feature off, and shipping with support for an extension (on both firefox and Google's chrome store sites!) that can be installed? At this point we are just discussing semantics. Install vs Turn on.

plugins are better (I use uMatrix).

uBlock origin is turning into uMatrix, even on mobile (fenec) Firefox. Sneakily ;)

Pure speculation, I wonder if their contract with Google forbids them from having ad blocking as part of the browser. At least if I was a company paying another company millions of dollars I wouldn't let them block my income stream in their product.

They already have an adblocker built in (well a tracking blocker but that often amounts to the same thing).

Mozilla also didn't have ad blocking when their contract was with Yahoo.


Anyone remember when Firefox extensions broke recently? I thought it was a rather horrible experience.

If the new Firefox Preview can natively block advertisements, whitelist sites, disable third party cookies, prevent and hide social trackers, block anti-ad-blockers, etc. etc. then I agree that extensions are kind of useless, and I understand Mozilla's point.

However, I see the lack of extension support detrimental to my freedoms as a user, since it means I no longer can control what the software hides for me, nor what it broadcasts about me to the abyss of waste that is the advertising industry; I will have to trust the browser, and the lack of extension support is a rather untrustworthy property to begin with.

This is still a preview, it's nowhere near a finished product. Extensions come after MVP https://github.com/mozilla-mobile/fenix/issues/662#issuecomm...

There is no minimum viable product here. The MVP was the first usable mobile Firefox. A version of Firefox without extension support is just broken.

(minimum viable product)

Isn't it strange that the big flash announcement comes before MVP?

This release is what they termed MVP. Everything after it is post-MVP. It means minimum viable product. In my personal opinion, a lot more functionality was included than what most would call an MVP.

The big flash announcement is to get early adopters for testing. There's no reason to delay testing until the MVP is ready, as long as testers remain aware that Firefox Preview is a preview that shouldn't be expected to already have all features implemented.

It's just that, for me and a bunch of other people, we would be happy to test a preview if we could compare it against our current browsers. We can't, because

advertising is an abomination that destroys the utility of the internet

and so there's no fair comparison.

Yes, that's what "viable" means. Viable for big flashy announcement.

>"The user experience of this early version will differ significantly from the final product, planned for release later this year."

I really feel like this should be the top comment; losing addon support in FF on Android is about the only change I can envision that would cause me to stop using it. It's great as it is, and there is no amount of tinkering they could do to it that might possibly make up for the loss of addons.

Same here. I was so happy to see this and I just went ahead and installed it in a heart-beat. Tried to find the addons page, couldn't find it, found your comment instead and uninstalled it in the next.

I hope they add support for addons otherwise there isn't much use for it at least to me.

uBO is the main reason I use Firefox on Android, as well.

With that said, what sites are you visiting? It could be that I simply don't visit sites with any ads, but I gave a few of my daily sites a spin in Firefox Preview and didn't notice any ads.

I really don't understand why Mozilla doesn't put ad-blocking & tracking protection front & center the way other orgs do.

Winning their userbase back is the only way to win back the leverage they once had...

Out of curiosity, what orgs are you comparing us to?

When you install Firefox Preview, tracking protection is enabled by default. This is recently true for Firefox Desktop as well.


This post below by our CEO explains how we're thinking about the issue broadly. Your privacy and agency are definitely front and center.


(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla)

Agreed. I hastily installed FF Preview and then immediately uninstalled it when I couldn't find where to install uBlock. They shouldn't have launched, or made an announcement, without some form of adblocking (native or plugin).

I understand that it's a testing release, but they stand to lose out on many testers and users. While I am perfectly willing to be a guinea pig and use this as my daily driver, I am passionately unwilling to browse with ads (especially on a mobile device where data is more expensive).

I am likely part of the vast majority of potential testers/users. There probably won't be a "hey, we support plugins/blocking now" announcement and, even if there will be, it probably won't be as visible as this announcement.

Did you actually try it on a website with lots of ads? I've been using focus for the last 6 months or so and the tracker blocking also blocks many ads for me. Also there is blockada which blocks ads system wide.

> the tracker blocking also blocks many ads

It doesn't block ads. It blocks trackers that sometimes happen to be ads too. But when it comes to ad blocking, it's no better than Chrome.

Oy. Isn't the extension support likely the #1 reason anyone uses it?

Haven't used android in a couple of years but firefox used to support addons (and it looks like it still does).

GeckoView doesn't support addons yet. This is pending discussion, but it looks like the goal is to focus on mobile optimization first.

As a tester of Firefox Preview: WebRender has been a godsend for mobile browsing -- I have yet to see it choke!

Firefox was kinda slow sometimes with too much JS on the page on my old phone but still overall usable, and that was a J3 (replaced just last week), so I'd say that's pretty good. Great and lag-free on my s10+ so far. Not convinced optimization should be a priority over features and addons.

WebRender doesn't work for me, "Unsupported Vendor" :(

Moto G4, Qualcomm Adreno 405, OpenGL ES 3.2

about:config doesn't work either

I would also appreciate if they worked on restoring the original addon capability they had up to 2016 (where you add keyboard shortcuts) before they go showboating.

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