Exactly how I felt. What the hell were they thinking? I'm generally very supportive of Mozilla, I even supported their initiative to put advertisements on Firefox's start page. But bundling stuff like Pocket and Hello with Firefox is just ridiculous. Why not make it an official extension? That way users can easily disable or remove it.
It says a lot about Mozilla when they decide to bundle fad features like these after spending years stripping existing features out of Firefox. During their effort to dumb-down Firefox, it was common to hear that removing those features didn't matter, as they should be provided by extensions instead. Apparently that cheap excuse is ignored when the feature when it is convenient to do so.
 the many options cut from the preferences dialog comes to mind - some that I have had to help a LOT of friends work around. Far too many man-weeks have been wasted ;_;
 which was a terrible idea that hurts the enthusiast that actually used those feature, hinders the inexperienced-but-interested users by hiding previously visible features behind the addons.mozilla.org, and doesn't do anything at all for the supposed target audience of non-technical users who by definition don't even use the preferences dialog.
Worst of all, there has been almost no communication on this. I subscribe to Planet Mozilla and read everything that seems interesting to me, and I still didn't know this was coming. There still hasn't been much public discussion on this. On top of that, they did a weird 38.0.5 release cycle that I haven't seen before with the release train. It was almost like someone said: "there is no way we can introduce this to enterprise with an ESR release, so lets tweak the whole release model so we can shove it in everyone else's face once we spin the ESR release."
I've been a huge Mozilla supporter since back in the Pheonix days. I'm even okay with their ad ambitions (so far) and think that they made the right pragmatic decision with regards to DRM support. However, with this move I've now felt it necessary to take a step back and seriously question their motives. It just seems so far out of character. I've been thinking and reading about this for the last 3 weeks and I still have no idea what they are thinking.
Edit: I'd also like to add that I'm a huge Firefox Sync fan. The fact that they took such a user focused approach to encrypting everything client side, and minimizing their server-side exposure to user data seemed like such a principled approach and is probably the only thing that kept me from taking the leap to Chrome at a time when there were noticeable performance benefits to doing so. This integration seems like the exact antithesis.
Firefox is a niche product that appeals to the privacy-consciuos. Stuff like Pocket and Telefonica/Hello basically eliminates its reason for being.
I have Firefox as my main browser now, but I won't keep it around for long if I have to swat down new marketing integrations in every new release.
But I admit I haven't look that much into it. I don't know how or if crypto is used. I haven't used the feature yet either and would want to know more before using it in a corporate or privacy sensitive situation.
I guess the same goes for Pocket, I probably don't need to worry about it if I'm not using it. However, for me personally, it just seems to be such a stark contrast with their position on Sync. On top of that, the browser UI is _mine_! Nobody - not even Mozilla - should be adding something to the primary interface of _my browser_ without a very good reason. And this is where I feel my trust has been betrayed for the first time.
Therefore it seems reasonable to add them to Firefox.
edit: I am talking about multiple gigs of memory for firefox and multiple gigs of memory in the kernel task allocated for who knows what. stop firefox and it lowers the kernel memory to a reasonable level and (obviously) removes the memory usage of firefox.
(And it's not like Firefox's performance has any low-hanging fruit left; there have been years of performance improvements already, and only someone versed in those would know how to take them further.)
Even if I could look at histotic data, the UI of about:memory is just plain awful. Charts anyone? My main question is how the consumption of memory for each tab is changing through time and I haven't found a nice way to see that yet.
Also, browser should protect me from pages which use too many resources. Why should some random page be able to stop my computer from working? I am seriously considering running firefox inside docker container just so I can limit its resources.
Note that I am a huge fan of ff and use it everywhere, but this has been a sore point for me for ages.
It seems that the tools to diagnose what has been the most criticized series of bugs in Firefox are still lacking. Ideally it should list the plugins used and the memory of each along with a way to identify the heavy pages etc.
SSL/TLS disabled? "Hey, so TLS is disabled, but I need it in order to show you this web page. You want me to enable it for you?"
The overarching theme here is not that there are too many options, but that there are too many poorly documented options with poorly documented consequences. Fixing that problem would give users the best of both worlds: flexibility and ease-of-use.
I think it's fine to have these options as extensions or even inside about:config, where the user would never disable by accident.
If they don't read, then they wouldn't be using Firefox, since all web pages (barring a few exceptions) would be gibberish to them :)
Also, most similar warnings presented by Firefox already (usually about outdated plugins and such) have a way to permanently dismiss, or to remember a setting for a particular website, or some other way to mitigate the understandable annoyance of always throwing warnings. A "don't ask me again" would immediately resolve the problem you identified.
> I think it's fine to have these options as extensions or even inside about:config, where the user would never disable by accident.
I think that's fine, too. My comment was more about identifying the correct cause of various effects - i.e. that the harmfulness of the checkboxes being criticized is due to their non-obviousness rather than their existence.
Not can't read; don't read. See http://blog.codinghorror.com/teaching-users-to-read/, http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000062....
Users don't read material that's put in front of them. Modal dialogs get dismissed without reading, non-modal dialogs (Firefox's doorhangers, Chrome/IE's notification bars) get ignored completely or dismissed.
Basically, a heuristic browser-chrome view in place of what used to be a site-author's <noscript> view.
You can't get them to read prompts at all, let alone text on a page.
But in this case, we're dealing with users who somehow managed to disable JS, but are still surprised by the effects and don't read prompts.
I'm pretty sure such users exist, however instead of directly basing your UI descisions on this scenario, why not trying to investigate where such behavior comes from and how frequent it is?
Some things in life need to be learned by experience, and by limiting the safer opportunities to lean about how the browser and the internet works, Mozilla is working to keep users ignorant when they should be doing everything they can to give their users the education they obviously need.
(there is a difference between reduced functionality (which is perfectly acceptable) and totally breaking)
If users aren't putting in the effort to read warnings/error messages, or can't put two and two together and correlate why things aren't working on some sites with what they did with the settings (or even better, apply some more critical thinking and possibly Googling to figure out why), I think that's a sign of a deeper problem and trying to patch over it by dumbing down software interfaces is a horrible direction to take.
To become knowledgeable users of Web technologies and not mere consumers, they must be allowed to explore, experiment, and break, then fix things. Taking away these settings discourages that. "The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."
FYI Alex Limi no longer works at Mozilla.
Well, fair game, given that those power users can switch browsers in the blink of an eye (). All my hopes go to the Vivaldi browser now.
The only problem is that these power users promote your browser and installed it on grandma's computer, and who make your precious extensions on occasion, often for free. Don't be surprised if you need partnerships now.
(*) Well, thinking about it normal users can also switch browsers in the blink of an eye, too. All it takes is Flashplayer update that sneakily install Chrome as the default browser. Just sayin'.
That is very far from being an expectation of the average user.
To paraphrase: it seems they wanted a reading list feature but found it pointless to re-implement an existing solution with many desired features. (Work which was started but appears to have been scrapped.) This rationalized piggy-backing on Pocket. It gives Firefox a reading list for its users without Mozilla having to maintain it.
My personal problem with this has more to do with the anti-competitive nature of integrating services rather than Pocket's closed source.
I guess the "list URLs" side of things might be an awkward abstraction, although it'd let you merge multiple services which could be cool too. I use IFTTT to move starred pocket items to Evernote, so that'd be one possible use case if Evernote also implemented it.
Pocket was added to Firefox because Mozilla wants the extra revenue from partnering with Pocket.
Also, anyone implementing a compatible backend can switch to it by changing a pref.
I see a comment below from a Mozilla employee stating that "there is limited public information available about this deal", and claiming that the best quote is in an article that contains a paraphrase from an email from another Mozilla employee saying that Pocket didn't pay for placement.
When a non-profit gives prominent placement to a for-profit company, there are many ways for money to change hands beyond straight up payment for placement. I think we are owed a clear explanation of the Mozilla-Pocket deal.
I've been pleading internally for an official public response. Nothing.
The only other source I've seen is an email reply from Mark Mayo at http://www.planet-libre.org/?post_id=18514
I was enjoying the Firefox reading-list feature because it allowed me to save webpages and sync across my devices without having to put all that information into a proprietary 3rd party service. I thought the reading-list was one of the best features added to Firefox for years, and now they have scraped it. I really can't understand how Mozzilla executives came to the conclusion that this was a good idea.
Integrating a third party API for free when plenty of browser-centric features are left as extensions makes me really question Firefox's goals.
How is elevating an arbitrary third-party service from an extension into native browser code "promoting openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web"?
Apologies for being slightly off-topic, but I'd argue this would be questionable even if it were an openly announced partnership like with Yahoo. Yes, Mozilla is free software and is doing some enormous contributions to the open web. Which is why we should support them with donations and code contributions. (And I'd also fully endorse usage of paid services from them should they develop any).
However, what they are doing now is basically selling their good reputation and their wide user base to force some features on their users that they don't need in return of (presumably) payment. That strikes me as deeply unethical.
I suspect a lot of people are wary of "signing in" to browsers.....
Nobody's being held at gunpoint.
Is there a cost to adding even a button? Yes. But that has to be weighed against the benefit. And a significant amount of users benefit from having the button.
In this case, data on user behavior indicated that it was worth adding the buttons. It's still possible that the data is imperfect somehow and a more optimal tradeoff could have been chosen. Still, I think there is good reason to believe the current data and decisions make sense.
The comments in this thread are going in loops.
"Hello shouldn't be bundled with a browser."
"But it is just a small wrapper around WebRTC."
"Yeah, but it's out of scope for the browser."
"WebRTC is a web-standard"
If you take that into context when you look at Hello, you can see why the organization might want to leverage the Firefox user base to introduce something with negligible overhead (Hello) that would help to advance that mission.
There is data showing that Firefox users like the feature and benefit from it. Given that, adding it to the browser makes sense.
Certainly beats them taking Adobe money (or cash equivalents) to bundle Flash, which is exactly what Chrome does (faster security updates blah blah yes I know, but a better extension update mechanism could work just as well)
The Google agreement is already gone. Mozilla partnered with Yahoo in the US starting in December 2014.
And again, Mozilla is not taking money in return for this integration.
That's probably the most productive place to directly contribute to the official conversation.
BUT it also seems that the Pocket integration wasn't previously discussed on that mailing list. At least, that's what my cursory search seems to show: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/mozilla.governanc...
It makes me wonder whether mozilla.governance is really where these sorts of decisions get made....
(Note: cpeterso already posted the mozilla.governance link but I felt it deserved a top-level entry.)
I do agree that the discussion should have been in the Mozilla Governance mailing list though.
I love Firefox's "Reader View". It's the only way that some pages are readable on my desktop or mobile device, because so many websites try to hijack scrolling, insert modal overlays and ads, or do all sorts of things that make it unbelievably frustrating to just read static text.
On the other hand, Reader View lacks a sync feature. There was one for a few days in Nightly, but it was buggy for the short time it existed, and it was removed.
I was hoping Firefox would improve the sync feature and bring it back eventually, but in all honesty, this is way better. The work that goes into making a seamless, syncing reader view is not trivial, and it makes more sense for Mozilla to focus on building a browser than to reinvent the wheel when Pocket already exists and works incredibly well with the same use case.
As for whether this should be "bundled" into the browser vs. an extension: I agree that it would be nicer philosophically if Pocket were a preinstalled extension. On the other hand, Firefox Hello is literally a preinstalled extension with no special integration or privileges (other than being preinstalled), and still some people made the same complaint about it when it launched. So I take that complaint with a grain of salt.
And as for the performance impact of either, I'd have to see some data demonstrating that this actually leads to an appreciable (let alone measurable) increase in memory or CPU usage to be convinced that simply not using it is not an acceptable alternative.
 it may look that way, but there are a lot of corner cases
 From what I understand, Firefox Hello is simply an extension that leverages WebRTC features already built into the browser to enable video chat (with the assistance of a service provided by Telefonica, which assists in the routing).
My problem with pocket is that I can trust Firefox Sync, because its code is open and if I were to doubt its security, I could audit it, either myself or contribute to an official audit.
I can never do that to pocket. Its a black box to me, I have no idea what they are doing with my browsing history, and therefor I can never trust it.
Its a huge sin on Mozilla's part, a company who keeps promising privacy, to sell off some of our most personal data - browser sync data - to a third party proprietary web service.
The most you need to be worried about is Pocket reading the list of sites saved to your Pocket.
But couldn't an alternative be something encrypted which Mozilla has no access to?
It is literally not, at least I don't see an entry in the addons or extensions menus on Firefox 38.0.5.
>and it makes more sense for Mozilla to focus on building a browser than to reinvent the wheel when Pocket already exists and works incredibly well with the same use case.
Now they coexist: Firefox for Android has a reading list that does not sync with anything while Pocket is a third-party service without the end-to-end encryption I've come to love from Firefox Sync.
I want articles to
• be readable (and savable) offline;
• open in Firefox's Reader View, not Pocket's site;
• sync with Android Fx's Reading List, not (just) the Android Pocket app.
I found this pocket thing to be pretty amazing and I never understood why browsers never integrated such a thing natively. I tried some other solutions before (I can't remember the names) and it never worked for me. They were either badly made or not well integrated in the browser. But this pocket thing. It's just seamless, I save pages here and I read them later on my phone in the subway. That's all I ever wanted from a browser.
Seriously, firefox+pocket+treestyletab is all I wanted.
Maybe integrate the new microsoft browser features where you can draw on a page to share that and that would be perfect.
I’ve recently resumed using Firefox as my main browser partly driven by support of the project but also because Chrome was taking too much RAM and causing performance issues. Of course, when Chrome first came out it was a very slimmed down browser that used a lot less RAM compared to Firefox. Everything moves in cycles…
See Servo github issue "Get Servo working on Windows": https://github.com/servo/servo/issues/1908
I want a browser that does what I want, supports the add-ons I prefer, and stays out of the way. Hopefully Firefox doesn't continue to make me remove "features" with every update.
I didn't know I ever had to read the fine print with anything from Mozilla, and it turns out I was wrong.
Which, I think is why so many people feel so strongly about it. At least, it's why I feel uncomfortable with this decision. It was not at all clear to me that Pocket was a third party service; I'd never heard of it, and the text describing what I was opting-in to didn't (that I recall) explicitly state who ran the service or that it was not a Mozilla service.
I don't want to go overboard about this; this isn't like SourceForge shipping malware. And, I don't want to make it seem like Mozilla isn't a provider and organization that I trust. But, this chips away at my trust. I feel misled, and I never thought I would feel that way about something Mozilla would do, which maybe makes it worse.
Colleague working at mozilla showed me an internal email where the CEO says they checked metrics and Tiles and Pocket did not affect Firefox, and that their survey indicates people are okay with it.
This seems like total bs... I don't know anybody - including fx devs - that think its a good idea. In fact earlier versions of fxnightly had their own, not-pocket version that used sync as a backend.
Someone may have to fork Firefox. It's still open source, more or less.
Mozilla has a Firefox Hello Terms of Service:
which claims to link to the Firefox Hello privacy terms, but actually links to the main Mozilla privacy page:
"We use the information we collect from you in the following ways: ... To organize and carry out TokBox’s marketing or promotional operations/offers, contests, games and similar events."
One of Hello's basic functions, at least in its mobile forms, is to cross-reference your phone contacts and Facebook contacts. See "Review: “Hello” Facebook Dialer, Bye to Your Privacy?"
So, yes, it snoops on your contact information.
Whether it does or doesn't, if it's not installed, then you don't need to worry about it. I'm quite annoyed that firefox is adding more cruft, more buttons, more features. Just like phones and operating systems, I now first go to the hidden places necessary to turn off apps/buttons/features that aren't needed and needlessly clutter and the interface, slow down the system, and cause unexpected issues. Then I add the extensions required to get the power-user settings/tweaks which actually should be there.
It is VERY FRUSTRATING that the trend is solidly in the direction of removing "scary" relevant settings and adding crap features, and in many areas, there is no longer a good option for people like me who know what the fuck they're doing. Modern "products" waste more and more of my time.
I don't want Google as the search provider, and you'll find many people who don't want Bing or DuckDuckGo as the search provider. That doesn't leave many options.
Mozilla is in a heated competition with Google and other proprietary players. It isn't a niche product, it isn't made for a small part of the population. If adding Hello or Pocket to the browser gets more people to use Firefox or stick with it and spurs people to create free/open source replacements then it's alright.
The only thing I dislike is the underhanded way these changes have showed up. As if they knew the loud minority of users/devs wouldn't like it.
- telefonica service for voice chat.
- google scam site checker, phone-home component for every site you visit
- google services (the things responsible for ads no less) just so you can stream videos on android (can't even build firefox without including that SDK)
- adobe binary blob for DRM on netflix. (who even uses netflix on the browser?)
I don't really like it either, but that's not how it works. Firefox downloads an updated list of "non-safe" sites from Google every 30 minutes or so, and check sites against the local copy. A site get sent to Google only if there is a match in the local copy, to check that it's still "blacklisted"
>- google services (the things responsible for ads no less) just so you can stream videos on android (can't even build firefox without including that SDK)
It's for casting videos to a Chromecast, not for streaming videos. It seems to be possible to build Firefox without it, F-Droid does so: https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=fennec&fdid=...
>- adobe binary blob for DRM on netflix. (who even uses netflix on the browser?)
I don't like it neither, but I think a small blob for DRM is better than a whole closed addon. It's awful that it got pushed to every installation tho, instead of displaying a "download" button on Netflix and similar sites.
As for your question, it seems that tons of people do so.
removing Google services: fdroid goes to great pains to do that. i was actually doing that myself before. have you ever tried? it's hours and hours wasted changing code and scripts that were originally made optional but for some reason they drippe dropped the checks (I'm still to have enough time to track the commits that did this)
drm:agree with you there, no excuse not to be a download.
I saw the CC list, but I assumed this would subscribe me to email notifications about this bug, which I don't want to receive.
I'd like to fix this, but it seems like cutting-edge bugzilla doesn't have a "delete comment" feature...
It is just depressing the state of browsers today. Sure they are more standard compliant but they all suck.
That sounds like a very arbitrary distinction, and an argument of convenience. Every line of code that gets into a software is a product decision one way or another...
I love Pocket, but I was looking forward to migrating to a setup where my data was kept private.
I made a bugzilla account and added my name to the CC list, but is there anything else I can do to help this get more recognition?
Edit: ah, here we go https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1172126#c2
The basic problem for me is that Usenet doesn't usually turn up on a vanilla Google search, websites do. If Mozilla really is open it should really use something more appropriate to the 21st century to decide policy and governance.
In fact I'd argue that it would probably save bandwidth as then you don't have to mail everyone every time someone posts something which not everyone wants to read.
At the very least it would allow people to remove it easily and entirely.
Thats what a very large part of the computer industry means when they talk about "monetizing" all of the "big data" they suddenly have. Go back over the last ~decade of goods and services made by internet-related businesses, and you can see a clear trend towards turning features that used to be stand-alone (browser bookmarks), into "free" services. Often this makes the product mildly worse (latency, uptime), which is then lampshaded with a minor feature like bookmark-syncing (which could be done in other ways that do not betray the contents to a 3rd party).
If you have any doubt about anything I just said, I recommend watching the talk I've been suggesting lately by Aral Balkan ( https://projectbullrun.org/surveillance/2015/video-2015.html... ). If it wasn't obvious why Pocket was being pushed instead of improving bookmarks, then Aral's talk might just terrify you.
What I have been able to glean is that it re-renders the pages you save to your pocket in a more "readable" way, and it looks more like a newspaper or magazine or Medium blog post. Less clutter, more focus on content, at least that's the goal.
I have my doubts about this being valuable enough to make it a standard feature. I did whatever one has to do to opt-in when it showed up in the Developer version...I thought it was a new Mozilla thing, which I'm always willing to check out. I was disappointed, and surprised, that it was not a Mozilla thing. That wasn't made clear, I don't think, in the description of what I was opting into.
I feel a little misled by it, actually, and I don't think it's something I want to use going forward, but I'm not sure how to opt back out. The UI is confusing, to me.
Even though it will cost me a buttload of time to rebuild all my cookies: fuck Mozilla, when did they turn into SourceForge?
This seems perfectly clear. The obvious improvement is to remove it.
What is wrong with Mozilla at the moment?
I keep asking myself the same question. With so many releases of firefox I seem to have to spend my time searching for a way to remove or disable many of the features they push. I think the problem is this: browsers are quiet mature in terms of features, so now to innovate they need to force features that don't really belong in the browser. Either fix the pitiful state of bookmark management in your browser or let the add-on take the burden.
Remember when Firefox, the lean, scrappy browser, first came out and ran circles around the bloated Netscape browser/HTML editor/IM client/mail client/newsreader? The Firefox team seems to have forgotten.
If anyone is maintaining a "Firefox: Browser Only Edition" fork, I'd love to know about it so I could use that instead.
With the customizable UI you can put these things out of sight too.
Firefox does have bloat, but these two are very minor compared to the bloaty bits.
waterfox, pale moon, also exist
It appears that it looks that way in release as well. (Showed up in 38.0.5 on my Mac this morning, not in 38.0.1 on my Fedora desktop)
I do agree with the bug report, it's inclusion in the core product is a bug that should be removed. An extension is the right place to put this.
While I do use Pocket, I honestly don't like the direction Mozilla took.