TTLG|Thief|Bioshock|System Shock|Deus Ex|Mobile
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Firefox Quantum and the death of extensions

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland

    Firefox Quantum and the death of extensions

    It's been a long time coming, and I've been shaking my head in diseblief for the last few months, but it's about to come to pass.

    On Monday, Mozilla will be releasing Firefox 57 ("Firefox Quantum") as their official browser.
    The new version will break all the old XUL-based "legacy" extensions. Only those which have ported to the new WebExtensions framework will continue to work, and that framework offers significantly less access to the core features of Firefox, so many of the extensions will simply be impossible.

    Two-thirds of my extensions are Legacy, and I can't imagine living without them. Firefox without extensions is a terrible browser.
    Some of the notable extensions I use that won't work include NoScript, TabMixPlus, All-in-One Gestures, Private Tab, Paste and Go Key, RefControl, Feed Sidebar, Tab Groups (which is a feature that used to be in Firefox itself), and a few others such as a quick next/previous tab hotkey.
    While some of those are just hugely complex and haven't been ported yet, it sounds like the majority will not be possible with the new extension framework at all.

    Back in the day, I used to use Opera, before they decided that they couldn't be bothered any more and just threw out most of their features and turned it into a Chrome clone. Now it looks very much like Firefox are doing the same thing. Abandoning the features that their dedicated userbase used the browser for and trying to streamline and simplify instead.
    I don't understand it - the power of its extensions are the reason that people use Firefox. Without that, it's useless. I don't understand how they could intentionally release a version that's going to be such a huge step backwards in that area. You presumably won't even be able to customise your keyboard shortcuts, since even that basic functionality doesn't exist in Firefox without extensions.
    Yes, the new extensions will be more secure and probably easier to write, but that hardly matters if what they can do is so limited.

    I'm not quite sure what to do. The only real solution, which isn't great, is switching to one of the Firefox forks such as Pale Moon or Watermonkey, or maybe a totally different browser like Vivaldi.

    For the time being, I've turned off Firefox updates. That will buy me some time to make a decision.

    I'd advice anyone else who uses Firefox and relies on extensions to do the same for now.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Sometimes, companies pivot to chase a larger userbase, only to find they've lost their own users.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    How true that is, both in applications and in games.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Well, I always found NoScript too heavy-handed in how much it breaks, so I've been using Ghostery instead. It serves the same general purpose of insulating you from crap without quite so many exceptions. That one is at least an actively developed, modern extension.

    However, "Context Menu Image Saver" is not. Sometimes it wouldn't work, but it is really handy for... say, directly downloading new backgrounds into my 'backgrounds' folder without needing to go find it. Sigh.
    Last edited by Zerker; 11th Nov 2017 at 15:11.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Yes, I do wonder about NoScript. It keeps you safe, but it's really annoying.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    I still use version 52, and will keep using it until it becomes unusable - might upgrade to another pre-Quantum one. Keep this link handy for all the versions.

    My main issue is Adblock Plus. It works amazing on my Firefox, but on Chrome there's sites that block me unless I disable it. Then again, could be the filters that need updating

  7. #7
    I miss Opera, godammit that was such a nice experience...

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Azaran: You should throw out AdBlock Plus and use uBlock Origin instead, anyway.
    It doesn't have that thing where advertisers can pay them to allow it to still display their "non-intrusive" ads, plus it's meant to be faster and more efficient.

    Raph: Yeah, it had tons of features that just worked. Half of my Firefox extensions are re-creating functionality that Opera had built-in from the start.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    I'm not quite sure what to do. The only real solution, which isn't great, is switching to one of the Firefox forks such as Pale Moon or Watermonkey, or maybe a totally different browser like Vivaldi.
    I understand your plight, NV...and I suggest looking into Brave.

    The project is lead by Brendan Eich (co-founder of Mozilla, inventor of Javascript), and I really like what's going on there.

    For the time being, I've turned off Firefox updates. That will buy me some time to make a decision.

    I'd advice anyone else who uses Firefox and relies on extensions to do the same for now.
    Alternatively, using Firefox ESR will keep XUL extensions working until 6-26-2018.
    Last edited by Vae; 11th Nov 2017 at 17:38.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Brave sounds like a nice idea, but once again it's based on the Chrome framework, so you'd be limited to only what Chrome extensions support - which is basically the same functionality as the new Firefox will have?

  11. #11
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    I was having a look at uBlock Origin and came across this article. I don't really understand a word of it but the last paragraph reads:

    In short, if you use uBlock Origin, for now, your browser can't warn websites when they and their users are under attack from account and session hijackers.
    Is this something for me to be concerned about? I'd rather like to try it out.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    As far as I can understand that, it is a system to allow browsers to report to a site that they've blocked a potential hacking attempt using cross-site scripting, to let the website host know that people are trying to hack it?
    If I've read that right, it means that blocking it doesn't affect users at all - their browser has still blocked the attempt - but it just can't inform the website about it.

  13. #13
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    OK. Thank you.

    Wouldn't it be better to inform the website? Or maybe the site has other means to detect attempts at hacking.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I guess it would be, but shouldn't be a reason not to use the extension. There'll always be someone else not running it who can report the attempt.
    On the bright side, uBlock Origin is fully compatible with Firefox Quantum.

    I didn't even know that feature existed before now.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    I have U Block too but some sites detect it and block me when it's active

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Make sure that you have "AAK-Cont Filters For uBlock Origin" ticked in the filter list, that will try to remove adblock detectors too.

    It can't avoid all of them, though. You will get sites that you can't access while running one (though the same would apply to ABP too).

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    Another serious issue I'm having with Chrome vs Firefox, unrelated to extensions, is in Firefox characters from non Latin alphabets display perfectly, but in Chrome only partially or not at all. I thought this was governed by the Unicode fonts in Windows, but apparently it's a browser issue. I use the more updated Chrome Canary too, and same issue.


  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Location: Bar o' Gold, upr Swandam Lane
    From the NoScript website -

    2017-11-14: We're working hard to make NoScript for Quantum available to you as soon as possible, even later today if we're lucky enough.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    I reverted back to 56 for now. In addition to the add-on breakage, I don't like the new start page, or the way Quantum forces new tabs into the foreground, or the fact that new tabs are always added to the end. I also don't like the dark appearance of background tabs and other UI changes. Maybe it will all be addressed in time, but right now Quantum seems like a step backwards. I didn't actually notice any speed improvement on my desktop computer or laptop. The might be more noticeable on a phone I guess.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I got it on my phone because I forgot to disable updates.
    I don't really mind losing the extensions, since I didn't have many there and the main one (uBlock Origin) still works.
    The interface is hideous to the point that I think part of it is a bug, though.

    It messed up the top of the browser/phone, so the "action bar" is bright white when Firefox is open, and the address bar section is a weird grey that interacts wrongly with themes.
    Hoping those are bugs.

    The new "new tab" screen is far worse, replacing the big "favourite websites" previews with tiny boxes and not really adding anything new to use the space.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •