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back to article Mozilla updates to Firefox 8, disables add-ons

Mozilla has released the new build of its Firefox browser and, as promised, it’s cracking down on third-party add-ons. The new build, which comes six weeks after Firefox 7, will switch off third-party add-ons by default and display a start screen after loading to ask users to enable or disable the features they want. The move …

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Anonymous Coward

Integrated Twitter support? WTF?

Oh well, thanks Mozilla it was nice knowing you.

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Twitter support

OMG - tell me I'm going to wake up soon and find this has just been an ugly dream!

Cough Splutter!

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Stop

Its a classic problem with free software. They don't have a revenue stream from supporting customers, and making small changes that the customers want, yet they have to keep shipping new versions to keep up the hype and prevent the latest entrant from being "flavour of the month". The result: bloat, with new features added just to be seen to be doing something.

I like Firefox, I especially like AdBlock, yet I find myself going to IE more & more often these days :(

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Keep calm and carry on

It's just another search engine in the search engine dropdown list and a special character in the address bar as a shortcut to use it quickly.

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Meh

Too many releases for developers of add on components to keep up. I install portable versions into a True Crypt container for trialling and am not impressed and, I am ineffably sad to say, I find myself creeping across the desktop to use IE for some sites.

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Gav
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Oh noes!

Oh noes! My browser has provision for an optional addition that I can optionally use! But I do not want it! Well that's it, never using that browser again!

The v8 upgrade doesn't even install the Twitter search, you have to go install it separately.

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"The v8 upgrade doesn't even install the Twitter search, you have to go install it separately."

Yeah, but version nine will make it the default search engine. And v9 will probably be out next thursday.

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Anonymous Coward

Of course it "installs it". Look at the box on top right (search box), and select Twitter. That's all it is. Calm down.

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Anonymous Coward

Ahh, nothing like 6 week release cycles to really fragment your market :)

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Unhappy

+1 for that

A lot of the fragmentation is driven by add-on maintenance (or lack thereof).

Most add-ons just need a maxversion change to work, but as most add-on creators do their wortk in their spare time this can take weeks to get round to. Then *BUMP* FF goes up another version number and the merry-go-round continues. I don't blame the devs for this - they do great work for kicks and kudos, not to maintain a commercial user base.

The short cycles are annoying for the user, and annoying for the devs. Switching off the version check takes the irritation away, but it's a bad idea for a whole host of reasons. Waiting a few weeks before upgrading also helps a lot, but there's always a couple of add-ons that a especially slow to update (you know, the ones you *really* like), and - tragically I admit - I hate feeling 'one step behind'.

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Memory Hog

The thing is using 289mb of memory to do what, exactly? And this is with addons disabled by default? Bolderdash!!!

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What are you doing?

I've got five Firefox windows open, with multiple tabs in each and some add ons and it still uses less than 250MB.

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Bolderdash. Is that like pebbledash only a lot bigger?

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No, it's a really assertive dash. The opposite of meekerdash.

"Mozilla is making a bolderdash to obscurity and irrelevance."

You're thinking of boulderdash, which is either a much bigger version of a pebbledash or a Colorado foot race.

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Boulderdash!

A classic old game which El Reg should do a retrospective of :-)

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If it wasn't freely available...

Then I'd honestly think that Mozilla wanted to be ready to push Firefox 9 out by Christmas, of course by 'officially' presenting it as /the/ replacement for Internet Explorer 9.

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But they can't

They can't replace IE 9 with FF 9 when a demo of IE 10 is available so what do they do and where can they go? I'll let Nigel explain;

Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.

Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly...

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Anonymous Coward

Please

Mozilla puts out crap and always has put out unfinished clunky garbage. Firefox is DEAD.

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Unhappy

I keep getting this nagging to update to various BETA versions - so when are we going to get an actual release one?

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Meh

You're on the wrong “channel” …

You should download a current release version from the firefox website and install it on top of your current beta version. You'll then be on the “release” channel rather than the “beta” channel. There used to be a way to switch channels in the UI, but it was removed. http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/questions/837315 and, for the details, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=659972 …

Comments in the bug like “We don't want users to get unintentionally stuck on a different channel because the channel switcher UI is suddenly gone.” seem to have lost the argument … and you are one such user :)

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Boffin

You'll get an offer to upgrade to the releases whenever you switch out of the beta channel. Once you install a beta, it keeps you in the beta channel until you install a release.

Alternatively, you can just edit channel-prefs.js in the Firefox binary directory to contain this:

pref("app.update.channel", "release");

In Windows, by default it is located in %PROGRAMFILES%\Mozilla Firefox\defaults\pref (or %PROGRAMFILES(X86)% if you're running 64-bit). Firefox 8.0 is now available in the release channel, not just the beta channel.

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You are subsribed to the beta channel

If you have a beta version, you are probably subscribed to the beta channel. You can check in Help | About. If you are, then you will always have the current beta version. You used to be able to switch channels, but in version 7 (or was it 6? They fly by so fast these days!) they disabled that option. Instead, you have to download the release package. The nice thing is, you can install release and beta in different directories so you always have the current release and beta versions available for testing.

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You don't need to edit prefs.js manually

Just go to about:config and filter by app.update.channel.

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FAIL

Hello Twitter bye bye FF.

Yea the Twitter thing just killed FF for me.

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Because, as we all know, you are FORCED BY LAW to use every feature available to you in a browser.

Idiot.

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Holmes

Disappointingly this is not the version in which an official 64-bit release becomes available, as https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=471090 illustrates. Flash 64-bit? Check. Java 64-bit? Check. Performance gain? erm… Roll on 20th December (for Fx9).

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Coat

Rat joining the sinking ship

I must be the only rat joining the sinking ship judging by the comments above as I have just moved back from chrome to FF. I just got sick of the way it seemed to randomly log me out of accounts, add-ons disappearing ... just a general feeling of lack of control

Yes FF uses fair amount of memory but I added up all the memory the various chrome processes uses and for me there wasn't that much in it.

Mine's the one with the MGB keys in the pocket.. obviously

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Anonymous Coward

Must just be the two of us then

After using Chrome for the last few years, I just moved back to FF7. With NoScript and AdBlock Plus it runs like a rocket - more responsive feeling to me than Chrome, which is something I can't say for the older versions of FF.

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Firefox is still a good browser

...as long as you use an old version.

Like someone else said, 5 is probably about the cut-off point after which it got totally silly, although there were signs...

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...as long as you use an old version.

I'm quite happy to keep updating as long as 'oldbar' extension keeps working. I have never seen or used the so-called 'awesome' bar for more than a few minutes as oldbar is one of the first I install when setting up a new pc.

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"5 is probably about the cut-off point"

@Old Handle

I've still got a copy of 3.5 here for one specific job. That allows me to download a bunch of .TXT files from a large corp with no fuss. Later versions assume I want to read them in the browser and I have to say, no "download instead" to each and every one.

Well, you try telling Big Corp to change their download format because Mozilla have changed something :-)

For the rest of my work, later versions with NoScript and AdBlock Plus are fine. So far.

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Anonymous Coward

8 works way better than 3.6 for me

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TXT files

Can't you just go to Options/Applications and tell it how to handle TXT files? Default seems to be _Always Ask_

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TXT files

@Geoffrey W

Looking in FF 7 here, there is no entry for TXT files in the Applications window. IIRC they got hard coded in from 3.6 onwards.

Yes it always asks for this type of file, but the "Do this automatically for files like this from now on" box is greyed out. There would be no problem if I could tick this box.

The default answer in the dialogue is preselected as "Open with" (text editor according to platform).

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@Wensleydale Cheese

Wouldn't wget in a batch file be easier?

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Wow

Not one mention of Opera so far? I thought it was obligatory.

Don't see the twitter thing as a big deal. I don't use it but that doesn't mean I won't use a product with integration... daft.

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Not upgrading past 5

This is crazy to have release cycles like this, constantly disabling the add-ons that I use and introducing features that I don't find useful. Thanks for Facebooking-up my browser, Mozilla!

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After reading the story, I do feel the wording of the headline is misleading.

One of the add-ons I use is "No-Script", and my experience suggests that a good many of the hassles, such as delays and hang-ups, come from the multiplicity of web-page scripts being thrown at me.

Fast release-cycles maybe do some things well, but, to use a TV-script term, sometimes I wonder if there's a story-arc. One of the outfits I deal with, in the USA, has a weekly release cycle, but has just announced that releases will slow down for the rest of this year, with staff taking leave for Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year and other seasonal stuff. So how do Mozilla expect to pull it off?

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Not upgrading might sound like a good idea, but unfortunately Mozilla don't like supporting old versions of the browser. So how long will you be able to get security fixes for V5?

Try switching to a browser that doesn't do a major version upgrade every few weeks.

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FAIL

"At Mozilla, we think you should be in control."

Well, then, why the hell are you shutting off my add-ons without asking? What the hell is up with Mozilla lately, anyway? Freakin' doorknobs...

I'm sure glad I haven't upgraded past 4. Laugh if you want.

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They do ask

You get a nice window with a list add-ons separated into two groups. By default all the ones you installed yourself via the add-ons manager are ticked and all the ones which were dropped in there by third parties (Google Earth, Google Update, MS Net, MS WPF, MS Office, dodgy search bars, etc...) are unticked. You then change any ticks if necessary and hit continue.

If a new third party add-on is dropped in then the window re-appears when the browser is next started up.

It's not the end of the world.

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Paris Hilton

Twitter FUD

As far as I can see the "Twitter integration" is only adding it to the list of default search engines, if you're using the US version of FF... all a bit Chicken Little for me.

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Twitter

Rest easy gentlemen, Twitter isn't installed by default for UK users (i.e. those using en_GB).

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Trollface

But but??

Will they disable an add-on that blocks twitter?

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WTF?

WTF is wrong with people?

At this rate, by the end of next year, we'll be on Firefox 17, and the interface (though very pretty) won't have any buttons. However the address bar (excuse me, Awesome Bar™) will turn vermilion to remind you when your animals in Farmville need to be fed.

Needless to say, I won't be upgrading.

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HMB

Firefox still has advantages over Chrome

Firefox isn't my first browser choice, but it is sleeker than it used to be, has stunning GPU acceleration in Windows (far better than Chrome's) and aside from them being totally stuck up about H.264 (it would have been easy to use any OS' built in codec to bypass the fees), yes aside from that I still see good things.

3D CSS transforms is in the nightlies and on it's way.

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FAIL

Thanks but no thanks, Mozilla.

I upgraded FF on this machine to 4.x and then had to spend time tweaking the settings and installing plugins just to 'undo' certain changes from 3.x that they implimented because they mistakenly believed we'd like it. So god knows what they've ruined in the interim stages between 4.x and 8.x. My other machines are still running 3.x and will likely to contine to do so for a long time.

With the advent of social media crap being embedded within the browser and the inability to install plugins they've turned something which was great into a true rival (in terms of suckyness) of IE.

So thanks but no thanks, Mozilla, I'm sticking with my older versions which allow me to have plugins installed that give me some control over how my web pages are presented to me and what cookies/tracking I will allow..

When I can no longer view major websites properly with what I have I'll undoubtedly move onto a new browser, but it looks unlikely to be one from Mozilla.

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FAIL

Of course don't let reading the article get in the way of commenting.

It disables add-ons that are installed when you install 3rd party applications (such as something like PDF Creator or a Java Update which insists on installing a search toolbar).

It then pops up when you start the browser asking if you'd like to re-enable these addons.

You're still able to download hundreds and thousands of other addons for Firefox just the same as you could before.

Jeez, some of these comments, makes me wonder why some folks bothered upgrading past Netscape Navigator 3?

I do agree on the majority of the comments about the new version every 6 weeks, that is annoying especially for the folks who create plugins which need updating every time (unless they set the maximum version number to something like 32767).

Oh and let the downvotes commence.

Rob

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Add-ons disabled by default?

No Adblock Plus, no me!

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Adblock plus will be enabled by default

You installed it yourself.

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