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back to article Mozilla takes a page from Google with sync-friendly Firefox Accounts

The Mozilla Foundation has taken a further step into the world of online services with the introduction of Firefox Accounts. "While we've worked to offer services that deliver value and put users and developers in control of their Web experiences, we've never had a simple way for you to sign up and sign in to access these …

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A page from Google they can keep

So no more pesky code thing to sync other devices which I suppose means no more local encryption.

If I wanted to give some company all my bookmarks, browsing history/whatever I can just use chrome.

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FAIL

Re: A page from Google they can keep

No doubt that is the reason Mozilla abandoned Thunderbird without offering a viable alternative email client, thus screwing Thunderbird users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A page from Google they can keep

Yup. What I would like to see is a sync feature that works on a LAN (e.g., for synchronising different desktop and personal devices) without third party intervention.

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Re: A page from Google they can keep

What I would like to see is a sync feature that works on a LAN (e.g., for synchronising different desktop and personal devices) without third party intervention.

I have this set-up. using the documentation and code supplied by, let's see..., Mozilla!

https://docs.services.mozilla.com/howtos/run-sync.html

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Mozilla has long offered Firefox Sync as a way for Firefox users to share their browser history, bookmarks, and recent tabs among several computers. But it was clunky, requiring users to explicitly pair each new device by generating a code on one machine and entering it into another.

Clunky? Push button in one browser, enter code into other, done. Oh yeah, it's a real nightmare to use.

And yeah, given that Firefox Sync is encrypted (and they give you the key as part of your master credentials), will the new one be?

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I guess it is a nightmare to use if your computers are in different locations and you don't have Remote Desktop facilities.

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Australis as default?

I agree the sync is clunky, it could be made a lot simpler. But australis? What is the reason for this obsession with "simple" interfaces? Didn't anyone learn anything from the windows 8/unity/gnome 3 less than enthusiastic reception?

Slashdot is doing the same crap (and about to lose their main asset, the commentators). Have the Fischer Price interface designers taken over the world?

Why don't the mozilla devs fix the issues instead of playing with the interface and ruining the usage for non-retard users? Oh well, I guess I shouldn't expect much, since some of the issues are self inflicted, like breaking the ESC key handling (http://blog.ffextensionguru.com/2013/01/11/changes-to-esc-key-behavior/).

Oh well, I've dropped mozilla on Android (dolphin is decent and has some plugin support) so I'll probably drop firefox on the desktop as soon as they make australis the default. If I am forced to use a "simplified" interface, I might as well switch to chromium.

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Re: Australis as default?

Yup. I'm staying on FF 22.0 because after that YOU MUST HAVE TABS, YOUNG JEDI!

They dropped the preference to remove the tab bar if you have only one useless tab open. I saw an actual Mozilla Support response that this was to "keep the user from damaging his firefox". Seriously.

I think that the real developers have left the house, and the only ones left are the resume-padding "look ma! imma firefox developer!!" losers. They remove features because it's beyond their ability to add new ones.

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Re: Australis as default?

> Have the Fischer Price interface designers taken over the world?

In a sense. The simplified interfaces are designed for mobile devices with tiny screens.

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Re: Australis as default?

Shame that Dolphin is somehow unable to render something as trivial as an animated GIF though. Thankfully my Cyanogenmod AOSP Browser however can.... Plus it also supports Adobe Flash too!

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Re: Australis as default?

> Have the Fischer Price interface designers taken over the world?

In a sense. The simplified interfaces are designed for mobile devices with tiny screens.

Shame that Mozilla have just all about made Firefox on Android as much of a sucky experience as they have with there so-called "Awesome Screen" THAT NO-FREAKING-ANYONE-EVER-ASKED-FOR! And, with absolutely no way to deactivate it. Pretty much killed any chance of me ever wanting to even bother wanting to continue using this steaming turd of a Mobile Browser.

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Joke

Re: Australis as default?

The simplified interfaces are designed for mobile devices Joe and Jane Sixpack with tiny screens brains.

FTFY!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Australis as default?

If you don't want to see tabs when there's only one tab open, then you're not alone: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/hide-tab-bar-with-one-tab/

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Re: Australis as default?

> The simplified interfaces are designed for mobile devices Joe and Jane Sixpack with tiny screens brains.

Yes I saw the joke alert, but from a design point of view there is no difference between designing for dumb users and designing for crappy hardware, and they are designing for crappy hardware. It's the same design paradigm which gave us TIFKAM and Ubuntu Unity, ultimately based on the widespread belief that the PC is dying and the future is cellphones and smartwatches.

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Where's the patent for this?

Since Google is doing this in Chrome, Apple is doing it in Safari and Mozilla is now doing it in Firefox, that has to be a juicy target for some twat who undoubtedly managed to get a weasel-worded patent along these lines years ago.

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Facepalm

How about reading the damned blog?

I know, TL;DR - much easier to froth off at the mouth than look for the answer. To save you wearing out that left mouse button, they're keeping browser-based encryption with the new Sync.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure I trust Mozilla

to handle security. I certainly trust them less than Google.

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WTF?

Re: Not sure I trust Mozilla

Hmm. Do I trust a not-for-profit organization with my data more than a rapacious monopolist who makes a living mining my data?

Tough decision...

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Alert

"Mozilla's browser moves closer to offering...

"...what Google has delivered with Chrome for years."

What, offering all your data to them so they can target adverts at you...?

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The old Firefox sync was utterly useless.

"Clunky" doesn't even begin to describe how broken Firefox sync was. Setting up an account, with a username and password I didn't get to chose myself, to get an 11 digit code I had to write down, then at the other computer connect to the account, enter the code, get it rejected, going back to the original computer to check the code, finding it correct, testing it again on the second computer, rejected again... I never got it to work. I think because the two computers weren't running the exact same minor version of Firefox, but it's possible it was due to the phase of the moon or barometric pressure.

Instead I used Dropbox and add-on Password Exporter to sync. Easy and painless.

If Firefox has now fixed its broken sync that's certainly a great step forward. And loooong overdue.

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Re: The old Firefox sync was utterly useless.

It is like looking inside brains that kept the emails from being secured.

"hmm .. How clunky it is to secure the lines connecting the servers.. let us just pretend we are using encryption for all of their personal data..."

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Re: The old Firefox sync was utterly useless.

FF fixed that a long time ago (I think around v10).

Nowadays you just select pair a device on your existing browser and set up sync on your new machine, enter the 12 alphanumeric characters from the new device into the existing device and done. Everything is now syncing neatly, across multiple versions of FF.

The old master key option is still around for the situation where you lose all your existing installs, but it's meant purely as a backup.

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Coat

"Here at Vulture Annex, we tend to think it just looks more like Chrome."

Are you fecking kidding me? After 13 years the interface is one of the last things keeping using the Mozilla browser. After breaking compatibility with any add-on or themes I actually found useful with every update, followed by their new obsession with releasing a new version every six weeks, other commentards may be right about it being time to switch to a new browser.

Since they introduced the whole sync "feature", I've felt they should offer the option of pointing the tool at a server of your choosing. Sure it may be for advanced users, but I'd find it more useful to have the files installed somewhere I control and trust than any outside party.

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They do. In fact you've been able to set up your own private sync server since 2010.

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> ...other commentards may be right about it being time to switch to a new browser.

The Mozilla folks say the Australis interface "eliminates clutter". To paraphrase a poster over on Ars, "clutter" is apparently developer-speak for "features I really want".

Firefox doesn't compete on performance, so they have to compete on features. How can they do that by removing features?

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Anonymous Coward

> In fact you've been able to set up your own private sync server since 2010.

Have you tried? I have. Emphasis on tried. Fucking nightmare.

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder why this Sync feature even needed its own server. In what way did not IMAP, SFTP, SSH, etc., did not meet their requirements to copy data from A to B?

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Anonymous Coward

The Australis interface "eliminates clutter".

Shame they're late to the party. Imagine a couple years ago how many more toolbars would have fitted in that extra space.

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@anon

I've had one running for two years now and it wasn't that difficult to set up. Nightmare? Maybe if you're scared of text...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @anon

> Maybe if you're scared of text...

Ah, that might be it. Must have been all that LISP programming. When I see text I have this impulsive reaction (that ((makes) me) '(want ((to fill) it) '(((with (parentheses)) everywhere!)

)

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Was fairly easy on ownCloud..... Nicely encrypted transfers thanks to SSL encryption too...

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Remember when Mozilla Firefox had original ideas? Peperidge Farm's remembers...

I really wish these Idiots would stop trying to turn my beloved Browser into a freaking Chrome Clone... If I had actually wanted that experience I'd have gone on to instal that or at best Chromium. I haven't because I like(d) Firefox as it was pre Build 26. Because of this bullshi-ery I'm stuck on the ESR 24 Release of Firefox. Till even this gets the hook...

Why the had to tie my Download Window into the Bookmarks & History Window is frankly beyond my level of comprehension.

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Anonymous Coward

I followed that 'Australis' link.

And perused it up to the part where they bleat on about "a familiar look and feel across all our platforms so that Firefox feels like Firefox everywhere."

I don't fucking want Firefox to "feel like Firefox". I want it to feel just like any other application in my fucking platform of choice, not stand out like a sore thumb.

Perhaps Firefox developers[1] would be able to see that, if they weren't stuck so far up their own arses.

[1] I advise anyone who does not think they're a bunch of petulant twats to go read their Bugzilla for a bit.

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Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

[1] I advise anyone who does not think they're a bunch of petulant twats to go read their Bugzilla for a bit.

Problem is they'll (In their Minds), reverse troll you and, tell you to stop posting false Bug Reports. As the "Bugs" are now the new "Features" of Firefox... Case in point the recent loss of the Downloads Window.

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Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

Take a look at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Desktop and weep. Even a copy of the chrome menu is about to be forced on the remainin firefox users. It seems to have failed version 25 (27 on linux still doesn't have the australis tabs and this) but seems to be nearly ready.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

> Case in point the recent loss of the Downloads Window.

Ah yes, good example. I think that might even be one of the last bugs I commented on.

The thing is, losing the downloads window wouldn't be so bad if, as stated above, Firefox didn't "feel like Firefox" in every platform. Take for example my choice, KDE, has a pretty neat progress indication mechanism as part of the system tray, that's used every time a file is copied or downloaded. I would expect a properly made program to integrate with that--both because it's efficient and mostly because that keeps the user experience consistent. I expect that other modern platforms have similar mechanisms.

But no, the ruddy thing just has to "feel like Firefox", you know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

> Take a look at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Desktop and weep

Indeed. What is feature #1 currently in development? Silent updates, of course, because you know, "[w]ith the transition to the Rapid Release development model, the frequency in which we interrupt a user's workflow will be increasingly more common."

Never mind that you could just tick the "don't be wanker and stop annoying me with offers to update" box. Never mind that nowadays you're probably using an OS secure enough not to let applications update themselves (unless they're running with admin rights, which a browser certainly shouldn't). Never mind that if you are using a secure enough OS they will deliberately try to subvert its security. No. All be in the name of not "interrupting a user's workflow". Except that we're going to interrupt it anyway after all.

Is there anyone in charge at Mozilla? They make Wackypedia look good in comparison.

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Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

Take a look at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Features/Desktop and weep...

I must say for the One feature I would actually for Once welcome.... This being the inclusion of a 64bit Version seems somewhat lacking....

Really how much work would it take to get Firefox forked back into something like Build 24, and yet still allow for continual updates without having to constantly piss in my cheerios all the damned time?

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Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

Have you actually used the menu? The old 4.0-28 menu is Chrome-like, to a certain extent. FF on the other hand lets you treat it as a toolbar, and in my case, I've chucked on a bunch of stuff I like having quick-access to (AdBlock+, Stylish, GreaseMonkey, a few others) there, and it works great. Actually try shit. The menu button just LOOKS the same. It works completely differently to Chrome.

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Re: I followed that 'Australis' link.

It works well in Gtk-based environments, but apparently they haven't heard of Qt even today, so no Qt integration at all (unless you use openSUSE's patches)

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Anonymous Coward

C(l)u(tt)e(r)less

Personally, if I wanted their idea of clutterless, it'd be a toss between lynx and w3m.

Then again, I always thought Gopher was great.

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I really miss about 5 years ago

Remember when the downloads window had like progress bars and a title bar and you could move it about! Remember when Firefox would sometimes give memory back to the OS, remember when it wouldn't try to render PDFs itself and use the host program, remember when it was about performance, not about the performance of stuff re-written in Javascript. Now it's like "performance lost to double dispatch? pfft, performance gained from 8 level dispatch in Javascript with 4 hooks for your own things!"

Don't get me wrong I am sure some of Firefox's slowness and memory-hogging is due to being forced to run a fucktonne of scripts. but javascript for everything? I don't even like it that much as a language, I'd much rather all this attention be given to say Python.

But yeah, I miss the old days, remember when you had menus in their own bar that started "file" then "edit" then "view" allllll the way to "help", even Thunderbird buggers up now and has like this tripple-equals sign for a menu, WTF. It's like "we could have menus with submenus, or one really big menu...."

I hate it. I hate Gnome 3, I hate whatever Ubuntu has become.... I wish (at the age of 20 might I add) I wasn't so bitter and annoyed at the state of things. I would use the Tux icon, but not even Linux is safe from this crap. Linux Mint + MATE FTW.

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Re: I really miss about 5 years ago

But yeah, I miss the old days, remember when you had menus in their own bar that started "file" then "edit" then "view" allllll the way to "help", even Thunderbird buggers up now and has like this tripple-equals sign for a menu, WTF. It's like "we could have menus with submenus, or one really big menu...."

Not sure how it is post Build 26, as I utterly refuse to run that POS!... Buuut, for versions before that you just have to go to: (Orange) Firefox Menu Bar. -> Options -> Menu Bar....

Job done... In fact its the very first in a long line of "jobs" that gets done every time I have to install Firefox these Days...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I really miss about 5 years ago

> (Orange) Firefox Menu Bar. -> Options -> Menu Bar....

No luck for me. All I have is an Apple. :(

Sorry, sorry, ...

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Re: I really miss about 5 years ago

> Remember when the downloads window had like progress bars and a title bar and you could move it about! Remember when Firefox would sometimes give memory back to the OS, remember when it wouldn't try to render PDFs itself and use the host program,

Plugins are known for being notoriously unsafe. See Acrobat, Flash, and Java for the most egregious examples.

> remember when it was about performance, not about the performance of stuff re-written in Javascript. Now it's like "performance lost to double dispatch? pfft, performance gained from 8 level dispatch in Javascript with 4 hooks for your own things!"

Blame websites for insisting they need 8-level dispatch with 4 hooks and 50 external web-hosted libraries and 9000 webfonts.

> But yeah, I miss the old days, remember when you had menus in their own bar that started "file" then "edit" then "view" allllll the way to "help", even Thunderbird buggers up now and has like this tripple-equals sign for a menu, WTF. It's like "we could have menus with submenus, or one really big menu...."

In customize mode of the new menu, there is a handy button labeled "Show/Hide Toolbars", which brings up a sub-menu containing:

- Menu bar

- Bookmarks Toolbar

Gee, I wonder what those do?!

> I hate it. I hate Gnome 3, I hate whatever Ubuntu has become.... I wish (at the age of 20 might I add) I wasn't so bitter and annoyed at the state of things. I would use the Tux icon, but not even Linux is safe from this crap. Linux Mint + MATE FTW.

Try KDE sometime... So far, they have managed to add every single tablet/mobile interface improvement completely alongside the desktop stuff. I've seen KDE Active run on top of normal KDE, and it works well!

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Unhappy

Whine as much as you must to get it out of your system. Do we have an alternative? Which browser would *you* use instead of the uncunny fox that offers feature parity?

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Whine as much as you must to get it out of your system. Do we have an alternative? Which browser would *you* use instead of the uncunny fox that offers feature parity?

This is currently the $64,000(USD) Question. The Answer... (For now), seems to be Firefox 24ESR.

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running 28

I'm running version 28 and no problems that I have noticed. I like tabs, and the whole interface still looks pretty much what I always have used. I know I had to get in and mess with things a bit, a year or two ago, to have it display properly. But those settings have stuck through all those updates.

http://i.imgur.com/EM0q8hg.png

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