back to article Mozilla wants to seduce BOFHs with button-down Firefox

The Mozilla Foundation has released a Firefox for Enterprise with sysadmin controls to manage deployment. F4E arrives in beta form today. Firefox hooks into Windows Group Policy editor but will also include hooks for Linux and Mac. Organisations interested can apply here and BOFHs find more technical information in this recent …

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Put it out of its misery

The extras (addons / extensions whatever you want to call them) and configurabilty are why many people use Firebox - to give them control over their web experience.

When only web extensions were allowed used, plenty of useful addons were killed (and due to lack of various low level functionality allowed in web extensions could not be ported to web extensions model)

Most of my "vital addons" do not work on "new", web extensions only, Firefox.

.. So I no longer use Firefox.

I am sure I am not alone, for security / usability many people want to have a lot of "power user" functionality in their browser - now that's not there what's the point in Firefox? Who needs another chrome clone?

.. This is someone who has used Firefox for longer than I care to remember, across various OSes! And was sad to ditch using it *

* Caveat - I do occasionally run an "old skool" version (V54 IIRC) - missing recent updates so a few security issues, but allowing "now banned" addons to run. But run it sparingly due to security implications.

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Re: Put it out of its misery

I held onto firefox 38 as long as I could, running palemoon now. I tried waterfox though it said 100% of my addons were not compatible(yes, not a single one of the ~18 or so addons deemed compatible) with the new stuff coming in firefox 57, though even before that the deal breaker was the per-site cookie management wasn't working in waterfox (I knew firefox has already rid themselves of that feature, in waterfox at the time the UI options were there but the dialog boxes when prompting for cookies had nothing in them).

My browsers have for many years now run under a different user account with more limited rights, with the app displaying on my main Xorg display so it doesn't behave any differently, though sometimes I have to manually adjust permissions on files I download etc.

Palemoon isn't perfect, once in a while I have to go to firefox for site compatibility but it's pretty rare.

I still use firefox ESR on other systems, where I don't care about config or addons or anything. I haven't used non ESR firefox I think since ESR first became available.

I also use seamonkey as well for some things.

I was also shocked to see android firefox look more like chrome now, I don't like the new flat UI, and color scheme (theme helped the color scheme bit), and am now unable to cancel a mis click until the new link starts loading(happens at least once a day). Kept one of my phones on the older version for now. The updates on android have never seemed to have any noticeable impact on performance or stability for me anyways(galaxy note 3s on android 4.4 and android 5.0).

(BOFH using firefox since Phoenix 0.3)

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Re: Put it out of its misery

Once I worked out how to disable "recommendations" I much prefer the newer version, possibly because I don't have any incompatible add-ons. On the whole since they stopped fucking around with the UI and concentrated on browsery stuff they've done a good job. Good enough for me to switch back from Vivaldi which is going down its own rabbit holes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Put it out of its misery

"I was also shocked to see android firefox look more like chrome now"

Don't be. Many of the folks at Mozilla had worked for Google, and Mozilla itself had taken money from Google (and a few other shady investors, but I digress).

The old Mozilla has died a long time ago. If you ask me for a specific time when that happened, I think it was around the time when the development of Thunderbird was suspended and all focus was put on Firefox.

Use Seamonkey if you want Mozilla/Netscape nostalgia. If you want a modern browser, Brave, Vivaldi or one of the Chromium forks (Advanced Chrome, Yandex) are competent enough for your everyday needs.

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Re: Put it out of its misery

I've probably been a bit slow to the party but I've just discovered Waterfox.

You could try it - it might just be what you're looking for

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Re: Put it out of its misery

Same thing here. I went back to v56 and set the option to never update again. I can't be arsed to screw about finding some different system that works, and why should I. FF nags at me about being out-of-date from time to time but fuck it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Put it out of its misery

> .. So I no longer use Firefox

As the Catalans say, bon vent i bona barca!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Put it out of its misery

> They were going to depreciate

They were going to deprecate.

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Anonymous Coward

Ignorance

> The extras (addons / extensions whatever you want to call them) and configurabilty are why many people use Firebox - to give them control over their web experience.

At the price of opening a massive hole in your system's security. Old school add-ons have unrestricted access to the host system with the same level of privilege as the user running the browser.

There was a place and a time for that, just like there was a place and time for telnet and rsh.

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Re: Put it out of its misery

I'm a long time* user of Firefox who found that all of my 'necessary' addons work just fine in the new version, so I've stuck with it.

I've also never had a problem adapting to the new interfaces they've unveiled over the years.

I've always found Firefox to be as quick, and use about as much RAM as the available alternatives.

Thing is though, people who are happy tend not to start complaint threads in semi-related news stories so you might have got the wrong impression.

(* Phoenix 0.4 I think)

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They should have released this years ago when Firefox had a decent share of the browser market. But better late than never. I have been a Firefox user since the early beta days.

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Its got problems

I've been a Firefox user for many years but the combination of serious bloat and changes to extensions policy effectively killed it for me. (Extensions were what gave it the edge over Edge.)

I don't know what it is that makes organizations develop something to the point of unusability. "More" does not always mean "Better".

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Re: Its got problems

What they're failing to grasp is that much as with OSes, the absolute best a browser can hope to do is get the hell out of the way and remain invisible. As such, the extensions are everything, the browser is nothing. The very moment they forced me to choose between them and the extensions that create my browsing environment they have instantly lost me. Firefox ESR right now for me with some Palemoon - I'm quite prepared to stick with the most up-to-date non-Australis and plugin-compatible thing I can find or FF ESR indefinitely.

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Anonymous Coward

Quandary would be more on the mark

Firefox really has gone rudderless with these releases. Just chasing Chrome is a fools game.

I also don't think that I will find a long term refuge in any of the fill-in-the-blank ___Foxes out there. These projects are chasing Firefox the same way the Chrome knock offs have. Where are they these days? I respect the effort and the attempt, but they aren't able to stay in the race, let alone lead it. Pulling like minded Devs off the main code base will just doom the upstream line, which all of the downstream projects are still dependent on.

The market place would need browser diversity even if Chrome wasn't made by Google. No one team (and no Company) should be able to exert that much control over the internet, or information, not Google, not Apple, and not Microsoft.

While I could really rail on the specific issues for PAGES, I am pretty sure that you all know what most of them are. I also suspect that venting my spleen here isn't going to change much, though it may feel good for a moment. I think that we need to keep "Expressing" ourselves to Mozilla's management, who may change course if they are confronted with constructive feedback on their various media channels.

Thanks and Props to the Reg for keeping this in the public eye.

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Re: Quandary would be more on the mark

Firefox Quantum CSS and WebRender and both technologies far in advance of Chrome.

Also Firefox has far more advanced Privacy and Tracking protection than Chrome does

Yep. The ability to easily, and individually, control which websites can store what cookies is the prime reason why I use Firefox. Plus it seems to be pretty quick and fast these days.

The irony of this latest thing - integration with domain group policy - seems to be exactly the thing that MS walked away from when going from IE to Edge (unless I've got the wrong end of the stick - apologies to MS if so). Personally speaking I think integration with a domain is really, really useful for some types of use case (and I have done this with IE in the past). It's very handy, sometimes.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't think it's too bad and boy did FF need some serious tinkering under the hood to beef it up to a more modern speed.

It's a brave decision to bin backward compatibility but I can see why and I hope in time the add-on voids left do get filled, we need a strong 3rd player in the browser world.

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... and I hope in time the add-on voids left do get filled ...

'cept they ain't.

The problem is that many of these are not possible with the new framework...

(but I can see why one would like to get rid of the old cruft in the code to make it maintainable...)

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Trollface

Who is this for, exactly?

It's not like people materialize in our dimension full of business skills, but without any other life experiences.

If all a company can attract is the reckless and the incompetent, I'd focus the money on fixing the company, and firing the troublemakers. It's unlikely they're doing anybody any good in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

Forever precedent present for xi forever president

So after all the palaver about being on the user's side and defending our freedom, they've surrendered to the coin. Remember... https://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/about/manifesto/#principle-04

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Paris Hilton

As long as I can still have uBlock

This has been a lifesaver for me. It works under Android as well, so I can browse YouTube without any adverts on my mobile. It's annoying that it stops YouTube videos whenever I open a new tab or do anything else on the mobile. This is something built into YouTube, it doesn't do it with other videos.

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FAIL

I'd be happier...

If they did something about the OS for my "smart" TV that they lost interest in after trumpeting it as the "next big thing".

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We sysadmins wanted Mozilla-issued MSI installers and GPOs years ago, instead of the weird customization kits and community-build MSI, and were told "no". So, at least in our shop, we went across the street to Chrome which produced official versions of both. Chrome can be a PITA in some ways but we aren't going back now.

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Weird timing

Odd timing, when the existing ESR still is old-style. Hooray, you get both the fallout from all the extensions breaking¹ and the teething problems in the mgmt functions, at the same time? Oh, and I have to opt in to your marketing spam? Sign me right up, sounds like a spectacular deal!

¹ and given the noise the affected users will make, it doesn't matter if 83% of overall install base got compatibility updates, or whatever the figure is.

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Re: Weird timing

Perfect timing for me.

Until now we've been using a plugin to limit functionality in Firefox. That add-on isn't getting updated, and the ESR support for add-ons only lasts until the summer, so I'd really like a solution before then.

I can also see the logic for Mozilla. They didn't want to spend ages developing an enterprise version of Firefox on the old codebase, before having to refactor everything. Now they have a modern, clean codebase to start from.

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Anonymous Coward

Quantum / Klar

So I use Klar¹ on me phone and very happy with it indeed. It is exactly what I had been wanting for a long time. I'm looking forward to checking out the desktop version.

For Firefox, multithreading mode does make a hell of a difference. If you haven't got a multithreaded version you need to try one before you form an opinion.

And for the record, I am a big critic of the Mozilla Foundation but one has to give credit where credit is due.

¹ This is a version of Quantum tweaked for the German-speaking market, I use it because F-Droid carries it.

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