back to article Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

Mozilla plans on November 14 to start rolling out Firefox 57, a massive update that just might send many of its users scurrying for the LTS release. First the good news. Firefox 57 is faster, quite noticeably so, thanks to improvements to what Mozilla calls Project Quantum. Quantum encompasses several smaller projects in order …

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Pint

Re: NoScript ?

"I find the internet practically unusable now without NoScript."

Have an upvote and a beer.

I'd be happy to use something like Dillo, except online banking and shopping sites won't work without JavaScript. The banking sites are some of the worst culprits, with breakages forcing a change of browser every few months or even weeks.

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Re: NoScript ?

The latest Mac version went Quantum about a month ago and NoScript does not work. I have replaced it with uMatrix and prefer it.

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Thumb Up

Re: NoScript ?

> I find the internet practically unusable now without NoScript.

Aint that the truth! NoScript is the only add-on I've actually donated money towards - have an upvote!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NoScript ?

The counterpart to NoScript is RequestPolicy: one prevents dubious scripts from running, the other prevents content from untrusted domains from even being requested or fetched in the first place. Does anyone know if RequestPolicy or similar is being updated to the new extension format?

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Re: NoScript ?

Does anyone know if RequestPolicy or similar is being updated to the new extension format?

The page at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/requestpolicy/ has the wonderful text "Not compatible with Firefox Quantum " in there, however the author (Justin Samuel) makes the comment that he is letting others take over dev as RequestPolicy Continued.

On that page (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/requestpolicy-continued/) there is also the wonderful "not compatible" text, but on that page Martin Kimmerle says :

"Firefox 57+ / RequestPolicy WebExtension // multiprocess compatibility

I'm working on a WebExtension version of this add-on. If you want to help with the transition, please install the "Development Channel" version at the bottom of this page. Development help is welcome as well; the tracking issue for the WebExtension transition is #704. Thank you."

So there you have it. With some luck at least some decent plugins will reach FF. Then again, with more luck WF/PM will take over from FF (including the funding) and Moz will go the way of many other companies who shove their heads up their own backsides so they can't hear what their users want.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NoScript ?

Use uMatrix instead of NoScript. It's developed by the same guy who makes uBlock Origin.

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LastPass

It's available in beta from their own site. I miss a bit of functionality (the "copy password to clipboard" menu item seems missing) but it's working otherwise.

AC because I'm happy not to advertise I use LastPass.

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Re: LastPass

I think you've already advertised it as you are not logged in as AC.

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Re: LastPass

LOL

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Anonymous Coward

Re: LastPass

Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes, don't look around my eyes, look into my eyes, you're under. You'll forget you ever saw the name Hypnotist. Three, two, one... You're back in the room.

(With apologies to Little Britain)

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Pint

Re: LastPass

@Hypnotist

Your endorsement was mesmerizing.

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FAIL

The main reasons I use Firefox is NoScript and AdBlock. LastPass is where I store my passwords, so it is a must have as well.

Without Noscript, there is really no reason to pick FireFox over other offerings. Will be amusing.

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NoScript and Lastpass are both ported already.

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"NoScript and Lastpass are both ported already"

I keep hearing that in comments in various places, but I haven't been able to find anything official confirming it. I don't care about LastPass -- my concern is NoScript. Can you point me to some sort of authoritative source for this information?

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NoScript Official Forums:

NS like any other extension is in the process of being ported over to the new extension model forced by Mozilla and so while it continues to function flawlessly, it has been in the process and Giorgio has been hard at work and locked away do it, so it will show up as it becomes ready and stable enough to be released, otherwise he prefers to keep it off instead of releasing something buggy. So, all I can say is be patient, but thank you for letting us know.

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Partial list of “legacy” extensions I'm using: Context Search X, FireGestures, Flagfox, LastPass, Open With, Status-4-Evar, Tab Groups, and perhaps most importantly, Tab Mix Plus.

I've no reason to stay with Firefox when all of these stop working. Goodbye Firefox, hello Vivaldi!

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Anonymous Coward

@ mscha

I use both FF and Vivaldi. I've settled on FF for most browsing although I use Vivaldi judiciously on one machine. Vivaldi has to wait for Google to patch security flaws before Vivaldi can update theirs because Vivaldi uses the Google browser engine which - to me - could be presenting a time lag which might be a windows of opportunity for hackers. But I do use it on one computer, I just don't go all over the web with it

But Vivaldi is a lovely piece of software that is so customizable, and a pleasure to use.

Firefox is my workhorse though. And I enjoy using it. It's simpler and cleaner than Vivaldi but in some ways not as customizable in layout and visually.

You indicate you are concerned about your legacy plug-ins. Well, there are and will be many non-legacy plugins to explore, ones that may just do the trick(s) you want them to do.

Anyway ..

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I switched from firefox to seamonkey when it went chrome like in the UI.

If I want a chrome style engine, I use Vivaldi. I'm more likely to switch totally to vivaldi then to return to firefox if Seamonkey goes the same way.

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"But Vivaldi is a lovely piece of software that is so customizable, and a pleasure to use."

It doesn't even come close to Firefox with Classic Theme Restorer installed. No matter what I try, I can't get rid of what Bob calls "2D FLATSO FLUGLY" appearance. That's a deal breaker. Why is there no option to render using native widgets that look like they belong on my PC? The customization is all about how you want the ugly flat UI configured, but you're getting an ugly flat UI.

"Firefox is my workhorse though. And I enjoy using it. It's simpler and cleaner than Vivaldi but in some ways not as customizable in layout and visually."

FF is way, way more customizable than Vivaldi with addons.

"Well, there are and will be many non-legacy plugins to explore, ones that may just do the trick(s) you want them to do."

Nope... sadly, that is not possible. It is those UI customizing addons specifically that do not and will not come in Webextensions versions, because Webextensions do not have the capability to modify the UI like XUL does. If Mozilla extends the Webextensions API, that will be different, but they have shown hostility to that idea in the past. As of now, they are pushing us to Webextensions even while the new API can only do a fraction of what XUL can.

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GoE

API incomplete

It's worth noting that some addons are impossible to port to WebExtensions for the simple reason that the API doesn't include a bunch of stuff that the old one did. Some by design, some because they're not ready.

NoScript has to wait until 57 launches before it can access parts of the API that it needs, which is why it hasn't been updated yet. SSLeuth needs access to certificate information that is entirely locked away with no anticipation that it will ever be available. Classic Theme Restorer and any theme addon that makes changes to the UI design (no more tab styles) are also impossible because those parts of the API are deliberately missing.

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Unhappy

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

This might be the thing that makes me look elsewhere for a browser. Shame really.

Pale Moon might be the solution but as I'm on the ESR Branch I still have time to look around.

Chrome is not the solution for me because of Google. Not interested in using any google software unless I really, really have to.

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Re: API incomplete

Also the article says that "this change is not a surprise to Firefox extension developers. The roadmap has been published for well over a year now".

The roadmap was published but the API wasn't, that's a moving target and still will be after Firefox 57. The API call developers need to port their extension to WebExtensions might be coming soon or Mozilla might have no intention of adding it.

Two extension types are getting the chop, XUL and Jetpack, leaving only WebExtensions. That's a lot of extensions which will never get updated because Mozilla didn't manage to convince developers to migrate to a newer API with fewer features (think UWP).

I'm in no rush to update, I'll stay on Firefox ESR for a while.

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Re: API incomplete

"NoScript has to wait until 57 launches before it can access parts of the API "

That depends on whether or not the Firefox team has already given them access to the API... as many of the larger houses can and sometimes do. It all depends on the deal that they have, if they have one at all.

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GoE

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

The new theme is at least better than Australis (burn rounded tabs, burn), and a few features are still possible through css, but most aren't.

It's SSLeuth that I'm going to miss. The developer has suggested that some functionality might be possible if an EFF proposal is implemented, but Mozilla has rejected every other proposal to expose TLS info. Firefox was the only browser in the world to allow you to see how strong a website's certificate was, now they want to be just as naff as everyone else.

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WTF?

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

It's all part of the obsession to mimic Chrome.

Thats why classic theme restorer is so useful - to make the UI half way user friendly.

So, the Moz folk realising they still hasd users left after making teh UI a PITA, searched for a way to alienate those remaining users.

They found a way - change how extensions have to work, including remove extension access to some "low level" functionality so some extensions will no longer work.

That will alienate those users whose "must have" extensions cannot be ported.

Moz folk fail to realise the reason many of use use FireFox is precisely because it is not Chrome and it allows us fine grained browser control that Chrome does not.

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GoE

Re: API incomplete

Giorgio said last week that he doesn't have access to them, that he'll have to wait for release

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Bronze badge

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

I thought the lack of CTR was dealbreaker, but I tried out 57 and have to say -- I can live without it on 57. 57 fixed a few of the broken things that CTR fixed, and allows enough modifications that I can live without it now.

The lack of NoScript, however, remains a showstopper issue.

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Silver badge

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

"Pale Moon might be the solution..."

Yes, give Palemoon a try.

I moved from FF a while ago as Australis and other changes started to alienate me and I wouldn't go back. Mostly the same look and feel as FF although it is slowly moving away from FF. I'm lucky as Palemoon is in the PCLinuxOS repos but have noticed when trying out other distros that it may not be included. I don't know what the situation is with other OSs.

I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.

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GoE
Thumb Up

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

CTR just released an update with an option that shows you what is and isn't compatible with 57. There are still a few annoyances that are either wholly incompatible or will need to be developed, but yeah Proton seems to have fixed a lot of Australis' issues.

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Megaphone

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

"This might be the thing that makes me look elsewhere for a browser. "

If I'm ever forced into using 57 or later, I'll consider "how to patch it" and publish the patches.

Firefox can STILL be built from source, particularly in FreeBSD.

I expect that all you need to do is patch the buttons and menus, and ESPECIALLY make it possible to ********EXTERMINATE******** THAT *** DAMNED @#$%+-* HAMBURGER BUTTON!!! [it's the best feature of classic theme restorer]

(Thunderbird, too, by the way - but in Tbird you have to drag the hamburger back onto the 'customize menu' thingy - in FF with classic theme restorer you can right-click the hamburger and select the "remove" option and IT GOES AWAY and NEVER COMES BACK - "I toldz it to go away, and it DID! I'm Freeeeee!" )

So the conclusion: the only way we'll get what we want is if we give Mozilla the BIG MIDDLE FINGER and DO IT OURSELVES. that would include GETTING RID of AUSTRALIS. I'd be SO happy if Mozilla LOSES the browser wars over this, with their OWN LEGACY CODE.

[Last I checked, palemoon still has trouble building on FreeBSD, so I can't really use it]

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FAIL

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

"Moz folk fail to realise the reason many of use use FireFox is precisely because it is not Chrome and it allows us fine grained browser control that Chrome does not."

If I had the time... I'd definitely consider wrapping webkit with a UI that doesn't suck. Last I checked, Midori looks way too much like Chrome now.

FF 3 in classic theme restorer is a pretty good setting. Hey Mozilla, PAY ATTENTION DAMMIT! You're acting like MICROSHAFT and GNOME, and ALIENATING your CUSTOMERS!

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Customers, eh? How much are you paying for Firefox then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Take a look at SlimJet if you're looking for a Chrome alternative without all the snooping.

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Mozilla make all their money from Firefox.

If they lose their users, they lose their income and cease to exist.

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Re: Richard 12

FF already has lost many, BUT... more clueless idiots sign up...

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Take a look at SlimJet

Try Netsurf. Small, fast, no Javascript so NoScript isn't an issue :-)

M.

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

Mozilla's customers are "Yahoo in the United States, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia" according to Forbes.

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

"Customers, eh? How much are you paying for Firefox then?"

I've provided free marketing for many, many years-- since before Firefox existed. I've provided free tech help to their users, in some cases restoring satisfaction with their product that threatened to alienate them. I've searched from their affiliate-linked search plugins intentionally, and I have left on the thumbnail "previews" (ads) in the new tab menu when normally I destroy all ads with a vengeance. I've allowed telemetry to assist them where I would normally would simply shut it down. I've filed bugs.

You don't have to fork over cash personally to have paid for something. I haven't contributed cash to Moz, but I have contributed other stuff.

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

You don't have to fork over cash personally to have paid for something. I haven't contributed cash to Moz, but I have contributed other stuff.

You're far from alone in this. Many of us who're looking elsewhere have done what we can to help FF survive and thrive, inc stuff like telemetry and allowing some of the advertising to come through.

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

This is entirely true, but it still doesn't mean Firefox users are customers. You're someone's customer if you bought something from them, end of.

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Re: No Classic Theme Restorer?

This is entirely true, but it still doesn't mean Firefox users are customers. You're someone's customer if you bought something from them, end of.

I did buy Firefox from them though.

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FAIL

I always wanted to be an organ grinder's monkey

I don't see why they cannot continue support for legacy extensions. Warning that "this might be slowing your browser down - don't blame us" would be better than not continuing support.

Instead, Mozilla simply add themselves to the long list of others who choose to dictate what users will get, will have to put up with, rather than letting users decide for themselves.

I don't know if the change will affect me or other staff but it's annoying that it's another thing I have to worry about which I shouldn't have to. I'll be disabling auto-updates until I can find some time to assess the impact.

Thanks for the heads-up.

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Re: I always wanted to be an organ grinder's monkey

You either change or die. Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

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Re: I always wanted to be an organ grinder's monkey

You either change or die. Such is life.

It doesn't have to be that way. Mozilla did not have to turn off support for legacy extensions; they have chosen to.

But you are right, it is increasingly "you have no choice". That's quite depressing.

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Re: I always wanted to be an organ grinder's monkey

Legacy support was making firefox slow and unstable. They had to let something go eventually or be stuck in a tar pit of their own making.

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Anonymous Coward

Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

@beardman:

I had a look around, as you suggested. My 40 year old guitars are still working - still compatible with modern strings, amps and effects and I can buy spares for them. My amp still works on the mains 240V and the valves are readily available. My toaster and cooker (30 and 40 odd years old) still work - and I can still buy replacement elements for both. My 6 year old car still works on petrol and I can still get compatible tyres, battery brake discs, etc. I can even buy a rear can and reed valves for my 50 year old motorbike. Most of the stuff in my life which is more than 10 years old still works, is still compatible with everything it was ever compatible with and is still supported. So it's a very small part of my very recent life in which stuff becomes obsolete after a couple of years.

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Re: I always wanted to be an organ grinder's monkey

"You either change or die"

2 of 8 extensions I use are not legacy.

So yes I changed to Waterfox as Firefox continues to fuck itself.

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Happy

Re: Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

"My amp still works on the mains 240V,,,"

<pedant> They changed the voltage a while back to 230V so as to be in line with the rest of the EU. </pedant>

I don't know if that will change with Brexit though.

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JLV
Silver badge

Re: Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

Oh, come on. While I am just as annoyed as anyone else at losing my personal faves - NoScript in my case - at least temporarily, this analogy is pretty darn leaky.

If you had a leaded gasoline car, you'd be out of luck, unless you did whatever you need to do to keep them running on modern gas.

If you had bought lots of cassette tapes, you'd not have them working on any recent equipment.

If your light fixtures for some reason insists on incandescents...

And, how many times have we seen people complaining that Windows is a mess due to its support for outdated technologies? How many people have - justifiably - skewered IE for leaving all sorts of crud enabled?

FF has put in a lot of effort rewriting their core, it's time that we get some payoff.

There's always a fine point between gratuitous changes and ones that make sense going forward. Python 2 vs 3 is a case in point - the changes to 3 were important clean ups in a language that takes clarity and consistency very seriously. To the best of their ability portability was facilitated and stuff back-ported to 2.7. It's not super difficult to write code that runs on 2 and 3*. But, yeah, it broke code. I'm still on 2.7 myself, but I disagree that the whole idea was an unplanned clusterf**** and will eventually move to 3.

Uncomfortable and inconvenient? Yes. Unjustified? No. Sometimes you need to change things and I respect that, as long as you aware of the costs to your users.

Browsers are too central to current computer security to take risks from keeping huge chunks of legacy code, including extensions that may essentially be un-maintained.

I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Mozilla, one of the better software projects around IMHO, that they've done a good job, weighed the alternatives and had reasons for doing this. Then I'll wait for NoScript before upgrading. If they've really screwed the pooch I'll switch to Vivaldi.

What I won't do is compare my ($$$) car to my (free) browser ;-)

* which is not to say that what makes sense in a development framework - where the complexity of compatibility is the developer's choice and is limited to their app - is the right thing to do on a browser.

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Headmaster

"My amp still works on the mains 240V,,,"

<pedant> They changed the voltage a while back to 230V so as to be in line with the rest of the EU. </pedant>

<pedantic pedant> Not quite. They opened up the voltage tolerance so that there was "compatability" throughout the eu. I'm not aware that anything in the UK actually changed. (Yet).

More of a problem some years ago when places like Holland and Frogland moved off 110v to something more civilised. At least all the eu were humming from the same frequency hymn sheet ... if not synchronised to the UK.

>> He'll do. </pedantic pedant>

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