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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Integrated Twitter support? WTF?

    Oh well, thanks Mozilla it was nice knowing you.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Twitter support

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

      Cough Splutter!

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      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 :(

      1. Scorchio!!
        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.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      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.

    4. Gav
      Alert

      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.

      1. Grease Monkey

        "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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Northern Fop
      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'.

  3. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down

    Memory Hog

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

    1. Matt 21

      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.

    2. Grease Monkey

      Bolderdash. Is that like pebbledash only a lot bigger?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        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.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Thumb Up

          Boulderdash!

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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      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...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please

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

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

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

    1. William Gallafent
      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 :)

    2. Jordan Davenport
      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.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        You don't need to edit prefs.js manually

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

    3. Ocular Sinister

      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.

  7. Nights_are_Long
    FAIL

    Hello Twitter bye bye FF.

    Yea the Twitter thing just killed FF for me.

    1. Greg J Preece

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

      Idiot.

  8. Pink Duck
    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).

  9. Desktop Mobile
    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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. Old Handle

      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...

      1. H.Winter

        ...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.

      2. Wensleydale Cheese

        "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.

        1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

          TXT files

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

          1. Wensleydale Cheese

            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).

        2. Robert E A Harvey

          @Wensleydale Cheese

          Wouldn't wget in a batch file be easier?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        8 works way better than 3.6 for me

  10. JDX Gold badge

    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.

  11. Kevin Fields
    Thumb Down

    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!

    1. Dave Bell

      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?

    2. Grease Monkey

      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.

  12. Mike Flugennock
    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.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      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.

  13. Mike 29
    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.

  14. Connor

    Twitter

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

  15. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Trollface

    But but??

    Will they disable an add-on that blocks twitter?

  16. Old Handle
    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Haku
    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.

    1. Rob Beard
      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

  19. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

    Add-ons disabled by default?

    No Adblock Plus, no me!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Adblock plus will be enabled by default

      You installed it yourself.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was pleasantly surprised ...

    It seems to use less memory on OS X than FF7. Extensions all seem to work fine, too.

    The twitter thing is irrelevant.

    I'll check out on Linux tomorrow.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    great!

    I was amazed how many plugins had installed themselves last time I checked - so that will be good - if I have to sanity check at each upgrade thats fine by me. Last version on Windows 7 crashes all the time, 250Mb of memory for firefox and 400Mb for plugin container last time it hung. Flash crashes all the time (Jobs was right it is a memory/cpu hog and buggy).

    Hopefully this version will be better otherwise I'm switching to another browser.

  22. Matt C.
    Unhappy

    Stil no 64 bit Windows release

    Come on Mozilla... Pull your finger out. 64 bit is here and it's real. We've got Flash, and everything else I need. There is a real performance benefit (at least on my setup) but still, I'm forced to use a Nightly build. There's nothing particularly wrong with Nightly, but it's not an official build.

    Really, with this new faster release cycle, I was hoping for a 64 bit Windows release by now.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sigh

    I only use firefox because of certain plugins but I am still using 3.6 because these days just as the plugin developers catch up with a release mozilla regurgitates another.

    I don't see the need to add new features every couple of months.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will give it a try...

    I'd love to return to FF - in fact, I still use it for web dev purposes.

    Whilst Chrome is fast, it's not without it's own share of problems.

    All I can say, is that it's a good job tabs are 'sandboxed', as the number of times I get an 'oh snap' message (which ceased to be amusing after the second time), I've lost count.

    Also, the chrome settings interface is irritating - and then there's the whole idea of Google capturing whatever data they wish.

    FF has become a memory hog - there's no denying it - but perhaps, with tighter control over add-ons, they can gain some ground back ... I'll take it for a spin in a demanding dev environment to see how it stacks up.

  25. shaolin cookie
    Stop

    Crazy version numbers

    I like Firefox, and am not moving away from it, but this kind of release cycles -- when they increase the main version number that is, no problem releasing 4.3.7 or whatever -- does lessen my respect for the outfit. In 3 years we'll be at Firefox 34?!

  26. Jean-Luc Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Proving what here?

    How is a 6 week release cycle gonna kill Chrome? Why is FF trying to outdo Chrome? I am a FF user, but I find this numbering daft. I used to look forward to whole number releases. What's new, what's shiny in the box. Not anymore.

    Does it matter? No, not really. Same old, same old. Unless you have broken add-ons or unless you are trying to de-Internet Explorer a company away from MS. As a regular user, I see no big pain or gain, but find the whole thing rather childish.

    You'd expect that kinda BS numbering scheme from one of the dumber corporations' marketers a while back. Not from open source.

    How about memory trimming instead?

    1. Grease Monkey

      You'll notice that Google don't even make an issue of the version number of Chrome. You have to dig to find the version number even in the browser or on the Chrome website. As such I can only assume Mozilla are calling every slightest update a major version upgrade for the media coverage.

      I know the FF fanbois are frantically defending this policy, but it seems to me that they are missing the point big time. What Google have realised is that only proper geeks give a damn about version numbers and the like, what they want is a browser that just works. Just like their TV or whatever. They don't want a bewildering choice of features, plugins and options. Just a plain vanilla browser that does what it says on the tin.

      These days the ordinary Joes outnumber the fanbois which is why Chrome is rapidly overtaking other browsers.

  27. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    Oh well

    It gives me cold comfort that I was right to move over to Chrome after the debacle that was FF V4+.

  28. Wild Bill

    It seems to me that there's some confusion over the disabling of third party addons. As I read it only addons that are enabled by other software are disabled by default (i.e. the accursed Yahoo toolbar that is bundled everywhere). The addons you enable yourself (adblock etc.) are unaffected. Or am I wrong on that?

  29. H.Winter
    Devil

    title eh

    Posting hre because I'm too lazyto sign up for engadget comments, but this is a much better report than what i read there. When i first read it all it mentioned was twitter support, and 'a new way to manage addons' - not the fact that it blocks third party add-ons, etc.

    And the Twitter support is only via the search box, which I have disabled/hidden anyway. At first I thought it was going to be some big ugly Twitter logo somewhere, but no, it's in a feature I never use, plus the actual decent updates, I am going t oupdate right now. Fuck all ya'll haters that don't look into iot further and just post comments along the lines of 'twitter in my firefox? ghey'

    Typos = beer.

  30. squilookle

    I got a dialogue box where I had to check the add ons I wanted to enable, I liked that, that's fine. I didn't really look at anything else but I really don't want Twitter support. The browser already has enough Twitter support as it can navigate to the Twitter website... that works fine.

    If they could just concentrate on making the browser faster, lighter, improving support for future version of html and css, I would be perfectly happy. I'm currently using Chrome as my main browser, but see no need to pledge allegiance to and be tied to one browser, so I use FF occasionally.

  31. Drakkenson

    Well, it gives you the option to select the addons to enable when you install it, so I don't see what's the fuss. EN_GB version here.

    And it runs smoothly on this old junk of a computer, a dell from 2004, with 1 gb of ram.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of ffs, "twitter support" is simply a config file that means that you can select search of Twitter in the top right box. No impact on speed. Virtually no impact on size.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just upgraded from 3.6 to 8.0 and things running much faster than before. Obviously which version between those caused the speed up is open to debate ...

  33. Steve Graham
    WTF?

    What's all this about add-ons that you didn't install yourself? Is it a Windows thing?

    1. Greg J Preece

      Largely, yes. The .NET Framework is one culprit, and the Windows version of the Java plugin from Oracle is another. When you install those programs they stick a globally available add-on into your Firefox installation. They're generally to help out with stuff, but not always, and prior to now you'd get no notification one was installed.

  34. Jim 59

    Faster

    "Faster" is the feature people want. I would be surprised of more than 4% of users use tab grouping, for eaxmple.

    A browser is essentially a vehicle for exploring the internet. Having twitter built in is like eating in your car rather than driving to the restaurant. Feature packing reminds one of web portals circa 1995. Yahoo, Alta Vista et all all thought we wanted a busy portal with as many links and features as possible. Google realised search was all we wanted.

    Just give us the best vehicle to explore with, we will do the rest. That means: fast, light on resources, private and secure.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Twitter is as built in as much as Google and Yahoo are

      It's a search plug-in.

      1. Grease Monkey

        I think the point that people are trying to make is that Mozilla are making a big thing about including Twitter withing the search options and that's not a good thing. I wouldn't say it was a shark jumping moment, but it's getting there.

        What we have here is a browser developer who have previously made a big deal about their technical superiority and purity suddenly trying to jump on the fashion bandwaggon. It does not bode well.

  35. Greg J Preece

    Release branch for U11.10

    Mozilla still don't have support in their repositories for 11.10. Can we get added in this release please, guys?

  36. Grease Monkey

    Six weekly "major" version upgrades are a total nonsense. You just couldn't develop and test major new versions that fast. It's marketing plain and simple. They're adding stuff that would hardly count as a +0.1 upgrade and calling it a +1.0 upgrade in order to try to get media coverage (aka free advertising).

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    8 !!!

    3.6.23 still working just fine for me..... wtf can they have added in 5 versions that would be any use.... ????

    But then I'm still on maverick... the bleeding edge is not for me...

    if it ain't broke..............

  38. bjolpe
    Thumb Down

    Firefox becoming bloatware

    Firefox is out of control, version 7.0.1 was bad, freezing all the time, with browser nonresponsive for 20-40 seconds. Just look at the size of the download, version 3.6.24 was around 7550 KB, version 8.0 nearly double at 14250 KB.

    I've nearly stopped using Firefox now, and switched to Opera which is fast and responsive. Next step is to uninstall Firefox, but that will be a sad event as FF has been a good companion.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless

    Prompting users to decide if they want to disable the add-ons or not is pointless if they don't also give a way to remove them.

    I've got a bunch of 3rd party installed add-ons that I disabled many versions ago, but do you think I can remove them? If I'm going to have to remove the browser completely to get rid of these **** unwanted add-ons, I may as well try another browser (one that does make it possible to remove unwanted add-ons).

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop the FUD !!!

    FF8 works a lot faster and smoother than 3.6 in my experience. Stopping unauthorized extensions is wise and most of mine work with this upgrade. Yes the release cycle / numbering is daft and could become self-defeating and they need to get a grip on that as well as the potential bloat, but I have tried Chrome several times and I keep coming back to FF as well as IE9. The major problem that I have with IE9 is that the fonts are always a bit blurred unless I enable the site compatability option which I tired to do as a default but then certain sites like google complained.

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