back to article This Free software ain't free to make, pal, it's expensive: Mozilla to bankroll Firefox with paid-for premium extras

Mozilla is planning to launch a suite of paid-for subscription services to complement its free and open-source Firefox browser in October. CEO Chris Beard elaborated on the plan, mentioned in the company's bug reporting system eleven months ago, to German technology site T3N last week. In an interview, he said Mozilla's …

  1. ST Silver badge
    FAIL

    Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

    > With diminishing reach comes the need for a more varied revenue stream.

    The piss-poor quality of recent and no-so-recent Firefox releases might have something to do with that.

    Ever-increasing bloat. Plus the brilliant idea of breaking Add-Ons/Extensions compatibility in favor of a new scheme that has yet to explain itself, and that left Firefox users in a lurch. No wonder these users switched to Chrome or something else.

    On the plus side: Mozilla's corporate messaging is awesome.

    1. IGotOut

      Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

      In case you missed it, here is an idiot's guide to why they broke them.

      https://www.howtogeek.com/333230/why-firefox-had-to-kill-your-favorite-extension/

      1. ST Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        > here is an idiot's guide to why they broke them.

        Not interested in Mozilla's PR bullshit excuses after they realized how badly they fucked-up.

        1. Sven Coenye

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          I would say this tin rattling dovetails nicely with neutering independent extensions. Mozilla can now do things outside developers can no longer readily accomplish.

          Did they ever fess up how much they paid for Pocket? I can't help but wondering how much that acquisition is contributing to Mozilla's cash crunch.

          For me, having Pocket take over the entire UI and the normal bookmarks menu mangled when 60 ESR replaced 52 was the last straw. For now, I have fallen back on Waterfox, but it has become very obvious how much of a competition killer Mozilla's extension store is.

      2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        Interesting article, thanks.

      3. thosrtanner
        Unhappy

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        Sadly it doesn't explain anything. Adding support for web extensions doesn't require you to remove existing ones.

        While I realise there are (?were) a lot of extensions out there that aren't supported any more (and have occasionally got more broken as mozilla deprecated or changed APIs), and I appreciate that mozilla will occasionally want to remove an API because it becomes a security hole, or there's some other better way of doing the same thing, they absolutely screwed themselves over with their "improved" version numbering scheme, resulting in everyone setting the max supported version to '*', converting an extension to a web extensions is not going to be easy and occasionally not possible.

        Things like tab mix plus (probably one of the more popular extensions) are dead in the water because mozilla haven't produced the APIs that would enable them to produce a web extension (assuming the tab mix plus people can find the time or even the enthusiasm to do the work).

        And there are a whole bunch of simple extensions that have existed forever that didn't use complicated internals that just worked fine.

        And I fail to see any performance improvement from the multi-process firefox (though admittedly I don't use it unless I really have to).

        1. oiseau Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          ... a whole bunch of simple extensions that have existed forever that didn't use complicated internals that just worked fine.

          Indeed ...

          And the way that they screwed up the UI from 52 (?) onwards was really the last straw for me.

          So I went over to Pale Moon.

          Now let's see how long that lasts.

          O.

          1. dbtx Bronze badge

            There were some who pointed out that Australis was more flexible anyway, and that was basically true, and the stupid defaults / design fails could all be mitigated by Classic Theme Restorer. Now CTR doesn't work and the tabs are square again, which is OK, but that was just one thing-- aside from the pointlessly deprecated status bar and the forced tabsontop crap-- and Australis+CTR was possibly the most powerful thing ever... and Palemoon just couldn't. Now Palemoon is still off doing its own thing without me and that's fine... it seems the devs have some screwed up ideas about interacting with OSes/distros, but whatever. Waterfox is kind of the sane option right now. Recently, Alex has on his TODO list something about putting back the curved tabs. -sigh- well CTR works. I miss it. I need to get back out of FF67 now that I know my mouse problem is somewhere in X.

            1. dbtx Bronze badge

              BTW FF restored this problem as well, changing the CSS and breaking that solution. Once upon a time it Just Worked™ and I set maxRichResults to something like 80, and I liked that, and I liked being allowed to provide my own definition of "should"-- that was the remarkable appeal 15 years ago. Then scrolling just stopped working, and I only recently looked around to find out that solution worked for WF, and hey, it still does.

        2. JcRabbit

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          > @thosrtanner And I fail to see any performance improvement from the multi-process firefox

          As someone who keeps a TON of tabs open at all times, I have.

          First there was the problem FF being 32 bit for a long time, which meant the whole thing came crashing down once the max 2GB address space was exhausted. Once the 64 bit version came out, the problem became memory fragmentation slowing the browser to a crawl. With multi-process this too was eventually solved, but now the browser QUICKLY used up ALL of your system's memory when you let it (actually one of the reasons why I went from 16 GB RAM to 32 GB RAM on my new system, only to find it didn't matter how much RAM your system had, FF would eventually grab ALL of it lol).

          Ironically enough, it was the emergency release after armagaddon that fixed this issue too... FF is now a lot more conservative in how it uses total system RAM with no apparent adverse effects. I, for one, am now happy. :)

        3. rcxb

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          > Adding support for web extensions doesn't require you to remove existing ones.

          They added it TWO YEARS before they deprecated the legacy extensions. How long do you think they should wait? It always hurts to rip off a bandage, but you can't put it off forever.

          The article explains new version of the browser would both break legacy extensions, and possibly be broken by legacy extensions, and the performance issues.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            They added it TWO YEARS before they deprecated the legacy extensions.

            That is not entirely true.

            They introduced a limited set of WebExtensions APIs two years before removing XUL (XUL was deprecated as soon as webextensions was released, then 2 years later it was removed entirely - deprecated means it still works but is not recommended and no longer supported and is likely to be removed at some future point).

            When WebExtensions was first released, it had a small set of APIs that only the most basic existing extensions could port to. On Day 1 of WebExtension release it was not a complete replacement of XUL functionality. Over those 2 years they continuously added more and more APIs. The complete set of APIs NoScript needed wasn't available until after that 2 year period and XUL had already been removed.

            So sure, if you had a really simple extension, you could have ported it immediately WebExtensions was released, but more complex extensions - specifically NoScript - couldn't be ported until after XUL had already been removed - if at all (DownThemAll).

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            The article explains new version of the browser would both break legacy extensions, and possibly be broken by legacy extensions, and the performance issues.

            Actually it was at the "performance" section of the article that my guts gave their 5 second warning and I had to rush to the toilet to vomit - such was the foulness of that article.

            I have 4G of ram in this laptop. With that I can manage to open a dozen or so text based tabs in FF before I start to see performance issues (60.7.0esr 64bit on Devuan, other systems show simillar issues). Even now, with a single empty tab open it is using 420MB of ram. 420 megs for just FF itself, FFS!.

            How do you justify that?

            The XUL addons I used were chosen because they let me do things with a browser that I wanted to do. When FF killed them off, FF stopped being my main browser.

            Oddly, despite your claim that they had to kill off XUL to support WebExt, Waterfox still supports both. Now how is it a project run largely by a single dev in his spare time with bugger-all financing gets it right when FF with their large teams of devs who work on FF full time and have money to burn can only fuck it up so much?

            How can you justify that? How can you defend such a stance?

          3. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            "How long do you think they should wait?"

            I think they should wait until the new system is an adequate replacement for the old, which it still isn't.

      4. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        A lot of it is nonsense, and that bit which isn't doesn't add up to Mozilla "had to" break the addons as much as "it was easier for us that way."

        Firefox 56 was the last non-Quantum version, and its security-updated brother, Waterfox, still rivals the current Firefox in speed, just as it did when Quantum arrived. It's single percent digits slower on any benchmark you can find. When is all this alleged speed from amputating the defining feature of Firefox going to arrive? It's been promised, but it's still not here.

        Contrary to what you'd think reading the HTG article, FF56/WF does multiprocess quite well even with the legacy addons. I'm using Waterfox with e10s enabled now, as I have been for a few years, and it works fine, even with more than a dozen legacy addons.

        Even if there are more addons for Chrome, they can't do what the old ones can for Firefox... not even close. Who cares if you have ten times as many addons that collectively can't even come close to what the smaller number of much more powerful addons can do in Firefox?

        If people blame Firefox for addons failing to be updated to keep working, that's nothing new. PEBCAK, or however you want to refer to it. You can't code around user ignorance if you actually want the software to do something useful. "We're gonna be blamed if addon makers don't keep up and they get broken one by one" is not a valid reason to throw the whole addon subsystem away. "So, let's break them all and be blamed for that instead, only now those blaming us will be right."

        The thing about making sure the APIs work and not worrying about addons specifically still fits even if you're talking about XUL addons. If having a powerful addon API means the addons have to keep changing, so be it. It's an acceptable trade-off. Those in active development will continue to make the necessary changes, as they have for the past decade and a half. The heavy lifters I'm using now in Waterfox are still being updated now, even though they're ten versions of Firefox past their supposed EOL.

        "Developers had time to switch to the new API" is a red herring. They had the time, but very often, time was not what was needed. A more powerful API than what they were being offered was what was needed, and it no longer exists. All the time in the world won't make Webextensions do what XUL was able to.

        I have a very exacting view of what I want in a browser. None of the Chromium variations, including Vivaldi, Opera, Brave, or Chrome itself even come close. Firefox still comes closer than any of them, but I have little doubt that in time the devs will continue to slice off anything unique that distinguishes Firefox from Chrome, and there will be little reason to consider Firefox as opposed to, say, Ungoogled Chromium.

        Even with my very firm view of what a browser has to be able to do to be fit for purpose, I never once failed to find an addon in legacy Firefox to do what I wanted. I've got it just as I require. Many (about half) of the ones I can't won't live without do not and cannot ever exist for Chrome OR Firefox Quantum, so if there's an addon gap, it was one that was in Firefox's favor pre-quantum. It only takes one really good addon to do something... I don't care if I don't have thirty redundant addon choices that all do the same thing as my one Firefox addon can if the other half of my Firefox addons do things that can never be done, ever, in Chrome or the new Firefox.

        Not only that, but it was never an either-or. It was not necessary to rip XUL addons out in order to put Webextensions in! Firefox 56 had Webextensions, just as Waterfox still does right alongside its legacy addons, and all of the changes that Mozilla has made to Webextensions since v56 that are not now in Waterfox (since they came in after the fork) would be in Firefox just as much if they'd left XUL addons intact. It's a false dichotomy to say that they had to cut off the legacy addons to get more compatibility with Chrome addons. FF 56 had both. Waterfox has both.

        The real reason Mozilla cut off the old extensions, if not my glib answer to that question in the beginning of this post, was that for years Mozilla has pursued a bizarre strategy of trying to compete with Chrome by removing every single thing it has that made it better than Chrome. Firefox is not Chrome yet; it still has things that make it better in a lot of ways, but for how long? Mozilla seems to think that if Firefox is essentially identical to Chrome, the existing Chrome users will come over to Firefox because it's so familiar and... wait, why would these users expend the effort to migrate to something that offers them nothing different than the product they're already happy with? No matter how much FF is like Chrome, Chrome users that want exactly what Chrome has to offer, nothing more and nothing less, will still not have any reason to migrate, because the browser they use already fits them perfectly. Privacy? Clearly not an issue for most, but if it is, there are plenty of Chrome clones degoogled.

        What else would a Chrome-clone Firefox have to offer the user to lure them to switch? Mozilla's is a strategy that has shed market share for years and years, and the Mozilla devs just keep redoubling their efforts to lop off even more features and mimic Chrome's horrendous UI more and more in the hope of luring those people for whom Chrome is already perfect. In the process, they've lost many of the Firefox faithful they did have, and they've done so willingly and openly. Surely it will work, though, once some critical mass of non-uniqueness is reached, right?

        1. eldakka Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          The real reason Mozilla cut off the old extensions, if not my glib answer to that question in the beginning of this post, was that for years Mozilla has pursued a bizarre strategy of trying to compete with Chrome by removing every single thing it has that made it better than Chrome. Firefox is not Chrome yet; it still has things that make it better in a lot of ways, but for how long? Mozilla seems to think that if Firefox is essentially identical to Chrome, the existing Chrome users will come over to Firefox because it's so familiar and... wait, why would these users expend the effort to migrate to something that offers them nothing different than the product they're already happy with? No matter how much FF is like Chrome, Chrome users that want exactly what Chrome has to offer, nothing more and nothing less, will still not have any reason to migrate, because the browser they use already fits them perfectly. Privacy? Clearly not an issue for most, but if it is, there are plenty of Chrome clones degoogled.

          I can't upvote this enough. I made the same argument when Firefox changed its' UI to look more like chrome. If you preferred the Chrome UI you were already using Chrome. If you preferred the Firefox UI you were using Firefox. If you make Firefox have the same or similar UI, you won't attract Chrome users, as why would they switch from a browser they are using to a new one that looks the same? And if you liked the FF interface over Chrome, well, now it is chrome, so you are likely to flee FF to a browser that maintains the older style FF interface (Palemoon or whoever) or anything that isn't chrome-like.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            "If you preferred the Firefox UI you were using Firefox."

            I actually didn't like the FIrefox UI -- but until the extension change, it was possible to use CTR to fix all the things that I hated, and so the UI wasn't a big issue. Now, that is no longer possible.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          This :

          I have a very exacting view of what I want in a browser. None of the Chromium variations, including Vivaldi, Opera, Brave, or Chrome itself even come close. Firefox still comes closer than any of them, but I have little doubt that in time the devs will continue to slice off anything unique that distinguishes Firefox from Chrome, and there will be little reason to consider Firefox as opposed to, say, Ungoogled Chromium.

          Are you listening Mozilla? This is why you're haemorrhaging market share. You try to make it look and feel like chrome - well I don't use chrome because I don't want to use chrome. I used to use FF because I wanted to use what FF had to offer. I now use Waterfox because it now uses what FF had to offer.

          You didn't get to break my addons by removing XUL - you didn't get to break them because I picked up my addons and took them elsewhere. You want me back? Give me back the ability to run my addons. You want my friends to come over too? Give me a reason to say you're much better than chrome.

      5. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        Why they did it is irrelevant. They broke them, I refused to update; end of.

      6. Snake

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        Thank you, but for me, personally, Firefox's issues are less to do with breaking extensions (significant but not the end-all), it is Mozilla breaking just about everything else. Performance. Usability. Convenience. Doing Dumb Things, just because they can (remember when favoriting a web page automatically placed the link into the "Other Bookmarks" section of the Bookmarks menu, rather than allowing you to set it individually??)

        It is constantly little annoyances, constant "We're programmers and we know better than our users!" attitude, that is putting the final nails in Mozilla's coffin. Firefox Mobile (Fennec), on Android, is an in-process disaster, with lockups on zoom, crashes, and even includes failures to operate on major banking websites. Firefox for Windows is bloaty, not the fastest, and has some usability issues.

        Mozilla's developers need to stop worrying about injecting additional "features" and focus more on bugs and polish.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          "Mozilla's developers need to stop worrying about injecting additional "features" and focus more on bugs and polish."

          If Firefox didn't cripple the capabilities of extensions, they wouldn't have to worry about most of those features at all because they could be done with extensions (which is the proper place for most of the new features anyway), by non-Mozilla developers.

      7. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        "here is an idiot's guide to why they broke them."

        That "guide" is essentially a long-winded way of saying "we had to do it because it was the easiest thing for us to do."

        1. dbtx Bronze badge

          I am unhappy about people choosing to do things and then choosing to convince themselves that those things were what they "had to" do. That article's title is part of the problem, evidence of the problem, reinforcing the problem.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          "here is an idiot's guide to why they broke them."

          That "guide" is essentially a long-winded way of saying "we had to do it because it was the easiest thing for us to do."

          And the "idiots" are those who think it decently justifies Moz's actions?

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            No, I don't consider people who have opinions that differ from mine to be idiots.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

              No, I don't consider people who have opinions that differ from mine to be idiots.

              Sorry, think you misread my troll :)

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

                I think I did, too. I often find myself not unserious enough. Sorry!

      8. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        here is an idiot's guide to why they broke them

        Presumably that means "a guide written by an idiot". Let's look at some of Pot's claims.

        * FF Quantum is a huge improvement: Subjective and highly debatable. I don't see any compelling benefits in Quantum. The ones most frequently mentioned are performance improvements, which personally I see no need for, even on my slowest machines; and improved extension security, which in this context is tautological.

        * XUL and XPCOMM access gave extensions too much access: Begging the question. It's the degree of access which enabled the extension features the anti-Quantum crowd want.

        * Chrome doesn't work that way: If we wanted Chrome, we'd use Chrome. How is decreasing diversity and choice an improvement?

        * Quantum's multi-process mode lets Firefox use more cores: So stupid. Let's check CPU affinity for pre-Quantum FF: hey, there isn't any. Does Pot really think all 100+ threads of my current FF process are restricted to a single core?

        * Extensions made it hard for Mozilla to improve FF: Considering what Mozilla's last few years of "improvements" looked like, I'd call this a benefit. Few extensions posed any issue with security fixes and features, and most other changes to FF starting with Australis [edited; in the original version of this post I had the name wrong] were of minimal value.

        * Developers will port Chrome extensions to Firefox: So fucking what?

        * Well, Chrome has a "much bigger extension ecosystem": Were Firefox users clamoring for those extensions? I must have missed that. And destroying your existing "ecosystem" sure is a great way to close that gap. And, again, turning Firefox into a Chrome wanna-be is a losing strategy. Chrome fans will use Chrome. Chrome refuseniks who need Chromium compatibility will use one of the other Chromium browsers, probably one of the enhanced-privacy ones such as Comodo Dragon.

        Ultimately, Pot's argument comes down to the politician's syllogism: Mozilla "had to evolve to stay relevant" (debatable, but let's take it as given), and this was something, so they had to do it.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          "Extensions made it hard for Mozilla to improve FF"

          In the list of reasons, this is the only one that makes and real sense and/or has any real importance. That's why I said that the article is essentially saying "we had to kill the old extensions because it was the easiest thing to do."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

      >The piss-poor quality of recent and no-so-recent Firefox releases might have something to do with that. Ever-increasing bloat. Plus the brilliant idea of breaking Add-Ons/Extensions...No wonder these users switched to Chrome or something else.

      That could equally apply to Chrome (Chromium) which is about to fuck you in the ass by changing it's API to deliberately break ad-blockers, Chrome and derivatives are a poisoned chalice. As for recent quality, I'm using FF 67 on Linux with WebRender enabled and no issues whatsoever.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        That could equally apply to Chrome (Chromium) which is about to fuck you in the ass by changing it's API to deliberately break ad-blockers, Chrome and derivatives are a poisoned chalice. As for recent quality, I'm using FF 67 on Linux with WebRender enabled and no issues whatsoever.

        Umm, there's a difference between Chromium (the root code) and Chrome, Google's variant. I can well imagine that Google really, really wants to limit your control over what content makes it through the filters, but is that just Google or has that cancer spread to Chromium itself? If it's the latter then yes, I'll have to ditch Chromium as well (never installed Chrome).

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          It looks like Google are going ahead and making the change to the Chromium code, but as that's open source you can still roll your own. Certainly Opera and some of the other browser makers who use Chromium have said they won't change the extension system, so presumably they're going to fork the codebase.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            "but as that's open source you can still roll your own."

            Ever tried building Chrome? (Easier to floss with a chainsaw chain.)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            so presumably they're going to fork the codebase

            It's Google. The appropriate word to use does indeed start with "f" and ends on "k", but the two characters in between will be different..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          >Umm, there's a difference between Chromium (the root code) and Chrome

          Covered here at ZDnet

          https://www.zdnet.com/article/opera-brave-vivaldi-to-ignore-chromes-anti-ad-blocker-changes-despite-shared-codebase/

          Yes Chromium will be affected but you'll have to add the old API yourself it would seem, depends how much Google mess with the Chromium codebase.

          Until it actually happens all bets are on apart from Google is determined for you to see ads, that's a racing certainty.

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          "there's a difference between Chromium (the root code) and Chrome, Google's variant"

          True, and if I had to use one of the two, I'd go for Chromium. But I don't trust Chromium because of its connection to Google and the fact that I don't have the time or energy to examine the Chromium code for issues.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        "That could equally apply to Chrome"

        Sure, but so what? We're talking about Firefox here.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

      The move away from XUL was explained in detail, not least the fact that there was no one willing to maintain it. I'm not a fan of the dumbed-down UI but the Quantum-based versions are faster and more stable. But if you want it back, you can always make your own fork.

      Developers have to live from something and it's reasonable to expect Firefox users to be a bit more discerning. However, it has historically proved difficult to get sufficient users to pay for services in sufficient volumens.VPN + secure online storage might tempt a few away from current "free" services.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        The move away from XUL was explained in detail, not least the fact that there was no one willing to maintain it.

        The next time I'm gingerly prodding the 30 year old codebase that is part of my job description, I'll tell 'em that I'm not willing to maintain it. Let's see how well that goes down.

        If XUL became unmaintainable, it's because Mozilla let it get that way in the first place. They didn't document it properly and never made XULRunner into a finished product. They also have the same problem with self-hosted Sync - good idea, execution lacking, no finished product, impossible for outsiders to use, killed because outsiders don't use it.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          I can't see any speed difference between Firefox 67 and Waterfox (based on FF56, with security features backported). On browser benchmarks, I see about a 5-6% boost for Firefox proper. RAM usage is about the same with the same (as much as possible given the circumstances) addon selection, and general responsiveness feels identical, even on my slowpoke Pentium N4200 laptop. Can't see much room for improvement on stability... how do you get more stable than "never has any problems at all"?

          Webrender made my N4200 laptop stutter and judder all over the place (Linux with modesetting), and I saw no difference whatsoever with my Nvidia PCs (Linux with proprietary). It would be nice to have new stuff like that, but if the choice is that or my legacy addons, it's my legacy addons, and that choice only gets easier with each new feature Mozilla lops off of what's left of Firefox.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            Can't see much room for improvement on stability.

            The move to one process per tab makes a difference there and I'm occasionally grateful of it when for some YouTube slows everything down. But, basically, the move away from plugins to native has given the biggest boost to stability.

            YMMV but FF post-Quantum on MacOS is noticeably snappier than before.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

              "But, basically, the move away from plugins to native has given the biggest boost to stability."

              Interesting. I've never had stability issues with the old Firefox, though, so I naturally haven't seen any stability improvement with the new.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

          If XUL became unmaintainable, it's because Mozilla let it get that way in the first place.

          Sometimes you have to admit that an idea wasn't that great.

          It was Netscape at the time and then it became open source… Browser development was stalled for much of the first decade so that by the time it came round to working on a common platform for extensions, generally a good idea, none of the people who'd worked on XUL during the XML hype were around any more.

          But all this is largely implementation details. I definitely agree that Mozilla dropped the ball for a couple of years chasing unicorns with things like Firefox OS and then aping Chrome's UI.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

            "Sometimes you have to admit that an idea wasn't that great."

            That "not great" idea was the single thing that made Firefox exceptional, though.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        "But if you want it back, you can always make your own fork."

        No need, we already have a couple of forks that serve perfectly well. The breaking of extensions was a deal-breaker for me, as I lost functionality that was important to me and is not able to be accomplished in any other way. So I moved to Waterfox.

        Should any reasonable forks also break the extensions (as has already happened to a limited extent with Waterfox), I'll just stick with an old version that works.

    4. 33rpm

      Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

      From the view of an enterprise their lack of group policies that work and simplified customizable installer has hurt them.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

      One way Chrome has taken over the world is by catering to developers. The developer tools in Chrome are superb, so devs prefer to code for and test with Chrome. Thus, sites work better with Chrome which in turn makes it more attractive to users.

      100% of our devs use Chrome exclusively, and I don't think our team is unique. If the devs were left to their own devices (they're not), our products would never be tested against anything except the latest Chrome release.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Firefox's global market share dwindles ...

        "100% of our devs use Chrome exclusively"

        This isn't true where I work. I'd say about 2/3rds of the devs use a Chromium-based browser (none of them use Chrome proper), and the rest use some version of Firefox or a Firefox fork -- although I don't think I've seen any using a version later than 56.

  2. HildyJ

    Sounds reasonable

    I have been a Firefox user for years and, if I didn't use Google Fi which has its own VPN, I would trust a Firefox VPN much more than most others.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Sounds reasonable

      Foolish mortal!

      In recent years, Mozilla's shown that trust may be misplaced. As has their latest marketing plan-

      We also recognize that there are consumers who want access to premium offerings, and we can serve those users too without compromising the development and reach of the existing products and services that Firefox users know and love."

      Which is the usual corporate bollocks. Mozilla supposedly makes the bestest, fastest, safest browser in the world. There's a slew of other companies making 'premium offerings' that perhaps don't want to see Mozilla competing. And unless Mozilla hires & ringfences 'premium' development, it's going to compromise development of their core product, either by diverting resources, or influencing development to support the 'premium' offerings.

      Then again, perhaps Mozilla can go full-Chromium and make me a premium offer. They pay me $9.99 a month and I won't install an ad blocker. Seems the logical thing to do given Mozilla's been making life harder for privacy apps and extensions. Oh for the good ol days where I could just display connections used in a web page, and block unwanted 3rd party cruft.

      1. HildyJ
        Facepalm

        Re: Sounds reasonable

        I don't know where your comments (or your taste in fish - Jellied Eel? - Really?) are coming from. Firefox allows me to block trackers, tracker cookies, cryptominers, and fingerprinters natively in their options. It allows me to delete all cookies, cache, and site data when I close it (or on demand). It allows me to install a variety of ad blockers (I use uBlock Origin) which work seamlessly. It doesn't sell my browsing data. I can select and delete whatever search engines I want. So what's missing?

  3. Claverhouse Bronze badge

    I just use an old Firefox --- with the extraordinary precautions one has to make to stop Mozilla updating it in seconds [ including installing, closing immediately, and going to wherever that version has the update channel in a file manager, then overwriting the designated channel with whatever ]. Mostly because post-Australis the new Firefoxes were the visual equivalent of 'Fab Slab Design' webpages, and the hideous Chrome it sought to copy continuously...

    One can manage without extensions even --- although those were what separated it, along with a few other browsers from the Great Beast of Redmond --- but the visual aspect is all important, and I like things like tabs-on-bottom, a separate search box, the now add-on bar at the base which replaced the essential status bar, and a 100 tiny things the devs just discarded ignoring users. Now to mention that losing hideous orange blob at the top corner in favour of a restored Menu Bar, just as one always reverts the WIMP launcher back to the old Classic Menu simply because it works.

    By too frequent updates, hideous design choices, a base desire to be bitch to Google it's paymaster, Mozilla lost it's integrity long ago; and I once thought it the best thing on the internet.

    1. Solarflare

      https://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list.php?vendor_id=452&product_id=3264&version_id=&page=1&hasexp=0&opdos=0&opec=0&opov=0&opcsrf=0&opgpriv=0&opsqli=0&opxss=0&opdirt=0&opmemc=0&ophttprs=0&opbyp=0&opfileinc=0&opginf=0&cvssscoremin=7&cvssscoremax=7.99&year=0&month=0&cweid=0&order=1&trc=308&sha=ff53ca303cf93f6afcbf80a1a55070d4653afec5

      Nice list of all the vulnerabilities in older versions of Firefox. Perhaps it's worth taking a look and deciding whether design aesthetic is more important than security?

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        I have zero need to look at any list of vulnerabilities no matter how long or scary: yes, it absolutely IS more important than security. The one thing security, uh, "enthusiasts" never fail to fail to understand is that security is never more than second - first and foremost any tool has to WORK, and it only needs to be as secure as possible after that. A browser must first accommodate my workflow and all the deal-breaker extensions integral to it, anything else can only ever matter once that is satisfied first.

    2. Spoonguard

      Protip: to stop firefox from ever updating, open the file

      firefox\defaults\pref\channel-prefs.js
      in any text editor but notepad.exe, and on the line
      pref("app.update.channel" "release"),
      change
      "release"
      to anything but
      "release","ESR","beta","aurora","nightly"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. and I once thought it the best thing on the internet

      well, once I thought, with many other people, that Google was the best thing on the internet. And then, something obvious happened (again). See a pattern? :(

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Never had a problem with setting the options in Firefox to turn turn off the background updater and never update.

    5. Trilkhai

      In that case, though, why not just use a pre-Australis fork of Firefox like Pale Moon, so you can continue to use most of the older extensions/themes and get security updates without having to fight Mozilla's BS to do it?

    6. JohnFen Silver badge

      "too frequent updates"

      No kidding. Unfortunately, frequent updates are the latest fad industry-wide, so it's hard to single Mozilla out specifically for that nonsense. But it is terrible.

  4. Old Handle
    Unhappy

    It's tragic really

    Firefox used to be the savvy user's browser. And it was darn good at being that. It was also good enough that let's say "non-geeks" started to see the value too. But then Chrome got big, and I swear someone at Mozilla must have said "See boys, that's what we need to be." But they can't out-Google Google, so that was never going to work. Instead they just made a browser that doesn't really have a target audience anymore. The old users mostly hate the changes, and I can't see any reason for users to pick it up when almost all the changes are to make it more like Chrome, the browser they're probably already using.

    1. cb7

      Re: It's tragic really

      I've switched back to FF after getting fed up with Chrome crashing everytime I try to create a folder to save a download in.

    2. FIA

      Re: It's tragic really

      ...almost all the changes are to make it more like Chrome, the browser they're probably already using.

      Am I the only person who looks at Chrome and thinks..... "But.... Google??!" ?

      1. Nematode

        Re: It's tragic really

        Absolutely. Don't trust Google at all, privacy wise. And I never found Chrome particularly intuitive. Chrome is the new IE. Everyone's got it but they don't really know why. Why does anyone think Tor is based on Firefox?

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: It's tragic really

          "I never found Chrome particularly intuitive."

          Yes. Even if I had no trust issues with Google, I'd avoid Chrome just because I really, really hate the UI.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: It's tragic really

        Exactly.

        This is my main issue with Google's Stadia game-streaming platform. Not the technical issues - bandwidth - or the financial issues - buying games that are Stadia-only - or Google's track record of shutting services down two or three years later. It's that it's Google, and all the privacy concerns that raises.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's tragic really

      >But then Chrome got big, and I swear someone at Mozilla must have said "See boys, that's what we need to be."

      I see it more web designers filled their sites with so much script and shit an entire "almost" operating system with bleeding edge multiple core hardware was needed just to show cat pictures. The bloat of the browser is a consequence of website bloat.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The fundamental flaw at the heart of OSS

    "This Free software ain't free to make, pal, it's expensive"

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      OSS isn't Free Software

      Yes, those terms have been mixed up a lot, but there's a big difference between Free Software and Open Source Software.

      The difference is in how it's intended to be used. Free Software is intended to be modified by the more tech savy fringe of their users. Surely only a few people will ever modify it, but those are welcomed to do so. Free Software is powered by individuals and tries to make the barrier of entry to any changes as low as possible.

      Open Source on the other hand is rather different. You are not supposed to build your own version of Firefox. You are supposed to be the consumer while Mozilla hires the developers. Even building a plain vanila Firefox is incredibly hard as it depends on many out of date components in precise versions. It's not just ./configure && make && make install as with most Free Software packages.

      Unfortunately Web standards are now so complex, only a few companies can implement them. In order to keep up with them you need lots of people working together. Today Web browsers are far more complicated than operating system kernels.

      We need to cut back on complexity and look beyond the current Web mess. How can we make better and simpler standards which can, at least for some usecases, do the same thing but simpler.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: OSS isn't Free Software

        But what happens when the thing you have to do is "EVERYTHING"?

        1. Christian Berger Silver badge

          Re: OSS isn't Free Software

          > But what happens when the thing you have to do is "EVERYTHING"?

          Yes, that's called "not understanding your problem". This is one of the cases where you need to step back a few steps and find a simpler way.

          If you look at the web, you'll find that it was originally about hypertext. You have hypertext documents which are essentially static with loose links in between. Now documents have the problem that for any change you need to transmit the whole document. Therefore people came up with local scripts which were supposed to edit your document tree locally. Document trees also can have an arbitrary size and complexity. Combining documents with turing complete scripts brought us into the mess we have today.

          Now why do we want to change documents? It's because we want to deliver applications. Essentially your browser is supposed to act as a "smart terminal", sharing some of the work load. So why don't we simply have an actual established terminal standard? Well we do have ANSI terminals which is now even supported by Microsoft. It's not great, but it solves some of the problems. It too has a "document", but its complexity is limited by the number of attributes and characters it displays. Instead of loading whole "document trees" or editing them by some script language, there are fairly short commands for changing the state of your "document".

          The problem is, however, that ANSI doesn't support graphics. For that we could look at other standards. Videotex, for example, is an ITU terminal standard which was meant to be extended to vector graphics and photographic bitmap graphics as well as audio and video from the start. It does this by splitting up the image into layers. The text is on the top layer, while lower layers are provided by vector graphics and bitmap graphics. Layers have a transparent colour so lower layers can be seen through holes in upper layers. Those layers act as separate terminals. The Unit Separator (US $1f) character changes between the terminals.

          Surely Videotex isn't suitable for todays world, however we can learn from it in order to dream up a successor for the current Web.

          1. Christian Berger Silver badge

            The Unit Separator explained

            In Videotex the Unit Separator is followed by one or 2 characters. If the first character is in the Range of A..., it's used as a row indicator and the second character is the column indicator, so it's a "Goto XY" command. If the first character is below "A", it indicates what layer you want to talk to.

            Defined layers include a colour palette definition, the definition of user defined characters or vector graphics. Standardisation of audio doesn't seem be be complete, but there are fragments in the standards.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            Therefore people came up with local scripts which were supposed to edit your document tree locally.

            This is a revisionist and deliberately simplistic interpretation. Javascript initially added some non-essential functionality to a static markup language. But by then the semantic aspects of the language had more or less been swamped by the graphic aspirations of HTML monkey and PHBs. HTML + HTTP opened a whole world to informational exchange. And the enviroment they ran on changed as they did.

            I only read and write text/plain e-mails I'm not at all a fan of the SPAs (single page apps) but at some point we have to realise that we cannot put things back in the box. The openness of the web's underpinnings have revolutionised the dissemination of information and whether I think the approach is entirely right or not, it is understandable that it has formed the base of new UIs. While it has given us resource hogs and echo chambers and new robber barons, it has also enabled millions in ways that few if any foresaw at the time.

            And the development continues with WebAssembly and Houdini being particularly interesting.

            1. eldakka Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: OSS isn't Free Software

              but at some point we have to realise that we cannot put things back in the box.
              Sure you can, you just have to make sure you shoot it in the head before you try to put it back in the box.

          3. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            "Essentially your browser is supposed to act as a "smart terminal", sharing some of the work load."

            A great factor in what's happening may well be because the browser of today is dealing with stuff that wasn't even considered possible when hypertext was devised. Google Docs, for instance, a full GUI word processor in a browser.

            That still doesn't mean that Mozilla doesn't appear to be going out of their way to piss off established users in order to try desperately to be like some other browser instead of playing to their own strengths. I too have disabled automatic updates as I'm sick of stuff randomly breaking. I choose Firefox exactly because of the range of useful extensions that it offers (and the fact that the mobile version doesn't bugger up text sizes in an attempt to be clever, like Chrome). But if stuff keeps breaking, well there's two choices. Stick with a version that works, or find something else. Maybe that explains the dwindling share?

            1. Christian Berger Silver badge

              Re: OSS isn't Free Software

              "A great factor in what's happening may well be because the browser of today is dealing with stuff that wasn't even considered possible when hypertext was devised. Google Docs, for instance, a full GUI word processor in a browser."

              Yeah, but we end up getting semi-decent things we had been doing for decades before, but now it works "in a browser". You spend so much effort to squeeze in applications into a document centric format just so they can run it somehow in a browser.

              If we go down that route, we'll end up with worse and worse products that take more and more effort to create. We'll have new monopolies as there is a decent chance Mozilla will stop develop their browser engine. (after all to them that's just an irrelevant workload, taking away valuable developer time from their important features)

          4. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            "It's because we want to deliver applications."

            Which is a capability I actively don't want and will continue to block.

            "Essentially your browser is supposed to act as a "smart terminal", sharing some of the work load. "

            Nope, no sharing of workload in my browser. It's too dangerous to allow random websites to execute code on my machine.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: OSS isn't Free Software

              What if you have no choice and must sink or swim? Remember, you're in the minority and likely have someone over your head.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: OSS isn't Free Software

                "What if you have no choice and must sink or swim?"

                I'm not sure what you mean by that. I will have a choice for the foreseeable future, even if that choice is "use an old browser". If websites stop working because I refuse to allow them to run code in my browser, then I'll stop going to those websites. Would that eventually encompass the entire web? I doubt it, but if so, then I won't be using the web at all (which is something that I'm half-convinced is going to happen anyway, for a number of reasons).

          5. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            "Yes, that's called "not understanding your problem"."

            Oh? If the boss says JFDI and prospects elsewhere are slim? Do you sink or swim?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: OSS isn't Free Software

              > Oh? If the boss says JFDI and prospects elsewhere are slim? Do you sink or swim?

              If "the boss" is telling you to do something on or with a computer, it's one that your employer owns, and is used solely for that employer's business. So if the thing you're being told to do is insecure, unsafe, compromises privacy, or whatever, who cares? It's not your data that's getting snaffled because of it, and it's not your responsibility because you'll have made sure "the boss" put his orders in writing.

              Also, there are always alternatives. You may not like them, but you have them. You may have to change industries, take a pay cut, become an independent contractor, move to a different location, or even leave The System entirely, but there are always alternatives to compromising with evil. Don't let yourself rationalise them away.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: OSS isn't Free Software

                "If "the boss" is telling you to do something on or with a computer, it's one that your employer owns, and is used solely for that employer's business"

                This.

                My employer requires all sorts of things that I would never allow on my personal machines. That's fine -- my employer's machines aren't mine, and never interact with mine, so they can require whatever they wish.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: OSS isn't Free Software

                "Also, there are always alternatives. You may not like them, but you have them. You may have to change industries, take a pay cut, become an independent contractor, move to a different location, or even leave The System entirely, but there are always alternatives to compromising with evil. Don't let yourself rationalise them away."

                If ALL roads lead to Hell, INCLUDING the way you came? AND the bridge you're crossing is creaking VERY distressingly? There are some for which ANYTHING you describe is a pipe dream. Change industries? That means going back to school, which is expensive and not guaranteed to be effective in a glutted worker market. Independent contractors are not trusted in certain industries, so it's get hired or bust. Moving means leaving the most affordable market, ANYWHERE is more expensive? Pay cut? Barely paying the bills as it is, any cut can be an existential threat. And leave the system? For where? Or are you basically saying take the easy way out?

                1. dbtx Bronze badge
                  Boffin

                  I don't know what this is called but I am willing to bet it has a name. It's an antipattern or a TVtropes category title like 'every which way but tractable' or something.

                  "Or are you basically saying take the easy way out?"

                  AC didn't say anything would be easy. AC said everything is still a choice.

                2. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: OSS isn't Free Software

                  Change industries? That means going back to school, which is expensive and not guaranteed to be effective in a glutted worker market.

                  I've worked in farming, the press, home care (including live-in care), computing (software design and programming, front-line repair work, development), electronics (TV/VCR repair and much more recently bespoke circuit design and construction including related software (that one is still paying the majority of the bills and is helping my house hunting :) ). I've been a farm manager, an industrial chemist, a forklift driver, a truck driver, a nursemaid (in the in-home carer sense), a business owner (far to much hard work!), a mechanic (cars and bikes), an electronics technician and even done 'automotive electronics' including working on boats (outboard ignition systems mainly, but other work involved - since they're mostly the same as car and bike systems I consider boats 'automotive').

                  Aside from a few safety courses (mostly never used), and my forklift certification 'courses', I've not been in a classroom for 30 years. Most of my jobs have come about either through hobbies eg farming - hanging out at a friends farm I learned to drive tractors, when they were involved in a very large charity park cleanup I was asked to drive a spare tractor. The owner of that tractor needed a hand with the upcoming haymaking season so asked a quite 13yo to help. I stayed later during the day and chatted to him while he was milking, next thing I know I'm changing cups without either of us being able to recall when I started actually doing that. By 14 I was often managing a herd of over 200 cows (common size back then before the 'Chinese mergers' :( ) for periods of sometimes 2-3 weeks at a time, and managing the farm as well. When the tractor needed fixing - by 15 I was quite adept at diesel mechanics, although my only teacher was pulling the damned things to bits to figure out why they weren't working.

                  Same for my work as an industrial chemist. I got involved in an industry, saw ways to improve the practices at the factory, spoke with the bosses, they liked the idea and gave me a test bench.. Next thing I know I'm writing papers and answering calls from people much higher up the food chain. 'School Cert in Science' is my highest qualification there, leaving school at the end of 5th form (year 10, 16yo).

                  Did some work in demolition. One of the truck drivers broke his leg. I was considered the most likely to be capable so was asked to apply for my HT license.

                  Friend needed care. I started helping. One of the workers asked me to help with another nearby case. Next thing I know I'm applying to the carer company, at the insistence of the local manager.

                  Mate asked me if I could do a little bit of electronics for him. Had no clue where it would lead. Next thing there's a meeting with people at a certain government department. They want a little bit of control circuitry and they liked what they knew of me (helps to have someone in the right place at the tight time).

                  Built a web site for my sister. Someone else liked it, so I got paid to build a site for them. Other people liked that so....

                  My hobbies now are taking me in another direction. I'm currently building prototypes of products I want to play with, learning stuff that no one else locally seems to be doing - so there are no classrooms because no one else is doing it, not to this level. I have been talking with people in 'interesting places' in recent weeks and could, yet again, find myself running my own business. Why the hell do I fall for these traps? Hell, I could be expected to be wearing a suit to meetings in the near future! Screw that, some prices are too high and if it means staying in the lower-earning brackets that's fine. I can buy a house soon anyway, I'm doing OK.

                  No matter how much you try to make out these weird situations of yours, for the most part people don't need to be trapped by them and those who do get trapped need to think their way out, not pay their way out. My hobbies build my skills, and talking with people gives me opportunities. I know people under some of the worst conditions imaginable who manage to get themselves working, like a friend of a friend who is on parole and has hefty reporting conditions and restrictions on his freedoms yet successfully runs his own business - which he started because no one would employ him. He now employs other ex-cons (3 of whom he met during his years inside).

                  Me? I have no clue what job I'll be doing next summer, or even at the end of this winter. I have learned to transfer skills (eg viewing blocks of code as gears in an engine made it easier for me to pick up programming) and by doing that I can do most jobs. By demonstrating I can do a job means I get the work without the certification. And I can build trust as an independent simply by 'going to the right parties'. Dave needs someone with skills in newproject, but no one advertises those skills. He asks around and someone says "This fella Kiwi installed one of those at my Ex's place last year. Only half what you need but here's his number'. Next thing I know, I'm an independent contractor in an industry I didn't even know existed before the phone call, with a growing reputation for being the best in the local market.

                  Things aren't as dire as the picture you try to paint.

        2. nematoad Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: OSS isn't Free Software

          "But what happens when the thing you have to do is "EVERYTHING"?

          You become systemd.

      2. James 139

        Re: OSS isn't Free Software

        You made my brain hurt.

        I think you have your definitions backwards and too distinct.

        Free software is software that is free of cost to the end user. It can be closed or open source.

        Open source software is software that has its source code openly published so that anyone can take it, modify it if they wish, add new features and publish it back or just build their own copy.

        1. Christian Berger Silver badge

          Re: OSS isn't Free Software

          "Free software is software that is free of cost to the end user. It can be closed or open source."

          You are confusing "Free software" with "free software". The first is free as in speech, the second is free as in beer.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            How can you not confuse them? If you wanted to make a linguistic difference then using a different adjective would be a start: liberated or freed software would probably align better with the political ideology.

            1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

              Re: OSS isn't Free Software

              If I say you're a free man do I mean you don't charge, or that you live free of restrictions?

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: OSS isn't Free Software

                Don't charge for being a man? Doesn't really make sense, does it? And even slaves have a price…

                In the age of serfdom English had different words for denoting different status, including "freeman". Other languages do, of course, have different words for "no charge" and "without obligation" such as gratuit and libre in French and kostenlos and frei in German. In English you have to use context to disambiguate.

            2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

              Re: OSS isn't Free Software

              This is an IT news site Charlie, you're supposed to know the difference in this sort of discussion on here.

          2. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            "the second is free as in beer"

            Unknown concept - beer ain't free...

          3. James 139

            Re: OSS isn't Free Software

            Ah ok, I stand corrected.

            However, your explanation is still flawed.

            Open Source and Free, as in speech, Software do not concern themselves with the complexities of the code, nor of your ability to modify or build it.

            An Open Source project could be simple and easy to understand and build, and a Free Software project might be very complex, but both COULD be built by people with the correct skill set. Neither is necessarily expected to be shipped for self-building, nor is either required to be.

            You might not want, or need, to build Firefox, but equally, you probably wouldnt want to try building LibreOffice, a Free as in speech, project either.

            Can is not the same as should.

  6. N2 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Can I pay for less?

    Less bloaty tat, less CPU hog & memory useage might be a good start.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Can I pay for less?

      Hear hear! Especially the memory usage. If you can tell me how to get rid of that effing Pocket thing I might go back to FF...

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Can I pay for less?

        Here you go: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/disable-or-re-enable-pocket-for-firefox

  7. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Now if they would stop adding features nobody wants...

    ...like Pocket or Sync, and instead just fixed their bugs, people would donate more and development would cost less.

    This is why it's highly problematic to have standards so complex that only a few large corporations are able to implement them. Corporations typically don't care about users, but their own survival.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: stop adding features nobody wants...

      "...like Pocket or Sync"

      I've never used Pocket, can't imagine I ever will.

      I frequently use a variety of Androids, Linuxes, Windows, and having the capability to have the usual browsers know about the same things (via my Firefox Sync account) seems quite useful to me.

      Am I holding it wrong, or what?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: stop adding features nobody wants...

        Pocket is paid for shit, but I agree Sync is pretty useful and I actually like the idea behind Lockwise. Bringing back a minimalist RSS-reader would also be nice.

        1. Adair

          Re: stop adding features nobody wants...

          'Brief' (add-on) may or may not fulfil your requirements for a minimalist RSS reader.

    2. Ramis101

      Re: Now if they would stop adding features nobody wants...

      from the above link "It’s also why these extensions tended to break with new Firefox releases."

      Which is exactly why i used to stick the the ESR release. Firefox now is a bit like Windows 10. New features shovelled in every release, and a bit of sticky-tape for any of the cracks that have been 'noticed'

      But then a couple of weeks back, the signing fails on add-ins and i find most of them disabled, i was expecting a major $hitstorm to erupt on the 'net that day, but it seemed to slip by almost unnoticed.... Perhaps that is because almost no one uses FF any more?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a suite of paid-for subscription services

    which will be "recommended" in the free variant. By default. Oh, I love the smell of money, and if we can have more than we have now, we will do everything, EVERYTHING. And fuck you all users/losers.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: a suite of paid-for subscription services

      Based on past experience of free and paid for related services from the same organisation, you just know that more and more of the effort will go into the cash generators before they ever begin to trickle down to the original free s/w that started it all. Even when the org is non-profit foundation. Got to pay for those C suite salaries and junkets somehow.

  9. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Holmes

    False sense of security

    whether "secure" means user-held encryption keys.

    Cloud = Not your computer

    not your computer = you send encryption keys to third party

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: False sense of security

      "not your computer = you send encryption keys to third party"

      This does not follow at all.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: False sense of security

        Wow, so, you individually download the encrypted files and decrypt them on YOUR computer ? Any other solution means YOU ARE HAPPY TO SEND YOUR ENCRYPTION KEYS TO A THIRD PARTY.

        Now, even if you decrypt your files locally, if you use proprietary software provided by the cloud vendor, same, YOU ARE HAPPY TO SEND YOUR ENCRYPTION KEYS TO A THIRD PARTY.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: False sense of security

          "download the encrypted files and decrypt them on YOUR computer ?"

          Yes, that's what "end to end encryption" means. It doesn't mean you necessarily have to do it manually, though. Applications that implement end-to-end encryption do this for you.

          "if you use proprietary software provided by the cloud vendor, same, YOU ARE HAPPY TO SEND YOUR ENCRYPTION KEYS TO A THIRD PARTY."

          Why would you use proprietary software provided by the cloud vendor? In any case, even if you do, it doesn't automatically mean you're sending your keys to a third party.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: False sense of security

          Now, even if you decrypt your files locally, if you use proprietary software provided by the cloud vendor, same, YOU ARE HAPPY TO SEND YOUR ENCRYPTION KEYS TO A THIRD PARTY.

          I have some "sensitive family data" hosted on Mega (our needs for speed and throughput outweigh my home's ADSL capacity :( ). We use the propriety Mega app (although I expect they provide Webdav or similar) - and AFAICR they provide the source code for their app so you can see how it works.

          I may or may not have given Mega the encryption keys to the account. I suspect not but I may have. That, however, does not matter. The data is encrypted locally, and at a family gathering the rest of those we wish to have access to the information were given the means to decrypt it (ie keys weren't emailed but handed over directly)

          So.. What does it matter if Mega has the keys to my account when the shared data is beyond even the NSA's abilities to decrypt?

          Where we have shares on Owncloud/Nextcloud, I know from having a good poke around and play around with the server that the server has no copies of the decryption keys and I cannot get them without messing with the site. If you're that paranoid IRT paid providers, what are you doing online?

  10. Steve Graham

    silence

    I was a Firefox user until they stopped supporting the default sound architecture on Linux. The Mozilla developer announced publicly that it was "too hard" to make it work.Try that excuse for a Windows release.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: silence

      Yeah, that was certainly a sign of what was to come. I didn't stop using FF then because I don't do anything with my browser that requires sound -- but I did notice it and hoped that it was just an aberration.

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: silence

      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/no-sound-firefox-59-linux

      Solution is to start pulseaudio before you start Firefox, e.g. on login, or, write a little shell script that starts pulseaudio and then starts firefox. You really do not want your browser to start other programs on your computer, do you ???

      Better solution, even, uninstall pulseaudio - it is a useless piece of crap.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: silence

        I think that the PulseAudio requirement was the very problem he was talking about.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I do use Firefox on my Linux machines and have been using it since the days before it had even reached version 1 on the old numbering scheme. But I have to say it seems slower than Chrome on the same machine loading the same sites.

    Still we need alternative browsers like FF or else the browser world will just become Chromium with whoever's skin slapped on top and your choice of where to send your privacy data (Google or Microsoft?)

  12. karlkarl Bronze badge

    They possibly have not researched into ways to generate revenue quite enough.

    I would have expected to see them maintain older versions of their ESR browsers for corporations for a price. This is not even a service they offer? They could make a few bucks here with minimal effort. Heck I imagine a recent port to Windows XP would be quite trivial and I imagine where I work would pay big bucks for it!

    Likewise with their latest port to Red Hat Enterprise 6, this has been incredibly well received by the enterprise. Can they not make paid for ports to Solaris 10 and even AIX. I cannot imagine this to be too much work and yet I think they can probably make some cash here.

    I don't want to see the world move to Chrome because as soon as they do, Chrome will go proprietary and we will be a bit screwed. So I am happy to see Mozilla make money, I just don't want it to be at our expense. Freemium software looks tacky and I refuse to use it. I wish they would release a separate win32 binary for all the pay stuff and leave the source pristine without all the cruft.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      They could make a few bucks here with minimal effort. Heck I imagine a recent port to Windows XP would be quite trivial

      Maintaining old software can often be a lot more work than many people imagine. And, I'm pretty certain that some of the more recent attack vectors would rip through some of the older browsers, because the problems with memory leaks were one of the main reasons for moving the parsers to Rust.

  13. jason 7

    Problem?

    Have to say all much of a muchness for me.

    All works as I expect day on day. Nothing exceptional to report.

    Just how I like it.

  14. RobNewt

    A Grateful User

    Some of us grateful users are supporting the browser with (small, in my case) monthly donations. Good to have the option to switch to premium instead. Will be interesting to see the final deal.

  15. sambaynham

    I'm with the Mozillians on this one.

    I love Firefox Quantum. Chrome became a memory hogging, data-slurping beast just as Firefox became lean and fast again. If they want money for, say, a replacement to LastPass that actually bloody works, and a private VPN that requires no faff, I'd be happy to pay it, so long as it's reasonable.

    Services cost money. As someone who now has a little money, I'm happy to support my favourite software in return for non-core features. If it keeps the web that little bit less tied-down to the Apple-Amazon-Microsoft-Google-Facebook Hegemony, that's a win.

  16. Nick Kew Silver badge

    User-held encryption keys

    Data hosted that they can't decrypt?

    That'll surely put them on he wrong side of the law in many countries! If it doesn't get banned (or at least get the Huawei treatment), check that source code for a back-channel to encrypt to an eavesdropper's key alongside your own and any other you might authorise.

  17. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff
    Unhappy

    Speaking as Someone Who Taught Themselves Javascriipt to Recreate an Addon

    I hate the fact that Quantum destroyed their existing addons.

    I recreated BBCodeXtra, it's called bbCodeWebEx (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/bbcodewebex/, source at https://github.com/msaroff/bbCodeWebEx),* I found working with Web Extensions to be a major PITA.

    There are still a few things that I have not yet figured out how to do (particularly on non-secure pages), and it appeared that the API was considered context menus as a red haired stepchild.

    The problem is that Mozilla concluded that the rapid rise of Google Chrome was because it was somehow objectively better than Firefox, and so they needed to copy every feature as assiduously as possible.

    The reality is that Google has used its market power (I get asked if I want to "Upgrade" to Chrome at least 4 times a week) to force the browser down our throats.

    *Warning: I think that the source code is ugly enough to cause cancer and male pattern baldness.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Speaking as Someone Who Taught Themselves Javascriipt to Recreate an Addon

      The reality is that Google has used its market power (I get asked if I want to "Upgrade" to Chrome at least 4 times a week) to force the browser down our throats.

      Worse.. They had 'default-ficked' "install Chrome and make Chrome my default browser" when you wanted to install Earth, Picasa and any other Google software.

  18. pip25
    Megaphone

    Fine, I'll pay

    In return, please finally accept that I'm an adult and give me back the control I used to have over the browser, for instance concerning the mandatory signing of extensions. While we're at it, how about announcing some sort of financial target for either bringing XUL addons back, or providing a Webextensions API on par with the one XUL used to provide. Who knows, even if they didn't bother listening to user feedback, maybe they'll listen to money.

    ...Yeah, I guess I'm THAT desperate.

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A pox on both their houses

    One size does not fit all. It never did, and never will.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same "non-profit" that raised half a billion dollars in 2017-18?

    https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/annualreport/2017/

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Now, I say why not, why beg for money when you can try and earn some ?

      Then again, VPN ? No thank you, cloud storage ? no thank you! Please come up with something compelling and I might part with my easily earned cash ;-).

  21. Tom 64

    Oh dear

    If this means opening firefox now presents me with 'this is what you're missing' crap every time, I'm going to stop using it. This will leave only webkit based browsers, and that's an issue.

    1. holmegm

      Re: Oh dear

      Consider PaleMoon?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Oh dear

        Did, had to abandon it. Too many sites broke against it, using Waterfox instead, but even that is starting to look dicey. Unless someone very high up requires a return to passive HTML, we could well all be in a handbasket as I speak.

  22. Geekhillbilly
    FAIL

    Bad Move, Mozilla

    So Mozilla is gonna pull a Micro$oft -good way to kill your browser. Well, there is alternatives to Firefox and I ain't talking about Chrome either. Way to go, Mozilla. Enjoy shooting yourself in the foot

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