Years ago, Firefox WAS my favourite browser. No longer


Picking this up after the shoocking changes happening to my favorite browser.
First of all, yes, I do see the hard work and yes, I understand what had to be done.
The update came out of nothing as I had to do an emergency shutdown. After coming back, I’ve lost all the open downloads, all open tabs, which I normally can recuperate and lost all add-ons but two. So I didn’t think about speed, I just reverted as quickly as possible.
I think the initiator of this conversation is right, it looks like more and more like Chrome, so why should I not change to Chrome?
Some things I do strongly disagree with:

  • the dev section in Chorme is simply better then the one in Firefox. It was opposite before. I read this somewhere in this thread, stating the opposite. Alas, in my different work environments, I see devs always switching to Chrome when they have a hard time finding a solution. Some stay for ever.
  • When you test an app and are stuck in a feedback loop or whatever, a stop button is damn handy. Luckily, there is an add-on… but not anymore. Same can be said for the back and forward arrow to quickly (read this: quickly) switch through you browsing work. A very handy tool for working out apps.
  • Speed was never an issue for me, but I can image most of the blunt users are not seeing past the speed window. So there is probably a dillemma. Nobody from my collegues in different firms was complaining about speed by the way.
    It looks very painful for the future, but probably I will have to leave the ship. And you guys are/were soooo good.
    I hope for the best.

(Konstantin Boyandin) #22

Well said. My reason to feel greatly disappointed are mostly the same or similar, and there are some more points that are extremely irritating.

The motto of Firefox development team seems to be “Developers know best”. Users are expected to embrace changes and feel happy. All criticism is just ignored, often with arrogant/indulgent intonation.

Why there’s no way to manually override several security-related features? Why cannot I force using invalid SSL certificate any more? Developers know best: it’s insecure and they won’t allow that under any circumstances. I suppose that developers live in ideal world where there are no network devices utilizing invalid SSLs, which just can’t be fixed other by buying a new hardware (which is not always possible or under my control).

Why new WebExtensions API was not fully finished by the time XUL has been phased out? Developers know best: only the features “most popular” (?) get high priority and are more or less properly implemented. The rest will be implemented, if ever, some time later. Your add-on heavily depends on new API feature, not implemented or even absent? Perhaps you shouldn’t work on such an add-on.

And the mentioned endless UI changes. They are sudden, abrupt, often irreversible. Once again “Developers know best”: well, folks, don’t live in the past! See how cool and wonderful are the new features! You miss “Forward” button? You are joking, no one needs it. You don’t like new theme? You just aren’t wise enough to understand it’s the coolest thing. And so on and so forth.

I do not know whether the developers/product managers (if the latter do exist) actually belong to human race (their logic at times looks too alien), but there are things they seem ignoring for no sane reason:

People are conservative. They like this theme, this UI, this set of add-ons. You bring changes? Fine, but let people have whatever they already have by default. Offer them new features without forcefully making them use new features. That’s just sheer disrespect.

There are experts in programming/UI/security outside Mozilla developers teams. That can come as a shock, but it’s true. When developers do a change and speak (often giving no alternative) “this is correct and you shall do that”, they forget they are not the only experts in the world. Just don’t take your users for security-ignorant, dumb, retrograde fools. Believe me, they are not.

I used to support Mozilla products and promote them (including donating, evangelizing etc). But after the developers’ recent actions screwed bookmarks handling add-ons such as Xmarks, without a single line of remorse, I feel I was promoting wrong products and wrong team.

I do not like promoting the product where my opinion means nothing, and my plans can be just ruined because of “this is open source software and no one guarantees anything”.

I hope Mozilla’s new users base will be happy with that. Personally, I stop supporting Mozilla’s products.

(Rubén Martín) #23

@Konstantin_Boyandin I’m sorry to hear that, I understand these changes can create you a personal discomfort but I’m extremely confident that these are the best ones for most Firefox users and for most not-yet Firefox users.

I know Quantum evolution had a big user research behind to cover what most users were demanding from a modern web browser. I hope the future improvements to webextensions API will cover some of your personal needs.


(Konstantin Boyandin) #24

@nukeador “these are the best ones for most Firefox users”. Sounds like “We are Firefox of Borg. Your goals are irrelevant. Your add-ons will be assimilated. Resistance is futile”.

Do you understand you are losing many add-on developers who are just frustrated at such an attitude?

Personally, I was using and promoting Firefox since its child names. I do not remember to participate in any survey on proposed features or otherwise being asked about them (and in most cases the changes didn’t suit me). Perhaps there are millions of users who did, of course.

Please answer this: while preparing to switch XUL off, have you (developers) contacted most popular add-ons developers, did you ask their opinion on WebExtensions status, of what features are missing?

If you think it is right to discourage add-on developers for the greater gain of those “most Firefox users”, then no further questions will be asked.

(Rubén Martín) #25

Note that I’m not a developer or have been involved in the process to transition to webextensions but in the whole process and conversations that have been happening for more than two years now the Addons team have been doing a great job outreaching, listening, talking, co-building and helping developers with the transition to webextensions, they have built a strong system to get feedback from developers and keep improving the APIs (which if you check the most recent blog posts, they keep doing for 58 and 59)

If you want to know more about the process, feel free to reach out the #add-ons community directly for more details. I’m not trying to change your opinion, I understand how you feel, I’m just trying to explain the facts about the process and the decision so we are fair with everyone who has been involved.

PS: Regarding most popular extensions, you can follow the work with them in this site.

(Konstantin Boyandin) #26

So this is intentional - neglecting parts of API (leaving them all abandoned or in unknown state) in favor of others.

I see. I will ask one of popular add-on developers whether the mentioned great job outreaching etc did outreach them in any way. Since bookmarks API is left unfinished for an indefinite time, something tells me some add-ons were not as thoroughly outreached.

I will definitely contact the mentioned add-on community, since I need to continue working on bookmarks-related add-on and I have now simple choice: either implement the missing WebExtensions API calls myself, or abandon my project - since there’s no hope Firefox developers will complete the work in foreseeable future.

Thanks for your detailed responses.

(Sami Chori) #27

@Konstantin_Boyandin Thank you so much for your responses. Once more, @nukeador merely proved what you were saying. And the fact that he stated that this was in prior discussions… you didn’t know, and I didn’t either before he mentioned it in a thread to me. So, whatever means they were using were inadequate, and you are 100% right.

“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your former beloved browser. We will destroy your biological and technological distinctiveness, and forcibly add ours to your computer. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

EDIT: For me, the best addon ever has always been noscript. But, the changes to it are horrendous, but I don’t blame the dev at all for it. I blame the Firefox team wholeheartedly.

(Konstantin Boyandin) #28

@mades You are welcome. Changes are inevitable. The problem is hypocrisy: what Mozilla is stating and what it actually does.

It was said that add-ons developers were contacted, their needs have been asked about. Well, according to my own findings, not everyone was actually contacted, not everyone was offered assistance or even asked about transition status.

Mozilla is all about communities. That’s fine; people assisting one another is how we overcome the problems. But when certain drastic changes happen, community in fact can fall apart - some are assisted, some are just ignored or abandoned. It would be simpler to handle if it were stated in plain text: “Folks, the upcoming changes are difficult; resources are limited; some of your projects will be abandoned. If your user base is small, chances are your project’s needs will be your own problem. Brace yourself for the upgrade.” Just that.

I return to development tasks - life goes on, I will just know from now on Mozilla’s words on its site are mostly hype, and what they actually do can significantly differ from what they say they do. Lesson learned.

Good luck, everyone. If I might be of assistance, feel free to contact me.

(RG) #29

After reading & reviewing the comments and Mozilla replies in this thread, I think there is a need to reestablish some civility in the discussion. Right now, I see a great number of accusations and a lot of defensiveness; we need to understand each other better if we’re going to see FF continue as a successful browser. Sure, it’s hard to change – but we must acknowledge that not all change is good, and there are always missteps when software changes. On the other hand, from years working in ancient “mainframe” computers, I know very well how resistant many programmers are to suggestions for user interface changes. Stubborn developers were termed the “Imperial Programming Overlords” in some circles at Unisys; in turn, they derided those fuzzy-headed Users as unwilling to adapt to the clearly superior interface the program teams had developed.

So we need to be aware that we all arrive with our own needs & prejudices. Let’s listen more.

FWIW, as I see it, the underlying problem is that there is apparently no way forward – at this point – for outdated extensions to be incorporated into FF57. Two of the most common complaints involve NoScript (which has now been adapted in a way that is somewhat awkward – even cryptic, as my wife can’t figure out some of the options!) and items that involve either appearance or the use of additional toolbar functions.

I have no advice regarding NoScript; they do what they do and we either accept it or not. It would help if comments were sent to NoScript from those of us who have contributed money toward supporting it (the ear is probably more responsive to the voice of a patron than a borrower).

Appearance is easy to fix from a programming standpoint, and based on my limited coding background I think it would not be impossible for the next release to provide a way to adapt certain appearance functions to FF.

The possibility of adding a toolbar (e.g. Download Status Bar, New Add-On Bar, Status4Evar, etc.) is problematic because FF57’s security prevents adding a toolbar. However, this could be remedied by restoring a built-in bar (like the old Status Bar) and permitting the placement of icons on that bar. Already we have seen Google Shortcuts and ForecastFox (fix version) adapted successfully to mimic mini-toolbars via pop-up selections. It is undoubtedly possible for FF to restore some of that functionality via a restored bottom-line bar.

At this point, I have been sufficiently frustrated that I back-graded to FF56.0.2 and restored most of my old extensions. (When I want to test the current FF, I go to my wife’s PC. Even though she switched to Chrome, she kindly retained FF57 at my request so that I can check on it to see what is going on.)

(Sami Chori) #30

Hi there @rjgnyc.

Request: impossible.

Reason: if FF developers (or those close to them) do not want to be honest and acknowledge that there is a problem, what do we do? There has been tremendous backlash, and they refuse to acknowledge that truth. Whether they see it or not is another matter entirely.

Now, I think most of us (if not all) are computer experts - be it web developer, software or browser developer or other. It… took me at least half an hour to understand what the heck was going on with NoScript. I legit avoid FF thrice as much as before now, because NoScript has become clunky, difficult to understand and truly non-user friendly. And this is wholly caused by FF dev team with the changes they brought to the platform. Do I blame the NoScript dev? No, not one bit. The entire blame is to be taken by the FF team.

If the FF team refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility, then we cannot move forward. The day Quantum came into existence was the beginning of FF’s true downfall. If I want Chrome, I will use Chrome, not FF.

(Jrochadev) #31

Just chiming in to say, while FF was never my favorite browser, I always kept it around because nobody else had the Tild 3D functionality. Why would I keep FF around now? I mean, I have to test on it as a web developer, but I only touch it now when the project is ready to be tested across browsers. It used to have a competitive advantage, but that’s gone now.

I always wanted FF to succeed, but they keep making such questionable decisions :confused:

(Sami Chori) #32

Exactly. Even the best plugins don’t work very well. Because of this, noscript (for example) doesn’t work properly. It’s to the point where scripts are actually missing for me to either decide whether or not I want to allow or disallow them. I am sure that there are similar problems for other plugins.

When a browser breaks a plugin (a very much loved plugin), you don’t blame the developer of the plugin. I use Pale Moon, and the same plugin works the same as before. This lets you know how bad FF messed up. When a browser development teams asks for changes to be brought to (widely known) plugins, they are messing up big time.

I don’t get why the changes that were brought in by FF were brought in, as they have broken so many plugins. It’s like if they skipped QA threefold here. This is the beginning of the end…

(Canceltime) #33

I came across this site because I was again going to give FF a try. They lost me in 2017 when they broke most of my extensions. The given line for the FF fans is that “we had to do it to modernize” — “change is hard but good” etc.

There are many people in this world that I call educated idiots. Take for instance a doctor in the hospital treating an elderly patient for C-Diff and the doc doesn’t put the patient on modified diet. In fact the patient sees coffee on their breakfast tray and other such foods that are the exact opposite of the food needed by the patient to heal. Doc is very educated in some things but an idiot in others — to the point that it can kill you.

The same is true for developers. They may feel the need to change is good but as we all know change for the sake of change is not always good. When thousands and thousands of people around the world lose benefits that were of value, the change is not good.

I know, I know, it is a free browser but that doesn’t mean we can’t speak our piece. You go onto a certain favorite Mozilla forum and speak badly of FF and you will get attacked. Like a big gander chasing you through the barnyard, the fans will call you a troll and then the moderators will threaten to ban you.

Seems the FF world is a shut up and go along type of world. So I left FF and after so many, many years of using it. Plus I feel that they became an advertising outlet.

(Canceltime) #34

Consider that Pocket alone would be a reason to not be a reason to stay away “All you need is a free account, an Internet connection and the Pocket button”. In other words all you need is let us track your clicks. Hm…maybe, does FF promise not???

Then there are all those add-on issues for those of us that helped support FF over the years.

Maybe FF is playing to an audience I do not understand. My youthful 24 year old said this about taxes, we should just let the government do the taxes for us. Really? But then I fear there is a generation that is willing to make decisions based upon how easy something is for them and doesn’t care to make selections on their own. Kind of like robots that want to be given instructions and that is all they want in life.

(Ryan Warsaw) #35

The same is true for developers. They may feel the need to change is good but as we all know change for the sake of change is not always good. When thousands and thousands of people around the world lose benefits that were of value, the change is not good.

IMHO, just because something works – it’s not an appropriate excuse to rebute change. We could’ve stopped iterating on web browsers back in the Netscape days if this was the case, but we didn’t and as a result the technology continues to advance. There will be mishaps, and some blunders along the way, but the overall goal here is to build a better product.

I know, I know, it is a free browser but that doesn’t mean we can’t speak our piece. You go onto a certain favorite Mozilla forum and speak badly of FF and you will get attacked. Like a big gander chasing you through the barnyard, the fans will call you a troll and then the moderators will threaten to ban you.

From your post, I can confirm with confidence that it’s not an issue with the community – rather it’s an issue with your behavioral tendencies as a forum poster. Critical but constructive feedback is important to evolving the product, and I support that. But you’re failing to convey concrete grievances or concerns that you have.

And I can prove this, by directing you to your original statement. You express your frustrations in five paragraphs, and leave a single sentence to your actual grievance, which was “they broke most of my extensions” with no further information. Had you said this: “I’m not happy because I use * extension * and they’re no longer supported”, then we can have a discussion. But you didn’t do that, and that’s why you’re getting those types of responses.

(kegene) #36

But users are not happy with Quantum so how is it the right move? Sorry but Quantum was the wrong move and we will NEVER accept this change. When you guys kill the ESR options I’m removing Firefox from my computer. The DEVS don’t give a damn about us users. It’s all about what YOU GUYS want. That’s not fair. You need to go back to the original Firefox setup and lose WebExtensions altogether. All We want is to be able to use our legacy extensions again. Is that too much to ask for? I will be using Chrome exclusively after August when I can no longer use Firefox 56.02 ESR. It’s no longer a great browser. Sorry.

(Baptiste Thémine) #37

You could also use Waterfox. It is a good alternative which both keeps pre-Quantum user interface and legacy addon compatibility but receives security updates and WebExtensions support from Firefox.

(Sami Chori) #38

Thank you kegene. Reply is much appreciated, and I couldn’t agree more. Although, I suggest you use Palemoon (over Firefox, or even Waterfox), as it retains the legacy Firefox a lot more in my opinion.

(Sami Chori) #39

Thank you for your replies Baptiste. I suggest Palemoon over Waterfox. The legacy options in my opinion are much better. And they have a community forum if ever you have queries or would like to report bugs. Also, there are some devs there (not associated with the actual browser itself) that support Palemoon in great ways (like themes). As for the noscript addon, it is the original one, not the crap that was unloaded after Firefox updated itself months and months ago.

(kegene) #40

strong textOn August 28th I will switch to Chrome and uninstall Firefox. There are no replacements for the ‘legacy’ extension I lost in the upgrade. I considered keeping Firefox but Avast! detected a threat when I was adding a dial from FVD Speed Dial.

There are no other bookmark extensions that work half as well as the one I was using and Firefox opted to keep one that attracts viruses and may be a virus itself over one that worked perfectly for me with no issues for over 3 years.

They can say it’s the Developers fault all they want but it was Firefox who chose to switch to Quantum so I refuse to blame OM New Tab’s Developers. I do love Chrome now.