Firefox after Australis: here is what may be next

The redesign of Firefox, which Mozilla calls Australis, will land in less than two weeks in the stable version of Firefox.

No one knows exactly how the community will react when the design lands. While it is clear that it will be embraced by some and hated by others, we don't know how the majority of users will react.

Almost certain is that part of the userbase will look for support on the Internet to modify or restore functionality, and since we are talking about the browser with the best customization options, they will find them in form of add-ons such as Classic Theme Restorer.

Mozilla on the other hand is already thinking about Firefox's future. A new set of design  mockups have been released recently that show other areas of the browser that could receive a design overhaul in the future.

Note: Mockups are not finalized which means that these changes may land in this form, in another form, or not at all in the browser. What we can take away with certainty though is that modifications will be made to these areas, we just do not know if they will look like in the mockups or different.

Library in Tabs

libraries in tab

Mozilla plans to move most interface elements of Firefox that open in a new window in a tab instead. We have already mentioned that the organization is working on a tab-based options page. The bookmarks library will also be moved to a tab-page, and the screenshot above visualizes how it could look like.

If you compare the tab-based version with the window you will notice that there are not many differences. In fact, the layout is identical with the exception of the settings button at the top right corner of the screen.

Improved Download panel

Download panel

The download window was replaced with a download panel in Firefox 20. It moved downloads from a window to an icon in the Firefox interface.

Mozilla broke several download extension when it removed the old download API in Firefox 26.

If things go as planned, Firefox will display the download speed of every download in the download panel when the change lands.

Dark Theme for private browsing mode

post australis private browsing

The private browsing mode blocks data such as cookies, information about visited websites or cached files from being stored on the computer system.

To visualize that mode better, Mozilla considers changing the current theme to a dark one when you fire up that mode.

Improved context menu

The right-click context menu looks bland in all browsers. That is not really a problem for most users of the browser as it has been this way for a long time.

While there are ways to edit the context menu in Firefox, they all won't go as far as what Mozilla plans for the Firefox context menu.

What you get basically is a fully customizable context menu that looks and feels in many regards like Australis' customize menu.

australis context menu australis context menu 2 australis context menu 3

 

New Error pages

Error pages are displayed in numerous occasions in the browser. When a page cannot be displayed in the browser, when a page cannot be found, when the proxy server is not configured correctly, or when network errors occur.

Mozilla plans to overhaul those error pages and add functionality to them to make them useful. If you are in offline mode you will not only receive that information but also a button to go online. If a proxy server is not working, you get an option to open the proxy configuration and so on.

proxy server error

no internet connection

offline modecant display pagepage not found

cant reach site

secure document

Search Term visualizing

address bar search 2 address bar search

Another mockup shows how search terms could be visualized in the Firefox web browser in the future. As you can see on the screenshots above, Firefox could highlight the search term in the url in Firefox's address bar, and also highlight what you enter in the address bar in the suggestions menu that it displays before you hit the enter key on your keyboard.

Desktop reading mode

desktop reading mode firefox

Firefox for Android offers a reading mode that you can use to convert a web page you are browsing into one optimized for accessing textual contents. It removes several page elements to do so, and features several configuration options such as different font sizes.

Mozilla plans to integrate a similar reading mode into the desktop version of Firefox similar to what Microsoft is offering in Internet Explorer 11.

Tab Groups Take 2

tab-groups

Panorama, Firefox's built-in tab grouping feature did not really take off. This design mockup shows how a different tab group feature could make it into the browser.

The grouping feature is displayed in a sidebar in the browser. Here you see all tabs of the current group, all tab groups at the bottom of the page, a search option, and links to recent tabs as well as tabs on other devices.

Improved New Tab tile customizations

improved tab tiles

You cannot modify the websites that Firefox displays on the New Tab page directly currently in Firefox. There is no option to add your own sites directly on the page.

Mozilla plans to change that by adding an option to the page to add custom urls directly to the page so that they become available here.

Performance Tool for web developers

devtools performance

App Manager Mockups

app-manager-v3-1

Closing Words

Most of the proposed changes make sense. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd select the customizable context menu as it could be extremely powerful if implemented correctly.

I'm not sure how Mozilla plans to address the accidental removal of important icons from it though, but that is likely handled via a reset option of sorts for it.

What's your take on the mockups? (thanks Sören)

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Responses to Firefox after Australis: here is what may be next

  1. Dwight Stegall April 20, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    I've been using Australis since mid November when it first showed up in the Nightly Channel. I wish Firefox had always been like this. You no longer need an extra toolbar or the addon bar. Just put your lesser used buttons in the dropdown menu to get them out of your way and to allow you to reclaim screen real estate. It has been said that you can't make toolbar buttons small now. But those that said that were to impatient. They didn't wait until it was added. A lot of things have been removed. But they just aren't necessary anymore.

    I suggest you get Classic Theme Restorer addon. It will help a lot.

    Here is what my set up looks like. This was when it was still in Nightly. It still looks the same with Firefox 29.0b9.

    http://dwightstegall.com/text/australis-build2.jpg

    Anytime something is this radically changed there are always people that are unhappy about it. But they'll return after their friends tell them how good it is.

    • silat April 20, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Dwight what dropdown menu do you mean when you talk about moving buttons?

      • Dwight Stegall April 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

        I'm talking about the dropdown menu on the right-side of the Navbar that you click on to open the Customize panel. It looks like the dropdown menu button in Google Chrome until you click on it. That's where the similarity ends. Chrome users only dream about a menu this functional.

        I put my most used buttons on the Navbar. A few of my most used buttons also go on the left-side of the Bookmarks Toolbar like FireFTP, Theme Font & Size Changer, Extension Options Menu, Closed Tabs Menu (A Tabmix Plus Function).

        My least used buttons go in that drop down menu for quick access. This eliminates the need for an extra toolbar and the addon bar. As you add more buttons to the menu a scrollbar will appear. Some buttons never need tweaking so I leave them in the Customize Panel.

        Another option to quickly access the Customize Panel is make a Bookmarks Toolbar button with about:customizing in the URL box.

      • silat April 21, 2014 at 7:03 am #

        LOL I did not want to see the Chrome looking button. Thanks Dwight. I am with you that Australis is just fine.
        I do have one issue. I use "Lazarus" add-on and it does not move so I use "the addon bar (restored)".

        A few (out of many) add-ons I like:
        Fastest Search
        Page Zoom Button 1.3
        Page Zipper

    • Nebulus April 20, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Not everyone is as happy about the redesign as you are and not everyone shares your way of using the browser. And some people have enough brain no to let themselves influenced by "friends". Just saying...

      • Dwight Stegall April 20, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

        Easy Fix: Install Cyberfox https://8pecxstudios.com/ . They have both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. They promise they will never add Austrails changes. They are going to make it use it's own profile when version 29 of it is released. They are working on a Profile Buddy option to backup your profiles. They update Cybefox more often than any other clone. Usually a few days after Firefox updates are released. There also have Intel versions and AMD versions.

      • metzger April 20, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

        I used to hate Australis with a passion. Then I adjusted to the new look and tweaked a few things that I 'missed'. Now I can't stand the old UI. If you're so averse to change that you need to live in the past instead of install a few more minor addons, then you're not necessarily the smart one. Just saying...

    • greg April 21, 2014 at 4:32 am #

      that pic you posted is not australis. I assume you are using an addon or something? you've managed to make it look exactly like the current v28 firefox.

  2. Midnight April 20, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Great read and some interesting new features, should Mozilla decide to implement them.
    While I was never a big fan of Australis, some of the changes were interesting although Noia 4
    no longer works for the most part and I no longer have the colourful top of the Browser, even with Classic Theme
    Restorer. While Aris is working on the Theme, it's taking some time to get used to what I currently see at the top.

    All in all, Firefox is a great Browser! Very fast, secure and has been my Browser of choice for decades!

  3. Vishal April 20, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Stupid, pointless, endless UI changes are getting tiring.

    • Caspy7 April 20, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      You feel that all of the changes described here are stupid and pointless?

    • Dwight Stegall April 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Easy fix: Don't install Firefox. :)

      • tuna April 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

        Yup. Thank [deity] we still have choices.

        "Pale Moon will continue to use the well-known user interface, and will not be following Mozilla's move to the "Australis" user interface"
        http://www.palemoon.org/history.shtml

      • Zorro April 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

        Is that why you are using Google Chrome? (As we can see from your own screenshot.)

      • greg April 21, 2014 at 4:35 am #

        firefox is the most secure, customizable, and privacy focused browser out there. i tried chrome exclusively for several months. I aint goin back to chrome and IE is a joke!

      • John April 21, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

        Best fix: Stick to the latest non Australis version. Problem solved.

        I wonder, how much time it will take until Chrome take over Firefox completely?
        Mozilla was been trying hard to make sure the normal users soon will not even notice anymore if they are using Chrome or Firefox. Soon Google's massive Chrome ADs and soft bundles will make sure Firefox disappears completely from home users life and the Web.

    • metzger April 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      They're not stupid or pointless. In fact it's gotten more tiring to hear people make mountains out of these molehills. If you can't cope with change that's your prerogative and you should already have moved to Palemoon or another fork that wants to live in the past.

    • Visual April 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      Reading mode is pointless?

  4. Alex April 20, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I'm using the beta version with Australis and I love it. It's the most customizable browser by far. You just can place everything where you want and very easy! And the future improvements that appears in this page look quite good. I'm happy Firefox is going in the right way :D

    • Anonymous April 21, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      > implying Australis UI is more customizable than the current UI
      > implying the removal of addon bar and other more features "increases customizability.

  5. Caspy7 April 20, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    > I'm not sure how Mozilla plans to address the accidental removal of important icons from [the customizable context menu] though, but that is likely handled via a reset option of sorts for it.

    Based on the screenshots, I imagine that none of the old (current) functions are removable (represented by the "(menu options)" placeholder). That and the new upper row (also from the old functions) would also be static. The customizable parts would include the new share functions and the extra options (illustrated there as RSS, full screen, show history & print).

    Some of the changes to Australis were specifically designed to prevent users from shooting themselves in the foot by removing essential functionality (like the location bar), so I don't expect they would introduce such an easy footgun now.

  6. Alhaitham April 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Great stuff

    Thanks

  7. Pierre April 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Interesting, thks

  8. clas April 20, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    I wont be going to the new Firefox as its too expensive. I have several paid programs that
    will no longer work if I update Firefox and will force me to buy them again. The FF version I use now works just great. Never a problem or successful attack. More and more software companies are just "renting" their programs to you. So good luck all ..

    • jare April 20, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      what lousy paid programs are you using? one of the most loved facts about firefox is it is compatible with everything.

    • Solidstate April 21, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

      What in the name of...

      What Firefox add-ons are you using that you had to pay for?

  9. Ficho April 20, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    Horrible.Talentless Mozilla designers just created UI as a mix between Chrome and Safari.
    I'll uninstall Firefox.Anyway Pale Moon is my default browser.

  10. Oxa April 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Time to stop updating Firefox.

  11. insanelyapple April 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    And they still don't care about feedback on removing add-ons toolbar...

  12. Aram April 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    According to Mozilla's own survey, about 80% does not want Australis (a.k.a. "Firefox For Kids"). So they inflict it on us anyway. Why is it not an option? In that case we would ALL have a choice. I tried to like it but it disrupts my workflow. Pale Moon is my default browser now.

  13. SolemnPhilosopher April 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    I like the look and feel of Australis. I also like the plan to make bookmarks and history inline on a tab.

  14. metzger April 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    I'm just honestly glad that all the whiners who can't cope with change will move to Palemoon. It's like they think they're entitled to a free browser that caters only to their whims.

    • jare April 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      well they actually are entitled to their opinion--and even the mozilla devs want their opinions. ...ass.

      • tuna April 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

        Don't stoop, denigration is the herd's tool to shame everyone to blindly subscribe, regardless of real value or personal needs/choice. Also, for the persistent astro-turfers... 'ass' is implied by default.

        Congrats Martin! If we were to consider AT's a sign of success, then your site here has made it on the official radar.

        XOxoXO
        your neo-luddite pal

  15. Sheldon April 20, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Removed features are not necessary? What the hell?

    This removed features enabled me to create a total custom design. Navigation toolbar in the add-on bar, or tab bar and navigationbar combined for example or tabs below the adressbar or making special bars for special add-on items.

    Australis is not more customizable, it is less customizable. It offers only minmal customization options out of the box which may be more as Google Chrome can do, but in the end you are also only able to move some icons and touch optimized menu buttons around between the upper bars.

    This is no advanced customization, this is crippling the customization options. It is 2014 people! Browsers should be more customizable and not as stupid and useless as Google Chrome!

    Granted, Firefox with Australis can do more as Google Chrome, but Mozilla has made a big step forward to become also a generic uninteresting browser for the masses.

    • Sheldon April 20, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      Luckily there are browser developers around like the Seamonkey council, Maxthon company or Avant Browser, Qupzilla or Midori makers which do understand that browsers should have more options and no useless minimalism.

      If these days people are still unwilling or unable to handle complexity or are even getting angry because such features exist, i would suggest to all the minimalism lovers to get rid of computers completly, because they also have a lot of functions you do not want!

      Good sane developers do understand that functions are necessary instead of minimalism. Even the Slimboat developers who make a custom Chromium build now do understand that concept. The only browsers which remove massive customization options or never had ones in the first place are Mozilla, Opera and Google.

      Google's minimalism is to blame that browsers do get dumbed down in a massive way lately. Luckily as said above, some clever people are still around which are AWARE which priorities are the RIGHT ONES!

  16. Noitidart April 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Really looking forward to all these changes!! I'm worried about the downloads button opening in the panel though, it seems it might be congested.

    I really want firefox to put things into its own tabs but maybe not. If they do put them into tabs it needs to be very very pretty. They need a search feature on the about:preferences.

    I'm thinking maybe why tabs? Why not just a panel that opens in the window rather than a new window?

    I'm not sure tab is good, or not good, bah confuses me. I really want firefox to do real good with the in tab desings. Different from google chrome and much better I hope.

    Really like that context menu!

    I like the search feature on the broken pages. Looking for some more creativity on the error pages. Can't wait!

  17. Josiah April 21, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    I like a lot of the new things they're trying to do. The main thing that bugs me is the design.. It doesn't have a firefox unique look. It looks more like they're playing catch-up trying to copy chrome.

    • Dwight Stegall May 9, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      It doesn't have to stay that way. Classic Theme Restorer add-on allows you to bring back the old UI look and still have that wonderful dropdown menu. Chrome users can only dream about a menu this customizable. I put most used add-on buttons on the nav bar and on the left end of the bookmarks bar. Then put my lesser used buttons in the dropdown menu.

      http://dwightstegall.com/text/australis-build2.jpg

      • fixitmanarizona June 13, 2014 at 1:27 am #

        yeah dwight, and as I've always said, why do you need an add-on to RESTORE SOMETHING YOU LOST? Just leave it in place if is serves a purpose. Don't remove drop down menus, for instance. Don't put tabs on top "because the other guys did."
        The list is too long.
        I finally got Firefox 24 to look and feel like I want it (Firefox 3) and now.. that will most likely be impossible.
        Gee thanks.

  18. Dave April 21, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    Since I think Firefox 3 and 4 had a hideous UI, and most of it is still in use, I'm glad they've scrapped it finally. It was never good, people just got used to it and many lack the objectivity to realise that.

    • fixitmanarizona June 13, 2014 at 1:28 am #

      I'm assuming you liked Firefox 2 then, or don't even remember it? No? How about the browser that started all this, Netscape Navigator, with a ZILLION menus and choices up top?

  19. fokka April 21, 2014 at 1:50 am #

    i like most if the changes. i've never been a fan of tab-able programs opening up new, non-resizable windows for options etc, so imho putting more stuff in tabs is the way to go.

    the customizable context menu looks promising too. much too long has the context menu been a place for programs and addons to just dump a plethora of often unnecessary options in the form of a long and ugly list. trying out new concepts to improve upon that is something i'm very much in favour for.

  20. JohnMWhite April 21, 2014 at 3:31 am #

    That dark theme looks pretty good, but now it basically advertises to anyone glancing at your screen "I'm in porn mode". Why?

    None of the rest is particularly startling either, just some reasonable tweaks to a new interface nobody needs or asked for.

  21. KanetheConqueror April 21, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Oh look, another UI and a lot of changes which are kicking power users into a second class rank of users! How wonderful...

    Mozilla never was a creative organization. Ripping off first customization from Opera and now with their new UI they copy the Chrome one, taking options away and change more or less to Chrome’s user target group of people who are happy with a stock UI and do not want to change much. Which is in my opinion at least a betrayal of the Firefox user base. Google would never do that, they are standing proud with the people who are using their browser.

    Going to Seamonkey, a browser by people for people with intelligence and a love for features instead a love for useless design!

  22. J April 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    "You cannot modify the websites that Firefox displays on the New Tab page directly currently in Firefox" Nonsense. Just drag and drop bookmark on a tile. Done.

  23. Nebulus April 21, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    I'm amazed how some people believe that Firefox clone projects have enough manpower and financial power to create and maintain a TRUE Firefox fork that will never have Australis...

    • Neal April 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      Right now it is easy, use the ESR channel which retains the old GUI, as a base and then go from there. After October when Firefox 24 ESR is discontinued, they will be shady and "incorporate" adds like Classic theme restorer, like how Palemoon "incorporated" a status bar addon.

    • GL April 22, 2014 at 7:26 am #

      It is without question that cyberfox will for sure adopt Australis at some point (seen from their constant following of the rapid releases) while palemoon will most likely put classic theme restorer into the browser as under-the-hood-customization but not all Mozilla based browsers will adopt Australis.

      Seamonkey never followed Firefox and instead stayed with a rather old UI. Code in seamonkey differs a lot from firefox, so this will be the guys who really are the ones who will be able to avoid Australis.

      Downside is, not much add-ons and nearly no themes and with australis for firefox incoming the amount of available addons for seamonkey will likely drop to zero in the future.

      Let's just say for one moment that cyberfox and palemoon would follow the seamonkey way too, they would suffer the same fate. It's either australis and addon/theme support or staying with the old ui - which means in basic a future browser without any addons and themes.

      Seen from the situation of the past and seeing it now, seamonkey will stay australis free. But for the direct firefox code modificated browsers.... it is only a matter of time until they switch over to the australis ui.

      • Dwight Stegall April 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

        Toady Smith the developer of Cyberfox hates Australis and swears he will never add it to Cyberfox.

      • DMC April 22, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

        It makes anyway no sense to try to make Firefox version 29 Australis free. I make just for fun custom builds for private usage, mine feature for example no speed dials.

        Of course i made some experiments with the new Australis code base and i can say the following for sure:

        1) It is possible to remove Australis out of the browser!

        But:

        If i try to restore the old UI code... This process creates countless of nasty bugs thanks to the heavy modifications of the Firefox code base and the Engine code for the new Australis one, that i can say one thing - It is not worth the time. Even if you can correct the most nasty ones, you will never find a solution for all the problems which are created in that process :( What you get when you replace Australis against the old UI is ha half working browser which is no fun to use!

        I have enough experience with modifying the codebase and compiling it so i can give Pale Moon or Cyberfox makers only the following good suggestion.. Stay with Firefox 28 as code base, back porting security fixes as long as it possible and if it does not work anymore, move over to Seamonkey code base.

        Nothing against the Pale Moon or Cyberfox devs.. but i really wonder how they will explain their audience the reasoning when suddenly switching over to Australis UI in the future (if they do not decide to switch over to Seamonkey code as code base for a new Pale Moon or Cyberfox after rethinking again).

        Anyway.. A Firefox 29 with the classic UI will only work insufficient - it may be enough for private testing reasons but really hope the Pale Moon or Cyberfox guys do not make this mistake and release something like that to the public... Because it will fail miserably!

        Mozilla has changed too much that a simple code restoration of the UI code is enough to make Firefox 29 and onwards Australis free. The only chance to avoid that inevitable bug feast would be if they would decide to create an own interface. But i guess this one is beyond these guys league sadly!

  24. Caspy7 April 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    > You cannot modify the websites that Firefox displays on the New Tab page directly currently in Firefox. There is no option to add your own sites directly on the page.

    Sure there is, just drag and drop a bookmark onto one of the tiles and it will become pinned.

  25. geeknik April 21, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    You forgot the e10s (Electrolysis) project. Web content will be eventually rendered in a different process than the main Firefox process (each tab = a new process). https://wiki.mozilla.org/Electrolysis

    • hum April 29, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      Nobody forgot it, e10s is just not ready and won't be for another year or two.

    • Dwight Stegall May 9, 2014 at 6:40 am #

      Firefox 32 Nightly has an e10s button in the dropdown menu now.

  26. Sam April 22, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    firefox v29 released
    screenshot:
    Direct Link:
    http://s.gullipics.com/image/r/p/r/jw29b9w-k7wepx-kkrf/ff.jpeg

  27. Dwight Stegall April 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    What version has the customizable context menu? It's not in version 29.0b9. I hadn't heard about it until I read this article. Sounds good I can't wait to try it. My current context menu is very long due to options that were added by addons and plugins.

  28. Dwight Stegall April 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    Here is my current Australis setup version 29.0b9 http://dwightstegall.com/text/australisv29b9.jpg

  29. wyz April 25, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    As a Linux user I don't have the option of moving to Pale Moon or Cyberfox. I guess the best I can expect is to try out the Australis UI with the Classic Theme Restorer extension added. It seems like a feature laden add-on with a lot of options, so if it returns my Firefox to some semblance of the old user interface I would be happy. Sadly, Classic Toolbar Buttons, another customization extension from Aris, only works with Windows. :-(

    • jeannie April 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      Pale Moon 24 works very well on my Manjaro Linux system and I am glad that it's available, so I can continue to use a firefox based browser without that dumb australis toy device UI.

  30. MozillaTards April 28, 2014 at 3:13 am #

    omfg these morons.. I want things like bookmark libraries in a new window.. not in a fking tab!

    I want booksmarks in a fking sidebar aswel

  31. hum April 29, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Context-menu-changes and the new newtab-page have only one goal: Sell space for commercials, ads and banners.

  32. Glenn May 9, 2014 at 3:30 am #

    Mozilla... keeping its devs off the streets and out of trouble (well, no, actually they're making more trouble now than ever before ;) ).

  33. Bill Gates May 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Хочется взять и уебать за такое. On english: I want to take and kill for that.

  34. '-' June 8, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Those seem to be very good changes. Just waiting for them, because recently Mozilla's only been doing retarded poorly thought changes.

  35. Wez June 11, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    Right, you've just managed to convince me that I'm truly never going to see a good Firefox browser again. I'm actually just gonna put all of mozillas domains in the hosts file so now I never ever have to think about them again. ThanksFF, we had a few good years together, but now you're crippled I'd rather you were dead. They shoot horses don't they?

  36. Patters August 9, 2014 at 2:13 am #

    A discontented Firefox user here, browsing around, looking for alternatives.

    When Firefox 29 came through as an update, I was completely unaware of Australis, so I blindly installed it. Big mistake; the browser was literally unusable with my existing profile for various reasons; not least because clicking on tabs did nothing. I didn't have the time to figure out which of my add-ons or customisations were causing the problems, so I had no option but to downgrade to version 28, which I'm still using today.

    Meanwhile, I've been using Australis on my work computer, where security updates are more important than the convenience of an easy-to-use browser. I just cannot get used to it. Too much white space and padding, not enough customisation options. I always customise Firefox so that everything is in the menu bar; back, forward, reload, the menus, some addon buttons, the address bar, the search box; all in the menu bar. It saves a ton of vertical space without resorting to hiding useful features. In Australis, this configuration is impossible. Why? What possible benefit is there to disabling the ability to do this? Meanwhile, tabs on top has become mandatory, defying all logic, and at least one extension (Tab Mix Plus) has partially broken. It's a death by a thousand paper cuts.

    This is about the fourth time an update to Firefox has caused me severe disruption, and I'm fed up with it. I don't want to have to seek out, install and configure add-ons every six months simply to keep things the same. I use Firefox because I can customise it and because I think open source software and the open web are important in order for democracy to survive in a society increasingly defined by software. If I can't customise Firefox without it getting messed up every few releases, and if they are supporting the closing-off of the Web with Encrypted Media Extensions, what is the purpose of Firefox, in the great scheme of things? Other browsers have better performance and better default user interfaces; all Firefox had going for it was customisability and ethics. Now it has... well, Mozilla claims it has customisability and ethics, but from where I'm standing they've demonstrated that they are entirely willing to compromise on both of those. For me, it's more of a case of it being the best of a bad bunch than a good browser overall, but that's without having tried some of the more obscure browsers, so I may yet find a better one.

    I don't feel entitled to any kind of browser, especially at no cost, but at the same time, society more and more expects me to use the Web, so I feel compelled to have some kind of browser, and therefore feel entitled to complain about the lack of a good one, whether or not anyone is prepared to listen.

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