Asa Dotzler Recommends Opera For Firefox 3.6 Users Who Don't Want To Upgrade

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 26, 2012
Updated • Sep 12, 2018

If you are a Firefox 3.6 user you know by now that support for that branch of the web browser will end on April 24, 2012.

As it stands now, Firefox 3.6.28, released on March 14, is likely the last version of Firefox 3.6. Mozilla will not update the version of the browser again unless a major security or stability issue forces the organization to act.

With Firefox 3.6 out of the picture, Firefox users still using the branch are asked by Mozilla to either update to the current stable version of the browser, which is Firefox 11 at the time of writing, or the Firefox Extended Support Release. The latter has been designed specifically for organizations as a way to lessen the impact of Mozilla's new rapid release process on the company's IT department.

firefox 13.0

What about Firefox users who do not want to upgrade their browser to a newer supported version? Asa Dotzler, product director for the Firefox desktop browser, suggests the following.

Happy to try to answer any questions you have. Oh, and if you're a Windows 2000 user and you simply cannot upgrade your PC to a more modern Windows version, I'm sure the good folks over at Opera will be happy to help you out. Moving to Opera means you'll not only get continued security updates, but you'll also be able to enjoy a modern browser experience.

You may ask yourself why he is only referring to Windows 2000 users in the paragraph above. The reason for doing so is that Mozilla decided to discontinue support for Windows 2000 starting with the release of Firefox 13 in June 2012.

We'd also like to take this opportunity to announce that our minimum supported Windows version will change from Windows 2000 to Windows XP SP2 in Firefox 13. We never change minimum requirements lightly, but this support change allows us to significantly improve Firefox performance on Windows by using a more modern build system. Windows XP users are advised to update to the latest service pack, and Windows 2000 users should consider upgrading ahead of the June release of Firefox 13.

What he does not take into account is users who do not want to switch to newer versions of the browser despite the fact that they could.

The majority of users sticking with Firefox 3 at the moment are likely not satisfied with   the development of the browser, and not limited by their systems.

It is interesting that Asa Dotzler recommends Opera. Many users would have probably guessed that Chrome was was a more likely candidate, but like Firefox will in the near future, Chrome does not support any Windows operating system before Windows XP SP2. Users who use Windows XP and newer systems on the other hand can switch to Google Chrome instead which the majority that do not upgrade the Firefox browser will probably do.

There you have it. If you are still running Firefox 3, you are asked to update the browser to a newer version, or switch to Opera. Which will it be for you?

Asa Dotzler Recommends Opera For Firefox 3.6 Users Who Don't Want To Upgrade
Article Name
Asa Dotzler Recommends Opera For Firefox 3.6 Users Who Don't Want To Upgrade
Firefox users who don't want to upgrade to new versions of the browser should switch to the Opera browser instead, says Mozilla.
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  1. Lenise said on April 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Really can’t expect Firefox to support what is essentially a fork of Firefox b/c people don’t like the new versions. If I remember correctly Firefox 3.6 users account for a low percentage in the 3-5 percent of all Firefox users so, it is no big deal.

    As for continued Palemoon support, I find his statement of continuing Firefox 3.6 support highly irresponsible. Identifying and patching security code for a major browser nowhere as simple as just recompiling Firefox which is basically all that Palemoon does. I wouldn’t trust any single programmer who claimed he could do that especially Firefox which is targeted as frequently as IE.

  2. Roman ShaRP said on March 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Firefox users just got better recommendation:


    A question asked regularly these days is: with Firefox 3.6.x being abandoned in April, will Pale Moon continue to provide updates and support for its 3.6 branch? The answer is: Yes.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Interesting, thanks for posting Roman!

  3. Roman ShaRP said on March 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    david b,
    thanks for the explanations

    I was wrong because I almost forgot my “transition pains” when moving to FF4 base (somewhat easier because I moved on Palemoon branch, preserving Status bar) .

    My Palemoon 11.0.1 with Noia theme looks mostly like FF 3 with the same theme, I dislike new default interface too…

  4. david b said on March 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    If your running ff 3.6 (as i am) you are not interested in “support” anyway. As long as the browser continues to display pages and videos thats all you need.

    Why not upgrade? Some of us just don’t like the style changes that were made with the 4+ releases. Also there is something to be said for if it aint broke dont fix it. Once you have s stable program, a stable system, and it has the functionality that you need why ‘upgrade’? The only thing you gain at that point is functionality you don’t need/want and new potential for instability.

    1. Robert Palmar said on March 30, 2012 at 6:08 am

      I prefer Firefox 3.6 myself as I expressed earlier
      and like you I am still running it (most of the time).

      Support includes security fixes and those are
      scheduled to discontinue in the month of April.

      Security may not be much of a concern in the
      short term but in the near long term it will
      and Firefox 3.6 then is effectively dead.

      Major sites might drop their support soon.
      For example, I expect Gmail to pull the
      plug along with Hotmail and others.

  5. Robert Palmar said on March 28, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Dropping the taskbar was just dumb.
    If you want Firefox and you do want it
    the add-on is the only way to get it back.

  6. smaragdus said on March 28, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Add-ons to restore removed functionality? Preposterous. SeaMonkey has always had the status bar (the latest vesrion 2.8 too).

  7. Robert Palmar said on March 28, 2012 at 3:20 am

    You can get the status bar back with some added functionality:

  8. Roman ShaRP said on March 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    did you try Palemoon, the custom FF optimized build? As far as I understand, it retains Status bar functionality (I have to put status elements manually on the low bar, but it worked).

    Also Palemoon maintains FF 3.XX branch too.

  9. Matias said on March 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you pd! I´m indeed happy with Opera! Maybe you can join Asa Dotzler, my 4 colleagues and me! :)

    Seriously, I think Opera is just faster, especially for older computers with many open tabs (+50/100). I just use FF for non-compatible websites (there are not many, don´t remember the last time with this issue, mostly for banks) or to take advantage of its wider plugin library.

  10. firefoxlover said on March 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Just wondering how long will it take before Opera will drop support for Windows 2000?

  11. kalmly said on March 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I switched to Opera when FF took away the status bar. I still use FF 3.6, sometimes right along side Opera on both my XP and Win 7 systems. I’ll have to drop FF altogether when they stop supporting XP (my preferred OS) anyway.

  12. smaragdus said on March 27, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Opera 11.50 is as terrible as Firefox 11, not to mention Chrome, which is the worst. I have switched to SeaMonkey, which is far better and far more customizable than Firefox. SeaMonkey has not adopted the preposterous numbering scheme of Firefox and its GUI is not ruined. Unfortunately, not all Firefox add-ons are compatible with SeaMonkey. SeaMonkey is not very good but is the best browser right now. I dream of a browser that does not suck.

    1. - said on March 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

      how do you feel is opera 11 broken? the gui is overly “trendy”?
      I don’t think sm is more customizable than ff. sm is more oldschool.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

      Opera 11.61 is the latest, which will be replaced today or tomorrow with Opera 11.62.

  13. Gonzo said on March 27, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Support for 2000 ended almost 2 years ago and those still running it are a minority of advanced users since a strict SRP would be needed to avoid exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities. They’re undoubtedly aware of Opera. So I don’t see a need for Asa to comment at all in this case.

    As for users of XP SP2 or newer, I see little reason not to upgrade to the current FF build. Most of the new taxing animations, features etc. can be disabled via about:config and most Add-ons have been updated or at worst alternatives are available. If you don’t like the rapid release cycle then ESR is available. Mozilla has done an excellent job of trying to please a variety of users and this is how Asa should have handled it IMO.

  14. Robert Palmar said on March 27, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I am running Firefox 3.6.28. And it’s a beautiful sight indeed.
    The best version of Firefox to tweak and tweaked it is to the max.
    I run Firefox 11.0 too side by side simultaneously with Firefox 3.6.28.

    Not all the time. I am taking my time building Firefox 11 to match
    what I have customized in Firefox 3 and trying to mirror those
    as best as possible often with new scripts and add-ons.
    So for me I use Firefox 3 as a working template.

    As for Opera, it is a good out of the box browser.
    For people who do not usually make changes,
    usually some IE users, Opera makes sense.

    For anyone who likes to customize moving
    up the Firefox food chain makes more sense.

    As a side note I find Firefox 3 as fast as 11.
    I suspect the internal plumbing has changed
    considerably incorporating much of the new code.

  15. Dan said on March 27, 2012 at 12:19 am

    After years of spreading FUD against Opera’s capabilities, speed and standards compliance, and also denying that Fx “borrowed” almost every new feature (pre-Chrome) from the Norwegian browser, Asa is now recommending it? Hell must’ve frozen over. He’s a tool and no responsible tech writer should give him any attention.

    1. Name said on March 27, 2012 at 10:15 am

      He couldve recommended IE9. Or worse, Chrome!

  16. Matias said on March 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Well, I do not need to switch, since I´m already using Opera ;)

    1. pd said on March 27, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Congratulations. You and your 4 colleagues must be very happy with Opera :)

  17. Jojo said on March 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Hasn’t Mozilla fired that arsehole Asa yet???

    1. Hurd said on March 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Probably too late by now.

      When the “product director for the Firefox desktop browser” recommends a different browser (for whatever reasons), you got problems. Big ones.

      1. if it ain't broke, don't... said on March 27, 2012 at 9:36 am

        what does opera asa suggest i run on my dos3 xt?!1! /trollish

      2. pd said on March 27, 2012 at 1:15 am

        As much as I agree Asa deserves criticism, I don’t think this is a good basis for it. The number of Windows 2000 users would be minimal. Most things Mozilla are also still group decisions, Asa would more than likely just be the messenger. Whilst I agree that messenger or not, people should be accountable when the message is just wrong, not sure criticism of Asa on this one is all that valid.

        After all, basically this article is quite biased against Mozilla despite mentioning, almost sheepishly, that the current darling of the browser world – Chrome – does exactly the same thing as Mozilla: no support for Windows 2000.

        In essence is it reasonable to hammer Asa for Mozilla’s decision to copy Google policy re Windows 2000 support? Hmm, not really. Is it reasonable to hammer Asa for arguably trying to be more helpful to users than Google is (presuming Google doesn’t suggest an alternative)? Hmmm, not really.

  18. Roman ShaRP said on March 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I switched to Firefox 3 _from_ Opera. Now I run optimized FF build Palemoon 11, it works well and I don’t want to switch back to Opera :)

    Still don’t get, what was so bad in FF 4+ to remain on 3.

  19. EuroScept1C said on March 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Currently the latest Nightly is simply INCREDIBLE! And the best yet to come… Ion Monkey, Azure HWA. We got Pipeline, better Scrolling, more “snappy” browser with time and right now the Australis theme which still is being cooked is clean and beautiful. Newtab Page, new Homepage, Memory-usage improvements and countless fixes/optimisations in background. The dudes who still think Fx 3.6 as the guy above, indeed, let him go at Opera.

    I think Chrome helped a lot and forced Mozilla to speed up greatly. First time I’m so excited about Fx. I was always using Fx as a passive user and because of reasons like ABP etc… Now, clearly I use it because of what exactly Fx is.

  20. Siddhartha Dugar said on March 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I don’t see a reason why someone would move to Opera/Chrome instead of a newer version of Firefox. If you are worried that your addons will no longer work in the new version then I must tell you that you will still lose those addons if you move to another browser.

    Much has changed over the last year and Firefox 11 is much faster and lighter than Firefox 4. I recommend everyone to start using it.

    1. Finvana said on March 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      I don’t agree. Firefox 11 is not faster than FF 3.6 with optimized network. And it’s not lighter. They keep adding things that should be add-ons. I started using Firefox because I could choose the functionalities I wanted in my browser. This is not anymore.

      1. pd said on March 27, 2012 at 1:07 am

        The lighter question – if you are referring to memory management – is arguably not true. I was amazed but very happy to see a comment reply from Nicholas Nethercote – the chief of the MemShrink project – recently that admitted Firefox 4’s memory management was a big backward step. Furthermore he stated that it would be arou,d Firefox 10 or 11 when the status of memory management would get back to Firefox 3 levels. Well, both 10 and 11 are now available so (with several exceptions I must admit), Firefox is now as ‘light’ as it ever has been.

        The exceptions are likely to be the same as they were with Firefox 3. Namely extensions about which if Mozilla was honest, they would admit were a balls-up from the start of the Firefox project , so much so that they’ve spent the last year or so building an entirely new extensions framework called Jetpack.

        So what is wrong with extensions? Well in a word: memory. Surprised? LOL. Basically with the original extension authoring methods – let’s call them XUL – Mozilla never built in any sort of memory management. From day one of Firefox, could you see what extension is using up a heap of memory and disable it or ask the author to fix it? No! Can you do that now? Erm, not really, though in theory it’s supposed to be kinda available with Jetpack-based extensions. There’s one other big problem with extensions: zombie compartments! A compartment is a section of memory Firefox is using. Essentially any (and a whole lot of them do) extension can cause compartments of memory to remain used even when the tab that was associated with that compartment is long gone (closed). This is a big problem. So far the effort to rid the top 100 most popular extensions of this problem is going slowly.

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