The last week has been filled with uncertainty in regards to proposed Firefox customization changes in the wake of the Australis theme release. Mozilla was heavily criticized for its initial proposal, both here on Ghacks but also on platforms such as Reddit, and posted a second proposal soon thereafter.
The core issue at hand was that many users felt that Mozilla decided to take away customization options that were pare of the Firefox web browser for a long time, and that it did not really care about the opinion of the browser's users. Some feared that Firefox would become just like Google Chrome, a browser that is offering barely any customization options.
Mozilla's Mike Conley published a final proposal today and while he admits that it is likely that the plan will get tweaked along the road it appears as if Mozilla will now start working on making those changes to the browser.
The changes proposed are almost identical to those published in the second draft and it is probably best if you read the two articles linked above to get the full scope of what has transpired in the last week.
Changes to Firefox's customization options:
Mike notes that the majority of changes can be re-introduced with the help of add-ons. While that means that a developer has to create the add-ons in first place, it is at least an option for Firefox users who want to keep one or multiple of the customization changes that are to be removed.
As far as I'm concerned, the changes hit me hard. I use small icons and the add-on bar, and have moved the navigational toolbar in to the title bar of the browser. A recent thread on Reddit where users posted their UI customizations shows that I'm not the only one who likes to modify Firefox heavily.
All those users will have to rely on add-ons and maybe scripts to keep Firefox the way they have used the browser for the last couple of years.
Do I like the direction? Not really. While it would cost resources to maintain all customizations and implement a simple switch protecting "regular" users from making modifications that break the browser, I believe that this would be the better option especially since Mozilla can't really back up claims that there are many Firefox users who break the browser by making the wrong modifications to it.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.