Firefox's Australis redesign is a hot topic right now on the Internet. I'm heavily interested in this as well as I'm using Firefox as my main browser and while I do not mind change as much as others, it has to make sense before I embrace it.
Australis was recently launched as a public UX build that you can install independently from your other Firefox installations. That's great for testing purposes, for instance to see if all of your add-ons and modifications are still working under the new design or if some fail to work because of changes introduced by it. The version is not feature complete yet and you will see changes being introduced in newer builds over the next couple of weeks and months.
Mozilla posted a list of changes that it planned to make to the browser in terms of customization options in April 2013. One of the most controversial points on the list was the removal of the add-on bar. Mozilla's original plan was to remove the add-on bar from the browser code to reintroduce it as an extension instead.
The add-on bar is a small toolbar at the bottom of the screen that holds extension icons mostly. It replaced the status bar in Firefox 4.
Good news for users who did not like the change: Mozilla made the decision to keep the add-on bar as part of the browser. Mozilla wants to avoid clutter in the browser's main toolbar, as it was originally planned to move all add-on icons into the toolbar just like Google Chrome does.
This was especially problematic for Jetpack (restartless) add-ons that use a large area to display information. The MemChaser extension displays a long list of memory related information in the status bar of the browser. Moving add-ons like it to the main toolbar would render it useless rather quickly.
Compatibility with existing add-ons that placed icons automatically in the add-on bar were another issue, as it was almost certain that some add-ons would not be updated in time or at all to use the new position in the main toolbar.
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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.