Firefox's Australis design won't ship until March 2014

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 24, 2013

Good news for Firefox users who do not like the changes that come along with the new Australis design that will be implemented in the browser in the foreseeable future.

The initial plan was to implement Australis in Firefox 24, but the deadline was not met and Australis was first delayed to Firefox 25 and then 26.

The design has not landed in Nightly yet which many saw as an indicator that Australis would not launch in Firefox 27 as well.

This has now been confirmed by an updated marketing roadmap that confirms that Australis has been moved to Firefox 28 which will launch March 4, 2014.

If things go as planned, Firefox Nightly users will be the first to experience the new Australis design when  the build hits version 28 for the first time on November 1, 2013.

When will Australis hit other Firefox channels?

  • Firefox Aurora users will get Australis six weeks later on December 13, 2013.
  • Firefox Beta users will be migrated to Australis six weeks later than the Aurora version on January 21, 2014.
  • Australis will hit Firefox Stable on March 4, 2014.

Note that this is still subject to change. The core reason for the delay in the deployment of the Australis design is performance-related. Mozilla wants to deploy Australis only when it matches the performance of the pre-Australis Firefox versions. Since that was not the case until now, Australis has been delayed from version to version.

If performance of Australis matches that of Firefox come Firefox 28, it will be deployed then. There is theoretically still a possibility that this won't be the case, so that Australis may get further delayed.

The release to the browser's Nightly channel will make the new design available to a larger audience, and it will be interesting to see how that audience will react to the changes that Australis introduces.

The real test however comes with the stable release of Australis, as this is the channel that is used by the majority of Firefox users.

The majority of tech savvy users seem to be largely opposed to the changes introduced in Australis, and many have been very vocal about switching web browsers when Australis launches or preventing further updates of their version of Firefox to block the deployment of the new design on their system.

Now Read: What you need to know about Firefox Australis


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  1. Demetrio said on December 6, 2013 at 6:14 am

    I hate to be the lame guy that bitches about everything, but I really do feel the new design doesn’t cut it.. I’m a designer by trade and there’s something slightly unsettling about it. I mean when people don’t like a design you change it. That’s the name of the game, and if it still doesn’t work you change the designer. I’m a pretty die hard firefox fan, but I think they should really keep iterating/testing untill they come up with something better: and I’m sure mozilla can do that.

    1. wyz said on December 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      @Demetrio Sadly Mozilla is very set on bringing the Australis project to fruition come late April. While that is still almost five months away they seem quite unwilling to even discus any major changes, let alone make them. Yes, be there no doubt the trend panderers at Mozilla are going to bring this unwanted child into the world. They are totally sold on the minimalist look, something that would be similar in appearance from the smallest hand-helds to the largest desktops. All of the complaints and protestation, and there is a boat-load of it, has fallen on deaf ears. Apparently Mozilla feels the needs of the Firefox power users, ones that extensively customize with add-ons, will be met through extension development. Features and functions lost to the minimalist design can be regained with add-ons. The extension Classic Theme Restorer, which is already far along in development, is a good example of this. In the time leading up to the Australis release in April I believe the substantial development changes people will see will not be to the browser itself but to the extension add-ons for it.

  2. Anonymosity said on November 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    You could switch to SeaMonkey. It is not being gutted. It is being updated and has the latest capabilities as far as browsing is concerned. I decided to make SeaMonkey my default browser and email client.

    1. wyz said on December 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      If only SeaMonkey would get rid of its childish looking icons.

      1. Anonymosity said on December 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm

        You can get themes for SeaMonkey with other icons. I was even able to change the colour schemes for some themes whose buttons I liked but whose background colours I did not like.

  3. Mikhoul said on November 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I use Firefox to work, it’s highly customized with many add-ons, Greasemonkey Scripts + horizontal bookmark toolbar… I use FF only cause I can customize it to be able to work better.

    If we have the choice with Options or switch in about config to use the “old Interface/*Option” instead of the Australis/Candy interface I will not care.

    But if I had no choice I will stay with the latest build of Firefox that I can customize in April and trough the summer 2014 I will look at fork to test if GreaseMonkey work fine + my add-on + another service to keep in synch my bookmark + passwords.

    I think I can stay EZ untill 2015 with the latest FFox build before Australis… Some are using FF 3.6 even today for different reasons…

    Sad Sad Day & Big Mistake From Mozilla ! :(

  4. wyz said on October 28, 2013 at 2:00 am

    We can all speculate on what the Australis UI will look like when it’s finally released, but I’m pretty sure, no matter what it looks like, the changes Mozilla will have in it are going to upset a lot of people. The question is how are we going to deal with those changes. As a Firefox power user with 60+ extensions I’m hoping the add-on developers come through for us. This appears to be where we’re heading. While I think extensions can greatly mitigate the loss of many browser features its not the ideal solution. That would be the Mozilla management having an epiphany and abandoning the Australis project. Ok, ok, you can stop laughing now. Granted, that was a reach. I’ll have to go to my backup. Dear Santa……..

  5. mma173 said on October 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I got a ChromeCast and started using Chrome again. I decided to replicate my Firefox’s setup in Chrome to see if I can switch browser. Well, it did not work. I think I will keep reverting Firefox changes through Addons/mods or use any other Firefox based Browser such Palemoon.

  6. Marius T said on October 26, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Cool of people,I’m sure there will be some good extensions for the interface when Australis comes!Just like what happened with Firefox 4,everybody lose it,but when 4 was released it din’t took long and some Full themes were available,and status-4-evar extension was big “hit” so I’m pretty sure that the history is repeating it’s self!

    1. Orhin said on October 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

      This situation is compeltly different now. Removal of all Basic Customization functions is a fact, and not all want to restore them with second class solutions.

      Add-ons are second class solutions, no matter how you turn it around. Things which are considered worthless to have in the Browser by the organization which is developing it. Fact is also some uf us are not willing to agree that we are driven now in using second class solutions. Some of us will adapt, some of us will switch, the overall public does not care in what they are using.

      1. wyz said on October 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        Steve and Orhin, you make some good points on the add-ons we are likely to see. Without question they are a second-class solution to a problem Mozilla should never let happen. Don’t bet on them coming to their senses in the four months leading up to their announced March 4 release date either. They seem set on bringing this new UI to fruition …. their way. All of this negative feedback on Australis is falling on deaf ears. Sadly add-ons WILL BE the reality.
        It’s true that with the addition of more extensions you run the risk of compatibility issues between them. Even though I’m now using 66 extensions and have no problems I know I’m walking a tightrope. Any new version of Firefox or new extension could set off a domino-like series of compatibility issues. It’s happened before. This places a lot more responsibility on the extension developers to stay current, repairing as well as preventing problems. What a pain in the ass this must be with new Firefox versions coming out every six weeks. It’s falsely presumptuous to think every extension developer can and will stay current.
        Yes, there will be performance penalties too. We all know that badly coded extensions are a major source of memory leaks in Firefox. I think it’s safe to say that problem isn’t going to get better. Also more extensions mean that the browser opens slower. This is already a reason many users are looking Chrome’s way.
        While I know they’re coming I wish I could be optimistic extensions would rectify any problems Australis would cause, but I’m not. This will be a major setback, very inconvenient to many and anathema to Firefox power users.

      2. Steve said on October 31, 2013 at 3:14 am

        Orhin, I agree with all you’ve said 100%! Expecting to “fix” everything that Mozilla is hell-bent on breaking with Australis using add-ons is a crapshoot at best. Add-ons *are* second-class solutions, period. It would be a miracle to find stable secure add-ons that perfectly replicate all that Mozilla plans to callously remove. On top of that expecting developers to support and keep updating their add-ons in tandem with Mozilla’s rapid release dance-a-thon is a bit too much. Finally, what of the performance penalties? Firefox is neither the fastest nor slimmest browser around, and badly written unoptimized add-ons just make matters that much worse. All in all, even with add-ons we’ll no doubt end up with browsers that might look like previous releases no doubt, but will likely perform even more poorly. Oh what joy to look forward to!

      3. Orhin said on October 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        Just keep in mind that the new target group of Mozilla with Australis are Beginner’s user.

        This guys are not interested in how stuff looks, as long as they can browse. And the group of real Pro and Power Users of Firefox is also not THAT big. So expect the big part of the Firefox users to not care if it looks like Chrome. And people who are coming new to Firefox will also not know about that the Browser was once Customizable, since there are no options for that in the Australis UI and they do not know that they can restore that stuff again with add-ons.

        So this majority of the userbase eats what “Googlezilla” delivers to them

        But i am sure that their concept of rapid releases, which “Googlezilla” is unable to maintain properly thanks to missing technical knowledge and not enough manpower in combination with their often rather stupid decisions for example to forbid Java versions will result in the end in more user loss as thanks to Australis, not only power users, but also companies which are using Firefox on quite many machines.

        And Mozilla will not rething their way. Once their target outfit was from Opera, Now their trendsetter which they are following into detail is Google with Chrome.

      4. wyz said on October 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        Orhin, I’m not sure I totally agree the public does not care what they’re using. There are always a fair number of apathetic users who could care less what browser they’re using or any changes made to it, but many Firefox users really enjoy customizing it to some degree. This fact leads me to believe they not only would notice change but react to it as well, especially a change as radical as the proposed Australis UI is. I just don’t want them reacting to it after the fact. That’s why it’s so important that folks like us keep harping about what Mozilla has planned. Who knows, maybe if enough people get the word and protest Mozilla management might stop and rethink the project.

  7. JELaBarre said on October 26, 2013 at 3:42 am

    I’m presuming SeaMonkey isn’t going to implement the Australis changes, so that could be a Gecko-based alternative (presuming the most troublesome changes aren’t in the core/engine itself)

  8. Ken Saunders said on October 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Yay! It’s the monthly bi–h, moan, complain, and bash Firefox parade with your Grand Marshal regurgitating the same rhetoric, Orhin!
    Dude, at this point, I would be willing to pay you to switch to another browser although you’ve said that you switched to Palemoon many times in the past, but wait you still use Firefox, no no, you are going to switch to Palemoon or something else, etc, etc.

    If someone had a new argument, something fresh to bring to the table on this topic, I wouldn’t be such a jerk right now.

    “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”
    Not a chance.

    I love Firefox, and Mozilla. I’m not a fanboy, I’m a user, since 1.0, contributor, and volunteer.
    Mozilla is a good organization filled with great people and I can’t bare to see it trashed for yet another week or so here especially when it’s the same old tired complaints about something that hasn’t even happened yet.

    How many have and are still complaining about Windows 8 Metro.
    A lot of good that has done.
    How about Chrome, what can you do about things that you don’t like?
    Does Google give a crap about what anyone thinks?
    At least with Firefox, you will always have options.

    I don’t fault Martin, he’s reporting.

    1. wyz said on October 26, 2013 at 3:34 am

      Here we have Ken Saunders, lover of Firefox and Mozilla, user since day one, a contributor and volunteer who lauds Mozilla as a great organization with great people, who can’t bare to see it trashed for yet another week…….. Oh please, make me barf! Come on Ken, get with the show. If you’ve used Firefox from it’s inception as you said you have then you must know that the “crown jewel” of this browser is the massive feature set available through add-on extensions and the users ability to customize with them. Isn’t it clear to you that the Australis UI will change all that? Have you read anything about what Mozilla has planned? From you comments I’m guessing not.
      You put down Orhin as a doomsday profit regurgitating the same old rhetoric. Shame on you! Shame on you for belittling a person who wants to educate Firefox users on Mozilla’s plans to ram some ill-thought-out, minimalist piece of garbage UI down everyone’s throat. Wake up Ken. We don’t need an Orhin, we need an army of Orhins!

      1. Orhin said on October 26, 2013 at 11:49 am

        An army? Oh god, please no :D I admit i am way too big of a critic in that situation, But losing all stuff i like and being forced to go now the add-on and css route only to make me again able to do what i was able to do before is just extremly shocking for me.

        Same that i am forced to have at the bottom an ugly Chrome design i can not stand. This just smells so bad like Clone… And for a person which valued its whole life originals and no copies, well…. count 1+1 together :D

        But seriously, instead of an army of rabid critics there should also be a larger army of Firefox supporters. Because if Mozilla would go out of business, Mozilla and Google, which for sure work hand in hands together – since Google is Mozilla’s biggest money source (aka. controlling organ) would win and Google Chrome would become serious marketshare leader.

        So… Alone for that reason people should stay and use Firefox. But that does not mean people like me are not allowed to go on to the fences!

      2. wyz said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

        spelling correction: prophet – not profit (I never could spell worth a damn) ;-)

    2. Orhin said on October 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Uh.. Just so to speak, i guess you do not kow what Bitching means. I guess you should more often take a look at the input mozilla page mr. ken – and you instantly know what bitching really means.

      If you don’t like what i write, do not read it. If you are already get angry when you hear the term “Firechrome” – well, that is not my fault, i did not invent it and i did not invent the reason why people are disappointed about Australis.

      Nothing more to add, i accept your right of free speach, so you should also accept mine. At least i call Mozilla not that ugly names as some other persons do. Again, educate yourself at the Input mozilla site. Let’s just ignore each others, and everyone is happy :)

      Fact is i will make a decision WHAT i will do when Australis hits stable. It is always good to have a plan 2-10 with you when number one fails :D

  9. LittleFox said on October 25, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Can somebody tell me the problem with Australis?
    OK, changes in the UI aren’t good, but is it that much? Is there a overview of the planed changes anywhere?

    I switched to chrome some time ago when I got my tablet an Firefox for android crashed a lot and I needed synced browsers.

    Thanks for information :)

    1. Orhin said on October 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      In simple words.. No Tabs at Bottom, No Small Icons, No add-on Bar which means also no chance to make a nav bar clone in the add-on bar, no Nav Bar clone possible in the tab bar, Nav bar Buttons got merged, you can not move them seperated anymore, no keyword.url. Yellow Firefox button vanishes, you can not edit it anymore the normal way with a css hack – it is now a 3 lined button on the right like the one from Chromium.

      And i strongly believe Sidebars and Full themes are the next things which are gonna be axed by Mozilla. Already have seen that with Panorama. They hide Features and wait until usage Drops enough for justifying an user Analysis and the removal of the Features afterwards.

      Anyway, they cut out all the basic Customization Options. Without using css or add-ons Australis is nearly as dumb UI Wise as Chromium. The only thing “Firechrome” allows you to without 3rd party resource help is to move add-on icons to more places as for example Chromium allows you to do. And you are free to move some big and ugly touch screen optimized menu buttons around, that is new too. And this Mozilla calls making customization more “awesome and attractive”.

      But whats even worse, Mozilla tries to beat Chrome in Simplicity: they make it very hard to find JavaScript Options in about config – Chrome offers UI Options for that. Mozilla removes disabling Picture loading, Chrome offers that in the UI! Hell, even Hidpi Settings are more effective and better to Change now in Chrome in about:flags as compared to Firefox Versions after 22.

      Yes, i would say Mozilla wants to come as Close as possible to Chrome in look and function. At least their Actions since V22 Show clearly that direction.

      1. wyz said on October 26, 2013 at 2:13 am

        @ Orhin Well put! I especially like your comment about hiding features (or not fully explaining something) and then waiting for usage to drop enough for them to “justify” their removal. Here we see political expediency is placed above morality; where craft and deceit is used to carry out the policies of the ruler. Machiavelli would be so proud!

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

      Australis removes several options in Firefox that existed in the browser for a long time. Some users see this as a “chromification” of the web browser, to make it look more like the compact barely-customizable Chrome browser. Others say it is a dumbing down of Firefox with Mozilla trying to protect the “average” user from himself.

  10. XenoSilvano said on October 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I hope it gets delay to oblivion.

  11. Jang Dong Gun said on October 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Yeah, thank god!
    I still hope they forget this stupid theme for goods.

  12. BobbyPhoenix said on October 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I’ve been playing around with the UX version that is the Australis theme by default for a while now. What I’ve been doing is testing my Add-ons one by one to see what works and what doesn’t. Any that don’t work I look for an alternative that does. I’m able to completely change the look back to Firefox 14 (That’s my favorite look), so when this finally rolls around to all users I know I won’t have a headache to deal with since I’m already prepared for it. I know it’s a way off, and my method isn’t the best, but if I want to keep MY Firefox the way it is now I feel this is the best way.

    1. wyz said on October 26, 2013 at 1:45 am

      @ BobbyPhoenix Since I first got wind of the Australis UI Mozilla wants to use in Firefox I have been fearful this will completely wreck how I use the browser. I’m a power user with 60 plus extensions and a bookmark toolbar chocked full with over 20,000 sites. Going to such a minimalist UI would leave me desparate to find a fast way to access my extension launch icons and bookmarks. Will I even be able to get a horizonal bookmark bar? No doubt Mozilla will bury only a vertical one several clicks into a drop-down menu. This stinks!
      Bobby, I’d be very interested in knowing 1) what extensions you were running, 2) what ones didn’t work with Australis, 3) what alternatives you found in their place, 4) did you find other locations for launch icons, and lastly, 5) whether you have a bookmark toolbar and what type (horizonal or vertical). Please help allay the fears that Australis will be my worst nightmare come true.

    2. Transcontinental said on October 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Your way of proceeding is wise, it’s like preparing a trip. Thinking ahead is not so common nowadays :)
      Still, what a pity having to call an army of add-ons only to rebuild was has been broken (removed, replaced). I’m not against dynamics, movement, change, but only when it is to do better, and not for the sole purpose of changing. Do we get tired of the Pyramids, of Mona Lisa, of the Eiffel Tower or of the Empire State building ? This era seems to believe that after a certain time things MUST change … Oh! boy :)

  13. Rons12 said on October 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    That’s really a good news.
    I guess I’ll have to find another browser when australis disaster hits ff fans…

  14. Transcontinental said on October 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Australis is and will remain a disaster, if it ever comes out. I remain convinced the think-tank behind it has always been moving around a false concept, fashion and market-led more than innovation. It simply will not please to users who have a long experience of Firefox and will not be a motivation for new-comers. The design is nonsense, it is an imitation of Google Chrome, but Firefox is not meant to be a basic surfing machine, it has always been meant to be flexible and non-restricting, opened to add-ons and scripts. Pale Moon is Firefox, in better, faster, as a non-flashy thinking and available in 64-bit. It is what Firefox should remain and what Firefox could become, if Mozilla was less stubborn. But is Mozilla really stubborn ? If Australis ever sinks as dead project, then I’ll admit it is not.

  15. Anonymous said on October 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I like my Firefox the way it is. Not of fan of this Australis design.

  16. Orhin said on October 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Finally some exact date more or less. Staying until Australis hits the Release Channel with Aurora 22 and then either Chromium with the Option of an ongoing use of Aurora 22 or some Before-Australis Palemoon or Cyberfox version for some more 2-3 years, if Australis can not be prevented on that forks or i make the Switch to Palemoon – if the Firefox mod is able to Keep the customization Options which i am using.

    Without that, no reason for me to stay with a Gecko Browser

  17. ACow said on October 24, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Every few months I scour the web for web browsers, as if I didn’t already know each and every one of them inside out, hoping for some obscure fork of something to appear out of nowhere and surprise me with its awesome, highly customizable interface and speed…

    Opera is really disappointing. Not that I dislike Chromium/Blink, it’s the completely uncustomizable interface that puts me off. Yandex could at least release its Chromium clone with a heavily modified interace, but Opera, despite being in the browser business for god knows how many years, somehow cannot. As it is, I don’t see myself using anything other than Firefox (well, Palemoon really), Australis or not.

    1. Tumba said on December 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Have you tried Midori, it has a statusbar and plenty of other things, though its being actively developed and is pretty unstable.

  18. Jaroslav Matura said on October 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Australis is a God damn joke. They are just trying to impress more BFUs with Chrome-like look and simplified UI. It’s been quite some time since they announced the new design and I still can’t wrap my mind around the why.

    I mean, what’s so confusing about add-on bar? How’s the new Firefox menu and it’s new position better? What kind of chaotic mind had to “improve” the ‘Customize toolbars’ window? What’s unclear on the Search Bar (I have a bad feeling that they are going to remove it as well some time later). Why did the Small icons option have to go? I get the new tab graphics, as Mozilla might think it looks nice or something, but the other changes are absolutely meaningless and in(s)ane.

    What users really fear is a change. They are used to the standard layout, they know where to look for their stuff. When it gets changed or removed, they don’t know what to do and get mad at their computer because “it’s broken”.

    Mozilla obviously hopes that this redesign brings them more users. But I don’t believe they’ll gain more users than they lose because of that.

    1. Randall Lind said on December 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Firefox 3 which was the best they screwed it up. Now they feel stealing Chrome look and feel is how to win back people who left for Chrome.

      It might work if Flash doesn’t crash as much as it does in Chrome.

      1. Tumba said on December 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        Mozilla is making their own Flash player named Shumway, should reduce the Flash crashing.

  19. Karl J. Gephart said on October 24, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I’ve tried every browser available to me, and NOTHING touches Firefox’s flexibility and customization. Period. When that dreaded day comes that Mozilla wants to force Australis down our throats, I will have to make a browser decision to cut my losses as short as I can. In the meantime, browser research and business as usual.

    1. Anonymosity said on October 26, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Actually, the browser part of SeaMonkey is like what Firefox used to be. It is not being slashed to the bone. The more I use it, the more I like it.

  20. Kneyfield said on October 24, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Changing the browser, but to what exactly?

    x) Safari for Windows isn’t developed anymore.
    x) Opera has gone the way of Chrome (Blink) and lost many of its features and customizations and who knows whether they’ll ever come back.
    x) Chrome itself is even worse when it comes to customizing the application to each user’s own browsing experience. Their latest stunt with the removal of the default UI – meaning that everyone is forced to use Google’s own design – has prompted me to finally uninstall the browser completely.
    x) Internet Explorer is a fine browser again and may be the best solution for some people.

    For me however, the IE doesn’t cut it. If you’re a heavy duty user like myself, the browser is quickly just as useless as any Chrome I’ve ever tried. As soon as your opened tabs go into the double digits you lose any ease of use, but at least the IE has a sidebar for bookmarks and the browsing history.

    As sad as it is, Firefox will likely remain my browser of choice until the next general overhaul, or at least as long as the present extension system remains the same. With essential extensions like “Tab Mix Plus” and other important ones like “Customizable Shortcuts”, “DownThemAll”, “Greasemonkey”, “InstantFox” and “Stylish” the browser remains heads and shoulders above anything else.

    Not updating the browser (in this case version 26) can only be a temporary measure. While new features introduced in major Firefox versions are often not even worth mentioning, security fixes on the other hand can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    In my case, I will rely heavily on the Pale Moon fork, as it will remain based on the 24 ESR release until at least September 2014, forgoing Australis completely, while still trying to remain up-to-date on features under the hood. Who knows what will happen after that date, but that’s six months after the introduction of Australis into the stable channel for the general public. If the outcry is bad enough, there will hopefully be a solution. In the worst case, we’ll find ourselves with a few more extensions to keep the earlier functionality/design of the browser available for future versions.

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