Here is what will happen when Mozilla launches Australis for Firefox

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 8, 2013

If you are a regular here on the site you know what Australis is. It is a visual refresh of the Firefox web browser, and while that sounds like a good idea, it has consequences in regards to functionality.

As things stand now, Australis will be launched in Firefox 28, which will be released to the stable channel of the web browser on 4.3.2014. There is still at least one blocking bug at the time of writing, which means that it is still possible that Australis will be postponed once again by Mozilla if the bug cannot be resolved in time.

So what is going to happen when Australis launches?

Regular Firefox users, those on the stable channel, will be updated automatically to Australis when Firefox 28 gets released. While some users may block automatic updates from happening because of Australis, it is likely that the majority will get the update when it is released.

Firefox ESR users won't get the update in March. They will get the update when the jump to ESR 32 is being made which means that those users won't experience the new design for another 4 release cycles.

Some users on Firefox 28 will like the visual refresh of the browser. Especially those not impacted by any of the changes will. If you do not use the add-on bar, have tabs on top, do not use custom toolbars, and do not move browser UI elements around, then there is little to worry about.

Some Firefox users will notice that a feature that they have been using is not available anymore. Maybe it is a custom toolbar that is no longer working, the fact that all add-on icons that were placed in the add-on bar are not cramping up the main toolbar, that tabs have been forcefully moved to the top, or that interface elements cannot be moved anymore or are restricted in this regard.

Those users will be very vocal about the change. They will criticize and vent on blogs, sites like Reddit and social networking sites, and it is very likely that this will paint Mozilla and Firefox in a bad picture.

Companies get criticized a lot for much smaller changes, and Australis is major in comparison. It is not just one element that got changed, but an overhaul of the browser's complete user interface.

If you look back at how Firefox 4 was perceived at the time, you will notice that the situation was similar to what is in store with Australis. There is one core difference though, and that is add-on compatibility. While Firefox 4 changed things around a lot, Australis won't have a similar impact on add-on compatibility.

So what are users going to do who do not like Australis?

  • Some will switch to ESR to buy some time and make a decision at a later point in time.
  • Some may block automatic updates and keep using the last pre-Australis version of Firefox.
  • Others may switch to another web browser, custom builds for example, or established spin-offs like Pale Moon or SeaMonkey which won't implement Australis. The main advantage here is that most add-ons and customizations will work just fine in those browsers as they use the same code base.
  • The majority will probably run browser extensions that undo Australis changes in Firefox.

It is still possible to use add-ons to customize Firefox in a way so that functionality that was changed or removed by Australis will get restored in the browser. While that means putting all chips on third party extensions, and hoping that the authors of such extension won't stop updating them, it is probably the best option for many Firefox users who love the browser but do not like Mozilla's design decisions.

It will be very interesting to see how Firefox users will perceive the Australis update, considering that Mozilla seems to think that most users will like it a lot.

What you can be sure of is that I'll do my best to review all the options that you have to mitigate any changes that Australis makes to the web browser.

Have you made up your mind yet what you will do when Australis comes along?


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  1. Software Santa said on August 10, 2014 at 7:35 am

    I hated Firefox’s dumb Australis UI so much I had to switch to SeaMonkey. I was extremely pleased to read in this article that the stupid Australis UI will NEVER be forced upon SeaMonkey.

    Firefox INSISTS I actually wanted my Tabs on Top – and no page title – or staus or addon bars: ALL Along … and they are just now getting around to fixing that for me. They’ve known what is BETTER for me, all along: and I can submit to their ‘wisdom’ or ditch their stupid Chrome wannabe trash in the garbage.

    They don’t GET what is going to happen to them, over violating so many loyal users trust … they just have to fail: in order to learn that. Everyone downloads Chrome or SeaMonkey from now on: because Firefox LOST its niche of “Customization” that made it so famous and beloved in the first place – and just wants to BE Chrome. But everyone will go download the Original Chrome instead of its cheap knock off – or switch to Safari or SeaMonkey or Pale Moon Instead.

    The Firefox browser shot itself in the foot. I don’t use it anymore: so I do not CARE …. (and the Horse they rode in on, too!)

  2. none said on July 4, 2014 at 2:00 am

    More info on Firefox ESR cycle support and version overview.


    Which ever is more accurate.

  3. Anonymous said on July 4, 2014 at 2:00 am

    More info on Firefox ESR cycle and support version

  4. a.grey said on May 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    here’s every version of firefox, archived by mozilla:

    find FF28 (or 24 ESR), or whatever version you like; download, install, then check off “never check for updates”.

  5. a.grey said on May 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    garbage, absolute garbage.

    one of the big reasons i stuck with mozilla these past 8 years is because of the fact that i can customize my browser to my liking. the fact that i have to install yet ANOTHER add-on (hello, more memory leakage!) just to get back that option is completely ridiculous. about;config no longer flips tabs on bottom, forward/back and refresh buttons glued in awkward places, no option for small buttons on a bloated, overly padded UI, functionalities hidden behind one of those gawdawful hamburger menus… if i wanted an inflexible piece of trash like chrome, i’d use that spyware.

    classic theme restorer only works so well, and expect it to break every time mozilla throws another unwanted change at us… two weeks later, and it’s already updated again. what all these UX “geniuses” at mozilla don’t get is that a browser is like furniture… you arrange it to your needs and preferences, then you let it stay that way. FF29 is like someone comng into your house and bolting your chairs to your ceiling, then blaming you for not being more flexible. following the latest UI trends and fashions is a pointless exercise, and the time would have been more well spent plugging those memory leaks.

    i understand that they’re trying to have a unified front across different devices (desktop, mobile, etc.), but what works on a cell phone or tablet doesn’t necessarily work on the desktop.

    sticking with FF24 ESR until it goes to australis, then i’m installing FF28 and never updating. thank goodness i kept the installation files.

    1. smaragdus said on May 13, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      I totally agree, +1!

  6. mnt said on May 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I switched to Pale Moon everywhere, because the classic skin extension makes even more of a mess.

    1. Rolf_Schw said on May 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Fully agree with mnt: I tried the classic look restore addon, it only restored partially my previous settings. HATE the look of FF29. Also switched to Pale Moon, which looks like a twin brother of FF28 (but obviously with a better engine under the hood, even a x64 version available). Very satisfied with it. The official FF, which I downgraded again to version 28, became now only my secondary browser. I guess I’ll delete it until I customized Pale Moon the same way as I did it before with FF28.

  7. Uncle Meat said on May 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    After really trying to get used to Australis, I finally asked myself, “why?” If I liked Chrome, I would run Chrome – and I hate Chrome. FF29 = Chrome clone = shit.

    After a couple weeks on Australis, I gave up, went to and got the last version of FF26 (Beta 10). I turned off updating, and even changed to the “release” channel (not that it really matters if I’m not updating, but I figured, what the hey?).

    The relief in getting everything to work again was indescribable. So, I’ll be running FF26 for the rest of my life, I guess.

  8. stan said on May 6, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Firefox uninstalled. Too much work with Australis (or just not possible) to get the UX I want.

    SeaMonkey/NetSurf are my main browsers now. PaleMoon is installed on my work PC.

    Firefox’s share of browser hits on my own website have been going down steadily for the last couple of years. Australis is not going to change that trend nor is it going to save Firefox.

  9. crissa said on May 1, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    After some reading and testing I will use Firefox ESR. It has no hamburger menu and I can configure it to show the tabs below the url bar. I disabled the automatic update!

    I don’t use Firefox with a touchscreen, I don’t need a version that is optimzed for such a platform. On my iPad I use Safari. And even so I’m not flexible enough to accept the new GUI of Firefox I’m flexible enough to understand the different handling of a sofware (like Safari) on my desktop or my iPad.

    I can only presume that Mozilla, even so they saw the problems of Microsoft with Windows 8, thought that all users will love the new guy. Maybe someone using Firefox the first time on a touchscreen will love it. But I’m using Firefox since ages on different desktop computers and I’m used to the old GUI.

    Bad thing is that I found you pages to late, otherwise I would have block the update to 29. But for the future I will disable the automatic update on Mozilla products!

  10. Rivendahl said on May 1, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I absotely loathe it when developers try to force new UIs on me. Needless to say, I abhor the Australis design.

    If I want Chrome, I install Chrome.

  11. URDRWHO said on April 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Firefox past support has brought them to where they are today. You could have great programing but if nobody supported it by using the program, it is like dust laying on your desk. The supporters of the past liked it because it wasn’t IE, because it wasn’t Chrome and because it did give people options to make changes that worked for them.

    Last night during a Linux upgrade FF29 was installed and I had no idea that a major change was coming. I do not like one bit of what I see, not an ounce of support for it.

    Is Moz taking the route of IE and developing for the masses, those masses that have no idea what the word browser means? When my 72 year old sister calls with her computer problems I’ll say, open your browser and she says is that the Firefox thing? So now Moz is thinking like MS and developing for the lowest denominator?

    Heck I might as well start moving to chromium or maybe back to Opera. The Opera for Linux is an older release and still allows some tweaking done to it. Apparently the latest Opera for MS is basically hard coded and what you see is all you get.

  12. Xalar said on April 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I’m really impressed how you foresaw this. I am still pissed at the new design though, this feels like a downgrade and I have to install two more addons just to make FF feel useful again, I’ve been using FF for 8 years and this is the last chance they get.

  13. charlieMOGUL said on April 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    You had excellent foresight.. too bad nobody listened…

    I’m looking into alternatives, so long Firefox. Thanks for everything.

  14. pepegot1 said on March 28, 2014 at 2:47 am

    If you want to keep your FF 28 format or something similar, you can try “Classic Theme Restorer” or try this:
    I like the above better than “Classic Theme Restorer.” You will need to update to the latest “Download Helper” and use an addon: Tabs on Bottom,” if you so prefer. Google to find other updates to see if they are available. Use Mozbackup to save your profile, just in case. I have no issues with the new FF and was surprised how easy it was to keep my old setup which was Noia 4.

    1. URDRWHO said on April 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      I found that same xpi this morning and tried it. If I remember the Dev said it was a work around but it had a few problems. I didn’t see any except there were odd movements on the tabs when I would hoover over them. Teir height increased but maybe that was by design.

    2. Leland said on March 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Why should i want to use a cheap copy of Chromium?

      For customization no add-ons should be necessary. That worked as long as Mozilla decided to discard Opera as role model and Switch over to Chromium fandom.

      Here is MY answer… I am now using Maxthon. Tabs at Bottom and a full Status bar – without the usage of add-ons. That are the customizations i use and i will not use a browser which does not contain These 2 Features as in-Browser customization Options.

      Australis just plain and simple sucks! It is Mozillas Version of chromium UI – an UI for the most stupid user target Group!

  15. Alex said on February 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I personally like it. But I have still to try it.

    On the other hand, where the photo is it from? In the mozilla blog it appears like they are maintaining the search box.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      It is from a Firefox installation on one of my PCs, so, customized.

  16. Dwight Stegall said on November 14, 2013 at 4:00 am

    If you decide you don’t like the Australis build you can switch to Cyberfox. The developer doesn’t like it either. He won’t be adding it to Cyberfox. There are now 32 & 64 bit versions.

  17. Elben said on November 11, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Why should firefox ever do this? Why should they copy chrome?

    1. Jeannie said on December 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

      They do cause Google pays them a couple of hundered US$/Year….

  18. geeknik said on November 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Posting your thoughts and opinions in the or groups instead of on a blog where zero Mozilla developers are going to be hanging out is a much better use of your time and resources. =)

    1. Neal said on November 12, 2013 at 12:09 am

      If only you actually knew how dev list mailing list actually works, its like a boys club for geeks. They are super protective of autralis b/c they had a torrent of criticism already, and people like Asa, the Firefox product manager whom former Firefox co creator Black Ross jokingly refereed to as a troll, sets the tone for outside interference in their eyes.

      Asa quickly dismiss feedback from even Mozilla employees from other departments and they move on. They believe that you can’t omelet without breaking a few eggs.

      And Mozilla people actually read ghacks, they have posted links to ghacks firefox articles multiple times in there meeting notes under media. This one won’t be linked b/c they almost never link critical articles, but I guarantee they know about it.

  19. FirefoxDie said on November 10, 2013 at 12:17 am

    What else can we say here. At now Firefox have what I want, I can set up everything so that my work easier and more comfortable. I don’t need nothing more, especially imposing restrictions on modifying the interface. Unfortunately Australis bring this restrictions, so Firefox at this point will lose its greatest asset.

    I don’t have problem of simplifying the interface because it is good for ordinary users, but this change should be optionall (that’s all). Like in new Window8, modern should be optional when we run system. Microsoft is pushing maniacal ideas that no one realy wants and in Windows 8.1 we have some change:)

    I will only add that power user need some more. And remember, even if power users is less group, it is they who create ecosystem (extensions, tutorials, helpers on forum, etc.). If this group don’t like new change they must have some reasons and they take it very serious. If they stop make his greate job Firefox will die (sooner or later). Even if Firefox is free (we don’t pay to use it), we (every users) are (or should be) the highest value for Mozilla (more users = more cash from sponsors).

    Firefox has many areas that should be corrected in the first place (speed engine, UI responsiveness, support next standards and more) but changing basic interface is the last thing which should be changed. I use 70 add-ons (and yeas I need all) and I can not imagine how many of them will continue to work in Australis, how many devs abandon them because this rapid system realase is very aggressive. Some times ago I found sad comment in this case:

    Mozilla wasted a lot of time with Australis, interface which hardly anyone really wants. This change kill many useful add-ons. The bad news is that the developers start slowly migrate to Chrome, which constantly increases its popularity. Australis not reverse this trend, as a result Firefox will lose more users, that is true.

    I like Mozilla, I like Firefox (I use it for many years) but I don’t like “stupid” changes, changes that are unnecessary and harmful, or changes that are made incorrectly (and with a little desire could be done, so that everyone was satisfied). I anxiously look to the future, I know that nothing live forever (for example Netscape and old Opera), stupid decisions can finish the best projects (or marginalize them very much).

    And do not expect that any fork will fix everything that is broken, the changes are too deep. Rather, there will be no old interface compatibility with new updates add-ons. So sooner or later every fork will use Australis. The only hope for some extensions (like Aris) but this is only the prosthesis.

    I am very disappointed with the decisions of Mozilla.

  20. Nicolas said on November 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Many forget Firefox is not only used by them but by millions of users. I remember Mozilla giving some data about features usage in firefox. I don’t recall the exact numbers but the whole idea was that the VAST majority almost never touch any settings in their browser.
    Disabling javascript ? Probably way less than 1% of Fx users… and a quarter of them didn’t realized this was why Fx wasn’t displaying pages properly on their PC.

    Also Fx should not keep some features for the sake of being different, like “pd” seems to say. For instance Tabs on top makes a lot of sense for many reasons. The major drawback of TabsOnTop is that when you have been used to TabsOnBottom for years, it’s hard to change. However, I don’t think it warrants staying with TabsOnBottom… especially since many users are new users (who are probably used to TabsOnTop from others browsers by the way !)

    And about Chrome crushing Fx it’s more about marketing. Chrome is bundled with a lot of softwares and Google basically swamps the whole web with Chrome ads if you’re using Internet Explorer. I would probably install Chrome just to stop from being told to do so. No other company in the world could do this kind of marketing campaign.

    1. Orhin said on November 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      In that case they could also have hidden all the complex features i Australis to make them available optionally for the more experienced Browsers.

      What is wrong to let live complex and simple features side by side? But as it is with Australis, Mozilla does nothing else to recreate the Chrome experience on the cost of all the users which love also to have more advanced customization features. There is already a Chrome/Chromium. So Mozilla should instead to be like them do their own thing. And so far that has been the customizability.

      No reason for using a Firefox which works and looks similiar like Chrome for me. At least not without the amount of technologically being future proof as the Blink Engine. Australis is only a half baken thing which tries to be like Chrome and fails in the more important parts.

      Why having any competition at all when all Browsers should look like each others? A product can only be successful if there are differences. Mozilla casts now a bit part of that away and forces experienced users to bite the bitter apple, in fact being forced to use outside resources which will never work as smooth as browser core code features.

      Old story, thousand times told, but that changes not the fact that this is true.

      My choice between a wanna be like Chrome experience and the real thing… i would thousand and one times vote for Chromium in that case.

      As i said, there is already a Chrome/Vhromium. So why using this more cheaper Firefox chrome copy now? That makes mostly only sense for all the beginners users, Chrome design lovers and the ones who do not care about customizations.

      All the rest of the users who care for more experienced futures and difference have bad cards now. And that sucks!

  21. Foxlee said on November 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    When Australis (currently located on the UX branch) merges to mozilla-central, the Australis team will manage a special project branch that mirrors mozilla-central but excludes the Australis changes. This branch is located in the temporary Holly project.
    Source: Australis landing plans | JAWS
    Address :

    1. Orhin said on November 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Edit: Ok, seems that that really is true, but only temporarily limited?

  22. david_ said on November 9, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Each time that Mozilla “design upgrades” mess with the hard work I’ve done to make the Firefox browser work the way I want it to work, I come near to dropping Firefox entirely. I switched to Chrome for a while, but found Firefox ‘recovered’ when the add on / extension / skin designers caught up with the new requirements and interface. This time, I suspect I won’t come back. My sense is that IE 11 + will just be too easy to keep, and why use an add on to slow a browser when most of the functionality is no longer revolutionary nor cutting edge. This is like the move Opera recently made, throwing in the towel and saying “so what” …

    1. Orhin said on November 9, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Same here. I lose in Australis all Customizations at once i do use, and since i dislike Mozilla’s similiar to Operas new ideology to have to intall an add-on if i do not like the changes (As written so often.. Add-Ons are second class solutions because they are not at all so well integrated like a core code feature and therefore add-ons often make problems) and seeing Basic customizations threated that way and being forced to accept the Chrome similiar look and work-alike – lets me use the real Chromium.

      Chromium looks similar but opposed to what Firefox is still missing Chromium is also Faster and the Blink Engine is more technology future-proof.

      As long as Mozilla goes the “simple Chrome way” without delivering what is really “flesh and bones” with their constantly change for changes sake, no reason anymore for using Firefox.

      1. tom said on November 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

        Have you tried Stylish/Userstyles much though? They work really well once you have them set up as you wish. Major upgrade versions of Firefox force you to change some things in the code. But that is not so hard, especially since the forum at userstyles is pretty active.

  23. xdo said on November 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    As long as Firefox still supports Greasemonkey and Userstyles to modify the UI then I’m good. I hope they’re smart about the change and inform users a lot about what options for modification they have. A theme site for that sole purpose would be a very good move by Mozilla. It could ease some peoples frustration and could also be a good chance to show off how much more customizable the Firefox UI still is compared to the other browsers. Some will know that already through posts like this on ghacks. But Mozilla should really do something similar themselves. I andvance of australis – not weeks/days after. And just one more forum thread is not enough either. Because searching the regular Firefox help pages/forum threads is hit or miss a lot of times – too much dated information turns up that do not apply to the current versions.

  24. El-D said on November 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I wish people would roll with the punches already. I might not like Australis, but grow up people. Are you paying Mozilla? Do they owe you anything? Are you able to help out so the transition isn’t brutal, but won’t because you’d rather just jump ship? Then you’re not helping, you’re just whining. The impetus is NOT on Mozilla to stay the same forever. All browsers change, sometimes annoyingly so. A younger generation of users is demanding certain features and UI simplification. Firefox can’t just cater to us old fogies who are too used to the UI. Mozilla’s even trying to make the transition as painless as possible, despite the outcry.

    And frankly, 99% of the time that outcry smacks of self-entitlement. Who cares about everyone else, especially non-technical users? They can just use Chrome! Surely Firefox can obviously just coast on their dwindling user base, so why cater to new audiences at all? Why make ME have to install a skin and addon? Why should I have to actually pitch in, when I can just pretend I make a difference because I merely use Firefox and told my friends about it? It’s quite sad, really.

    1. Marnes said on January 4, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      I don’t see what could possibly be so complicated about the UI that people demand simplification. If they’re too dumb to even understand how to work with Firefox, they should not even have a computer and their opinion is moot.

      I don’t like the difficult controls on this nuclear reactor. Go change it, dumb it down, remove all the dials and alarms and all that complicated stuff so I can use it!

      Firefox is fine the way it is, it’s easy enough for beginners and has all the advanced features tech-savvy people like 16-year old me want. Oh, did you not know? Not all of us are stupid, some people in all generations actually know how a freaking computer works, can program, etc. Adapting a tool to favor those who are not qualified to use it while disregarding the users who are perfectly fit to use it is dumb.

    2. Ron said on November 9, 2013 at 6:14 am

      Sacrificing the current user/customer base in order to attract a new user/customer base is never a good idea. (Just look at Microsoft’s Windows 8 fiasco.)

    3. JohnJ said on November 9, 2013 at 2:28 am

      Just gonna say your cynicism kinda sucks. It also has kept you from understand how important the user interface is for many of us that have certain operational “challenges.” Customization isn’t some luxury. It’s what makes the entire information/interaction environment possible to use.

      I’m glad you don’t care about some of these fundamental changes but they do legitimately impact MANY users. So, while you’re enjoying the new and “not-improved in the least bit” interface, browse over to Wikipedia and study up on “Empathy,” and perhaps “How to walk in another Man’s shoes.”

    4. Finvana said on November 8, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Excuse me but could you point us where are those younger generations that demand UI simplification aka browser dumbing down? Because I don’t see them anywhere. I can’t believe that there is still someone defending the Mozilla point of view. If a tool doesn’t adapts to the user then it’s a bad designed tool and Australis will make Firefox a really bad tool.

      1. Karl J. Gephart said on November 9, 2013 at 1:42 am

        I recently followed a Reddit post where the Mozilla rep had no interest in being informative or responsive to their users whatsoever. They were giving canned responses about Australis (the biggest concern) and taking insults to many questions and refusing to answer them. Really disappointing for an organization I have gone to bat for (particularly against Chrome) on countless occasions on social media.

      2. El-D said on November 8, 2013 at 11:16 pm

        Even if you don’t want to read a lot of reviews online and judge for yourself how much demand there is for a simpler UI (especially considering that all the other browser vendors have been simplifying their UI over the years), then it doesn’t matter.

        Educate yourself. Australis is not aiming to be the end of the line, nor are Firefox devs planning on making it impossible (or indeed even that hard) to restore your beloved interface (for instance,

        If you’re not going to help them out, then sit tight and wait for other people to solve the dilemmas for you. Don’t whine about it. Mozilla wants this tool to be accessible to a larger audience, without completely sacrificing their existing userbase. That has been painfully clear to anyone who actually follows the threads – even if a few devs have been just as jerky about it as the vehement nay-sayers.

        You can’t believe I support their decision, and I can’t believe you’d be so arrogant as to say that less-technical users don’t deserve a simpler Firefox UI that can still be customized as easily as before. It’s fine to be worried that some things won’t come back, but Firefox has pretty much always allowed you to bring back the things they don’t want in their UI as an addon.

    5. Karl J. Gephart said on November 8, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Then let Mozilla charge. Or let the add-on developers charge.

      1. El-D said on November 8, 2013 at 11:06 pm

        Sure, if they wanted to they could. But they don’t, so while you’re point is cutely snarky it doesn’t address anything. I don’t see the vast majority of these vocal anti-Australis users contributing anything to Mozilla. That doesn’t invalidate their opinion, but it doesn’t invalidate Mozilla’s either. Sometimes I wish people really would just stop using Firefox if they think they’re this entitled to it just because they use it. Loyalty is fine and good, but it’s not really loyalty when you threaten to leave just because they make you have to install a few simple addons to get your preferred layout.

  25. firefoxlover said on November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve been using Firefox since Nov 2004 and don’t like the changes that are coming with Australis. I need my add-on bar and hope that Aris’ extension will be providing it. If that is not possible I will use Pale Moon as my default browser which is it not at the moment since I have been using it as a backup of Fx for some years.

    pd +1!

  26. Karl J. Gephart said on November 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks for including the link to the anti-Australis addon and its developer, Martin! Obviously, my initial path to minimizing customization disaster will be to see how badly my browser resources are going to suck when I attempt to restore my AIO and Roomy Bookmarks Toolbars. As it is, I use Custom Buttons to move important bookmarks up to my navigational toolbar. For the bookmarks bar, I simply use folders (for dropdowns) with unique favicons (no text). I’ll probably have to end up sacrificing social space for productivity. I know I can count on you to pass along news of any “restore” type addons or Greasemonkey scripts! :)

  27. alan said on November 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I use roomy bookmarks to faviconize websites in the bookmarks toolbar.. and have 4 addons in the addon bar..
    If i will be able to keep this setup fine..If not i hope some other addons will help me do it..

  28. Oxa said on November 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    The only reason to “love the browser” is its customizability. Once australis is initiated, there’s no longer any reason to use Firefox.

  29. ACM79 said on November 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I was hoping to continue using Firefox and make my mind up when Australis is released as to whether to continue using it. However a couple of things happened which made me change my mind.

    Firstly, my copy of Firefox 24 auto updated to 25. Since that update, it has become frustratingly unstable, to the point of being “not really usable”.

    On it’s own, that wouldn’t make me want to switch browsers. However, I wanted to read more about Australis and what plans Mozilla had in store for the future of the browser.

    And so, I read an interview with Mozilla at the website “Reddit”. And by the time I had done reading it – I uninstalled every Mozilla product from all of my machines.

    I am not sure what Mozilla’s intentions where when doing that interview, but they came across as (at best) needlessly provocative and (at worst) untrustworthy. For example, when asked “Why should users choose Firefox?” they replied “Because Google spy on you”. When asked about their “Social API” they replied (and I kid you not) “COOL HATE BRO”. In my humble opinion, this was a PR disaster.

    I have since installed Palemoon. It’s pointless for me to make any direct comparison between Palemoon and Firefox because (on the surface at least) they seem identical. What swayed it for me is that the Palemoon developer seems genuinely friendly and helpful towards users of his browser, and comes across as a lot more professional and trustworthy.

  30. kalmly said on November 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Losing Opera. Now about to lose FF. I’ll block the update and use present version for a while, but I see a Pale Moon in my future.

    @pd. Well said.

  31. froyton said on November 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I tried using the Australis preview build to test it out and I switched back. It didn’t affect usability for me at all, but I really dislike the way it looks (for the same reasons I don’t like the way Chrome looks). I’ll probably stick with Firefox when Australis lands, but I’ll definitely be looking for a theme to revert its appearance.

    1. Tiago Sá said on February 20, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      Good luck with that. Aurora will all but kill full size themes. All you’ll get from now on is the persona backgrounds, and even that is being considered as a possible feature to drop.

  32. Solidstate89 said on November 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve already switched to Palemoon. The amount of customization I’m losing if I switch to Australis is unacceptable.

    I actually liked, nee, loved Firefox 4 when it launched. I had no qualms about the massive improvements that were made like GPU HWA, improved javascript engine, etc, etc. But Australis? It removes nearly half the reasons I use Firefox over competing browsers in the first place.

    1. Robert Brown said on November 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Think of it like this… Firefox is finally leveling the playing field.

  33. pd said on November 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    That UI is absolutely shithouse. It smacks everyone who stuck with Firefox and didn’t run with the herd to Chrome, with a big fat huge Chrome-themed pie in the face, kick up the arse and knee to groin.

    Three years ago Firefox was a bloated piece of junk. If they started MemShrink in 2007 they might have avoided being whipped by Chrome. Some people stuck true anyway and even tolerated the piecemeal corruption of the browser interface they loved for it’s customization. I was one of those people, still am. I even tolerate Aurora so that I can see what crap changes Mozilla has forced upon us a few months ahead of time. Back in 2009 …

    – If I wanted to remove my status bar, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted to remove my search box, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted my tabs on top, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted a condensed menu button, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted a combined stop/reload button, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted a UI with minimal space for add-on UI, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted inferior developer tools, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted less control over frames, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted a growing add-on developer community not hampered by a warts-and-all API, I’d have moved to Chrome
    – If I wanted some idiots to remove per-tab close buttons, I’d have hoped for Australis
    – If I wanted a UI that sacrificed a status bar in order to waste space on a useless titlebar, I’d have hoped for Australis


    So now I’m stuffed. Thanks very much Mozilla. Thanks for rewarding your loyal users with an enforced Chrome experience when they never chose to move to Chrome in the first place!

    1. Giovanni Drogo said on May 15, 2014 at 4:54 am

      I agree. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back…
      Can you think Firefox was “updated” 25 times in the last 3 years? Does it make sense? Why do FF crew be so greedy and slave to money?

    2. McGehee said on November 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Indeed. If I wanted a Chrome clone I would already be using Chrome.

    3. virtualguy said on November 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      My sentiments, exactly!

    4. yoav said on November 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      PD – couldn’t have said it better myself.

    5. smaragdus said on November 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm


  34. Peter said on November 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I am not fond of this new Australis look. I do not see the urge of it, the current layout of Firefox (v25) is fine for me. Maybe the Windows 8 Metro UI app and look will be a good alternative for me. Only the development of the Windows 8 Metro Firefox app is going slowly. Also I will keep an eye on the new Opera desktop browser.

  35. insanelyapple said on November 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    For me, there are two major problems of Australis: it will be introduced far too late and they weren’t creating it
    considering the users feedback (the case of addons bar).

    I’m afraid that new visual appeal will not keep users, bring back old ones and attract new.

    1. trlkly said on November 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      Yip. That’s the main I problem I have with it. They have one part of it that everyone who actually cares has said they don’t want them to do. It’s one part that could easily have been left alone. It’s not hard, as they’ve deliberately made it easy to add toolbars via extensions.

      But they don’t want it. They don’t care that the addon developers like it (as they keep using it). They don’t care about the users for whom everyone who gives an opinion says they want it. They care only about their own aesthetic preferences, functionality be damned.

      The only reason that makes even the slightest amount of sense is that they want to discourage users from installing addons. So they deliberately remove the ability to customize where an addon button goes. But they won’t admit this.

      I’d actually be okay if I found that a Firefox dev responsible for this direction died, because it would mean one less selfish asshole in the world.

  36. smaragdus said on November 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Using add-ons to restore functionality is not a good idea- the more add-ons the user adds to Firefox, the slower and resource-intensive it becomes.
    Firefox developers (although this word is not appropriate for Asa Dotzler and the like who are in fact Firefox destroyers) are pushing users to alternatives obviously.
    Firefox Australis is no longer Firefox like Opera 15+ is no longer Opera.
    I dream of a browser that does not suck hard.

  37. Jaroslav Matura said on November 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I will either install Aris’ addon (most likely) or move to custom Firefox build, like Waterfox or Cyberfox.
    I’m a very heavy user and Australis will affect me in a very bad way. My addon bar is full of icons that just cannot fit it the nav bar and I’m not going to move them to that stupid menu which is for some dumb reason placed on the right.
    I hope Mozilla will receive a boatload of of negative feedback on this so they finally realize that mimicking Chrom* and overall dumbing down the browser for BFUs’ sake is a damn bad idea.

  38. Simon said on November 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I’ll just go for Australis. I’ve tried it in a UX build already, and it seemed fine for me (although it took me a couple of minutes to get used to the menu button being at the right instead of at the left now).

  39. Dwight Stegall said on November 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

    It won’t affect me. :D

    The developer of Cyberfox <3 hates Australis build too. He said he won't be adding it to Cyberfox. They are now developing a 32-bit version of Cyberfox.

    The 64-bit version is 100% faster than Firefox and getting faster all the time due to his tweaking the code. But he said he wasn't sure he could make the 32-bit version faster because Firefox is created for older and slower computers.

    Too bad they don't have a Mac version.

  40. C J Earner said on November 8, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I recently reverted to Firefox 24 ESR. Version 25 locks up frequently on each of my computers.

    I plan to clone my current Firefox profile and test the nightly version against it once the Modify Australis UI extension comes out. (Thank you so much for linking to Aris’s blog in your earlier article!)

    If that extension doesn’t do what I need I’ll probably switch to Palemoon. Some of the extensions that I use didn’t work the last time I tried Seamonkey.

    1. Flotsam said on November 10, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      “Version 25 locks up frequently on each of my computers”

      Dodgy extensions? v25 is very stable.

    2. Marco said on November 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Version 25 locks up frequently on each of my computers, too!

  41. fokka said on November 8, 2013 at 10:20 am

    thanks for listing all the options, guess i’ll try ff28 with australis on a second profile to see for myself what’s possible. i’m running a rather clean looking interface on my ff25: tabs on top, no addon bar and cleaned up adress bar, but i’ll be damned if they don’t let me rearrange the buttons i am using ;)

  42. Uhtred said on November 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

    for me I can see no positive benefit from these changes, but many negative effects, this will be a downgrade for my workflow.

    I shall block the update on my main and start checking out alternatives, either add ons or another browser that I can customise to look and work the way I want it to. I couldn’t care so much if it looks a silly colour or whatever, but arrangement of elements, their position and size, and their function is all for a purpose. It’s taken time to get things right, now it seems I have to start all over again? Shame on you firefox

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