Mozilla decides to uplift Australis to Firefox Aurora

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 31, 2014
Updated • Feb 1, 2014

The Australis interface redesign of the Firefox web browser is something that Mozilla has been working on for a long time.

The redesign is controversially discussed, as it removes several features from Firefox's core, such as tabs on bottom or the add-on bar, which some users of the browser see as simplifying it.

While it is possible to get back those missing features by installing add-ons such as Classic Theme Restorer, it means that Firefox users who use those features rely on third-party authors for continued support.

Only Firefox's Nightly channel has been upgraded to the Australis design yet. It has been this way for some time now, and up until now, it was not clear if Mozilla would be able to keep the timeline and release Australis to the stable version of Firefox 29 as well.

The organization made the decision to uplift Australis to Firefox Aurora when it is upgraded to version 29 in the beginning of February.

What this means is that Aurora and Nightly versions will feature the new interface design and the changes that go along with it.

It is however not clear yet if Australis will be added to the upcoming Beta uplift on March 17th. Mozilla hopes that it can meet the deadline as it would ensure that Australis could be released as part of Firefox 29 Stable as well. If the deadline is missed, it is likely that Firefox 30 Beta and Stable will receive the Australis upgrade instead.

Mozilla's intent is to release Australis to Firefox 29 Beta if at all possible, as there is "significant risk to backing out a large project from Beta".

Firefox users who switched to the Holly branch -- that is a version of Firefox without Australis but up to date in all other regards and identical to the Nightly version -- should take note that Mozilla plans to cease maintaining The Nightly version of Holly to maintain a backout-branch of Holly for Aurora instead.

It is not clear yet if the -- 150 according to Mozilla -- Holly users will be upgraded to the Aurora version automatically.

In other news, Australis Nightly survey results have been summarized. According to that summary..

  1. Firefox users love the look and customization options overall.
  2. Education may make users familiarize with the changes more quickly and make them happier in the process.
  3. The most commonly requested options are: a compact mode with less whitespace and smaller icons, an option add-on bar space for "pro" users who have dozens or more add-ons, and access to classic menus or commands that have been lost or are buried.

via Sören Hentzschel


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  1. Serpentor said on July 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    You people do realize that Google owns most of them, right? Chrome, Firefox, SeaMonkey are all under the Google umbrella. Only Opera and Pale Moon are still open sourced. And, F!!! Internet Explorer.

  2. HateFlame said on May 1, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Shittiest shit ever… looks like FF, Opera, Chrome and some other alien shit had an orgy… FUCK YOU MOZILLA! ANUS OF A DIRTY FAGGOT!

  3. Clampton said on February 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    If mozilla force me to use Australis I’ll leave Firefox.
    Fuck Australis.

  4. Nazgul said on February 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    First let me tell you that i feel angered and disappointed. So Opera and Firefox, which i used both changing as main and secondary browsers decided to discard the customizability concept against design/minimalism. It is not the angering/disappointing point for me that the concept was changed, but to that later. Nothing against minimalism/design. Majority of people love that concept for a valid reason and it is quite useful and recommended!

    Opera and Firefox suffered the syndrome that they either have been no more compatible to various webpages or they suffered performance problems. In both case, the switch to either a new engine or the removal of customizability features solved that problem. Opera got more compatible and fast, Firefox got to be faster too. So far so nice! BUT… Both browsers missed a major chance!

    There is a smaller browswer from China called Maxthon! Which is able to feature both in an equal share customizability inside the browser the same way as minimalism/design is featured. If you have a fast enough engine, something like that is possible with only a more minor performance loss. But developers must have the wish to feature both concepts to equal shares! Opera has a new engine and Firefox works on their new engine.. So.. why they still try to discard customizability? Because they simply follow the “one concept at a given time” system, which features either customizability or minimalism and design. Same like Google Chrome!

    But as earlier trend setters both Opera and Firefox could have gained a massive user rise with a concept like Maxthon is following, instead they are jumping on Chrome’s concept lead and alienating parts of their current userbase. In my opinion both browsers look
    at the wrong role model. And both are not interested in customizability in the first place anymore. Now to the question what pisses me off… That i now, with the dawn of Australis and the already happened dawn of Opera i began to root more for a browser like Maxthon, which is made in a country which is the clearly enemy of democratic legislative!

    If Mozilla or Opera ever switch back to a more healthy combination of design and customizability, i would gladly use both of them again. But it is really unlikely, which means i will stay with Maxthon and Pale Moon.

    I really expected more from the once revolutionary browsers Firefox and Opera, a duality concept of both design and customizability would have worked much more and would have created less angry audience as compared with just jumping from one side of the coin now to the other one!

  5. Vsek said on February 2, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Let me just say one thing…..

    Google Chrome is the browser which is used by the Facebook generation which is in general more simple minded and used by beginner users which do not understand computers at all. Mozilla wants to go into the same direction?

    This can not be meant serious! Sorry, that means i am losing all respect i ever had of Mozilla. Where have the days of glorious V 3.x have been gone?

  6. OtherBill said on February 1, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    As a long time user of Fx (going back to Phoenix days), I quite like most of the changes introduced by Australis. CTR takes care of the one or two things that I personally prefer.

    I only hope that all of those people who complain about Australis have taken the time to actually use it and, if necessary, the associated add-ons like CTR.

    1. Calhoun said on February 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Well, if you are willing to replace basic customizability with add-ons again and are willing to use a seen on longer terms very unreliable solution, fine for you.

      I used Australis a lot and switched always back to the old system because if i would want to use Chrome, i already would have installed it on my system.

      I find this unacceptable that the new customization system out of the box is limited to move some icons and menu buttons around.

      If i compare it with moving bar elements into other bars, making duplicates of the tab bar, nav bar, add on bar wherever i was wanting them to have – even combining various bars into one bar only… Then this new system is more then a lame joke!

      Sure, it is more as Google Chrome allows, but that makes it not better, Australofox compared with Classic Firefox is just “one of the better” Google Chrome copies.

      Btw. Market share has dropped again for last month by a more serious number, people are not really fond of what happens thanks to Mozilla’s Google fetish.

  7. kalmly said on February 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Yesterday I uninstalled Opera — It was so sad to see it go — and reverted to FF as my (temporary) default browser. Durn, but I hate to see good things go bad. There is a Pale Moon or a Sea Monkey in my future (trying to decide which). I wonder how long before they turn to Chrome.

    1. Orhin said on February 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Have you not heard so far of Otter-Browser? A project which aim it is to recreate the Opera 12.x UI with QTWebkit. Also planned on the longer term perhaps a mail client.

      Still earliest Alpha, but that one and Qupzilla are the closest things of customizable browsers which will never turn into Chrome in look and function :)

      And concerning Seamonkey.. the chance that this one gets Australis… the location of the toolbar part in the browser code is somewhat different to Firefox, so Mozilla will have a harder time to push that one to Chrome look and function too. And since it is maintained by the Seamonkey council.. i do not believe that these guys are as easy to buy from Google as it happend with Mozilla ;)

      Would fit you better since it is more comparable with Opera as a suit.

      Good luck :)

      And some very special unusual recommendation.. Check out Maxthon.. the leader in HTML5 features, it may be a browser project which has it’s origin in china but it is awesome. Shows that browsers can adopt the blink engine without losing customizability. If i am ever forced away from Gecko Browsers because all are turning into Chrome, i will use for sure something like that one.

  8. Dwight Stegall said on February 1, 2014 at 5:50 am

    The Classic Theme Restorer will give all of that back.

    1. Calhoun said on February 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      El-D, wrong. The removal of customizability started at the end of Version 3 – Chrome appeared onscreen and Mozilla instantly abandoned step by step their following of Opera.

      If Google Chrome never would have been appeared, even today Opera and Mozilla would follow more closely the way of customizability.

      Removal of customizability is only happening because Mozilla is seriously threatened by Google Chrome – they have been thinking if Google is so successful with what they are doing, it can not be bad for us.

      The right way would have been to watch the situation closely and then discard that idea in the first place and instead working on an own concept.

      If companies just adopt the ideals of another company (first Opera, then Google) and willingly discard of what they have believed in earlier, this only mean 2 things.. that they never have been comfortable with their ideas in the first place and that they have zero ideas on their own and are only able in moving forward with borrowing ideas of other companies.

      And that behavior from an Open Source company like Mozilla acts to be one is a damn shame!

      Seen from that point it was a mistake that Mozilla made their browser that much customizable. If they would have gone instantly a more simple way, the outcry today would not be as large as it is.

    2. Orhin said on February 1, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Addons are as already said a second class solution. Firefox was always about customizability inside the browser, why now forcing it all out.

      Mozilla should finally stop riding the Chrome train and instead make again own trends instead of adopting Chrome’s minimalism and nearly zero customizability.

      Luckily there are enough browsers around with customizability. I personally see zero reason why i should use a crippled Firefox which now shift’s it’s focus now towards equal design on various platforms instead of customizability.

      1. El-D said on February 2, 2014 at 4:46 am

        No, you’re dead wrong. Netscape and Mozilla Suite were about everything being in the browser, Firefox was about just providing the core, and using addons to extend it. Just because your (or my) pet features may now require an addon doesn’t change that. At least you can customize the UI to your desired specs, if someone else hasn’t already done it for you instead of whining about it.

  9. El-D said on January 31, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    So many entitled whiners. Just go ahead and use Chrome, and let Google deal with your whining. Seriously, if you’re such a power user then adding a couple more addons shouldn’t be that much of a problem to you. Next you’ll be telling me that only your sanctioned feature set should part of the core browser, or that Mozilla should manage everything on their own. I really can’t stand this childish attitude. It’s not like Mozilla owes you anything for using their browser. You get what you pay for, and in this case that’s been one of the finer browsers out there. For nine years. And all you can do is whine about it superficially changing a few things and “forcing” you to install a couple of addons to get them back to the way you’ve told yourself you like it. Seriously, take your whining elsewhere.

    1. Calhoun said on February 2, 2014 at 3:24 am

      Have taken my fair share of look of Australis in 29 Nightly and guess what… Changed to Cyberfox which will NEVER have a chrome design and chrome simplicity like Firefox will adopt. Pale Moon will also stay Australis free, but Cyberfox is more frequently updated!

      To change the look of the browser, that features have their value inside. All Mozilla does is to emulate the Chrome experience because they feel they become irrelevant on a longer time scale if they don’t!

      You Mr. El-d.. if you love Google’s design and simplicity so much, why are you using Firefox? Anyway, it is a waste of time to discuss something with a person which clearly DESPISES of all Firefox has been in the past.

      Enjoy your cheap Chrome, i enjoy my superior customizability inside Cyberfox!

      And so you know, design over functions is the WRONG concept – the only one of value is functions over design!

      1. Andrew said on February 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

        *grabs popcorn* this should be interesting….

    2. Andrew said on January 31, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      Interesting… What do we do about those that whine about the whiners though?

      1. Andrew said on February 1, 2014 at 7:07 am


      2. El-D said on February 1, 2014 at 6:40 am

        Why, you whine about them, of course.

    3. Orhin said on January 31, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      If you do not like Customizability, that is your problem. Your shiny Google Design with it’s limited function and it’s embarrassing simplicity and being light of features is what is is… An utterly disgrace!

      You think different, your right. But Stop insulting people which are not liking Australis. Google is not the Answer, and that Google forced Australis design is even less of an answer!

      We have a right to complain. Because Firefox turns suddenly from Customizable out of the box to customizable only over addons. And i and many others do not like that fact.

      1. El-D said on February 1, 2014 at 9:46 pm

        Yeah, yeah. Cry me a river. You guys have that right, and I have the right to tell you how childish you sound. At some point it goes beyond filing a complaint or venting and just becomes melodramatic theater. And guess what? Mozilla has the right to not maintain features they don’t have the time or desire to maintain. They’re hardly the only browser vendors who do this, and they have no contract with you to maintain aging features that are holding them back in other ways. So why not direct your energies in a more productive manner than endlessly whining and blustering threats to change browsers? Other people have, and are developing and maintaining the addons that you will probably end up using because you were too busy whining.

  10. Gary King said on January 31, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    This will be the end of Firefox., who wants to use such a fugly Browser. I will never use it. Hello Chrome.

  11. WalterPPK said on January 31, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Australis and Google and Mozilla… Well, what to say to that topic…

    Mozilla belongs since ages to Google’s family like Opera. Same happened there too – removal of customizability, adopting Chrome’s function and look! Natural progression, Google hates customizability, Google family products have to remove it if they posess one.

    Take a look at Maxthon – Avant Browser, IE, Safari – not much tied to Google, so they can develope their idead without restrictions. This is no conspiracy, just open your eyes and take a look around! Every browser which is not that much tied to Google can do whatever is wanted by the browser company. Get into a deal with Google and your freedom is over!

    If any of the Mozilla devs is reading, just go away from Google, even Microsoft would allow you more freedom in terms of customizability!

  12. Karl Gephart said on January 31, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Mozilla keeps telling itself that users like Australis (probably to appease Google, its biggest funder). I think they have themselves brainwashed – that’s what they want to hear. Screw the power users who are the loyal ones, many of whom left IE all those years ago. Let’s dummy the browser down. So, it’ll be reverse addons and userChrome.css tweaks for me. Sorry for ragging, but Mozilla’s thinking still pisses me off, even though I’ll probably get back most of what I want (hopefully).

    1. WalterPPK said on January 31, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Australis and Google and Mozilla… Well, what to say to that topic…

      Mozilla belongs since ages to Google’s family like Opera. Same happened there too – removal of customizability, adopting Chrome’s function and look! Natural progression, Google hates customizability, Google family products have to remove it if they posess one.

      Take a look at Maxthon – Avant Browser, IE, Safari – not much tied to Google, so they can develope their idead without restrictions. This is no conspiracy, just open your eyes and take a look around! Every browser which is not that much tied to Google can do whatever is wanted by the browser company. Get into a deal with Google and your freedom is over!

      If any of the Mozilla devs is reading, just go away from Google, even Microsoft would allow you more freedom in terms of customizability!

      1. El-D said on February 2, 2014 at 4:47 am

        You’re either insane or far too subtle as a comedian. I can’t tell which.

  13. John said on January 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    While I disapprove of Mozilla restricting customisation in Australis, the current Firefox theme is awful. It’s been awful since Firefox 3. Support for the Firefox 4 look that Firefox 26 uses must surely come from familiarity alone, because it’s a mess.

    However, I prefer the Firefox 4 (and Firefox 26) concept – with a menu button at the top left and elements that can be dragged around. It’s just the style (the default theme) that’s terrible. I was disappointed to see that the built-in XUL pages have not been given new style sheets for Australis and still have the “total mess” look that goes with the Firefox 4 theme. Mozilla need to get onto this pronto.


  14. ololo said on January 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    thats nice, with those mad developers firefox should sink as fast as it can.
    then it resurrects as Phoenix2 and rises!

  15. Nebulus said on January 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    1. Firefox users love the look and customization options overall.
    Before or after Australis? :)
    2. Education may make users familiarize with the changes more quickly and make them happier in the process.
    When I use Firefox I want to browse the internet. When I want to be happy I do different other activities, and they don’t involve a browser :)

  16. Transcontinental said on January 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Happier than ever, when I see this Mozilla capharnaüm, to have switched to Pale Moon.
    What a disaster, IMO of course, but also in that of many, many, many users, whatever Mozilla may state as “Firefox users love the look and customization options overall.“.

    1. Lestat said on January 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      The problem is as some expert users already said that Palemoon will not stop Australsi!

      First the Australis changes are way too complicated to undo – maintaining an old UI is not only complicated it brings the following problem:

      Sooner or later you have no extentions or themes anymore which are updated because all are optimized for Australis.

      That is the reason why i changed to Seamonkey. Fewer add-ons, but since the Seamonkey Toolbar location is different to Firefox, Australis will hit not so hard on Seamonkey. But Palemoon, Cyberfox, Lightfox or how the variants are called which try to stay Australis free, it is a lost game.

      Either the ctr addon is added to the browser to be pseudo Australis free or the browsers will either being stopped maintained or they will simply switch over to Australis.

      1. Orhin said on February 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

        You got a good point, if someone is willing to reach a goal one can reach it.

        I am using right now Pale Moon too – it is good not to install any further addon for customizability. One problem Pale Moon is still facing is what is happening when it is going the Non Australis way. Since add-ons and themes will mostly be Australis only, i believe like some others have written here and elsewhere that we Pale Moon users have less add-ons and full themes which are still updated because Pale Moon will be quite different to Australis if Moonchild really will be able to maintain his goal.

        I have no problem with a more limited addon or theme pool, i also can live with the fact that in the worst case scenery i only could use outdated addons without further updates – but i am for sure in the minority of users in that special case :)

      2. beemeup2 said on February 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm

        “First the Australis changes are way too complicated to undo…”

        You underestimate the determination and stubbornness of humans. Just look at Linux. I’m sure at some point people have said that building your own free operating system from scratch is way too complicated and that no one would use it even if you did. Well, they were wrong then, and they are wrong now.

        Many people are definitely strongly opposed to the Australis layout changes (myself included). Moonchild, the maintainer of Pale Moon, is definitely familiar enough with the Mozilla code to maintain a permanent Australis-free fork of the browser for as long as its users refuse to accept compromises in usability.

  17. Napier said on January 31, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I like how you could add not-so-frequently used add-ons to Menu button but still use its functionality in a click of a button (I think Mozilla is gonna put the Search bar there by default).

    I might just be able to live without add-ons bar but they should just put a setting in about:config to activate add-on bar for pro users.

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