Mozilla needs to make up its mind

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 7, 2015

I have been following the development of the Firefox web browser for a long time. In fact, I switched to Firefox very early on in development and began to write about the browser back in 2005 when I launched this blog.

Back then, the core development philosophy was to create and maintain a user-friendly browser with a high level of customization options and a powerful extension ecosystem that adds new features to the browser.

This worked really well, kept the core browser rather slim without sacrificing features as users were able to install extensions or scripts, or use other customization options such as styles to modify the browser for their needs and requirements.

This philosophy seems to have changed recently. I cannot pinpoint an exact date or even month when that happened, maybe when Mozilla announced Australis to the public months before release.

The organization began to remove features from Firefox, the status bar for instance or the keyword.url parameter, stating that add-on developers would surely re-introduce those features to it for users who wanted to keep on using them.

That caused quite the controversy in the beginning especially during the release of the Australis interface. What came next however turned that upside down.

Mozilla began to introduce new features to Firefox natively that would go against the philosophy as they were not offered as browser extensions but being directly integrated in the browser.

There was the Social API which introduced options for sites to add "social" functionality like sharing content or chatting with users to Firefox. While there are not any statistics about the use of the feature, it does not seem overly popular as only a handful of services made use of it since its introduction.

Then came Firefox Hello, a real-time communication module using WebRTC which was also integrated directly in the browser. The feature allows Firefox users to chat with others -- even across browser provided that they support WebRTC -- using various options including audio and video.

Pocket is a recent controversial native integration. The proprietary service provides users with functionality to save web pages, articles, videos and other web contents for later consumption. The integration of Pocket is far more controversial than the integration of other features mentioned in this article due to the proprietary nature of the service.

Reader Mode was enabled on the desktop in the recent 38.0.5 update as well. It works similar to readability extensions and scripts that improve the accessibility of articles on the web by modifying how they are displayed in the browser.

These features are certainly appreciated by some users of the browser. If you are a Pocket user for instance, you may like the integration of the service in Firefox.

It is likely however that the majority of Firefox users are not interested in those features or at least not interested in using them in the browser.

In addition, several are available in form of third-party extensions or scripts already.

One question that should have come up before integrating these features in Firefox is whether it makes sense to integrate them natively in the browser.

Pocket, Reader Mode or Firefox Hello could have been added as extensions to Firefox. In fact, Pocket was available as a browser extension before but it seems to have been abandoned by the company.

Even if the added code is not adding much bloat to Firefox, it still needs to be maintained and updated at least occasionally when new features or changes are introduced in the browser. Exactly that argument was used by Mozilla in the past to remove features from the browser.

There is a clear discrepancy when it comes to feature removals and new feature additions in Firefox, once that Mozilla needs to address quickly.

Closing Words

I'd like to see Mozilla change its course again and remove these recently integrated native features from Firefox. The vast majority of Firefox users won't use them and those who do, may as well use them as extensions instead of native code.

These feature additions are controversial and it seems that especially long-time Firefox users are speaking out against their native implementation in the browser.

Now You: What's your opinion?

Mozilla needs to make up its mind
Article Name
Mozilla needs to make up its mind
Mozilla began to introduce new features to Firefox natively that many existing users of the browser thought were better added in form of extensions to it.

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  1. 3rdWorlder said on July 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I *totally* resonate with the sentiment of this article!

    A couple of weeks ago (I guess), my FF installation auto-updated to 38 – in the process breaking so many of the extensions that I routinely use, most of all DownThemAll came to a grinding halt! Others like VideoDownloader. Even icons disappeared of the fancy-schmancy new tool-bar!

    And when I looked around to fix it, I was told to ‘refresh’, which I did but grudgingly – most unhelpful.

    And to put that in perspective, I subscribe to the philosophy “fix, don’t re-install” – I pride myself in not resorting to re-installs no matter even if root-kit(s) attacked my computer – I’d rather research and find out how to remove it and repair rather than sacrifice my records and personalisations.

    Ultimately, I had to just uninstall FF 38 and re-installed v.36 from an earlier set up file that I’d fortuitously saved on my hard disk – ‘fortuitously’ because FF has started to provide those new-fangled ‘tiny’ installers which then ‘stream’ the installation over the Internet rather than the old-style download-the-entire-setup-file-first types; which I wanted to avoid at any cost.

    And now reading all the comments responding to this article, I’m out searching for that FF alternative which will run my few select add-ons – DTA, VideoDownloader, LastPass, Evernote, ScribeFire, FireFTP and a few more.

    Meanwhile, I’m switching between Chromium (NOT Google Chrome!), IE 11, Maxthon, Avant, K-Meleon and Opera. Although I’ve got Google Chrome installed just “in case”.

  2. Debkdarlin said on June 23, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    IMO, FF really started to go down hill about v10 or so. I agree it was great back in v2 & v3, unfortunately 64bit systems don’t like things that ancient. What really got me ready to jump ship was, I believe v36. That’s when Mozilla decided they were going to play the M$ game and take away access to your default profile! You have to use the profile manager to create a new profile & copy the default to it, in order to be able to access anything other than History!
    Give me a break!!! If I wanted nothing but a couple of HUGE dat files, I wouldn’t have quit using IE when Netscape was finally allowed to be installed again! I’m stumped as to where to go next.
    I gave up on PaleMoon, when they suddenly changed their version system. The 3 extensions I use daily, would no longer work.
    Opera? That’s just a re-wrapped Chrome!
    Chrome uses more of my resources than FF, forget that!
    The other Foxes, Cyberfox & Waterfox, are just 64bit FF.
    Maxathon is a joke, over half my daily websites won’t even open in that, even changing UserAgent doesn’t help.
    IE, crashes every time I open it…

    So someone tell me, please, what is out there that works as it should & isn’t hogging 2gb memory, after being open for 2 hours? That’s with just 2 tabs open.
    I’m more than willing to try suggestions!

    1. ootnegllatsni said on July 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      “IE, crashes every time I open it…”
      First of all use AdwCleaner

      Then install Firefox ESR

      It’s easy.

  3. novoyant said on June 19, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Unfortunately this happens to all firms with a limited number of products.

    The release is pushed out. The few bugs are handled. It’s stable. It’s smooth. It’s doing it’s job.

    And I have a stable full of really talented developers sitting on their hands. I have to either let them go, or let them add “FEATURES” to the product. And so it begins its slow descent into user hell.

    It was just firefox’s turn to morph into the sludge pool.

  4. Guest said on June 19, 2015 at 4:47 am

    They also removed support of domain-specific user agent overrides (general.useragent.override. key in about:config), the code is still there, they removed its initialization. There’s a patch attached to that bug fixing the issue, but nobody accepts it.

    Bug 933959 : general.useragent.override.[domain] (about:config entry) stopped working

    Is there a list of features removed from firefox somewhere?

    1. Broodip said on June 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm
  5. Inderjeet said on June 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I still stick to Firefox because I
    find it preferable over Chrome

  6. leland said on June 14, 2015 at 3:26 am

    I had been using the developer version (Aurora) for about a year. It had been working pretty good through version 37. Since then I have noticed some small problems like some web pages refusing to load. Most my extensions still work through version 39. However version 40 seems to have brought new problems. I know being on the edge with test versions is not for the faint of heart. However for a long time with minor glitches I had not had any major issues.

    All in all I have seen many changes since the early 1.x days of Firefox. Back then it was certainly a browser of the people for the people. They did not build anything in that was not necessary. They did however include the framework to extend it as needed including how it looked. This is what made Firefox unique and special.

    Now it just seems like they are worried about money rather than making users happy. I started moving to Pale Moon this week and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. I have plenty of backups of my setups from over the years . For those having trouble getting extensions to work try installing Disable Add-on Compatibility Checks at I found this allowed me to use many addons Pale Moon could not install otherwise. SO far I am loving using an up to date browser with all the addons I had to abandon over the years; especially the PitchDark theme.

    1. Daniel said on June 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      You said it Ieland!
      The days when Mozilla Firefox was “a browser of the people for the people” seem to be long gone.
      Have recently gone to Cyberfox 32bit (even if i work with 64) and it is just nice!
      Will take a second look at Palemoon…

      I just dislike the fact that Mozilla seems to behave like Microsoft at present who want to “impose” their version of Windows 10.
      If i wanted a chat gizmo or a Pocket addon i know where to find it.

  7. All Things Firefox said on June 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Well, there is no short of criticism here. I love Firefox with Australis and think that it has really improved the appearance of the browser. Firefox definitely has problems: e10s is way overdue and the whole signed addons thing. Although I don’t mind, Australis has taken away some UI customizability and this may bother some users. However, it is still a great browser; it’s not made by Google; the UI still way more customizable than Chrome or Edge (IE has a ton of options UI or otherwise but it is so slow I would never use it); and of course nothing comes close to about:config.
    I don’t think that Mozilla “needs to make up its mind” between including features natively and removing them to slim down the browser and letting extension developers restore the functionality. Firefox has simply ditched older features and replaced them with new ones. The old functions are available in Classic Theme Restorer, which I have found doesn’t take a single kilobyte of memory. Although CTR maybe can’t restore the old UI perfectly, it works pretty well.
    Personally, I don’t care about the social API or Hello (although I can see Hello being really good for some people, to have Skype without an account), but I have started looking into Pocket just because of its Firefox integration. Also, I never though I would use Reader mode when I first heard about it here on gHacks but I have tried it a few times and I might use it some more.
    Lastly, Firefox should include HTTPS Everywhere natively, not on by default but optional, similar to Tracking Protection.
    Overall, I must respectfully disagree with the tone of this article.

  8. clas said on June 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    just noticed yesterday that palemoon has a setting on flash: always activate, never activate or ask to activate. solves that problem.

  9. TSJNachos said on June 12, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Mozilla has also stated that they plan to add DRM and tracked advertising. The former goes against everything FOSS users and developers stand for, the latter goes against Mozilla’s own philosophy of promoting the users’ privacy. I look forward to finding a reasonably up-to-date fork that works without any of this hypocrisy. I’m sure one will appear rapidly, assuming it doesn’t already exsist.

  10. George said on June 11, 2015 at 10:51 am

    You’re welcome. You are wrong about the extension. If anyone is to blame for incompatibility (and there’s no reason to blame anyone, really) it’s the extension author, it’s their job to make it work. They wrote it and know the code. You cannot possibly expect the browser developers to adapt their browser every time to work with each and every one of the thousands available extensions (and their updates!). Firefox and Pale Moon and significantly different today and extensions made with the Australis UI in mind will have issues. Like I said, if this particular extension does not require a complete rewrite (and many of them don’t) and you ask about it in the forum or the extension author directly, you just might get lucky. But expecting Pale Moon to work with every single extension, is like asking Microsoft to fix every single third-party software application Windows 10 incompatibility themselves.

    1. Hy said on June 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Uh, no, you are mistaken. If the browser lacks the ability to do what the extension is designed to do, no amount of rewriting of the extension will automagically (sic) fix the browser deficiency. The PM developer doesn’t have much use for encryption, and said last year he was not going to build certain things into the browser in that regard—that is why it could not run that extension at that time, and apparently still cannot, according to what you wrote.

      Thanks again for your suggestions, but you don’t seem to understand that I do not want to use PM ever again—the anti-encryption attitude of the developer is completely off-putting, and PM’s encryption deficiencies are a deal-breaker for me. Other browsers such as Cyberfox and Waterfox work just fine, and have handled every single extension I, a heavy extension user, have thrown at them. Thanks anyway.

  11. Hy said on June 11, 2015 at 4:12 am

    When I dumped Pale Moon a year ago, the Pale Moon developer was at that time publicly and angrily refusing to upgrade encryption in the browser. Does anyone know if he ever went back on his word and upgraded it? Does Pale Moon have exactly the same SSL ciphers and behavior, TLS and PFS behavior, encryption capabilities, etc., as Firefox? Does the Enforce Encryption add-on finally work in Pale Moon now?

    Do Pale Moon and Firefox still have the built-in undeletable Google PREF super-cookie with the unique ID used by Google to track users and by the NSA to pinpoint targets for hacking? I haven’t used either browser in more than a year, and I’m curious whether that’s still the case.

    1. George said on June 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Of course encryption is being upgraded, just take a look at the release notes:
      About that add-on, it seems it cannot be installed from the AMO website but if you ask about it in the forum you might get more info or even have someone fix it for you. Or you could do the obvious and ask its author directly, things don’t just happen automagically.

      1. Hy said on June 11, 2015 at 10:13 am

        Thanks for the link. Didn’t see anything about encryption upgrades; did see that RC4 ciphers are now disabled by default. Clicked through to the forums, and saw that the developer is still making antagonistic comments against encryption: “encrypting the web is stupid and a bad goal,” [Dec. 2014] etc.. He’s like an anti-EFF.

        Thanks for the suggestions. If Pale Moon still can’t run the Enforce Encryption add-on, however, the problem is not with the add-on, but with Pale Moon. About a year ago or so the developer was refusing to make the changes necessary for the add-on to work in Pale Moon. The add-on works fine in Firefox, Cyberfox, and Waterfox.

  12. dan said on June 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Pale Moon. May it never get bought out, and never become a publicly traded company.

  13. Satou said on June 9, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Started using Firefox in 2004 (switched from Netscape). Guess what? After release of version 29 which introduced Australis I’ve moved to 24 ESR and after support for this branch was ceased – Pale Moon, which is what Firefox should have been if developed/maintained properly.

  14. George said on June 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

    One more happy Pale Moon user here, Mozilla has failed a long time ago and it doesn’t look they are getting any better.

  15. loki said on June 9, 2015 at 1:22 am

    The things you mentioned are only a scratch on the surface. What do you think about these options enabled by default in about:config?
    camera.control.face_detection.enabled = true = true
    social.remote-install.enabled = true
    Is this the browser we want to use?
    To me, Mozilla seems to be more and more corrupted from inside.

    1. p3t3r said on June 10, 2015 at 4:12 am

      Thanks for naming these issues. I fixed them immediately, although i taped my cam-lens.

    2. Nerd said on June 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      @loki that’s exactly my feeling, they’re simply compromised by a few wayward core developers.

      some more:
      network.dns.disablePrefetch;false — these 2 aid spammers/trackers by prefetching pages before you click on a link
      network.prefetch-next;true — and informs spammers you recieved their email without you even opening it.
      keyword.enabled;true — misspelled/incomplete urls typed will be routed through search, encouraging lazyness aiding tracking

      “In order to understand the performance of certain Mozilla marketing campaigns, Firefox sends data, including a Google advertising ID, IP address, timestamp, country, language/locale, operating system, app version, to our third party vendor. Our vendor must adhere to strict confidentiality obligations consistent with this Privacy Notice and our agreements with them. This data allows us to attribute an install to a specific advertising channel and optimize marketing campaign strategies.” – Mozilla

  16. Nerd said on June 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    tbh I’m not bothered about astralis this or that, what angers me is the ‘features’ they add while chanting about openness and privacy..
    There are too many things which should not be on, out of the box, period; things like geotracking, broken web protocols marked with critical bugs laying unfixed for years, prefetching, routing url input via the search companies..

    and all this stupid stuff you need to dig into a page full of obscure settings to turn OFF if you care (as mozilla does not have my back on this). I cant even remember the last time i went into the propper options menu in firefox, its useless as all this rubbish is burried away. The whole thing on default is designed to aid tracking you and your average internetter is supposed to be non the wiser.

  17. Lestat said on June 8, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Good article – to bring it to the point.. Mozilla removes all those features which are for “the Geeks” to create a more attractive browser for simple users, especially the one’s of Google Chrome.

    Just think about it – Mozilla could have done it (Australis) in a truly unique style – for example similar to Yandex the tabs at bottom, make bars semi visible out of the box – just a few example for what they also could have done. They have not? The design remembers close to that of Google Chrome? What a coincidence :D

    Anyway, Mozilla should remember again that the so called Geeks made them in the first place, if these would not have supported Firefox, it never would have been around for so long.

    What i think what Mozilla should do to gain again more support:

    1) They should do it like they did with the DRM free versions.. Make those Geek features again available for example with that build.

    2) They should stop running behind Google in the race of becoming a big number in market share. The battle is over Mozilla, no matter how simple you make your browser, no matter how much social networking stuff and chat you add, there is a browser which makes that a lot better already (without the social networking) – Chrome! Before Australis they had a higher market share, why they have not been happy with these numbers.. compared with the recent one’s they suffered a big loss! Self inflicted wounds which have been absolutely NOT necessary!

    3) Stop treating the Desktop version of Firefox like an unwanted step-child, give Firefox desktop and mobile again a more equal money share, so they have enough budget to support and maintain again those deleted features

    4) STOP making a browser only for the simple users like they are doing today… No one is angry if you include an advanced mode!

    or how about that:

    5) Bring back the deleted customization features that way back so users are able to chose not to install them during Firefox installation – the PERFECT compromise for simple and advanced users. Can’t be THAT complicated to program a bit more advanced installer which features something like that.

    Until that, Seamonkey, Vivaldi or Otter-Browser!

    Because everyone of those has more of the developer kind which do actually care for Power Users!

    Quite sad that the developers of Vivaldi – a closed source browser show more love for the advanced users and actually add more complex features instead of the Firefox developers!

    This would make me think about my current strategy.. If i would be working for Mozilla in high ranks!

    1. blush said on June 9, 2015 at 12:02 am

      “especially the one’s of Google Chrome”

      1) STOP using apostrophe + S to pluralize nouns

      2) instead, howabout “especially those of Google Chrome”

  18. john_rik said on June 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I agree with every word you had written martin. If I want some feature, I go search in addon section. Don’t integrerate it to the damn browser. Make it lightweight and at the same time extentable so that I can get the feature I want using addons. And that ugly Australis interface, I hate it. And the addion of those stupid icons in in right click. WTF mozilla? But thanks to the Classic theme restorator, I can thankfully remove the mess and get back plain old firefox interface. And how the hell they thought, intergration of pocket is good? And anyone remember the removal of ‘Load Images’ and ‘Enable Javascript’ checkbox removal? (Fix it using this addon : This is the dumbest idea ever. They told us that they removed beacause people mess with it and end with a broken web exprience. I say, people mess with lots of things, so is mozilla going to tun firefox into a kid browser with only 3 (back, reolad, forward) big *** button? I still use firefox and never looked at other options. But if addons like classic theme restorator no longer works, i have to give up and look at other options. (except chrome.)

  19. Marius T said on June 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Actually Pocket is really neat,and reader to,but what ever guys,”naysayer” will always be “naysayers”!Oh and it’s funny how people are complaining about Firefox proprietary stuff and change immediately to the most proprietary browser in the world Google Chrome,best spyware on the market!

    1. buhambam said on June 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Nobody said anything of Pocket being useless. But, a vast majority of users will hardly pay attention to it. In addition, Pocket is proprietary. Firefox users should be given a CHOICE. Bundle Pocket. Acceptable. Making it non-removable is NOT. Firefox Hello, Apps, Forget, Pocket – all are nice features, but hey, if I don’t want it, I’d prefer not to have it – and that, in case it wasn’t clear, is Mozilla’s mission – to build a browser to cater to the USER’s needs.

      Second, I never mentioned a shift to Chrome. Plus, I don’t exactly support Google’s aggressive moves to obtain more personal information from users for “targeted” advertising, but Chrome isn’t exactly classifiable as spyware. Sure, it sucks in a lot of personal data, but it’s made reasonable clear that it does (yes, nobody bothers to read it, I know – but you cannot classify it as spyware).

      1. Marius T said on June 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

        Pocket non removable?Of course it’s removable,”about:config” is your friend!

  20. buhambam said on June 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I agree with you.
    I still stick to Firefox because I find it preferable over Chrome. Vivaldi has been making my head turn a bit though.

    Mozilla has to come back to reality. Users don’t want bloat. Pocket is bloat, and most importantly, against Mozilla’s “mission” of am “open” web.

  21. theMike said on June 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I dumped firefox yesterday for cyberfox. I tried palemoon but the addons didnt work and it kept freezing up, plus it looks like shit.

    1. George said on June 11, 2015 at 8:53 am

      You obviously used wrong add-ons that caused the freezes. About the looks… seems you weren’t a Firefox user in the past (and there are several Themes available to change the looks anyway).

  22. Sacha said on June 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Totally agree. Firefox and Mozilla have been going really badly recently. I’m a Google Chrome and Safari user.

  23. Graham said on June 8, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I dropped Firefox when version 26 came out. I got sick of Mozilla constantly forcing me to undo all the changes they kept putting on the browser, and when they decided to make the integrated Downloads/Bookmarks window irreversible, that was when I’d had enough. I switched to Pale Moon and didn’t look back.

  24. ilev said on June 8, 2015 at 7:56 am

    Don’t forget browsing scanning for ads.

  25. hmmmmm said on June 8, 2015 at 7:52 am

    I am affraid that the Firefox goes the same way as earlier Opera

  26. Jerincanada said on June 8, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Don’t like the changes to Firefox at all. But, would never use Chrome…who could trust Google?
    Kinda makes Palemoon look better every day, doesn’t it.

  27. [email protected] said on June 8, 2015 at 2:43 am

    God DAmnN america

  28. talla said on June 8, 2015 at 2:30 am


    as much as i like your website, but i have to disagree.

    i also don’t like recent changes to firefox, and it starts with way more:

    -cisco h264 i don’t have any reason to trust cisco
    -html drm
    -tiles with commercials
    -sync services
    -social services
    -chat services
    -yeah that nonsense “offline” cloud reader pocket
    -web gl
    -general gpu access while browsing
    -that nuts versioning

    and so on.

    for every point above i have a reason why i think this is straight up bonkers, but:

    mozilla needs to deliver a browser, that the majority of users today really want to use. that chrome pest does already have the position as leading browser, and if mozilla would not go this route, the only userbase left, would be the geek, nerd and tinfoil hat userbase.

    and that would not help anybody.

    as long as i can turn all off and customize firefox to the way i need it, i am fine with the changes so far (grinding teeth).

    i understand mozilla, they need to keep the fundings, they need to keep the jobs internally, they need to keep firefox in the spotlight, they need to keep up and going, towards the future and what the majority of the users want and need.

    so compromise is the keyword here!!

    compromises that we all have to make, to keep the popular firefox and not degrade it to a piece of software like notepad++, filezilla, irfanview, pidgin or k-meleon. software that is shure heavily used by a specific userbase, but doesn’t have or never had spotlight on it, with the ability to change and shape the future of the web as we know it, or force companys to recognize it and add functionality of their services to the software like firefox did.

    if mozilla would not have done what they did, the major rules for the web would only be formed by the big company’s, and not by an open source user oriented community.

    maybe and just maybe, on your next rant on firefox you should keep this in mind.

  29. Juan said on June 8, 2015 at 2:26 am

    I like these changes from Firefox. I do not need to customize every single thing my browser has. This new UI is definitely a step in minimizing the interface and emphasizing the web. Most every other browser that’s not based on old Firefox is basically like this. Specially on mobile devices. They integrate a lot of functionality and make everything easier, for the average user.

    Firefox is trying to attract Chrome’s user base, which is even less customizable than FF. But, technically everything just works.

  30. YK said on June 8, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Just waiting on Tree Style Tab compatibility in Pale Moon.

    1. plushkava said on June 22, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Tree Style Tab 0.14.2014051101 works in Pale Moon.

  31. Neal said on June 8, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Staying with Firefox is like enduring water torture. It just a steady drip of disappointment. The rapid version changes has steadily killed dozens of addons I used. The steady elimination of features in the “maintenance” is arbitrary nonsense. You also get a sense of a steady irrelevance as month after month show a steady exodus of users.

  32. Earl said on June 8, 2015 at 1:02 am

    #1 Australis complaint from Firefox users that complain: “I want my buttons on the left!!!” (I don’t care.)

    Australis got rid of that stupid app menu button in the top left corner, so I like it for that. It also added the best customization tool of any browser. Mozilla also promoted CTR for all of the complainers–so they can have all of the Firefox 3.x look and feel that they crave. As far as all of the later stuff that I don’t use… well, I don’t use that stuff, so I don’t even notice it. Firefox is still fast and does what I want it to. The extra stuff has no effect. Best of all, it’s not that crappy Google Chrome garbage–talk about a lack of customization.

    1. Jeff said on June 8, 2015 at 1:33 am

      Pretty much all Australis complaints are easily fixed with the extension “Classic Theme Restorer (signed)”. It is truly one of the best extensions I’ve ever seen, and is a customizer’s dream. CTR is the main reason I returned to FF from Chrome.

  33. Marcin said on June 8, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Very good article Martin, thank you.
    Too much bad choice consecutively from Mozilla Fundation.
    In the same time, I understand the need money as well

  34. Sören Hentzschel said on June 8, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Hi Martin,

    I don’t understand what’s so special about SocialAPI. It’s a API, or a collection of a few APIs, not a feature. Why do you care about the use of the SocialAPI but not about the use of the API XY, for example the Places API? All the SocialAPI services are extensions. I am sure there are other APIs in Firefox with fewer consumers.

    About the removal of keyword.URL should be mentioned that it was removed to protect the users (!) against hijacking. The removal of the status bar was more than four year ago (Firefox 4).

  35. Abduraheem said on June 8, 2015 at 12:12 am

    hi ,
    i think mozila has it’s view about it , the response is to those who want to enjoy their current version of firefox very long and keep him update, adopt and install firefox ESR :

  36. Jeff said on June 8, 2015 at 12:10 am

    So many people in this thread saying they went to PaleMoon, CyberFox, etc. But each time I try those, they tell me about half the extensions I know & love won’t work, or at least not for a while. With Pale Moon it seems you have to wait awhile after a FF release for PM to catch up.

    Lots of valid complaints about FF in these comments, but IMO Chrome is no better as a whole. Less user control and it eats a crap ton of RAM. I was on FF for many years, and in about late 2012 I switched to Chrome. Earlier this year I switched back to FF, and IMO it is still superior. Most of the things people are complaining about can be disabled or fixed with outstanding extensions.

    I am no fanboy and I believe in using the best overall product. Right now, I still believe FF holds that title. I have my eye on Vivaldi and I have confidence that it will be the power users’ browser that Opera once was. I think it’s a year or two away from maturity, though.

    Speaking of maturity, kudos to all here for carrying on mature discussion. I had to get off Reddit, due to its cess pool of crappy users/commenters. Ghacks is a breath of fresh air to me.

    1. Jan said on June 8, 2015 at 12:43 am

      Using Pale Moon as my everyday browser.
      For extensions, I’ve everything I need and frequently when I find a new extension which looks interesting, there is a compatible version.
      Of course there are some australis-only addons, but unless there is one you absolutely need among them and for which there is no alternative, there are often ways around.

      1. Jan said on June 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        Release number are actually meaningless : Pale Moon decided to stop bumping the version number like mozilla does.
        So you’ll always see a gap, growing bigger and bigger, in term of number. This doesn’t reflect the actual quality behind.

        Even not bumping major version every 6 weeks ; PM releases regularly point version (25.1 ; 25.2 etc) where security fixes are applied ; coupled with bug fixes and various improvements either for standard support or for pure browser improvement. Take a look at the detailed releases notes on the Pale Moon forum if you want to make your mind yourself about it. You may look a bit in the FAQ too.

        For extensions, the major one which may cause issues is Greasemonkey : the old 1.x series still work, but iirc scripts for 2.x serie may have compatibilites issue (I do use one however so I guess it’s not strict). Otherwise it should work or you could find a replacement (there is a list here

        Extensions updates normally ; you should be fine with it.

        EDIT : Added benefice : if an extension work, you shouldn’t have problems later because of some browser-side change which broke it, this is something the dev care seriously about.

      2. Jeff said on June 8, 2015 at 1:30 am

        @Jan, I think i will give PM another go, and this time record which extensions don’t work (if any). In your experience, about how long does it take PM to ‘catch up’ to FF in terms of the release number, and also for extensions to catch up?

  37. tena said on June 7, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    I like Firefox and it is still my main browser. I’m on board with it having to evolve and think they’ve often struck a good balance between customizability and doing what is needed to ramp up security and features. But this last move with Pocket is just plain weird. Don’t get me wrong, I like Pocket and think it is important to be able to use it on Firefox. The good thing with Pocket is that it is cross browser compatible so people like me who use Chrome in Android can still use it to share urls with Firefox on my PC.

    So what is the problem? Well, the existing pocket add-on already worked very well. One button to Pocket a page and a toolbar button to view a quick dropdown list of items in Pocket. The only “news” in the new Firefox version is that the Pocket they have bundled lack the quick dropdown. To view items we now have to click the bookmarks button, then a new pocket button and the list loads, slowly, in a new tab. It slows down access to the list by about 800% and increases the number of clicks by 300%. And still that is portrayed as a new exciting feature by Mozilla. Weird, just weird. It feels like no one at Mozilla who was responsible for this change have themselves been using Pocket very much. I’d love to hear anyone from Mozilla explain their thinking on this one.

    I should add that the add-on is thankfully still available. But Mozilla said it will be killed/not updated. Perhaps Mozilla devs will now use Pocket more and notice that the massive slowdowns and click increases with the “new” version and reintroduce the quick menu. But it is seriously weird that they didn’t do so from the start.

  38. Dieu said on June 7, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    One thing is sure for me (and lot of others) I will NEVER give money again to Mozilla since they use their time/money to work more on non-core Firefox item AND on tech that come from Private for Profit company.

    Pᴏᴄᴋᴇᴛ ᴍᴜsá´› ʙᴇ ᴠᴇʀʏ ʜᴀᴘᴘʏ ɴᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴅᴏɴ’á´› ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴍᴀɪɴᴛᴀɪɴ ᴏʀ ᴘᴀʏ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴀᴅᴅ-ᴏɴ ᴏɴ Fɪʀᴇғᴏx ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇʏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀᴅᴠᴇʀᴛɪsᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ ғᴏʀ ᴘᴀʏ ʙʏ Mᴏᴢɪʟʟᴀ !

    Mozilla take the $$$ MONEY $$ from the donations and develop & make the promotion of pocket for free and Pocket is a Profit company.

    There is a ton of bugs to work on in Firefox with the integration of E10 I don’t know how they can justify to themselves to work on such projects and hoping to raise some money ????

    1. ElGoopo said on June 7, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      What a weird attitude. How can you justify using Firefox for free and then bitching about them having to find other ways to keep afloat? Non-profit doesn’t mean they can operate for free. If you don’t want them to have to make money through other deals, then not donating isn’t going to help. In fact the lack of donations is one of the reasons Mozilla is seeking other revenue sources – making a browser ain’t cheap, especially in an age where they have to compete against the likes of Google, Apple AND a web-serious Microsoft.

      And if you will keep on using Firefox despite not even contributing, then do you really deserve to be heard other the other voices who do? Especially if you’re going to obsess about a few features you don’t like (and aren’t even active by default), while on the other hand ignoring all the hard work they’re doing on the core of the browser. Seems like wanting to have your cake and eat it too, frankly.

      1. Nebulus said on June 8, 2015 at 2:38 pm

        I will never have the power to decide the way Mozilla goes. Hell, I’m not sure that it would be wise to let ME decide that, given the fact that I have no managerial experience! LOL. But what I can do (and nobody can’t stop me) is to express my opinion, and I will continue to do so, no matter what. Because keeping quiet never solved anything.

      2. ElGoopo said on June 8, 2015 at 7:24 am

        And you’ll never be, given that you’ve established that all you want to do use something for free while criticizing it. That shockingly isn’t enough to actually fix anything. It takes more money and effort than that.

      3. Nebulus said on June 8, 2015 at 1:08 am

        Good thing you are not the one who decides that.

      4. ElGoopo said on June 8, 2015 at 12:45 am

        @Nebulus: hey, it’s fine if you want to use it for free and offer nothing but complaints. But don’t think anyone will care about what you have to say with that attitude.

      5. Nebulus said on June 7, 2015 at 11:18 pm

        1. I use Mozilla for free because they decide to give it away for free.
        2. Just because it is free, it doesn’t mean that there are no flaws in it.
        3. Just because it is free, it doesn’t mean people have no right to complain.
        4. I’d love to see Mozilla asking money for Firefox. It would be fun to watch how a corporation falls in maximum one month.

  39. Zeus said on June 7, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Reader Mode makes Firefox my favorite Android browser.

    On Windows, I’m already using Evernote Clearly, which seems to work better and have more options.

    Still, I do appreciate Reader Mode. It’s rare these days for them to add a feature I can actually use, instead of some add social media experiment I want no part of.

    1. ElGoopo said on June 7, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      They’re still working on getting the Reader Mode into the desktop versions, and hopefully will have that option over the next release or two (it’s already in the nightly builds). Pocket integration seems to have simply been born from them wanting to rush a reading-list feature out the door faster just to have it, for better and worse.

      1. ElGoopo said on June 8, 2015 at 12:46 am

        @Jeff: ah yes, I think it was just released in version 38.0.5, actually. Hopefully they will be able to integrate it into Firefox Sync, and not feel the need to upsell Pocket at all anymore.

      2. Jeff said on June 8, 2015 at 12:17 am

        @ElGoopo, isn’t Reader Mode in 38 stable? It is for me, but perhaps I just enabled it myself and forgot.

        As for Pocket, I don’t think that was anything but a new source of income. It was already available as an extension and there was no other reason I can think of to incorporate it besides money.

  40. stax76 said on June 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    The Pocket android app is great, easily my most used and most important app, it works great and has a great design.

    The only real problem was nobody made a good Firefox extension, thank you Mozilla for fixing it finally.

  41. DP said on June 7, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Yup, I would concur on that. Mozilla seems to have lost its way just a tad over the last couple of years and I no longer use it, going for Pale Moon, Opera or Chrome, depending on which extensions appear to have broken various websites! Does seem to be a case of throwing everything in, bar the kitchen sink, just for the sake of it.

  42. James T. said on June 7, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Not really sure when I started to dislike Firefox

    Was it Version 23 when Mozilla decided to remove the ability to turn off Javascript

    Or the incorporation of Australis

    Regards in a few years if not sooner
    Mozilla will be at a crossroads

    1. Erick said on June 8, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Well, you can still Disable JavaScript. It’s just in another place (go to Advanced Settings in the Developer Tools settings)

  43. Jojo said on June 7, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Last statistics I saw showed FF browser usage under 10% and declining. Users are voting with their feet.

  44. Noitidart said on June 7, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I don’t like pocket, i don’t use it, however I don’t think this ruins the browser. I think it will go to show that Mozilla is someone that listens to its users and they will remove it. But until then I don’t think it kills the browser at all, I didn’t know you can disable with about:config but still I dont care to that much I just dragged out of toolbar to the customizable area.

    I am a huge fan of Firefox Hello though, I just wish it worked better, the audio is very bad for me :( Im praying it gets better I love the feature so much no one needs an account and we can talk.

  45. Tom Hawack said on June 7, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    The Australis UI corresponded IMO to this new Mozilla philosophy applied to Firefox. A U-turn was the way many users felt it, a lack of respect for the Mozilla spirit which had prevailed until then, for it’s users as well when the company seemed obsessed by innovations and sobriety in order to attract new users.

    Innovations, for most of them, appeared quite often as unfinished gadgets, sobriety as austerity. My feeling ever since Australis is that of a company without a leading and wise management, suffering from a sum of individual aims that are not filtered, concatenated, accomplished. Sort of a rather chaotic profile.

    As far as I’m concerned the only good service I see — but this is so personal — is the Reading mode introduced with Firefox 38.05. But why is the Reading List option not made available locally, at least an a sub-option?

    Whatever, if there was a time I had been totally confident with Mozilla, it no longer is. The company is also victim (or partner?) of lobbies which just don’t like excess of zeal when it comes to privacy, i.e. the Tracking Protection feature : half-alive or half-dead? There are also many, far too many privacy options accessible only under the hood (about:config) which should be opt-in (for the benefit of privacy) by default and not opt-out.

    I consider nowadays Mozilla Firefox with the same awareness as other browsers. Mozilla is living on the credit of its past and diving into a future which is a total renunciation of its origins. I think it’s a matter of time before the structure crashes. Enjoying a Firefox fork here, Cyberfox, hoping the fork will survive the inevitable end of its reference. But Firefox forks face a cruel dilemma : either they limit the changes in order to be able to remain compatible with add-ons built around deep core changes (like Cyberfox) either they refuse those core innovations and become incompatible with many add-ons (like Pale Moon)… because if Australis brought a new much discussed interface it also made deep changes to the core of Firefox as i’ve undestood it reading developers’ articles : a fork aiming to remove craps is a very tough enterprise.

    1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 5:31 am

      Tom, Mozilla’s half-baked “tracking protection” feature is just the latest in a string of specious attempts to bolster user trust… while they, release after release, incrementally introduce privacy-unfriendly features.

      websocket functionality (introduced in ff back in 2012)
      Can we inspect the traffic? Nope.
      Can extensions inspect / filter websocket streams? Nope.
      For lipservice sake though, there’s an open bugzilla ticket to show that ‘they’ might get around to un-blackboxing websocket streams.

      Haha, tracking protection… and, oh, by the way, Mozilla gonna tattle (to Google) that porn you just downloaded, yeah, FOR YOUR PROTECTION gonna just have Googleborg verify that it’s SAFE porn. SafeBrowsing — wait, it’s not for YOUR protection, it’s possibly to your detriment but “for the good of the many”. Sheeple, just shaddup and trust us.

      1. Minnow Tim said on July 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        I could be wrong, but SafeBrowsing doesn’t report every url to google – it downloads a massive list of unsafe domains that is checked locally. You’re right about websockets though. Apparently you can’t even turn them off anymore.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 4:37 pm

        You are right, they use a local list and download it sporadically only.

  46. CHEF-KOCH said on June 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    > This is why I use Palemoon and will continue to switch between it and Chromium. No Firefox, no Google Chrome.

    But Palemoon not supports all extensions + it’s still based on the same engine like Firefox. I still don’t see any argument to use any of these wannabe mods, since the user can change the most important stuff – other projects only claim to be more secure, in fact they remove some binarys here and there, but that’s quite useless since everything can be opt-in/opt-out and if there is not yet another option implemented, I’m sure about:config could do the magic to enable/disable security related things as of needs.

    People should not give that much credits to Browsers which are modded and from unknown peoples which claims to be to improve xyz, in fact it’s a risk since they are all behind the real Firefox browser (because they mostly need additional time to merge there changes). There are also additional reasons, like I already said, Addons, Plugins, generally compatibility problems and a lot of other stuff.

    1. DaveyK said on June 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Firefox’s engine is not a problem. Gecko is relatively speedy and renders stuff well. It’s the wacky interface, culling of useful features and bundling of suspect features which is the problem.

      I use Pale Moon as it has a flexible interface (no Australis and far more customisable than Firefox’s interface), it is regularly updated with security patches, there’s an active support and development community behind it, and all the addons I need work fine (or have Pale Moon equivalent versions on their add-on site).

      If you’re someone who uses 70 different add-ons with Firefox, yes some of those may not work with Pale Moon. However if you just use a few like me, then you’re usually fine.

  47. Mushaf said on June 7, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Reader mode is a good little addition, in my opinion. Yes, there have always been addons available for clutter-free reading. But I think it should be a native feature of a browser. However, I agree with the rest of the changes. Firefox Hello could have been an opt-in service. Social API was unnecessary. But I was most surprised with the integration of Pocket. This doesn’t go with any of Firefox’s philosophy. Firefox devs should stop adding things just for the sake of adding. Same goes for removing many popular features.

  48. Karl Gephart said on June 7, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I hate to say it, but about 2 weeks ago, after many years and trying every browser out there, I had to go to Chrome. I got tired of doing more work on my browser cosmetically and functionally than getting my actual work done. A lot of it was me. I’m no longer in development. I like Linux and its tremendous customization. I need to be on mobile and prefer reliable syncing with as few third-parties as necessary. Yes, Google privacy concerns me, but personalization can be a convenience, too. I’m still watching Vivaldi and other browsers out there (including Atomic, whose devs will probably never expand beyond iOS). And I’m weighing memory resources with browsers vs apps. My future probably lies somewhere around Chrubuntu or Crouton as I see if Google makes it worth my while by shortening the gap between ChromeOS and Android. Idealistically, I believe in open source, but there’s only so much time and resources one has to build, use, and maintain their everyday tools.

  49. ElGoopo said on June 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Because Mozilla is here to cater to more than just the presumed majority. If Mozilla takes this approach to it’s fair conclusion then they would remove ALL features that only a minority of users actually use. At that point, Firefox will be nothing more than an address bar and presumably some tabs, and integrated Flash, and a one-hour character creation screen where you add back all the things you want on install, and all of those things could regularly break with every release because Mozilla isn’t actively maintaining them. And if that’s the case, then why doesn’t someone else just build a basic spin-off of Firefox that only does this?

    I think Mozilla users who over-react to a simple button being added to their toolbar now and then, and demand Mozilla remove it, are acting tremendously entitled. Doubly so if they then turn around and complain that a feature that almost nobody uses was removed and relegated to an addon. A very unpopular opinion, I’m sure, but we’re not above being criticized for exactly the same thing we’re criticizing Mozilla for, and someone has to remind you that you (the average complainer) do exactly jack and shit for Mozilla, Firefox, or the web, and you’re hardly entitled to pretend which minority of users deserves more support than the next.

    1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 5:16 am

      ElGoopo hopes to trivialize the dissent by suggesting it’s a matter of “simple buttons”?

      1. Nebulus said on June 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm

        Actually ElGoopo, you are just a troll. And while it was fun feeding you for a while, I think it is enough (at least for me). Otherwise, I’m turning into a troll myself, and while it can be fun for some time, in the end it brings nothing good. That being said, I wish you a good day and a good life!

      2. ElGoopo said on June 8, 2015 at 7:18 am

        Attempting to trivialize what I said to sweep me under the rug may feel good, but it’s not really winning the argument. But I’m not here to convince anyone, just remind them that they’re not above criticism, not right by default, and not entitled to everything they want just because they use a web browser.

    2. Nebulus said on June 7, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Well, I feel like the freedom of expression I have “entitles” me to complain when the software firm I like starts making all kind of stupid decisions. It’s their call if they take my opinion (or any others) seriously, but I will continue complaining every place where I can until they do.

      1. Jan said on June 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

        An opinion may be true or false.
        When you compare various opinions against an objective criterion ; all opinions are UNequal. You can sort them. (The error is to think you can sort without a criterion)
        You maybe don’t realize it ; but the consequence of your relativism is that after all, the choice of Mozilla is equal to the others they could have done… So that you can’t say they are wrong !

        As for what was said by ElGoopo ; yes if you’re a member of Mozilla you may matter a little bit more ; but that one isn’t part of Mozilla doesn’t make their opinion less true/useful/anything. The right to criticize isn’t bound on having to help the one you want to criticize…

      2. Nebulus said on June 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        ElGoopo, all people’s opinions are equal, and they are exactly that: opinions, nothing more, nothing less. You know, opinion is “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge” (or “a personal view, attitude, or appraisal” – if you want another dictionary definition). If you can claim that my opinion is not “equal to others”, you don’t seem to understand the term “opinion”…

      3. ElGoopo said on June 8, 2015 at 7:12 am

        You want to be angry at me, fine. But what you’re really upset about is the fact that your opinions don’t magically get to be equal to others. But that’s not my opinion. It’s simple reality. No amount of pretending otherwise will change that. When you calm down, hopefully you’ll realize that. If not, feel free to continue your quest to attack me instead of my message; at least it’s helping you vent.

      4. Nebulus said on June 8, 2015 at 1:07 am

        You seem to have an obsession about being constructive and about paying. I know I cannot change that, but you are still wrong.

        As for taking your comment so personally… Usually, when I see people whose opinion I really dislike, I tend to ignore them. But somehow today I had the impulse to show such people that their superior attitude cannot be imposed on everyone, no matter how smart they think they are. Probably tomorrow I will regain my calmer self, but for now I must admit I got fed up with your attitude and obsessions and I decided to express myself.

      5. ElGoopo said on June 8, 2015 at 12:52 am

        What utopia do you live in where the opinions of someone who does nothing constructive mean as much as someone who pays the bills and/or does the actual legwork? If you don’t want to help any further than complaining, then don’t be surprised if you’re ignored. Don’t like it? Then do something more constructive. Don’t care? Then why are you taking my comment so personally?

      6. Nebulus said on June 7, 2015 at 11:12 pm

        I didn’t say that I deserve more attention than anyone else… Every user deserve the same attention, IMO. But I won’t stop complaining just because you (or Mozilla, or anyone else for that matter) don’t like my ideas or opinions.

        Also, you keep talking about a “contribution”… I am not a Mozilla developer, so there is no code/work contribution from my part, only feedback as one of the Firefox users. It’s up to them to take note, or end up building a browser that nobody uses.

      7. ElGoopo said on June 7, 2015 at 10:47 pm

        Oh, go ahead and say what you wish, but talk is cheap. It’s easy to bluster and act like you deserve Mozilla’s attention more than the next user, but don’t mistake that for a useful contribution. Who’s to say that your opinions are any less stupid? I guess a handful of people on the web who also just sit around complaining at the people who do the actual work? Well, that’s nice, but it doesn’t actually entitle you to anything.

    3. Whitebuck said on June 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Interesting perspective, ElGoopo and thanks for reminding us.

      That honest introspect and the greater good for all, must be contemplated.

      We most oft forget that a Circle is 360 degrees and that we, in reality are an almost indiscernible part of that Circle.

  50. Whitebuck said on June 7, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Wholly concur Martin, it is most obvious Mozilla has lost it’s way.

    Holding on to hope that they recover, before they destroy, what I believe to be the best Browser available.
    Mostly, because of the devoted Extension Development Community. They are the best!

    I keep Chromium and Safari on my Dock, but Firefox still maintains the lead, in my opinion.

    Despite having to constantly counter act, Mozilla’s ill-conceived additions or exclusions.

    But, I am watching Vivaldi, with the hope they succeed, in accomplishing their mission statement.

  51. kktkkr said on June 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    My best guess is that the decisions on what features to add or remove are driven by their work on mobile Firefox, i.e. since mobile users do fine without status bars or configuration options, the same changes carry over to desktop Firefox. The features that they added are indeed features that you would probably want if you were browsing on a phone and would be helpful to have built-in. Unfortunately, that is simply not the majority of their userbase, and the delusion that the same experience must be achieved on all platforms leads to a noticeably degraded desktop experience.

    The other issue is of features being rushed to make it into a release, for instance, Pocket and Reader making it into the same version, even though they’re only half-baked (and it’s an ESR release!). They’re new features that hadn’t even been publicized, surely they can wait another month to become polished, rather than adding to the backlog of stalled development and unfixed bugs.

    The reality is that users will not remember Firefox for Pocket or Social API or any of the hundreds of changes that aren’t big enough for a press release. They are but mere (in)conveniences. Perhaps it’s only easy to see in hindsight that they’re useless to desktop users, but surely at some point in testing someone must have pointed out that they weren’t actually that good or original. Yes, there is a market for those things. No, you don’t have to rush in and sacrifice your usability for it.

    1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 5:10 am

      Agree, but instead of saying “mobile” ~~ I see their choices & decisions as reflecting their pursuit of “B2G” (boot to gecko, aka Firefox O/S)

  52. fokka said on June 7, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    totally agree. with a powerful extension system there is absolutely no need to integrate services like pocket into the browser per default. what i would like to see is mozilla removing stuff like that from the stock browser, but simultaneously making a prominent “official mozilla addons” section on their addons page.

    i think it makes little sense for mozilla having to decide for every feature if they want to fully integrate, or completely omit it. with official addons the stock browser would remain slim and interested users would still have the option to get the functionality directly from mozilla.

    1. Uhtred said on June 7, 2015 at 7:23 pm


      I think they could go further and have two installation packages.

      [1] basic browser with no add ons (market ideal for small systems or as the basic frame for developing your own bespoke browser with add-ons)
      [2] market for the less tech savvy a bundle of mozilla recommended (but removeable) add-ons already in the installation package so that folk can start to appreciate (and maybe Mozilla get some sponsorship for) a few added features from the word go, but then users still be able to choose to remove them or replace with others once they get more savvy with how firefox operates and what they want to do with it.

  53. Dave said on June 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Firefox 3 was certainly the first mistake, and the beginning of a long series of mistakes.

    Some people say Firefox 3 were the high point, with the most downloads and therefore people liked Firefox 3. What they seem incapable of understanding is that Firefox 3.x also had the most uninstalls, because it was awful. And there really is no reason to look back. Like many, I left at Firefox 3 and moved to Opera. Most people went to Chrome. What matters is that nearly everyone wanted to leave Firefox 3.x and they did. Bye bye Mozilla

  54. RottenScoundrels said on June 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Firefox management seems to be focused on monetizing and the Open and Free philosophy be damned.

    @Sukhen: The issue I have with all free stuff on the Internet is “why is it free?” I had not heard of Superbird so checked their site. I could not find anything on privacy other than ‘Better privacy than Chrome.” About the only time I have ever thought that “better than” should apply is being alive is better than being dead. if their privacy is better then why not spell it out before having to download and install it, just to read a privacy policy. By that time, you will have unwittingly and probably unknowingly, given up a lot of information about yourself.

    The modern Internet user needs to get a lot smarter about what they are giving away. It costs money to write and support software and websites. If software is not open-source and a labor-of-love for the developer(s), then what you think you are getting for free, you can be sure it is also taking something from you.

  55. Azevedo said on June 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    I agree with you Martin.
    Next version of Firefox they may put a new button on the navbar for a Calculator. Isn’t that a super nice idea? (sarcasm)

    Please read this post I wrote:

    It is just useless… Regarding “listesning to the users” Mozilla has become a Microsoft.
    They just don’t listen to its users feedback anymore. Useless effort trying to ask them anything.
    We either accept Mozilla the way they want or we pick another browser.

  56. Sukhen said on June 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I ditched Firefox about 18 months ago, Now mainly with SuperBird, Pale Moon and Maxthon Nitro. Looks perfect. Wish I had the ‘Save Images’ add-on at Chromium browsers also.

  57. jimbo said on June 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Firefox is no exclusive club.
    Some slack is necessary to open, encourage and invite.
    Shades of erstwhile Linux attitudes and selfishness in the air it seems …
    Let’s be thankful and appreciate what we have.

    1. JohnMWhite said on June 7, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      This is a non-sequitur response. The problem with Firefox (at least according to this article) is Mozilla’s inconsistency in what direction they are wanting the browser to take, and seemingly making things up as they go to suit themselves regardless of user feedback or utility. Mozilla is acting like the proposed exclusive club, and why are users supposed to appreciate that?

    2. Nebulus said on June 7, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      “Linux attitudes and selfishness”? Where do you come up with these ideas from?

    3. Jeff said on June 7, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      I disagree. Criticism is the engine that drives improvement, IMO. It isn’t always pretty (especially on the internet), but on the whole, it works, I think. Squeeky wheel gets the grease, and all that.

  58. clas said on June 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    yes, a touchy subject and is good to hear users gripes and yeas!…. after reading another firefox blog from your site a month ago, i saw several people giving thumbs up to palemoon. so i tried it. after a short period of getting addons and a few simple tweaks, i just have to say that i am a proud palemoon user and have not been back to firefox at all.
    i was with firefox right from the get-go….gave up on IE long ago and chrome is just too blah-vanilla, almost lifeless. was for sure getting frustrated with firefox. so palemoon was a great move for me for what i do. each to his own but palemoon for me….for now at least. and my thanks to other posters who pointed me in that direction with their passion.

  59. Cristian said on June 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    They are doing it bad. Like Opera did, a lot of features that common users don’t need/use. Firefox is digging its own grave.

    1. not_black said on June 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm


  60. jfjb said on June 7, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    these “additions” would fill a niche, not a gap
    these “additions” should be uninstallable
    these “additions” could have been Mozilla in-house extensions, hence thus therefore optional, activable, forgetable
    those “removed” features could would should have been Mozilla in-house optional, activable or forgetable extensions
    in fact, any implementation in our Object Oriented Programing world is an extension of the Parent class… says she.
    some’ like that
    surf’s up dudes and dudettes
    thanks again, Marting

  61. Guest said on June 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Jon – it came before that, really. Firefox 2 was awesome, and upgrading to version 3 produced a significant slowdown.

    In fact Firefox never recovered from this slowdown, it is still present in the latest Firefox, the only way to get it faster now is to use e10s.

    To all those singing the doom and gloom of Firefox, I strongly disagree. Yes, they need to stop adding little-used functions to the core (such as pocket) however Firefox has made significant strides over the last year with e10s, Aurora 40 now has e10s added, and with the addition of uBlock, Firefox has taken a huge swing in the right direction for me.

    Then again, I was one of those in the minority gunning for Australis. I find the rounded tabs look nicer, and I’d rather they stay. Nonetheless, I do think Mozilla should have given some thought to users wanting to use square tabs, and kept them as a built-in function. Having to install an extension for something that should be core function is a bit dumb.

    On a side note, one thing that disappointed me rather strongly was their decision to halt progression of Tab Groups. Groups are a fantastic idea, but I’ve had to stop using them since they announced about a year ago that they would eventually remove them from Firefox core, so that they would be continued as an extension. Well now, all good and well, but extensions break, and there go all your hundreds of tabs. That is data loss, and data loss is unacceptable.

    Similarly with pocket. You’re relying on a 3rd party host (?) to store “bookmarks” (?) and if said third party servers go down, where do your bookmarks go? No, I’m a fan of keep things offline/local wherever possible, and bookmarks are definitely one of those things.

    I must say though, if it weren’t for e10s and/or uBlock, I’d be sitting on the fence with my browser of choice. With those two things however, Firefox (or Nightly, as is my current choice) is definitely here to stay, at least on my machine.

    1. DaveyK said on June 9, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      My biggest gripe with Australis wasn’t the rounded tabs (although I wasn’t a huge fan of them as I felt it looked too much like Chrome), or the new menu. It was that they used it as an excuse to bin a whole pile of customisability, then had the bare-faced cheek to claim that it improved customisability. In one big go, Australis binned the status bar, locked the address bar to the left, locked the stop/reload buttons on the right-hand side of the address bar, binned the “tabs on bottom” option, etc. etc.

      The whole ethos around Firefox to start with was that it was simple and flexible. That suited a great many people. Now, it’s bloated with questionable features and most of the customisability has been lost.

      I agree 100% with the author of the article. The Mozilla development team seems like a rudderless ship. They don’t seem to have any idea what Firefox should be, or what its position in the market should be. Far from having a clear vision for Firefox, they just seem to be randomly adding dubious features, chopping support for other options willy-nilly and seem oblivious to Firefox’s tanking market share.

      End result of all this? I’m another long-time Firefox user (since 0.6) who jumped ship to Pale Moon last year. It works properly, and I don’t have to keep adding extension after extension to it to undo Mozilla’s latest daft change.

    2. Pants said on June 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      I agree. While bitching about Australis’ UI, or insignificant built in features such as pocket seems almost pointless, there are valid points about why and mozilla’s direction and the undermining of the developer community etc. However, from an end user perspective, I’ve been able to overcome or override almost all of these – eg Australis vs Classic theme restorer, turning off suggested tiles, turning off pocket etc etc etc. I have lost some extensions over time, but found replacements.

      Signed addons – so far (i had a little clean out of extensions), out of 70 addons, only 9 are currently not signed – two are betas.
      -Thumbnail Zoom Plus beta, Stylish, Print Edit, NoScript, Menu Editor, HTTPS Everywhere, Greasemonkey, Classic Theme Restorer beta. There are some big names in that lot, so I’m sure they’ll be taken care of in time.

      Note: one signed addon broke (it was broken a long time ago, but the new update re-broke the fix already in place) – Extension List Dumper. Closed FF, edited the jar file in the xpi to fix the problem. Restarted FF and it’s all working fine.

      My biggest fear is abandoned extensions and e10s.

      Also – The number of “privacy” related about:config changes, the number of automatic connections that need to be made to a new clean profile is growing every single release. I want my browser to send nothing out or recieve anything unless I specifically asked for it – i don’t want it pre-fetching, getting database info in the background, getting suggested tile info, heartbeat, auto-updating addons or FF itself, blocklist updates, phishing updates, addon metadata updates, link prefetching, newtab thumbnail caching, and loads more etc etc – I want a DUMB browser and when I clean it of forensics I want it clean, not have new items to worry about every godamn release.

      1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 5:00 am

        Hi. IMO the Australis-related “bitching” isn’t pointless. The “wasted vertical space” introduced by the height of the Australis UI (oversized tabs and empty space above) is a slap in the face to users vieweing 1600×900 or 1024×768 displays. Mozilla clearly disregarded usability and effected the design change with myopic attention toward “pimping their brand” and “keeping up with the Chromses (Joneses)”.

        I heartily agree with the latter portion of your comment. I too want just a DUMB (simple) browser, and I too am disgusted by continual need to chase and attempt to thwart privacy-sucking functionality introduced with each new ff release.

  62. Dwight Stegall said on June 7, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I always hate to see articles like this no matter who writes them. A lot of great stuff has disappeared off the web because people complain that it’s not perfect or they should do this or that. If you don’t like what Mozilla does, don’t use Firefox.

    1. not_yellow said on July 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Right….So if you are against child molestation just don’t have kids ?????

    2. Nebulus said on June 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      Sometimes, you need to criticize a product in order to save it. Without some healthy criticism, the developers might pick a wrong path that could bring them to their doom…

      1. mjimih said on June 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm

        u mean, break their rose-colored glasses? oh the horror

    3. JohnMWhite said on June 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      People writing criticism of a product they are familiar with isn’t going to make it go away, and people are not obliged to not criticise something just because you don’t want to hear it. If you don’t like what Martin writes, don’t read it. Or does that come across like someone trying to tell you what to do with your own time?

  63. Oxa said on June 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    What’s really amazing is that Mozilla can’t read the handwriting on the wall. Market share has been declining ever since they went to the rapid update model and started introducing all these changes. A good CEO would look at the declining market share and try to determine what was causing it and how to fix it. But not Firefox. It’s hellbent on its own destruction.

    1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 4:42 am

      Naw, a good CEO… would be fired / scapegoated for expressing his unpolitically-correct personal beliefs.

      {Oops, did I say that out loud? Shhhh}

      1. Yuh said on June 21, 2015 at 3:56 am

        Rainbow Fox.

      2. Whitebuck said on June 8, 2015 at 5:10 am

        Thats is when I lost respect for Mozilla’s and their descent began in earnest.

        They’re now off course with their OS, semi-abandonment of Thunderbird, a horrible Mobile Browser and cannot find an equilibrium on the development of Firefox. And to make matters worse, they have an exodus of veteran employees.

        It appears they are unable to stop the hemorrhaging.

  64. DComedian said on June 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    My biggest concern by far is that unsigned add ons might be disabled in the near future. I currently have 10 of these running, some of which are very important to me. I understand the logic behind Mozilla’s plans for unsigned add ons, but there needs to be an option for users to override the disabling of add ons, or endless warnings about unsafe add ons.

    1. Dieu said on June 7, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Unbranded build and developper build will support them so no worry about that.

      1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 4:40 am

        will? That support doesn’t exist today, is promised for tomorrow…
        and you are willing to trust that Mozilla won’t change its mind ?!?

        I guess you weren’t aware (or have already forgotten)
        that the “HealthReport” telemetry was initially billed to be, promised to be, an OPT-IN feature.

    2. Avi said on June 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      I’m concerned about this too. My understanding is that special builds for developers will support unsigned extensions.

  65. Wybo said on June 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Funnily enough I said the almost the same thing on the Mozzila support site a few days ago. I was merely inquiring were this pocket icon cuold be found as it doesn’t show in my browser….not that I care. But still.
    The reader mode I have already disabled in about:config.

    Is certainly do not like the path Mozzila has taken. I am now having a look at CyberFox which comes apparently without the bloatware. So it is likely that I will transition to CF.

  66. kalmly said on June 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I agree with Jon. Let’s go back to version 4 and start over. All the misery began right there.

    Lately — not the most recent update, but the one before that — I started getting two iterations of FF whenever I open the browser. So what is that? My pocket? :)

  67. Ricardo said on June 7, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I have to say that I like Australis.

    But also firefox has some important problems to solve before developing stuff without any kind of utility. A system to communicate using video when services like skype, hangouts among others are available long time ago.

    They should solve and improve their password manager which didn’t work in some pages (like the microsoft one), or the print function, having to do all my university paper stuff in IE not because the web is only IE compatible but because when I need to print as pdf Firefox only prints white pages. (And if I have any trouble those pdf are the only document that said that I had already paid)

    Those two are a must, create a video service, social api, pocket or whatever stupidity it would be the next is not.

    Said that, yes, I use firefox and I love it, but please focus on things that matters.

  68. Maria said on June 7, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    You can just disable them or remove them from the toolbar if you don’t use. You have that option.

    Mozilla is ok to me.

    1. mjimih said on June 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      i still keep FF current and if i see some new buttons or features that i don’t need or whatever i am still able to ignore them or remove them or restore them with an add on. I will get more concerned tho’ if FF gets slower or more bloated from built in features that aren’t proven to be popular (or appreciated} by MOST real-world users. FF plz keep your eye on the prize, stay on your diet, stay lean ‘n mean.
      user since 2006

  69. Jon said on June 7, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    In my opinion the downfall of Mozilla began with version 4. After that they began the whole rapid release thing and it hasn’t gone well for them after that. Since then there have been seemingly random feature removals and useless feature additions.

    1. nonqu said on June 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Yeah, actually dropping the support small icons was a response to a bug filled by some Jared Wein guy

  70. Richard said on June 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    My cynical impression is that everything Mozilla does these days is about making money for the senior employees and not about the browser or the Firefox community. They are rapidly destroying Firefox. I suspect that within the next 24-36 months it will become irrelevant for me.

    Even though I don’t especially like Chrome I could live with it as my primary browser if I had to. IE, Edge, Safari, Opera and Vivaldi not doing it for me.

    1. Rob G said on June 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Palemoon is the best browser out there.

  71. shortkey said on June 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Pale Moon user here too. I uninstalled Firefox before it could update to the damned version 29. The way things are looking at Mozilla and Firefox’s development, I’ll probably never switch back to Firefox.

  72. nonqu said on June 7, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I wish they would bring back the old features. Whe have lost the ability to disable seer and social API in about:config, we have lost the status and addon bars, we have lost 50% of the search bar, we have lost small icons mode, we have lost a reasonable clict-to-play implementation, we have lost 90% of gui customization options that were available in Firefox 2.x (seriously, check out some portable 2.x build – it was so much more feature-rich).

    Instead we got the beacon spyware (, social API, Hallo, Pocket, australis, and reader – which for some reason shows up on youtube (where it hides the video) and not on text based news websites in my country. Great job mozilla.

    Firefox used to win thanks to extensions, but now almost half of those I use is there just to fix what mozilla does to the browser and 90% of the rest is available on Opera – sometimes they even work better, like uMatrix or youtube center.

    I used to install Firefox for my friends and family when they asked me to configure their PCs, but not anymore. Now I install Opera or Chrome if they need synchronization with their google account. At least that way I don’t have to care about people asking me how to get their youtube working or whether the new button comes from a virus.

    1. Matty said on June 8, 2015 at 5:54 am

      This is exactly my experience, word for word. I do a lot of “tech support” for people and have abandoned my usual Firefox (or Foxfire as they used to call it) for Chrome. I have used Firefox for over a decade, it hurts to see it die this way. I don’t hold much hope with the current group’s direction of the browser.

  73. slapstick said on June 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Don’t forget Forget.

    1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 4:30 am

      ok i won’t Won’t

      1. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries said on June 9, 2015 at 5:05 am
  74. IgHive said on June 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Not Related – Whatever happened to the new comment system from here ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Had to remove it because it lacked some features and caused several issues on the site,

  75. Odin said on June 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I gave up with firefox after pocket integration, now i’m very satisfied with palemoon.

    1. not_yellow said on July 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      I gave up on Firefox after the ‘Rainbow People’ vs Brendan Eich debacle. Palemoon is a much better experience and morally sound to boot.

    2. Yochanan said on June 23, 2015 at 6:27 am

      I gave up with Firefox when Chrome actually surpassed them, which surprised me. Also, that’s close to the same time I bought my Nexus 4. I used Dolphin on Android at first then switched to Chrome.

      How can you be satisfied with PaleMoon? There’s no PushBullet support. Other than that, I do like it better than Firefox.

  76. IgHive said on June 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Version 31 did it for me. Since then Chrome is my default browser. Haven’t opened Firefox since.

    1. not_black said on June 7, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Yeah, I switched to Chrome too recently. Kind of brings tears to my eyes to see Mozilla fucking up Firefox this much. I used Firefox for nearly 10 years.

  77. Daniel said on June 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    +1 Martin!

    You couldn’t word ii better.
    If upcoming Edge works with extensions… hum!
    Might be tempting!

    Something definitely wrong here Mozilla.
    Either you keep basic browser to a minimum and option to add extensions (so that users can tweak it to their liking) or you don’t.

    1. ams said on June 8, 2015 at 4:29 am

      Interesting that you mentioned Edge. Back in the day, Mozilla found favor by playing the card “(depose the leader and) support the underdog”. Conceivably, in this new decade, it will be Edge’s turn to play that card. I haven’t heard that Edge will be available for use outside the Win10 ecosystem though.

  78. Michael J. Tobias said on June 7, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    This is why I use Palemoon and will continue to switch between it and Chromium. No Firefox, no Google Chrome.

    1. not_yellow said on July 17, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Couldn’t agree more.

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