Reactions to Mozilla's announcement about upcoming Firefox add-on changes

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 23, 2015

As a Firefox user you have probably read already that Mozilla plans to introduce major changes to the add-on system of the browser.

The official blog post on the Mozilla blog revealed WebExtensions, Electrolysis, Add-on Signing and the deprecation of XUL, XPCOM and the permissive add-on model in particular, and a rough timeline as well.

To sum it up: Mozilla plans to focus on WebExtensions in the future which offer better compatibility with the extension engines of browsers such as Chrome and Opera.

The deprecation of XUL, XPCOM and the permissive add-on model will break extensions that require deeper permissions or modify core components of the browser.

Mozilla stated that it wants to work with add-on developers, and it apparently is already, to add required functions to WebExtensions to ensure that their extensions will remain compatible with Firefox.

Several add-on developers and Mozillians have blogged about it and expressed their opinion on that development. This article looks at those reactions so that you can get a better picture of what is coming up.

Bill McCloskey (Firefox engineer who works on process separation and garbage collection) responds to concerns that Firefox users and add-on developers have. He states that Mozilla has "lots of ideas" to make popular extensions such as NoScript, Vimperator, Tab Mix Plus or Classic Theme Restorer work using better APIs, and that users and developers can express opinions on

He explains why Mozilla made the announcement.

Again, we’re open to ideas about how to do this. Moving away from XUL will be a long process. We’re announcing all of this early so that we can begin to gather feedback. APIs that are created in a vacuum probably aren’t going to be very useful to people.

Robert O'Callahan, another Mozilla engineer, adds that basing WebExtensions on Chrome's extensions API does not imply limiting WebExtensions to it.

So Firefox addons will continue to be able to do things you can't do in Chrome (though there will be some things you can hack into Firefox's XUL today that won't be supported by WebExtensions, for sure).

Giorgio Maone, creator of the excellent NoScript extension, confirms that Mozilla reached out to him and other add-on authors to design mechanisms and processes that are not yet supported by WebExtensions. This is done to establish a base so that popular extensions such as NoScript and Classic Theme Restorer can be ported to WebExtensions, and to ensure that innovation can still take place.

Developers and users are also concerned about add-ons being prevented from exploring radically new concepts which would require those "super powers" apparently taken away by the WebExtensions API.

I'd like to reassure them: Mozilla is investing a lot of resources to ensure that complex and innovative extensions can prosper also in the new Web-centric ecosystem

Mike Kaply worries that developers won't just "jump at the opportunity" to use the new API, and that the only developers who will actually benefit from this are Chrome developers who will have an easier time porting their extensions to Firefox.

With e10s coming up though, lots of developers have had to make decisions as to whether or not it is worth it to rewrite and some developers have gone through that pain (and it is pain - a lot of pain).

Now developers are being told in the next one to two years they will have to completely rewrite ALL of their add-ons. What are the odds that these hobby add-on developers are going to do that?

Let’s be honest. Availability of APIs isn’t the difficult part of the discussion. Availability of time and energy to even attempt to rewrite all of our add-ons is the problem.


If you have read all posts and comments made in the past couple of days about upcoming changes to Firefox's add-on ecosystem, you may have come to the following conclusion:

  1. Mozilla is dead serious about moving away from XUL, XPCOM and the permissive add-on model.
  2. WebExtensions is a work in progress. It will be based on Chrome extension's API but will not mimic it 1:1.
  3. Mozilla plans to add functions to the API so that popular Firefox add-ons can get ported to it and won't stop working suddenly.
  4. The API will not be as powerful as what Firefox add-on developers have at their disposal right now.
  5. The number of add-ons that will break when the change completes is not know. It is likely that add-ons will break, for instance if they have been abandoned or if their authors won't port them to WebExtensions.
Reactions to Mozilla's announcement about upcoming Firefox add-on changes
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Reactions to Mozilla's announcement about upcoming Firefox add-on changes
Find out what add-on authors and Mozilla engineers think about Mozilla's announcement in regards to upcoming Firefox add-on changes.

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  1. Curtis Kwong said on September 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I do agree on NoScript’ developer though :) the add-on/extension is awesome.

  2. Hussam Al-Tayeb said on August 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I like this decision. I never liked xul. I didn’t like it 15 years ago and I do not like it now. It is slow. This is going to make Firefox better.
    Did we forget how many security issues xul had 10 years ago and how websites could spoof firefox widgets?
    You cannot expect bad APIs to stay forever. Some breakage has to happen to improve performance and open a better future.

  3. pepa said on August 30, 2015 at 10:26 am

    The most important thing for me is well functioning vertical tabs, preferably tree-style (hierarchical). I don’t understand why this isn’t the standard with all browsers, with all the excess horizontal screen real estate. If TabMixPlus and TreeStyleTabs continue to work, I will be relieved. But I do hope more browsers start offering this..!

  4. Mystique said on August 29, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Can anyone actually mention any addons from chrome that we cannot have on firefox due to technical reason that are an absolute must have addon… Anyone?
    I could probably name several addons which cannot and will not ever be had under the chrome browser and that is reason enough for me to not use chrome or applaud the new path in which Mozilla intend to take at least in its current form.
    I’m all for stability and enhancement but lets face it if this new api is not up to the task of fully replacing the current API’s in a seamless manner then it is not a great idea.
    I don’t want to use a browser which does not allow me to customize it to my liking, do we really want a browser which cannot (for example) specify tab widths, multiple lines and whatever else comes with that?
    I know that the author of TabMix Plus is in discussions with Mozilla to resolve this but what of the other addon developers and what sort of “compromises” are we going to have to take as I am not so sure that TabMix Plus will function as it once did under the new api.

    In all honestly I have to say this without a slightest shred or remorse… if you are running a browser packed to the gills with addons, multiple tabs and have an old computer with minimal ram and are using x86 then you are responsible for all of your stability issues yourself.
    Now if Mozilla was actually serious about stability it would push for a shift to x64 and remind people that this is 2015 not 2001, having less than 8GB of ram is not recommended and that x64 has now actually become vastly more popular than it once was and that is with good reason.
    Resisting x64 just does not make any sense to me.
    I had a lot of issues with firefox crashing but since I moved to a more modern system with 16gb of ram and Windows x64 I have had no issue and am running with a large collection of addons and 688 tabs open at this very moment but then again I am not running the official build either but rather Cyberfox so take that as you like. ; )

    And for the record the addon devs are not complaining that they would have to learn to develop for a new API as stated in another article (which actually links to this very article) it is that it is a step in the wrong direction, a technically limited direction in which some addons will not work and developers will not be able to fix that due to the new api being so limited.

    When I tried chrome I was very disappointed by the lack of customization and frustrated by what seemed like oversights in the browser itself. If you want to experience the new vision for firefox then install chrome and try to make it feel as comfortable and as powerful as firefox and you’ll be sadly disappointed because it seems like that is where we are headed.

  5. WTFF said on August 28, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I agree with those people when they say software should enhance and increase the potential of everything that we do with it and make us better for it. The idea that our options should be dumbed down and reduced in functionality and scope on the assumption that it will be better for all of us is absurd. And what happened to the marketing idea of a unique selling point, which in this case for Mozilla is its original Add-on technology (which at the very least works, so why fix it?). Remove this unique selling point and what’s the point of users sticking to FireFox? Eventually users will choose the lesser of all the evils in terms of the remaining browsers with their blandness and stick to just one. I say be different, and give power to the people to achieve greater things.

    Or maybe it is time that we all create a new open source browser?

    Speaking of an open source browser, does anyone happen to have the source code to Firefox 39?

  6. Mystique said on August 28, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    In regards to opera being the first tabbed browser that is incorrect as it was internetworks and there was probably another odd browser (the name escapes me now but it was also a commercial product that went nowhere) however opera was a reasonable browser and its engine was fine however it was lacking in extensions and generally was a comparable to internet explorer in that regard.
    I’m not saying opera was bad but they could have done a lot better for themselves, correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t there some sort of promise of extension around the same time they dropped their commercial browser scheme? (It would have been great really)

    My hope its that out one of these Firefox based browser one of them (hopefully Cyberfox) branch off and create their independent fork. With x64 firefox becoming more and more a popular eventually Waterfox may get squeezed out as it has never really differed itself from firefox in any way apart from its build (I could be wrong) and if that does happen I would love to see them join forces with the Cyberfox dev team really get things cooking. I don’t know enough about PCXFirefox but it does look like a one man build so I’m not sure what is going to happen there in the future.
    Palemoon has always taken its own direction which has sometimes been at odds with extension developers and firefox fence sitters such as myself as they seem to be developing sideways rather than forwards but all in all at this given moment they are in a far greater position to fill in the gap which firefox will leave if they do disgruntle the community at large and water down their browser to accommodate some weak chrome extensions. Palemoon is in a great position to do so because as it stands it may be easier and more comfortable for extension devs to tweak their extensions to work with Palemoon rather than rewrite them from scratch for firefox and that is to even assume it will be possible under the new ‘Webextensions’ system.

    I honestly cannot see Mozilla throwing in the towel and dropping gecko in favour of webkit/blink as they both have completely different ways about doing things which is ingrained into their personalities but then again Opera throw in the towel, and Mozilla is now doing the unthinkable and changing an important aspect which made this browser great, the extensions are literally the only reason why some people use Firefox and now they plan to water it down, its like they are cutting themselves off at the knees.
    I could be wrong and this could be the most marvelous move in the history of web browsing not seen since Netscape V Internet Explorer but I somehow doubt it and it will probably become an even bigger debacle than we think.

    Oh well at the very least Palemoon will be running at full steam as this move will only strengthen their resolve and push them to become even more aggressive. I just hope that the team at Palemoon are become more open, flexible and welcoming to developers than they have been in the past.
    Palemoon may eventually have to drop some of its legacy code and work more closely with extension developers to achieve a much greater system.

    NetCaptor was the name I was thinking of for one of if not the first web browser to have tabs.

  7. dan said on August 28, 2015 at 11:04 am

    If only Mozilla were a publicly traded stock: now would be a wonderful time to short it.

  8. bsod said on August 28, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I just want a DIFFERENT ENGINED BROWSER rather than just a BLOATED WEBKIT/BLINK wrapped VIVALDI which will be followed by FIREFOX soon. Why didn’t OPERA/VIVALDI just revive PRESTO or even fork it to make something new/improved rather than totally kill it, I mean PRESTO really was good both CPU/RAM usage though may have some incompatibility with websites but it’s a given/fixable since its useability/customizability is really powerful even more than Firefox probably and was even the first browser to introduce features like tabs(yes it was OPERA PRESTO) and some web trends that soon copied by other browsers. Other self built browser like pcxfirefox/waterfox/cyberfox/whatever that is dependent on the FIREFOX main branch releases are gonna die and be left to become multiple chromefoxclone when that time comes in 45+. The only 1 that will probably be pure Gecko based/fork is Palemoon which branched/forked out before that Australis builds which soon is gonna become Goanna engine. I didn’t mention Internet Explorer/Edge as it only supports windows and not multiple platforms like Linux/Mac/other MobileOS’es.

  9. Mystique said on August 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    That is a very astute observation “A different Martin”. : )
    Once any piece of software begins to work against you rather than for you then one must question its value and if indeed it is your only option.

    I tend to look at software as keys, keys to unlock a world of potential but in that regard there are some unethical developers which look at it in perhaps the same manner but with different underlining goal and perhaps motivated by less honorable intentions.

    I honestly feel that the world is becoming more and more desensitized to a great many things, just a few moments ago I read an article regarding windows where many people replied and attempted to justify the actions of Microsoft with such things as “well everyone else is doing it”

    This is the type of world we seem to be living in and many are far to quick to give up their rights without a second thought without any sort of resistance purely because “everyone else is doing it”
    We have been lulled into believing that this type of behaviour is acceptable and that is not okay.

    In regards to Mozilla then it is a matter of choice and a clash of ideals.
    I am not entirely sure that Mozilla has lost market share to external competitors but rather to forked projects such as Pale Moon, Cyberfox and perhaps even Light due to rather obvious reasons. The very fact that these forks exist should be Mozilla’s prime concern and inspire a great deal of reflection and thought as to where they (Mozilla) are headed and why these forks exist and what they stand for.
    It actually seems like Mozilla devs are living in a walled garden away from us all when in reality Mozilla was once a browser seen as by the user, for the user and was very much community driven. Mozilla now seems no different to its corporate competitors which is sad really, I would say the only thing that kept it within the hands of the community and people was the great extension developers that helped make this browser great, its almost a slap in the face to developers.

    I personally hope extension developers stay on board to some degree even if they continue to develop its extension for a fork such as Pale Moon or a new fork which maintains the same ideals as I have attempted to outlined and that the many developers have championed over the years.

    1. Mystique said on August 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Also another fork would be PCXfirefox. : )

      I also find addons such as this to be great as it gives you back some flexibility if you are currently using Firefox.

  10. k said on August 26, 2015 at 5:43 am

    please don’t force people to go back to IE

  11. Mystique said on August 25, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Hi LimboSlam
    Its funny you mention that Chrome was built for speed because that is how I remember it (I cheap ploy to lure in people which actually has no merit today) but as it currently stands I hear more people complaining how it has become slower and bloated these days but this begs the question why is firefox attempting to mimic chrome and deviate from their original ideals given that it is Mozilla’s failures which has splintered its user base due to their poorly thought out idea and deviation from the original concept.
    I dislike chrome for a good many reasons and a lot of it has to do with its poor customization options, I mean look at it, the tab bar within itself is a laughable joke, the last I checked there was no way to specify a tab width or allow multiple tab lines.
    This is just the tip of the iceberg and its looks as if this is sadly where Firefox is headed.

    I have Vivaldi installed, it runs smoothly but it has a long way to go to even begin to compete with firefox, it reminds me of a young phoenix browser though but we’ll have to wait and see. The negative thing for me is that it isn’t firefox and does not have the actual same feel, it feels more like chrome than anything else.
    I am not terribly fond of the interface as it seems too flat and tablet-esque for my liking but I guess if anything at least its not chrome.

    Maybe its time Mozilla maintains two browsers again rather than one. Firefox can become the browser nobody likes and Phoenix browser can be the browser every other person uses just like the old days but I doubt that will happen because beyond these simple changes there seems to be a of decision making that is at odds with its past and its user base.
    Just like the way Microsoft has developed windows it seems like a betrayal of not only its past legacy but its users.
    Maybe I am getting old and its time I migrate to Linux or something :/

    Anyone remember the days when the browser wars included two browsers of the same company and firefox won the battle against its bigger brother? Anyone remember why was that? I do and it seems Mozilla has forgotten its past history.

    1. Sven said on August 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

      Why do you think Linux is for the old? :/

      1. Sven said on August 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

        Yeah, that would make sense. Wisdom and Windows 10 (which is far from being the same) :D

      2. A different Martin said on August 26, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        Because with age comes wisdom? ;-)

  12. Mystique said on August 24, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I am just increasingly concerned and perplexed as to why Mozilla should feel the need to follow Googles lead on anything and more importantly addons when Google should be taking notes from Mozilla on how to do addons and extension right.
    This is a bad thing for both Chrome and Firefox users alike. There are many things lacking in Chrome right now that could benefit Chrome and its users from allowing a deeper level of customization but given its extensions systems weakness then they may never know the delight of the kinds of enhancements that could be achieved using a similar system to Firefox.

    I’m glad Pale Moon exist, at least conceptually it stands for more than what Mozilla does to many now.

    I wonder if Mozilla has even considered that the very reason why people have left Firefox for Chrome was because it has deviated from its original fundamentals in which its very user base/community believed and shared in so deeply.

    The reception to this news has been mostly negative, as it appears to be a monumental mistake.

    1. LimboSlam said on August 25, 2015 at 12:28 am


      Google Chrome is “built for speed, simplicity and security,” as their advertising clearly states, not complexity, flexibility and customizations as you see in Pale Moon or Vivaldi (a blink/webkit based engine, and has some of Firefox and Opera Presto functions combined), now Vivaldi is in alpha soon to be in beta, and if you did not know, it’s run by a bunch of former Opera Presto guys.


  13. mic said on August 24, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Is this what Google ordered? Are they maybe even putting money into these changes? I am sure everybody is happy that Firefox is already at the version 40 and not something like 10.7.5 because you know 40 is kinda more.

  14. GunGunGun said on August 24, 2015 at 5:33 am

    I’m sure people and I cannot bear anymore, they destroy all their addon to run Chrome’s extensions on Firefox or make Firefox’s extensions run on Chrome but it is not worth, help their rival is kill themself or I doubt this is a marketing move.

  15. Walter Rountree said on August 24, 2015 at 5:26 am

    I wonder why they really do changes like this. I just assume because it placates their selfish desires. Kind of like firing the non-HOMO leader of the company. Purely ideological. The execs at Mozilla have lost their minds. Firefox is going to die.

  16. Gonzo said on August 24, 2015 at 5:05 am

    People don’t use FF because it’s the fastest or most secure. They use it because it’s the most flexible and least creepy. How many more users have to leave before this is understood?

    1. LimboSlam said on August 24, 2015 at 8:26 pm


      I know right! That was the whole reason I used Firefox in the first place, now with them bloating up (in my opinion) Firefox to make it FXChrome alike and with them killing off XUL, XPCOM and XBL add-ons, there goes our flexibility and customization!!

      However in the long term, if this project (WebExtension API) goes as plan and if the Pale Moon team gets this implemented some how, it could possibly balance out the Pale Moon vs Firefox situation. But if not, we mite be a ticking time bomb, though more and more add-on devs or devs in general have becoming around Pale Moon and making patches here and there and starting to develop for us; improving our code base for flexibility, so I hope for the best. Now if anyone want’s to see our end game, please join us and make Pale Moon your browser (if you want, it’s totally your choice).


      Yes VIvaldi may be another “chrome clone,” but what makes so popular and enjoyably is their customization (a little of Firefox and Opera Presto functions combined) and how they listen to their users feedback, not ignoring them and shoving unnecessary features down their throat like Mozilla does with it’s browser, Firefox. That’s the difference in VIvaldi.

      **NOTE:** I also want to make something clear, is that use a variety of Gecko based or forked browsers/programs. This includes Pale Moon and Firefox, but Pale Moon is my full time browser (my default choice) and as for Firefox, I leave it alone and only use it for testing purposes. So just because I’m a Pale Moon user and try to give a hand by promoting this awesome browser it has become (I’m not paid to do this nor was it assigned to me, I do it because I want to; it’s my choice) does not give you the right to tell me I’m full of it or give us a derogative nick name to others that use this browser.

    2. Dave said on August 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm


  17. RIPfirefox said on August 24, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Is Mozilla still gonna use the Gecko engine or going the Blink route of Google Chrome?! I mean Opera very well got the balls to announce it publicly that they gonna bury Presto and go ChromeClone(even if getting alot of powerusers/powerdevelopers bash them hard and drop their browser heck most of them moved to firefox for that reason). VIvaldi is farfetch from being an absolute messiah of Opera Presto days as it is still using and limited by Blink Engine as it’s core hence is just another ChromeClone with non customizable UI and bloated to the core!!! Microsofts Edge is meh, only supports WIndows 10?! Which most enterprise or companies not gonna adopt due to privacy issues/inbuilt spyware heck I myself is just testing Windows 10(Edge crashes like a lot and slow as hell) and not gonna become my main OS.

  18. Rodalpho said on August 23, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    The ONLY reason I use firefox over chrome is that firefox properly supports mouse gestures with the Firegestures extension. It ALWAYS works, I never have to re-do gestures, and it works on every page.

    Chrome mouse gestures addons are various degrees of terrible. Most of them are essentially malware, injecting ads and tracking your activity, and the very few that aren’t (minigestures and the paid smoothgestures NOT the free smoothgestures) simply don’t work very well. if I have to repeat my gesture, it sucks. If it doesn’t always work, it sucks.

    Firegestures ALWAYS works.

    1. p3t3r said on August 25, 2015 at 3:49 am

      I am happy to confirm Firegestures also working very fine with PaleMoon. :-)

    2. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Never say never…. yet I dare with Chrome, the browser. Never.
      I’ve already removed Google from my browser Web search engines, calling the ad company only for images and maps, cookies refused, caches+history cleaned before and after. Less I see bigG better I surf.

  19. marc klink said on August 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    The first of your conclusions is the only thing really needed, and only the first words. “Mozilla is dead”

    All that has to happen is to start a pool on how long to the event, and exactly what time death will occur. There really is no other way when the idiots running the project refuse to listen to the user base.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      I wouldn’t be so affirmative. If everything is relative that includes browsers’ appeal. There aren’t that many browsers and a choice may be conducted more by the quest of the less bad than by that of the best. No need to be an expert to identify sources of changes observable everywhere on the Web, tools, applications, browsers included, as the force, the “black hole” which swallows our past relationships to them by planning a new world-wide Web system, infrastructure. From there on some will resist (Pale Moon in its category) others will conceive the challenge as a “join them if you can’t beat them”, Mozilla for instance. I’d be happy to know a browser which hasn’t opted for the new “all your data belong to us” implicit but relevant credo, besides Pale Moon of course. I might very well have completely mistaken the browser’s developer attitude if I get to understand it was and appears to be more than ever pertinent.

  20. A different Martin said on August 23, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    I’m curious what Pale Moon’s response to this development — and that of old-school-extension developers — is going to be.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      If we don’t make the Firefox vs. Pale Moon debate an ideological one remains a balance : on one side Firefox which has the advantage of handling add-ons up to their latest required compatibility version, on the other a fork (less and less as it emancipates, already has) which has another approach to what a browser should be and manages add-ons consequently, including those incompatible because requiring latest Firefox.
      Now, if the advantages of Firefox disappear, mainly here add-ons no longer running on coming updates with all the announced changes, the balance might very well come to the advantage of Pale Moon, still or again depending on if you’re a faithful Pale Moon user or a user who abandoned it at one time.
      If I have to experience a totally new addons’ management, requirements, ease of creativity, limit of focus etc. then I see little to keep me sticked to Firefox/Cyberfox (the latter is my choice presently).

    2. Sven said on August 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      What should Pale Moon’s response to this be? The fact was recognized and that’s more or less it. Check the forums, if you want to know details.

      1. Sven said on August 24, 2015 at 10:49 am

        I cannot speak on behalf of the project but the Pale Moon community will surely welcome every extension author who wants to make his stuff available to us. Just as we welcome every user who wants to join us. As far as I understood, there are already plans how to keep a rich extension list/repo for Pale Moon. But people should understand that it is still a small project and there are many things going on and there is no need to do things in a haste.

      2. A different Martin said on August 24, 2015 at 4:32 am

        What should Pale Moon’s response to this be?

        Maybe to actively recruit old-school-extension developers to continue to develop their extensions, in the way they are accustomed to, specifically for Pale Moon? For most, it’s going to be a lot easier than rewriting their extensions from scratch for Firefox’s new WebExtensions API. And for some, it will allow their extensions to continue to do things that will no longer be possible in Firefox … at least not until Mozilla extends WebExtensions functionality to accommodate developers’ special requests. That’s the kind of response I was thinking of.

        It seems to me that if Pale Moon is to survive and flourish, it needs to maintain a rich extension environment. If Mozilla succeeds in recruiting most developers to the new WebExtensions API and Pale Moon does not adopt a compatible (possibly parallel) extensions API, I’m concerned that that will threaten Pale Moon’s long-term viability. And that’s why I was curious.

  21. Dieu said on August 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    FIREFOX the dumb browser for dumb people !

    – Mozarella “The Dumb” Team

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      You mean made from cow milk and not from buffalo milk? :) Oh! my God, shocking.

    2. El Goopo said on August 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      If the alternative is to cater to selfish jerks who think they’re smart and call others dumb, I’ll take Mozilla’s approach any day. Have some shame.

  22. Natan said on August 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    The way I see it is that Mozilla had to make a choice: either to let Firefox die slowly, or to take a risk and hope that some users/developers of Chrome would be more likely to come to Firefox. If you are a Firefox user, I can see the frustration, but this change was focused more on the Chrome users.

  23. not_black said on August 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    What about extensions that have been abandoned 5 years ago but are still working? There is no way their original developer will rewrite them.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Collateral loss.
      The era of amazement, wonder, enthusiasm which was the lot of users’ ability to tweak, to modify, to personalize their computer environment is on its way to decline. We’re leading to hyper-clean, cold centralized systems, from the OS to its applications and browsers as first of them. In our category we are abandoning — users are obliged to — a democratic environment for dictatorship. In the name of security, for our good etc etc …
      As far as I’m concerned I’ve already started to dream elsewhere. This volume called a computer has become, here, a tool like the phone. I’m quietly but surely moving elsewhere when there was a time fascination held me on the go for innovation and surprises from the basis, that is from us. Only bad surprises, not ours. I admit being fed up with the curve appearing in August 2015, be it Win10, be it Mozilla, be it fields of creativity which slowly are being burned for the sake of oligarchies.
      See you later, my friends.

  24. Mushaf said on August 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I think it’s high time Mozilla leave the age old API behind and moves towards a more modern and secure approach. If they can make XUL and XPCOM based popular add-ons work alongside it will be great. I, at least, want Classic Theme Restorer to work fully.

    Add-on or extension development hardly has any monetizing value for most developers. In general cases, the need of creating an add-on arose from personal need or hobby. When Chrome came in the market many add-on developers, who were also users of Firefox, switched to Chrome and completely abandoned their projects. You can find a lot of once-popular add-ons in Mozilla’s add-ons repository which didn’t get an update in past 2-3 years, and many of them are now incompatible with current Firefox version.

    Meanwhile, Chrome’s market share kept on rising and it’s easy to make extensions for it, whether those are as powerful or not. It takes less time to develop and maintain a Chrome extension which gives you more time to do your other works. Also Chrome has a more stable ecosystem than Firefox’s. You can be more confident that your extension will keep on working after ten more Chrome versions.

    The best thing about making Chrome extensions compatible with your browser is that you won’t have to build a separate ecosystem for extensibility and you can focus on improving your browser’s core. Which is exactly what Opera, Vivaldi and Microsoft are doing. Mozilla had to go on board.

    The question is whether Firefox can still distinguish itself from Chrome. If it can it will live and remain a worthy competitor. If it can’t, it will slowly perish in Chrome’s shadow.

    Mozilla definitely doesn’t want it’s doom and I see some rays of hope from what the Mozilla engineers are saying.

    1. Lestat said on August 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      So basically the right thing would be to move to the new technology no matter if it cripples the amount what you can customize of the browser?

      That is just pure plain stupidity! People want a browser which is unique, which sets itself away from the competition.

      All the feature removals from Mozilla so far have just reached the opposite goal. Simplifying what you can do with extensions is no different. It is the opposite and will frustrate lots of people who want a unique non standard Firefox experience!


      Btw. something offtopic!

      Btw. that bit older comment here is an interesting read, but also in relation towards Mozilla’s plans:

      As it seems it is not only about simplification, Mozilla fears to be “anti competitive” if they keep features which make them more special than Chrome!
      “Why would Mozilla want this when it is still the add-ons made specifically for Firefox that retains a large amount of users and sets it apart in many ways from other browsers.”

      Jorge Villalobos:Are you suggesting we should be intentionally anti-competitive?”

      Well, now 2 years later Mozilla has finally started to remove that “problem” What they do not understand is that an “equal playground” gives them no benefits.

      Chrome is faster and is more state of the art in future web technology, Edge and IE are integrated in Microsoft operating systems same like Apple Safari in MacOS.

      Wondering how Mozilla will have an advantage if they remove actually their only advantage they have – complexity!

      Very troublesome and shows that it is not only about oudated VS. recent technology!

      1. Lestat said on August 23, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        Conspiracy theory? It is all there to read, in the link i have posted.

        Mozilla guys should have been more careful, the Internet never forgets anything!

      2. El Goopo said on August 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm

        Oh great. More conspiracy theories and fitting the information into some doom-saying propecies. Thanks for the level-headed perspective and your great contribution back to Firefox.

  25. Sven said on August 23, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I find Mike’s post sadly realistic.

    1. Lestat said on August 23, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      The Question is if Mozilla will be able to deliver enough API to catch up with the previous customization features.

      But.. As they have already deleted customization for simplicity, i find it hardly possible that they suddenly decide to change course again and make the browser more customizable.

      After all, Mozilla’s goal is to offer largely Chrome parity.

      1. El Goopo said on August 23, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        No, it’s not largely to offer Chrome parity. That’s just one of the goals. People just have a hard-on for claiming that Firefox is trying to become a Chrome clone, because being uninformed and overly negative about everything is easier than the alternatives.

  26. RIPfirefox said on August 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Guys CHROMEFOX is legit now? Opera with it’s unique and very custimizable Presto Engine got Chromified so I guess it’s legit. Glad that there is an alternative fork Gecko Based browser Palemoon(soon Goana) and hopefully Seamonkey/K-Meleon continues. Too bad there is no fork for Presto engine(guess due to it being porpiety and not opensource) w/c is now dead. Trident/Edge is far from getting large chunks of userbase as it only support WIN10 and not a variety of OS from XP to iOS/Android/Linux doubt it’ll even nip in global scale but by the least it is under a billion dollar company Microsoft anyway.

  27. Dwight Stegall said on August 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Firefox add-ons have always been far superior to Chrome extensions. They are more stable and have many more features and options. I hope this won’t be the end of that.

  28. Marco said on August 23, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Now its time to show how great this Open Source idea really is. If the recent announcements about the future of FF is not enough reason for a serious Fork, what else is? IMHO it didnt work (yeah i know Palemoon) in the past because FF was always fine basically and Mozillas bad decisions undoable with addons etc.

  29. juku said on August 23, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Who the #$@! is doing these decisions in Mozilla!? The permissive addon model is a selling point for Mozilla products! If Firefox never existed and there were only Chrome and IE, wouldn’t it be an awesome idea to create a new competitive browser that anyone could extend with addons that are not limited or controlled by the vendor of the browser? Stupid Mozilla.

  30. Richard said on August 23, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Firefox is probably on its way to oblivion. The constant changes to their code model and the disruptions to the user base and to its add on developers, while Chrome, Safari and now Edge move forward without these issues, are the reasons why. The people running Mozilla are like the guys at BlackBerry who killed that company. It is so sad that the browser that changed the Internet landscape is in the hands of such incompetents.

    1. El Goopo said on August 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      It’s easy to feel that way if you don’t understand what’s happening and don’t want to. Firefox is breaking anyway, and in order to fix it they have to take steps that many of us are worried about. But just bitching and moaning and scapegoating and proclaiming doom won’t help, and that’s all that 99% of the vocal userbase is willing to offer. Mozilla are the ones who have to face up to the realities and do something about them, if we’re going to hide our heads in the sand.

    2. Dieu said on August 23, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      “The people running Mozilla are like the guys at BlackBerry who killed that company. ”

      BINGO !!! It’s exactly what happen now…

  31. Ben said on August 23, 2015 at 11:27 am

    They will fuck it up and probably limit addons too much like chrome does (where you cannot even use mousegestures on chrome’s own pages).

  32. Neal said on August 23, 2015 at 10:58 am

    If you use Firefox on low specs computer like those dirt cheap Windows 10 tablets, then you notice that Firefox has a lot of Jank, very noticeable with regards to the interface even with clean profiles with no addons. I think e10 and abandoning XUL will eventually solve this problems, if how much smoother Chrome is than Firefox and testing e10 in the nightly channel is any indication.

    Kinda like how Firefox was on Android. It was unusable with XUL interface, and now it is pretty good using Android native interface and of course it has had e10 for a long time.

    I think the general consensus is that these changes will make base or vanilla Firefox better, but will probably be a disaster for the addon community including many of my addons. However, what the noscript developer stated gives me some hope though.

    1. Phoenix Burning said on August 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      and right there is the reason why firefox is going downhill (and windows for that matter)

      Catering to tablets first and desktops last, so in other words we get back-ported rubbish much to the same as the gaming market (rubbish back-ported console based games).
      I highly doubt this will make Firefox better, it will however please chrome users and the scrappy casual users still dwindling their time away on tablets playing candy crush or some other retarded game whilst handing over loads of dollars and dimes per day for stupid apps and rubbish games.

      If firefox loses a large percentage of addons and developers then it will fail.
      If Mozilla cannot at least come up with anything as powerful as XUL which affords us the freedom to manipulate the browser to fit our needs completely as we once did then it is a failure.

      I’d like to hear more about these fantasized “benefits” because right now the bad is outweighing the good and if the good is to appease chrome gnomes and tablet tards then it is a failure.

      Strangely we have not heard from Wladimir Palant and the adblock plus team yet as I am sure they would have some sort of opinion on the matter, whether you use the addon or not I do feel his opinion holds a lot of weight here.

  33. Rob said on August 23, 2015 at 10:37 am

    This seems like a bad move right now. I’ve experimented a lot with Chrome, and the extensions / add-ons just don’t work as well and can’t do what they can in Firefox. It seems like this may kill what makes Firefox the Swiss Army Knife of browsers it is.

  34. nonqu said on August 23, 2015 at 10:19 am
    1. El Goopo said on August 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Good. His laziness will be remembered if he comes back and finds that his addons won’t work in the new addon system because he never worked with Mozilla to ensure they would.

      1. nonqu said on August 24, 2015 at 12:09 am


        Yeah, many add-ons started when Mozilla was the best thing out there and devs simply wanted to contribute to make the browser better. Then Mozilla started removing features. there was a huge number of great addons that were abandoned when they removed the status bar. The same when they removed the addons bar. Similarly with other changes – extensions simply stopped being compatible and devs couldn’t be bothered to fix them for free. AiOS dev clearly stated that he doesn’t have time to work around all that madess and stopped active development besides some bugfixes now and then. Addon devs are awesome people who do great things for free, to benefit the community. To call them lazy is beyond stupid.

        But who cares. There’s vivaldi, there’s opera. Seeing how things go, when firefox dies there will be noone left to mourn it and web developers will be happy that the crappy gecko is gone and they can focus on making better websites that work with blink without all that “moz-” crap in css.

      2. DonGateley said on August 23, 2015 at 10:55 pm

        What fucking arrogance, and I don’t mean Christopher! Because he chooses not to take on the large amount of work Mozilla is assigning to him he is lazy? Expect him to be the norm. These developers have better things to do and will have better places to do it so it seems. Make the burden of maintenance too great, as Mozilla is doing to a ridiculous degree, and maintenance will cease. That’s not laziness, it is wisdom in the allocation of precious time.

  35. Earl said on August 23, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Conclusion #1: Mozilla is dead

    You can stop right there.

    1. Joker said on August 24, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Just wanted to write that myself. :)

  36. ccDrop said on August 23, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I’ve long had to switch to Palmoon as my browser for old extensions, so until Palmoon isn’t updated anymore I’m more then happy to stay in the post 30’s era. If I ever do have to switch my main to be honest I don’t think it would be to FireFox. I couldn’t ever trust them again after their last few moves. The one thing I can say about Chrome/IE is that I already had low expectations of them so they hasn’t ever let me down beyond what I fully expected of them. XD

    Opera on the other hand truly broke my heart… I was a Presto user and fan since the days when you actually had to pay for it.

    1. ams said on August 24, 2015 at 3:26 am

      About the time of firefox 16 (IIRC) I installed Opera to check it out and it gave me the creeps, in the same way the recent firefox versions do, or would, if I were forced to use latest version. …no, thank you. I don’t wan’t opera email, I don’t want an opera “login” account, I don’t want opera social circles and…

  37. IgHive said on August 23, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Include this too

    The likely end of DownThemAll?

    1. Locki said on June 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

      That addon needs to be rewritten. Have you seen what happens to the responsiveness of the browser when you download at full speed?

    2. nightmare said on August 23, 2015 at 11:07 am

      This is a nightmare. I want it to end!

      > and to ensure that innovation can still take place.
      Innovation can’t take place if the API is only extend to ensure the support for existing major addons! How about the innovation of new addons that would require more permissive access. Addons will be limited to what the webShitAPI supports. That will be the end of innovation.

  38. Nebulus said on August 23, 2015 at 9:12 am

    This move is a step closer for Firefox to becoming a Chrome clone (see point 2 in the conclusions + extension signing in order to take some control from the developers and users and give a part of it to Mozilla – a typical Google mind set). This is probably going to be the move that will send Mozilla into oblivion, as powerful extensions were the only thing left that differentiated it from other browsers. I hope that this won’t happen, because I like Firefox and I want to continue to use it, but at the moment this hope is pretty slim… :(

    1. El Goopo said on August 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      This attitude is what’s holding Firefox back. We want to have control over Firefox while demanding that Mozilla do the impossible with the limited control they have now. Electrolysis will break a lot of addons as a result, because it changes so much of Firefox the way we wanted, and it’s impossible to not break a lot of addons to make such a major change.

      And so, Mozilla is finally biting the bullet and trying to come up with ways that will benefit addon authors in the future, so these breakages aren’t nearly as likely. And yet, we’re bitching and moaning about losing control over a product, when we have never earned the right to that control to begin with. We just assume we have because it placates our our selfish desires. But every time it comes down to actually fixing Firefox or improving it – that’s not OUR job.

      For one I’m glad that Mozilla sees the writing on the wall and is being up-front about it. If they lose the dead weight that is the users who are part of the problem, then Firefox will only emerge stronger for it. We’re already going to lose a lot of addons from what we demand Mozilla do to Firefox, so this is the right time to shed that dead weight.

      1. Dave said on August 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm

        I don’t think this is a smart comment. The strength of Firefox is in its existing add-ons archive, not new javascript add-ons that let you play Cut The Rope in a pop-up Window. That’s what Chrome is for.

      2. Nebulus said on August 23, 2015 at 7:36 pm

        I think you assume a bit too much in your comment… Electrolysis might be something you (and may others, I’m sure) wanted, but not everyone did. I don’t see the benefits of a multi-process Firefox, I just see the blind desire to be like Chrome no matter what.
        Also, expressing an opinion about a product someone uses hardly qualifies as “bitching and moaning”. And I know your stance about having to somehow “earn” the right to “control” a product – and I disagree with it now like I disagreed with it before as well :)

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