Surprise? 40% of Firefox users don't use add-ons

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 6, 2016
Updated • Jan 6, 2016

Apart from giving its users more control over its features than any other web browser out there, another strength of Firefox is the browser's add-on system.

Just like customization options provided by Firefox, add-ons give developers and users more freedom than any other browser out there (that is not based on Firefox code).

The add-on system is under fire and big changes are upcoming, and not all of the changes are welcome by part of the Firefox community.

Changes like the introduction of add-on signing, the multi-process feature Electrolysis, and concentration on WebExtensions will all impact the browser and the add-ons that are available for it at least on a temporary level.

It is only natural that Mozilla wants to know how many Firefox users are actually using add-ons in the wake of the Electrolysis roll out.

We're interested in a few stats for e10s rollout:

1) what percentage of users have no addons at all
2) what percentage have e10s whitelisted addons
3) everyone else

According to a report by Rebecca Weiss on Bugzilla, about 40% of all Firefox users don't have add-ons installed.

bcolloran just finished a cross-sectional analysis of users and estimated that approximately 40% do not have any addons installed at all.

He said this is for all channels, but that release channel is not that different from the full population.

The linked table cannot be accessed without requesting permission and it is unclear if permission will be granted if requested. According to Mrs. Weiss, the 40% value comes from all Firefox channels which would include development channels such as Nightly or Beta.

What's clear is that these 40% won't be affected by the changes to Firefox's add-on system that Mozilla will launch in the coming months and years.

That leaves 60% of users that may be effected depending on the add-ons that they have installed in their version of Firefox.

Not all of those users will be affected considering that part of the add-ons available for Firefox are signed and compatible with Electrolysis.

It would be interesting to know how many users are affected negatively by the switching on of Electrolysis and add-on signing. The question has been asked, but an answer has not been provided yet on Bugzilla.

Now You: Are you affected by upcoming changes to Firefox's add-on system?

Surprise? 40% of Firefox users don't use add-ons
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Surprise? 40% of Firefox users don't use add-ons
Mozilla revealed on its bug tracking website recently that approximately 40% of Firefox users are not using add-ons at all.
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  1. disappointed said on November 15, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Although this thread is quite old, my 2 cents.
    I do not use many add-ons in firefox, but that is mainly because the nice add-ons I had discovered where made useless by de constant update policy which made existing add-ons incompatible.
    One of my favourites: tagSieve. sadly, the developer has abandoned the rat race to keep it compatible.
    Bottom line: I still use firefox, but not because it is that good, it’s just not as bad as the competition and is available on non Windows platforms as well.

  2. bridalshowerblog said on September 2, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    That’s what he gets for challenging The Hulk to a drinking contest

  3. Bleep said on January 18, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    40% does not surprise me.. I mean, firefox has everything you need: a good security and privacy, very nice speed and it’s beautiful.
    I only use 2 things: adblock plus and a theme to make firefox look more like windows 10. nothing else :D

  4. Anonymous said on January 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    do most firefox users even have the submission of analytic data of the browser enabled?
    >extensions.getAddons.cache.enabled: false

    why did the mozilla folks turn into such scumbag lairs lately?

    1. Pants said on January 12, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      There’s far more than just that preference to mozilla’s telemetry, various health reporting and other analytics
      ^^ See section 0300

  5. JoeHood said on January 11, 2016 at 4:31 am

    @Pants, quieter & sexier? hmmmm On sexier, probably. On quieter, how about this; from a fresh new profile (so there is no prefs.js yet) no timestamps created on startup or on idle in the newly created prefs.js.

  6. Appster said on January 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    “I don’t agree that “Add-On Signing requirement aims to protect simple-minded users while crippling the power users”, I think it is used to protect all users. If Mozilla leave a option to disable it in about:config, malware still can change user.js to able to install its dangerous addon. That will make Add-On Signing requirement useless at all. You can still use Firefox ESR if you need use unsigned addon.”

    Firefox is Open Source. Everybody and his dog can have a look at its code. So a Malware editor has no problem to find security issues. NO MEASURE can possibly protect Firefox from Malware. Firefox is no high security browser or something. It was a customizable browser which put the user in CONTROL. If I wanted a walled garden I would have used Chrome.
    I wonder why you believe that an about:config setting is a problem, while a built-in Javascript PDF reader is not? Are you kidding us??????
    I have noticed Firefox ESR long ago and have suggested it to many users as an option, Harushi.

    “About “Web Extensions API and the deprecation of XUL “, it haven’t appear, so how you know it “will kill off most of the existing Add-Ons”. Are you a Prophet? With me, I will wait and see.”

    It will happen, otherwise Mozilla wouldn’t have announced it in the first place. That is logic, is it not? It will kill off most of the existing Add-Ons as it will lack Low-Level APIs (according to Mozilla). Again, logical. I don’t need to be a prophet in order to understand Mozilla’s message – don’t know if the same goes for you.
    If Mozilla drops its WebExtension agenda it would be a surprise.

    “Good bye and hope not see you in any Firefox articles in the future.”

    At least I know what I am talking about which is highly doubtful in your case. Considering the **** you wrote I wouldn’t be so self-confident. Asking for other users not to post anymore is a bad trait of character, clueless Harushi.

    1. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      As i said. Mainstream users or simplicity lovers show an incredible amount of arrogance. But the more you know and the more you are getting experienced, the more you learn to understand that different workflows in one program are not called “bloat” and are not something bad.

      But for this, as said, you have to grow up first and learn how stuff actually works. But most people today are just lazy and demand just something “that works” ;)

      If that would have been the same during the beginning of home computers like C64 Atari or Amiga age, we never would have made that much progress and we never would face the same level of advanced technology like presented today.

      Oh boy we have the future and we should embrace it with open arms and fire in the heart but what do people do? They are scared like chicken :D

      1. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

        “You and I can see the desastrous changes made to Firefox, but simple users and the fanboy cannot.”

        The scary thing is both groups WANT it that way. Some are Google Chrome UI fans and love Firefox new concept because it is “shiny, web 2.0 style and simple without sticking into the face with useless bloat being removed finally” or they truly believe that without those changes Firefox would actually die.

        Not sure which opinion is worse. Firefox market share was not that bad until Australis, but this and the many PR mistakes like the Brendan Eich incident, Gamergate incident or all the small other PR mistakes like DRM stick and Firefox phones resulted that people started to have a shaken trust in Firefox and Mozilla.

      2. Appster said on January 10, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        I agree, Lestat. There are many simple users (e.g. Harushi) on this blog, sometimes even fanboys (Sören Hentzschel). You and I can see the desastrous changes made to Firefox, but simple users and the fanboy cannot. What do you expect from those? Read Martin’s newest Firefox article and see more fanboy action going on in the comments.

  7. Harushi said on January 10, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Someone on this page tell themselves as “power users” and tell Mozilla is stupid for not doing what they want. I laughed so hard. LOL

    1. Appster said on January 10, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Harushi, it seems you didn’t get the point at all. Firefox is turning into a simple browser and a walled garden more and more. You need proof?

      1) The introduction of Australis forsake the Add-On-Bar and removed the ability to move most of the buttons around in the UI. Small Buttons were removed as well. Instead we got a more customizable main menu which still doesn’t explain the removal of the old features. Firefox lost a lot of its customizability with Firefox 29.0.

      2) The Add-On Signing requirement aims to protect simple-minded users while crippling the power users. Mozilla is even more restrictive than Apple. Apple allows me to install every tool I want into OS X while Mozilla has removed the ability to install unsigned extensions entirely. How is that good for power users?

      3) The Web Extensions API and the deprecation of XUL will kill off most of the existing Add-Ons. Furthermore it will cripple Add-Ons which need Low-Level-APIs in order to deeply alter the UI. Again the power users are the ones to suffer at the hands of Mozilla.

      Before you write stupid things check your sources. Good luck with Chromefox in the future!

      1. Harushi said on January 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm

        @Appster: I don’t agree that “Add-On Signing requirement aims to protect simple-minded users while crippling the power users”, I think it is used to protect all users. If Mozilla leave a option to disable it in about:config, malware still can change user.js to able to install its dangerous addon. That will make Add-On Signing requirement useless at all. You can still use Firefox ESR if you need use unsigned addon.
        About “Web Extensions API and the deprecation of XUL “, it haven’t appear, so how you know it “will kill off most of the existing Add-Ons”. Are you a Prophet? With me, I will wait and see.
        Good bye and hope not see you in any Firefox articles in the future.

    2. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 10:51 am

      The problem if a browser developer suddenly strives to attract simple users/amateurish/minimalist users only is that most of these users show an utter disrespect for everyone who prefers choices. While more experienced users are more willing to accept their features at the same time with features for amateurish users in the same code base.

      Thanks for proving that point. And another reason for me as experienced user (no power user) to avoid Firefox, because i do not want to have anything to do with a browser which strives today to support simple users/amateurish/minimalist users only which show such ignorant attitudes that they truly believe that their features have the only right to exist in the product.

      It really seems to be true, that the attitude of the user base of a product is an actual mirror of the attitude of the developers of a product.

      1. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 11:29 am

        Appster Yeah, and you do not need to be a real power user (who grabs a source code and changes everything on the code level base to his/her likings) to understand that development.

        The only reason why i still comment here about Firefox and technology is because even if i have left Firefox behind i still do care for Mozillas old visions and values, and to see all of that suddenly gone and replaced with just another greedy commercial user number and money based attitude saddens me deeply.

        Because i have used Firefox from the beginning and so i know best that Mozilla had in the past a totally different view of things, that the way to beat a competitors product does not involve quantity only but that the fight is all about quality. There was a time where Mozilla was not primarily interested in how many users where on board or how much money they actually earned each year.

        And that is what Open Source actually should be, fighting and resisting the devil and not sleeping with him.

      2. Appster said on January 10, 2016 at 11:08 am

        Lestat, I appreciate your comments and I agree with you. Mozilla is clearly aiming at simple users these days. Firefox got a primitive, non-customizable UI with Firefox 29 and it is to get simple Add-Ons thanks to the WebExtensions API. Mozilla doesn’t provide a browser for power users anymore. We should deal with that fact.

        I strongly disagree with some people regarding Vivaldi, though. Vivaldi has tons of options and you can customize the UI heavily. Certainly it has more customization options than Firefox nowadays. When WebExtensions ship and Classic Theme Restorer disappears the transformation of Firefox will have finished. The Vivaldi developers instead listen to their users and provide many requested features. They are unlike…

        PS: I also dropped Thunderbird for Postbox, an extremely enhanced fork of TB. I am quite happy with it, more than I ever was with Thunderbird. That is to say the Mozilla products have potential being wasted.

  8. cyberfou said on January 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    No, I’m not worried about Firefox’s plans to require all extensions to be signed, since I abandoned Firefox several years ago in favor of Pale Moon. I’ve never had occasion to regret that decision. All the add-ons I had on Firefox work fine on Pale Moon, and the developer of PM has no intention of following Firefox’s policy, just as he has not followed some of the other decisions FF has made, such as Australis.

  9. Advertiser said on January 7, 2016 at 8:59 am

    40% users don’t use add-ons? Very surprised.
    What are negative aspect of Palemoon than Firefox? I’m trying it today for the forst time and seems that all my main add-ons work, good performance, no plugin-container or Australis interface and related add-on to revert it.

    1. Kenyon said on January 7, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Some pages do not work with Pale Moon as it is missing quite some ES6/ES7/CSS3/HTML5 drafts which Firefox or Webkit/Blink based browsers have added since quite some time, also Youtube has only 720P support as there is no DRM and MSE support and both will most likely never added to Pale Moon as those are against the believe of the developer/the community of Pale Moon.

      And it supports no new add-ons which require Australis, and it will also not support Webextensions, at least there is zero plan for doing so right now.

      If you want to use Pale Moon, just make sure you have a good backup browser available for Youtube and all pages which do not work thanks to the missing web drafts.

  10. Straspey said on January 7, 2016 at 3:57 am

    I’ve been using a Mozilla-based browser since Netscape 4.6 – and began using Firefox almost immediately after its initial release. Like many FF users, over the years I’ve had my issues with the numerous updates and changes – and along the way have learned how to tweak the browser to my liking via a number of useful add-ons, scripts, themes, etc. I have FF configured to not to update automatically, but wait until I choose to do so – and even now, I’m still running v 4.1.02 based ob certain user-friendly elements. Over the years I have also had issues with updates to extensions, which occasionally can change the look, feel and overall operation of an extension for the worse.

    On the other hand –

    My wife uses Firefox on her Windows 10 laptop. — She has no bookmarks, and the only add-on she uses is NoScript, which is installed by me as a security feature. She does not run any scripts or themes – and allows the browser to update itself automatically, without any input from her. She also uses Thunderbird for her off-line mail client and maintains the same “hands-off” approach. She is perfectly happy to use FF and Thunderbird under those conditions — and in some ways I envy her because she has never had to stay up until 4:00 in the morning trying to unwind or back out of some add-on conflict or crash-hell as a result of a corrupt extension suddenly causing the browser to take a trip into the Twilight Zone.

  11. Joe Hood said on January 7, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Actually I never cared for Firefox until they switched to Australis, and that does not make it a copy of Chrome. Chrome has ad blocking add-ons too. But with Firefox you can use Alternate DNS – and then about:config user_pref(“browser.xul.error_pages.enabled”, false); to fix the web pages. So no ads and no adblocking extensions at all. You can also use usercontent.css to clean out elements in your bookmarked pages. And userchrome.css to modify your browser. Chrome has none of that.

    And many of the current Firefox add-ons are so poorly coded that at the first sign of trouble, you need to disable them all and reenable them one by one until you find the culpret. It is the current state of the add-ons that causes the obsession with crashes that Firefox has. Session restore copying everything you do every fifteen seconds as the default setting. Timing your slow start-ups because of an inadvertant add-on. etc etc etc

    So many of them are total crap or change a few about:config settings for you. I have none installed and seriously welcome the add-on signing requirement.

    1. Kenyon said on January 7, 2016 at 9:39 am

      It does make it a wanna be like Chrome clone, exactly created to appeal to simple users like you. And for this power users have to suffer.

      Mozilla should not develope the browser for simple users in mind, they have betrayed advanced users for the likes of you.

      1. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        As i wrote at some other part, i just love to discuss (as long as i am not forced to discuss with Mozilla related guys) :P

        Seems i am one of those attitude and correction zealots which can’t accept that terms and words are r*ped beyond their meaning or used in a context which is just plain wrong :P

        And as i also have written, i am more an advanced user. If you lay out the term power user in it’s most correct meaning that is a person which is able to do modifications even down to the code level of a product sometimes ;)

        And yeah, i have of course found a work-around: Not using Firefox and instead a browser from developers which are the same kind of attitude and correction zealots like i am one ;)

        Please, no beer, i am drinking wine, but never beer. And his was my last answer here, as i have still a lot of homework to do, stuff at home has to get done :P

      2. Pants said on January 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm


        Look, I get it. You feel betrayed. You have a huge chip on your shoulder :) I know what you’re trying to say, but really, playing semantics? Modification? Customization? Really? At the end of the day, even though you and I can agree that removing options/features from FF sucks, none of us like FF getting simplified/chromified etc. But really? Just because the ability to change something moves from the internal FF interface, but can still be achieved thru other mechanisms, is no reason to go all Rambo over it :)

        You know your way around. You’re a “power user” (I’m not using that term to provoke you, I mean you know about prefs, and extensions, and profiles and the secret mozilla konami code and so on). Once again – everything FF has done so far since and including Australis has has zero affect on me, and it should have zero affect on you.

        The upcoming changes tho … we’ll have some real common ground then :) Probably get drunk over them together :beer: Now cheer up :)

      3. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 11:43 am

        Pants, while that removed features are still available in add-on form it does not make it any way less betraying seen from my and many other peoples perspective.

        No matter how many add-ons you can install, a removed feature still stays a removed feature and the argument that you can get all back with add-ons is not affecting the statement that Mozilla cares only about mainstream these days at all.

        But, to put into some more clarification:

        1) Users who prefer usability features in the main core feel betrayed

        2) Users who like features more in add-on form and want a mainstream simple main product feel blessed.

        Changing about:config values falls under modification and not customization, same like CSS changes, you can not actually recreate missing features with it.

        So, Firefox goes more the way that Mozilla want to restrict user interaction at the modification level as they do care more for a mainstreamed experience – same UI which feels at every device running a Firefox build the same.

      4. Pants said on January 10, 2016 at 11:18 am

        quote Joe Hood
        “You can change every single setting in about:config – you can change every single australis pixel in userchrome.css – every single webpage element in usercontent.css. You can add or subtract most anything fron omni.ja You can create different sets of settings and store them in multiple mozilla.cfg files and trade them out as you wish. You can lockPref – defaultPref – user_pref your settings anyway you like. You can not do that in those other browsers.”

        ^^ Amen. I wouldn’t say every single setting, but the amount of settings in about:config is pretty extensive. Add to that the current state of extensions (not the upcoming state), and seriously, does anyone think there is a more customizable browser out there?

        PS: Joe Hood: I bet my FF is quieter than your FF :P And probably sexier too :)

        All this screaming about Australis, can you all shut up already? It was 15 versions ago. The UI change can be reversed (moan moan moan .. yeah .. thru addons .. moan moan moan – get over it: personally I would liek to see more items baked in than simplification, but get over it). Since Australis, every single thing that Mozilla introduced or removed I have been able to remove or replace, change, reverse, edit, delete, spank, keep, work around, overcome or tweak. NOTHING has changed. The real challenges are yet to come.

        quote Kenyon
        “they have betrayed advanced users”

        ^^ Umm, no they haven’t. Not yet. Upcoming changes will have an effect, and we are yet to see exactly how much, but for now, no way. As as you mention further down, about missing web standards in old forks – exactly, I want to have a browser that is actively developed by a large resource to keep it compliant, secure, stable, fast and one that can adopt new tech.

        PS: Keep going guys, this is entertaining :)

      5. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 11:13 am

        And i have nothing against add-ons. During my Firefox usage time i installed around 20 add-ons, for example Noscript or Adblock Plus or Stylish, to write my own CSS UI modifications. But i think add-ons should only be there for features which makes no sense to have them in the main code base, like Pocket, Firefox Hello or mentioned Adblock or Noscript – That examples provide a real ton of so called bloat code when in the main product.

        Customization features instead are no bloat code and need less maintenance time and are main product features. And i am NO power user, but an advanced user. But there is still a to of a difference to a minimalist/simple user.

        I am fully understanding and accepting the fact of modularity, but you can use that concept in the wrong context. That is what Mozilla did.

      6. Lestat said on January 10, 2016 at 10:46 am

        Vivaldi has unique customization features, Firefox with Australis offers only modification possibilities, all real customization features have been removed from the UI. On the contrary my dear Watson, Firefox with Australis tries hard to be a Chrome look-a-like but neither Vivaldi or Otter.

        Vivaldi and Otter add real features, and while both are using Webkit based engines, they are more true to the old Firefox than the new Firefox is true to the old one. The difference is that you can turn a real Chrome clone into an unique browser if you dig deep into the code and add unique functions and features, but you can also make out of an unique non Chrome clone a Chrome similar browser when you strip away which was all niche and replace it with all which is mainstream only, which is what Mozilla has done.

        Being Chrome similar is not the answer, it was not in the past and it is not now.

      7. JoeHood said on January 10, 2016 at 7:29 am

        What do you care if something is open source or not? You already stated that you require a UI with little check boxes. You are not going to open the source and customize anything. Most users are not programmers so the whole idea with open source is that other people create an extension for you to use. But you also stated that you prefer a UI that does not require add-ons. Open source does not apply to your usage at all.

        Seriously, downloading and installing Vivaldi because they call themselves a browser for power users does not make you a power user.

        Ironically, it makes you the clone.

      8. Lestat said on January 9, 2016 at 9:37 pm

        What the Vivaldi developers have done is much more than slamming some kind of add-on over Chromium. Vivaldi is made thanks to JavaScript and React to create the user interface with the help of Node.js and a long list of NPM modules – as you can find on

        You can not remove that modification in an easy way, but believe me, if you could i would have dumped Vivaldi instantly because, yes, it is true, i see only browsers with built inside customization features as really original and unique ones. But depending how Otter is maturing, i make my switch to it anyway in the near future for one reason, it is Open Source while Vivaldi is only partly Open Source.

        And to the recommendation of Pale Moon, i appreciate that and have already reviewed it, but it lacks very much in web draft support so many webpages refuse to work with it. And i very much would prefer one single browser solution than to have to constantly switch between 2 browsers to be able to see every webpage.

      9. Waroman said on January 9, 2016 at 8:42 pm


        In that case you should also avoid Vivaldi because it is also imposter ware. Seems you only see browsers which have customization inside their options as real customizable browsers.

        Vivaldi is only Chromium bundled with a high advanced add-on, so you are using nothing more than Firefox with Australis (in your case Chromium), hidden by some kind of Classic Theme Restorer add-on.

        If you really want to stay true to your believes, you have to dump Vivaldi and switch over to Otter full-time or you better switch over to Pale Moon which i am using.

        But calling Firefox an imposter ware and not mentioning Vivaldi too is some hypocrisy ;)

      10. Lestat said on January 9, 2016 at 7:58 pm

        FUD – there is no need for me to do so. It is a fact. Firefox with Australis is hollow and empty compared with Firefox 22.

        And again, i have no interest in an imposter browser. In Otter and Vivaldi i can customize much more than in Firefox with Australis these days. Less than in Firefox 22, but still more than in Australis.

        I use unique software, no imposter ware. Vivaldi has even a more flexible UI thanks to 100% non native and fully CSS/Javascript, so why should i go back from a browser for power users to a browser from devs who try to remake Firefox into simple user’s heaven.

      11. JoeHood said on January 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm

        Cmon don’t give up on Fx, it is just a learning curve. Remember you are a power user. There is no need to spread FUD. You can change every single setting in about:config – you can change every single australis pixel in userchrome.css – every single webpage element in usercontent.css. You can add or subtract most anything fron omni.ja

        You can create different sets of settings and store them in multiple mozilla.cfg files and trade them out as you wish. You can lockPref – defaultPref – user_pref your settings anyway you like. You can not do that in those other browsers.

      12. Lestat said on January 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        Compared with the old Firefox you can customize nothing at all. But you still should be able to customize the UI without the need for installing an add-on for doing so.

        And compared with Firefox with Australis, a browser like Vivaldi or Otter is much more customizable than Firefox of today.

      13. JoeHood said on January 9, 2016 at 3:12 am

        That is fine – that is what you want. I am passed customization – I have that down pat. No browser compares to Fx as far as customization. Now I am fine tuning speed and smoothness. It is Firefox itself that is hindering that. Mozilla is so concerned with crashes that it has too many background processes going. I have to disable Telemetry and I mean totally disable it. DataReporting – Health Report – Slow Startup – Session Restore – Prefetch – Safe Browsing – Predictor – All Timer Functions – Auto Updating – and on and on and on and you never stop it all.

        Firefox here has never crashed – not once – ever. Why do I have to pay the price because everyone else is add-on happy? And many times you can achieve the same result without the add-on, simply in about:config. What do you know about the add-on author? Basically nothing.

      14. Lestat said on January 9, 2016 at 2:22 am

        Guess you have seriously misunderstood me.

        I and many other people do not see add-on signing as the main problem. The problem is that Mozilla is removing features from the browser itself and replacing them with features a less advanced user likes more.

        They had 2 choices:

        1) Stay a niche browser, which is nothing bad at all, many niche products have a damn good time for how long they exist. Which means to stay true and loyal to their core user base and let the competitors products be the competitors products.

        And number 2, to discard the customization concept, turn the customizable UI instead into some kind of branding/watermarking featuring UI that “sticks out” and is “unique” in looking and feeling everywhere the same on every device, become mainstream to compete in a better way with Chrome’s giant market share (Mozilla sees Google Chrome as it’s direct competitor these days) and as result alienate power users and advanced users (which want features and functions instead of shiny look, Web 2.0 features and only a minimalist way to interact with the browser unlike to what was possible during version 22 of Firefox)

        This was just a turn-around of 180 degree from the concept of “choice and different workflows of users have to be honored” into the concept of “one design – one UI fits for everyone”

      15. JoeHood said on January 8, 2016 at 11:09 pm

        There actually is a lot there that I agree with. That total BS over browser.newtab.url exposed that for a good part of what you say is definitely true. But I do not see the reasoning behind calling others with different usage “simple” and stamp yourself as “power user”. I mean if someone thinks having 3500 open tabs and 114 extensions somehow means “power” I do not see the reasoning there. There is nothing wrong with insisting that an add-on be signed. That should be a minimum.

      16. Lestat said on January 8, 2016 at 10:49 pm

        Well, i for myself see no reason why i should waste my time with a browser which developers see Chrome as role model and try to enforce Google Chromes concept on Firefox.

        Once Servo is available there will also be no more advanced customization over add-ons. No, i see no reason why i should waste my time with an imposter browser. Luckily there are already good replacements available.

        Creators of Vivaldi and Otter Browser are not that treacherous, dishonest and respect-less like Mozilla is towards their original core user base of power users.

        The bigger a company gets, the more the greed is rising. Mozilla is perverting the concept of Open Source to something shameful.

      17. JoeHood said on January 8, 2016 at 10:11 pm

        Firefox is open source – there is nothing stopping you from taking a reverse look at Classic Theme Restorer or Status 4 Evar and sticking the code into omni.ja and easily getting all of that. Chrome will not allow that.

      18. Kenyon said on January 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

        Right. There is a difference between modifying files and doing some real customization.

        Also, show me how i can combine bars with CSS or create with plain CSS a fully working status bar, or how i can re-create with CSS alone all the features Mozilla removed to support simple user’s features and to support simple and less advanced user’s alone.

      19. Lestat said on January 8, 2016 at 7:40 am

        What made it unique was UI customization in Firefox 20-22, the ability to move things without any add-on usage around everywhere in the UI. All that was removed with Australis for one goal: that so called more simplistic users like you are feeling at home now. What you understand of customization and real power users do understand of customization are 2 pairs of different shoes.

        If you want to see real customization, which was featured once in Firefox, take a look to Vivaldi. That are power user features.

      20. JoeHood said on January 7, 2016 at 11:27 pm

        You don’t know what you are talking about. It is exactyly that simple user that needs every little thing to come as a premade extension. Sure extensions such as noscript that are highly complex deserve to be an add-on. But if you are using Firefox there is absolutely no reason at all to use adblockplus or uBlock. And with australis but only with Firefox I can modify any part of it with userchrome.css. You can not do that with chrome.

        Power user? Why? Because you have enabled pipelining? Get real. You do not have the extensive Mozilla.cfg file I have. I doubt you can write a stylish code or a greasemonkey script. All of these things chrome simply does not make available.

        Simple minded users such as you think that because it looks similar it must be a clone. You do not understand Firefox, and what makes it truly unique.

  12. jr said on January 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    The number is almost useless. So 40% of users don’t have any plugin, extension, or theme installed?

    I would want to know how many users don’t use extensions. maybe 70%?

  13. Omega said on January 6, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Surprise! Losing 60% of your userbase is a terrible proposition.

    1. Lestat said on January 6, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Especially if you use chosen target user groups for making “real world tests” and rely that much on telemetry (advanced users deactivate that instantly) like Mozilla does. That made them justify removing features and customization, that makes them possibly justifying either ditching special Webextension API or keep that API also very limited in function or even something worse.

      And even if they talk about only having interest in the user numbers because of their new multi-process feature, Mozilla has lied already before. Examples: No money for Pocket, keeping customization in Australis!

  14. onedeafeye said on January 6, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I had 12 addons and have already lost one. It was one for convenience and while I’m sorry to see it go it’s not serious. Of the 11 left I have 2 not signed, and both are critical. On the upside, I’ve been using Pale Moon to get used to it, and with the exception of embedded FB videos I can use it just fine. So there’s that…
    Probably what I’ll do is use both to make one complete browser.

  15. John said on January 6, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Hmm, there are dev’s that use their own build plugins to automate tasks that do not want their stuff being public on the Mozilla addons site. I Don’t see such usage as being usefull to be shared anyhow, for they make that for their own, not for others. Those dev’s lose this access.
    A browser like Firefox is hugely popular due these usages. Its the people in the know who want such a browser, and are promoting it to their friends and family.

    Meh… I still haven’t found time yet to evaluate the forks of FF for if I can do with them what I need.

    1. wonton said on January 7, 2016 at 5:11 am

      cyberfox is a great alternative to firefox they don’t have the singing requirements
      waterfox is very slow updating so security updates for waterfox are very slow. cyberfox releases same day as firefox fast updates for security.

      1. Appster said on January 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        Of course Cyberfox is another great option. They are quicker with the updates, you are completely right.
        Thanks for the addition.

    2. Appster said on January 6, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Firefox ESR will keep “xpinstall.signatures.required” in about:config, though the regular Firefox versions will not. If you plan to run unsigned Add-Ons in the future I would strongly recommend switching to Firefox ESR. However, keep in mind that Firefox ESR will only receive annual major updates.
      History of Firefox ESR: Firefox 10 -> Firefox 17 -> Firefox 24 -> Firefox 31 -> Firefox 38 -> Firefox 45 …

      You won’t be able to run unsigned extensions in regular Firefox releases starting with Firefox 44.

      If you don’t mind trying Third Party Builds of Firefox like WATERFOX then take a look at them. I use Waterfox and all of my Firefox-Add-Ons work just fine.

      For further information about Firefox ESR or Waterfox check the links in my comment above.

      1. Appster said on January 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm

        @Martin Brinkmann:
        Thanks for your interest in my comment. While only Mozilla can know exactly what they will do in the future I just happened to find that quote on their website:
        “The first ESR version to support signing will be Firefox ESR 45. The current plan is to have ESR work like 40-42, with a preference that can turn off enforcement, but that may change in the future.”
        source: (last updated December 1st, 2015)
        It seems they would stick with it until they decide otherwise. They could do that at any given time, but until this day has come Firefox ESR will be a great option for people with unsigned Add-Ons I guess.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 7, 2016 at 7:44 am

        Appster, did Mozilla make the decision already that ESR keeps the switch? Last time I checked they were not certain about it.

  16. pschroeter said on January 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Why hasn’t someone created a webpage or or extension that checks my installed addons rather than making me dig through the longest webpage- Are we e10s yet? – I have ever seen?

    Also for years I have wanted an extension that checks extensions and lists the highest version of Firefox they are compatible with.

    I have live in dread of Firefox updates for several years now.

  17. Dan said on January 6, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Given Mozilla’s propensity to remove features that are not popular, this could be their impetus to remove addons support from Firefox, save on costs, and squeeze more money from their coffers to… do what, really?

    The Mozilla Foundation claims to be mostly volunteer-supported, and earn about 300 million dollars a year. Yet they seem to be in a perpetual state of decline and must remove features left and right in order to keep the lights up.

  18. Earl said on January 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Another way of saying the same thing: about 40% of users don’t really care what browser they use, they’re really just interested in “browsing”–get in, get out. When developers stop developing for the users that really use an application to its fullest, then what’s the point in “developing” at all? So, Mozilla’s new attitude can be summed up with “Why bother?”.

  19. Rocky said on January 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Although I did use one or two add-ons in the past I currently use vanilla Firefox. I could never quite understand why somebody would want to weigh down the browser with add-ons. KISS !

    1. Jason said on January 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      “KISS” is a good approach to most things in life (except perhaps art), but probably a better approach might be summarized as “KISBF” (Keep It Simple But Functional). When applied to the internet, it means you shouldn’t simplify Firefox so much that you can no longer get the functionality you want out of it.

      Now, you and I may differ on this, but I feel quite naked on a browser that doesn’t have – at absolute bare minimum – some basic ad and tracking protection. But we all have to make our own decisions.

      1. Rocky said on January 6, 2016 at 10:58 pm

        I found that turning on the privacy.trackingprotection.enabled as per Martins article blocks some ads ( e.g the ads panel in

        I know ads can be very intrusive but a case can be made that ads help to fund the cost of sites that might not otherwise be available.

        I also still feel that the more add-ons are used the more complex the codebase will be and can we really be assured as to the integrity of third-party extensions. In theory the code is available to bread but in practice how many are really capable of fully understanding such code.

      2. Pants said on January 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm

        Quite frankly, some of the addons I have, I wish they were baked in – for example, little things like Add To Search Bar (allows you to easily add search fields to the search bar) to improve search, or Find Bar Tweak (lots of tweaks and options and easier to locate items) to improve find, NoSquint (minus the coloring options) to improve site zoom info, CookiesExFilter and CookiesManager (or similar) to improve basic cookie stuff, and others – just polish up and improve whats already there.

        Add in extra little features – cache viewer 2 (yes it views the cache in memory and you can save items out of it) to view the cache, Extension List Dumper,

        Then add in get some real control going – Cookie Controller/Ref Control etc for more choices and granular control (I won’t say noscript, umatrix, ublock origin etc – they’re better off with their own devs, and probably too complicated for the average user, at least at first).

        There’s about 30 things mozilla could just buy/develop and bake into FF with little to no effect on size/performance that would make it stand out. If the vanilla FF shipped with awesome features the others don’t have … *sigh*

        I feel naked if my FF doesn;t have at least 65 addons in it :)

    2. Appster said on January 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Not even uBlock? Good luck with the ads.

  20. Lestat said on January 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Of course i do NOT believe Mozilla would actually kill add-on support as a whole, but as they target indeed more simple and minimalist users today, they could be arguing that that feature has to be made extremely simple like they did it with browser internal customization features, so more of that target user base would be tempted to use it and stay of course with Firefox because it is “better and more understandable now”.

    Anyway, that would mean absolutely no joy for all power users out there if you actually are unable to change more complex browser functionality anymore.

  21. Dave said on January 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I recently learned that the ESR channel doesn’t need add-ons to be signed and there is no plan to change this. I run that channel now and it’s fine. It’s based on Firefox 38 currently but still gets important updates.

    If you are on the Release or Beta channel and you run an add-on that isn’t signed, you can privately upload the XPI to AMO for signing.

  22. Lestat said on January 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Interesting. The normal reason when someone starts to ask if people actually use something, that usually means a decision making process is started about justifying to axe a feature or not.

    What that means, should be totally clear without any trace of a possible misunderstanding.

    1. Pants said on January 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Indeed. I can see them in the future pointing to the addons list (sorted by most users) and saying “After the top 100 addons, the user counts drops to just over 100,000 and then rapidly declines. That’s 0.02% of our user base or less per addon outside the top 100.” (basing this on 500 million FF users – I think I read that somewhere in the last 6 months). And that’ll be all the justification they need for you know what.

  23. joncr said on January 6, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    It’s not terribly surprising. Nothing happens in routine use of Firefox that gives visibility to the existence of add-ons.

    I’d rather Mozilla, Google, et al, officially supported a few add-ons and included that as part of the install process. The current add-on and extension sites are confusing because they are overloaded with hundreds of downloads. Many seem to duplicate each other. How is a naive user (most are) to determine what is both useful and safe?

    1. Doc said on January 6, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Simple. Don’t be naive.

  24. Ben said on January 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    And how did they do the tests?
    How did they evaluate the number of people disabling addon checks?
    How did they correlate addon checking function with the other telemtry that can easier be disabled and lots of people will do so?

    Or did they just a stupid approach: number of ff downloads / number of daily addon pings?

    1. Pants said on January 6, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Pretty sure only a small minority of users can tweak their FF settings to disable basic telemetry. And I don’t mean the checkbox in options. That only changes the telemetry from sending extended data. And health reports probably contain some addon info – and mozilla have been adding in several new prefs recently – such as FHR v2. Even if 10% of users blocked any data sent back, it’s still a massive sample size. I’m sure they also work out +/- margins of error. Additionally, I’m almost dead certain that a unique id (anonymized) is sent. The collected data by mozilla would have been, no doubt, correctly handled by their statisticians – it’ll be count unique ids with zero addon count / sample size numbered by unique id .. something like that.

      1. Croatoan said on January 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm

        After Snowden (in my country) everyone that I know want to disable “spying” or “telemetry”.

      2. Ficho said on January 6, 2016 at 1:11 pm

        Because of telemetry Opera (Blink) made browser without bookmarks (manager) .
        Telemetry is total crap.

  25. Tom Hawack said on January 6, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Am I affected by upcoming changes to Firefox’s add-on system?
    My state of mind is “wait and see”.

    On the short-term add-on signing requirement will certainly block a few add-ons here, and that’ll be starting Firefox 44 or 45 (seems to be uncertainty at this time).

    On a longer term Electrolysis may be less of a handicap since the signing requirement will have already filtered out those of my add-ons which had been installed from external sources to AMO or tweaked by me. Will remain of course old AMO add-ons, signed but no longer updated, some of which most valuable.

    The big deal perhaps is the global add-ons’ code policy that will be introduced with concentration on WebExtensions. If this leads to (as I’ve read) a significant loss of Firefox add-ons’ power and flexibility, then that may be the final straw to make me hesitate on keeping Firefox, at least as my default browser.

    Wait and see. Policies, states of minds are changing very quickly, this is a major reproach addressed to companies nowadays in that they lack clear targets. On the other hand this context may also let us hope that what is announced today and that we fear/dislike may not be carried out tomorrow. Ying and Yang :)

    1. Jason said on January 6, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      I couldn’t leave FF either, unless things go *really* sour. Where else are we going to find a browser that is open source; that can be set to not spy on you; that basically complies with web standards; that offers some degree of customization; and that has a large user and developer community? None of the alternatives check off all those boxes.

      1. Lestat said on January 6, 2016 at 7:08 pm

        Open source is for sure no cure. And Mozilla puts Open Source to shame. I rather use Otterbrowser or Qutebrowser, as both are not humiliating the concept of Open Source. Hell, i even would use a browser like Vivaldi thousands of times more instead than using what Mozilla has made with Firefox these days.

        Talking about various encryption and “security” features – Mozilla really has made their mind to only supporting simple users and “security” searching users, power users which are looking for tons of customization instead are getting ignored today as much as it is possible by the side of Mozilla.

        Luckily there are already enough good alternatives around for users with that special needs.

      2. Pants said on January 6, 2016 at 6:42 pm

        @Jason: OT:

        [quote from someone else]
        Encryption itself has become a honeypot. The article writes, “So he’s given the task to a sort of council system. When PrivaTegrity’s setup is complete, nine server administrators in nine different countries would all need to cooperate to trace criminals within the network and decrypt their communications.”

        It doesn’t break the cryptowars, lol. Does anyone think those nine people will in any way be independent? Of course not. So what is he doing? He’s turning the allure of encryption into a honeypot. The same thing that Tor has done and that Freenet has done. What better way to get those who one perceives as “evil” (a constantly changing definition) to self-select than by engaging in a massive bait and switch.

        That just reinforces my belief that things like TOR and VPNs to a lesser degree actually make you stand out more. I guess it really depends on what kind of threat you’re trying to protect yourself from. I initially was a believer (fingerprinting) in low entropy (it’s just becoming too hard), but now I’m starting to really think its better to just hide in the noise (random everything on every domain change! eg screen res and all associated values, timezone & locale & date formats, user agent, platform etc – as long as each random set made a normal everyday real life common setup). Anyway, yeah … only FF is going to give us any hope of doing either of these, for now.

    2. Appster said on January 6, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      There are also two easy ways to bypass the Add-On-Signing requirement:

      1) You can use Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release). In these builds “xpinstall.signatures.required” will not be removed from about:config as many companies depend on self-developed Add-Ons. Set this preference to “false” via double click and you are good to go if you want to use unsigned Add-Ons, completely without tweaking. The next ESR version will be Firefox 45.
      Learn more about Firefox ESR here:

      2) Use a Third Party Build of Firefox, like WATERFOX. Recently the developer has announced that no version of Waterfox will enforce Add-On Signing.
      Waterfox website:

      1. Don said on January 7, 2016 at 11:30 pm

        Another option for Add-on Signing.

        3) Create an account at Mozilla Addons, and upload the old addon for your personal use. Set the visibility to Unlisted. The addon will be reviewed and hopefully signed. Then download the signed addon.

        That’s what I did for TagSieve, a great bookmark management addon that was abandoned many years ago.

        Before uploading, you need to modify the addon; change the version, owner, ID. I don’t remember exactly what I did; but I do remember it was a real pain as someone who knows nothing about addon development.

      2. Neal said on January 7, 2016 at 12:55 am


        Yes you can, just install it on another directory. For example instead of default “C:\program files\Mozilla Firefox” install it to “C:\program files\Mozilla Firefox ESR” and create a different profile for it. Going back and forth on the same profile is a disaster waiting to happen b/c stuff changes between versions. If you want to keep the same history, passwords, addons the same on both profiles, just use Firefox sync and you can switch back and fourth seamlessly.

        Then create a shortcut and use a “no remote” shortcut to allow it to able to run simultaneously if you want. I personally have 3 channels myself running concurrently. ESR, Stable, Nightly with separate profiles.

        More detailed instructions below

      3. Appster said on January 6, 2016 at 9:43 pm


        Firefox ESR will replace the ordinary Firefox installation. So the answer to your question is ‘No’.

        Nevertheless, keep in mind that Firefox ESR will only receive annual major updates. You will lack the latest and greatest features for one year.
        The next version jump will be: Firefox 38 ESR -> Firefox 45 ESR

        Though advantages of Firefox ESR include:
        – you will still be able to run unsigned Add-Ons
        – your Firefox will remain the same for one year, which means no compatibility issues with Add-Ons during this time span

        disadvantages, obviously:

        – you won’t receive new features for 1 year, only security updates

      4. silat said on January 6, 2016 at 9:30 pm

        Can ESR be run next to and seperate from Firefox stable?

    3. Pants said on January 6, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Same here, almost.

      Signed addons: Out of 65 addons, only 1 of mine is not signed (Extension List Dumper). I can live without it. Who knows, maybe someone will create a replacement. It’s not essential, it was just damn handy.

      e10s: wait and see. Almost all my addons are currently still supported. Looking on and doing a quick scan, I see 13 are compatible, 13 are shimmed, and 3 have bugs. So 29 look like they’re almost ready to go. A number of the others are actively maintained so here’s hoping. There’s still a lot of time to go until e10s, whenever that is. I expect to lose some addons, but I also expect a good number of those not currently compatible, to be so later on.

      The WebExtensions stuff: whatever happens, I doubt I will leave FF (I’ll also have Palemoon). I will still want a maintained browser with large resources to develop fixes and plug security holes, to create speed and stability enhancements etc. Its way to earlier to deal with this. If uBlock Origin, uMatrix, NoScript, Adblock Plus can be allowed to function as they are, even if they are made special cases, then that’s a good reason to stick with it. But again .. way way way too early.

      1. MAK said on February 17, 2016 at 12:15 am

        Also, if you use the Febe addon it too has a “list dumper” in it’s miscellaneous tab in the addon settings.

      2. Pants said on January 7, 2016 at 8:05 am

        @city_zen – Thanks. Works as advertised. I guess I missed it (July 30 2015). Awesome, now all my 65 addons are signed

      3. city_zen said on January 7, 2016 at 6:04 am

        A replacement for Extension List Dumper already exists. It’s rather unoriginally named Extension List Dumper 2:

      4. Tom Hawack said on January 6, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        I haven’t yet counted how many among my 67 add-ons (+/- some go, some come) will be vunlerable to the signing and to the Electrolysis features.

        As for abandoning Firefox as my main browser, I complain sometimes but, to be frank, I doubt I’d seriously consider moving to another browser. The fact is not one at this time has a higher advantages/disadvantages ratio than even what I fear of tomorrow’s Firefox. But it all depends if the future is better or worse than my expectations.

    4. Pants said on January 6, 2016 at 11:23 am

      “or tweaked by me” – how are you going to bypass enforced add-on signing (in stable)?

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm

        I included those add-ons tweaked by me as removed by the signing process and therefor not concerned by the Electrolysis feature.
        That’s what I meant to say, but I must I must develop not my bust but certainly my English :)
        Especially that even in my French mother-tongue my friends often mention my complicated rhetoric! when i’m only trying to be precise : too much precision, development with sections/subsections of thought painfully brought out to sentences may sometimes render the chapter more complicated than it is. Lol!

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