Classic Theme Restorer may be dead by the end of 2017

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 26, 2016
Updated • Jun 25, 2017
Firefox, Firefox add-ons

Mozilla announced a couple of days ago that it plans to make Firefox support only WebExtensions add-ons by the end of 2017.

While that seems far far away right now, it is almost certain that things won't be ready by then. What I mean by that is that WebExtensions capabilities won't match those of Firefox's current system.

While popular add-ons like NoScript will likely be ported over thanks to Mozilla working with developers actively on implementing missing API features, the same cannot be said for other add-ons.

There are three core reasons why an add-on may not be compatible with Firefox 57 anymore (when WebExtensions become exclusive):

  1. The add-on author has not ported it over to WebExtensions. This will happen for abandoned add-ons, but also if authors have no interest in porting their extensions.
  2. The add-on author would like to port the add-on to WebExtensions, but cannot because the WebExtensions capabilities don't allow it yet (because of missing features).
  3. Because WebExtensions will never support features needed by an add-on.

Any popular add-on under 1) may be forked or picked up by someone else. While there is no guarantee that this is going to happen for all of them, the past has shown that Firefox add-on developers have picked up abandoned add-ons, and forked them to make them compatible with newer versions of the browser.

I run three add-ons in my main Firefox work profile. Those are NoScript, Classic Theme Restorer, and Dictionary Switcher.

Classic Theme Restorer

classic theme restorer

A recent post by Aris, developer of Classic Theme Restorer and several other popular add-ons such as Classic Toolbar Buttons, NewScrollbars, or GlassMyFox, suggests that Classic Theme Restorer may be dead by the end of 2017.

While Aris seems to have interest in porting over his extensions to WebExtensions, he notes that this is not possible right now.

Now its real, CTR as we know it (and all my other Firefox add-ons), will be discontinued by the end of 2017. We still have no way to change Firefox ui using WebExtensions and all my add-ons are about ui modifications. Seems like its almost time to get used to another browser.

The end of the popular browser extension would bring the Australis design of Firefox to all users who relied on Classic Theme Restorer up until that point.

This highlights one of the main concerns that the move to WebExtensions exclusivity raises: The APIs are not there yet. In fact, a whole category of add-ons, all that modify the browser UI, cannot be ported over because of missing APIs and the situation may be similar in other areas.

What makes this even more problematic than it is, is that no one seems to know whether the capabilities that WebExtensions APIs will deliver once they are made available will be sufficient to port add-ons over.

Classic Theme Restorer is but one of many add-ons, Tab Mix Plus is another, that faces this challenge.

With APIs not ready yet, not even for testing, and uncertainty in regards to what WebExtensions will support, it is obvious that some add-on authors are not thrilled about the change.

In worst case, this could lead to an exodus of talented developers.

Closing Words

Mozilla could have waited with the move until APIs are ready for the most part, but the organization decided not to do so. While there is still a chance that the decision is delayed, so that the cut won't be made in Firefox 57 but a later version of the browser, it is not something that add-on developers can rest their hopes on.

I can see the benefits that WebExtensions offer but Mozilla's move will irritate part of the add-on development community and part of Firefox's user base. In worst case, it could mean that excellent developers such as Aris move on to other projects or other browsers, and that users who rely on add-ons to function that are not ported either stick with an outdated version of the Firefox browser, or switch to another.

Now You: Which add-ons do you consider essential in regards to WebExtensions?

Classic Theme Restorer may be dead by the end of 2017
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Classic Theme Restorer may be dead by the end of 2017
Classic Theme Restorer, and other popular Firefox add-ons that modify the web browser UI, may be dead by the end of 2017.
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  1. Andy said on December 16, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I just want my dang add-on bar back.
    Seriously, having a bunch of add-on buttons up top is so annoying. Makes my browser look like a pimp. I’d rather tuck them away down at the bottom, to the side, something.

  2. Sam said on December 1, 2016 at 3:37 am

    If CTR, Tab mix plus and download helper disappear from FF I’ll finally be forced to look for another browser after being a loyal FF user from the start. Such a shame Mozilla is doing this. I don’t understand the technical stuff, this is just my position as a user.

    1. John Jacobs said on November 12, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      I am one of those many, many “individual” users who for the moment, am trying to assure that I have a stable version of FF and locking it down (not updating,ever). BTW I do understand WebExtensions (having been in IT for over 40 yrs / now retired) however just like Sam stated when CTR and TMP no longer function, I too will be forced to leave Firefox after some 20 or more uncountable years.

  3. Alex said on November 27, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Firefox is long ago dead. Palemoon rocks!

  4. Lestat said on November 27, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    For everyone interested, real caring users and… well… others:

    I suggest you take a look inside here. And everyone else too, this thread is about real experts.. the theme and add-on authors who know how they are affected by the Webextension topic and who got harassed since half an eternity already by Mozilla and their market share driven decision making process!

    1. bwsHomeU said on November 28, 2016 at 4:59 am


      Let them come on reddit and dispute DrDichotomous. Don’t be cowards in another forum he isn’t looking at.

      Otherwise it’s just a load of “Cry Me A River”

      1. bwsHomeU said on December 2, 2016 at 3:51 am

        “Greetings, one from the old Dinosaurs over at Mozillazine. Btw. i remember you, you have earned the ban as you are ok with all their changes no matter how much it is limiting power users.”

        LOL, sorry KenndaKun but I haven’t been over there in three years and I was using a different name at the time, so you wouldn’t know who I was. But good try, though. ;)

        “then you would not be that hateful for complex features”

        Well perhaps you shouldn’t be so hateful towards WebExtensions. It’s a two-way street, ya know… Unless you feel that threatened by this change. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not, ya know.

        “Not to forget that you have been a rather rude person. How you are going to act you get it back in return”

        I don’t allow myself to bullied on the internet or in real life. Not that you were the one doing it, but I know who it was. And he’s still there in all his unpleasant glory.

        Nope, I can get any FF or Thunderbird information elsewhere. You all don’t have a monopoly on that kind of information and that’s a good thing.

        Tell them all I said hi, k? – – lol…

      2. David said on December 1, 2016 at 12:12 pm

        “They probably banned him as well”………….Well, no, they didn’t, he just ran away. All his posts are still there and people only have to look it up to see what happened.

      3. KenndaKun said on December 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

        You can perhaps go on without a complex customization set, but your opinion is not the only important one.

        Firefox without UI customization and complex themes and Australis UI only with Webextensions only is just… Chrome with a different engine.

        Majority of Firefox users do NOT want that.

        Greetings, one from the old Dinosaurs over at Mozillazine. Btw. i remember you, you have earned the ban as you are ok with all their changes no matter how much it is limiting power users. Perhaps you should learn how complex features work and how themes can improve your experience, then you would not be that hateful for complex features.

        Not to forget that you have been a rather rude person. How you are going to act you get it back in return.

      4. bwsHomeU said on December 1, 2016 at 5:12 am

        “They wiped the floor with him.”

        They probably banned him as well, since he wasn’t a part of the old dinosaur clique down there. Old fossils who haven’t updated their browsers since FF 22 and want things to remain the same in perpetuity. The kind of relics that have been on Mozillazine for far too long that they’ve outlived their usefulness.

        I know because I was banned for questioning one old fossil’s authority down there. And he wasn’t even a moderator or administrator. Just somebody hanging out there with nowhere else to go to bully people.

        Now that they are converting over to WebExtensions, they won’t be able to peddle their silly (circa) 2006 – 2007 skins or antiquated extensions anymore.

        Either change with the times or go elsewhere.

      5. David said on November 30, 2016 at 12:45 am

        Come on reddit? DrDichotomous came to mozillaZine 6 months back, using the username PerpetualHeadbang, as I recall. They wiped the floor with him.

    2. Anonymous said on November 27, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      “I suggest you take a look inside here. And everyone else too, this thread is about real experts..”

      This “forum” is well known for its sectarianism and censorship, no “real experts” there.

  5. pHROZEN gHOST said on November 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Firefox is YOUR browser THEIR way. If you don’t like it, find another browser.

    1. Anonymous said on November 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      Absolutely no equivalent browser, that’s why each bad news people show THEIR disarray, despite YOUR exasperation.

      1. pHROZEN gHOST said on November 28, 2016 at 1:23 am

        Anonymous troll, that was the case in the past.
        However, what they are doing will change that.

        Now, please crawl back under the rock you emerged from and go back to sleep.

  6. pd said on November 27, 2016 at 10:30 am

    NoScript is already a WebExtension version.

    If they cripple he ability of Classic Theme Restorer to do it’s job – counteract the stupidity of Mozilla’s theme copycat ‘designers’ – I’ll have to move browsers unless there’s a compelling reason to stay and tolerate the shitty current default theme. What might that compelling reason be? A genuine performance leap powered by e10s bedding in (yep, it’ll take well over a year) and Servo’s Rust-built parallel rendering. That’s the only way I can see Mozilla getting itself out of it’s current mess: provide a compelling reason for former users to come back to Firefox (performance) and assuage the pain caused to existing loyalistsby triaging the impact of abandoning their core differentiation: addons, in the name of add-on standardization with their browser-building peers.

  7. Ray said on November 27, 2016 at 4:17 am

    I’ve already stopped using CTR since it’s quite bloated and you can achieve the same thing with userChrome.css or Stylish if you know exactly what you want to change.

  8. Mikhoul said on November 26, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    ” developers who liked the freedom and power the old Firefox gave them can continue to enjoy that same freedom and power by developing for Pale Moon. ”

    Pale Moon is MORE restrictive than Firefox for devs today in 2016 not less…

    1. A different Martin said on November 27, 2016 at 2:00 am

      @ Mikhoul: And in 2017, when Mozilla axes XUL/XPCOM extension support in Firefox?

    2. Travis said on November 27, 2016 at 2:00 am

      Can you elaborate in detail, please?

      1. A different Martin said on November 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        @ Mikhoul:

        Most of the extensions I use have continued to work in both Firefox and Pale Moon. Over time, a few have stopped working in Pale Moon, sometimes temporarily, sometimes for good. Substitutes that worked in Pale Moon were sometimes available, and sometimes forks appeared (e.g., Encrypted Web for HTTPS Everywhere, Adblock Latitude for Adblock Plus, and MoxArchiver for Mozilla Archive Format, with MHT and Faithful Save). A big hit came with the release of Pale Moon 26, which broke Download Status Bar. (A kind coder on Pale Moon’s forums proposed a few lines of JavaScript that fixed the extension.) The biggest hit so far has come with the release of Pale Moon 27, which knocked out Download Status Bar again as well as All-in-One Sidebar, and partially broke Tab Mix Plus. I lost a few JetPack extensions as well, but the only one I’ll really miss is open tab count widget (which hasn’t been working for me in Firefox for a while, either). Given a little time, maybe these extensions will be fixed or forked. It will depend on extension developers and forkers.

        As for being nostalgic about the past … guilty! I like being able to control how my browser looks, feels, and works. I like being able to put most of my toolbar icons on the Menu Bar, where I can use them without first clicking a dropdown button. I like having a long Address Bar that hasn’t had its space robbed by toolbar buttons, so I can usually see the entire URL without hovering over it and edit it without scrolling. I like having an autosizing Search Bar for the same reasons. I like being able to see the progress and speed of my downloads by glancing down at a download bar instead of switching to the Library window, and I like being able to check file hashes from that bar. I like being able to see which tabs I’ve already visited and which I haven’t based on their background color. To me, these little things add up to make browsing smoother, faster, and more productive. I understand that one of Mozilla’s goals with WebExtensions is to make it so that extensions are less likely to break or compromise Firefox and Firefox updates are less likely to break extensions. That’s a worthwhile goal but I have to weigh it against being forced to use a UI that hinders rather than helps my workflow. For now, compared to Firefox even with Classic Theme Restorer, Pale Moon is the winner. And if Mozilla effectively kills off Classic Theme Restorer … and Tab Mix Plus, Download Status Bar, and All-in-One Sidebar, and more … post-XUL/XPCOM Firefox would have to be amazingly better in most other respects to even remain in the contest. But I also think the old 4:3 laptop-screen aspect ratio was more useful than today’s 16:9 (or for Macbooks, 16:10) screens, and I think the old asymmetrical ThinkPad keyboard layouts were much better for touch typists than the modern Macbook-inspired ones, and I like laptops that you can open and service yourself better than ultra-skinny ones that cost a fortune to have serviced by the factory, if they can be serviced at all … so maybe I am a relic.

      2. Mikhoul said on November 28, 2016 at 7:03 pm

        Most of the addons I use don’t work in PM since it begun to goes away from Firefox 2-3 years ago, that’s why I stopped to use it.

        Using PM is for people that “like” to be stuck in the past, there is NO innovation at all in PM it’s really a browser for nostalgic users.

        I don’t like the fast deprecation of XUL but I understand why, the real problem is that Mozilla don’t even have the API to replace the XUL addon, even if I was willing to code them to replace them with new addon it is impossible today.

        They could just add an option to keep it enabled till the API exist and everybody would be happy.

  9. A different Martin said on November 26, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Not to belabor the point, but extension developers who liked the freedom and power the old Firefox gave them can continue to enjoy that same freedom and power by developing for Pale Moon. Mozilla is set to kill off a lot Firefox’s best and most powerful extensions, so attacking Pale Moon because too many Firefox extensions have become incompatible with it will soon be a moot point. Those extensions won’t be compatible with Firefox, either, and it may never be possible to make them compatible. It will be possible to make them compatible with Pale Moon, and with relatively little effort (at least for the ones that aren’t heavily Aurora-centric). Pale Moon’s user base may currently be small, but its potential user base is everyone who used to like the freedom, control, and customizability the old Firefox offered and who will be extremely pissed off when Firefox pulls the plug on their favorite extensions. At that point, Pale Moon might start taking off, so to all you Firefox extension developers, if you get tired of scraping and bowing and pleading with Mozilla to make WebExtensions support the particular functionalities you need, you have somewhere else to go where you won’t have to scrape, bow, and plead.

    1. A different Martin said on November 27, 2016 at 8:21 am

      D’oh! For “Aurora” in my parent comment (and possibly elsewhere), substitute “Australis.” More than one word starting with “au,” and I start getting confused! Now where did I put my dentures?

      1. Parker Lewis said on November 27, 2016 at 9:50 am

        You lost them to a tarantula during your last stay au pair in Australia. Last time I saw the tarantula it was selling them to an auction and someone in the audience actually bought it thinking it was David Bowie’s.

        That tarantula sure was an ass…

    2. bwsHomeU said on November 27, 2016 at 3:34 am

      “Pale Moon’s user base may currently be small, but its potential user base is everyone who used to like the freedom, control, and customizability the old Firefox offered and who will be extremely pissed off when Firefox pulls the plug on their favorite extensions”

      That would be a good thing, but with an already tiny market share as it is, would it be worth their while to do that.

      We still have a year and we don’t know how it’s going to all turn out.

      Besides, Pale Moon already uses the old GUI as a default. What would be the point of using Classic Theme Restorer over there if it’s not to cover up Australis?

    3. Max said on November 27, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Very good points Martin. From the end of next year Pale Moon will surely be the only browser capable of supporting the wide range extensions that power users have come to rely on. Thanks to the shared heritage many Firefox extensions continue to be compatible with Pale Moon, but it would certainly be good to see more extension developers supporting it, rather than battling Mozilla, providing Firefox extensions with stripped down functionality, or giving up entirely.

  10. ams said on November 26, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    “popular add-ons like […] RequestPolicy […] will likely be ported over thanks to Mozilla working with developers actively on implementing missing API features”

    No commits to the requestpolicy (requestpolicycontinued) github repo since 7 months ago and I haven’t heard / read a peep from its devs elsewhere. So, I’m wondering “what’s your source, Martin?” Have you observed participation by RP devs in any bugzilla discussions?

    anon commenter wrote:
    ” If you want to ignore add-on signing, then switch to the Developer Edition or the Nightly channel.”

    I believe this advice is ill-founded. Mozilla has warned users to NOT use “developer edition” for daily surfing on the open web. Its dev console tools and relaxed default prefs leave you quite vulnerable — IIRC one of the components exposes the browser to control via remote connection.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 26, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      You are right, I misread the statement here:

      I correct the article.

  11. Earl said on November 26, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    I’ve never used CTR, but it’s only taken me a few lines of CSS code to make any recent release of Firefox look pretty much like it used to before Fx29–square tabs and all. Frankly, Australis internals actually made it easier to manipulate the look of the tabs. Aris produces good, quality add-ons, but mostly they’re designed to maintain an old look and feel to Firefox. I don’t really see the point. Getting rid of the app menu button was the best thing Mozilla did… and I liked the Fx4 design when it was introduced.

    Anyway, Firefox w/o XUL et al just ain’t Firefox. I already don’t use it much anymore. Very soon I expect I’ll stop using it entirely; and then I’ll stop bothering to download it at all.

  12. FoxIsChromeClone said on November 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm


  13. Straspey said on November 26, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Back in August of this year, Mozilla added “Forced Add-on Signing” with the upgrade to FF version 48.

    Within a matter of days, there was chatter on the boards – particularly over at the MozillaZine forums – about a a script to run a workaround. I (along with another ghacks member) found the script on github and forwarded it to Martin – who verified that it works and posted an article about it. – As a result, I have never had to worry about any “Forced Add-on Signing”.

    My point here is that I imagine that once Mozilla makes the switch to force the use of only WebExtenions add-ons – someone will write a workaround script which will allow users to to continue to run all their favorite add-ons.

    In fact – if you stop and think about it – that’s exactly what “Classic Theme Restorer” was designed to do when Mozilla made that major change in the GUI theme a couple of years ago.

    1. Travis said on November 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      No workarounds this time.

      Forced Addon Signing is like a lock on a cookie jar.

      The move to WebExtensions is like replacing the whole kitchen and removing the cookies, cookie jar, and all means of making cookies.

    2. anon said on November 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      What you suggest is impossible. The only reason that script circumvents add-on signing (which is a good thing, by the way, since Mozilla determines the legitimacy of the add-on while still letting you install it from any website) is because it is a setting that is not exposed to users on the Stable and Beta channels in order to prevent them from installing malware. If you want to ignore add-on signing, then switch to the Developer Edition or the Nightly channel.

      WebExtensions will not be worked around because XUL and its related components will be completely removed.

      You also said that you use WOT. That extension does not respect your privacy.

    3. Tom Hawack said on November 26, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      That script was indeed most welcomed and is a blessing.

      Your point, beyond, seems reasonable. But there is a difference with WebExtensions. The script, CRT modify, but WebExtensions will remove, and on what ground is a removed structure able to allow a modification? I mean, you can add a floor to a house, you can break, move walls but what do you do when the house becomes a caravan? Unless to reconsider the whole architecture which is what browser forks do.

  14. AJ North said on November 26, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up, Martin!

    If nothing else, it’s nice to have at least a year to find a suitable replacement, be it one of the Firefox derivatives or a different browser family altogether

    It will, of course, all depend upon the UI and what add-ons (extensions) are available; were it not for CTR, I would have abandoned FF long ago (personally, I despise Australis).

    Other add-ons that I currently use include NoScript, uBlock Origin, Canvas Blocker, HTTPS-Everywhere, Privacy Badger and WOT (I consider these, or their equivalents, to be essential — make or break). Additional add-ons that I would really prefer not to have to give up include Download Manager Tweak, DownThenAll!, FEBE, FlashGot, Hoxx VPN Proxy, NoSquint Plus, Print Edit and Video DownloadHelper (which are not essential, but highly desirable; hopefully, there are equivalents for these, as well). (MozBackup has gotten rather long in the tooth and is no longer reliable, hence FEBE, though I much prefer the way MozBackup functioned in its day.)

    At present, possible browser replacements include Cyberfox, Pale Moon, Waterfox and Slimjet. As Her Majesty once remarked, “We are not amused.”

  15. Radrick said on November 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    No No No!
    Many of my users rely on CTR. An icon alone does not convey the information needed to quickly use the browser. Many mature users love being able to see instantly what the button means. Memory is not enough for some :-)

  16. Jeff said on November 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Firefox is far gone the wrong path anyway. It used to be awesome. Now Chrome is better for the most part with the right extensions. If not Chrome then use Opera with the same extensions.

    1. Hy said on November 26, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      “Now Chrome is better for the most part with the right extensions. If not Chrome then use Opera with the same extensions.”

      I disagree for many reasons, chief among them: privacy and customizability, but glad you’re happy with them!

      1. Heimen Stoffels said on November 27, 2016 at 11:30 am

        Then try Vivaldi. It’s much more focused on privacy and customizability while still compatible with Chrome extensions.

      2. Tom Hawack said on November 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm

        I agree, even if customization would be seriously ill-treated should the WebExtension plug-in format not be enhanced when it’ll be compulsory. Of course the many settings flags (about:config) remain the best available browser tweaks made available to the user on the market. Of course one could prefer that a certain number of settings be opt-in rather than opt-out but nevertheless they are accessible and that is a real jackpot for the user, for his liberty when it comes to the way he wants his browser to respond.

        Whatever, we are a year from WebExtensions made mandatory, who knows how things will turn out? I’m always surprised to read comments of despite, even of hatred, on the simple basis of announcements. It’s always time to yell and scream once dealing with facts… or to praise modifications. But, I mean, it’s only a browser, the computer is only a material. The only true value is the user’s data, to be kept secret and safe. The rest is in the order of tools, not that high to call passion :)

  17. John said on November 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Using Classic Theme Restorer myself too, along with a bunch of other plugins (Decentraleyes, FindBar Tweak, FT DeepDark, Google search link fix, NoScript, Roomy Bookmarks Toolbar, Tab Utilities Fixed, uBlock, YouTube Plus, BetterPrivacy)

    If there is no UI API for the plugins by then, I’d expect Classic Theme Restorer, Roomy Bookmarks Toolbar and Tab Utilities Fixed to no longer work. Its already problematic to get those 3 to work together now. The new UI of firefox is useless and is way more hindering then solving anything.

    Tbh, the possibility to change the UI is the only reason why I’m on Firefox. I’ve looked at the forks of Firefox but then it gets even more complicated to get it to do what you want, which is defeating its purpose imo. Those forks are fine if you don’t use (much) plugins. But I use my browser every day a LOT, and the way I have set it up make it way more useful.

    Hmm, the above calls for some explanation. I’ve adjusted my browser to:
    – Have the menu, browser control buttons URL bar, Search bar and plugin buttons etc all on the TOP bar of the browser.
    – Have below that a Bookmarks Toolbar that has multiple rows.
    – and below the bookmarks I have the Tab bar.
    – When entering a URL in the URL bar, it will open a NEW tab (on foreground), to not overwrite the current one (disconnects the URL bar from current tab, hence there is no logic reason to have URL bar below the Tab bar)
    – When clicking a URL in the Bookmarks bar, it opens a NEW tab (on foreground), instead of changing the current one.
    – When searching with the Search bar, it opens a New tab yet again.
    – When clicking a EXTERNAL (ie: to a different site) link, it opens a new tab (on BACKground), keeping current site open. (great for searching, keeps your search open while you’re googling for something)
    – Any new tab is opened at the END of the tab bar. Not in between or next or other shenanigans. Due that you use it, you are better in remembering what you did longer ago and having that more left of what is opened new. Having a tab open right next to the current tab is pretty annoying, it made the order that you did things go haywire and difficult to manage. Closing tabs becomes also a bliss then, with CTRL-F4, for the order you did things means is also the order in the tab bar etc.

    Basically, I don’t want a tab to change to another site, always opening new tabs, and the new tabs on the end. And have a decent Bookmarks toolbar that have multiple rows (3) of bookmarks with folders etc I can fold out.
    On a site like this, I can CTRL-Click all the articles on the front page that I am interested into to read, and then close tabs as I have read them to go to the next article. Same with google (well, DuckDuckGo… altho you want sometimes the locational bias from Google to find what you need, and “Bing” is crap) results when searching

  18. Ben said on November 26, 2016 at 11:49 am

    > Now You: Which add-ons do you consider essential in regards to WebExtensions?
    All of my 18 addons and my UserChrome.css settings, because this is why I have them.
    If one of them stops to work FF becomes useless for me.
    Lots of addons will stop working because the API will never be as broad as what can be done today. Then Firefox has no reason to exist anymore and will die.

  19. Hy said on November 26, 2016 at 11:13 am

    It’s difficult to imagine Firefox without CTR. It’s a great add-on that does so much. I wonder if the optional built-in CTR in Cyberfox will also become unusable? I guess that depends on exactly how Cyberfox’s built-in CTR works, and also perhaps on which way Cyberfox goes next year. I wonder if other Mozilla browsers like Cyberfox and Waterfox will necessarily emulate Firefox with the transition to WebExtensions, or if another fork, which retains the current add-on format, is possible from one of them?

    1. ChromeFox said on November 26, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Cyberfox is dependent on firefox and follows, basically it’s just a reskinned Firefox like other Chrom Clones out there.
      Once Firefox 57 hits, goodbye UI Customization/Functionality XUL add-ons.

      Only choice is Palemoon that forked itself and now called Goanna. Hoping that they work together with the dev of Palemoon and I think porting their add-ons won’t be that difficult.

      1. Sinon said on November 26, 2016 at 7:39 pm

        “Oh, no, the concern here is to INCREASE add-on capability, not DECREASE it like Pale Moon does.”
        actually no, Pale Moon uses the “old” XUL extensions that will retain the ability to change the UI so it would be possible to port extensions over to it where they could survive without having to worry if WebExtensions might or might not get that functionality.

        FYI Pale Moon had to split from Firefox if it wanted to retain all the customization that Firefox had pre v28

      2. Geo said on November 26, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        “Cyberfox is dependent on firefox and follows, basically it’s just a reskinned Firefox…”

        Like Pale Moon was, until Australis!

        “Only choice is Palemoon that forked itself…”

        Oh, no, the concern here is to INCREASE add-on capability, not DECREASE it like Pale Moon does.

        Pale Moon didn’t just fork itself, it forked a lot of other people too when they caused the loss of so much add-on capability. Just read the other comments under this article and others on this site…

  20. Tom Hawack said on November 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Uncertainty. It certainly is and legitimate and pertinent that developers have their word in the coming shift to Webextensions but as a simple Firefox user I see no reason to alarm myself on how the story will unfold. Within a year WebExtensions, their APIs may very well get boosted. Time flies more than ever but changes as well, and not only for the worst.

    Wait and see.

    Of course, personally, I’d miss Classic Theme Restorer, Classic Toolbar Buttons, Tab Mix Plus … and any of my 72 other add-ons be they concerned. On another hand I’m aware of my trend to mistake what I think is best with my habits; accepting to change habits, references allows a mind to stay opened to positive criticism rather than stay closed in conservatism. A new adventure? Why not? I don’t have enough elements regarding technology together with browsers to feel myself authorized to anticipate the worst in a rational way.

  21. Anonymous said on November 26, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Always bad news from Mozilla, a habit now. But with my main browser, Pale Moon, no need to wait 2018, this is already the case with the latest v27, most of my preferred add-ons are no longer working properly (even Status4evar integrated!!!) and my complete themes are no longer compatible. I’m tired of all these developers releasing so-called stable versions full of bugs and causing troubles just for minor changes that most of people don’t care. At least with Firefox you still have a year to shed tears.

    1. rodsmine said on November 27, 2016 at 8:36 am

      ‘Status4evar’ is working fine for me on Palemoon v27.0 in so far as I have a status bar with a bunch of toolbar icons on it… what are you missing?

      Dumping support for the JetPack/SDK did kill 3 of my addons though; not sure I can live without Blacken.

      1. Anonymous said on November 27, 2016 at 9:18 am

        Customizing colors don’t work

    2. ShintoPlasm said on November 26, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      How ironic is it, though, that – as opposed to Mozilla’s shenanigans – Chrome extensions work and remain compatible pretty much forever. Everyone likes open-source “charitable” non-profits, but sometimes the “evil” corporations actually provide better service… :P

      1. Heimen Stoffels said on November 27, 2016 at 11:14 am

        There are a couple of Chrome extensions that aren’t working correctly anymore because of API changes.

      2. Parker Lewis said on November 26, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        Chrome extensions remain compatible due to their strict and limiting API, not because of business magic :)

      3. Tom Hawack said on November 26, 2016 at 7:02 pm

        Maybe because in private corporations there’s often a greater incentive to innovate as an individual and a lesser stress to forget the idea of being a star when things must be performed within the group. Working in a “lefty” mood (not to mention requirements) is an abomination for anyone filled with charisma and talent. To be accountable, you and not the group, for what you do means responsibility and sometimes fame. Indeed.

  22. Xmetal said on November 26, 2016 at 10:10 am

    they could open source the code … where even if the current developer no longer wants to maintain it for the new stuff that needs to be done to the code, the “community” could pick up the development.

  23. Fx0 said on November 26, 2016 at 10:08 am

    And the sky is blue. This article says nothing new. Of course with WebExtensions it’s not yet all possible what will be possible in one year. And it’s speculation what will be possible in one year. So this headline looks like clickbaiting. That’s not what I expect from ghacks. :-/

    > We still have no way to change Firefox ui using WebExtensions

    Yes, STILL no way. Mozilla is working on a WebExtensions based theming architecture. That’s no secret.

    > Seems like its almost time to get used to another browser.

    Because other browsers offer these functionalities? Uhm… nope.

    1. Aris said on November 27, 2016 at 12:17 pm


      Vivaldi allows ui customization via css:

      It is not equal to Firefox, but at least developers don’t disappoint you like Firefox devs do.
      By the time Firefox 57 gets final there won’t be a valid reason to prefer Firefox over any other browser, because Firefox will not offer anything Chrome, Vivaldi or Opera do not.
      UI changing add-ons are the only reason to use Firefox for now. Not sure how most users think, but once a product disappoints me I switch to a competitor (IE 5 > Netscape Navigator > IE6 > Avant browser > Firefox >… most likely Vivaldi or Palemoon).

      Seamonkey has legacy add-on support. Many ex Firefox developers switched to SM after Firefox 29 was released.

      1. bwsHomeU said on November 28, 2016 at 5:21 am

        @Parker Lewis, I wouldn’t bother with Mozillazine. If you disagree with the old relics over there, you will soon be banned as happened to me a couple of years ago. One guy seems preoccupied with his old skins that he hasn’t improved upon them since FF24 and wants to rest on his past laurels and just put people down for opposing him. They’ve become so old and jaded, I don’t even know why they bother anymore. If the move to WebExtensions proceeds then it will help clear all that old chattel out of there. They’ve been there too long, anyway.

        As far as CTR goes, I will be disappointed if it doesn’t get ported over. But it won’t be the end of the world like the rest of these skin complainers think it is. If the change means Australis only, then so be it. I prefer that GUI over any WebKit/Blink Chrome clone that’s out there, anyway. Not ideal to me, but I definitely consider it the lesser of two evils.

      2. Parker Lewis said on November 27, 2016 at 9:14 pm


        Yawn. Already replied thoroughly to that three times in the other article. If you’re just going to ignore what people say, why are you talking to me ? Read the comment I linked to 2 or 3 times over there, if you want to see me say the negative about this project. Then masturbate over it since that’s the reason why you actually came here, then make up your mind on your own, you’re a big kid, pick your browser, fuck whoever you want, that’s your business, I’ll be cheering you.

        Now let’s begone, and spam the other article — one is enough. I don’t have any more insight to add to this topic so I moved on but I’ll read you. Only I won’t care about rants, if you think the overall picture I tried to depict was incorrect, take the entirety of its arguments, take a few days if you need, debunk those you think are wrong, bring new ones on the table, etc, win me over with brains not with ridiculous testosterone displays. I am forever looking for facts that aren’t accounted for by my understanding of whatever it is I am trying to understand: That’s the kind of idiot I am.
        And finally there’s nothing to be afraid of since I have zero interest in fake debates that actually hide ego trips, which means you should actually get the last word because I will probably have nothing to add, with all that I tried to express already.

        But due to likeliness of troll, this is probably the last ten minutes I waste on this Mozilla announcement \o/

      3. Celtic_Superhero said on November 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        Aris, just a small suggestion, spare yourself the time to answer parker and his friend here ;) Pretty sure you too can spot it that they are Mozilla related guys whatever for a kind of position they are having. Hey Parker, congrats, you are featured over at Mozillazine.

        Believe me, we had over there tons of your kind, so i suggest you stop your ridiculous try to hide as plain and simple user. How about visiting us at Mozillazine? But without camouflage. If you have arguments, stop pretending to be someone else and instead play with open cards.

        Guys, this is just shameful. Just so you know. Feel free to contact me over at Mozillazine. Username is the same like here.

      4. Parker Lewis said on November 27, 2016 at 3:05 pm

        And of course there’s the dev-addons mailing list and its archives:
        Though I guess you’re already in there. I’m just throwing stuff at you in case it can save you some time and motivation, should you decide to take another look at porting CTR.

        Not to mention that if you are able to get most API requirements in for CTR, that will benefit people beyond your own users :)

      5. Parker Lewis said on November 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        I believe Firefox 57+ UI customization should be at least on Vivaldi’s level, possibly superior. Us users will have to wait & see I guess.

        The hardship is for you. Getting ready for e10s was quite a task for certain add-on developers, but there was more time for it and the benefits were more readily seen. Here the benefits are very real too (several times more so actually), but for the most part they don’t lie in the WebExtensions’ project itself but rather with the changes that it will let Firefox undergo without breaking add-ons any longer. In the meantime you have to rewrite a large part of CTR with some API functions that do not even exist yet, which means you’d have to get involved with the WebExtensions project. All of this in a year. I can’t blame you if you give up and go do something else.

        If in the coming weeks you change your mind, you can grab relevant names from Mozilla’s WE-Themes meeting notes such as this one:
        You can also send proposals for APIs you need at dev-addons at
        Or create bugs on Bugzilla and make them block the WE theme bug: or a more general WE meta bug.
        A couple things that can be worth keeping in mind and following, or pushing the evolution of:

        I think they intend to make this a high priority of early 2017, so as CTR’s developer I would hope that you can get quick back and forth.

        I don’t agree that UI changing is the only or even the main reason to use Firefox, but that is only my (worthless) opinion and I don’t know of any decent statistics that highlight what makes people choose this or that browser. For me it’s the privacy, through add-ons, browser configuration, and notably actual design choices within Firefox’s code. Those things won’t disappear in the future, they are actually on the rise in Firefox :)

    2. Heimen Stoffels said on November 27, 2016 at 11:12 am

      “Because other browsers offer these functionalities? Uhm… nope.”

      A lot of these functionalities are supported by a few other browsers, mainly Pale Moon, Vivaldi and QupZilla.

    3. Corky said on November 27, 2016 at 10:32 am

      @Fx0, Putting aside what may or may not be possible in a years time wouldn’t it be more sensible to get the new system in place before dropping the old system?

    4. Henk van Setten said on November 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Did you ever try Pale Moon?

    5. masmdm said on November 26, 2016 at 11:04 am

      > Mozilla is working on a WebExtensions based theming architecture. That’s no secret.

      Have they announced anything about this? News like this would not be written if that would be well known among addon developers. In the past Firefox announced that they will extend the “Light theming architecture” but add-ons like CTR need full access to the Firefox UI. All I have heard as an add-on developer from Mozilla’s are answers on the mailing list that requests for user interface modification APIs for WebExtensions will be rejected.

      1. PCXT said on June 17, 2017 at 3:26 am

        This looks like this famous “Addon heuristics” to maintain compatibility, never introduced, then they rendered half of addons inoperable near release 5.0. However, most of addons could be easily patched then.
        I do not understand what Mozilla is doing. Fox’s power was in power users who have own workflows. If they make another Chrome, then it will be no difference who will spy on user. As Mozilla’s moves are sometimes so chaotic that it looks like they try to cover something.
        Generally, I switched to PaleMoon a long time ago, when Mozilla published this bulls..t about heuristics and never introduced one.

      2. Parker Lewis said on November 26, 2016 at 7:23 pm


        “All I have heard as an add-on developer from Mozilla’s are answers on the mailing list that requests for user interface modification APIs for WebExtensions will be rejected.”

      3. Tom Hawack said on November 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm

        @Hy, that’s 72 add-ons plus the 3 I mentioned above … 72 or 75, quite many indeed.

        Generally speaking, security and privacy add-ons count the most. Services, tools and cosmetic extensions are of much less importance.

        Your extra measure (don’t say last, they might hear you and believe our strategy is limited!) which is to free ourselves from that add-on dependency, I totally agree. That state of mind was behind my above comments. The fact is there are more important things to be worried about. Yet, the philosophy of survival isn’t my cup of tea. OK : one month with no add-ons, we can make it, we will have made it, great. Then back to comfort!

        Seriously, as many of us I guess, security and privacy are and always will be the master-words when it comes to a software, mainly a browser, and those concerns will always have the veto and guide my choices. Remains comfort and I do hope that brought to my browser via the Firefox add-ons won’t quit the party.

      4. anon said on November 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm
        “Complete themes based on XUL will no longer be supported. A new theming API is currently under construction that will provide something more powerful than existing lightweight themes without the downsides of XUL themes.”

      5. Hy said on November 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        Hello Tom! I agree with the plan. :) I see another last, last measure as well, for myself anyway: learning to live without some (many?) of my current add-ons…

        I’d really like to keep BetterPrivacy, CanvasBlocker, CTR, Cookie Controller, Enforce Encryption, HttpFox, Keyboard Privacy, Multiple Tab Handler, NoScript, Random Agent Spoofer, RequestPolicy Continued, Self-Destructing Cookies, Ssleuth, TextLink, Toolbar Buttons, and uBlock Origin–and that’s literally only half of the 32 I’m running currently.

        With your 72 add-ons, a change like this could hit you harder than most… :( But as you’ve rightly said elsewhere on here, we’ll just have to wait and see what the reality is we’re dealing with when the time comes. As my friend is always reminding me, “Think positively!”

      6. Tom Hawack said on November 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm

        @Hy (hello by the way!) if there are no grounds for a civilized dialog with Mozilla, if the speaker refuses negotiation, if “take it or leave it” is the word, then we’ll have to switch to Plan-B… lobbying, protest, strikes and, as a last measure, threat. Threat means convincing that we massively may very well be inclined to move our money from Luxembourg to Vaduz or at least our default browser from Mozilla to Google, Opera, Vivaldi among several other havens.

        Not sure I’ll remain zen should the winds of war start spreading. When revolt hits the most peaceful those become the wildest. For now, tea time in a general mood of optimism nevertheless.

      7. Hy said on November 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        “All I have heard as an add-on developer from Mozilla’s are answers on the mailing list that requests for user interface modification APIs for WebExtensions will be rejected.”

        Oh, boy, that doesn’t sound promising…

  24. mp said on November 26, 2016 at 9:51 am

    As much as I hate the fact that they’re going WebExtensions only, I can kind of understand them.
    What is pissing me off to no end is the fact that they announce to kill it off within a year, without letting developers know the extent of their new api.

    1. vosie said on November 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      If they do it, I hope Firefox’s marketshare will go down to 0% and Mozilla and Firefox will die. Mozilla, the arrogant company deserves that. I hope the removal of the support for non-WebExtensions addons will piss off a lot of Firefox users.

      Classic Theme Restorer and Classic Toolbar Buttons are essential extensions. Besides Firefox, no other browsers will ever have addons like these.

      When Firefox’s doomsday comes (WebExtensions exclusivity), I will stay with the last Firefox ESR that still supports old addons (XUL/XPCOM). Why those retarded Firefox developers won’t keep supporting it? WebExtensions and XUL/XPCOM could live together without any problems. There is absolutely no reason to remove XUL/XPCOM support.

    2. Dave said on November 28, 2016 at 10:27 am

      I’ll be glad to see the back of this extension.

      In my opinion there are other extensions which will be affected by this change that are more worthy of an article.

      Not that any of it matters, because when Mozilla does this I’ll be switching to a fork that doesn’t.

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