Firefox Legacy Add-on removal from Mozilla AMO - gHacks Tech News

Firefox Legacy Add-on removal from Mozilla AMO

Mozilla revealed plans today to remove so-called legacy add-ons from the organization's repository site for extensions Mozilla AMO.

Mozilla AMO hosts legacy add-ons and WebExtensions currently; going forward, Mozilla wants to purge legacy add-ons from the site as those are no longer compatible with any supported version of the Firefox web browser.

Legacy add-ons is a broad term that refers to extensions, themes, and other content that is no longer supported by recent versions of the Firefox web browser.

Mozilla switched from the classic add-ons system for Firefox to a system that is based on WebExtensions with the release of Firefox 57.

Currently, Firefox ESR 52.x is the only supported version of the Firefox web browser that supports legacy add-ons. All other Firefox versions that Mozilla supports, be it Stable, Beta, or Nightly, support only WebExtensions.

With no supported version of Firefox still supporting legacy add-ons, Mozilla will remove these extensions from the site to streamline it.

Third-party browsers based on Firefox code may continue to support Firefox legacy add-ons, and some users of Firefox made the decision to block browser updates to avoid having legacy add-ons disabled automatically by new versions of the browser.

firefox legacy addons recommendations

The timeline the organization published today is as follows:

  • September 6, 2018 -- Submissions for new legacy add-on versions are disabled. Mozilla does not accept submissions for new add-ons that use legacy add-on systems already. The change affects extension updates.
  • Early October 2018 -- All legacy add-ons are disabled. Disabled means that they won't show up anymore on Mozilla AMO but are still available in the backend.

Since the extensions are still listed on AMO, add-on developers may publish updates that transform their legacy add-ons into WebExtensions. The extensions would get published on the add-ons store again when that happens and users who had these installed -- and not removed yet -- will receive the updates so that they can use the extension once again.

Attempts are underway to preserve the classic add-ons archive. These projects have about six weeks to create an archive of all legacy add-ons still available on Mozilla AMO to preserve it.

Statistics about the purging would be interesting; how many legacy add-ons, separated into extensions and themes, are removed in October 2018, and how many WebExtensions remain in Store.

Closing Words

The removal of legacy add-ons from Mozilla Add-ons marks an end of an era. While some long standing extensions have been migrated to WebExtensions, lots of extensions were not for a variety of reasons.

Some are abandoned, others can't be ported because the provided APIs don't allow certain functionality, and some extension developers may have decided not to port their extensions.

Whatever the reason, the removal marks the end of extensions such as Classic Theme Restorer, DownThemAll, ChatZilla or FirefFTP, and all full themes released for the web browser.

It makes sense from Mozilla's perspective to hide these add-ons from Mozilla AMO to avoid user confusion; still, a part of web history and Firefox's history is removed by the move.

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Summary
Firefox Legacy Add-on removal from Mozilla AMO
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Firefox Legacy Add-on removal from Mozilla AMO
Description
Mozilla revealed plans today to remove so-called legacy add-ons from the organization's repository site for extensions Mozilla AMO.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on August 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm
    Reply

    F*ck off Mozilla! You disable your own add-ons and browser!

  2. Mike said on August 21, 2018 at 7:32 pm
    Reply

    I already backed up and downloaded every add-on I wanted to keep

  3. RogerW said on August 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm
    Reply

    One Legacy Add-On I really miss is StartupMaster(https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/startupmaster/) that made use of the old master password api and gave a security dongle like feature i.e. browser won’t open until the correct master password was entered on startup. The dev was really awesome, timely updating his add-on and even responding to support emails.

    He even reported it to Mozilla (a year back) but as usual their team response is still quite equivocal (5 days back). https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1359182

  4. pintassilgo said on August 21, 2018 at 8:17 pm
    Reply

    “All other Firefox versions that Mozilla supports, be it Stable, Beta, or Nightly, support only WebExtensions.”

    Nightly and Developer Edition still support [extensions.legacy.enabled = true]. Bootstrapped extensions, the last legacy type that still works, will be removed when Developer Edition reaches v64. Then there will be two ways to run legacy code: WebExtension Experiments and AutoConfig (what userChrome.css is for CSS, AutoConfig is for JS).

  5. S.Spade said on August 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm
    Reply

    Seems to me like a big “Fuck off you all-time-users.”
    Time to get some cash on our privcate accaount. Therefore we have to deny our early originally aims. Enjoy yourself!

  6. Anonymous said on August 22, 2018 at 12:11 am
    Reply

    Mozilla is paid by Google, that sounds logical that they decided to force their large number of unpaid extension developers to redo from scratch all their hard work in order for it to become compatible with Google Chrome, or see it destroyed.

  7. Nebulus said on August 22, 2018 at 1:02 am
    Reply

    I really dislike this move by Mozilla, but after all it is their product and their servers, so it is their decision to make. All we can do is to download and store copies of the extensions we might need in the future.

    1. zack said on October 16, 2018 at 8:33 am
      Reply

      That’s BS. Google operates illegally as a monopoly under antitrust laws on our books and unenforced because our government has become coopted and corrupted by getting a free lunch stealing innovation and content from the masses without reimbursing them. In fact, I think it should even go further, we need reparations. At the minimum, It should be broken up and portions of it applying to business critical for infrastructure nationalized. That will accelerate innovations and prevent corporate capture of critical aspects of our economy. Google was made by countless individuals, with contributions of the entire society….to say it is “owned” by anyone is nonsense. Forcing these things on people is a symptom of a very deep problem..

  8. AmberLight said on August 22, 2018 at 1:10 am
    Reply

    That’s not good; so that will block Waterfox and PaleMoon users from having any kind of interaction with legacy extensions other than those that those users backup and store for themselves.

    Dilemma–Yes, for FF NOW it makes sense to crush the competition by eliminating one reason why users prefer other Firefox based browsers; on the other hand, not providing ample time and/or even offering to help create an archive for, perhaps, millions of users is a bit harsh.

    Angel of Change is everday.

    1. TelV said on August 22, 2018 at 11:04 am
      Reply

      There’s a discussion on Github about the Waterfox dev creating his own legacy extensions repository: https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/issues/303

      But for now, the Classic Add-Ons Archive Martin mentioned is a good alternative.

      1. tom42 said on August 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm
        Reply

        Classic Add-Ons Archive is just a DB with URLs to firefox’s servers. If Firefox removes the files Classic Add-Ons Archive will no longer work

    2. Antonio said on August 22, 2018 at 11:52 am
      Reply

      “FF NOW it makes sense to crush the competition by eliminating one reason why users prefer other Firefox based browsers;”
      and at the same time by to jeopardize the competition by eliminating one reason why users prefer Firefox over other browsers.

    3. Alex said on August 22, 2018 at 12:07 pm
      Reply
      1. Robert Ab said on August 23, 2018 at 7:51 am
        Reply

        @Alex

        Many addons are missing. For example, Session Manager

      2. Don Gateley said on August 24, 2018 at 2:44 am
        Reply

        I am deeply dependent on Session Manager. I cannot suffer its loss. If the Waterfox addon repository excepts it I am fucked. Is there a web extension that can accomplish what it does?

        I’ve never understood why Session Manager was not incorporated to be native to FF.

      3. Robert Ab said on August 24, 2018 at 4:05 am
        Reply

        @Don Gateley

        They are replacement session managers, but there are not up to task, since required APIs are not completed yet. I would wait 1-2 years: I would use the newest Waterfox or Firefox 56.0.2 together with Session Manager for that time (Watefox will create new profile during installation and copy all setting from Firefox profile; thus Firefox would be unchanged).
        Make sure that you are archiving Firefox/Waterfox profiles every some time, just in the case of browser failure (profile contain Session Manager program and session data) (since profile is huge you can use WinRAR, WinZip or other similar software to compress storage archive).

        Tab Session Manager is the closest Session Manager replacement, but it is unreliable, you can loose sessions.
        Session Sync and MySessions have better scores, but they have limited options and they use Firefox bookmark system to store sessions (Session Sync partly is using also webextension storage being a part of Firefox).
        Session Boss – I am not sure how it saves sessions, it is also unreliable.
        Some mentioned session managers can import sessions from Session Manager files.

        Check this pages:
        https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/7m8nvx/can_session_manager_tab_session_manager_coexist/drslt43/
        https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1427928
        https://github.com/sienori/Tab-Session-Manager/issues/131
        https://www.reddit.com/r/waterfox/new/
        https://blog.waterfoxproject.org/
        There are several articles about Watefox on ghacks.net as well.

      4. Alex said on August 24, 2018 at 11:42 am
        Reply

        @Don Gateley

        Firefox already includes a rudimentary session manager. As with all browser functions, if you need extended Firefox functionality you can just install one of the many available extensions.

        Oh wait…

      5. TelV said on August 24, 2018 at 11:53 am
        Reply

        Maybe this Quantum-compatible addon will do the trick: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/my-sessions/?src=search

      6. Alex said on August 24, 2018 at 11:38 am
        Reply

        @Robert Ab

        You can’t expect them to verify and add every extension on the planet. Also, for extensions to be uploaded there some requirements exist (it needs to specifically target Pale Moon, for example) and the collaboration of the original author might be required. This is not always possible.

        Go to Session Manager’s website, download it, install it and keep it. It works perfectly.

  9. slumbergod said on August 22, 2018 at 1:20 am
    Reply

    How to kill your user base and alienate your loyal followers. Mozilla Firefox.

    1. Anonymous said on September 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm
      Reply

      Minority Report looms ever nearer… we’d be wise to pay mind that “usermode only” world is the intended destination. Bit by bit. This is but one of those bits. Continue on the present course and we absolutely will find our lives lived only through in a shell of advertising and consumeristic control.

      Knowledge is free… imagine we leak it all!?

  10. k said on August 22, 2018 at 1:45 am
    Reply

    What about Firefox Android add-ons?

  11. XenoSilvano said on August 22, 2018 at 1:50 am
    Reply

    well, I guess this definitively marks the end of an era, I had been keeping the following add-ons in the hope that they would be made into web-extensions one day, no point in holding on to them any more, goodbye:

    Webfilter | Tweak network | Tinyurl Generator | The Addon Bar | Session manager | Self-destructing Cookies | Restart | RequestPolicy | OpenAttribute | Mobile Barcoder | Loading Bar | Fasterfox | EasyAccent | DownThemAll! | Download Status Bar | Desktop Notification for Android | Cleanest Addon Manager | Classic Theme Restorer | BugMeNot Plugin | BetterPrivacy

    it has been a while since the addon component of the Firefox web browser had been removed, even though, users have been given time to get accustomed to the switch that took place, I still sorely miss the utility that some of these addons provided

    personally, viewing things on the bright side, not all was in vain, some addons were made into web-extensions, new web-extensions were created to substitute the functionality of addons that did not make the transition and other extensions were made available that provide functionality to users in novel ways that were not available through the addon component, therefore, I do not fret, life goes on

  12. Alex said on August 22, 2018 at 1:50 am
    Reply

    Not much left of our good ol’ friend, Firefox. Mozilla should also change the browser’s name before it’s completely destroyed, instead of ruining the memories and reputation of the once fantastic software that it was.

  13. maxa said on August 22, 2018 at 7:56 am
    Reply

    bye bye Mozilla ((((

  14. Juraj M said on August 22, 2018 at 10:43 am
    Reply

    As add-on developer (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/FastAddons/) I understand the hard decision to purge old add-on architecture. The old add-ons could make any changes your browser which many times resolved to:
    1) compatibility issues with other add-ons – for add-on developers this is really bad!
    2) compatibility issues with new versions of Firefox – this could break your whole Firefox profile
    3) security concerns (and long add-ons update times as all changes needed to be reviewed by humans!)

    Current new architecture has many advantages, mostly:
    1) almost no compatibility issues with other add-ons or Firefox updates – this saves time for all add-on and Firefox developers that can focus on creating new things!
    2) standardized API so add-on can be ported to Chrome, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi and many others browsers with minimum changes!

    Even when some add-on are missing, there are many new replacements and the rest will come when the missing API is added.
    Few years from now, nobody will care about the old add-ons because there will be much more much better add-ons.

    1. Anonymous said on August 22, 2018 at 11:23 am
      Reply

      “will come when the missing API is added”

      Engage the race on one leg then get a prosthesis during the pit stop.

    2. TelV said on August 22, 2018 at 11:53 am
      Reply

      I understand your point of view Juraj M and appreciate that reducing your workload is a good thing, but Mozilla was unfortunately selective as to which addons would receive the API necessary to create a WebExtension version.

      For example, Classic Theme Restorer was among those designated as “Won’t Fix” simply because Mozilla didn’t want users changing the UI by placing tabs below the location bar for example or moving buttons around.

      It’s things like that which rile users and why many of us have switched to other Firefox forks like Waterfox, Basilisk, Pale Moon etc., rather than any stubborn resistance to switching to WebExtensions.

    3. user17843 said on August 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm
      Reply

      Lots of loyal users of Firefox are just mad at Mozilla for their confusing corporate politics, and lack of empathy regarding what made old Firefox great. Some of their decisions are good, but the way its implementated shows a lack of respect and love for the old users. I hope Brave will make it big next year on Desktop to give Firefox some competition, but I doubt it will happen, as Brave is based on Chromium.

      1. John Fenderson said on August 24, 2018 at 6:13 pm
        Reply

        @user17843

        I’m not mad at Firefox, but I am dismayed that they made Firefox into a browser that doesn’t meet my needs as well as it used to. And, to be honest, I’m a bit hurt that after all these years Mozilla has decided that they don’t want users like me around anymore.

        I certainly am not on board with Brave. I have large ethical issues with that browser.

    4. Laurent Paris said on August 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm
      Reply

      @ Juraj M
      “3) security concerns (and long add-ons update times as all changes needed to be reviewed by humans!)”
      Changes not being reviewed by humans IS a security concern.

      “2) standardized API so add-on can be ported to Chrome, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi and many others browsers with minimum changes!”
      Which means less powerful addons and losing the advantage FF had on other browsers. Targeting only the lowest common denominator may be good for (some) developers, not for the end user.

      “Even when some add-on are missing, there are many new replacements and the rest will come when the missing API is added.
      Few years from now, nobody will care about the old add-ons because there will be much more much better add-ons.”
      And until that happens, what we get is a crippled version of what FF addons used to be. We all know APIs for the most powerful addons are far away and some won’t be added at all.
      “Few years from now” I’m not sure FF will still be relevant.

    5. Anonymous said on August 22, 2018 at 3:00 pm
      Reply

      “compatibility issues with other add-ons”
      they’re so compatible now that they can’t see each other when it could be useful

      “compatibility issues with new versions of Firefox”
      it’s not the first time they promise this and time will probably show that it’s a lie this time too

      “security concerns (and long add-ons update times as all changes needed to be reviewed by humans!)”
      Android and Chrome have proved enough that the permission system is almost useless to prevent malware, considering how bad the situation was there it was pure nonsense to take this as an example of working security. We had enough news already of malware coming to AMO now that extensions are no longer reviewed.

      “standardized API so add-on can be ported to Chrome, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi”
      Yes they turned extension developers, who were working for free by solidarity with a free software community, into zero cost employees of Google, Microsoft and others. It’s great that independent free software is so helpful with its proprietary “competitors”.

      “the rest will come when the missing API is added”
      Why would they add API that make it easier to beat youtube DRM or block Firefox internal google analytics requests ? This won’t happen. For Mozilla today, giving more power to web sites and themselves over the browser is their mission, while user chosen code that extensions represent, and the freedom that comes with it, is the enemy.

    6. Anonymous said on August 22, 2018 at 5:22 pm
      Reply

      Problem is some addons don’t have alternative at all.
      Do you know alternative to unMHT or Downloads Window?
      Mozilla themselves said the new Firefox system can’t and will not support advanced customizations.

      1. Alex said on August 22, 2018 at 5:36 pm
        Reply

        You can’t have alternatives on a browser that cannot and will not support them. There are only alternative browsers if you still wish to use the functions these extensions provide.

      2. Gildas said on August 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm
        Reply

        Hi, I’m the author of SingleFile. I ported it very recently on Firefox. It allows saving page in HTML format instead of MHTML. Maybe it will help you. It can be downloaded here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/single-file//

    7. John Fenderson said on August 22, 2018 at 6:15 pm
      Reply

      @Juraj M: “the rest will come when the missing API is added.”

      No, they won’t. There are a number of critical capabilities that Mozilla has been very clear won’t ever be available in the new scheme.

      “Few years from now, nobody will care about the old add-ons because there will be much more much better add-ons.”

      Maybe (although I have real doubts), but that doesn’t help things right now.

  15. TelV said on August 22, 2018 at 11:11 am
    Reply

    Download link to the latest version of the Classic Add-Ons Archive released July 11 for anyone who doesn’t have it yet: https://github.com/JustOff/ca-archive/releases

    1. gh said on August 22, 2018 at 3:44 pm
      Reply

      Bear in mind that the downloadable “Classic Add-Ons Archive” contains –ZERO– actual extensions. It just provides an html page front end for downloading from the (slated to be purged soon) mozilla trove.

      1. TelV said on August 23, 2018 at 1:46 pm
        Reply

        Not really since the Waterfox dev has already offered to host the entire archive: https://github.com/MrAlex94/Waterfox/issues/303#issuecomment-366220487

    2. Anonymous said on August 22, 2018 at 5:12 pm
      Reply

      that’s only catalog.
      as soon as AMO closed the legacy addons download, the catalog would be useless

  16. syl said on August 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm
    Reply

    This is good, performance from Stylo+WebRender surpasses 200,000 worth of XUL/XPCOM extensions

    1. Anonymous said on August 22, 2018 at 2:29 pm
      Reply

      When speed improvements could be noticed it was mostly because they had suddenly disabled most of addons.

      1. Robert Ab said on August 24, 2018 at 5:59 am
        Reply

        Not completely true. Firefox 56 was already REALLY FAST, and also supported legacy addons.

        But I can agree that removal of support for XUL addons is necessary for further browser improvements. Just first Mozilla should provide WebExtension developers of fifty the most popular addons with sufficient APIs.

    2. John Fenderson said on August 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm
      Reply

      @syl

      Not for me, honestly. The speed improvements aren’t a big deal for me at all, but the loss of functionality that came with the extension change is.

  17. Laurent Paris said on August 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    Reply

    I’ll backup all the addons I’m currently using but I’ll probably miss others that may be useful and will never be replaced so I hope Waterfox gets its own repository.

    Now it makes sense for Mozilla to remove extensions that are no longer compatible but I still can’t figure out why they would kill the legacy addons before providing the necessary API to convert them (if that ever happens). That warped sense of priorities essentially destroyed the browser’s main advantage.
    Google sabotaging the project from the inside sounds like a conspiracy theory but I can’t think of another reason except sheer idiocy. I’m not sure which is the most generous explanation.

    1. Farid Le Fleur said on August 23, 2018 at 4:12 pm
      Reply

      @Laurent Paris

      Actually it is no conspiracy theory. Just look what Mozilla has done since Australis…

      Changing their browser that it becomes the perfect replacement for Google Chrome in all kind of ways – therefor removing all “bloat” (aka. customization) as Chrome users are not interested in using anything “bloated”. And a big part of guidance for this “new and improved way” has come from the side of Google who have been coming for Mozilla’s “aid and benefit”.

      But the only thing in which Google is really interested is destroying the competition. Which has worked rather fine with Mozilla AND Opera :D

      And sadly both developer teams have been too dense and too naive to fall for this.

  18. Farid Le Fleur said on August 22, 2018 at 3:38 pm
    Reply

    Goodbye Mozilla – Welcome Google dominated Mozilla-legacy-wave-abusing pseudo-Mozilla.

  19. Sebas said on August 22, 2018 at 8:13 pm
    Reply

    Downloaded all legacy extensions with FEBE backup and imported them in Waterfox.

  20. John said on August 22, 2018 at 10:22 pm
    Reply

    Problem is that many legacy users will remove Firefox from their computers.

  21. davidb said on August 23, 2018 at 12:54 am
    Reply

    wow I really begin to hate mozilla and all they are working towards. They have gone from the benevlent underdog to the innovating powerhouse to the sniveling sellout in about a decade.

    I will continue to use the alternatives that are available until some real competition is released. Not going back to anything Mozilla run however. If you find something that works they wont rest until they find it and disable it for whatever flavor of the month reason they can think of.

  22. Robert Ab said on August 23, 2018 at 8:08 am
    Reply

    But APIs are not ready yet.

    I guess planning geniuses are working at Mozilla. Instead of delivering WE APIs for the most important XUL addons before any other changes, they are deciding first to remove support for them in Firefox 57 and then removing these addons from API.

    Session management API was said that it will be ready in Q3 2018, now is being moved to 2019. What next: 2022, or maybe 2222?

    1. Laurent Paris said on August 24, 2018 at 5:48 am
      Reply

      So, what sticks out of this mess is an alarming amount of telemetry, the “big vision” is all about discoverability and marketing (rather than actually improving extensions), some theming improvements (still far from catching up with the possibilities of old FF), more support dropped for unlawful stuff… you really have to dig to find anything exciting.
      Oh yeah, a session management API! Maybe we’ll get a decent manager next year. Maybe in a couple of years, the devs who gave up on FF will get enough crumbs to build an inferior version of what they had previously created. Maybe the users will still be there too.

      1. Robert Ab said on August 24, 2018 at 5:52 pm
        Reply

        Exactly: marketing, marketing, marketing…

  23. Bitter Netizen said on August 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm
    Reply

    And we will never meet again, ever, Firezilla.

  24. bawldiggle said on August 28, 2018 at 8:48 am
    Reply

    [quote]
    Early October 2018 — All legacy add-ons are disabled. Disabled means that they won’t show up anymore on Mozilla AMO but are still available in the backend.
    [/quote]

    Is there public access to “backend” ? If so how and where ?

    1. TelV said on September 5, 2018 at 4:39 pm
      Reply

      @bawldiggle,

      Switch to Waterfox and then you can use the Classic addons DB which will become available shortly: https://www.reddit.com/comments/8qsnqx

  25. Bill said on September 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm
    Reply

    Martin, you said that “Currently, Firefox ESR 52.x is the only supported version of the Firefox web browser that supports legacy add-ons. All other Firefox versions that Mozilla supports, be it Stable, Beta, or Nightly, support only WebExtensions.”

    This is not true.

    If you go into “about:config” and make sure that “legacy.extensions.enabled” is set to “True”, then the various legacy extensions will work, certainly up to Firefox version 56.*.

    For any later versions of Firefox, this command may have to be put in.

    Hope this helps others out there who still have legacy extensions that they want to use.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 5, 2018 at 2:58 pm
      Reply

      Firefox 56.x and prior are not supported anymore by Mozilla.

  26. Amy said on September 14, 2018 at 3:35 am
    Reply

    Wow. Foolish move. When that happens it’s bye bye Firefox. Hello Vivaldi.

  27. Coco said on September 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm
    Reply

    I’m using Firefox 56.02. If it’s affected in any way I will be using Vivaldi exclusively. I see no point in adding insult to injury. Most of the people who no longer use Firefox have already abandoned ship because Quantum killed so called ‘legacy’ extensions. So now Firefox wants to make things even worse by completely removing ‘legacies’ from their database altogether? Wow. Way to help CHROME be the top browser. SMH.

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