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.
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.
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.
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.
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.