Basilisk browser drops WebExtension support
Basilisk browser, a web browser that is maintained largely by the Pale Moon team, won't support WebExtension-based extensions going forward.
The browser is based on the Unified XUL Platform, a forked version of the Mozilla Code Repository created before Mozilla's switch to removing XUL and other components for Firefox and focusing on WebExtensions and Servo components.
Current versions of Basilisk are seen as development software which means that users may experience issues when they use the browser and that things may change during development.
Moonchild, lead developer of Pale Moon and Basilisk, revealed today that the web browser will drop support for WebExtensions going forward. Support for WebExtensions was experimental in the browser.
The following reasons are provided:
- WebExtensions support in Basilisk was at odds with support for XUL-based extensions; XUL-based extensions can do anything that WebExtensions can do already and without the need to create specific APIs for functionality that is not supported by the default WebExtension APIs.
- WebExtensions may (and have already) introduce issues, security and otherwise, of their own.
- Disparity between supporting core WebExtension functionality and supporting XUL-based extensions.
- Interface modifications that are necessary to integrate WebExtensions in a XUL-based browser.
It would require immense effort and manpower to keep up with Mozilla's WebExtensions development. Moonchild acknowledges that the team does not have the manpower for that.
The decision was made to focus on XUL and drop support for WebExtensions.
Basilisk users who have WebExtensions installed may see them being removed automatically from the browser in a future update. The only option to avoid this is to stay on the current version (or the last version of the browser with WebExtensions support); that is not suggested, however, as updates may patch security issues and other issues.
The number of users affected by the change is unclear; one of the main reasons for using Basilisk is that it supports XUL-based extensions.
Users who require support for XUL-based extensions and WebExtensions at the same time may want to check out Waterfox. The browser supports both (WebExtensions to a degree) but has issues of its own.
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