What you need to know about add-ons in Waterfox 68
Waterfox 68 will be the next major release of the web browser that is based on Firefox code; it will replace the current branch, Waterfox 56, eventually after its release. The developer of Waterfox, Alex Kontos, plans to support the Waterfox 56 branch for some time after the release.
The upcoming Waterfox release launches with add-on system changes that will render older legacy extensions unusable but part of them can be updated so that they run in Waterfox 68.
Waterfox 68 is based heavily on Firefox 68 which means that it is a big jump feature jump from version 56. Mozilla will release the next ESR version of Firefox on July 9th, 2019, and that version will be Firefox 68.0 ESR.
Firefox versions newer than version 57 don't support legacy extensions anymore and Kontos had to find a way to keep legacy extensions supported in Waterfox as support for these is one of the features of the browser that sets it apart from Firefox.
The Thunderbird team is in the same boat and the development team went to work to make sure that legacy extensions, overlay extensions and bootstrap extensions, are still supported in the email client. Kontos was able to use that code -- Thunderbird and Firefox share some code as well -- and integrate it into the upcoming Waterfox browser.
Waterfox 68 and Extension Support
Legacy extensions may require changes so that they can be used in Waterfox 68:
- All extensions need to be updated to reflect changes made to the add-on system in Firefox's engine. Kontos lists using HTML code instead of XUL, and renaming or replacing API calls.
- Overlay extensions need to "engage the new overlay loader" next to that. It is used to apply XUL code to the user interface.
Some popular extensions have been ported already. The list includes DownThemAll, S3 Download, Greasemonkey, Private Tab, Save File To, or Stylish.
Most Waterfox users probably cannot modify extensions to make them compatible with the Waterfox 68 release. Popular add-ons may be ported by volunteers or Kontos himself but there is the chance that less popular ones may not.
It seems that other types of legacy extensions won't be supported anymore. It is unclear how many are affected.
An Alpha version of Waterfox 68 will be released in the near future. As a Waterfox user, you may want to test your extensions in the coming Alpha version to find out which work fine and which may need updating (or cannot be used anymore).Advertisement