Mozilla won't follow Google in limiting APIs in coming Extensions Manifest v3
Google revealed some time ago that it was working on a new Extensions Manifest file for the Chrome web browser. The company published an early draft of the Manifest v3 file and it turned out that some extension developers were not particularly happy with some of the changes.
Developers spoke out against some of the planned changes as it could be the end for content blockers such as uBlock Origin and others. Google wanted to limit an API that content blockers and other extensions were using for the blocking and replace it with another API that had severe limitations.
Google changed some parameters in an updated version of the draft in June but planned to launch the change in development versions of Chrome in 2019.
One question that many users had was whether other browser developers would follow Google's implementation. Browsers based on Chromium share code with Google and if Google would implement the changes, would need work to make changes to the code. Most browser makers, Vivaldi, Brave or Opera, have stated openly that they would find ways to lift these changes in one way or another.
Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox, is not based on Chromium but the extension system that Firefox uses is designed to be compatible for the most part with Chrome to make it easier for developers to develop extensions for both browsers.
The organization published an official statement on of the Mozilla Blog today to clarify its stance on the upcoming Manifest v3 APIs.
Most important from a user perspective is that Mozilla won't remove the API that content blockers use today from Firefox. Mozilla uses remove in the context whereas Google plans to alter it so that it becomes read-only; while not entirely clear, I think that Mozilla's statement means that it won't touch the API for now.
We have no immediate plans to remove blocking webRequest and are working with add-on developers to gain a better understanding of how they use the APIs in question to help determine how to best support them.
Note that Mozilla uses the term "no immediate plans" which means that the organization won't close that door completely.
Mozilla plans to implement some of the other changes that Google plans to make. You can read about those on the Mozilla Blog.
Manifest v3 has not been published as a final version and it is too early to tell how this will play out in the long run. Will Google make the changes necessary for content blockers to run effectively on Chrome? If that is the case, it is quite possible that Mozilla would follow Google's implementation after all in this regard.
If Google plays hardball, the company relies on advertising revenue after all, it seems more likely that Mozilla won't follow Google's implementation to the letter or at all. Mozilla wants to work with extension developers; that is a good sign.
Now You: What is your take on the statement?
> Note that Mozilla uses the term “no immediate plans” which means that the organization won’t close that door completely.
and that’s the concerning part of all.
Exactly, “No immediate plans”, in my jaded world experience, typically means “We’ll delay it for a few months for positive press and then sneak it in later.” :(
Possibly concerning, though, with the pace of change in the web browser industry and the anarchic organisation model Mozilla is based on, not overly surprising. They’re just hedging their bets.
After all, they’ve existed for nearly 20 years in their current incantation and for the most recent bulk of that time, the last decade, there was a three-way browser landscape. Now there’s only two. That’s a fundamental shift in the way standards and non-standards are handled. Essentially Microsoft should no longer be part of the standards-making process and Mozilla is the minor player by a very long margin. So there’s a big shift.
Do Microsoft even bother turning up to W3C meetings any more?
This article is arguably further evidence of how big Microsoft’s exit of the browser industry is and how slowly it is being understood. That is, Martin is still referring to “most browser makers” when really, there’s just Google and Mozilla. It’s all very nice and fluffy to consider browser *branders and packagers* as top-level, legitimate players in the industry (although including Opera in that category for years has been an aggravating mockery) but really, even though the packagers who do not create a rendering engine have access to altering some policies and the like that Google chooses and possibly pushes onto them, they are secondary by a long way when it comes to having any real influence. Martin still seems a little overly-diplomatic when acknowledging browser packagers as meaningful entities.
Microsoft’s exit means the browser industry has seen a tectonic shift this year and the fallout is arguably still playing out. Hedging bets like Mozilla has done in this “no immediate plans” post is not all that surprising and not necessarily foreboding.
No immediate plans is code for unsure.
Could mean down the road at a way later date, or, could mean never.
Google gotta be douchebags, mozilla makes money from Google, I predict a free firefox that follows Google and a paid firefox that lets you do what you want.
I would pay money for a Firefox that does what I want, since the current free version doesn’t.
Mozilla may not change the extensions yet in Firefox…but Thunderbird, their departed email program has, now it’s been updated, by a band of supporters…loads of extension that used to work, now don’t.
That always happens with each new version of Thunderbird. You have to wait for add-on developers to adapt their extensions not the other way around.
Thunderbird development shouldn’t be impaired by non-official add-ons.
If your old version of Thunderbird works the way you want and with the extensions you want, simply don’t update to the latest version.
Heck, that’s what I did. I’m still in version 60.8 because Thunderbird 68 stops supporting complete themes and the dark theme they have is terrible.
That’s always been the most annoying thing about TB and FF, extensions being broken all the time. Something I can’t remember ever happening with Chrome or Chromium based browsers.
As far as this story goes I have the feeling they’ll do exactly the same but we will see.
Your title is misleading. “No immediate plans” doesn’t mean that they will not follow Google. There is no new information from Mozilla on the controversy in their article. What a shame for them.
Side note: backward compatibility was the main excuse for ditching full extensions and allowing only the Google webextension system according to Mozilla. Witness what happens now, in addition to ad-blockers being under attack:
> Googleâ€™s proposed changes, such as the use of service workers in the background process, are not backwards-compatible. Developers will have to adapt their add-ons to accommodate these changes.
Mozilla can try to be “different” while playing catch up to Chrome; it is unlikely to regain the market share of its heyday.
At least three things need to be removed from browsers, invisible full page overlays, and popunders, and one tab being able to alter other open tabs or prevent the page from closing. Much of the most intrusive advertising would be neutralized.
“Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox, is not based on Chromium but the extension system that Firefox uses is designed to be compatible for the most part with Chrome to make it easier for developers to develop extensions for both browsers.”
Maybe that wasn’t a good decision.
Who knows what the Chrome Extensions Manifest file will look like in 5 years?
“Maybe that wasnâ€™t a good decision.
Who knows what the Chrome Extensions Manifest file will look like in 5 years?”
Maybe Mozilla was perfectly aware that by giving to Google some control over their extension standard this is what would happen sooner or later, and even took that decision on purpose.
They also trusted Google with their analytics, safebrowsing service, geolocation service, default search engine… This is what happens when your main revenue source is also your main “competitor”.
Chromium with no extensions at all is still a better browser than firefox with any extensions installed.
Better, sure. Right, and the pages it serves up are so much more webby. And it’s just so fast that it makes my head spin. Thank you lord, thank you Google, for this glorious gift you have bestowed on us. We’re not worthy. We are nothing and we deserve nothing. To be honest, Chrome is too good for us. You should make it less customizable and have it track us more, if that’s even possible.
>You should make it less customizable and have it track us more, if thatâ€™s even possible.
Mozilla’s got you covered on this one: https://www.ghacks.net/2018/09/21/mozilla-wants-to-estimate-firefoxs-telemetry-off-population/
That entirely depends on what you consider “better”. I dislike the new Firefox, but it’s much better than Chromium on every count that matters to me.
Sure, the incident described in that article however makes it the absolute worst browser for me.
Chromium’s more metal; Firefox, hotter. Waterfox, refreshing on a hot day; Brave, courageous. Pale Moon, more like beer; Edge, fell off it.
They’re all better.
@Yuliya: oh look a Chromium cultist who think that it having total domination is somehow a good thing.
It’s better than having mozilla around, constantly stealing user data without their knowledge.
I have yet to actually see evidence that Mozilla is doing that.
“[email protected]” is the evidence.
While I agree that the “telemetry coverage” telemetry is an awful practice that Mozilla should stop (and that they are OK with it is one of the reasons why my trust in Mozilla is at an all-time low), Mozilla does, at least, tell us that it exists and what it does.
To say that it’s “stealing user data” is simply wrong.
Mindless fanatics like Yuliya don’t need evidence.
Mindless fanboys don’t realise that I had used firefox for 5+ years up until 2018 when it started to have malware-like characteristics… ðŸ™„
Mindless fanboys also don’t see the abrupt market share decline, but they’ll feel it, by the looks of it sooner than later
This gonna be fun af.
(q) Note that Mozilla uses the term “no immediate plans” which means that the organization won’t close that door completely.
Mozilla plans to implement some of the other changes that Google plans to make.(/q)
That doesn’t look good at all. Google has destroyed the free and open Web as we knew it and now dictates its standards. Time to break up big tech companies (Google, Facebook, etc.). They have become to big and powerful.
(correction), …..too big….
The popularity of Chrome should be surprising but people have a long history of acting against their own best interest so the majority switching to Chrome, controlled as it is by the biggest ad company, is consistent with normal human behavior. Companies routinely copy the worst shortcomings of their competitors in the hope of getting some of their customers to switch, which seems equally crazy but we see it all the time. All of this makes me think that the new Mozilla, or Moz://a cannot be expected to behave sanely and may very well follow in lock-step with Google to the detriment of all web users.
Considering this and the fact the Mozilla CEO is stepping down I am hopeful for a brighter future for Firefox. While I am not happy with the new Firefox I prefer it to Chrome since it has more options to make the browser your own.