Mozilla removes site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71 - gHacks Tech News

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Mozilla removes site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71

A few months we told you how to disable the Twitter redesign and get the old interface back. Yesterday I ran into the new UI in Firefox even though I kept the proposed modifications in the browser since the guide was published.

Mozilla removes site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71

I was a bit puzzled, and thought that the social network is now forcing users to use the mobile-centric interface. In order to help other users, I tweeted a message about the GoodTwitter extension along with a link to the previous article.

Sometime later, a Firefox user reached out to me on Twitter, and said he couldn't install add-ons at work. What's interesting here was that he mentioned that the User Agent setting no longer worked for him.

Then I remembered that I had been using the very setting he was talking about, and not the add-on (which I had disabled). After a bit of Google-fu, I discovered what caused the problem. It turns out that it wasn't Twitter that was playing foul, but none other than our beloved browser, Firefox.

About a week ago, Mozilla released Firefox 71 to the stable channel. It brought with it an important change, a new about:config interface. What some users (including myself) weren't aware, was that the new version removed the site specific user-agent override option from about:config. And quite surprisingly, this isn't a bug, but actually appears to be done by design.

Valentin Goșu, who works at Mozilla has confirmed this on the Bugzilla forums, in a reply to a complaint from a user, nearly 2 months ago. Digging further revealed that this change had been planned by Mozilla last year.

So, what is the issue?

You can no longer set site specific overrides using the UserAgent string. You will need to set the User Agent override globally (affects the rendering of all websites). Since this is a global override, it could make some websites look odd, for e.g. YouTube uses an older design in this user agent, and if you use a non-Firefox user agent you won't be able to download extensions from the add-ons repository.

There are two workarounds for this:

Non-extension method

Open a new tab to enter the about:config page, and paste the following text in the search box that appears.

general.useragent.override

A new setting should be displayed in the tab, select the "String" option, click on the plus button on the right side.

Mozilla Firefox user-agent override option

Now, copy the following value and paste it in the setting's field, and click on the checkmark button to finish the process.

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 9.0; WOW64; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko

This should bring the old Twitter interface back. You can find other user agents from this website.

If you want to access Skype for Web, use the Chrome User Agent instead.

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/78.0.3904.108 Safari/537.36

Firefox user agent for skype

Add-on method

The only other way is to use an add-on like User-Agent Switcher and Manager (White-list mode) and set the user-agent for each site manually.

This may not be a big deal for many users, but priceless to many. Personally, I had been using it on 2 websites, Twitter and Skype Web (which requires Chrome or Edge). When my bank's internet banking website stopped working in Firefox (had to use Chrome), other users and I voiced our concerns and they re-added support for Firefox.

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Mozilla removes site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71
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Mozilla removes site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71
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Mozilla has removed site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71. You have 2 workarounds for this issue.
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on December 11, 2019 at 6:42 am
    Reply

    RIP another function in Firefox. Soon there will be nothing.

    1. John G. said on December 11, 2019 at 9:39 am
      Reply

      I agree. I don’t understand last changes by Mozilla team responsibles.
      Better version for me was 52.9, everything worked fine.
      I really miss those times. 🙄

      1. Iron Heart said on December 11, 2019 at 10:31 am
        Reply

        @John G.

        If you liked Firefox 52.9, why not try out Basilisk?

        https://www.basilisk-browser.org/

      2. John G. said on December 11, 2019 at 3:30 pm
        Reply

        Oh, very interesting, I didn’t know about it! I will give it a try, thank you! 😃

      3. Mele said on December 12, 2019 at 8:53 am
        Reply

        You’ll LOVE Basilisk. I still have Fx 52.9 ESR on my older Windows 8 Pro computer and Basilisk on the Windows 10 computer. I’ve been using it since its inception a little over two years ago. It’s my default browser. You can even use Classic Theme Restorer and most of your favorite XUL Fx extensions. You can get them at Classic Addons Archive (see at the Pale Moon website to install).

        You might also look at the Classic (not Modern) version of Waterfox which I also use. But I prefer Basilisk. However, if it barfs on an occasional site then I try Waterfox.

      4. Jody Thornton said on December 11, 2019 at 8:06 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart:
        But at that rate, I’d think the Waterfox Classic would be better. More compatible, and less neutered (ie. DRM and what not)

        I don’t understand how Mozilla thinks that ridding of user agent changes help them in any way. There has to be a bigger picture here that we’re just not aware of.

      5. Iron Heart said on December 13, 2019 at 8:33 am
        Reply

        @Jody Thornton

        Yeah, I just think Basilisk is a bit better as it stands, since Waterfox Classic is basically on life support – it only receives the security updates of current ESR versions of Firefox, but no noteworthy web compatibility fixes. New HTML features are actually implemented in Basilisk.

        I think the reasoning behind this is to force users to upgrade – websites do user agent sniffing, and if your browser is classified as “too old”, you won’t be able to display some websites. Sometimes setting the user agent to newer browser versions on an older browser helped the issue, without actually upgrading the browser. Mozilla wants to prevent that going forward.

      6. 99 said on December 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart said on December 13, 2019 at 8:33 am

        setting the user agent to newer browser versions on an older browser helped the issue, without actually upgrading the browser.

        If an older browser is not supporting a feature, no matter what User Agent String you are spoofing, it does not solve anything.

        Anyway, browser detection based on user-agent sniffing is bad practice and there are not many valid use cases.

        Typically a site needs to know if a feature is implemented before using it, and therefore straight feature detection is a best practice, and in almost every case, is exactly what is needed. And is done with a vary of strategies for supporting different browsers e.g. Vendor prefixes, Progressive enhancement, Polyfills/shims, Modernizr, Selective CSS/JavaScript application and so on …

        User-agent sniffing is not only a bad practice it is as well outdated for more than a decade!

        Mozilla wants to prevent that going forward.

        Oh Really?
        Just as a reminder

        “And then Google built Chrome, and Chrome used Webkit, and it was like Safari, and wanted pages built for Safari, and so pretended to be Safari. And thus Chrome used WebKit, and pretended to be Safari, and WebKit pretended to be KHTML, and KHTML pretended to be Gecko, and all browsers pretended to be Mozilla, and Chrome called itself Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.27 Safari/525.13, and the user agent string was a complete mess, and near useless, and everyone pretended to be everyone else, and confusion abounded.”

        History of the browser user-agent string

    2. djx92m said on December 11, 2019 at 11:03 am
      Reply

      It’s so frequent it shouldn’t even be news. Every time I have more disgust to mozilla and I want to get away from this company, but except the family of chorme/google there is nothing more worth mentioning in the market of browsers…

      1. gottagetalife said on December 24, 2019 at 3:25 am
        Reply

        Have you tried Vivaldi? They seem to be an upcoming browser.

    3. Allwynd said on December 11, 2019 at 1:18 pm
      Reply

      Agreed, Firefox is slowly dying and turning into a crippled Chrome clone. Better use Chrome or any other Blink-powered browser, Firefox is trash nowadays.

      1. John Fenderson said on December 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm
        Reply

        @Allwynd:

        I disagree. In terms of privacy and security, Firefox beats the pants of off Chrome. Those who dislike the current Firefox would be better off using one of the forks of it than switching to Chrome.

      2. Lord-Lestat said on December 12, 2019 at 12:47 pm
        Reply

        @John Fenderson There are no alternatives. Only time-limited ones.

        Seamonkey is based like Pale Moon on ESR 52 – both are browsers with a limited amount of time in which they still can be used and Waterfox classic is Firefox 56 – and also has the same problem like the others.

        The only REAL chance for people in favor of customization IS Chromium – either Vivaldi or browsers based on QT-Webengine (Chromium “light”)

        Granted, Pale Moon, Seamonkey and Waterfox can be still used 1-2 more years, but after that time – or even earlier already, it is necessary to bite the bitter bullet and switch to customizable Chromium variants.

        Firefox forks based on XUL have no future – and that says someone who is using since a while one too.

      3. John Fenderson said on December 12, 2019 at 7:38 pm
        Reply

        @Lord-Lestat: “a limited amount of time in which they still can be used”

        How so? It’s not like those browsers are going to hit some time limit and suddenly stop working, after all.

        “Pale Moon, Seamonkey and Waterfox can be still used 1-2 more years”

        Oh, they’ll be able to be used for many years longer than that. The only thing that would make it impossible to use them is if there’s some sort of breaking change in the HTML standard that is widely adopted across the web. That’s a possible future, but if it happens it will be a long way off.

    4. Another Satisfied Firefox User said on December 11, 2019 at 5:55 pm
      Reply

      Who cares? .0001% (total guess) of the Firefox user base care about this feature. Firefox is the best mainstream alternative to Google’s spyware of a browser.

      For the 99.9999% of the Firefox community, the improved privacy and functionality is enough. For the power users, there are workarounds.

      These opinions seem incredibly, unduly harsh. Firefox s not dead, or dying, or crippled. Products evolve and change, I know some people are averse to any change; however that doesn’t mean the change is bad.

      If you think Firefox is not for you, and you are not using it; why bother to take the time to trash it? Use whatever product you want, and keep the negativity to yourself. There are always going to be haters, and most of us don’t want to hear them. (P.S. – I won’t be back to read responses, so feel free to flame me even though I won’t be reading it). Have a great day!

      1. SpywareFan said on December 12, 2019 at 10:01 am
        Reply

        “If you think Firefox is not for you, and you are not using it; why bother to take the time to trash it?”
        Firefox once was for me since it don’t needed hundreds of tweaks to become only a browser.

        “Use whatever product you want, and keep the negativity to yourself.”
        Negativity or impressions/considerations/constructive criticism?

        “There are always going to be haters, and most of us don’t want to hear them. (P.S. – I won’t be back to read responses, so feel free to flame me even though I won’t be reading it). ”
        Are you from Moz HQ’s? That’s the new mentality I was talking about: users who criticize the removal of customizations or functionalities are Haters, They won’t hear them! Compliments, you’re building the new Open Web! If you don’t like to read responses probably you’ll never learn from your mistakes and for sure you’re not interested in other people opinions… Just like dictators.

      2. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2019 at 1:36 pm
        Reply

        @SpywareFan, “Negativity or impressions/considerations/constructive criticism?”

        Constructive cannot be negative, but impressions and considerations too often are when free of arguments; call it trolling, call it bashing. Constructive criticism not only if not negative but is welcomed, how to disagree with that.

        No need to be related to a whatever HQ, that of Mozilla in this case, to denounce hatred, this form of monologue and rhetoric which is spreading all over the Web. There’s a true debate presently about freedom of expression, U.S. culture generally adept of the idea freedom includes hatred whilst Europeans globally believe hatred should be censured. I’ve heard that YouTube just decided to block hate comments. The debate remains. I dislike (was about to write “hate”!) authentically, genuine, exclusively expressed (or not) hatred speech, but I’m not sure the solution is to forbid it, and that means “I’m not sure”, not that i’d be sure it isn’t.

        There is a general world-wide, planetary people’s exasperation concerning the way life is deploying and my belief is that hatred is a way of expressing it, chats, forums, social networks used as a support for quite often bouncing on a fact, an event exaggeratedly to legitimate a mental and/or psychological stress.

        I guess the best we can do is to try to put out words of hatred as they come out rather than bouncing ourselves on them by means of a hatred reciprocity, otherwise the fire expands. I say this for myself as well : aggressiveness is contagious.

        Let’s all try to do our best :=)

      3. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2019 at 2:14 pm
        Reply

        Forgot to include the links to YouTube’s policy update :

        Official YouTube Blog: An update to our harassment policy
        https://youtube.googleblog.com/2019/12/an-update-to-our-harassment-policy.html

        YouTube will start removing videos featuring racist, sexist insults | CBC News
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/youtube-hate-1.5392742

      4. Lord-Lestat said on December 12, 2019 at 12:42 pm
        Reply

        @SpywareFan Spoken by a typical features and choice hating leftist – the user-group Mozilla-new adores so much, as opposed to REAL Mozilla who valued both – conservative power users and leftist simple users.

        And as Mozilla has embraced the radical left side – they try in a desperate attempt to take away the left-leaning user-base of Google Chrome. Mozilla is a poor jealous bitter copy-cat developer, and the Mozilla of today only survives because they try to survive thanks to their so much bigger origin heritage, something Mozilla-new has discarded and betrayed its origin user-base.

        Mozilla and most of their leftist user-base of today are in no way better as compared to Donald Trump. Discriminating, aggressive and Mozilla itself infested by this clear discriminating and fascist-similar political direction.

        Just disgusting.

      5. Lord-Lestat said on December 12, 2019 at 3:27 pm
        Reply

        Sorry, my previous comment was directed to

        @Another Satisfied Firefox User- and not to @SpywareFan

      6. owl said on December 13, 2019 at 2:04 am
        Reply

        @Lord-Lestat,

        By the way, what do you want to insist on?
        Here, is not Twitter.
        The topic is limited to “Mozilla removes site specific user-agent override option from Firefox 71”.

        Since your claim is always “troll”, it has caused a flaming (Internet).
        If you are a gentleman, let’s understand the place (posts with respect to topic).

      7. Iron Heart said on December 13, 2019 at 7:42 am
        Reply

        @Lord Lestat

        Seriously, you should drop the notion already that users of certain browsers have to belong to a certain political spectrum. The browser market is an oligopoly as it stands, there is basically nothing aside from Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge today. I am sure that there are right-wing and left-wing and center and classical liberal and what not users of every major browser, since there isn’t so much choice here. The notion you open up here all the time is therefore ridiculous.

        I also disagree with your attempt to intermingle every topic with politics. If political issues are burning under your fingernails, then join a fitting political party or found your own one, there you will be able to talk incessantly about politics all day long. This is a tech blog, not a parliament, and not the Lord Lestat support group.

        Commenter @owl is just as nutty IMHO, just from the other side of the political spectrum.

      8. Lord-Lestat said on December 14, 2019 at 9:22 pm
        Reply

        @iron heart

        You are WRONG – 100%! A developers mentality has DIRECT influence in what for a kind of user-base it attracts and what for a development-mentality the product is adopting.

        1) Leftist developers try to create “inclusiveness supporting and simple products which do not violate others perhaps limited understanding. It attracts choice and features hating users – and the more left leaning the developer is – then it attracts also more opinion-radical users who are quite often rude – and even worse, partly total zealots towards everything which is going in the exact other direction.

        2) Middle-ground believing AND Conservative developers are developing for the skilled and intelligent users FIRST – without excluding simple users by removing simple layout setup-options.

        And MOST important… the more left leaning a developer is, the more aggressive, rude is it’s user-base. Countless examples to find from the Mozilla users side. Most prominent on Reddit.

        Does Seamonkey has the problem? Vivaldi or Brave for example? No, as that are no typical leftist developer and they are either located in the middle-ground or at the conservative side.

        Fake-Mozilla and it’s users today are supporting discriminating and restricting opinions – no matter how small discrimination may be – it is STILL discrimination, and therefor it is always some kind of fascist reaction.

        And nothing what you or other Mozilla supporters and fans are writing, is changing this true fact.

        Mozilla was at one point different, and so most of their users. Sadly times have changed. And i am never going to support discrimination and fascism – in no matter which kind of disguise it may come – and it is also important to speak about it.

        Therefor, like it or not – Mozilla is supporting discrimination against conservative and power users – and the Mozilla-new fan-base is openly supporting this and openly attacks others of different opinion.

      9. Iron Heart said on December 15, 2019 at 10:28 am
        Reply

        @Lord Lestat

        This is an insane writeup, not in a good way though. I don’t know what is going on in your brain, and honestly I do not really want to know either, but here are some of my thoughts regarding the things you wrote:

        Last time I checked, conservatism was defined as a political view that favors free enterprise, private ownership, and social ideas based on tradition. What the hell does that have to do with a f*****g browser? You know what, most people did never customize their browser in any way, they are satisfied when it renders websites correctly, doesn’t crash, and has all basic UI elements in place. That’s it. People need to get things done at work, they don’t have the time to extensively tinker with the interface. And there is no reason for them to tinker with it in the first place, because there is nothing they miss or would like to rearrange in most cases. Again: People need to get things done, and that’s true for conservatives, classical liberals, and communists and what not.

        You will also be shocked to hear that most Firefox users both today and historically a) do not customize their browser in any way, and b) most Firefox users have zero add-ons installed, and of those who do, most only run an adblocker.

        Firefox gained users by virtue of being better overall than Internet Explorer 6, which admittedly is not a very high bar. It did NOT gain users because it was more customizable (most never customized it at all), it gained users because Internet Explorer sucked on multiple levels. It later lost most users when finally a less cluttered browser (Chrome) was released that let people do their work(!!!) with minimal interference. It was also faster, which helped.

        According to your ideas, most conservatives turned into staunch communists over night when they gradually jumped ship towards Chrome. But guess what, that’s not the case. People always shifted to the browser which works best for them, and that has nothing to do with their positioning within the political spectrum (LOL at that, seriously). Browsers gradually came closer to being what most people need, an uncluttered tool to get things done.

        Tinkering with UI has nothing to do with conservatism, tinkerers were always in the minority, that’s why Linux on desktop has like 2% market share. Do you believe that there are only 2% “conservatives”? I mean, Windows and macOS are hardly customizable, right? Of course there are not just 2% conservatives, but guess what… Most people, be it conservatives, classical liberals, communists and what not view their machines as TOOLS TO GET SHIT DONE! Tinkering is oftentimes unnecessary.

        Some very important Linux devs are also rather left-leaning, does that destroy your world view for good? Hopefully.

      10. Lord-Lestat said on January 4, 2020 at 6:39 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        Nobody denies that there are a couple of leftist developers who are nice. But while the conservative movement has stayed unchanged, the new kind of progressives/leftists have fully radicalized themselves.

        Here is a highly compressed version of an 38 page long manifest i wrote over the last year which – in a not offensive way covers all important details, no matter if you are still in denial after reading it. I edited it again in a heavily way so all possible offensive parts are fully excluded. Enjoy!

        ————————————–

        Why has Mozilla-new and their new user group of “progressive/leftists” a general problem with browsers like Vivaldi/Brave/Waterfox/Seamonkey or Pale Moon and customization and choice in general? No matter how hard people try to ignore that very simple issue and constantly are in denial it has anything to do with politics… it is in direct correlation towards the change of the mentality of what is considered “politically correct” today! First the public shared oversimplfied reasoning… Mozilla-new removed most power user features (and they will also remove userchrome.css in the future) to be attractive to Chrome users, to make Chrome users switch away from Googles product. The point is that Chrome users or general simple users do not accept and like “bloat” – so it was decided that all the “conservative features” had to go to enable Firefox more compatible with their needs.

        Now here is where politics are kicking in, and things get a LOT MORE messier… Mozilla-new has turned into a fully customization/choice and politically-moderates and conservatives hating “heavily left leaning developer” – as that would (at least also theoretically) appeal to the majority of Google Chrome users or general people with the same opinion – which have because of their ideology and believe much less tolerance and understanding for everything which provides choice/which is more conservative aligned. Mozilla-new has fully turned into a company which just betrayed their own creation and origin user-base as it was not compatible with “leftist/progressive visions/ideas” and their world-view! But there is a major problem with Mozillas way of thinking… No matter how much they try to appeal to “leftist/progressive” simple/Chrome users with ongoing feature removals and morality adjustments – The majority of this user base will stay loyal to Google and Chrome – no matter how much Mozilla tries to persuade that kind of users to use Firefox instead. Mozilla-new will only be seen as an imitation facility who additionally got greedy and jealous – who tried to adopt Chromes simple add-on system, it’s development mentality and political mentality for the sake of broadening Mozillas shrinking user-base!

        Mozilla-new is humiliating everything which is true and honest FOSS with their actions. Real Open-Source developers have standards, morals, loyalty… all that what Mozilla-new is missing. They abuse the legacy of a real unique and once amazing past – which just was discarded for being “non-inclusive and non-liberal”

        What they forget is that a honest and real liberal and inclusive concept would mean also to keep features of users who have a different opinion, mentality and especially skill level! As i see it this is a common problem with this new kind of “leftist/progressive” opinion of so many developers and it’s management today – which also affects the users they gain – they make use of concepts they do not at all understand and honor. While the users of such groups are wildly attacking people and organizations who go a different way – and not wanting to become simple and minimalist just for the majorities sake. If something is swimming into another direction it is seen as threat and danger seen as mortal enemy to the today established system what is seen as “the only correct and acceptable one” – this has direct influence on the vision how a product is developed!

        Nobody with a sane mind would want to support radical right-wing visions – but the issue is that today everything is getting attacked and in conclusion removed just because there is the chance that it could point to a very small degree towards a moderate middle-ground or even moderate conservative ground – all what is moving away from your typical “leftist/progressive” concept. Mozilla is supporting an excluding concept – which may be nicely wrapped as “inclusive and socially correct” but in reality fully excluding a minority who also has rights – the group of users who are sitting in the already mentioned middle-ground/moderate-conservative-ground and do not like that everything gets intentionally dumbed-down or removed to put everything out of the way for a less tolerating/accepting and rather aggressive/dismissive user group – which Mozilla wants on board.

        And that is in the end the ultimate reason why people and software which are sticking out from the crowd do get so much despised and demonized – or even receiving threats (Classic add-on archive) or getting in an active way monitored and even the smallest mistake is recorded and used in time to blacklist the projects or people which refuse to play the established and discriminating game of today.

  2. Rick said on December 11, 2019 at 6:47 am
    Reply

    Isn’t setting the general user agent as you did in the first example going to cause problems for you in general? Sure, it may fix one site, but I can’t imagine using that id would be very helpful overall. Surely the extension is the only real choice.

    1. Tom Hawack said on December 11, 2019 at 10:28 am
      Reply

      @Rick, of course this setting as a workaround can cause issues. As noted in the article best option now is to use a dedicated Firefox extension. I had tested a few and the one which seemed the best to me was ‘User-Agent Switcher’ but even that one wouldn’t make it when tested on https://www.deviceinfo.me/ which recognized Firefox when I had set the U-Agent to be Google Chrome.

      Using an extension to access sites which refuse one’s user-agent is one thing, but hoping this falsified user-agent will be a 100% bullet-proof for sites fingerprinting you, is another.

  3. Q said on December 11, 2019 at 7:49 am
    Reply

    There is the more obvious workaround of using an older version of Firefox.

    Also, the site specific user-agent override feature in Firefox was removed once before. I was not aware that the feature was again introduced later.

  4. Anon said on December 11, 2019 at 9:04 am
    Reply

    This is a very bad move from Mozilla. Changing user-agent per site should be the most basic browser functionality and I can’t figure out why Mozilla decided to remove it.

    1. Iron Heart said on December 11, 2019 at 10:30 am
      Reply

      Because “dumbing down” is their default mode of action when it comes to Firefox. Anyway, who cares. Firefox has 4.5% market share (desktop and mobile combined) according to Statcounter’s December 2019 figures. He’s dead, Jim.

      1. Tom Hawack said on December 11, 2019 at 11:09 am
        Reply

        Even if you don’t like/use a product, not caring about it’s market share is a bad contribution to competitiveness. What do we want, a Google monopoly?

        Firefox is at this time the best browser available, IMO of course and perhaps in the opinion of 4.5% of users. Of course we can focus on points we dislike but globally speaking Firefox is the browser bringing the greatest number of settings which is also why those who tweak those settings inconsiderately and then face issues are happier with browsers leaving less power to the user and automating fundamentals.

      2. Iron Heart said on December 11, 2019 at 11:43 am
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack

        In case you haven’t noticed, we already have a Chromium monopoly. With only 4.5% market share, Mozilla now lacks the influence it historically had on the development of the web. But I don’t see this as a big problem, because there is a difference between “Google monopoly” and “Chromium monopoly”. The difference is that Chromium is open source, meaning anyone can fork it and modify it. “Google monopoly” implies that Google has sole control of a (closed source) code base, but that’s just not the case. It’s Firefox fanboy FUD propaganda.

        I don’t see at all why Firefox is the “sole hope” for the web, if you so will. Blink, the rendering engine used by Chromium, sprung from WebKit. WebKit is still being developed by Apple and used in its Safari browser. The two engines now differ to such a degree that they are clearly separate engines. The same could happen to Blink if someone forks it and takes it into a different direction. This was not possible back in the day with Internet Explorer, as it was indeed closed source and controlled by Microsoft alone.

        I don’t see the problem with Firefox fading away, because it is highly likely that Blink will spawn new forks, especially if Google’s contributions are not seen as desirable anymore.

        Last but not least, not all Chrome users are stupid to a degree where they are unable to deal with a variety of settings! That’s just an extremely arrogant claim you make, with nothing to back it up. And then, I do not think that most Firefox users are at all aware of about:config, let alone being able to deal with it. Firefox users using the browser because it gives them about:config is a laughable and freely made up Tom Hawack assumption, nothing more. Plus, Mozilla is dumbing down Firefox considerably as we speak, you can’t even set site-specific user agent overrides anymore, LOL. Whereas some Chromium-based projects like Vivaldi become more and more customizable by the day…

      3. Tom Hawack said on December 11, 2019 at 12:18 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart, to consider reality is no argument IMO, hence market share is only a market value.

        Monopoly isn’t defined by transparency but by the result of a combination of strategy, tactics and user approval.

        I’ll emphasize on users, the sheep attitude related to a sheep state of mind, I’ll emphasize on human nature which basically and for most of us considers essentially two references : fashion and ease of use. This is not arrogance but facts. Just consider the number of pots, comments on I don’t know how many sites where users start complaining as a driver would when the cause is no gasoline left in the tank. Not knowing is one thing, complaining, bashing and eventually moving to alternatives on those basis is another. I assume and state it clearly : most of us are twisted, maneuvered by marketing tactics in order to lead them in a given perspective. This is even what frightens me the most, more even than corporations doing what is their very purpose : sell. Reactions, lucidity are vanishing.

        So I’ll repeat that most of humans are sheep-minded. Most. If I ever find/read a talented and free mind able to explain why a browser such as Chrome deserves the market share it has then I’ll of course exclude that mind from the sheep market; not otherwise.

      4. Anonymous said on December 12, 2019 at 5:03 am
        Reply

        @Tom
        Isn’t it ironic? Pot calling kettle black? You yourself sheeping on Firefox while Iron gave his objective opinion.

        White knighting doesn’t bring food to your table.

      5. 99 said on December 12, 2019 at 2:39 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart said on December 11, 2019 at 11:43 am

        […] there is a difference between “Google monopoly” and “Chromium monopoly”. The difference is that Chromium is open source, meaning anyone can fork it and modify it. “Google monopoly” implies that Google has sole control of a (closed source) code base, but that’s just not the case.
        It’s Firefox fanboy FUD propaganda.

        Chrome and Chromium are supposedly based on open-source – a tactic by Google to avoid competition scrutiny – but you still require the proprietary Google product Widevine if you intend to build your own Chromium browser. Google can just say no and realistically the decisions around Chromium are made by Google engineers and not any sort of collaborative open-source community.

        “… anyone can fork it and modify it?” Sounds like Chromium fanboy FUD propaganda! Let’s see …

        Samuel Maddock’s Blog | I tried creating a web browser, and Google blocked me

        After years of insisting that DRM in HTML wouldn’t block open source implementations, Google says it won’t support open source implementations

      6. owl said on December 13, 2019 at 1:24 pm
        Reply

        Iron Heart’s view,
        “Chromium” are web standard, so does not cause problems.
        However, Vivaldi announced on the official blog that he is suffering from serious problems.

        Vivaldi officially announced that it was necessary to “make it look like Google Chrome” User Agent strings.
        User Agent Changes | Vivaldi Blog
        https://vivaldi.com/blog/user-agent-changes/
        Published on December 10, 2019 – By Ruarí Ødegaard

        Ødegaard pointed out that there is a high possibility that the block targeting Vivaldi and some functions have been restricted. As an example of a website that deliberately inconveniently accesses Vivaldi, Ødegaard cites the following:
        Here are just a handful of current examples:
        ● On Google.com if you present a Vivaldi user agent and arrive via a redirect, the search text box will be misaligned
        ● On Google Docs if you present a Vivaldi user agent you will receive a warning
        ● On Facebook’s WhatsApp web interface if you present a Vivaldi user agent, you cannot enter the site and are advised to switch to one of our competitors
        ● On Microsoft Teams (chat and collaboration website), presenting a Vivaldi user agent will stop you from being able to use the website
        ● On Netflix, presenting a Vivaldi user agent results in a suggestion to install Silverlight to play videos… yes… really… Silverlight!

        Even Chromium, Google does not condone.

        Hacker News
        https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18697824
        one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up.
        Former Mozilla exec: Google has sabotaged Firefox for years | ZDNet
        https://www.zdnet.com/article/former-mozilla-exec-google-has-sabotaged-firefox-for-years/

      7. Allwynd said on December 11, 2019 at 6:42 pm
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack

        Firefox has been a piece of trash ever since they released version 4.0 in 2010-2011. Right now it’s the worst browser to use. Chrome, Opera and the rest of the Blink-powered browsers are million light years ahead of this antiquated trash that’s already dead in the water.

      8. owl said on December 12, 2019 at 1:16 am
        Reply

        @Allwynd,

        Your claim in the past is clear to “have faith in IObit, Kaspersky, Google, Opera”, so no one will pay attention to your claim.
        If you like trolling, follow Trump on Twitter.

      9. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2019 at 10:34 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous, words whatever they be don’t bring food to one’s table as you say. Being pragmatical to the point of considering an opinion on that basis is unfortunately often the lot of the poorest. Eat well nevertheless :=) No irony unless a dialog is.

      10. Tom Hawack said on December 12, 2019 at 10:58 am
        Reply

        @Allwynd, that’s a free assertion, free of arguments as well. We’ve all been going through browser comparisons for years. Maybe giving a minimum of consistency to your appreciations would be welcomed.

      11. none said on December 17, 2019 at 6:34 pm
        Reply

        chrome is not really popular because its good. its marketed very heavily and it comes bundled with many programs

      12. owl said on December 11, 2019 at 11:25 am
        Reply

        @Iron Heart: Firefox has 4.5% market share (desktop and mobile combined) according to Statcounter’s December 2019 figures.

        As usual, the hate speech by exaggerated:
        Desktop Browser Market Share Worldwide | StatCounter Global Stats
        https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share/desktop/worldwide
        Desktop Browsers
        Percentage Market Share
        Desktop Browser Market Share Worldwide – November 2019
        Chrome 68.9% Firefox 9.42% Safari 9.16% Edge 4.57% IE 3.67% Opera 2.34%
        https://i.imgur.com/IZDL8iK.png
        It doesn’t make sense to include mobile in Firefox (the core product is a desktop browser).

      13. Iron Heart said on December 11, 2019 at 12:35 pm
        Reply

        @owl

        So pretending that mobile doesn’t exist is the solution? In case you don’t know, websites are mostly being accessed by mobile devices these days, excluding it from any consideration is therefore madness. Your opinion that seeing the entire picture instead of having a tunnel vision that excludes part of reality can be qualified as “hate speech” is laughable as well, needless to say.

        This is Firefox’s real market share (desktop and mobile combined):

        https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share

        Chrome: 64.3%
        Safari: 16.68%
        Firefox: 4.49%
        Samsung Internet: 3.27%
        UC Browser: 2.95%
        Opera: 2.35%

        You also say that Mozilla doesn’t view Firefox Mobile as a core product… That’s not entirely true, and you know it. Mozilla tried very hard to enter the mobile sphere, to no avail – Firefox ended up having 1% mobile market share, despite their best efforts. Hell, they even developed a mobile operating system (Firefox OS), that ended up being used in Panasonic TVs in the end (LOL), i.e. it was a miserable failure. In reality, Mozilla desperately wanted to have a successful mobile browser, but they were unable to pull it off. They are still trying as far as I can tell, haha. But then, the priority Mozilla assigns to its products internally has nothing to do with the overall market situation, not least because Mozilla tried really hard in the mobile sphere… But if the idea that failure can be explained away with supposed “internal priorities” gives you comfort, who am I to take it away from you?

      14. owl said on December 13, 2019 at 3:05 am
        Reply

        @Iron Heart,

        Previously, you recommended Pale Moon.
        Until about six months ago is Brave.
        Next is NewEdge, then ungoogled-chromium, recently Vivaldi? …
        Where are you standing?
        None of your recommended Browsers is an emerging brand, but is your share rising?

        You also praised the greatness of “uBlock Origin”, but its creator: Raymond Hill declared that “focus development and support for Firefox”.

        Really Will Firefox is a waste?
        After all, your claim is just “hate speech”.

        A final word: The act of posting a hate speech pretending to topic be immature behavior. No longer, it has become a full “off topic”. In other words, you are a “troll”.

      15. Iron Heart said on December 13, 2019 at 7:32 am
        Reply

        @owl

        As if I need to rely on one browser and one browser only… LOL. I have multiple browsers on my system, my favorite of which is currently Brave (not that it would matter to you). I recommend browsers here based on the questions people ask, if someone wants classic Firefox extensions, it would be nonsensical to recommend Brave, wouldn’t you agree?

        uBlock Origin now HAS TO focus development on Firefox thanks to Google’s Extension Manifest v3, which will limit the capabilities of adblockers. That’s a reason why I use Brave, as its internal adblocker doesn’t rely on the webrequest API Google intends to limit, therefore I don’t need uBlock Origin to the degree others do. Lying by omission is your forte, it seems. You said that Mozilla doesn’t focus on mobile, without mentioning that they failed horribly before, making it seem like it’s just “internal priorities” at play here. You said that Raymond Hill, developer of uBlock Origin, won’t focus development on Chrome anymore, without mentioning Google’s Extension manifest v3, making it seem like it was a deliberate decision of the developer that he has made on his own… You deliberately create a false appearance by failing to mention certain aspects of a topic.

        Lying by omission is a trait of a person that is generally very unpleasant to deal with. It’s also time-consuming to always correct your lies by omission, and the false appearances you aim to create, others would call that “fake news”.

        Firefox is becoming more and more of a waste, as it loses more and more features and also market share. It’s a waste of resources to discuss it in greater depth, too.

        You like to throw around the word “hate speech”, let me assure you, you have never actually witnessed real “hate speech”, as otherwise you wouldn’t use the word “hatred” so lightly. May you be confronted with real hatred at some point, so that you may know what the definition of “hatred” really is.

        PS: It seems that certain political topics are burning under your fingernails to a degree where you have to mention them in every paragraph you write. This is a tech blog, though. If you want to talk about politics, then there are more appropriate places to do so, e.g. political parties. There you can talk about political issues all day long. The way you behave now is just as nutty as the behavior of Lord Lestat, another comment author who mentions political issues in every single paragraph.

      16. owl said on December 13, 2019 at 9:53 am
        Reply

        @Iron Heart,

        Are you misinterpreting “hate speech”?
        Hate speech is generally interpreted as “Words and deeds to incite hatred”, and in a broad sense, hatred feelings for “race, country of origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, appearance, health, philosophy of thought”, etc.
        In my usage, it means “hate = dislike”.
        In other words, “Iron Heart hates Firefox, so troll on Firefox topics.”
        do not you?

        By the way, I don’t hate you. Because you are very honest.
        However, deviate from the topic and the claim that “Firefox is waste” makes Firefox users uncomfortable. This is the opposite effect rather.
        For example, how do you behave if you are denied what you like?
        You should behave wisely.

      17. Iron Heart said on December 13, 2019 at 10:50 am
        Reply

        @owl

        > Are you misinterpreting “hate speech”?

        No, I am applying a real, non-radical and non-overblown definition of “hatred” in all cases. Hatred for me is a very strong word, implying a state of speech able to incite severe violence and a breach of dignity. Everything else is just dislike, and if no emotions are involved, disagreement.

        > Hate speech is generally interpreted as “Words and deeds to incite hatred”, and in a broad sense, hatred feelings for “race, country of origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, appearance, health, philosophy of thought”, etc.

        Cool, nothing that applies to me or others here so far, so stop throwing around words you do not understand.

        > In my usage, it means “hate = dislike”.

        Nope, there is a difference, and it’s not just semantics. Hatred has far stronger connotations than mere dislike, see above.

        > In other words, “Iron Heart hates Firefox, so troll on Firefox topics.” do not you?

        No, I don’t. For one, I do not hate Firefox. Hatred is too strong a concept to be applied to some lines of code, LOL. I do not dislike it, either. I am pointing out that it has only 4.5% market share (desktop and mobile combined) at this point, and that it’s therefore dead in the water. It having a very low market share is a provable fact, it’s not an insult I throw at it, or to paraphrase Odysseus when he commented on the death of Menelaus caused by Hector in the film Troy (2004): “It’s no insult to say a dead man is dead.” Facts can’t be trolling by definition, me mentioning it just gets you so worked up for some reason that you perceive me as trolling, but when you think about it, you can’t deny the facts.

        > However, deviate from the topic and the claim that “Firefox is waste” makes Firefox users uncomfortable.

        A conclusion that I draw from Firefox’s low market share is that it’s dead in the water, and that in the long run, it will fade away if the trend so far is anything to go by. Therefore it is a waste of time and resources to discuss it in any greater depth. It’s dying technology. Whether you like the facts or not is not my concern.

        > For example, how do you behave if you are denied what you like?

        I question the validity of the arguments the other side has to present to me, and whether they are based on fact, rather than spouting “hate speech” all the time without comprehending the meaning of the term.

      18. owl said on December 13, 2019 at 2:09 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart,
        I would like to express my respect for the fact that you responded clearly to each content of my reply.
        Apparently, I was misunderstanding you (Iron Heart hates Firefox, so troll on Firefox topics).
        https://www.ghacks.net/2019/12/11/mozilla-removes-site-specific-user-agent-override-option-from-firefox-71/#comment-4446959
        By that thread, I understood that you are not a “troll”.
        I respect your honesty.

      19. Mele said on December 14, 2019 at 12:54 pm
        Reply

        ” Mozilla tried really hard in the mobile sphere… But if the idea that failure can be explained away with supposed “internal priorities” gives you comfort, who am I to take it away from you?”

        It was a real eye opener for me to learn recently that Firefox and Firefox Focus on my iPhone are ONLY WRAPPERS for Safari! I was shocked. Mitchell Baker stated in an interview with the Guardian recently:

        ““Apple’s stance is ‘you should trust us and we’re different and better,’” says Baker. “I believe that’s a serious commitment right now at Apple. And that works – as long as everything that you want and need is OK coming through Apple and you can pay for it all. But the minute there’s something heterogeneous, or there’s something that doesn’t fit with Apple, or there’s something new, then you’re out of luck.

        “Even if you do download a replacement, iOS drops you back into the default. I don’t know why that’s acceptable. Every link you open on a phone is the choice of the phone maker, even if you, as a user, want something else.

        “I don’t see Apple listening at all. We make a huge technical investment in this obscure layer, called the rendering engine, because it turns out that’s where there’s a lot of power. In some systems, you can see the powerful thing right up front. But often the real power of the system is under the hood. And that’s true of how you see content on the web. So we invest a lot in it and Apple simply prohibits it. We just can’t use that technology. So I don’t see that changing.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/17/firefox-mozilla-fights-back-against-google-chrome-dominance-privacy-fears

        Considering I thought I was using Fx and Fx Focus on my iPhone 10 R, this interview with Mozilla Foundation Chair, and the fact I love my iPhone and the privacy that Apple is dedicated to, this rocked me hard. Mozilla is the oldest company/thing on the consumer internet and I chose Netscape over IE back in 1999 when I got my first computer. From then forward my choices were always Mozilla ones (Mozilla Suite, Phoenix, Firebird, Firefox and Firefox ESR and Thunderbird) until recently when I still chose a fork of Fx for my default browsers. I had no idea that apparently a user who values privacy as a basic right, and something worth fighting very hard to keep, must choose between Mozilla and Apple. How sad and disturbing and scary.

  5. owl said on December 11, 2019 at 11:05 am
    Reply

    If used an add-on will solve the issue.
    It’s not a big deal.

    User-Agent Switcher and Manager | a new one globally, randomly or per hostname.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/user-agent-string-switcher/
    Chameleon | You can select from a user agent preset list.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/chameleon-ext/

  6. Mike Harris said on December 11, 2019 at 12:32 pm
    Reply

    Not that I’m happy about it, but their reasoning:

    “Yes. This code was quite inefficient, running for all loads, checking if you might have a site-specific UA pref set.

    “Plus, it had a years old bug where the UA change only happened for the top level load, not for subresource loads.

    “So it was bad, inefficient and buggy 🙂 We now have better ways for users to perform this change (via webextensions), and for Mozilla to run UA interventions (via webcompat-addon)”

    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1513574#c25

  7. Anonymous said on December 11, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    Reply

    no clue why moz changes that. do they want to force more mozilla user strings for he statistics?
    there have been many not-so-user-friendly moves from moziall lately.

    really like firefox (but thats only valid for the old one, with the possibility to mod anything, thats why i like sticking with waterfox, unless stuff forces to move on)

  8. John Fenderson said on December 11, 2019 at 5:04 pm
    Reply

    I wonder what the rationale for removing this is. This is something that I consider essential functionality.

    1. owl said on December 12, 2019 at 1:03 am
      Reply

      @John Fenderson: I wonder what the rationale for removing this is. This is something that I consider essential functionality.

      Here, the official view is detailed:
      1513574 – Remove UserAgentOverrides.jsm | bugzilla.mozilla.org
      https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1513574
      Opened Last year
      Closed 3 months ago

      UserAgentOverrides should be rewritten as a C++ service for performance and correctness reasons.
      So, from what I can tell, UserAgentOverrides.jsm isn’t even needed anymore.
      can be fixed using nsIDocshell.customUserAgent, meaning the need for UserAgentOverrides.jsm and UserAgentUpdates.jsm is pretty much gone.
      Also removes the UA cache attached to nsILoadGroup and nsIRequestContext and the “http-on-useragent-request” observer notification.
      If overriding the user agent is needed “http-on-modify-request” is equally usable (but should be used rarely, for performance reasons). A better way is using nsIDocShell.customUserAgent.
      There are lots of webextensions that can change the username in a much more reliable way.
      Take your pick.

      Was there a particular reason why the domain specific part was removed? It did work reliably and was a lot more elegant than to have to install yet another extension.

      Yes. This code was quite inefficient, running for all loads, checking if you might have a site-specific UA pref set.
      Plus, it had a years old bug where the UA change only happened for the top level load, not for subresource loads.
      So it was bad, inefficient and buggy 🙂 We now have better ways for users to perform this change (via webextensions), and for Mozilla to run UA interventions (via webcompat-addon)

      Things that are controlled by about:config prefs will sooner or later break. We can only test a small number of configurations, and just as before, having multiple ways of changing the userAgent means not all of them are well tested. And the technical burden of maintaining the code that does this (even assuming it’s “bug free”) is not worth it.
      I agree that it was more convenient just to add a pref for what you wanted, but webExtensions allows you to do that just as easily, and is well tested.

      1. Anonymous said on December 12, 2019 at 11:51 am
        Reply

        If it’s buggy and inefficient, solve the problem instead of using it as an excuse to remove the feature.

        “Things that are controlled by about:config prefs will sooner or later break.”

        This does not have to be so, this is your choice. Users need a configuration editor that they can trust. Not something that Mozilla maintains for their own use only.

      2. John Fenderson said on December 12, 2019 at 7:46 pm
        Reply

        @owl:

        Interesting. That makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose, but the rationale they’re using irritates me a bit because there are so many other areas where they go the other direction and decide to incur additional overhead and maintenance burden.

        But at least they do have a rationale for this. That’s something.

      3. owl said on December 13, 2019 at 4:42 am
        Reply

        @John Fenderson,
        I agree to the reply content.

        Things don’t necessarily get “perfect” progress, and there is no end point.
        The natural providence is that there are many twists and turns in because it depends on the market environment.
        The important thing is to show “courage to correct”.
        Since product development and renewal initiative is “on the developer”, beneficiaries are required to “test and propose” without denying the new spirit of challenge.
        Rather than refusing to change, the attitude of cooperating with each other will be the driving force for “creating better things”.
        The attitude of Mozilla (Firefox, Thunderbird) is not unsatisfactory, but It is not even as much as stigmatizing.

        It is important for end users to calmly “know the truth” without being confused by hate speech or fake news.
        “gHacks Tech News” is valuable for that.

  9. Anonymous said on December 11, 2019 at 6:16 pm
    Reply

    Killing customizability to look more like Chrome, one pref at a time, because useful features are a “burden” to maintain (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1513574#c28)… They have more important stuff to work on like their badware browser components nobody asked for.

    And as I have just tested, their proposed replacement solution, webextensions, does not work on sites where Mozilla intentionally breaks extensions, like addons.mozilla.org.

  10. Anonymous said on December 11, 2019 at 8:07 pm
    Reply

    Bugzilla is an issue tracker, not a forum.

    1. Anonymous said on December 12, 2019 at 11:55 am
      Reply

      Bug number 666 opened by Mozilla: add an opt-out colonoscopy experiment in Firefox release.

      Comment #1: Why are you doing this ? This is bad for the users.

      Comment #2: This is an issue tracker, not a forum. Discussion should be restricted to deciding what is the best technical way of adding the opt-out colonoscopy experiment in Firefox release.

      *hiding comment #1 for advocacy*

  11. 12bytes.org said on December 11, 2019 at 10:23 pm
    Reply

    warning to those who alter pref ‘general.useragent.override’ as mentioned in the article

    if you set ‘privacy.resistFingerprinting’ = ‘true’, it is my understanding that setting ‘general.useragent.override’ will increase entropy (ability to uniquely identify the browser – aka fingerprinting)

    also the ‘User-Agent Switcher and Manager’ add-on is published by add0n.com, which i don’t trust, and according to 3 of the 1 star reviews, it displays ads in its UI

    1. owl said on December 12, 2019 at 1:42 am
      Reply

      @12bytes.org: the ‘User-Agent Switcher and Manager’ add-on is published by add0n.com, which i don’t trust, and according to 3 of the 1 star reviews, it displays ads in its UI

      This extension is supported by open source projects.
      UserAgent-Switcher: A User-Agent spoofer browser extension that is highly configurable | GitHub
      https://github.com/ray-lothian/UserAgent-Switcher/
      For technical bug reports please use:
      Issues: UserAgent-Switcher | GitHub
      https://github.com/ray-lothian/UserAgent-Switcher/issues?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=is%3Aissue+is%3Aall

      For more info and general bug reports please use:
      http://add0n.com/useragent-switcher.html
      add0n.com | Open-Source Application Development
      https://add0n.com/index.html

      In addition, the scrutiny by Mozilla has been completed and there are no suspicious problems.
      “Bug 1513574” proves, User-Agent Switcher and Manager as a great alternative.
      Bug 1513574 | Remove UserAgentOverrides.jsm
      https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1513574

      The latest user agents for web browsers:
      What are the latest user agents for popular web browsers? | WhatIsMyBrowser.com
      https://www.whatismybrowser.com/guides/the-latest-user-agent/

    2. Anonymous said on December 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm
      Reply

      I noticing exactly the same problem with another add0n.com addon, Video Downloader Prime, the UI shows those ads for other addons but not permanently, only at random times, making it harder to detect.

      @owl: yes the addon is free software and recommended by Mozilla, but the only thing that this proves is that being free software and recommended by Mozilla is not a protection against adware. And it’s not even because the problem was undetected by a Mozilla reviewer who was not careful enough, it’s because Mozilla agrees with adware as a principle, as long as it’s not tracking, or just tracking in a way that they approve. Firefox is mostly free software and contains free software adware.

      1. Anonymous said on December 13, 2019 at 12:20 am
        Reply

        Correction, the Video Downloader Prime was not from add0n.com, it was from mybrowseraddon.com, I confused the two sites.

  12. Greg said on December 11, 2019 at 10:35 pm
    Reply

    might be better off to try out Waterfox Classic.

  13. owl said on December 12, 2019 at 1:02 am
    Reply

    @John Fenderson: I wonder what the rationale for removing this is. This is something that I consider essential functionality.

    Here, the official view is detailed:
    1513574 – Remove UserAgentOverrides.jsm | bugzilla.mozilla.org
    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1513574
    Opened Last year
    Closed 3 months ago

    UserAgentOverrides should be rewritten as a C++ service for performance and correctness reasons.
    So, from what I can tell, UserAgentOverrides.jsm isn’t even needed anymore.
    can be fixed using nsIDocshell.customUserAgent, meaning the need for UserAgentOverrides.jsm and UserAgentUpdates.jsm is pretty much gone.
    Also removes the UA cache attached to nsILoadGroup and nsIRequestContext and the “http-on-useragent-request” observer notification.
    If overriding the user agent is needed “http-on-modify-request” is equally usable (but should be used rarely, for performance reasons). A better way is using nsIDocShell.customUserAgent.
    There are lots of webextensions that can change the username in a much more reliable way.
    Take your pick.

    Was there a particular reason why the domain specific part was removed? It did work reliably and was a lot more elegant than to have to install yet another extension.

    Yes. This code was quite inefficient, running for all loads, checking if you might have a site-specific UA pref set.
    Plus, it had a years old bug where the UA change only happened for the top level load, not for subresource loads.
    So it was bad, inefficient and buggy 🙂 We now have better ways for users to perform this change (via webextensions), and for Mozilla to run UA interventions (via webcompat-addon)

    Things that are controlled by about:config prefs will sooner or later break. We can only test a small number of configurations, and just as before, having multiple ways of changing the userAgent means not all of them are well tested. And the technical burden of maintaining the code that does this (even assuming it’s “bug free”) is not worth it.
    I agree that it was more convenient just to add a pref for what you wanted, but webExtensions allows you to do that just as easily, and is well tested.

  14. Mele said on December 12, 2019 at 9:00 am
    Reply

    I forgot to say that Basilisk has site specific overrides some built into the browser. No more problems with Chase.com as there is a specific builtin override.

    1. Anonymous said on December 12, 2019 at 12:12 pm
      Reply

      That’s another problem with this change I was thinking about, Firefox forks with a very unusual user agent string can have problems with bad sites like chase.com and about:config user agent overrides by the browser developer can help solve them out of the box, while having to bundle an extension for that would be less convenient. However I just tested that Waterfox Classic modifies its UA string on chase.com but I can’t find this in about:config, maybe it found another way to do it.

  15. Karl Dubost said on December 13, 2019 at 5:00 am
    Reply

    Hi,

    I’m Karl working on the Mozilla webcompat team.

    To discover all the current interventions (like UA overrides and others), you can go to about:compat.

    On the other hand it is interesting to hear about people who were using `UserAgentOverrides.jsm` as a way to override for their specific use case. We simply didn’t realize this. That’s an interesting use case. UserAgentOverrides.jsm was meant to be used for a specific purpose and it’s always interesting how the community reuses things in a not intended way.

    The owl comment explains it well.

    Webextensions is indeed the way to do it. Probably there’s an opportunity for a well polished extension that would answer this need if useragent switcher doesn’t do it already.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    1. ThePunisher said on December 21, 2019 at 3:27 am
      Reply

      Yeah deprecate a function so that you need an extension to do it. Leave it to Joe Q. Public to maintain the functionality, and do support and bug fixing. Until you hang him out to dry by deprecating the extension technology in a few years too…

  16. Anonymous said on December 16, 2019 at 11:42 am
    Reply

    it’s not the only thing they have broken!

    URL Autocomplete is no longer inline, i.e. I have to move the cursor down to the desired entry, even if it is top of the list.

    One more regression like this, and Chrome or vivaldi will have me for good…

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