uMatrix development has ended - gHacks Tech News

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uMatrix development has ended

Raymond Hill, known online as gorhill, has set the status of the uMatrix GitHub repository to archived; this means that it is read-only at the time and that no updates will become available.

The uMatrix extension is available for several browsers including Firefox, Google Chrome, and most Firefox and Chromium-based browsers. It is a privacy and security extensions for advanced users that provides firewall-like capabilities when it is installed.

The browser extension displays a list of connections of the active website when activated and types of requests, e.g. CSS, media, scripts, or cookies.

Users may configure access rights for each connection individually and may also set global rules to allow or deny certain request types automatically.

umatrix interface

Hill, who maintains uBlock Origin as well, has changed the status of the uMatrix repository to archived. The frontpage of the repository provides no information on the change but if you dig deeper, you find a reply by Raymond Hill to an issue from two days ago that explains what happened.

Anyway, as it is, I've archived uMatrix's repo, I can't and won't be spending any more time on this project, and neither on all such issues.

Whoever is free to fork under a new name -- I may re-open and resume development in some future if ever I feel for it.

The reply confirms that uMatrix development has been put on hold. Hill suggests that developers could fork the extension to continue development under a new name. There is also the chance that Hill might resume development in the future but there is no guarantee that this is going to happen.

For now, uMatrix is no longer in active development. The extension is still available on extension stores, e.g. the Chrome Web Store and the Mozilla Firefox Add-ons store, and there is no indicator that it is no longer in active development.

Users of the extension retain access to the extension if it is installed, and since it is still available online, it can be installed anew or for the first time. Development has stopped, however, and that means no more updates even if things break because of future changes made to web browsers.

A forked version under a new name would be independent from the uMatrix version, and users would have to install the fork to start using it as it won't be possible to update uMatrix to the forked version directly.

Now You: do you use uMatrix?  What is your take on the development?

Summary
uMatrix development has ended
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uMatrix development has ended
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Raymond Hill, known online as gorhill, as set the status of the uMatrix GitHub repository to archived; this means that it is read-only at the time and that no updates will become available. 
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Comments

  1. Jaska said on September 20, 2020 at 2:17 pm
    Reply

    I used it for years and interacted with with it tens of times per day. It was my most used and well, most trusted addon. It’s a terrible day but I guess uBlock Origin can cover most of what we lost.

    1. NeonRobot said on September 20, 2020 at 11:49 pm
      Reply

      Used it everyday. What a loss.
      ublock origin will include script & frame firewall in future??

      1. Thorin Oakenpants said on September 21, 2020 at 6:10 pm
        Reply

        No.

      2. Greg said on September 22, 2020 at 10:38 am
        Reply

        Yes, it would say. I think it can do it even now. Just disable script and frames globally from the UI.

      3. Samuel said on October 6, 2020 at 9:14 am
        Reply

        uBlock Origin alone is a security and privacy downgrade over uBO+uMatrix, so this sucks.

  2. Noob Saibot said on September 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm
    Reply

    A volunteer has forked uMatrix as eMatrix for Pale Moon/Basilisk.

  3. Klaas Vaak said on September 20, 2020 at 6:00 pm
    Reply

    I considered using uMatrix, but when I read a comment by Hill himself that if you’re using uBO you don’t need the other, I did not bother.

    1. Tsami said on September 20, 2020 at 7:38 pm
      Reply

      I remember the comment, but have run both for several years. They complement each other, with uMatrix providing a flexible filter for routine web browsing, weeding out the bad stuff.

      Hope Mr. Hill changes his mind about this, and/or obtains development assistance if necessary.

    2. Steve said on September 21, 2020 at 1:09 am
      Reply

      Not true in my case. uBO is great but uMatrix is even better. With uBO you rely on what others have done (i.e. the blocklists) while with uMatrix you rely on what you decided (i.e. blocking specific parts on each website.) So, even I deeply respect gorhill I have to disagree with his decision. uMatrix is really important and I hope he reconsiders continuing its development. A fork may not be ideal, unless it is done by a reputable developer.

      1. CG said on September 21, 2020 at 3:19 am
        Reply

        You can “rely on what you decided” with uBO too, using your own static filters and dynamic rules. Using others’ blocklists is not a requirement. Read the documentation on using uBO in medium or hard mode if you haven’t already.

      2. Steve said on September 22, 2020 at 8:16 am
        Reply

        @CG: Two things: 1) uBO requires more work for that than uMatrix (where UI is King to do the filtering.) 2) With Manifest V3 and Google anti ad blockers attitude, is uBO (with hundred of thousands of filters) or uMatrix (where you deny everything and whitelist) the better prospect?

    3. umatrix_rocks said on September 21, 2020 at 4:31 am
      Reply

      Similarly to what @Steve said, it’s a not that (more or lees) the same ends can’t be reached with uBO, but IMHO whitelisting is actually an overall simpler and more sustainable approach and uMatrix makes it surprisinly easy. I was pretty skeptical of it at first too, but now I absolutely swear by it (see my comment further down).

    4. Samuel said on October 6, 2020 at 9:06 am
      Reply

      uBlock Origin is inferior to uMatrix for filtering web content by type. Can’t allow just CSS and images from a third party website for instance, you HAVE to allow JavaScript as well, which is more than just suboptimal. It’s risky.

  4. some1 said on September 20, 2020 at 6:15 pm
    Reply

    so sad… I used it to control scripts and cookies

  5. Masmers said on September 20, 2020 at 6:21 pm
    Reply

    Very sad news, been using uMatrix for a long time. Anyone knows a good alternative?

    1. Flip burgers PhD said on September 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm
      Reply

      ηMatrix, though it’s only available on Pale moon/Basilisk

      https://gitlab.com/vannilla/ematrix
      https://addons.palemoon.org/addon/ematrix/

      or NoScript

      1. Samuel said on October 6, 2020 at 9:09 am
        Reply

        NoScript used to be great but now it’s advantage has been cut off, whereas its disadvantage has not: Allowing google.com on site X means allowing google.com on all sites.

  6. Anonymous said on September 20, 2020 at 7:31 pm
    Reply

    I always thought this was not needed because this is basically what ublock is built off of?

    1. Long Time Firefox User said on September 23, 2020 at 4:42 pm
      Reply

      UMatrix is a thoughtfully designed and user friendly Interface to the ‘Dynamic Filtering Rules’ in Ublock. It’s what Noscript should have been, it’s better version of Request Policy. The feature in Ublock is woefully underdeveloped and confusing to use in Ublock. To suggest that over UMatrix is a slap in the face.

  7. Mark1 said on September 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm
    Reply

    That’s bad. It blocks all the garbage, easy to set just to view html in pages. Use it on Kiwi ans Fennec on Android. Hopefully someone can pick it up and develop.
    The fork for Palemoon works well.

  8. Thorky said on September 20, 2020 at 8:56 pm
    Reply

    The usual story, when important topics depend on one person only or a small team. Nevertheless I feel sad about it.

  9. John Smith said on September 21, 2020 at 2:18 am
    Reply

    This is bad news. I use umatrix for cookie, script blocking and some site blocking, because of this I never get cookie/adblocker popups or those stupid auto playing videos that all the sites tend to have anymore. Hopefully someone will fork it or maybe he will add more of those features to ublock origin.

  10. umatrix_rocks said on September 21, 2020 at 4:18 am
    Reply

    I first looked at uMatrix several years ago and at the time it seemed like a lot of hassle for unclear gains over uBlock. But, as third-party injections on websites have gotten more and more out of hand and become a steadily growing performance hit aside from privacy/security concerns, I came back to it ~1.5 years ago. This time, I managed to grok it pretty easily, and it has become an absolutely MUST-have extension for me. IMHO, while uBlock is no doubt a great extension, using huge and ever-expanding blacklists is a losing battle overall and whitelisting is the way to go (with uMatrix’s interface, it’s a lot easier than you might think – like I said, I used to be quite skeptical of this myself). At this point, my uBlock is set to “* * * allow” globally and is enabled pretty much only for cosmetic filtering and fine-tuning a few select sites – everything else goes (i.e. DOESN’T go, lol) through uMatrix.

    As for this ” end of development” news, I don’t think we have too much to worry about. @gorhill has all but abandoned uMatrix once already, only to come back to it with a vengeance when he felt the need to do so. So, either the same thing is going to happen again, or someone else will pick it up if significant incompatibilities are introduced by browser vendors. This kind of functionality is simply too important for too many people for this not to happen.

    1. Samuel said on October 6, 2020 at 9:26 am
      Reply

      Gorhill came back to developing uMatrix after he read arguments from me which were both a love declaration for uMatrix UI and an explanation as to what use cases uBO could not cover even in its toughest configuration, reducing privacy and security over using uBO+uMatrix.

      Then he went on doing months of updates on uMatrix, said he was in his “uMatrix period”, which eventually ended. He already heard the arguments and love declaration, I doubt it will work twice. Now he’s gone as far as ARCHIVING the repositories.

      This is bad news. And it’s not self-evident at all that a niche add-on will be picked up by someone competent, trustable, and dedicated over time, no.

      The only not-bad news is that WebExtensions don’t break easily with Firefox updates, so uMatrix has been able to keep working without updates.

  11. Gerold Manders said on September 21, 2020 at 6:19 am
    Reply

    Crap. It is the first add-on I install in any of my browsers. And I use it in combination with the uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger and Disconnect add-ons. I deem uMatrix as an essential add-on.

  12. Derek Clements said on September 21, 2020 at 7:12 am
    Reply

    This is indeed tragic and depressing news, what a loss! I used it with NoScript and HTTPSEverywhere – the sole three extensions I used with Firefox. I never experienced any operational conflicts between uMatrix and NoScript, they complemented each other very nicely.
    I loved the matrix interface – a great idea, easy to comprehend and easy to use.
    Unfortunately, my worst fears have been realised as I watched the development lag behind that of uBlock Origin.
    Personally, if one really had to go, I would’ve chosen the other.
    I can only beg for Raymond to reconsider the decision.

  13. DropZz said on September 21, 2020 at 8:21 am
    Reply

    What a shame. This is the best extension for any browser and i even prefer it over uBO. I really hope Gorhill or somebody else will continue the development in the future.

  14. Trey said on September 21, 2020 at 8:34 am
    Reply

    Can’t uBlock in medium mode do most of the same stuff?

  15. Geoff said on September 21, 2020 at 9:00 am
    Reply

    Hopefully uBO will get cookie blocking functionality now. That will be really good.

  16. Anonymous said on September 21, 2020 at 9:12 am
    Reply

    Honestly, there’s a way easier setup: uBO with most lists in medium mode with JS disabled.

    Alternatively:

    – Brave with shields enabled (takes easily care of 90% of privacy and security problems)
    – JS disabled
    – uBO in medium mode

    If something doesn’t work, I first enable JS via Brave.
    Then I enable third party sites in uBO one by one.

    After a couple months now I don’t need to do anything anymore.

    1. DropZz said on September 21, 2020 at 1:46 pm
      Reply

      What you describe is less effective and more complicated. uMatrix can control almost all Website content on a per Domain bases expect HTML (which uBlockO can do).

      1. Iron Heart said on September 21, 2020 at 2:57 pm
        Reply

        @DropZz

        uMatrix is dead, though. gorhill likely won’t change his mind.

      2. Anonymous said on September 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm
        Reply

        The question is what you want. Gorhill himself said that uBO in hard mode practically offers the same level of protection as umatrix but is easier to use.

        Gorhills own statistics on github where he ran different profiles of uBO shows that the number of connections won’t be decreased signiciantly beyond medium mode. So even hard mode is unnecessary in practice.

        Since the available filterlists block all annoyances (if you activate them all and also use the ultralist available on github), the only difference would be in a theoretical increase in security/privacy, but as the data shows, hard mode doesn’t block substantially more than medium mode.

        JS off by default will further increase the effectiveness of medium mode without sacrificing usability much.

      3. Anonymous said on September 21, 2020 at 10:14 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous: What about many options of uMatrix?

        – delete blocked cookies (“Blacklisted cookies are not prevented by uMatrix from entering your browser. However they are prevented from leaving your browser, which is what really matters”)
        – delete local storage content set by blocked hostnames
        – clear browser cache every x minutes …

        Probably I have to install couple extensions if I plan to replace uMatrix.

      4. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 8:17 am
        Reply

        CookieAutodelete is a good substitute.

        But more importantly, when you block third-party cookies, as well as block third-party connections to known tracking domains, you won’t need those features anyway.

      5. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm
        Reply

        Ok. Thank you Anonymous.

  17. Anonymous said on September 21, 2020 at 10:08 am
    Reply

    it’s funny how people moan now, instead of helping out before it came to this.
    typical IT story, this.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on September 21, 2020 at 10:55 am
      Reply

      AFAIK, gorhill does not ask for donations.

    2. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 4:46 pm
      Reply

      If I could program then I would contribute by tracing bugs and patching. Now I can only tell people what extensions I use and maybe I install for helping them. I appreciate very much those who code and have knowledge.

  18. no_cues_no_fun said on September 21, 2020 at 10:12 am
    Reply

    It was on beta since Feb. Not that easy to maintain, at least UI development, without cues from downzila employee.

  19. uMatrix lover said on September 21, 2020 at 11:16 am
    Reply

    This is a disaster! I use uBO and umatrix on *all* browsers (Firefox and Chomium derivatives) and I use it even in hardcore mode (i. e. allowing only Cookies, CSS and Image for “1st party”). What umatrix does can’t be compensated by uBO alone. Many, many years ago I used NoScript together with Request Policy Continued, but the latter has never made it into the FF Quantum era and was also not available for the Chromium flavour. In the end, umatrix was 10000 times better and more comfortable in my opinion.

    I really hope that gorhill will reconsider his decision or that somebody qualified jumps in and will maintain a trustworthy fork.

    Such as sad day …

    1. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 10:15 pm
      Reply

      I’m in exactly the same situation as “uMatrix lover”. For me, the thing this addon provides, and which is essential, is the ability to visualise and simply control and adjust exactly what is going on on a page via a simple UI. uBlock doesn’t have the UI to allow you to do that.

      I note that the uMatrix is not compatible with the latest version of Firefox for Android (81.x). I wonder whether Mozilla changed something fundamental in that version of Firefox which broke uMatrix, and he just got fed up with Mozilla making more work for him.

  20. some1 said on September 21, 2020 at 11:52 am
    Reply

    It seems uMatrix is almost redundant if you enable Dynamic filtering in uBlock and use Firefox containers to handle cookies.

    1. DropZz said on September 21, 2020 at 2:19 pm
      Reply

      Its not and more like the opposite. Or can you control all website content (except HTML) on a per Domain base with uBO?

      1. Jockson said on September 21, 2020 at 6:23 pm
        Reply

        Yes, you pretty much can actually. I was a umatrix person for many years but as ubo was developed further and I read the guides that Gorhill wrote on using it I realised it was pretty much redundant for all but the most paranoid users.

  21. anonym said on September 21, 2020 at 6:26 pm
    Reply

    Bitte lasst dieses Projekt nicht sterben!

  22. Clairvaux said on September 21, 2020 at 6:53 pm
    Reply

    Thank you for getting out this very important piece of news.

  23. Fuzzi said on September 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm
    Reply

    Not a big loss for me.
    uBlock Origin already does almost everything I want. Blocked all the third party stuff by default. Using shortcut for “relax blocking mode” to allow third party resources or even further, JS stuff.
    In the rare case I want to disable XHR or something special on a page, I simply add a custom static rule.
    Except blocking cookies without another extension, I never understood the claimed big advantage of uMatrix compared to uBO.

  24. Thaumiel said on September 21, 2020 at 9:45 pm
    Reply

    I suggest installing the latest (not stable, but works just as well) release available on the GitHub page, since browser stores are outdated and won’t ever be updated, supposedly, until development is resumed.

  25. Anonymous said on September 21, 2020 at 11:14 pm
    Reply

    Vale uMatrix. I really appreciated your approach of starting websites at nothing then adding permissions. It was not as convenient as set & forget but I felt like I was in charge of what takes place on my PC for every site visited.

    Now you are gone, I wonder what will give the same control over Chrome.

  26. Mr Wizard said on September 21, 2020 at 11:34 pm
    Reply

    uB0 and uMatrix work very well together. Without uMatrix, uB0 is more of a blunt instrument. uMatrix provides a lot of information about how deep into a domain (2nd, 3rd, …Nth level) one will find things being done.

    For example, CompanyXYZ and ShopABC may both be hosted as [OrgName].HostName.com and both may seem to be fine until one discovers that NastyTracker.CompanyXYZ.HostName.com is something new to be avoided even when the malware and annoyance lists do not include either CompanyXYZ or ShopABC.

    uMatrix was very helpful when it came to figuring out how to deal with trackers from cloudfront.net. It also helped with identifying some of the ways Google makes it more difficult to block some of its trackers.

    By using both uMatrix and ub0 it becomes clear that AWS and GoogleTagServices trackers can be used to create more detailed information about what a tracked user is doing than either one alone can.

  27. Peterc said on September 22, 2020 at 1:34 am
    Reply

    I understand how a developer can lose interest in a project or just not have the time and energy to keep working on it, and I don’t fault Raymond Hill if that’s the case. He’s given us the benefit of some really valuable, really first-rate work, and I’m grateful for it. But I am sad and a little anxious about uMatrix’s apparent demise. Let me explain:

    * My primary browser is Pale Moon.

    * ηMatrix (aka eMatrix) is the only scriptblocker (element-blocker?) available for Pale Moon. NoScript used to be compatible, but it causes problems now.

    * I suspect ηMatrix is more of an adapted, verbatim “port” of uMatrix than an independently developed “fork.”

    * If ηMatrix is in fact a “port,” the demise of uMatrix likely means the demise of ηMatrix.

    I hope Raymond changes his mind or that someone equally talented takes over ongoing development of a “master uMatrix fork,” but in the meantime, I guess I’m going to have to start learning how to use uBlock Origin’s advanced features.

    1. Ron Tomsen said on September 22, 2020 at 9:03 am
      Reply

      In a response of uMatrix end of development, the dev of ηMatrix Alessio Vanni a.k.a vannilla said, and i quote:

      “Doesn’t really affect ηMatrix and hasn’t been for a long time”
      https://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?p=199714#p199714

      Which to me indicates that ηMatrix is indeed an independent fork, that means you have nothing to fear, there won’t be any “demise” of ηMatrix.

      1. Peterc said on September 22, 2020 at 11:15 pm
        Reply

        @Ron Tomsen: Thanks for your follow-up — that’s reassuring news. And of course, a BIG thank-you goes out to ηMatrix’s developer, Alessio Vanni, for carrying on Raymond Hill’s work.

      2. computer said no said on September 23, 2020 at 12:17 pm
        Reply

        @Ron Tomsen.
        That will be pale moon only and no version for chromium based browsers.

  28. GoodMeasure said on September 22, 2020 at 3:55 pm
    Reply

    This is sad news. Would ηMatrix (aka eMatrix) work in Waterfox Classic?

    1. Peterc said on September 23, 2020 at 1:46 am
      Reply

      @GoodMeasure:

      I just unzipped the most recent version (4.4.3) of [email protected] and took a look at its install.rdf file. The only applications it will install in out of the box are Basilisk, Pale Moon, and Iceape-UXP. If the extension worked without modification in any remaining XUL apps — Waterfox Classic, SeaMonkey, and Thunderbird? I haven’t kept up — I have a hunch the developer would have included them as target applications.

      1. GoodMeasure said on September 25, 2020 at 12:49 am
        Reply

        Thanks!

        That’s a bummer, hopefully it gets expanded to Waterfox and others…

  29. dexter anthwone said on September 22, 2020 at 7:09 pm
    Reply

    sad, uMatrix was the first thing which got me addicted to firefox, dam 2020 f***ed up almost everything

  30. Anonymous said on September 22, 2020 at 10:06 pm
    Reply

    I’m in exactly the same situation as “uMatrix lover”. For me, the thing this addon provides, and which is essential, is the ability to visualise and simply control and adjust exactly what is going on on a page via a simple UI. uBlock doesn’t have the UI to allow you to do that.

    I note that the uMatrix is not compatible with the latest version of Firefox for Android (81.x). I wonder whether Mozilla changed something fundamental in that version of Firefox which broke uMatrix, and he just got fed up with Mozilla making more work for him.

  31. long live uMatrix said on September 23, 2020 at 12:41 am
    Reply

    RIP the actual greatest browser extension ever made

    Seriously, I’m looking through my installed extensions and there’s not a single one that really comes close.

    This functionality should be rolled into the core. That matrix display should be a part of the browser.

  32. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 10:28 pm
    Reply

    uBlock origin is the 2nd best extension in existence. Unfortunately, uMatrix is the best.

    uMatrix and HTTPS Everywhere are the only extensions I use. I’m familiar with uBO’s advanced user mode, but it just isn’t the same. Someone made the comment that uBO relies on the work of others, whereas with uMatrix, the user is in control. This sums it up nicely.

    I will use uBO in hard mode and be thankful for that, I guess.

  33. Ryan F said on September 24, 2020 at 5:48 pm
    Reply

    I always loved the idea of uMatrix but never had the patience to go through the list on every webpage. One of these days, I thought, I’d reinstall it and go through it and actually get accustomed to fixing pages as I browsed, but not today. Some day. Until then, uBlock Origin is good enough.

    Well that day never came and I still use uBlock Origin. I can’t say I’m too broken up about it, but I see in the comments just how loved uMatrix is and can’t help but feel like I’ve really been missing out. Shucks.

  34. Anonymous said on September 26, 2020 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    This is terrible news.

    You’d think Vivaldi or Firefox would pick up and maintain this extension.

  35. Andżej said on September 29, 2020 at 12:38 am
    Reply

    I prefer ublock + noscript

  36. Anonymous said on September 30, 2020 at 1:51 pm
    Reply

    I see all these people saying it is the most important add-on they use in their browsers, and how much they want to see development continue.

    Send money to a developer and you can save uMatrix.

    Firefox and Chrome have millions of dollars and don’t give Raymond Hill a dime, one of the only people keeping their browsers viable. Perhaps you can pressure them to pay one of their most important developers finally, but I fear they might ask for his soul in return.

    1. plushkava said on October 3, 2020 at 5:18 pm
      Reply

      Incorrect, latter Anonymous, for Raymond Hill has never sought – nor accepted – donations. See https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Why-don't-you-accept-donations%3F.

  37. dgdsgsfdf said on October 10, 2020 at 9:53 am
    Reply

    “I prefer ublock + noscript”
    noscript is a joke compared to uMatrix.

  38. Derek Clements said on October 11, 2020 at 7:13 am
    Reply

    @dgdsgsfdf: Would you care to elaborate with some metrics and empiricals?

  39. Anonymous said on October 20, 2020 at 10:07 pm
    Reply

    Just because something is no longer “actively developed”, it doesn’t mean you have to stop using it.

  40. blah said on October 28, 2020 at 12:05 am
    Reply

    Sad, very sad !
    For me uMatrix had replaced every other adblocker, privacy shield, websites pages unbloating for years.
    It’s the most logical : block everything and allow only what you need. No white/black lists of thousands of domains and sites I ‘ll never come across.
    Anyway, thanks M. Hill for that ;-)

  41. Anonymous said on November 12, 2020 at 12:36 am
    Reply

    damn

  42. Anonymous said on November 16, 2020 at 3:32 pm
    Reply

    RIP uMatrix, the best extension ever.

    If you think blacklisting (ubo) can ever compete with whitelisting (umatrix), you’re deranged. There are MILLIONS of targets and thousands popping up every single day. No blacklist will ever get those all, unlike a simple whitelist.

    Thank you Ghacks for this important piece of news.

  43. steppert said on November 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm
    Reply

    really sad, i have used umatrix for a long time and really like it. but now i already see that the script blocking with google is not working anymore. some websites won’t even function when i activate all scripts from google

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