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Even though Firefox 57 broke your profile, don't abandon it!

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c627627

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Post Posted November 13th, 2017, 11:00 pm

Firefox 57 introduces WebExtensions which will disable most [older] Firefox extensions.
*Before* leaving Firefox, consider that your extensions will continue to work on Firefox ESR (same as Firefox 52 but updated with security patches unlike regular Fx52) until June of 2018.

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/o ... tions/all/
That would give you more time to see what to do in second half of 2018.
Firefox ESR 52 is fully compatible with Firefox 54 profiles or earlier. So if you have a backed up profile from Fx54 or - great, use it!

But if your profile has been touched by Fx55 or higher, you need to create a new one.

There is an extensive way to do this correctly but if done "quickly":

1. What are the downsides to simply copy/pasting the entire CHROME folder from Fx55/56/57 to Fx ESR?

2. What are the downsides to simply copy/pasting user.js file?

3. What are the downsides to simply copy/pasting the places.sqlite bookmark file?

4. Are there any extensions better than
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/febe/
that save your already installed extensions into .xpi installable files with actual file names that are named after the extension names and not random numbers and letters like when you save profile extensions the regular Firefox way? That way you can quickly transfer extensions.
Open the pod bay doors, Cortana.

Brummelchen
 
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Post Posted November 14th, 2017, 8:22 am

firefox cant break profiles - it was users choice to extend usage with extension which are no longer usable.

allande
 
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Joined: July 20th, 2017, 11:58 am

Post Posted November 14th, 2017, 8:56 am

Most settings are in prefs.js. A user.js file is a way of overriding prefs.js. Either file is pretty safe to copy over or keep when going to an older firefox version.

Places.sqlite has missing favicons if you downgrade. I think that it recovers from that without any serious problem - but, if there are problems, there are automatic backups of bookmarks that you can use if you need to. Manually backing up bookmarks is something everyone should do also though.

The main problem with downgrading is if the storage directories are kept. A typical user will not understand what a profile is or what any files in it are.

For a typical user, if they see problems after downgrading, the easiest, but pretty destructive, fix will be to do the Firefox refresh button. That erases all your extensions and configurations, but keeps your bookmarks and a few other things. Then, they can reinstall any old extensions which are still available on addons.mozilla.org. If you like an old extension, you should save it to your local hard drive by right clicking on it. I suspect that more and more old extensions will be removed from addons.mozilla.org, eventually all being gone. Around here we try to discourage people from using the refresh button.

the-edmeister

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Post Posted November 14th, 2017, 9:12 am

1. There a number of slight incompatibilities that may not bode well when going back to Firefox 52 ESR.

2. Probably wouldn't be an issue depending upon what prefs you out into the user.js file.
As far as the prefs.js file that Firefox creates from user changes in about:config, what the user put in the user.js file, and what add-ons added to prefs.js - not recommended to 'jump back'.

3. Changes were made in 55 & 56 with regards to Favicon storage; now multiple separate files - one permanent writable upon Firefox close down and 2 temp type files used by "transactions" while Firefox is running. Like when adding a new bookmark.

4. On the FEBE page at AMO:
About this extension
Firefox v57 notice:

FEBE is considered a 'legacy' extension and will no longer work with Firefox v57 and above. FEBE cannot be written with the WebExtensions platform that Mozilla has adopted for all extensions. FEBE will still be maintained, but only for Firefox clones (like Pale Moon).

And Mozbackup stopped development quite awhile ago.
http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/
MozBackup is not being developed anymore. There are known issues and there is no time on my side to fix all issues and develop new features. Use MozBackup only on your risk. Thanks for understanding. Source code is available on GitHub.

That's all that I recall ever being available for backing up or transferring Profile data. I have always done it manually though, a group of files that are "safe" to copy into a newly created Profile.

Overall, IMO with the update or installation of Firefox 57 now is the time to create a new Profile to use with Quantum and WebExtensions. Not like Profiles last forever, that's something that should have been done with the major milestone releases, like 4.0, 29.0, and then 48.0 when major changes happened to the extension infastructure, IOW, where extensions became mostly broken or when signing was forced, with no hidden pref to override the default as installed state.

Basically, Firefox 52 will get you thru to next May, but IMO so many extensions were already broken by then (my own experiences) - why bother?

I am happily using Firefox 38 ESR for support fora, too many extension were broken over 10 or so versions leading up to Firefox 45 ESR that I said eff it and just stayed with what I was using already - but with 3 extensions missing since Firefox 31 ESR left the realm of support.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Mine has wandered off and I'm out looking for it.

c627627

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Post Posted November 14th, 2017, 12:05 pm

allande wrote:The main problem with downgrading is if the storage directories are kept. A typical user will not understand what a profile is or what any files in it are.

allande, rather than downgrading, I was wondering about creating a new profile and then doing the quick switch to Firefox ESR doing *just* the outlined points, so there wouldn't be kept storage directories.

the-edmeister wrote:Basically, Firefox 52 will get you thru to next May, but IMO so many extensions were already broken by then (my own experiences) - why bother?

Well it may have been difficult, but it was possible to trick Firefox into installing many old extensions in versions prior to Fx57. I am surprised to hear that it wasn't unofficially possible for most of your extensions, with all the tricks we talked about on the forums...
Regarding May 2018... with ESR 52.x being the last and most security updated version of Firefox where old extensions will still work, End of Life for Fx 52.8 is July 2018, meaning there may be incremental security patches (theoretically) all the way until July 2018.

For those of us not switching to Quantum just to hang on to our modified profiles, since we are in November 2017, it's a long time till July 2018, so waiting until then to see what the alternatives are, is the best option, rather than abandoning Firefox just yet.
Switching to Fx57 and beyond would be best, but that's only if there are no alternatives, including staying on July 2018 Fx 52.8.x for years and relaying on security/firewall software only to intercept malware. That would be my plan.


Regarding FEBE, it would just be used to backup Fx56 or older extensions into .xpi files, with actual names of extensions being the names of .xpi files, which would then be manually installed. I wouldn't use it to restore data or back up any other data, which I was hoping to do directly through copy/paste steps above.
Open the pod bay doors, Cortana.

allande
 
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Joined: July 20th, 2017, 11:58 am

Post Posted November 14th, 2017, 1:30 pm

I think copying prefs.js and places.sqlite, and userchrome.css and usercontent.css should be fairly likely to succeed, and should avoid the main problems that have been mentioned. Some may disagree.

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