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userChrome.css may be next on the chopping block

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Gingerbread Man

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Post Posted December 10th, 2017, 10:07 am

Bug 1416044 added telemetry for userChome.css usage, out of grave concern that people might actually set up Firefox they way they like:
Justin Dolske wrote:With the removal of heavyweight themes, I've seen a number of comments from people seeking to recreate such themes by hacking userChrome.css directly. (And a rise in comments from people who have accidentally broken things, or forgot that had made some such change.) This makes me mildly concerned that this may become a ticking timebomb for users, especially since userChrome.css is worse than a theme in many respects (doesn't show up in Firefox UI anywhere, can't be disabled, not minVersion/maxVersion, etc).

Whatever the data shows, it can be spun into an argument for axing it:
  • Oh no, too few people are using it! Let's remove it so as not to waste resources maintaining an unused feature.
  • Oh no, too many people are using it! The poor ignorant fools might break their browser UI. Let's remove it for their own good, like we did with JavaScript and Images in the options.
Last edited by LIMPET235 on February 8th, 2018, 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Unstuck it.

Brummelchen
 
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Post Posted December 10th, 2017, 11:55 am

i would cut the usage of userchrome.js at first. too intrusive for too much "beginners". the rest should start compiling its own firefox not to bother wiser people.

i also use a userchrome with few changes - safe modifications from Aris his collection.

the-edmeister

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Post Posted December 10th, 2017, 1:44 pm

Basically, all that Bug is about is "spying" on users to see how many are using userChrome.css at all. But there is nothing to compare it to as far as previous versions, like before Firefox 57 was released. There was mention of counting the lines of code, but it looks like all they're going to do is just see if a userChrome.css file exists, for Fx 59 at least.
Good reason to tell users to turn off telemetry altogether to screw up their scheming to snoop on us!

Mozilla created this situation where users "feel the need" to resort to using userChrome.css to restore some very basic features that extensions have provided in the past. And with the "needed" API's still not completed Mozilla has managed to compound their sort sightedness by shoving Quantum out the door a few versions too early. Should have waited for those API's and time for extension developers to get their replacement extensions completed before releasing a broken broken browser to the public.

Here is one common sense comment that I saw in that Bug report - https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.c ... 416044#c14
From a WebExtensions point-of-view, I am very interested in this telemetry as well. The use of userChrome.css indicates there is a market need to customize the browser that cannot currently be satisfied any other way. Knowing the frequency that userChrome is used is a good start, but any information we can get on the contents is even better (although, more difficult, I suspect). Number of rules, as jaws proposed, is a nice start.

In the end, I'm looking for information to help me provide developers with a solid set of maintainable API that provides what userChrome.css is providing today.
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LoveMyFoxy

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Post Posted December 10th, 2017, 3:49 pm

BTW--I believe I've done away with telemetry by emptying the 2 folders data-reporting and saved-telemetry-pings and making them Read-Only. 3 months later, they're still empty. Or is there more hidden somewhere?
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flaneurb
 
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Post Posted December 10th, 2017, 7:06 pm

Gingerbread Man wrote:...
Whatever the data shows, it can be spun into an argument for axing it: ...

There's historical precedent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_and_the_Lamb

the-edmeister

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Post Posted December 11th, 2017, 1:31 am

LoveMyFoxy wrote:BTW--I believe I've done away with telemetry by emptying the 2 folders data-reporting and saved-telemetry-pings and making them Read-Only. 3 months later, they're still empty. Or is there more hidden somewhere?


In about:config there is this pref toolkit.telemetry.server which you could set a null Value for.

That should eliminate all snooping by Mozilla.


.
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LoveMyFoxy

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Post Posted December 11th, 2017, 10:09 pm

Thanks. Should I do
toolkit.telemetry.server_owner;Mozilla
also?
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the-edmeister

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Post Posted December 12th, 2017, 12:23 am

LoveMyFoxy wrote:Thanks. Should I do
toolkit.telemetry.server_owner;Mozilla
also?


I don't think that would be necessary, but I don't think that it would hurt you by nulling that, too.


.
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Ed1
 
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Post Posted December 12th, 2017, 10:37 am

The primary reason I have used (and loved) Firefox over the years is its customizability. I would suspect this is true for many other users as well. The wide variety of addons and the ability to customize in other ways should be marketed as distinguishing features of Firefox, not eliminated.

Just my 2 cents. . .

therube

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Post Posted December 12th, 2017, 11:41 am

Link to Frank's comments, viewtopic.php?p=14783001#p14783001 (in a now closed thread).
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therube

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Post Posted December 12th, 2017, 11:56 am

Brummelchen wrote:i would cut the usage of userchrome.js at first. too intrusive for too much "beginners". the rest should start compiling its own firefox not to bother wiser people.

i also use a userchrome with few changes - safe modifications from Aris his collection.

(I'm sure there's a language issue in the way I'm reading it, & I'm not knocking you, but...)

There is nothing "beginner" with userChrome.js (IMO).
If a user is using userChrome.js, they are beyond, beginner.

And if userChrome.js is "too instrusive" for this "beginner", we're (FF is) now expecting these beginners to start compiling their own FF ;-).

Oh, & sorry, once FF removes userchrome, well..., your "safe modifications" are gone too.
But you can always compile your own :-).


(Actually, userchrome is absolutely the wrong way to go about things. Only problem is, there is no other way, any longer.)
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Brummelchen
 
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Post Posted December 12th, 2017, 12:15 pm

i did not use userchrome-script before v57 nor do i use it in the future.
there exist a tutorial on camp-firefox.de but it took me ages to find the right scripts (!) in x pages and where to copy them into firefox installation folder. i tried the mouse-scroll feature on tabs - and it blows my firefox.
and they point others nose onto this tut when people ask for a replacement eg for TMP or else.
i consider people more familiar with styles than javascript. the problem i see is that userchrome-scripts currently are not perfect, they have many bugs to iron out. they dont work at all together. in camp firefox there is only a hand full (<5) of people who understand this code. the rest is depending in many ways. i did not consider this scripting on firefox as good as styles.

concerning userchrome styles i am sure that mozilla is only going to reduce its usability as long xul exists. replacing xul is on the road map, but not remove styles.
Last edited by Brummelchen on December 13th, 2017, 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

LIMPET235
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Post Posted December 13th, 2017, 7:16 am

Moving this to the Firefox General Forum...
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Frank Lion

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Post Posted December 14th, 2017, 12:26 pm

Justin Dolske wrote:With the removal of heavyweight themes, I've seen a number of comments from people seeking to recreate such themes by hacking userChrome.css directly....

Seems unlikely.

Someone would have to be some kind of near genius to recreate an entire Complete Theme in just userChrome.css. They'll be telling us next that someone did this within just a week of Firefox 57 being released!

No, Mozilla can quite safely leave userChrome.css well alone.
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BobbyPhoenix

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Post Posted December 17th, 2017, 3:02 pm

"userChrome.css may be next on the chopping block" Just giving my 2 cents. I don't think userChrome (and userContent for that matter) will go away. Even if people are breaking things with them. The reason I see it is before people started using userChrome to get what extensions did the extensions were created by developers, so developers had to keep them updated, and/or could change things that they saw fit. Even if it turned out to be bad for the user. userChrome on the other hand is a direct modification by the user. If the user changes something then it's on the user, and user alone. If I was Mozilla, and ever received complaints that Firefox was broken, the first thing I would ask is did the user use userChrome/userContent? Basically it's like this: "WARNING: Modifying Firefox in any way via userCrome/userContent voids any responsibility of Mozilla." Think of it as a warranty being voided for modifying anything that the warranty says you can't do for a TV, computer, Car, smartphone, etc. You wouldn't crack open your new Galaxy Note to remove the paint on the back to make it transparent, and while doing so ripped a wire/connection off of the motherboard, and expect Samsung to take responsibility would you? If so then you're just crazy.
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