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Changes in Firefox 57

Discussion about official Mozilla Firefox builds
The Tinsmith
 
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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 6:40 pm

marty60 wrote:
The Tinsmith wrote:Move on to what?

For the supporters of webextensions like WaltS48 I was referring to that. In my case if the addons I need stop working then it's most likely Pale Moon. What else is there, Chrome isn't even on my radar.



I see. That makes more sense. But is not "Pale Moon" really fork of a very old Firefox version? Won't it, eventually, become seriously out of date? I assume that it is updated for security flaws? Regularly?

marty60
 
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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 6:56 pm

It was originally a fork of an older version. The developer has said the XUL model will remain but from what I gather a lot of work has been done on it so it's quite different now from Firefox in many ways. When I get a chance I'm going to download it and give it a test.

the-edmeister

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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 7:01 pm

Not a "fork" any longer. PaleMoon has moved away from being Gecko-based to becoming a Goanna based web browser.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goanna_%28software%29

It still shares many of the Firefox / Gecko features, but it is moving beyond Gecko in a different direction that Mozilla is taking Firefox. I would expect PaleMoon to retain XUL and keep pretty much the same type of extensions.

.
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Frank Lion

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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 7:10 pm

The Tinsmith wrote:Move on to what?

Well, I moved on to 'what' over 2 years ago now and not regretted it once. Not only have I been spared that Firefox update uncertainty/upheaval every 6 weeks or so, but the browser is better anyway. I've even grown to like the Email client that comes with it - uses no resources, but notifies you of new Emails.

Theoretically, it and even T/bird could get caught up in this xul-dropping farce fallout. If that happened then I'd just put the last proper working version in a sandbox and carry on as before.

I'm surprised no one ever mentions this sandboxing route. The only reason, really, why people endure this constant browser updating stuff is security concerns, but if you sandbox it properly then that is not a problem, unless you go round clicking everything link on every page, like a loon. Yeah, for me, sandboxing is the weapon of resort, but if anyone thinks I intend to endure some really crap browser just because there is no alternative, then they would be wrong.

Anyway, that's me sorted for the next 5 years+, for anyone else (mainly because I don't intend spending that 5 years answering endless SM questions from new ex-Firefox users) I would suggest they use Vivaldi or, one that I think shows more promise, the Otter browser. Whatever else people do, don't drift towards one man band outfits - puts you at the mercy of a megalomaniac crank (you'll see) and I think Firefox users have already seen enough omnipotent megalomania from the Firefox bunch to last a lifetime.

In fairness, the Firefox devs do listen, but unfortunately, only to themselves.
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The Tinsmith
 
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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 7:32 pm

Not a "fork" any longer




Interesting. I did not know that. Thanks.

The Tinsmith
 
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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 7:35 pm

Well, I moved on to 'what' over 2 years ago now and not regretted it once.



And yet you still maintain your Themes and are active here. I am impressed. But that is not too difficult. <smile>

Frank Lion

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Post Posted November 27th, 2016, 9:36 pm

The Tinsmith wrote:
Well, I moved on to 'what' over 2 years ago now and not regretted it once.

And yet you still maintain your Themes and are active here. I am impressed.

Normally I wouldn't reply to that, simply because there would be no need to.

However, on this occasion I will expand on this, as it may well give people an insight into the mindset of many theme and extensions authors (or 'devs, if you insist) and thus how many view this latest stuff.

#1. Loyalty - I have zero loyalty to any software program that I make themes for (I've done a few minor extensions as well). Maintenance-wise, yes, it is helpful if I also personally use a program, but it is not essential. To me, this is purely a graphics and intellectual exercise for myself.. Same applies for my Linux OS themes and 'commercial' stuff that I am asked to do.

My only loyalty and responsibility is to my users, both en masse to ensure that come program version Release that they have a fully working and tested version of my stuff ready to go and also individually, i.e. the old guy who can't see too good and would like a userChrome snippet, etc. Hardly a chore, as my users always seem a pretty nice bunch and I have also made good friends with a fair number of them over the years.

And yet you still maintain your Themes

Well, yeah, back in 2014 when I came back into Firefox theming, I didn't fancy spending the 40+ hours a month maintaining a Complete theme, as other authors were doing, due to Rapid Release. Plus, I should also add that I'm incredibly lazy.

So, I devised a brand new way to make Complete themes, quicker to make, maintenance down to a hour or two an month and they flex and adjust automatically to most changes caused by Firefox updates. The template engine for those 4 Firefox themes is the same I later used for my 2 SeaMonkey and Thunderbird ones.

I'm only explaining this last part as I don't want people thinking that I live and breathe this stuff and am constantly working away on it...because I'm not. Same applies to many other devs.

I'm not saying I'm representative of theme/extension writers. Some do think and work pretty much like I do, whilst others beaver away for many, many hours and also fret about stuff. Fretting is not good for people. So, the 'average' dev is probably in that grey area between those extremes. There's also the commercial extension writers (extension is just to direct people to certain websites, etc, but who cares about what they do.)

So, having read the above, when Firefox tells, and I mean tell, extension devs that in order to be able for them to host your extension/theme that you must now jump through this hoop, then that hoop, then another hoop, then learn a new way of programming your stuff and then jump through more hoops......well, we are just like you reading this, so turn it around, what would your reaction be?

Hopefully, you found that useful, as many people seem to have some weird ideas about why we do this - and that definitely includes Mozilla. In reality, some people find it amusing to play chess, whilst I find it amusing to design and code themes for software programs. It is no more complex than that.
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LIMPET235
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Post Posted November 28th, 2016, 3:50 am

&, "we" normal, everyday users really appreciate what you, Frank & all the other Theme & extension creators do for us.

It's such a pity that "the folks over at Mozilla.org" have decided to change things.....just coz "they" can &
force all you guys 'n' gals to conform to "our" rules or go walk-about.
What a crock!

I think I'll stick with my v20 for a few more years.
It's working fine with all of my 28 extensions & numerous Styles & GM scripts.
Hopefully, they will last for a little while longer.

Thanks again to all the hard working real devs who contribute so much of their time &
expertise to make Firefox, OUR browser.
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Drumbrake

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Post Posted November 28th, 2016, 4:13 am

Frank Lion wrote:(...)
Theoretically, it and even T/bird could get caught up in this xul-dropping farce fallout. If that happened then I'd just put the last proper working version in a sandbox and carry on as before.

I'm surprised no one ever mentions this sandboxing route. The only reason, really, why people endure this constant browser updating stuff is security concerns, but if you sandbox it properly then that is not a problem, unless you go round clicking everything link on every page, like a loon. Yeah, for me, sandboxing is the weapon of resort, but if anyone thinks I intend to endure some really crap browser just because there is no alternative, then they would be wrong.


No one may have mentioned this yet, but I'm pretty sure many are thinking along the same lines : take the last version that still works for you, and use it in a sandbox.

Or in a sandboxed virtual machine, and/or with some other form of OS hardening: in Linux there's Apparmor for instance that's a quite a bit tricky but can confine an application forbidding it from accessing resources out of its scope.

This is going to be an exercise in OS hardening for some of us: I'd rather do that than cope with a browser that I can't really use : over the years, I've learned (with the help of many people) to adapt Firefox to my needs - now it can't be the other way around, no matter what excuse they are chasing for this.

Frank Lion wrote:In fairness, the Firefox devs do listen, but unfortunately, only to themselves.


Also, probably, to some self-appointed guru claiming that Firefox has to "innovate or die" and that the word to live by is "disruption" (a geeky codename for messing up all the user experience for no other reason than look trendy and take away as much user's choice as possible) .

The Tinsmith
 
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Post Posted November 28th, 2016, 6:05 am

Hopefully, you found that useful, as many people seem to have some weird ideas about why we do this - and that definitely includes Mozilla. In reality, some people find it amusing to play chess, whilst I find it amusing to design and code themes for software programs. It is no more complex than that.




Yes I did. Thank you.

NanM
 
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Post Posted November 28th, 2016, 3:12 pm

LIMPET235 wrote:&, "we" normal, everyday users really appreciate what you, Frank & all the other Theme & extension creators do for us.


+1 for Frank Lion.His userChrome Css tuts are both useful and entertaining. For example:

SeaMonkey userChrome.css snippets • mozillaZine Forums
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2882561

A small community group here in client land, Western Australia have gone with the browser-centric way too.
We're staying with whatever version, out of Fx and SM is more comfortable to run with and sticking it in the lightest live linux disc possible.
A little attention to setup and the whole thing will run on autopilot to let you at last give up this life of anxiety. It is also a revelation to a lot of the group just how few resources you need for this kind of session.
Security is as security does, except for XSS and router subversion - which we rely on Maone's NoScript module "ABE" to cover. When Maone drops support for xul...probably time to split browser duties between that nice old SM for playing around in and the new Fx/NS you have to wear to go to the bank and deal with government in.
For around a year now, the group's been gradually growing and we now have nearly a footy team to share support duties, which includes revving up old extensions, un-thinning those scrollbars, and moving those effing Clown icons out of the way. It's still fun. Many of the group have grown up with
Firefox as a local file browser and the flexibility was and remains its mighty virtue. It won't be relinquished for anything as diminished as the compromised dummy thing Moz are playing with.
The aim is to seriously avoid, not increase, interaction with Web shite, which sadly Moz Corp is maggoted right through with now.
And so it goes.

Frank Lion

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Post Posted November 30th, 2016, 7:18 am

Thanks for the kind comments, guys, it's appreciated.

There's nothing new that can be added to this thread, by me at least, and not much is going to change for a bit anyway. So, all I'll do is to now post some links giving you the background to all this, just for 'light reading' for those who are interested.

Extension authors first got to hear about all this back in August 2015 and to this day this real quote from a Mozilla guy makes me laugh -

Kev Needham wrote: Deprecation of XUL, XPCOM, and the permissive add-on model

XPCOM and XUL are two of the most fundamental technologies to Firefox. The ability to write much of the browser in JavaScript has been a huge advantage for Mozilla. It also makes Firefox far more customizable than other browsers....

...yadda, yadda...

...Consequently, we have decided to deprecate add-ons that depend on XUL, XPCOM, and XBL. We don’t have a specific timeline for deprecation, but most likely it will take place within 12 to 18 months from now.


https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2015/08 ... x-add-ons/


The extension author's 'reaction' thread to all that is here - viewtopic.php?p=14295671#p14295671 (I come along after a page or two, so it does liven up a bit after a while :) but still a dullish/geeky read )


Complete Theme-wise - well, we were told that they were being whacked back in November 2015 and, to be honest, I think they were a bit disappointed when we didn't actually give a damn and asked for an actual closing date.

Needlessly to say, despite the dramatic announcement, er, nothing then happened. So, theme writers either drifted away or kept their stuff on AMO, but didn't exactly go the 'extra mile' update-wise. No surprise there, we could have got a week's notice at anytime that they were being taken off and the Mozilla reply would have been 'Well, we told you they were ending!'

Here's the bug thread for all that and this one is actually a fairly amusing read - https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1222546

...and here's the Theme writers discussion on all that - viewtopic.php?p=14393669#p14393669 - again, a dullish read, but all long threads are really. They are amusing to post on at the time and, of course, they are written over a longish period, but when I see a link to a 10 pager....? Then again, maybe that's just me and I have a very short attention span or something.

So, there you have it. :)
Metal Lion latest SeaMonkey & Thunderbird Themes - Sea Monkey and Silver Sea Monkey
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke (attrib.)

Trippynet

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Post Posted December 6th, 2016, 5:51 am

Drumbrake wrote:No one may have mentioned this yet, but I'm pretty sure many are thinking along the same lines : take the last version that still works for you, and use it in a sandbox.

Or in a sandboxed virtual machine, and/or with some other form of OS hardening: in Linux there's Apparmor for instance that's a quite a bit tricky but can confine an application forbidding it from accessing resources out of its scope.


The only problem with that is that it is ultimately only a temporary solution. Part of the reason that Pale Moon forked a newer version of Gecko into Goanna not long ago was that sitting on an increasingly aging version of Gecko (even with back-ported security fixes) starts to cause increasing compatibility issues with newer websites. Now if you're using the latest version of a major browser, you can moan at the website developers for them to fix the issue or accommodate the incompatibility. But if you're using either a minor browser, or an older version of a major browser, then 99.9% of the time you'll just get a stock answer of "Try the latest Chrome/Firefox/Edge, that's all we support".

Hence, sandboxing an older version of Firefox is fine for a year or two, but as the months go by, you can expect more and more "revamped" sites to start rendering incorrectly - or not at all.

celtic_superhero

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Post Posted December 8th, 2016, 7:20 am

Trippynet wrote:
Drumbrake wrote:No one may have mentioned this yet, but I'm pretty sure many are thinking along the same lines : take the last version that still works for you, and use it in a sandbox.

Or in a sandboxed virtual machine, and/or with some other form of OS hardening: in Linux there's Apparmor for instance that's a quite a bit tricky but can confine an application forbidding it from accessing resources out of its scope.


The only problem with that is that it is ultimately only a temporary solution. Part of the reason that Pale Moon forked a newer version of Gecko into Goanna not long ago was that sitting on an increasingly aging version of Gecko (even with back-ported security fixes) starts to cause increasing compatibility issues with newer websites.


Well, Pale Moon is only a temporary solution. What will they do where they can't use another engine version anymore now where Mozilla will kill XUL? That small team had already to give up when they tried to back-port some Script related features where the only solution was to update their Gecko version. Now even that is impossible. The only hope is Seamonkey. And even there it is highly not sure that they will survive the way they are right now.

A more safe bet is to use minor browsers like Midori or Otter-Browser with the new Annulen QT Webkit or something similar which can be customized but is not Mozilla based. Vivaldi or Brave or Yandex browser and others like that... well, they are just Google Chrome renamed and a bit changed. And after thinking all trough, i will try to avoid having a Google based browser on my machines, no matter under which skin it is hiding. Chrome stays Chrome, no matter how nice the disguise is. Also, it's problems stay the same.

But that is not the actual point. The actual point is the question why Mozilla is doing something where they 100% know that there is only one big winner in the end, when all the dust has settled... Google Chrome. If someone has an answer to this, i would be interested in hearing it :mrgreen:

Frank Lion

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Post Posted January 3rd, 2017, 2:01 pm

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